Humanity stands at a crossroads between horror and hope. In choosing hope, we must seed a new consciousness, a radically fresh approach to life drawing its inspiration from perennial spiritual and moral insights, intuition and experience. We call this new awareness Interspiritual, implying not the homogenization of religion, but the recovering of the shared mystic heart beating in the center of the worlds deepest spiritual traditions.
Attributed to Brother Wayne Teasdale
[Pictured here are students and teachers of our two-year program on InterSpiritual Wisdom gathered together with Father Thomas Keating at St. Benedicts Monastery in Colorado. Our teachers include Shaikh Kabir and Shaika Camille Helminski, Rabbi Rami Shapiro, Swami Atmarunpananda, Rev. Cynthia Bourgeault and Dr. Ed Bastian.]
Rabbi Rami Shapiro describes this emerging paradigm with the following words:
The religious landscape of the world is changing. No longer solely dominated by separate and securely entrenched religious institutions, the religious lives of people, especially people in the United States, Canada and other postindustrial nations, are increasingly defined by a sense of individual freedom, universality and association with more than one religious or spiritual tradition.
By encouraging InterSpirituality we do not intend the blending of religions or the ending of religious diversity. On the contrary, by InterSpirituality we mean the increasing spiritual creativity emerging from the meeting of, and dialogue between, the worlds major religious traditions. This meeting acknowledges differences between religions and affirms the greater unity they all share. InterSpirituality builds on the diverse contemplative practices among the traditions that lead to a direct heart-felt experience of the sacred. It is in this experience of the heart the we discover unity within our diversity. This unity provides the common ground from which religious diversity flowers.
People are discovering that their respect for and love of the religion of their birth need not preclude a similar respect for the full range of human spiritual creativity. This discovery is fueling the growing interest in InterSpiritual study, practice, and lifestyle. We aim, therefore, to encourage the recovery of the shared mystic heart beating in the center of the worlds deepest spiritual traditions. InterSpirituality is a profound way of working toward the goal of global understanding, respect, and peace by elucidating the common themes, methodologies, meanings and truths of the worlds religions while respecting the unique gifts and particularities of each tradition.
As InterSpirituality grows and becomes the norm for greater numbers of people, the need arises for serious scholarship and practical guidance that explores the nature of this emerging reality and helps people navigate the waters of InterSpiritual awakening. We support students in the deepening of their spiritual paths without constricting their perspective to one particular theological mind-set.
(Written by Rabbi Rami Shapiro as an introduction to the Spiritual Paths Institute program on InterSpiritual Wisdom)
To meet these needs, and to further define and shape the emerging field of InterSpirituality, the Spiritual Paths Institute offers a variety of courses, retreats and programs leading to InterSpiritual Wisdom and the creation of a personal contemplative practice that is inclusive rather than divisive.