The Spiritual Paths Mandala
Creating Your Spiritual Path
12 Families of Archetypal Styles, Questions & Traditions
The Spiritual Paths “InterSpiritual Mandala” was created by Dr. Ed Bastian to help people develop their own spiritual paths and to integrate their deepest spiritual values and practices into all aspects of their lives. “The Mandala” addresses a critical need for inner direction at a time of decline of institutional religious affiliation when cultural diversity, religious pluralism, the Internet, the proliferation of books, and global mobility and have created new opportunities to explore the worlds spiritual traditions as never before.
If we choose to take advantage of these new opportunities, however, we must also accept greater personal responsibilities. We can no longer be comforted by the idea that our spiritual destinies can be guided totally by others and anesthetized by the idea that our spiritual destinies are beyond our ability to know and to control.
Taking personal responsibility also requires us to draw deeply from our own unique experiences and our innate spiritual abilities as well as to draw on the great insights, methods and examples handed down to us from the spiritual leaders who have gone before. Our method might recognize the need for good, reliable teachers who authentically represent and transmit spiritual knowledge and practices.
Consciously or unconsciously, we approach religion and spirituality through the lenses of our own personal spiritual styles and questions. Like personal learning styles, our spiritual styles influence the development of our beliefs, values, and practices. Within each religion there are a variety of approaches and practices that have emerged to serve individuals with varying spiritual styles. Therefore, in developing a spiritual practice, it is helpful for us to recognize and honor our own personal spiritual styles and questions as we embark on study and practice that is compatible with these predominate styles.
The Spiritual Paths InterSpiritual Mandala identifies twelve families of spiritual styles, perennial questions, and spiritual traditions (by name and geographical origin). Why twelve? In truth, there could be a greater or a fewer number depending on ones method for defining and categorizing them. Twelve, for many reasons, turns out to be a good number for organizing our method for the study and the integration of spiritual concepts and practices from throughout the world.
The importance of this insight for us is that as one begins to piece together a personal spiritual path, it is important to identify one’s personal path of approaching religion. Once this is done, there is a vast and fascinating body of literature available from all spiritual traditions that will help further define our personal spiritual education and practice.
Each of us embodies all twelve ways as either major or minor factors in our approach to our religious and spiritual experience. Each of these twelve is a kind of personality trait, or tendency. Most of us have several ways which are dominant with the others descending in importance. The ways are like funnels through which information is channeled for processing and analysis, like sieves that only let certain types of information through to the mind. They are like colored lenses that determine the hue of the world before our eyes. While each way focuses our attention and enables us to begin our quest via devotion, mysticism, intellection, etc., an exclusive emphasis on that way also limits our ability to totally perceive and experience the wholeness of religion and spirituality.
Therefore, it is important that we recognize and utilize our dominant way as a beginning point, then expand and make use of all the other ways harmoniously to achieve a full and complete spiritual path.
Our dominant path may change as we grow older and experience various life events. There may be times when we are more devotional or more intellectual. Occasionally we might have a mystical experience. At other times our experiences will be more physical or interpersonal. As we go through lifes changes, and our dominant mode changes, we need specific kinds of resources to help.
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Here is a list of twelve families of spiritual styles and questions. As teachers and students, it is very helpful to recognize and honor these in our process of learning and transformation.
|Twelve Styles & Paths||Twelve Questions||Twelve Families of Traditions|
|Contemplation & Meditation||Death||Hinduism|
|Mystic||Good & Evil||American|
|Reason||Spirit Beings||Middle Eastern|
|Wisdom||Transformation & Ultimate Potential||Science & Philosophy|