It’s been such a pleasure to meet Ben Bowler, Derek Grimm and the wider community around 1God.com, World Weavers and the UDAY festivals. It’s been great creating synergized plans for how we can all further serve the global interfaith movement which, as you all know, is turning more and more “interspiritual”. By that we mean going deeper and deeper into the Heart, the unity consciousness, where the “differences” among us become truly ephemeral.
As is well known by now, I was one of the people privileged to work closely with Brother Wayne Teasdale, coiner of the words “Interspiritual” and “Interspirituality” in his now classic book The Mystic Heart: Finding a Universal Spirituality in the World’s Religions. This meeting was in 2001 and later, in 2002, Wayne, me and several others formed The Interspiritual Dialogue association as a not-for-profit organization in the State of New York, hoping to work closely with the United Nations community to spread this idea of “interspirituality”. So much had happened since then it is hard to recount it all. Of course, Wayne transitioned suddenly, and tragically in 2004, shortly after guiding us in a presentation about Interspirituality at the 2004 Parliament of the World Religions in Barcelona, Spain.
We held a hugely attended memorial event for him at what was then “Omega at The Crossings” in Austin, Texas. That was the first time I met Fr. Thomas Keating, renowned founder of Centering Prayer, the Monastic Inter-religious Dialogue, the Contemplative Outreach and the Snowmass Inter-Religious Dialogue. Later, he would gather all of us— who had worked with or for Br. Wayne or other interspiritual pioneers like Thomas Merton, Bede Griffiths, or Raimon Panikkar, regularly at his Trappist Abbey in Colorado to discuss the direction of the interspiritual work. I never met Merton or Griffiths—in fact I did not even know about Interspirituaity in the years that I myself was a monk in the Christian tradition. At that time, Merton was just writing his seminal books on Christianity and Zen, Matthew Fox was beginning to speak of The Cosmic Christ and Deep Ecumenism, but Griffiths work with Christianity and Hinduism was not well known. However, in my career as a professional scientist, and a holistic one at that, Panikkar and I served together on an early board regarding holistic medicine, where we met often in New York City. I last saw him also at the Barcelona Parliament.
Fr. Keating, meeting with many of us for over three years, helped cement the process that led to The Dawn of Interspirituaity Conference in 2013 which brought together all the farflung elements of “the interspiritual tribe” at www.interspirituality.com. The website was brought into fruition by a “Committee” appointed at that conference— myself, Diane Berke of New York’s One Spirit Interfaith Seminary and Ed Bastian, who had founded The Spiritual Paths Foundation with Fr. Keating. This was after years of many of us—Adam Bucko, Rory McEntee, Mirabai Starr, Will Keepin, Cynthia Brix, Janet Quinn, Matthew Wright, David Frenette, and others– working separately on projects as diverse as the first Interspiritual Multiplex resource website and what later became “The New Monasticism Movement”. Following the publication of The Coming Interspiritual Age (www.thecominginterspiritualage.com) by me and Robert Ord in 2013, we had yet another generation of interspiritual books appear quite quickly, as publishers allowed and encouraged more and more detail about what interspirituality is, and does.
So we have new books like Andrew Vidich and Art Stein’s Let There Be Light, Will Keepin’s Belonging to God, the seminal work on The New Monasticism by Adam Bucko and Rory McEntee and the several wonderful books by mystic scholar Mirabai Starr. Recently, I’ve blurbed another one called The Story of Today, by Robert Atkinson. So, the trend toward a global and universal spirituality grows and grows, just as Br. Wayne said it would.
Further, we are super-active at the United Nations today—serving on numerous Interfaith committees, and have also engaged with the evolving changes in the new science. This has included the annual Science and Nonduality Conference in Califiornia (where I have spoken for six consecutive years) and series of events with the Prosocial Network of Dr. David Sloan Wilson and his work on altruism. We have also engaged with the Shift Network founded by Stephen Dinan, Doug King’s Presence network (and it’s message on religion’s new global “trans-narrative”), and been part of founding the Gaiafield Subtle Activism movement with Dr. David Nicol and others. Several of us are privileged to have been elected to The Evolutionary Leaders network, a dynamic group working for world change.
By now our work with Ken Wilber’s Integral Movement is also well known. Ken was a close friend of Br. Wayne and a new video Wilber made with us explaining Interspirituality– in the context of his mantra of “Waking Up and Growing Up”– has nearly 50,000 views right now at YouTube (see below). With all the energetic things Ben was doing with 1God, World Weavers, and U DAY, it was inevitable that we would “hook up”.
These are exciting times and we look forward to a future of amazing synergy and co-working with 1God, World Weavers and U DAY. Thanks for welcoming us to your community.
Featured Image: Kurt Johnson with Sikh friend Simon Anaya of the “Young Contemplatives” network at Yogi Bhajan’s home in Espanola, New Mexico, USA