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Dustin LindenSmith

father | musician | writer

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On "The Challenge of an Interspiritual Age", by Rev. Dr. Rod Romney

Issue #2574 of the Nondual Highlights contains a lengthy but thought-provoking article on the concept of "interspirituality", or the manner in which people can transcend the specific identities of their own religious traditions to recognize a truly global, nature-centric spiritual worldview. In the article, Romney uses the writing of Wayne Teasdale's The Mystic Heart as a springboard for the discussion. From the article in question, I excerpt below.
Wayne Teasdale died a few years ago from cancer. It was in his book, "The Mystic Heart," that I first read about the age of interspirituality, a radically new approach to our life as a human family in a world that grows increasingly more divided. He outlined this age with the following seven qualities:
1. The emergence of ecological awareness and sensitivity to the natural, organic world, with an acknowledgment of the basic fragility of the earth.
2. A growing sense of the rights of other species.
3. A recognition of the interdependence of all domains of life and reality.
4. The ideal of abandoning a militant nationalism as a result of this tangible sense of our essential interdependence.
5. A deep, evolving experience of community between and among the religions through their individual members.
6. The growing receptivity to the inner treasures of the world's religions.
7. An openness to the cosmos, with the realization that the relationship between humans and the earth is part of the larger community of the universe.
...Thomas Berry, a popular writer of our time, referred to himself as a geologian, meaning a theologian for the earth. This is spirituality attaching itself to ecology. The Hindu and Buddhist, the Sufi, the Jewish, the Muslim, the Christian, and indigenous peoples-all are slowly but surely becoming united in a movement that links ecology and spiritual traditions together in a common enterprise that today is called interspirituality. An aphorism from the Hindu tradition says it well: "The paths are many, but the goal is the same." We are trying to save our earth and expand our sense of spiritual connections.

...Wayne Teasdale said that spirituality is the whole inner movement of the heart to seek the divine. It is a commitment to the process of inner change, and a personal attachment to a spiritual way of life and the transformation it brings. Spirituality is a way to travel, not a place of arrival. And interspirituality is the common heritage of humankind's spiritual wisdom: the place where we share mystical resources across boundaries of different religious traditions. Teasdale said that we are now entering the interspiritual age, where more and more people are no longer isolated within their own homes or native traditions, but are exploring other traditions, finding what is useful in their own growth. Life, I think, always seeks to change us into more compassionate and concerned human beings. If the war in Iraq could do that, then perhaps it will have been worth it.
I can't find any fault with these opinions, particularly those seven qualities of interspirituality which Romney lists, all of which sound like a wise, wholesome and nondual worldview. I do, however, take some issue with Romney's and Teasdale's assertions that this so-called "Age of Interspirituality" is actually occurring. True enough, the Internet has allowed all of us who genuinely feel this way to connect and share our views and further them in the world. However, I think that the prevalence of this worldview is actually quite small, and that there is very little evidence of it in the general public; at least inasmuch as the West is concerned. Or not, even: from the US voting population to those struggling in Sudan or Lebanon right now, nobody is demonstrating very much inclusiveness in their approach, nor are they demonstrating an ability to move effectively beyond their own personal identification with their communities or their religions in order to attain peace.

(x-posted to nonduality)