‘LOOK FOR THE ONENESS: how I achieved happiness via the Inter-spiritual Worldview’
Summer Conference hosted by Crawley Interfaith Network & Faith in Sussex – Saturday 4th June 2016 – from 1.00 to 6.00 PM – at WORTH ABBEY
Roger – Dr Roger Prentice – developer of the One Garden inter-spiritual groups
INTRO: Thanks for giving me 5 mins to share a little about our One Garden inter-spiritual project. My PhD was on Holistic Education which I’ve now extended into ‘full-time’ research on ‘Inter-spiritual living & studies’.
1 Violent conflict around the world is seen every day showing that we need to recognize the Oneness that is beyond, and at the mystic heart, of all of the great Traditions.
2 Perhaps the way to Peace & Happiness is to reach out to all great Traditions, because they all teach the same 3 things – at their mystical core.
3 Four years of developing the One Garden groups, my swan song project, brought me happiness. What have I learned? – that there are many paths to the summit of the mountain, but only one summit.
4 To use a different metaphor there are a number of gateways into the state of awareness we call the One Garden. But beyond the great Traditions, and at the heart of them, there is a mystical core. A verse attributed to Rumi says;
Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,
there is a field. I’ll meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass,
the world is too full to talk about.
From within the One Garden listen to some of the voices from our world spiritual heritage.
5 From the Hindu Bhagavad Gita we are told
“Like two birds of golden plumage, inseparable companions, the
individual self and the immortal Self are perched on the branches of the
self same tree. The former tastes of the sweet and bitter fruits of the
tree; the latter, tasting of neither, calmly observes.
“The individual self, deluded by forgetfulness of his identity with the
divine Self, bewildered by his ego, grieves and is sad. But when he
recognizes the worshipful Lord as his own true Self, and
beholds his glory, he grieves no more.”
6 Ibn Arabi tells us;
O Marvel! a garden amidst the flames.
My heart has become capable of every form:
it is a pasture for gazelles and a convent for Christian monks,
and a temple for idols and the pilgrim’s Kaa’ba,
and the tablets of the Torah and the book of the Quran.
I follow the religion of Love: whatever way Love’s camels take,
that is my religion and my faith.
7 Rebbe Abraham Joshua Heschel tells us;
The search for reason ends at the shore of the known;
on the immense expanse beyond it
only the sense of the ineffable can glide.
It alone knows the route to that
which is remote from experience and understanding.
Neither is amphibious:
reason cannot go beyond the shore,
and the sense of the ineffable
is out of place where we measure, where we weigh…….
Citizens of two realms, we must all sustain dual allegiance:
we sense the ineffable in one realm;
we name and exploit reality in another.
8 From the Christian Bible we know that God is love. To put that as a Zen master might put it; “No love, no God.” You cannot know if you cannot love – this is put is put most tellingly in John’s gospel;
Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. – John 4:8 (NIV)
Someone else said we should remember ‘God is a verb not a noun’. Creation is not so much an act as a process.
9 Of course there are many other teachers and teachings At the core of all of the great traditions we find 3 challenges: 1) Awaken more. 2) Detach from egoistic self more. 3) Serve others better.
For me these pointers are essential;
Inter-spirituality is ‘the recovery of the shared mystic heart beating in the center of the world’s deepest spiritual traditions.’ Rabbi Shapiro
“Mysticism is the art of union with Reality.” – Evelyn Underhill
“Reality shines as ‘Awareness in the Self’, and as ‘Existence in the world.’” – Rupert Spira
Meditation is, “Moment-to-moment presence that excludes nothing and sticks to nothing.”- Joan Tollifson
Nonduality: Nondual experience is what you have when your egoistic self & its ‘boundaries’ are temporarily ‘dissolved’ – & there is only ‘Oneness as Awareness ‘.
10 Remembering that, “Concepts are delicious snacks with which we try to alleviate our amazement,” it is the ‘Nondual realization of Awareness’ that unites us.
The only attitude that unites us more powerfully is the humility to know that as we stand before the Infinite Mystery that we call God, like Socrates, we must admit that “I know one thing – that I know nothing”
11 These realizations are what has brought me the gift of happiness. If your heart and mind are centred on Oneness you are, I suggest, already in the One Garden – whatever Tradition you are in – or none.
If you would like to visit a One Garden session please contact me.
CONTACT: Roger – Dr Roger Prentice