HESCHEL: Look for the Oneness in interfaith and Reinhold Niebuhr was the one who understood best

Heschel counted among his friends other prophets of this period in our history: William Sloane Cotton, Martin Luther King, Jr., Dorothy Day, and others.

He also included among his friends many Christian theologians. In fact, according to his daughter, he said that Reinhold Niebuhr “understood his work better than anyone else.”

In his interfaith dialogues, he avoided conversation on differences; he and his interlocutors explored those religious attitudes which they shared. – http://www.preacherexchange.com/br_abraham_joshua_heschel_essential_writings.htm

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LOOK FOR THE ONENESS’ – how I achieved happiness via the Inter-spiritual Worldview’

‘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.
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If you would like to visit a One Garden session please contact me.

CONTACT: Roger – Dr Roger Prentice

Baha’u’llah and Doubting Thomas

A statement by Baha’u’llah, founder of the Baha’i Faith, always reminds me of ‘doubting Thomas’;

Say: The first and foremost testimony establishing His truth is His own Self.
Next to this testimony is His Revelation.
For whoso faileth to recognize either the one or the other He hath established the
words He hath revealed as proof of His reality and truth. – Gleanings LII / pp 104/107

“But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.”” – (John 20:24–25 NRSV)

Four key articles for understanding interfaith as inter-spirituality

1) Best introduction – https://universalistspirit.wordpress.com/about/extracts-from-interspirituality-bridging-the-religious-and-spiritual-traditions-of-the-world-by-william-keepin/

NB the whole of the book in which Keepin’s superb piece is free online HERE – http://www.satyana.org/pdf/SongoftheEartheBook.pdf

2) Mysticism as the Crossing of Ultimate Boundaries – by Wayne Teasdale – http://csp.org/experience/docs/teasdale-mysticism.html

3) The Mystical Core of Organized Religion – David Steindl-Rast – http://csp.org/experience/docs/steindl-mystical.html

4) Aldous Huxley’s Perennial Philosophy is HERE – https://archive.org/stream/perennialphilosp035505mbp#page/n5/mode/2up

You might also enjoy

Introduction to the Bhagavad-Gita (Translation of Bhagavad-Gita by Swami Prabhavananda and Christopher Isherwood.) by Aldous Huxley – http://parvati.tripod.com/perennial.html

TAGS: Aldous Huxley, interspirituality, Perennial Philosophy, inter-spirituality, interfaith, interfaith as inter-spirituality, Mysticism as the Crossing of Ultimate Boundaries, Wayne Teasdale, William Keepin, The Mystical Core of Organized Religion, David Steindl-Rast,

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I’m afraid of losing my obscurity. Genuineness only thrives in the dark. Like celery. – Aldous Huxley – Those Barren Leaves (1925). – cf –

Interspirituality is concerned with “the recovery of the…

Interspirituality is concerned with “the recovery of the shared mystic heart beating in the center of the world’s deepest spiritual traditions.” – Wayne Teasdale, The Mystic Heart

In our One Garden groups interfaith as interspirituality…

In our One Garden groups – interfaith as interspirituality – we present our ‘purpose and ‘practice’
in its simplest form as –

Our One Garden a) PURPOSE =Awaken:Detach:Serve b) PRACTICE = Smile:Breathe:go mindfully

Today I received The Daily Quote from Rupert Spira. His teaching it seems is very similar;

There are three essential steps in the spiritual path: the first is to notice that one is not a body or a mind, but rather the Awareness in which these appear, and with which they are known; the second is to explore the nature of Awareness and discover that it doesn’t share the destiny or the limits of the body and mind – that is, to discover its eternal, infinite nature; and the third is to live a life that is consistent with this understanding.

The first and most important prerequisite of interfaith…

The first and most important prerequisite of interfaith is faith.

page 10
It is only out of the depth of involvement in the unending drama that began with Abraham that we can help one another toward an understanding of our situation.Interfaith must come out of depth, not out of a void absence of faith. It is not an enterprise for those who are half-learned or spiritually immature. If it is not to lead to the confusion of the many, it must remain a prerogative of the few.
Faith and the power of insight and devotion can only grow in privacy. Exposing one’s inner life may engender the danger of desecration, distortion and confusion. Syncretism is a perpetual possibility. Moreover, at a time of paucity of faith, interfaith may become a substitute for faith, suppressing authenticity for the sake of compromise. In a world of conformity, religions can easily be levelled down to the lowest common denominator.

Both communication and separation are necessary. We must preserve our individuality as well as foster care for one another, reverence, understanding, cooperation. In the world of economics, science and technology, cooperation exists and continues to grow. Even political states, though different in culture and competing with one another, maintain diplomatic relations and strive for coexistence. Only religions are not on speaking terms. Over a hundred countries are willing to be part of the United Nations; yet no religion is ready to be part of a movement for United Religions. Or should I say, not yet ready ? Ignorance, distrust, and disdain often characterize their relations to one another. Is disdain for the opposition indigenous to the religious position ? Granted that Judaism and Christianity are committed to contradictory claims, is it impossible to carry on a controversy without acrimony, criticism without loss of respect, disagreement without disrespect ? The problem to be faced is : how to combine loyalty to one’s own tradition with reverence for different traditions ? How is mutual esteem between Christian and Jew possible ?

http://www.cs.auckland.ac.nz/~alan/chaplain/Heschel.html