Editor's Note: Today’s Compassionate Eye is by guest Kurt Johnson, PhD, who is a cofounder of InterSpiritual Dialogue in Action (www.isdna.org) and widely engaged internationally in spiritual teaching, professional science, social activism, and ethics (www.nationalserviceaeu.org).
Kurt serves in a number of capacities for the American Ethical Union, Humanist Institute, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and various organizations active in the teaching of nondual consciousness.
How many of us have heard of the word “interspirituality?” The word was coined by Brother Wayne Teasdale, a pioneer in exploring the underlying essence of spiritual experience in all the world’s religions.
Interspirituality is the subject of his now-classic books The Mystic Heart: Discovering a Universal Spirituality in the World's Religions (1999) and A Monk in the World (2002).
Over the course of about a decade, the word interspirituality has become commonly used throughout the world, with hundreds of citations at Google and other search engines.
Interspirituality is important for understanding what distinguishes spirituality and religion.
In a nutshell, interspirituality refers to a spirituality so deeply rooted in the heart and the heart-experience of oneness—so deeply rooted in "felt-sense"—that any creed, belief, background, history, indeed anything that could cause separation between beings, becomes secondary if not irrelevant.
Interspirituality is about love and oneness, not “who is right” in the world of exclusive religious narratives, stories or claims as to history, historical persons, or what will happen in the future.
Interspirituality is more about the underlying essence of religious experience, which is spirituality: the sanctity of all things, the forever now, and all that this implies.
In this way, interspirituality is different from conventional interfaith, which is really a horizontal discussion among various religions, beliefs, and creeds in the hope for more tolerance, peace, and mutual understanding.
Interspirituality also transcends and delves deeper than conventional trans-traditional spirituality, which is an authentic enjoyment of many paths but perhaps not including the actual experience of this mystery of absolute oneness in multiplicity.
Interspirituality also sees all religious experience and spiritual paths as one existential evolutionary process, converging toward what the ultimate potential of our species can be in both consciousness and heart.
Thus the truth of who we are in consciousness and heart has been evolving and converging through all the spiritual paths and spiritual experiences of our species. It's a vertical process, not about the question of "who knows best" regarding belief or creed, but about our relationships reflecting ever-higher realizations of love.
Below are some links many find useful in enhancing their understanding of interspirituality:
About interspirituality worldwide: http://multiplex.isdna.org/
Briefly about Brother Wayne Teasdale: http://multiplex.isdna.org/newpage16.htm
Briefly about InterSpirituality: http://multiplex.isdna.org/interspi.htm
About the Universal Order of Sannyasa which Brother Wayne saw as one of many vehicles for this message: www.orderofsannyasa.org