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Center for Action and Contemplation
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Our Collective Wisdom

Thursday, November 10, 2022

Author and spiritual teacher Mirabai Starr writes of the collective spiritual wisdom that is necessary for the healing of ourselves and our planet:

While there is much to be learned from teachers—both past and present—the time of the awakened guru is giving way to a collective awakening. . . . We forget that the path to God is bound up with our life in the world. Evidence of our spiritual mastery lies in our ever-deepening, continuously expanding humanity. The trick is to be as fully present as possible to the holiness of each moment. We are challenged to embrace, yet not identify with, all that is. This requires practice: meditation practice, relationship practice, social action practice. . . .

Waking up is a community affair. Jewish wisdom suggests that the Messiah will not be an extrasmart, radiantly beautiful, superpowerful human being who will descend from on high to resolve our differences and repair the damage we have inflicted on one another and on the planet we share. . . . We each need to bring the best of who we are to the spiritual table and offer our own imperfect selves as the medicine for the critically ill spirit of humanity. This includes our despair and our ecstatic insights, the shadow we are most ashamed of and the crazy wisdom with which we astonish even ourselves.

Starr cautions that although our individual gifts are important, so too are the gifts of our religious traditions:

In a fit of iconoclasm, many of us have been tempted to toss out the traditions of organized religion as we try to make our own way home to Spirit. Many gifts have emerged from this revolution: liberation from patriarchal dominance, increased awareness of the importance of psychological health along the path of awakening, and an abiding regard for indigenous wisdom ways. But we have also found ourselves spiritually bankrupt in some crucial spheres. The world’s religious traditions have collected a series of vital tools to help us build a life that includes heightened consciousness of the sacred and a shared sense of accountability to all beings, and we would be foolish to reject them out of hand.

In spite of the undeniable history of abuses committed in the name of religion, the monotheistic faiths [Judaism, Christianity, and Islam] offer innumerable points of access to the realm of love. We would do well to revisit the teachings and practices so carefully engineered over millennia to invoke the God of Love and bring [God] into our midst. By saying yes to the best of our own heritage and entering the holiest grounds of one another’s faith traditions, we may be able to usher in an age of love within our own lifetime. We can only do this together. Through a process of perpetual discernment and “prayer unceasing” we may dive into the well of each faith and emerge with the treasure that connects us all.


Mirabai Starr, God of Love: A Guide to the Heart of Judaism, Christianity and Islam (Rhinebeck, NY: Monkfish Book Publishing, 2012), 217–218, 218–219.

Explore Further. . .

Image credit: Jeremy Yap, Untitled (detail), 2017, photograph, Unsplash. Dann Zepeda, Untitled (detail), 2017, photograph, Unsplash. Austin Kehmeier, Untitled (detail), 2020, photograph, Unsplash. Jenna Keiper & Leslye Colvin, 2022, triptych art, United States. Click here to enlarge image.

Image inspiration: Opening the door to difference—to include, rather than exclude—we see a beautiful beyond and receive the life water of new ways to see.

Story from Our Community:

A dear friend of mine’s favorite flowers are ones that most would overlook—dandelions and common tansies. The other day, I set out on my daily retreat onto a wooded trail when I spotted my friend’s flora —a common tansy affectionately and elegantly leaning into Queen Anne’s Lace. I wanted to take a picture but I told myself I’d capture it later. When I returned the next day, the tansies had been trampled and the poetry of the day before was totally gone. I didn’t get the photo, but I did, however, gain a new perspective. I realized how quickly things change in nature (and in life). It occurred to me how easily the natural world accepts the reality of new circumstances—something that we humans struggle to do. I wanted to say thank you to the CAC Staff and faculty, for all that you do; most of all for illuminating beautiful, sublime mysteries like this one. —Irma D.

Share your own story with us.

Prayer for our community:

God, Lord of all creation, lover of life and of everything, please help us to love in our very small way what You love infinitely and everywhere. We thank You that we can offer just this one prayer and that will be more than enough,  because in reality every thing and every one is connected, and nothing stands alone. To pray for one part is really to pray for the whole, and so we do. Help us each day to stand for love, for healing, for the good, for the diverse unity of the Body of Christ and all creation, because we know this is what You desire: as Jesus prayed, that all may be one. We offer our prayer together with all the holy names of God, we offer our prayer together with Christ, our Lord, Amen.

Listen to the prayer.


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In a world of fault lines and fractures, how do we expand our sense of self to include love, healing, and forgiveness—not just for ourselves or those like us, but for all? This monthly email features wisdom and stories from the emerging Christian contemplative movement. Join spiritual seekers from around the world and discover your place in the Great Story Line connecting us all in the One Great Life. Conspirare. Breathe with us.