Interspiritual Mysticism: Weekly Summary — Center for Action and Contemplation

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Interspiritual Mysticism

Interspiritual Mysticism: Weekly Summary

Saturday, September 26th, 2020

Interspiritual Mysticism

Saturday, September 26, 2020
Summary: Sunday, September 20—Friday, September 25, 2020

The loving and universal scope of Jesus Christ provides us with a model of how to recognize and celebrate truth on the many different paths to God. (Sunday)

The proof that you are a mature Christian is that you can see Christ everywhere else. (Monday)

We are asked not only to tolerate the other, but also to actively engage the love that transmutes the lead of ignorance and hatred into the gold of authentic connection. —Mirabai Starr (Tuesday)

Not only do many young people believe that there is one underlying reality at the foundation of all major world religions but they are also convinced that different traditions and their unique approaches to God complement each other. —Adam Bucko (Wednesday)

I had long been familiar with the mystical tradition of the West, but I felt the need of something more which the East alone could give; above all the sense of the presence of God in nature and the soul. —Bede Griffiths (Thursday)

One of the greatest needs of humanity today is to transcend the cultural limitations of the great religions and to find a wisdom, a philosophy, which can reconcile their differences and reveal the unity which underlies all their diversities. —Bede Griffiths (Friday)


Practice: God In My Breath

Anthony de Mello (1931–1987) was an East Indian Jesuit priest, psychotherapist, writer, and public speaker. He was beloved for his ability to use stories to teach the spiritual truths of both the East and West. He taught that:

In the practice below, De Mello invites us to cultivate an awareness of our breathing as a way to deepen our connection to the divine.

Close your eyes and practice the awareness of body sensations for a while . . .

Then come to the awareness of your breathing . . . and stay with this awareness for a few minutes . . .

I want you to reflect now that this air that you are breathing in is charged with the power and the presence of God . . .  Think of the air as of an immense ocean that surrounds you . . . an ocean heavily colored with God’s presence and God’s being . . . While you draw the air into your lungs you are drawing God in . . .

Be aware that you are drawing in the power and presence of God each time you breathe in . . . Stay in this awareness as long as you can . . .

Notice what you feel when you become conscious that you are drawing God in with each breath you take . . .

There is a variation to this exercise. Another reflection, this one borrowed from the mentality of the Hebrews as we find them in the Bible. For them a human’s breath was life. When people died God took their breath away; that is what made them die. If someone lived it was because God kept putting [God’s] breath, God’s “spirit” into this person. It was the presence of this Spirit of God that kept the person alive.

While you breathe in, be conscious of God’s Spirit coming into you . . . Fill your lungs with the divine energy God brings . . .

While you breathe out, imagine you are breathing out all your impurities . . . your fears . . . your negative feelings . . .

Imagine you see your whole body becoming radiant and alive through this process of breathing in God’s life-giving Spirit and breathing out all your impurities . . .

Stay with this awareness as long as you can without distractions . . .

[1] Anthony De Mello, Walking on Water (Crossroad Publishing: 1998), vii.

Anthony De Mello, Sadhana: A Way to God: Christian Exercises in Eastern Form (Image: 1978, 1984), 36‒37. Note: Minor edits made to incorporate gender-inclusive language.

For Further Study:
Adam Bucko and Matthew Fox, Occupy Spirituality: A Radical Vision for a New Generation (North Atlantic Books: 2013).

Generation Y, Spirituality and Social Change, ed. Justine Afra Huxley (Jessica Kingsley Publishers: 2019).

Bede Griffiths: Essential Writings, ed. Thomas Matus (Orbis Books: 2004).

Richard Rohr, The Universal Christ: How a Forgotten Reality Can Change Everything We See, Hope For, and Believe (Convergent: 2019).

Mirabai Starr, God of Love: A Guide to the Heart of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam (Monkfish Book Publishing: 2012).

Wayne Teasdale, Bede Griffiths: An Introduction to His Interspiritual Thought (SkyLight Paths: 2003).

Wayne Teasdale, The Mystic Heart: Discovering a Universal Spirituality in the World’s Religious Traditions (New World Library: 1999).

Image credit: Spärlich Belaubt (detail), Paul Klee, 1934.
Inspiration for this week’s banner image: I had long been familiar with the mystical tradition of the West, but I felt the need of something more which the East alone could give; above all the sense of the presence of God in nature and the soul. —Bede Griffiths