Interspiritual Mystics: Weekly Summary — Center for Action and Contemplation

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Interspiritual Mystics: Weekly Summary

Interspiritual Mystics

Summary: Sunday, August 4—Friday, August 9, 2019

At their most mature levels, religions have a common goal: union with all beings and with God. —Beatrice Bruteau (Sunday)

By allowing inward change, while at the same time simplifying our external life, spirituality serves as our greatest single resource for changing our centuries-old trajectory of violence and division. —Wayne Teasdale (Monday)

A true dialogue between East and West would help seekers in both cultures to travel “upstream,” [to what Cynthia Bourgeault calls the “headwaters” of the world’s religions] to find their way to a deeper dimension of reality in which all religious paths might ultimately converge. —Robert Ellsberg (Tuesday)

Mystical consciousness affects the whole of one’s life by opening the heart to the Divine Presence in all realities. —Beverly Lanzetta (Wednesday)

Deep down, each one of us is a mystic. . . . Getting in touch with the mystic inside is the beginning of our deep service. —Matthew Fox (Thursday)

How do we find the path forward? Howard Thurman, a mystic who sought to make peace between religions and founded the first major interracial, interfaith church in the United States, urged people to “listen for the sound of the genuine.” (Friday)


Practice: Loving Gaze

Having someone look at us with love can be a healing and transformative experience. Sometimes we need a human—or in my case, many times canine—gaze to convey God’s unconditional acceptance. My dogs Peanut Butter, Gubbio, Venus, and now Opie have done this for me. Humans can’t seem to sustain eye contact for long. We get nervous, maybe because we’re afraid people will see there’s nothing in here or they won’t like us. But dogs just keep looking and staying present.

In the Hindu tradition, darshan (or darsana) is to behold the Divine and to allow yourself to be fully seen or known. Many Hindus visit temples not to see God, but to let God gaze upon them—and then to join God’s seeing which is always compassionate.

I invite you to spend several minutes with one you love—a human or a dog or other pet—looking into their eyes. (If you or the one you’re with are blind, you might lightly touch instead.) Without speaking, simply mirror to each other love and respect through your gaze. During the silence, allow the source of love within you to well up and flow from you. Receive the love flowing from the one gazing at you. It is all one love. Witness the Divine Presence in both yourself and the other.

Bring your experience of darshan to a close by placing your palms together at your chest, bowing, and speaking “Namaste.” (Namaste is a familiar Indian greeting which literally means “I bow to you.”) Or you may prefer to say, “The Christ in me sees the Christ in you.”

Bring this loving gaze and an inner stance of humility and recognition to all you encounter today. Try to see the divine indwelling in everyone you meet.

For Further Study:
Robert Ellsberg, All Saints: Daily Reflections on Saints, Prophets, and Witnesses for Our Time (The Crossroad Publishing Company: 1997, 1998)

Matthew Fox, Christian Mystics: 365 Readings and Meditations (New World Library: 2011)

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

Beverly Lanzetta, The Monk Within: Embracing a Sacred Way of Life (Blue Sapphire Books: 2018)

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

Image credit: Sacred Heart (detail), Odilon Redon, 1910, Musée d’Orsay, Paris, France.
Inspiration for this week’s banner image: Mysticism . . . is not merely a shift in perception or how one knows. It is not disembodied or relegated to rarefied states of being. Instead, mystical consciousness affects the whole of one’s life by opening the heart to the Divine Presence in all realities. —Beverly Lanzetta
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