Thomas Keating and members of the Snowmass Conference. They are excerpted from Wayne Teasdale’s 1999 book, The Mystic Heart: Discovering a Universal Spirituality in the World’s Religions.
Along with many other people, I trust that the coming (or advent) of this universal spirituality is something that the Divine is calling humanity to embrace and embody. (Note: To read the introduction to this series, click here.)
The First Guideline
The first guideline acknowledges the place of the ultimate reality in all the religions of the world. It expresses this truth in the following words: The world religions bear witness to the experience of Ultimate Reality to which they give various names: Brahman, Allah, (the) Absolute, God, Great Spirit.
This guideline emphasizes experience, not mere conception. The basis of all the religions lies in the actual experience of these traditions’ founders and leaders, over the course of many centuries. The recognition of the primacy of Ultimate Reality is the result of the mystical process. All the religions accept the place and role of Ultimate Reality, although, because always ineffable, it cannot be sufficiently characterized. All our terms or words are useless in any attempt to “name” the ultimate source.
See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
• Guidelines for the Advent of a Universal Mysticism: An Introduction
• Advent: A “ChristoPagan” Perspective
• Something Extraordinary . . . Again
• In Search of a Global Ethic
• The Ground Zero Papal Prayer Service . . . and a Reminder of the Spirituality That Transcends What All the Religions Claim to Represent
• A Return to the Spirit
• Beltane and the Reclaiming of Spirit
• New Horizons: Reflections on A Passage to India
• An Advent Prayer
• Advent: The Season of Blessed Paradox
• Active Waiting: A Radical Attitude Toward Life
• No Other Time, No Other Place
• Advent: Renewing Our Connection with the Sacred
• Celebrating the Coming of the Sun and the Son
• Christmastide Approaches
Opening image: “The Prayer Tree” by Michael Bayly. Each of the posts in this series is accompanied by one or two images of what I've come to call the Prayer Tree, that special oak tree by Minnehaha Creek, close to my home in south Minneapolis. This tree and its location serve as a sacred place for me; for as its name suggests, I go there to pray, meditate, and reflect deeply. Also, as my friend McAuley recently pointed out, it serves as a beautiful representation of the axis mundi – the cosmic axis, the center of the world. Often symbolized by a tree, the axis mundi, as both a celestial and geographic pillar, serves as a point of connection between sky (heaven) and earth, the higher and lower realms of consciousness, and the four compass directions. As a representation of the axis mundi, and thus a rich symbol of groundedness, connection, and unity, the "Prayer Tree" seems a very appropriate image for The Wild Reed's 2018 Advent series on universal mysticism.