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 start at the beginning of this series, click here.)
The Fifth Guideline
We are all mystics by virtue of our birth. We are meant for something more. All the religions inform us of this truth, and many forms of spirituality are ways for each one of us to nurture the awakening and steady growth of our inner realm of connection with the source. Guideline five addresses this point: The potential for human wholeness – or in other frames of reference, enlightenment, salvation, transformation, blessedness, nirvana – is present in every human person.
We have – indeed, we are – this potential for unlimited being because this mystical dimension is part of what makes us human. Realizing our potential for wholeness, for the divine inner core of our nature, is the goal of life. We are beings in transit to this wholeness. That is precisely why we are here.
This world is a launching pad! We are sometimes restless because we are made for a permanent fulfillment. The character Auntie Mame reflects this insight when she says to her wide-eyed nephew: “Life is a banquet, but most suckers are starving!” The mystical life is the banquet. Anything short of this is just a cheese sandwich.
See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
• Guidelines for the Advent of a Universal Mysticism: An Introduction
• Guidelines for the Advent of a Universal Mysticism (Part 1)
• Guidelines for the Advent of a Universal Mysticism (Part 2)
• Guidelines for the Advent of a Universal Mysticism (Part 3)
• Guidelines for the Advent of a Universal Mysticism (Part 4)
• 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
• Advent: A “ChristoPagan” Perspective
• 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.