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 Fourth Guideline
If we would actualize our innate potential for infinite life and development, we need to follow the path of faith, regardless of our tradition. All paths traverse some expression of faith’s compelling power to lead us into actualization of our spiritual potential. The fourth guideline defines the nature of this experience of faith: Faith is opening, accepting, and responding to Ultimate Reality. Faith in this sense precedes every belief system.
Faith is essentially the quality of openness, eagerness, and expectation we see in children and other enlightened souls. It is a basic attitude of trust in the ultimate mystery behind existence; it is a gesture and stand of pure openness. This attitude of trust precedes a system of belief or a tradition. It is a universal experience and requirement for the higher life; without it, the spiritual journey is impossible. In a certain sense, faith is also a willingness to relinquish control to the source. It is a capacity to trust the mystery of the ultimate.
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)
• 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.