“Who has seen the wind? Neither you nor I but when the trees bow down their heads, the wind is passing by.” Christina Rossetti

Do you feel the winds of change blowing across our Earth, foretelling a great storm approaching on the horizon?

The constant bombardment of negative impressions coming at us each day reinforce the divisions that exist in our world. The growing sense of chaos and fragility warns of a world out of balance—with various global crises at their tipping point even as the storm approaches.

But can you also feel the winds of global consciousness beginning to rise, serving as a counterbalance and shelter of love during this time of crisis?

We sit at the cusp of chaos and cosmos, bearing witness to the emergence of consciously aligned organizations joining forces to form an interconnected substratum of nodes and networks, even as previous social structures crumble before our eyes. Communities of people committed to transformation—deeply rooted in contemplative practice while manifesting outward signs of compassionate service—are tipping the balance away from chaos and destruction toward deep and lasting peace and global unity like the world has never known.

Visionary author and mystic sage Brother Wayne Teasdale envisioned a time he called the “Interspiritual Age.” By “interspiritual” he meant the capacity of people from any tradition to learn from and be nourished by the practices, wisdom, and spiritual insights of other mystical traditions. He predicted that this “second axial age” would be revealed by “the emergence of interconnected global networks of communities that will serve as a synergistic incubator for a new civilization, a civilization with a heart, a global community of love.” Moreover, the people who comprise these communities will share a profound commitment to spiritual transformation, environmental sustainability, justice, and peace for all living beings. And so, just as Jesus taught, they will be known by their fruits.

Behold, the Interspiritual Age is upon us. It’s emerging everywhere you look, but here’s a sampling of four organizations at various stages of formation that manifest the attributes Brother Wayne Teasdale envisioned years ago:

Parliament of the World’s Religions: A global NGO that includes participants from all of the world’s religious, spiritual, and indigenous traditions. The first Parliament was held in 1883 in Chicago—an historic and groundbreaking event that brought together religious and spiritual leaders from around the world. In 1993 the second Parliament, also held in Chicago, released its signature document titled “Towards a Global Ethic.” With over 200 initial signatories from leaders of the world’s great traditions, this seminal document distills the essence of the common ground we all share and continues to serve as an evolving framework for humanity as we move toward a civilization of love.

United Religions Initiative: URI is an NGO that consists of a global network of Cooperation Circles, CC’s. Each CC includes people from at least three different religious traditions. CC’s are typically action oriented and form around a particular service to their community or service to humanity in general. By uniting these small, grass roots movements, URI empowers them to empower one another.

Unity Earth: UE is a collective of changemakers and visionaries that bring people together through music, events, and media to proclaim universal unity. Unity Earth and its partners are currently engaged in a series of global transformational events called the Road to 2020, which will culminate in the Caravan of Unity, an experiential journey across the United States from Pacific to Atlantic coasts, in a grand expression of unity.

Contemplative Life: C-Life is a non-profit organization whose mission is “connecting people and communities with transformative practices.” Contemplative life has created digital hub that brings myriads of practices and communities under one umbrella, making it easy for people to find practices of interest and connect with others of like mind. The virtual gatherings taking place at C-Life both mirror and facilitate the phenomenon known as interspirituality.

Each of these organizations share some common threads in that they:

  1. are composed of networks interfaith communities
  2. are interconnected with and supportive of each other
  3. share a common vision for humanity based on practice, community, and service
  4. each have a connection with Brother Wayne’s interspiritual vision
  5. are all coming together in November at the 2018 Parliament in Toronto to manifest this shared vision

And this is just a snapshot of one facet of a vast network of interconnected communities forming worldwide. The Parliament of the World’s Religions was the pioneer of this particular matrix; URI is a major partner of the Parliament’s growing interspiritual network; Unity Earth and Contemplative Life are both CC’s of URI and also partners of each other. Looking toward November, I’m excited to see what emerges as these four organizations collaborate in Toronto. I’m honored to be leading a panel discussion on the Global Ethic and Brother Wayne’s vision for the Parliament as a model for the inauguration of the Interspiritual Age. URI and UE also have big plans for the Parliament—as do the hundreds of organizations and thousands of participants gathering for this momentous event.

It’s no coincidence that these fractured and chaotic times are primed to yield significant fruits of unity, peacemaking, reconciliation, and love. Just as Brother Wayne predicted, the Interspiritual Age is destined to be a wild ride. You might want to buckle your seatbelt!

Contemplative Practices

Navigating Contemplative Life

A Contemplative Life

Author: Jeff Genung

Originally published in the November 2018 Parliament edition of Light Magazine for the Unity Earth special Toronto Convergence 

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