Spiritual Paths Institute
Welcome to the video archives of our two-year certificate program on InterSpiritual Wisdom. This multi-faith collaborative curriculum was forged out of dozens of public programs including more than thirty contemplative teachers from many spiritual traditions that began in 2002. I was inspired by Father Thomas Keating’s groundbreaking “Snowmass Conference” that brought together seasoned meditators from Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist and Native American traditions. Based on Thomas’ example, we shared our contemplative practices, methods and experiences. Our hearts were joined by mutually felt spiritual experience that we came to call “inter-spiritual.”
We graduated twenty-two students in our inaugural program. However we were unable to continue due to inadequate funding and low tuition levels. Based on the examples of all those with whom I worked, I began writing and sharing the interspiritual wisdom that emerged from our time together. These new resources and courses are found on this website. You are very welcome to join with us!
Here you will find the videos of our semester intensives and the extraordinary interactions and teachings of Rev. Cynthia Bourgeault, Swami Atmarupananda, Shaikha Camille and Shaikh Kabir Helminski, Rabbi Rami Shapiro and myself. These videos are now integrated into our present InterSpiritual Courses and available to our students and members of our extended web-based community. Please note that these videos have not been edited. They are provided here as a record and a resource for the emerging InterSpiritual paradigm for contemplative spiritual wisdom and practice.
The following comes from our catalog. CLICK HERE FOR THE ENTIRE CATALOG.
Mission, Purpose & Objectives
As human beings, we naturally endeavor to create an understanding and practice of spirituality that can bring peace, happiness, and meaning to our lives. The healthy future of humanity and our planet will require the holistic integration of the intellectual, emotional, spiritual, and ethical dimensions of humanity into our public and private lives. Our community of teachers, learners, and practitioners are dedicated to these goals.
The Spiritual Paths Institute Program in InterSpiritual Wisdom has been designed by a multi-faith team of scholars, practitioners, and teachers. Each semester students attend a six-day intensive session and complete their research, course work, dissertation, and projects from their respective home bases. Our students also come from partnering credit-giving institutions to participate in a unique academic and experiential curriculum on InterSpirituality that is not offered at their home institutions.
Our Institute fulfills the need for non-biased, educational programs on the world’s major spiritual traditions. The thirty-six credit Advanced Degree and Certificate Program cover the core teachings, values, rituals, prayers, arts, intellectual disciplines, and contemplative practices of five major traditions. This unique academic and experiential curriculum helps students fulfill their professional and personal needs.
The Spiritual Paths Institute enables our students to understand the world’s spiritual traditions, to help remove barriers caused by inaccurate knowledge and misunderstanding, to develop their own personal spiritual paths, and to become wise and compassionate participants in our pluralistic society and interdependent world.
Introduction to InterSpirituality
“Humanity stands at a crossroads between horror and hope. In choosing hope, we must seed a new consciousness, a radically fresh approach to life drawing its inspiration from perennial spiritual and moral insights, intuition and experience. We call this new awareness InterSpiritual, implying not the homogenization of religion, but the recovering of the shared mystic hear in the center of the world’s deepest spiritual traditions.” – attributed to Bro. Wayne Teasdale.
The religious landscape of the world is changing. No longer solely dominated by separate and securely entrenched religious institutions, the religious lives of people, especially people in the United States, Canada and other postindustrial nations, are increasingly defined by a sense of individual freedom, universality and association with more than one religious or spiritual tradition.
By encouraging interspirituality we do not intend the blending of religions or the ending of religious diversity. On the contrary, by interspirituality we mean the increasing spiritual creativity emerging from the meeting of, and dialogue between, the world’s major religious traditions. This meeting acknowledges differences between religions and affirms the greater unity they all share. This unity provides the common ground from which religious diversity flowers. People are discovering that their respect for and love of the religion of their birth need not preclude a similar respect for the full range of human spiritual creativity.
This discovery is fueling the growing interest in interspiritual study, practice, and lifestyle. We aim, therefore, to encourage “the recovery of the shared mystic heart beating in the center of the world’s deepest spiritual traditions.” Interspirituality is a profound way of working toward the goal of global understanding, respect, and peace by elucidating the common themes, methodologies, meanings and truths of the world’s religions while respecting the unique gifts and particularities of each tradition. As interspirituality grows and becomes the norm for greater numbers of people, the need arises for serious scholarship and practical guidance that explores the nature of this emerging reality and helps people navigate the waters of Interspiritual awakening. We support students in the deepening of their spiritual paths without constricting their perspective to one particular theological mind-set.
To meet these needs, and to further define and shape the emerging field of Interspirituality, the Spiritual Paths Institute Program offers a two-year Certificate and Advanced Programs in Interspiritual Studies.
“Twenty-five hundred years ago it took an exceptional man like Diogenes to exclaim, ‘I am not an Athenian or a Greek but a citizen of the world.’ Today we must all be struggling to make those words our own. We have come to the point in history when anyone who is only Japanese or American, only Oriental or Occidental, is only half human. The other half that beats with the pulse of humanity has yet to be born.” Huston Smith
The educational philosophy underlying this program rests on a convergence of academic rigor and personal spiritual exploration. Our task as educators is not simply to guide students toward a historical understanding of what was, but to help them master the tools to learn about and possibly awake to what is – The Absolute Reality (e.g., Allah, Brahma, Dharmakaya, God, Wakantanka, Higher Power, Great Spirit, Sunyata, Tao). To achieve this end, our faculty is comprised of scholar/practitioners who have been authenticated by their respective traditions, and who have learned to speak from that tradition rather than for that tradition. The importance of this quality of speaking from rather than for a given tradition cannot be overestimated, and is central to making this program unique and uniquely interspiritual.
To speak for a tradition is to speak to what is fixed, formal, and normative within that tradition. It is to speak for the past. To speak from a tradition is to engage the past as a catalyst for addressing the present. Speaking from is at the heart of interspirituality, and fosters an open and intellectually adventurous learning environment. Understanding the teachings and practices of the world’s great wisdom traditions is the starting point of inter-spirituality, not its end point. We excavate the past to uncover common themes as well as uncommon ways of articulating the themes unique to each tradition. Our goal is not simply to master the past, but to engage the present. We explore how the universal themes of the human spiritual quest manifest in our own time, and discover how the confluence of ancient wisdom and culture can spark a new stage in human spiritual evolution based on collaboration rather than competition for economic and geopolitical power.
Given this, the Spiritual Paths Institute Program in InterSpiritual Studies asks of its students academic rigor and a serious commitment to personal spiritual practice. We encourage each student to discover and honor her or his own spiritual style and questions as they engage in the process of inquiry, insight, and integration.