The Times in Which We Live
As human beings, we naturally yearn for happiness, meaning and purpose for our lives. We long to bring our highest ideals into our relationships, professions and communities to improve our lives and the world around us.
In the past, people have often turned to religion to help achieve these goals. But during the past fifty years, many traditional religious institutions have witnessed a decline in members. Perhaps this is because they have been slow to respond to societal pluralism and diversity, along with the distinctive life-realities and spiritual learning styles and questions of each individual. Therefore, a high percentage of people have come to identify themselves “spiritual but not religious” or SBNR. They are creating their own paths from a combination of spiritual and secular wisdom traditions.
At the same time, there are millions of people who continue to identify with the religion of their birth or have adopted a new tradition. Many of these individuals are intrigued and influenced by the wisdom and meditation practices of other spiritual and psychological traditions. For example, Buddhist-inspired Mindfulness Meditation is now practiced by Christians, Jews and psychologists. And Christian examples of charity and public service have influenced many Buddhists, Hindus and social activists. Native American reverence for nature is influencing both religious and non-religious people alike. Neuroscientific brain studies of Buddhist meditation demonstrate its capacity to improve physical and mental health. Quantum Theory has been interpreted by spiritualists and mystics to validate their theories and experiences. The co-mingling of people from diverse spiritual traditions and the societal rise in religious pluralism has expanded the spiritual perspectives of people within each religious tradition.
Now, as never before, millions of people are exploring and adopting a wide variety of spiritual and secular perspectives and meditation practices that they hope will bring them happiness, meaning, purpose and success in their lives. In so doing they are borrowing and combining the perspectives and practices from multiple teachers and traditions.
Our courses are designed to help each individual to embrace and benefit from the unique challenges and opportunities at this time in human history.
The Present Need
While access to many perspectives and practices creates marvelous opportunities it also can lead to confusion and uncertainty about where to start, which to choose, and how to blend multiple perspectives and practices. This uncertainty and confusion often prevents people from persevering and finding the right path for them. Therefore, there is a compelling need for a comprehensive, non-sectarian learning process to systematically sort through and choose the right spiritual path and meditation practice for them.
Our courses are designed to support the diversity of life experiences, the spiritual learning styles and deepest questions of each individual.
Answering the Need
In order to help people cultivate an authentic spiritual path and meditation practice that is drawn from one or more spiritual and secular wisdom traditions, our courses are designed around the following three-part process.
Course # 1: Inquiry – The InterSpiritual Mandala Process
The InterSpiritual Mandala that outlines 12 families of spiritual styles, questions & traditions. It helps each individual to:
- Discover, honor and harness their natural spiritual learning styles. Our Spiritual Styles Profile Tool helps awaken their inner awareness and self-knowledge.
- Ask their own grand spiritual questions. Our Spiritual Questions Profile Tool helps them to live into their questions and to find their answers.
- Search for personally meaningful answers within the world’s great spiritual and secular wisdom traditions. The InterSpiritual Mandala provides a holistic container for organizing this process of learning and practice.
Course # 2: Insight – InterSpiritual Meditation (ISM)
The ISM Mandala outlines a holistic, non-sectarian, 7-step process for developing a mature meditative practice. It helps each individual to:
- Learn the ISM seven-step process for developing a sustainable and satisfying mediation practice.
- Harness natural spiritual styles and questions for the practice of ISM.
- Bring the wisdom and methods of one or more traditions into a comprehensive meditative practice.
- Utilize ISM as a foundation both for an individual daily practice and for a group practice with practitioners of diverse spiritual perspectives.
Course # 3: Integration – InterSpiritual Mentoring
Our InterSpiritual Mentoring training helps practitioners to integrate the Mandala Process and ISM and to apply these in daily life. Here, individuals are invited to:
- Join a mentor training cohort of diverse individuals to deepen one’s personal practice.
- Become a certified mentor in order to help others learn and practice the process.
- Integrate this work into their relationships, vocations and service to others.
Rather than a one-size-fits all approach, this learning process honors each person’s archetypal spiritual styles and questions. This approach helps people to forge a satisfying and sustainable meditation practice for lasting happiness, meaning, purpose and for improving their lives and the world around them.
Our courses are the culmination of over forty years of spiritual and meditative research and practice by Dr. Ed Bastian with over fifty esteemed teachers from many spiritual and secular traditions including Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, Native American, Taoism, and psychology. Now, Ed and a growing team of InterSpiritual Mentors are teaching this process through online courses, weekend programs, partnerships with schools, retreat centers, and individual mentoring.