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Interactions with “interspirituality”

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Darrol Bryant in IndiaDistinguished Professor Emeritus M. Darrol Bryant, Director of Renison’s Centre for Dialogue and Spirituality in the World’s Religions, has contributed to a work entitled Mature Interspirituality: Wayne Teasdale’s Nine Elements and Beyond. The reflection discusses his views and thoughts on an interspirituality retreat in Somerset, Kentucky in 2016.

Headed by Swami Shraddhananda, earlier known as Dr. Sonja Jones, a PhD from Emory and a long-time Professor of World Religions in the Honors Program at the University of Kentucky, the retreat focused on Wayne Teasdale and the Community of the Mystic Heart. Teasdale was a Catholic monk deeply influenced by Bede Griffiths, long time head of Shantivanam in India.

This three day event included conversation, prayer, meditation, yoga, presentations on Teasdale's "Nine Vows of the Mystic Heart."  It was Prof. Bryant’s introduction to interspirituality – something beyond interfaith dialogue.

At first unclear about how interspirituality differentiated from interfaith dialogue, Prof. Bryant soon gained insights and understanding.

“At the retreat, no one presented themselves as a Christian, or a Hindu, or a Yoga Teacher, or a Priest, etcetera, as would be typical in an interfaith event.  They were all people that had a spiritual practice or maybe more than one,” explained Bryant. “A couple of the participants were "multiple belongers," participants in Christian and Hindu Ways. Others were "spiritual but not religious," or in other words, they have a spiritual practice, like Yoga or Reiki, but do not have a religious tradition. Others still practice a discipline that they put together from different traditions: some Buddhist meditation and Sikh service, for example.

Prof. Bryant came away with a very positive view of what these interspiritual practitioners were working towards. His impression was that they are positive towards all spiritual practices but not exclusive practitioners of any one tradition.

According to Bryant, this is a relatively new but influential movement happening around the world. This can be seen in the interfaith/interspiritual seminaries in New York that are pioneering new forms of spirituality and have hundreds of graduates that have convocated over the past 20 years.

You can read Prof. Bryant’s piece in full:

“Looking for Interspirituality, An Afterword” in Sw. Shraddhananda, et. al., Mature InterspiritualityWayne Teasdale’s Nine Elements and Beyond(Somerset, KY: Sacred Feet, An Interfaith/Interspiritual/Trans-Theological Imprint, 2017), pp. 121-124