Monday, September 9, 2013

The Coming Interspiritual Age

As we move toward globalism, 
authors predict a new interspiritual age

By Dr. Kurt Johnson and David Robert Ord
Published by Nameste Publishing
© January 2013
ISBN-13: 978-1897238745
Pages: 440
We are now well into the third millennium and change is coming in so many facets of our lives than we could have previously ever imagined. The authors of The Coming Interspiritual Age call this the Fifth Great Advance of civilization or the Dream of Holism.

As a civilization, humans have lived through many stages with our current one focused on not only the importance of rationalization and an analytic mind but also the beginnings of holistic thinking and the exploration of consciousness. In this book, the authors propose a coming Sixth Great Advance moving us toward full globalization.

A primary concern of this new age will be the creation of a one-world spiritualism that draws upon the precious jewels found within the myriad of world religions as the basis of a new worldwide belief system. It is essential, the authors write, that as the awareness of our increasing global community enters full consciousness, that we take those jewels into consideration in the formation of one global belief system that unifies us as one human race on this planet.

They caution, however, that this could also become “hijacked” by religion if various parties to this formation become too egocentric and controlling. Unfortunately, personal, regional and territorial desires over the years have opened the door to greed, degradation of the environment, rivalry between various religious factions and differing concepts on what is most important in life. This in turn has led to terrorism and wars between nations.

By cultivating an expanded worldview and promoting discourse among the various world religions, a global vision could unfold as to how humanity as a whole should spiritually behave with good conscience in the future. This will come, the authors believe, as humans experience further awareness and expanded consciousness, realizing the connectivity of all humans rather than any personal, regional or territorial desires.

The Coming Interspiritual Age provides a compelling summary on the theory of evolution – how the human species consciously developed over thousands of years taking in the importance of language and writing on the evolving mind and also their impact on our belief systems.

This book focuses primarily on the writings of Roman Catholic lay monk and interfaith leader, Brother Wayne Teasdale (now deceased), from his book The Mystic Heart: Discovering a Universal Spirituality in the World’s Religions. It was Teasdale, the authors note, who first coined the term ‘interspirituality,” which involves thinking of the ‘we’ rather than the ‘I’ and acting from the heart.
The ‘I, We and It’ of daily life is something that everyone experiences no matter where they live. ‘I’ refers to self, ‘We’ to those we know including family, friends and associates, and ‘It’ refers to the institutions that govern how we should act, think and feel based on a particular country’s ideals and religions.
Ironically, it is the “I and We” that created the institutions (‘It’) in the first place that people now feel threatened by such as government structures and banking systems that act with impunity.

As the world inches closer to globalization the authors believe these institutions that rule our lives will also have to change from being self-serving and money driven entities to thinking and acting from the heart with full awareness of global needs rather than their own.

The Paranormal Experience

No discussion of interspirituality would be complete without considering the myths embedded within our past and the importance of studying people’s shared paranormal experiences.

In The Coming Interspiritual Age, authors Kurt Johnson and David Robert Ord say spiritual experiences need to be taken seriously. Any universal spirituality would need to include the most common elements found in what they term the Great Wisdom Traditions, such as seeing spirits of the dead, angel visitations, miracles and even the power of prayer.

Other common experiences include astral projection, telepathy, clairvoyance, ESP, near death experiences, the power of healing and even reincarnation, which is most prevalent in eastern religions. These are all conscious events that occur around the world to people of all religious beliefs. Although these types of experiences cannot be proven beyond a shadow of a doubt, the fact remains that they do indeed happen.

According to recent polls the authors say, “Religious people tend to report only slightly more non-normal experiences than the non-religious (75 percent versus 66 percent, which is statistically insignificant compared to the sizable majority reporting such experiences).”

Scientists encounter great difficulty with such experiences because they cannot be weighed, measured, recorded, replicated and verified. They can only depend on what the experiencer relates, which can be highly subjective – as is also true with a person’s belief in a particular god.

However the authors note, “The scientific data from brain imaging shows that the same area of the brain is used when something is seen outside the body as when it’s experienced in a dream. Likewise, the same part of the brain is involved in thinking of someone and reporting that their presence was felt.”

All of the above appears to be the result of a human’s ‘conscious’ mind. But the writers say scientists are learning that ‘consciousness’ and ‘mind’ might be two separate things.

“The scientific study of consciousness begins with the insight that the brain is made up of myriads of neurological elements and pathways, which appear somehow to be brought into a coordinated unity.”

Consciousness on the other hand is considered an electromagnetic (or quantum) field resulting from the firing of various neurons in the brain. Scientists believe that depending upon the level or frequency of the field, certain digital information is held within it. Some scientists believe this is solely an individual experience while others go a step further and believe in a “collective field shared by all.”

This comes to the fore when speaking of such things as astral travel and near death experiences. Experiencers report that their ‘consciousness’ for a brief time, becomes separated from the body’s physical mind. In such cases, it appears that consciousness is not reliant on the workings of the brain and can become independent of it.

The authors note that debunkers abound in all areas of the paranormal with skeptics more than willing to throw an icy dose of cold water on any and all such experiences. These debunkers have had no such experiences but feel qualified to squash any reports of paranormal experiences.

“Some of the materialist organizations committed to debunking non-normal spiritual experiences suggest that belief in such things is related to education. For example, when an individual of documented high education or intelligence believes in non-normal experiences, it’s believed to be the result of some other kind of flaw such as their personality or emotional makeup.” And the writers add that “holding predetermined purely materialist views is a bias.”

The same is true, they say, of those who report UFOs and alien encounters.

“The public might hope for a useful dialogue between individuals who have had such experiences. But fruitful dialogue doesn’t occur because, as we’ve seen often on television, the scientists, pilot, astronaut, high-level military official, or even former governor recounting such an experience is politely dismissed as having hallucinated.”

Ironically, those same debunkers have no problem with religious beliefs including a god that they cannot prove exists. The authors note that the determining factor in any non-normal beliefs is experience itself. Those who have had paranormal experiences, “mostly continue to believe in the ‘raw feel,’ (of the event) and thus the validity of their experiences.”

Once a person has a non-normal (paranormal) experience, his or her entire worldview seems to change and often their life focus is turned on its heels as well.

“It’s important to pay attention to the literally thousands of cases of individuals who initially doubted the existence of the spiritual realm, or the so-called ‘paranormal,’ who come to take these matters seriously after personal experiences of their own.”

The authors write, “Worldwide, nearly six billion of our planet’s more than seven billion inhabitants believe in some kind of a spirit realm.” Virtually all religious traditions speak of a spirit world or realm, as well as a place where our spirits go when they die. Many believe that our consciousness is interchangeable with the word ‘spirit,’ thus it is our consciousness that goes to either a specific heaven or hell, or melds back into the ‘all’ of existence after death.

All of these beliefs are highly significant aspects in the formation of a world consensus on spiritually based matters. Determining which ones are the most relevant (most widely held) could be a problem.

“We’ll need to differentiate the content in these beliefs that’s negative for the planet – such as exclusive claims one or another of these views are right – from that which is positive for the planet.”
The authors predict that along with continued studies on consciousness, the field of the paranormal will be further studied as well.
This is a book that looks both backward and forward in an attempt to offer the full picture of our current state of spirituality, as well as what steps must be taken to move toward an interspiritual world. It is well written, informative and most of all, thought provoking. To pick up a copy of The Coming Interspiritual Age, go HERE

The Coming Interspiritual Age Web Site

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for your attention to this book THE COMING INTERSPIRITUAL AGE. It is so important that the Wisdom Traditions inform the inevitable process of globalization. Your emphasis on bringing this challenge of "Oneness" to the public is really important and helpful. This book has really been influencing the global interfaith conversation. So, thank you again.