This post includes several descriptions of “interspirituality.” Interspirituality, at its core, names an experience of the Ultimate Mystery, therefore we can only attempt to describe it, which is in contrast to attempting to define it. You’re invited to read through the different descriptions and connect with any or all of the descriptions that connect with your inner life, open heart, and depth of being. (Please visit our Interspiritual Video post for further experience). Blessings on your reading.
==========Andrew Harvey PhD==============================
I think [Interspirituality] is so important…offering people a permission to listen to their unique hearts. But, there is a danger in this offering permission. And that is that it is very difficult often to tell the difference between the authentic guidance of the heart and your own confused desires…So unless you develop deep discernment and have some inner experience of the difference between the you that is driven by ego…and the you that arises in spaciousness and love when you are free from ego, it’s going to be hard to hear what your true voice is saying.
==========Kurt Johnson PhD & David Robert Ord==============================
Interspirituality is the natural discussion among human beings about what we are experiencing.
Interspirituality is the intersubjective discussion among us all about who we are, why we are here, and where we are going.
Interspirituality is the common heritage of humankind’s spiritual wisdom and the sharing of wisdom resources across traditions.
Interspirituality is the movement of all these discussion toward the experience of profound interconnectedness, unity consciousness, and oneness.
Interspirituality is a spirituality so based on the heart and unconditional love that it would be impossible to feel separate from anything.
Interspirituality represents the culmination of years of international interfaith and ecumenical exchanges centered on the recognition of a common experience within all spiritual traditions—a sense of profound interconnectedness, and what this implies for how humans should behave both individually and collectively.
Interspirituality as the way authentic spirituality has inherently responded to humankind’s advancing sense of unity and the inevitable processes of globalization and multiculturalism.
Interspirituality is the natural discussion among human beings about what we are experiencing. In academic terms, it’s the intersubjective discussion among us all about who we are, why we are here, and where we are going. In the context of religion, interspirituality is the common heritage of humankind’s spiritual wisdom and the sharing of wisdom resources across traditions. In terms of our developing human consciousness, interspirituality is the movement of all these discussions toward the experience of profound interconnectedness, unity consciousness, and oneness.
==========Ed Bastian PhD======================
Interspirituality is a term that we apply to the processes and experiences shared by the world’s contemplative traditions that are nested within the world’s major religions. It connotes a more nuanced approach than conventional inter-faith or inter-religious dialogues offer that are based on “tolerance,” “rapprochement,” and “respect.” Interspirituality goes far deeper, indeed to the very heart of the spiritual experiences that give rise to the major religions. It holds the promise of a genuine sharing of our respective spiritual experiences, and a conscious jointing at the deeper levels of our being. Interspirituality represents the next phase of understanding between people of diverse 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.
Interspirituality is the world music of religion; borrowing, fusing, blending and bouncing rhythms and riffs off one another not to create a homogenized spirituality, but to birth a radical new sound embedded in the ancient and time’less silence. This doesn’t impact or deepen my life—it is my life.
==========Father Thomas Keating==============================
Inter-spiritual dialogue is dialogue which proceeds from the depths of spiritual experience among dedicated spiritual practitioners in an atmosphere of trust. It seeks to share the experiential rather than merely the theological, the interior content rather than the external form. “Experience” here doesn’t mean that this is dialogue for those who have experienced some sort of enlightenment or altered states. It is sharing of participants’ experiences of the spiritual path, whatever those experiences might be at whatever level. Inter-spiritual dialogue must, above all else, be authentic.
==========Rory McEntee & Adam Bucko ===============================
In creating these intimate [dialogical dialogue] contemplative circles that can live and breathe of the Spirit, we allow ourselves to come together in such a way that our gifts are receive and nurtured and where we can speak from the depths of our won authentic experience—with a willingness to be changes in the light of the revelations of our brothers and sisters. We become gardeners of the collective heart of humanity; sowing seeds and watering sprouts, priming leaves and branches, and in time standing in awe of the amazing beauty that Wisdom bestows in her own gratuitous way. We begin to build our global civilization with a heart.
To walk an interspiritual path is to travel through the wilderness with open hands and a courageous spirit. It is to navigate with the heart and a book of prayers from every faith tradition that ever uttered a sacred phrase in any language. To travel an interspiritual path is to drop to our knees in the presence of Love wherever we encounter it, and to disarm our hearts the minute we have the impulse to otherize a faith we do not understand. To take an interspiritual journey is to circle ever inward, to a place of holy silence and vibrant stillness, and then to surge back outward with the contemplative fruits we have gathered to feed a hungry world. An interspiritual life invites us to take our rightful place at the table of the Divine in many Holy Houses, and asks that we kneel at the altars of multiple traditions and drink from the goblet we are offered and allow it to transform us. Interspirituality is about saying YES to the sacred in every form and no form, about moving beyond intellectual orientation to active engagement with various religions, about seeking and finding the Love that unifies all paths and affirms our essential interconnectedness.
==========Joan Borysenko PhD==============================
While different faiths developed through specific prisms of culture and contexts in space and time, there are universal spiritual principles which are foundational to all of them. Interspirituality is the common ground, where all of the wisdom traditions meet. Interspirituality is committed to finding the spirituality both within and beyond religion. What ties us together is a shared desire to connect with the Ground of Being in a way that fully respects our differences. The challenge is to embody what is most true and real for us without seeking to convince or convert others.
Our intention is to delve deeply into the perennial interspiritual philosophy of guidance and discernment so that we may become more fully present and capable of clear, compassionate action in the world.
==========Rev Dr Diane Berke==============================
When we consider the question, “what is interspirituality?” there are two teachings that are helpful and influential: One is from the Sufi master Hazrat Inayat Khan who said that if we’d look at the level of the intellect, if we look at the level of beliefs, we will always find what divides us and makes us different from each other, but if we look at the level the heart, at the level of experience, and at the level of love, we will always find what joins us together and makes us the same. Second is a teaching from a modern spiritual path called a Course in Miracles that says that universal theology is impossible, but a universal experience is not only possible but necessary. The recognition of the emergence of interspirituality is growing out of more and more human beings sensing that necessity of a universal experience of our interconnectedness and our absolute need it for one another and need for the whole of life to recognize the ways that we’re joined together. The emergence is reflected in that peoples approach to spirituality has become far less concerned with what do I believe than with how can I live in a way that I actualize and express the fullness of my potential as a human being. An interesting observation to consider is that when you begin to look at mature practitioners within every wisdom tradition is that you can sense a sameness regardless of how different their specific religious expressions might be; regardless of how different the paths they took to develop that maturity. There’s something that we recognize among mature practitioners of every spiritual teaching that seems to point to the highest possibilities for us as human beings. What every wisdom teaching has as its core aspiration is not simply for instance, how can I be the best Christian, or how can I be the best Jew, or how can I be the best Hindu, for how can I be the best Muslim, but how can I be the best human being; how can I be the best member/participant of the entire family of life and the entire family of creation. Part of what interspirituality points to is the interest that more and more people have is what are the practices that have come down as part of our shared human heritage that can help us move to that fullness of our potential and real spiritual maturity. Thus, interspirituality includes among other things the sharing of the transformative practices that are part of every tradition but that don’t have to stay bound to the cultural trappings that so much of religion itself is grounded in, moreover, really can be part of our universal heritage of wisdom that can help us individually and collectively grow into responsible citizens of the universe.
==========Rev Dr Robert A. Ferrell==============================
Interspirituality is an experiential and contemplative approach to a transformative spirituality based on the common threads of the many wisdom faith traditions including love, justice, peace, compassion, service, and community. Interspirituality transcends beliefs, creeds, doctrines, and dogmas to cultivate consciousness towards a common humanity, a sense of oneness, and community for all of creation. Interspirituality honors the paths of others while holding true to our own.