The most beautiful and profound emotion we can experience is the sensation of the mystical. It is the power of all true science. He (or she) to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead.
In 1984, Father Thomas Keating invited a group of spiritual teachers from a variety of world religions – Buddhist, Tibetan Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish, Islamic, Native American, Russian Orthodox, Protestant, and Roman Catholic – to join him in Snowmass, Colorado to reflect and share their respective wisdom with each other. Out of their time together during numerous gatherings, came agreement on eight points that now is known as:
- The world religions bear witness to the experience of Ultimate Reality to which they give various names: Brahman, Allah, Absolute, God, Great Spirit.
- Ultimate Reality cannot be limited by any name or concept.
- Ultimate Reality is the ground of infinite potentiality and actualization.
- Faith is opening, accepting and responding to Ultimate Reality. Faith in this sense precedes every belief system.
- The potential for human wholeness — or in other frames of reference, enlightenment, salvation, transformation, blessedness, “nirvana” — is present in every human person.
- Ultimate Reality may be experienced not only through religious practices but also through nature, art, human relationships, and service of others.
- As long as the human condition is experienced as separate from Ultimate Reality, it is subject to ignorance and illusion, weakness and suffering.
- Disciplined practice is essential to the spiritual life; yet spiritual attainment is not the result of one’s own efforts, but the result of the experience of oneness with Ultimate Reality.
When you read these eight points, what is your reaction?
I think Einstein would have been proud! I find the points align nicely with the
Perennial Philosophy, and speak volumes in few words. If you struggle with feeling the sensation of the mystical, then perhaps the above guidelines can point you in the right direction.