We are developing an open learning programme encouraging the journey towards universal spirituality, discovering a deeper meaning in the Christian message and the love connecting us all. The intention in the longer term is to offer a multi-faceted approach that can be supported both online and by distance learning.
Please click here for details of our conference on 3rd November 2018.
What is Universal Spirituality?
A good question! There is an emerging view in these global days that says that no single religion has got the whole truth, but all of them have parts of the truth. Underlying all faiths is an underground stream of spiritual wisdom amassed over the ages by humanity, which has crystallised in certain cultures and context into specific religions, yet has also lost something in the solidifying process. The more we try to define doctrine and dogma, the more we exclude and enter into dualistic ways of thinking, creating divisions and barriers – those who are in and those who are out, those who have it right and those who have got it wrong. Yet this underlying stream is still there, which we could call universal spirituality.
Christianity has always had an exclusivity to it which says that belief in Jesus Christ is the only way to heaven. But once we start picking that apart, we see that it does not stand up. Who was Jesus and was he different from the Christ? What is heaven if Jesus said it is within us? Where, what and who is God? The more we look at the teachings of Jesus and the other spiritual greats, the more we see this universal underlying wisdom coming through. There are recurring themes in all of the world’s religions and philosophies that continue to say:
- There is a Divine Reality underneath and inherent in the world of things which holds everything in being,
- There is in the human soul a natural capacity for, similarity to, and longing for this Divine Reality, and
- The final goal of existence is awakening to union with this Divine Reality.
The path towards this union is described in various ways in the bible. Human nature is a complex thing, but it is often talked of in two ways – the lower self and the higher self, or the self-centred desire nature and the selfless, more compassionate nature. Or the ego-mind and the Christ-mind. St Paul talks of moving from flesh to Spirit, or being clothed in Christ, or transforming the mind, making the same distinction. It is all about transformation from a poorer state to a better state, which is the essential meaning of salvation. If we look at the bible, we find the message of transformation expressed in many different ways. It is about:
- Moving from darkness to light
- Receiving true sight
- Being born again
- Liberation for captives
- Freedom from bondage
- Healing from our infirmities
- Moving from death to life
- Moving from emptiness to fullness
- Transforming the mind
- Being remade in the image of Christ, putting on the mind of Christ
So we are to be transformed, saved, rescued, by the renewing of our minds, when we move up to a different level of consciousness, from flesh to Spirit, from self-centredness to God-centredness, from ego to soul. The movement is into love, into more compassion, goodwill and loving understanding, vital qualities for our world today. This is a universal teaching, not just confined to Christianity.
Hence, CANA is developing resources on the theme of “Towards Universal Spirituality – Journeying with Christianity.” We hope you will join us on the path.
“Christianity can only become the living truth for successive generations if thinkers constantly arise within it who, in the spirit of Jesus, make belief in him capable of intellectual apprehension in the thought-forms of the world-view proper to their time.” Albert Schweitzer
“Behold the turtle. He only makes progress when he sticks his neck out.” James Bryant Conant