"I have found a sort of integration of my attempts to relate East and West in the depths and heights of my contemplative experience and understanding. I have arrived at the realization that the mystical realization, from which all the traditions of spiritual wisdom have arisen, can function as the 'missing link' or bridge between the religions, as the heart of the dialogue of the world's religions. That dialogue is crucial in forging ahead in the interfaith arena.

"An insight has opened up for me in the recognition of an interspiritual ground that ultimately harmonizes the seeming ontological differences, as for instance between Buddhism and Christianity, or theism and nontheism, and has the potential of connecting and uniting the religions, and people who do not belong to any specific religion, while maintaining the support, strength, and individuality of each set of beliefs.

"I believe that there is a universal mystical experience, and a spirituality deriving from it, a global or planetary spirituality, but it is neither intentional nor systematic. No group got together at the dawn of human consciousness and said: 'Let us create an overarching mystical wisdom and practice.' Rather, interspirituality — the exploration of this common ground — is the discovery that the mystical is a universal dimension of humanity's inner life and experience. All of the contents of this dimension — the various manifestations of its precious experiences, insights, coherent visions, methods, and practices — are part of this intermystical thread of humankind's common source of spirituality. In the end, all of it will be known to reveal the Source as originating point of an ongoing revelation.

"Thus, I find myself a Christian mystic in an increasingly interspiritual world threatened by the dangerous refusal by fundamentalist extremism to acknowledge the authenticity and value of other belief systems. Up the road of history this extremism will dissipate, but not through violent reactions to it. Through patient dialogue and the careful building of consensus, a way forward will emerge. Such dialogue and consensus building is the practical side of interreligious work. This work has as its long-term task the envisioning and development of a new global polity: a civilization of love; a new universal society with a heart, one conceived in wisdom; compassion; an ethics of kindness; and the full awakening of all humanity, as well as other sentient beings, to their ultimate potential for spiritual maturity.

"I would like to close this piece with what I call the Intention Practice, an exercise I find very beneficial in locating and maintaining perspective. Here is how it goes:

"Close your eyes. Take a few deep breaths. Allow yourself to relax, for it is in relaxing that the greatest breakthroughs occur. Now rest for a few minutes in the pervading stillness and silence. Be absorbed in it. Then identify what it is you truly believe that you most want. What is the deepest, purest intention of your heart, your very being? Ask yourself: does this intention unite me with the Source? Does it benefit all beings? If it does, be devoutly grateful. If it does not, ask that your intention be enlightened, your heart expanded, your understanding widened, and your will strengthened."