"What I learned that day and through all the other days over these last thirty years is that our common spirituality — our global spirituality — is forged together by the prayer of love that transcends religions. It is not a reality that is conceived and constructed by the mind, but a state of consciousness we discover is already present by surrendering ourselves to or sinking down into the spiritual core of life. Global spirituality is an affair of the heart that begins deep within one's soul and is the soul's active expression of the unity of creation that sustains diversity and difference rather than marginalizing those differences. Global spirituality is not solely concerned with the coming together of different religions, but with following a divine call to love in a new way, to be holier. It is a sacred experience on the human horizon that is drawing people toward a mystical, rather than religious expression of faith. For in the mystical traditions, the heart is not primarily the seat of emotions and feelings, but the place that draws us inward and helps us to dwell in our spiritual center.

"Not confined to religions, global spirituality is predicated on the faith that a new breaking in of the Divine is available for all of the human community today. While we cannot fully comprehend its vastness or nature, we are granted a precious opportunity to offer our own beings as the birth place of a new spiritual life. This breaking in of divinity frees us from elements in our collective religious heritage that are oppressive, socially unconscious, or institutionally self-absorbed. We are challenged to rethink our religious stories, reevaluate our notions of God, cocreate new practices and traditions; and discover new dimensions of reality unknown or unexplored. Global spirituality dwells in the silent spaces that take us back to the beginning, to the structures of consciousness that have given rise to diverse religious worldviews over these many centuries. It provides new practices and ways of being and knowing that lead to the creation of spiritual traditions for our time.

"Global spirituality seeks to actualize the promise of all the religions of the world — that we can achieve spiritual harmony on earth. It recognizes that this task cannot be accomplished through a collective consciousness that still perceives God, the Real, as separate from the person or creation, or as a punishing, vengeful force. A global spiritual perspective requires a shift in orientation to a God of peace and nonviolence; and from a distant, unfeeling divinity to an experience of the Divine as intimacy itself, immeasurably close to our hearts. It emphasizes that the Divine is the source of benevolence and unification, and is the force of liberation of the heart. It also opens up the individualized and communal consciousness of axial and tribal religions to a multidimensional consciousness. This multidimensional awareness probes the wholeness of things through an interpretive stance that takes into account personal and social (including political, cultural, gender, and racial) differences, the fate of the earth, and the sacred realities that impact on our spirits and on the flourishing of life on earth.

"On a practical level, global spirituality asks us to consider: How can the spiritual disciplines I practice, and the value I derive from my personal relationship with the Divine be of assistance in mitigating the suffering and ills of the world? How can the wisdom of other traditions enrich my own religion's beliefs and practices and assist me in overcoming elements that are harmful or oppressive to others? On a personal level, a global spiritual perspective calls us to a greater compassion and to practice the spiritual virtues of love of one's neighbors, altruism, and devotion extolled in the world's scriptures. It is a lived spiritual practice that confronts the assumptions of individualism and self-motivation that permeate our culture today.

"Just as the individual spiritual journey is premised on the self's relationship with its divine source, global spirituality is an orientation of compassion that self-consciously directs our actions beyond individualistic motives. It guides us to solidarity with the plural worlds that inhabit our planet — animal, insect, plant, human — and reveals the mysterious bond each shares with its sacred source. Further, global spirituality directs society to the consideration of spiritual values that will lead the world to greater justice and peace. Gandhi's notion of satyagraha (soul-force) and ahimsa (nonviolence) and Martin Luther King's expression of excessive altruism are two examples of the strength of spiritual principles in making our world a more humane place.

"Global spirituality works to sustain a sacred community on earth by bringing the voice of the spirit to matters of common economic, political, ethical, and religious concerns. As engaged practice, global spirituality is an orientation toward life that is concerned about the sacredness of, and reverence for, all human and nonhuman life; deeply committed to how social, political, religious, and economic institutions can be in service of the divinity of the world; and founded on the locus of the spirit, where there is absent a sense of 'I' and 'mine.' "