The late Brother Wayne Teasdale coined the term "interspiritual" to describe "the shared mystic heart beating in the center of the world's deepest spiritual traditions." An interspiritual approach goes beyond interfaith discussions about theologies and beliefs to a deeper dialogue arising from the exchange of experiences of spiritual intimacy and unity. It encourages people from different religious traditions to sit and meditate together and to try spiritual practices with each other in reverence and openness.

Viewers of Global Spirit now have the opportunity to see how interspiritual dialogue works as practitioners from a variety of religious traditions gather for the Snowmass Interspiritual Conference hosted by Father Thomas Keating. An eminent Trappist monk, author of many books on contemplative practices, and spiritual guide of the international organization Contemplative Outreach, he has worked for years fostering understanding among the world's religions.

This is the first time in 25 years that cameras have been invited to document this annual event. Conference attendees talk about their faith, share their practices with each other, and struggle to put together a revised and updated vision of interspirituality through the conference's Points of Agreement. In an interview, Father Keating sheds light on new avenues of Divine connection, the riches of the mystical traditions, the ways in which the false self clings to security and fear, the refusal of the Creator to sit still, and the miracle of oneness that is blooming in the hearts of so many spiritual seekers.

To continue this journey:

  • What kinds of experiences have you had with interfaith dialogue as practiced in the past? What do you find most intriguing and appealing about the interspirituality approach?
  • Father Keating talks about the need for security as one reason for dogmatic certainty in religion. Unfortunately, this blocks opening to the spiritual paths of others. What are some of the other challenges to interspiritual dialogue?
  • Have you done spiritual practices usually associated with a tradition other than your own? What was the value to you of these experiences?
  • Why is the question "who are you?" so important in interspirituality?
  • Share your reactions to Father Keating's commentary on spiritual evolution and God's continuing creative acts in the universe.