Bro. Wayne Teasdale's List of
With Comments by Adam Blatner

Sept 23, 2005

Following the Common Ground Conference at The Crossings in Austin, Texas, in September, 2005, a list of the late Brother Wayne Teasdale's suggested Paradigm Shifts was circulated. These refer to the "world problems"/ "creators of suffering" that the "specific projects" of a network like ours might inherently be called to address.  List derived from Teasdale's book: The Mystic Heart: Finding a Universal Spirituality in the World's Religions):

   1. "We are at the dawn of a new consciousness, a radically fresh approach to our life as the human family in a fragile world.  This birth into a new awareness, into a new set of historical circumstances, appears in a number of shifts in our understanding:
      Adam B’s comment in November 13,  2005:  I agree with this, and it might be useful to fill out why I (or we, others) might think this is so.

   2. The emergence of ecological awareness and sensitivity to the natural organic world, with an acknowledgment of the basic fragility of the earth.
        AB: Agree.

   3. A growing sense of the rights of other species.
        AB: I agree that the depth of mind, the validity of experience, an expansion of compassion goes with raising consciousness. Historically, people began to open to the idea that maybe other tribes have rights and it's not okay to slay them or enslave them; maybe women have rights; children; ... ? the unborn?   ? animals?   ? the sick or aged or handicapped?  the misfits? gays and lesbians? transgendered?  The circle of caring has gradually expanded.
    The problem with "rights" is that there are a host of legal, collective policy, political implications, boundary issues, etc. Is vegetarianism compulsory? Orthodox Jainist doctrine?

  4. A recognition of the interdependence of all domains of life and reality.
        ab:  the problem here involves weighing the relative influence or degree of involvement of each domain or species or type of reality...   some are more relevant than others, and this can differ with historical era, other variables, such as "can we afford to lend equal respect to..?" One positive implication might be

   5. The ideal of abandoning militant nationalism as a result of this tangible sense of our essential interdependence.
        ab:  the problem here involves weighing the relative influence or degree of involvement of each domain or species or type of reality...   some are more relevant than others, and this can differ with historical era, other variables, such as "can we afford to lend equal respect to.... ?"

    6. A deep, evolving experience of community between and among the religions through their individual members.
    AB: a noble goal, but requires that all play the game equally. What if the problem of separating the moderates from the extremists in any group interferes with this noble goal? Also, can community be experienced just through a sharing of ideals, or do economic factors detract from this goal?

  7. The growing receptivity to the inner treasures of the world's religions.
        AB: Might credit be given to the relatively “new” (early-mid 19th century) religion, Bahai, as one of the significant precursors for this level of ecumenicism? Admittedly, of course, this trend became more popular beginning in the 1960s. I don’t doubt that there are many and various other perspectives.

   8. An openness to the cosmos, with the realization that the relationship between humans and the earth is part of a larger community of the universe.
      ab: Ditto, reflecting the increasing influence and vigor of science since the mid-century, and a sense that science versus religion seems foolish. They need to become integrated...

  9. WT: Each of these shifts represents dramatic change; taken together, they will define the thought and culture of the third millennium. We could really name [this] age after any of these shifts in understanding.  To encompass them all, however, perhaps the best name for this new segment of historical experience is the Interspiritual Age.
       Adam: Yes; I also like the term “Consciousness Transformation.”

10: Wayne Teasdale: All of these awarenesses are interrelated, and each is indispensable to clearly grasping the greater shift taking place, a shift that will sink roots deep into our lives and culture.   Taken together, they are preparing the way for a universal civilization: a civilization with a heart.  These aspects of spirituality will shape how we conduct politics and education; how we envision our economies, media, and entertainment; and how we develop our relationship with the natural world, while pursuing our quality of life.

Interdependence is an inescapable fact of our contemporary world. A spiritual interdependence also exists between and among the world's religions.  This interdependence is more subtle, though the actual impact of traditions on each other is clearly discernable in history.
  .The spiritual interdependence is often indirect and thus not clearly seen.  But it is nonetheless real. When we examine  relations among the religions today, we find traditions increasingly discovering and pursuing a real experience of community, especially among individuals.  This existential realization arises from actual encounters between people of different traditions.

Interspirituality and intermysticism are terms I have coined to designate the increasingly familiar phenomenon of cross-religious sharing of interior resources, the spiritual treasures of each tradition.  .In the third millennium, interspirituality and intermysticism will become more and more the norm in humankind's inner evolution."  

On The Qualities of Interspiritual Dialogue

"I am always inspired by genuine acts of selflessness.  This quality of love is the natural fruit of the mystical life and the contemplative character, and it is the nature and fullness of this character [which defines] the elements of mature interspirituality:  actual moral capacity, solidarity with all living beings, deep nonviolence, humility, spiritual practice, mature self-knowledge, simplicity of life, selfless service and compassionate action, and the prophetic voice."
    Adam: Sounds good to me.