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Leading With Spirit

Interfaith Mysticism Retreats

What is Interfaith Mysticism?

Program Outline



Leading With Spirit

Satyana Institute offers two specific programs Leading With Spirit trainings and Interfaith Mysticism retreats.

Leading with Spirit is a program area committed to the integration of spiritual wisdom into leadership for social change. Growing numbers of professionals are aspiring to infuse their work with deeper inspiration and spiritual integrity. Working with leaders in diverse fields since 1996, Satyana Institute developed a set of thirteen Principles of Spiritual Activism that have been widely disseminated and applied in organizational settings. We offer workshops and training on a consulting basis to support organizations and individuals to apply these principles in their work.

Retreats on interfaith mysticism

Intensive retreats in interfaith mysticism are led by Will Keepin and Cynthia Brix, at the Sadhana Institute in Lonavla, India and Holistic Health Center in Pune, India. Sadhana Institute is a pastoral retreat center for Catholic priests and nuns founded by Jesuit priest Anthony de Mello.  Holistic Health Center is a clinic and training organization operated by the Medical Mission Sisters an order of activist Catholic nuns.  Shorter weekend retreats have been presented at the Rowe Conference Center in Massachusetts.

A description of interfaith mysticism and program outline are given below.  Please contact us if you’re interested in offering a retreat in your community.

What is interfaith mysticism?

Although the major religions of the world today exhibit great differences, these outer disparities are dwarfed by the vast and universal truths that dwell in common at the mystical core of every religion. By returning to the mystical depths at the heart of each tradition, the divisions between religions are recast in the light of a deeper underlying unity. Each religion can then be viewed as true and complete in its own foundations, while also taking its place among the living family of spiritual traditions that are interwoven into one tapestry of mystical illumination. At their core, religions are one, and this oneness defines a universal or interfaith mysticism.

Interfaith mysticism sheds new light on religious division and strife. Rather than struggling to resolve religious conflicts, this approach tends to dissolve those conflicts, through a return to the luminous mystical core that unites all religions at their roots. This perspective neither denies the vast spectrum of substantive differences between religions, nor does it naively merge them all together in some jumbled and confused muddle. On the contrary: in recognizing the deeper mystical unity of all religions, the differences between various traditions thereby become exalted as a source of richness and mutual inspiration, rather than contentious division. Each religion is seen to be a unique and profound manifestation of that ineffable vastness and glory to which it can but only point. Yet in their collective pointing, the family of religious traditions exalts even more exquisitely the resplendent spirit that dwells beyond all thought, all scriptures, and indeed all religions.

Interfaith mysticism that underlies it provide not only a unitive vision of the world's highest wisdom, but also have practical implications. When practitioners from different religions draw from the deep mystical roots within their own respective traditions, they can then embark upon substantive collaborative work across traditions—thereby cultivating true inter--faith consciousness in the highest alignment and service. This is the calling for interfaith mystical work, something far beyond mere dialogue among disparate theologies, but a creative confluence of diverse streams of mystical consciousness that together can give birth to altogether new forms of divine expression and service in the world. Deep commitment to this kind of mystical synergy across traditions is the essence of interfaith collaboration and service, so urgently needed in our time. "Where two or more traditions are gathered," there the unfathomable divine shall be also, in ever more intensified form and presence.

Mysticism – Birthright of the Heart: Program Outline

What is mysticism, and how is it relevant in these turbulent times at the dawn of the 21st century? How can we awaken the inner mystic within ourselves? How does mysticism relate to serving others and the world?

This experiential retreat explores mysticism from an inter-faith perspective, drawing on Christian, Hindu, Buddhist, and Sufi mystical traditions. We explore the relevance of mystical consciousness and activism at this critical time in history.

Mysticism is a path of the heart that leads to union with ultimate reality—following the mysterious alchemy of divine love. Recognizing that mystical insight and consciousness cannot be "taught" but must be experienced, the retreat integrates contemplative practices and spiritual exercises, including experiential breathwork and meditative practices from several traditions.

Retreat emphasis is in five areas:

  1. Meditation and other experiential practices for cultivating and deepening mystical consciousness;
  2. Universal truths that are common to the mystical journey in different spiritual traditions;
  3. Mysticism and science, and the relationship between them;
  4. The Divine Feminine and it's current renaissance across the traditions;
  5. Mysticism in service, and principles of mystical activism.

Teachings and inspiration will be drawn from historical and contemporary mystics, especially the following:

Christian: Meister Eckhart, Teresa of Avila, John of the Cross, Thomas Keating
Hindu: Sri Aurobindo, Ramakrishna, Ramana Maharshi, Ramprasad, Mirabai
Buddhist: Milarepa, Tenzin Palmo, Adyashanti
Sufi: Rumi, Ibn Arabi, Rabi'a, Irina Tweedie

Utilizing the work of scholars such as Evelyn Underhill, the retreat will explore the discernible stages of the mystical journey, including: awakening, purification, illumination, the mystic death or 'Dark Night of the Soul', union, and serving the Divine.


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