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Saturday, April 14, 2012

Spirituality to keep the ordinary with the sacred

In this recent essay "Natural Mystics" Thomas Moore describes his approach to introduce his event on Monday 23 April 2012, A Religion of One’s Own at Isbourne Holistic Centre in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, U.K.:
"For most of my life, especially since I began reading Teilhard de Chardin, I’ve been interested in a spirituality of the world. Call it, as my friend Lynda Sexson does, 'ordinarily sacred,' or 'the sacredness of the commonplace,' as my friend Alice O. Howell does. These days I want to focus on the experience of being absorbed by the holiness and beauty of the natural world and ordinary life. I’m calling this approach 'natural mysticism.'

I’ve always thought of mystics as extraordinary people who achieved a phenomenal union with God or the source of life through their intense meditations. But then I began to notice certain artists who were profoundly engaged with the world, so much so that they, too, seem to be mystics. Think of William Wordsworth and William Morris in England, or Henry David Thoreau and Emily Dickinson in America. They were much in the world and yet developed a mystical attitude toward life.

One thing interesting about each of these people is that their deep absorption in the natural world and in the subtleties of ordinary life led them to be unique individuals and to express themselves in sublime ways. ..."
Moore states, "We are entering a new era, and the old forms of spirituality are fading. Guilt, moralism, dogmatism, rote learning, and empty rituals are disappearing, to be replaced by a more personally engaged spirituality. I hope that we are also heading for a visionary style that doesn’t divide the ordinary from the holy or the secular from the sacred."