“Global Spirituality for the Next Age”
Q: What do you mean by “Global?”
We mean exactly what “catholic” means according to the dictionary:
including a wide variety of things; all-embracing.
“her taste in literature is pretty catholic, as she likes most genres”
synonyms: universal, diverse, diversified, wide, broad, broad-based, eclectic, liberal, latitudinarian;
Origin: from Greek katholikos ‘universal,’ from kata ‘with respect to’ + holos ‘whole.’
We mean the opposite of what a very large religious organization based in the Vatican City means by claiming it as part of its name:
“[The Church] is called catholic, then, because it extends over the whole world, from end to end of the earth, and because it teaches universally and infallibly each and every doctrine which must come to the knowledge of men, concerning things visible and invisible, heavenly and earthly, and because it brings every race of men into subjection to godliness, governors and governed, learned and unlearned, and because it universally treats and heals every class of sins, those committed with the soul and those with the body, and it possesses within itself every conceivable form of virtue, in deeds and in words and in the spiritual gifts of every description” (Cyril of Jerusalem, Catechetical Lectures 18:23 [A.D. 350]).
“We believe in the holy Church, that is, the Catholic Church; for heretics and schismatics call their own congregations churches. But heretics violate the faith itself by a false opinion about God; schismatics, however, withdraw from fraternal love by hostile separations, although they believe the same things we do. Consequently, neither heretics nor schismatics belong to the Catholic Church; not heretics, because the Church loves God, and not schismatics, because the Church loves neighbor” (St. Augustine, Faith and Creed 10:21 [A.D. 393])
We are writing about and promoting awareness of the most basic human spiritual experience: the craving for something beyond the “ordinary” dead end path of linear time as we know it, and the direct, immediate experience of eternity which satisfies the craving.
Before the diluting effect of words, before the conceptual mind has a chance to slice and dice it into this and that and the other, there is for the receptive individual an experience of Oneness with existence that is universal in authenticity and essence, and diverse in the form and expression we give it after the fact –that is the main premise of Not Two.
We are NOT promoting the idea that there is a single religion that can be both authentic and universal in form. Religions, by definition, are sets of ex post facto ideas about eternity and how to experience it. They do not produce the experience itself. At best, they point us toward recognition of it, but far more often confuse the matter with excessive verbiage and exclusionary doctrine. They are, ironically, the true schismatics of the human family.
To be truly small-c catholic or global in approach, we must look for forms of spirituality that engender a sense of unity, as broad-based and eclectic a unity as can be mustered among a divisive race like humanity. We have found through our studies and experiential learning that the further one moves away from literal belief in the conceptual religious structures preserved as verbal symbology, and toward direct spiritual insight related through shared mystic experiences, the easier it is to understand and relate to one another across cultural differences.
It stands to reason that there is a point of pure, wordless experience at which even these diverse mysticisms converge and simply express a unitive knowledge of eternal Oneness beyond discursive reasoning. We call the study of this point Metatheology, because it involves looking at the whole field of theology as if from above to identify what engenders this convergence and, just as importantly, what caused it to diverge in the first place.
Metatheology, we would argue, is the only truly “global” spirituality, and so that is our end goal and purpose –to present the many paths to Metatheology. (“Faith and Fear” includes a thorough step-by-step exploration of this journey toward the red dot of Metatheology in the center.)
All articles in the Pan-Perennialism section will also be illustrative of our global approach. Perennialism is the idea that the essential truths of Metatheology reappear in different forms as a natural occurrence of regeneration where and when it is needed. The forms vary, sometimes greatly, because universal truth emerges through diverse conceptual filters and express their cultural variation. The end result? “Truth is One, Paths are Many.”
1. What do you mean by “Global?”