'Newcastle Seminar' at Oxford 2016

UNITY & PEACE-BUILDING via experiencing *‘recovery of the shared mystic heart beating in the centre of the world’s deepest spiritual traditions- SEE Rabbi Shapiro 1278

Roger onesummit@gmail.com   


This builds on last year’s presentation & the Baha’i Education doctoral dissertation HERE which is applied auto-ethnographic.


1 Through running more than 250 half-day seminars called One Garden: the inter-spiritual way insights were gained via interfaith, inter-spiritual, inter-scriptual dialogue. I have come to the conclusion that I haven’t been doing this spirituality thing in the right way. Is a paradigm shift needed in the Community?  It all started in the 10 Year Crusade, this is my swan-song project


2 Two experiences with which to start  i) “Enjoy 3 breaths.” ii)  Imagine you are on a hillside, a mountain in the distance - you exp. this; The birds have vanished from the sky, / and now the last clouds slip away. / We sit alone, the mountain and I, / until only the mountain remains.” Li PO 8thC Chin. poet.  Spirit, is from the Latin spiritus "breath". Conscious breathing brings us back home to now free of the monkey mind. Spirituality it seems to me is primarily experiences that challenge us to a) awaken more b) to de-self more & c) to serve others better. Together these 3 enable us to soar & rest more in the nondual of (God’s) presence.


3 If you like brevity here it is, “No self; no problem,” - allegedly by a Buddhist Master. But how? For me via prayer & meditation as; "moment-to-moment presence that excludes nothing & sticks to nothing" + conscious breathing is key to healing & the realization ‘nonduality = ‘I = awareness. Presence ‘is’ - given 'Silence is God's first language; everything else is a poor translation.'  Our primary relationship is that of awe & wonder, with infinite Mystery - unity is only possible in this stance.


4 The mystical needs to be brought front & centre. In my exp. the mystical is presented as somewhere between irrelevant, or embarrassing & the work of satan - yet it’s closer than our life-vein. At the centre of the myst. is ‘nonduality. These ancient ‘changeless faith’ teachings are in Baha’i writings & are much more imp. than social teachings says AB.  However seemingly few read or build with them experientially.  Entering the inward journey experientially, as opposed to what `Abdu'l-Bahá calls book-learning is the key. Why? in order that we “may receive greater insight, so  ...our... spiritual receptivity be broadened”  - The AHW 13 says; Turn thy sight unto thyself, that thou mayest find Me standing within thee, mighty, powerful and self-subsisting.   Why is there such a reluctance to embrace the mystical & nondual? Do all Baha’i teachings relate to the Mystical & Nondual?  


5 This shift I feel is the most important message. People everywhere are aching for true spiritual food. The world seems to be giving birth to Baha’i-like teachings e.g. inter-spirituality - but are we Baha’is coming up with the appropriate goods? Bahá'u'lláh proofs = Self, Rev & Writings (Revelation is not the Writings). AB says Meditation is the key for opening the doors of mysteries”


Beautiful or breath-taking quotations showing Nonduality in each of 7 traditions

From Hindu teachings nonduality is the worldview that reality = not 2 things but Oneness - as summarized in; ‘Brahman (Ultimate Reality or God) is reality; the world is not in itself real; the individual self is not different from Brahman.  NB Plato’s cave allegory teaches much the same worldview - as in the mystical teachings across all great Traditions including Baha’i in which we find;


Baha’i: “All that exists is God…. - “…all parts of the creational world are of one whole.” - “God contains all….The whole is greater than its parts…”  `Abdu'l-Bahá  -0- “The world is but a show, vain and empty, a mere nothing, bearing the semblance of reality..... “ Bahá'u'lláh.  ‘Internally’ our Soul Mind & spirit are all one Human Reality - `Abdu'l-Bahá


Buddhist:  “We interbeing are.” - Thich Nhat Hanh

The great Master Dogen said, “To study the Buddha Way is to study the self, to study the self is to forget the self, and to forget the self is to be enlightened by the ten thousand things.”  To be enlightened by the ten thousand things is to recognize the unity of the self and the ten thousand things. - from Zen Buddhist writings


Christian:i) In that day you shall know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you." - John 16:26

ii) Your eye is the lamp of your body. If your eye is single, your whole body is full of light; but if it is hurtful, your body is full of darkness. (Luke 11:34)

iii) Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls; all your waves and breakers  have swept over me. - Psalm 42:7


Hindu: “Like two birds of golden plumage, inseparable companions, the

individual self and the immortal Self are perched on the branches of the

self same tree. The former tastes of the sweet and bitter fruits of the

tree; the latter, tasting of neither, calmly observes.


“The individual self, deluded by forgetfulness of his identity with the

divine Self, bewildered by his ego, grieves and is sad. But when he

recognizes the worshipful Lord as his own true Self, and

beholds his glory, he grieves no more.”                             - from the Hindu Mundaka Upanishad Eknath Easwaran p192


Judaic: The search for reason ends at the shore of the known;

on the immense expanse beyond it

only the sense of the ineffable can glide.

It alone knows the route to that

which is remote from experience and understanding.


Neither is amphibious:

reason cannot go beyond the shore,

and the sense of the ineffable

is out of place where we measure, where we weigh…….


Citizens of two realms, we must all sustain dual allegiance:

we sense the ineffable in one realm;

we name and exploit reality in another.

Between the two we set up a system of references,

but can never fill the gap.                                                          - Abraham Joshua Heschel Man is Not ALone p150


Sufi: “When you know yourself, your “I-ness” vanishes & you know that you & God are one & the same.” Ibn Arabi (allegedly!)

RP As finite beings we cannot comprehend the Godhead.  However we can’t not be God - we are made in God’s image. Though self-encrusted mirrors we can also function as do the prophets. The heart is the seat of revelation. Purified it channels irfan know.


Taoist: The tao that can be told

is not the eternal Tao

The name that can be named

is not the eternal Name.


The unnamable is the eternally real.

Naming is the origin

of all particular things.


Free from desire, you realize the mystery.

Caught in desire, you see only the manifestations.

Yet mystery and manifestations

arise from the same source.....            - Laozi (c. 6thC BC!) Tao Te Ching Chapter 1 trans S. Mitchell


NB Focus now. 4 years ago I was given a median prognosis of 30 months - it gets you to focus your focus!


TO REITERATE PRACTICE: Prayer, service & ‘healing via self-knowing meditation’; "moment-to-moment presence that excludes nothing and sticks to nothing" - coupled with conscious breathing. Why (self) healing? Because so many of us are ‘walking wounded’.  The resultant realization when the penny drops and the image comes into focus is ‘I = awareness’.

Wittingly or not we practice life-long the breath-mantra “Yah....wehhhhh....” Breath unites soul, mind & spirit & is our preeminent portal to the now, the Nondual, to glimpses of no-self, & therefrom to soaring & resting in God’s presence. Our Faith was born out of the mystical, via the Maid of Heaven experience - & it is also our chief challenge & ultimate reward in this world. -0- END -0-

If you know folk  interested in interfaith, inter-spiritual & mystical-nondual perspectives please put me in touch - Thanks - Roger.