The Contemplative Alliance in Conversation
Spring, New York City
In late April, a small gathering of Contemplative Alliance members met in New York City for an evening of conversation and sharing. It was a chance to catch up and hear what the local members have been doing in their communities. One topic that emerged was the question of how to hold the suffering that is happening in our world and at the same time support and nourish the spiritual evolution that is simultaneously taking place.
We discussed how many Americans are realizing that as a country we are not as advanced as we once thought. The social and political chaos that is erupting is also spawning a collective awakening that is propelling a heightened global consciousness.
As more assaults are taking place on nature and the environment, more and more people are stepping into action as we see with the young climate strikers and in the many steps people are taking to care for the Earth.
Rev. Diane Burke of OneSpirit Learning Alliance spoke about this moment in time as one in which spiritual and faith leaders are being challenged to walk the talk and truly ask, “what does it mean to live our teachings and beliefs in this world?” How can we preserve what’s worth passing forward to future generations whilst also relinquishing old ideas and beliefs that are no longer serving the collective?”
Members spoke of how many younger people are steering away from religion and the more formal practices. This brought up the question of what our traditions have to offer the world at this time, to those in who may not take up a traditional meditation practice, or see themselves as being on a specific spiritual path. What can we offer the people who are depressed and fearful at what they are seeing?
The conversation concluded with asking ourselves, ‘what is the essential message from each of our traditions that is most helpful at this time for humanity?’ While the answers are diverse and continually unfolding, there was agreement that if we can offer a way to reconnect people with reverence for all life, love for the Earth, caring for one another, and embracing more culture, music, and storytelling, that this would be something of great value.