Joan Borysenko is an internationally known speaker on spirituality, integrative medicine, and the mind/body connection. Her husband Gordon Dveirin runs a consulting firm in organization and human development. Together, they founded the Claritas Institute for Interspiritual Inquiry and Interspiritual Mentor Training Program. They are convinced that the time is ripe for homo sapiens caritas "Man and Woman of wisdom and compassion." For this evolution of humanity to happen, spiritual guidance that directs us to our best self is needed individually and collectively.
But just what is spiritual guidance, and how do we recognize it? In order to draw a bead on these questions, Borysenko and Dveirin assembled "a virtual Noah's Ark of spiritual luminaries from a variety of religious backgrounds." Included in this circle of 27 seers are Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, Rabbi Rami Shapiro, Reverend Cynthia Bourgeault, Father Thomas Keating, and Sheikh Kabir Helminski (all of whom are included in the Living Spiritual Teachers Project of this website).
Using excerpts from interviews with these spiritual guides, the authors explore the interspiritual (a term coined by Wayne Teasdale to refer to the common ground where all wisdom traditions meet) meanings of:
• Trusting in God
• Seeing with the Eyes of the Heart
• The Art of Discernment
• The Practice of Discernment
• Spiritual Community
• Practices for Aligning with the Spirit of Guidance
• Overcoming Ego
• Unfolding the Heart of Spirit in Action
• Spiritual DNA: Mapping the Genome of
• Contemplative Wisdom for World Leaders
Many of the sages point out that spiritual guidance is the revelation of love; grace is also often mentioned in their discussions. Divine direction can come in many ways including through a dream, a synchronicity, a series of leadings, the process of inquiry, meditation, prayer, or as feedback from observing the results of your behavior. Blocks to this inflowing source of wisdom and renewal include fear and other habits of mind such as judgment, pride, willfulness, sloth, and desire. Such activities of the false self lead to the loss of freedom; they are countered by the fruits of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control).
Those on the spiritual path need to be armed with six types of wisdom that can assist them in practicing discernment: common sense, head wisdom, heart wisdom, body wisdom, reflective wisdom, and the wisdom of transcending opposites. A chapter on essential spiritual practices covers the following: praying for help, stillness, cultivating a quiet mind, gratitude, surrender, forgiveness, and loving the truth.
We commend Borysenko and Dveirin for their efforts in carrying on the pioneering work and vision of Wayne Teasdale. There is certainly no time to waste in advancing the cooperative and transformative dimensions of interspirituality in a time when both religious and secular fundamentalism are on the rise. Now is the moment for religious and spiritual people of all stripes to practice together and mend the broken world with practices of love, kindness, and compassion.