William Bloom is a British leader in the mind-body-spirit field with more than 30 years of practical experience, research, and teaching. He is the founder and co-director of the Spiritual Companions Project in the UK, a training in a multifaith and holistic approach to spirituality and pastoral care. He is also a meditation master and author of several books.
When Bloom asked a class on the new spirituality what it meant to them, they pointed to the following: compassion, consciousness, self-awareness, love, quest, death of self, trust, discernment, openheartedness, wholeness, full connection with God, self-respect, care and healing, peace, harmony, simplicity, letting go, understanding, freedom, and wisdom.
The author has narrowed this expansive list down to the three golden key behaviors found in all traditions and approaches to spirituality:
1. "Connection: your heart is touched and you connect with the wonder and energy of life.
"2. Reflection: you pause and reflect on your life and actions, and ponder how to change and improve.
"3. Service: you have a clear sense of what is right and what is wrong, and you act so as to do good for others."
There is an ethical undertow to these three spiritual practices which encompass traditional values, green values (protect and care for the natural world), psychological and emotional values (love, respect, and affection), and presence (radiate benevolence).
Bloom acknowledges that those questing for a new spirituality want to integrate it into their daily life at home, at work, and in community. To help facilitate that process, he presents exercises on determining the best gateways, discovering your distinctive spiritual style, and deepening your spiritual connection.
In his discussion of the role of reflection as one of the three golden keys to spirituality, Bloom takes a hard look at awakening, self-management, and the changes of spiritual growth. Some of the major obstacles to the transformation we seek are depression, the monkey-mind, conditioning (bad habits), yearning to maintain the status quo, enslavement to the many stories we tell ourselves, and desire as a form of suffering.
In the section of the book devoted to service, Bloom salutes all those who in the name and spirit of spirituality seek to make the world a better place by helping and supporting others, by doing good as a part of the universal flow, by acting in honesty and humility, and by caring for the natural world.
After assessing the spiritual dimensions of presence, prayer, and healing, Bloom concludes by celebrating spirituality as offering an "extra dimension" to life through values, practices, grand narratives, and wild possibilities.