As I press on my journey, I find myself caught between not fitting comfortably into a given tradition and feeling connected to many traditions. My path seems to be as a Christian, carrying the backpack with a brand name of Roman Catholic. The road is a winding one with hills and valleys, paved road and pig trail, desert, jungle and old growth forest. Just as with the Camino de Santiago de Compostela, there are many “ways” which have many origination points. The path is marked with yellow arrows. Funny though — those arrows can be found in all sorts of places: on a tree, a sidewalk, a rock, the side of a building. Sometimes you miss one and get lost. Then, you find your way back to the last arrow you saw, or maybe the one you missed, and set off again carrying the experiences of the time lost with you. They all lead to Santiago de Compostela. And some pilgrims continue on to Finisterre and Muxia to see “the end of the world.”
On this Way, you often leave things behind as they become unnecessary to your journey. Maybe you find and pick up something discarded by another pilgrim that fills a need. You become a part of the journey itself.
I get a daily reflection from the Center for Active Contemplation (CAC — Richard Rohr). The above thoughts were brought to light after reading today’s reflection which included the following which came out of several meetings of people from different religious traditions:
The Snowmass Conference Eight Points of Agreement came into being. We include them here as a way of sharing a contemporary expression of perennial wisdom arising not from ancient texts but from the lived experience of contemporary mystics—women and men who, while coming from specific traditions, dare to step beyond them to see what is on its own terms.
The Eight Points of Agreement
- The world religions bear witness to the experience of Ultimate Reality, to which they give various names.
- Ultimate Reality cannot be limited by any name or concept.
- Ultimate Reality is the ground of infinite potentiality and actualization.
- Faith is opening, accepting, and responding to Ultimate Reality. Faith in this sense precedes every belief system.
- The potential for human wholeness—or, in other frames of reference, enlightenment, salvation, transcendence, transformation, blessedness—is present in every human being.
- Ultimate Reality may be experienced not only through religious practices but also through nature, art, human relationships, and service to others.
- As long as the human condition is experienced as separate from Ultimate Reality, it is subject to ignorance and illusion, weakness and suffering.
- Disciplined practice is essential to the spiritual life; yet spiritual attainment is not the result of one’s own efforts, but the result of the experience of oneness with Ultimate Reality.