New Book by Andrew Vidich

OWL global citizen Andrew Vidich Ph.D., is an author, academic, consultant and international speaker in the fields of meditation, mysticism and leadership. With a Ph.D. in Religion with a specialization in Islamic Sufism and the transformational methods within religious traditions, he has taught university courses ranging from Religion and Islamic Sufism, to Death and Dying. As a life-long student of three spiritual masters within the Sant Mat tradition — Sant Kirpal Singh, Sant Darshan Singh, and Sant Rajinder Singh — Andrew also serves as a respected teacher and leader in that community. His newest book, co-authored with Arthur Stein and published in November, is Let there Be Light: Experiencing Inner Light Across the World’s Sacred Traditions.

Congratulations Andrew!

Light Let There Be Light explores seven of the world’s great spiritual traditions: Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, and Sant Mat. It leads the reader through a history of each tradition, highlighting its great stories, ideas, historical periods, and leaders. The common thread that ties everything together is Light (always capitalized in the book). Light as an image of the Divine, as metaphor, and also as an actual reality that followers of the mystical, inner practices of each tradition can experience.

From the introduction:

Today we live in a time filled with tremendous political, social, economic, and environmental challenges, along with possibilities for many transformational responses to these trials. One encouraging development in recent years is the increasing numbers of people of all ages around the world, especially among the younger generation, who are exploring ways to “tap inside,” developing their inner resources to more clearly access the spiritual side of human nature. We hope that, wherever you may be in your own spiritual process, this book will provide insight and inspiration for experiencing more empathy, friendship, and joy within daily life — and being of service to others wherever the opportunity arises….

We hope that inspiration from enlightened teachers, saints, prophets and sages, along with teaching stories drawn from many cultures contained herein, will encourage further explorations…. May we develop receptivity to recognize universal qualities that can illuminate our pathways throughout life, and enable all humanity to share together with mutual respect a world at peace.

Marshall Zaslov, MD, psychiatrist
author of the medical productivity handbook, The Successful Physician:

Let There Be Light is destined to become a classic — indeed a scripture — for the 21st century and beyond…. Dip into it or study it, use it as a guide, a workbook, or companion on your search for truth….

This single book actually contains a small sheaf of several free-standing books, each one on the inner Light as it forms the basis of a major world religion. Each one could be used individually to enlighten anyone in that tradition, so they can [better] understand their own scriptures…. Gift it to your local pastor, priest, imam, rabbi, monk, or minister. If Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, et. al., will read only this momentous work, and finally discover for themselves that their religions are all at heart identical — then the present bloodbath will end, and an enlightened peace will reign in the world!

You can check out the book on Amazon.

Matthew Fox Eulogy for Reb Zalman

On the weekend of August 15 – 17, 2014, family, friends, colleagues and students of Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, Reb Zalman, came together from around the world and gathered in Boulder, Colorado to celebrate his life. They made a 1 ½ hour video recording of eulogies, talks and music that were shared on Sunday. The complete recording can be seen at Aleph, the Allance for Jewish Renewal, and at Upstream.

One of the highlights is an eight-minute prayer and reflection offered by Matthew Fox. A former Dominican Catholic priest, currently an Episcopalian priest and theologian, he is the leading exponent of the Creation Spirituality movement – which he describes as “based in ancient Judeo-Christian tradition, supported by leading-edge science, bearing witness for social, environmental, and gender justice.” He is the author of many books on Christian theology, mysticism, and Creation Spirituality.

Matthew Fox was a “brother, colleague and co-conspirator” (his words) to Reb Zalman. He coined the term, “deep ecumenism,” which became central to Reb Zalman’s thinking and practice toward the end of his life. This prayer and tribute, offered by a priest wearing a yarmulke at a gathering to honor one of the world’s influential contemporary Jewish leaders — gives us a moving example of what deep ecumenism actually looks like.

Life of Reb Zalman

Photo by Michael Kropf.
I want to share an obituary of Reb Zalman by his student and editor (and the editor of Holy Beggars) Netanel Miles-Yepez.

One excerpt:

From the earliest days of Schachter-Shalomi’s career, he was continually involved in ecumenical dialogue with leaders and practitioners of other spiritual paths, from Trappist monks to Sufi sheikhs. These frequent forays into what was then forbidden territory led Schachter-Shalomi to describe himself as a “spiritual peeping-Tom.” But far from being a mere browser, Schachter-Shalomi became deeply learned in the most minute aspects of the theory and experiential practice of these traditions, praying matins with the monks and performing dhikr with the Sufis.

This deeply personal approach to dialogue led to significant friendships with many of the world’s great philosophers and spiritual teachers, including: Father Thomas Merton, Pir Vilayat Khan, Ken Wilber, and the 14th Dalai Lama.

The twin peaks of this ecumenical work had to do with the increasingly significant dialogue between Jews and Buddhists. Always sensitive and sympathetic to Jewish involvement in Eastern traditions, in 1990, Schachter-Shalomi was invited to a meeting in Dharamsala, India, between the Dalai Lama and Jewish leaders, to discuss how Tibetan Buddhism might “survive in exile.” This dialogue, and Schachter-Shalomi’s remarkable influence upon it, became the focus of a best-selling book by Rodger Kamenetz called The Jew in the Lotus. Immediately, the book became a catalyst for Jewish-Buddhist dialogue and the sensitive issue of why so many American Jews were involved in so-called ‘Eastern’ spiritual paths.

Within a few years, Schachter-Shalomi was invited to take up the World Wisdom Chair at Naropa University, the only accredited Buddhist-inspired university in the Western hemisphere. Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado became home to Schachter-Shalomi and a new phase of his teaching career. By the time of his retirement from Naropa in 2004, he had influenced thousands of students and spiritual seekers of all backgrounds.

The complete obituary is at The Renewalist Blog.

Remembering Reb Zalman

In case you are not in the loop on this, I’m posting the sad news that Reb Zalman passed away last Thursday, July 3. He was age 89, as month away from a big 90th birthday celebration, planned to take place in Boulder in August. He passed peacefully, with his loving wife Eve by his side, and surrounded by his children and their families who had flown in.

Sorry I wasn’t able to post this sooner. I’ve been away on retreat with only limited Internet time. I’ll say more later, as soon as I can. For now, here’s a good obituary posted on JTA.

Deep Ecumenism Blog

people-world-2Following the June 8, 2014 gathering of the Deep Ecumenism Circle, which is a project of both One World Lights and ALEPH: Alliance for Jewish Renewal, we are starting a Deep Ecumenism Blog.

The purpose is to create a library of writings, articles, videos, etc., posted by members of this circle and others — to share developments in the practice of deep ecumenism around the world.

Through the work of deep ecumenism, we hope to contribute to greater understanding, peace and harmony among people of all faiths.

Image courtesy of suphakit73/