Hello from Sante Fe

This week, Colleen Sharka, Still Harbor's Director of Spiritual Formation & Spiritual Director, joined more than 600 spiritual directors from around the world in Sante Fe, New Mexico, for the annual Spiritual Directors International Conference.  In addition to participating as a conference attendee, Colleen served on the Planning Team for the conference. She offers a brief reflection on the conference below:

This has truly been one of the most transformative conference experiences of my life.  It is so very rare to be in the presence of such a variety of prophetic teachers at once. The three immersive days of learning and community focused on the spiritual life and the gift of offering spiritual companionship. Keynote presenters included: Buddhist leader Roshi Joan Halifax, Christian leader Fr. Richard Rohr, OFM, and Jewish leaders Eve Ilsen, and Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi. I witnessed the wisdom of the many presenters support and enhance the emerging wisdom of all the many and diverse people in attendance.

One of the workshops I attended was "Bees in the Garden: Cultivating your Interspiritual Nature" with Mirabai Starr.  Mirabai identifies as an interspiritual person.  She describes interspiritual as someone who not only learns about another faith tradition but also experiences and participates in the tradition and is transformed from it.  She differentiates this from interfaith, in which someone focuses on cultivating an intellectual understanding of another tradition or practice but not on participating in it to be transformed.

Father Richard Rohr, OFM, is a Franciscan priest of the New Mexico Province and founder of the Center for Action and Contemplation (CAC) in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Father Richard Rohr, OFM, is a Franciscan priest of the New Mexico Province and founder of the Center for Action and Contemplation (CAC) in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

I found this notion of interspirituality particularly illuminating in light of something Father Richard Rohr shared. Richard explained that when we experience spiritual growth we transcend and include all that has been in our spiritual journey before.  We may no longer hold a belief or feel drawn to a spiritual practice but because it has been part of our spiritual journey, we do well to integrate it into the whole of our spiritual life rather than "throw the baby out with the bath water."

This all led me to reflect on how an interspiritual journey is one of the highest forms of practicing inner integrity, authenticity, and attunement.  We are attracted to transformation and change when we encounter teaching, a spiritual belief, or practice that aligns with who we are and how we connect with the Sacred or Divine.  The invitation to transcend and include becomes, in and of itself, a spiritual practice of integration and wholeness.

This leads to a spiritual reflection question I will carry with me: If we could all practice this process of transcending and including in our relationships and connections with ourselves, others, and the Sacred or Divine, where might we find ourselves as individuals, communities, nations, and a world?

I invite you to share your thoughts in the comments below. Interested in finding, or becoming a Spiritual Director? Learn more about Still Harbor's Spiritual Direction Program.