Volume 6 / Issue 1 SPRING 2020

8 S p i r i t ua l i t y S t u d i e s 6 - 1 S p r i n g 2 0 2 0 This is Rohr’s “first half” of life; dominated by worldly aims and ambitions; which he says involves surviving successfully by establishing an identity, home-base, family and friends, livelihood, regular pastimes and so on: the essential aspects of community and security. These are the sum of our attachments and aversions, likes and dislikes. For the majority of people, this is all there is, valuing a sense of belonging, and prizing what is familiar, habitual and safe. Some go further, into a more individual way of life, but re - main at risk of retaining a self-centred orientation, a focus on me and what’smine , holding on to possessions, position and other worldly achievements. From the individual stage, there is considerably further to travel. 4 Grace and the Spiritual Dimension For Christians, of course, the universal breath-energy is designated the Holy Spirit, an aspect of the Holy Trinity of God, a blessed gift to encourage, heal, strengthen and guide people on our spiritual journeys. So, let us look more closely at this word holy in regard to spirit. Related as it is to both wholeness and holistic , the word holybrings to mind an undivided, unitary vision: a seamless, timeless and infinite whole ; one that can only dimly and incompletely be grasped by the dualist/binary working mentality of the ordinary mind of our everyday Egos ; but an undivided whole with which each of us is in permanent (if mostly unconscious) communication in the depths of our true Selves , through the mediation of our souls. Monotheists, including Christians, Jews and Muslims, share a hope, and the expectation through faith, do they not, of a loving God’s grace, bestowed through His infinite mercy, through the influence of the Holy Spirit? Through grace, the dissonance between everyday Ego and spiritual Self is reduced. The split comes to be healed. We are made whole. But, note, What happens in the second half of life, the less temporal, more spiritual half? In this scheme, there are two more stages, called here the integration and universal stages , and this is where some people, spiritual pioneers like Thomas Merton and the Dalai Lama, for example, are already leading us, well ahead of theworld-mind , the general cultural psyche or zeitgeist around them. How can the rest of us follow, catch up, and serve as exemplars in our turn? For that, I hope you agree, is one important purpose of a spiritual institute dedi - cated to research and education like SpIRE. Such an institute surely has as its purpose not only to learn and teach about spirituality, but also to exemplify and foster genuine, authentic spiritual growth in individuals and communities alike. this is a lifelong journey. It takes time, and human effort is required. We have to help it along. I will say a little bit about how later. So let us examine again the term spirituality , and the notion of a spiritual dimension to human experience and under - standing. In doing so, I wish briefly to introduce a scheme consisting of just five seamlessly inter-linked dimensions covering the entirety of human understanding and experience (Culliford 2015, 22–29): • Physical (energy and matter) – the miracle of existence; • Biological (organs and organisms) – the miracle of life; • Psychological (mental activity) – the miracle of consciousness; • Social (relationships) – the miracle of love; • Spiritual (souls and the sacred) – the miracle of unity. In this scheme, the spiritual dimension takes pride of place, appearing as an originating principle, seamlessly creating, linking and shaping the other four.