This July, representatives from ten different faith traditions will gather together to discuss the significance of peace from within their spiritual frameworks. Experts in Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism, Sufism, Christianity and the Himalayan Yoga tradition will present brief addresses and participate in a panel discussion. Entitled “Unifying Streams of Spirituality,” this seminar will be held on Sunday, July 26, from 1-6 p.m. in the O’Shaughnessey Educational Center Auditorium at the University of St. Thomas, St Paul campus. The event is open to the public; admittance will be by donation.
Reverend Tom Ewald, the program’s moderator and associate minister at Macalester Plymouth United Church of Christ in St. Paul, Minnesota, stresses the relevance and purpose of such a gathering. Ewald said, “Even as we respect the differences of various traditions, it has long been accepted as part of the perennial philosophy that most of the world’s traditions believe in a power higher than ourselves, one that is present in some form within us, and that the purpose of life is to abide with that presence in a very tangible way and then to share its effect with others for the benefit of the entire world.”
The seminar is part of the larger program hosted by The Meditation Center, the 2009 Himalayan Yoga Tradition Congress, that begins on July 17 and runs through August 1 at the University of St. Thomas. The two-week congress, to which the public is invited, will consist of lectures on Yogic science, philosophy and meditation; meditation and hatha yoga practicums; silence retreats; an interfaith weekend; and a concert and day-long workshop with renowned kirtan musician and author of The Yoga of Sound and Jesus in the Lotus, Russill Paul, all under the direction of Swami Veda Bharati.
For over six decades, Swami Veda Bharati has worked to promote interfaith understanding, founding Northeast Minneapolis’ The Meditation Center in 1971 and travelling internationally, teaching meditation according in the Himalayan tradition and promoting the interconnectedness of all spiritual traditions. This summer’s congress coincides with the release of his latest book, Wanam: Africa and India-A Spiritual Dialogue. With its title drawing on the word for “God” in the MorÃ© language of Burkina Faso in West Africa, this book explores the ties between African and Indian spirituality. Dr. Andra Thakur, research associate in the Anthropology Department at Vancouver Island University in British Columbia, calls the work pioneering and has said of Wanam, “Here, spirituality is raised to the higher plane of consciousness…. I think this short gem must be read by students, scholars, religious and spiritual practitioners and others who are keen on understanding the other in culturally heterogeneous societies.”
Information about the “Unifying Streams of Spirituality” seminar and The Meditation Center is available at www.TheMeditationCenter.org. Copies of Wanam: Africa and India-A Spiritual Dialogue are available for purchase at www.TheMeditationCenter.org and at The Meditation Center Bookstore. Registration information, a full listing of the July congress events and other details about the congress can be found at www.HYT-TTP.com, by e-mailing info@HimalayanYogaTradition.com or by calling 888-YOGATTP.