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Genesis Now! The Story that Jews, Christians and Muslims Still Share, Dr Neil Douglas-Klotz, 5.13MB Print E-mail

Conference on Middle Eastern Spirituality and Peace, Thursday 4 March 2004, The Quaker Meeting House, 7 Victoria Terrace, Edinburgh.

Title of talk: Genesis Now! The Story that Jews, Christians and Muslims Still Share.

Presentation: Neil Douglas-Klotz, Ph.D., internationally-known scholar of religious studies and psychology, is author of Prayers of the Cosmos, Desert Wisdom, The Hidden Gospel and The Genesis Meditations: A Shared Practice of Peace for Jews, Christians and Muslims. A former departmental head of comparative spirituality at Holy Names College in California, he now lectures worldwide. He is co-chair of the Mysticism Group of the American Academy of Religion and currently lives in Edinburgh, where he codirects the Institute for Advanced Learning. He founded the International Network for Dances of Universal Peace in 1982 and is a senior teacher of the Sufi Ruhaniat International through which he has led spiritually rooted peace-seeking journeys to Russia, Eastern Europe, Syria, Jordan, and Israel.

Theme of Talk: An ancient form of meditation unites the three religions of the Middle East. It focuses on the creation of the universe and the archetype of the first human being. It seeks to bring the energy and power of this "beginning-time" directly into the life of practitioners, so that they can experience the creation story as their own personal story. The hidden history of this practice in the three traditions actualizes much of their spiritual power. This ancient form of prayer focuses, not on a vision of the apocalypse, but on the tremendous power of creation as it is still unfolding in the universe and in one's own personal experience.   This 'original meditation' lies behind Christians' awe at the rebirth of the Christ Child each midwinter. It fuels the heartfelt hope of Jews in the New Year celebrations of Rosh Hashana. And it roots the devotion of Muslims each year during the fast of Ramadan. These are all celebrations of hope, not fear, and of love, not hatred. By experiencing the creation story as one's own personal story, we have the same opportunity to recreate and renew ourselves, as our ancestors did, and to find a deeper connection with the divine in our everyday lives. We can also participate in the one meditative practice that might unite our Christian, Judaic, and Islamic communities in a troubled world.

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