Dialogue Guidelines

 

At the annual Snowmass conference in May 1986, we came up with additional points of agreement of a practical nature:

A. Some examples of disciplined practice, common to us all:

  • Practice of compassion
  • Service to others
  • Practicing moral precepts and virtues
  • Training in meditation techniques and regularity of practice
  • Attention to diet and exercise
  • Fasting and abstinence
  • The use of music and chanting and sacred symbols
  • Practice in awareness (recollection, mindfulness) and living in the present moment
  • Pilgrimage
  • Study of scriptural texts and scriptures

And in some traditions:

  • Relationship with a qualified teacher
  • Repetition of sacred words (mantra, japa)
  • Observance of periods of silence and solitude
  • Movement and dance
  • Formation of community

B. It is essential to extend our formal practice of awareness into all aspects of our life.


C. Humility, gratitude, and a sense of humor are indispensable in the spiritual life.


D. Prayer is communion with Ultimate Reality, whether it is regarded as personal, impersonal, or beyond them both.

We were surprised and delighted to find so many points of similarity and convergence in our respective paths. Like most people of our time, we originally expected that we would find practically nothing in common. In the years that followed, we spontaneously and somewhat hesitatingly began to take a closer look at certain points of disagreement until these became our main focus of attention. We found that discussing our points of disagreement increased the bonding of the group even more than discovering our points of agreement. We became more honest in stating frankly what we believed and why, without at the same time making any effort to convince others of our own position. We simply presented our understanding as a gift to the group.