Chapter 3

Spirituality as Intimacy with a Living Universe

At bottom, the whole concern of religion iswith the manner of our acceptance of the universe.

—WILLIAM JAMES

Who we are depends directly upon where we are. Are we an inseparable part of a greater aliveness? Or are we a small speck of life that is surrounded by a vast sea of deadness? How do the world’s wisdom traditions view the universe and our relationship to it? Do they see this world as a place of deadness to leave behind and move beyond? Or, do the wisdom traditions see the universe as a miracle of stunning aliveness? When people around the world and across the centuries offer their in-depth accounts of the nature of existence, what descriptions of the universe emerge? When sages ...

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