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LATEST DIALOGUES Second Axial Bodies – Rev. Matthew Wright

Many thinkers today believe we are entering a “Second Axial Age”—a great shift in consciousness and spirituality equal to that which produced the headwaters of our great religious traditions between roughly 800-200 BCE. This shift is related closely to the process of globalization, and our emerging sense of oneness—we are one human family, one planetary body, one intricately interwoven tapestry of life.

While the First Axial Age opened for us the possibility of the transcendent and a personal quest for enlightenment or salvation, it also tended to break our earlier, primal sense of collective identity (rooted in tribe) and our deep, felt connection to Earth. In this next shift, we are picking that earlier sensibility back up, not at the tribal, but at the global level. In the process, our religions are being transformed.

Rather than being called to step into decline and death, however, they are being asked to offer their practices of devotion and transformation in the shared service of our collective awakening. The blessings, spiritual treasures, and “mystical bodies” of our great religions hold the tools needed to carry us into this next phase of spiritual evolution. They will only flow forward, however, when freed from the exclusivist identities and superiority complexes that have plagued their histories and that do violence to the single human body we are in the process of becoming.

Profound interspiritual permeability will characterize the next phase of religious understanding. Each tradition will have a vital body of practice to continue in the service of the human body. What will this look like for individual traditions? How do independent religious
bodies begin to interrelate and evolve? Exploring Christianity as an example, we will work with key thinkers such as Teilhard de Chardin, Bede Griffiths, and Raimon Panikkar.

The Rev. Matthew Wright is an Episcopal priest working to renew the Christian Wisdom tradition within a wider interspiritual framework.  Alongside his practice of Christianity, he draws deeply from the sacred worlds of Islamic Sufism and Vedanta.  Matthew serves as priest-in-charge at St. Gregory’s Episcopal Church in Woodstock, NY, and lives with his wife, Yanick, alongside the brothers of Holy Cross Monastery.  You can follow his monthly column, Belonging, at www.contemplativejournal.com.

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4 Responses to “Second Axial Bodies – Rev. Matthew Wright”

  1. January 22, 2015 at 8:22 pm, mairi rossi said:

    Excellent talk. Very grounded, sensible and insightful. Thank you.

  2. January 26, 2015 at 2:39 pm, Grace Hinrichs said:

    What a fantastic talk! So well-informed and farsighted and so clear about exactly
    where we are right now in this shift that Tellhard de Chardin predicted back in the ’30’s.
    Wonderful! ( One small note: I do wish the SAND Conference would find a way to mic questioners who often make speeches too long to be summarized by the speaker, and as a result we have no idea what they are asking when we are watching a video.)

  3. January 27, 2015 at 3:53 pm, mikeschwager said:

    It is such a joy to find you, listening to you affirm Teilhard’s vision of the spiritualization of matter within a global evolutionary context. Of the Sacred Heart manifesting as Real now. A perspective so much needed. Many blessings!

  4. January 27, 2015 at 5:09 pm, pbeatty said:

    Yea!!!! Matter and energy – all sacred all my life all eternity!!

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