I’m often asked what sort of a place Compassionate Heart Community is. Is it a church, a monastery, a meditation center, or…? To be honest, I have been trying to figure that out for some time myself. We aren’t a church, although we do practice devotional spirituality in many forms, and we don’t look like a church. We look more like a big living room, with lots of spiritual art from different traditions. We aren’t a monastery, although many of us are very interested in the contemporary movement known by some as “new monasticism,” or the idea of being a “monk in the world,” coined by the late Br. Wayne Teasdale. We aren’t only a meditation center, although we do teach and practice the contemplative arts.
As I was reflecting on this a while ago, it came to me. We are Interspiritual, by which I mean we honor all of the great traditions and believe that they all represent a search for and movement toward that quality that many of us call Divinity, or God, and in which we grow into the people we are meant to be. We also are an ashram. Ashram is a Sanskrit word meaning “sacred space.” An Ashram is a safe place to explore our spiritual journey, to try out new ideas, and spend time with people who are on their spiritual journey. We talk, discuss, explore, share, and do our best to remain open to the fullness of life. That’s an Interspiritual Ashram!