Communities of spiritual practice and inner work
Communities of practice are central to the vision of this book. For these communities to make a critical social difference they must embody new higher ways of being and behaving, and that requires profound transformative practice. The majority of the most dedicated communities of practice are spiritual communities. And as we embrace new forms of practice, our experiments will necessarily draw upon this legacy.
These are primarily Buddhist, Hindu, Christian and evolutionary communities of practice, but useful resources include communities of Jewish, Muslim and those of any and all and no religions. There are more and more authentic teachers and schools of “direct awakening” and dedicated personal growth and development. There is also a growing movement of “interspirituality,” not only as a philosophy but as a lived experience. In churches, synagogues, study groups, ashrams, sanghas, schools, and seminaries, we can find many of our richest current communities of practice.
Here I have space to mention only some of the communities of practice that have served me personally. Even these are of course imperfect, and yet authentically related to something unblemished. I mention them here because I believe they sincerely try to engage genuine practice and transformation. Since I’m limiting this discussion to communities and teachers I have experienced personally, it should not be regarded as anything more than my own sharing of what I’ve known and benefited from. Thus, in this subsection (unlike other subsections of this Resources section), I’m not producing a list of specific resources as such (the full universe is too vast) but only hinting at some of the types of useful resources available.
I was raised in The York Center Community Co-operative, an intentional interracial community founded by members of The Church of the Brethren (one of America’s three peace churches) as “a witness for peace and brotherhood.” It was a wonderful community in which to grow up, where I was generously mentored by many adult leaders and activists for peace and justice.
Even so, I had to go deep into serious spiritual practice in order to experience the awakenings in consciousness that are expressed in this book. All over the world, people in their chosen spiritual communities are practicing deeply and undergoing transformations that are expressing aspects of the new republic of the heart I’m describing here. Dynamic communities of practice also arise around schools that teach transformative psychotherapy, coaching, leadership, and organizational development.
I practice in the international integral evolutionary ecosystem, teaching, learning from, and sharing fellowship with many of the most intelligent and innovative thinkers I know. It is not a structured community of practice, and yet it provides a context for tremendous personal growth.
For the past four years I have helped my friend Thomas Hübl create and grow a dynamic international community of practice and inquiry, growing in spiritual and intuitive competence and leadership (thomashueblonline.com).
Terry is an occasional participant in the Two Arrows Zen (twoarrowszen.org) sangha led by my dear friends, Senseis Diane Musho Hamilton and Michael Mugaku Zimmerman.
He has also benefited tremendously from the meditation instruction of Daniel P. Brown and the Great Pointing Out Way of Indo-Tibetan Buddhism (pointingoutway.org).
He benefited from and still feel deep kinship and grateful spiritual fellowship with Candice O’Denver and her Balanced View (balancedview.org) teachings of “short moments of open intelligence, repeated many times until benefit is pervasive at all times.”
Saniel Bonder is one of Terry’s oldest friends, and his Waking Down Community is part of my extended spiritual family. His work is at sanielandlinda.com, the community he inspired has moved on, but I still feel close to the Trillium Awakening community (trilliumawakening.org), was formerly called the Waking Down Teachers Association.
He benefits from the spiritual fellowship of many teachers from the Spirit Rock Center(spiritrock.org) here in my local community, including Rick Hanson (rickhanson.net), James Baraz (awakeningjoy.info), Debra Chamberlin-Taylor, George Taylor, Wes Nisker (wesnisker.com), and Jack Kornfield (jackkornfield.com). I’m also blessed to practice with and learn from many teachers and students in the Diamond Heart work founded by A.H. Almaas (diamondapproach.org).
Gangaji (gangaji.org), who comes from the tradition of nondual Vedanta, was an important guide at a crucial time in my sadhana, and I will always be grateful for her clarity and graciousness.
The living earth and particular natural places give me essential sacred community and guidance. Ecopsychologist Bill Plotkin, the author of Soulcraft, has helped that relationship clarify and deepen. The Animas Valley Institute he founded (animas.org) offers nature-based journeys of soul initiation that facilitate visionary leadership for cultural regeneration.
Now that Terry teaches, much of his practice takes the form of engaging a universal integral practice with my own students, and with the larger communities of evolutionaries who find value in my contributions.
And yet his root guru is the incomparable Adi Da Samraj, and his devotees are Terry’s spiritual family of origin.
“I found my way to him when I was 22 and lived immersed in practice in his ashram until I was 37 (from 1973 to 1988), and my life will forever be grounded in the essential “Way of the Heart” that he communicated during those years. His brilliant teachings and uniquely powerful, uncompromising, bright spiritual transmission has given unending wondrous initiatory gifts and a spiritual education for which I will always be grateful. He was a famously defiant and difficult man, and the gathering of his devotees is aging, and yet those who drink his wisdom transmission deeply and wisely can receive a uniquely potent dose of divine consciousness and love” says Terry.
From Integral Without Borders by Gail Hochachka: Sustainability will not be achieved if it remains at a small scale. Although very localized efforts count--they shine a light towards what is possible--they do need to scale up to a broader impact if they are to indeed...
From Greenmode by Simon Divecha: Over the past 5 years I’ve been involved with a delightful group diving into traditionally stuck health system problems. This work is creating holistic positive change assisting individual developmental grown and answering...
From A New Republic of the Heart by Terry Patten: My friend Stephan Martineau moved in 1992 to the Slocan Valley, a beautiful Canadian mountain valley with a diverse community of about six thousand people. The social landscape included First Nations voices; a...
Sometimes the reality of our current situation sinks in. What do we do when we are confronted by the startling and challenging statistical realities. "My denial of our ecological predicament was punctured when I reviewed the evidence, as interpreted primarily by...
A new republic of the heart is coming into being spontaneously, naturally, sprouting through the “cracks in everything” - cracks through which light gets in to a fragmenting - and paradoxically globalising at the same time - world. Here we list just a few of the...
While some attempts at transpartisanship in the USA (such as No Labels) are well known, a wide variety of transpartisan initiatives are advancing on many different fronts. Living Room Conversations (livingroomconversations.org) founded by a lifelong Democrat and a...
From the very rich and broad world of progressive activism, addressing issues of economic, political, gender, and racial justice, I list only a few very general progressive initiatives here. Meanwhile many good people are working around the system through conservative...
The community of integral evolutionary thought and practice has been the primary context for my teaching work since 2004. Hundreds of books, conferences, seminars, meet-up groups, salons, articles, and blogs contribute to the integral evolutionary conversation. Here I...
Humans are a lot more than our brains. Here are just a few of the organisations that are researching and helping people to enable fuller capabilities. The HeartMath Institute has pioneered research validating and legitimizing the intelligence of the heart, which is so...
Organisations for growth, healing development, expansive and deep thinking and feeling abound. There are just a few of the many such organisations featured below. Esalen Institute (esalen.org) is a retreat center and intentional community founded in 1962 by Michael...
We are all learning
A core of the New Republic of the Heart is an engagement in the ‘many to many’ transmission. There are multiple individuals and groups that are cascading concepts, explicitly and implicitly, aligned to those described on this site. You’ll find stories, videos, pictures and more on how we’re all developing and being developed here.
How complete are these resources?
This is a very partial list, reflecting our imperfect memories and the limits of my personal experience in privileged USA – the reality it points to is MUCH larger. We are already expanding this online version. And none of them (even our own projects) reflects all the ideals, values and the ultimate vision of “a new republic of the heart.”
What has been included in the resources section?
This only lists initiatives that are consciously attempting to enact cultural transformation. Equally valuable dimensions of a new republic of the heart, however, are the much larger number of efforts that embody the health and wholeness and caring character of human culture—not only the international relief workers, as important as they are, but also local churches and charities and other good works; nurses and doctors and teachers and social workers and firefighters and emergency medical technicians and other first responders; the farmers and technicians; the workers and entrepreneurs; and the countless community builders and leaders who keep re-weaving the social fabric.
Help me understand the scope
When the body (or body politic) is under siege, what restores well-being is not just the immune system, but also the vastly larger number of cells that just keep pumping the blood and lymph and nerve impulses, sustaining life and health. They are not listed here, but I want to acknowledge and appreciate the widest possible spectrum of the broad and ultimately universal emergence of a new republic of the heart.