In my book, One River, Many Wells: Wisdom Springing from Global Faith Traditions, (published in 2000) I treat 18 themes that I propose are found in all spiritual traditions of the world.
I draw from sources of mystics and scriptures that represent Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, Indigenous, Celtic, African, goddess, Christian, that speak to these 18 themes. It is my most explicit teaching on Deep Ecumenism and by matching different traditions’ wisdom side by side on these rich themes, something powerful emerges.
The 18 themes treated include the following: Deep Ecumenism and the Universality of Experience; Creation—All Our Relations; Light; community and Interdependence.
Names for God; The Feminine Face of Divinity; Wisdom: Another Feminine Face of the Divine; Form, Formlessness, Nothingness; The Divine ‘I Am’: Humanity’s Share in Divinity.
Meditation and Mindfulness; Holy Imagination: Art and Ritual as Paths to Mindfulness; Joy; Suffering; Beauty; Sacred Sexuality; Dying, Resurrection Reincarnation.
Service and Compassion (including Justice and Celebration); Spiritual Warriorhood.
A concluding chapter is entitled: “Where do we go from Here? How Deep Ecumenism Explodes our Imaginations with Eighteen New Myths and Visions.” There I treat the eighteen themes as myths and visions that can awaken humanity at this time and cite psychologist Rollo May about how ethics comes to us by way of myths.
Many people have told me that they use the book as a prayer or meditation book and that knowing they are zeroing in on insights from so many world traditions is itself a kind of blessing and a deep ecumenical practice in itself.
Adapted from Matthew Fox, One River, Many Wells: Wisdom Springing from Global Faith Traditions.
To read the transcript of Matthew Fox’s video teaching, click HERE.
Banner Image: Students in a Chicago Wisdom Project class. Photo from CWP website section on “Reimagining Education”.
Queries for Contemplation
Do you agree with Rollo May that we teach ethics by way of myths? Which of these 18 themes or myths are most pressing for our times in your opinion?
One River, Many Wells: Wisdom Springing from Global Faiths
Matthew Fox calls on all the world traditions for their wisdom and their inspiration in a work that is far more than a list of theological position papers but a new way to pray—to meditate in a global spiritual context on the wisdom all our traditions share. Fox chooses 18 themes that are foundational to any spirituality and demonstrates how all the world spiritual traditions offer wisdom about each.“Reading One River, Many Wells is like entering the rich silence of a masterfully directed retreat. As you read this text, you reflect, you pray, you embrace Divinity. Truly no words can fully express my respect and awe for this magnificent contribution to contemporary spirituality.” –Caroline Myss, author of Anatomy of the Spirit