This page contains a selection of sites we have found that relate to the activities of the Paragonian Fellowship. The categories on this page are Spiritual organizations, Modern mystics, Ecological, Communities and course centres, and Grass roots.
The three monotheistic religions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam have long held that there is a great gulf between God and us human beings, between Creator and created, which can never be crossed. As recently as 3rd February 2003, the Vatican published a pamphlet which stated that “man is essentially a creature and remains so for all eternity, so the absorption of the human I in the divine I will never be possible.”
In contrast, the Benedictine monk David Steindl-Rast has said that one of his great concerns is that the Western God-view is warped and makes us sick. The idea of God as being separate from us is an extremely dangerous view. He is not alone. Here is a selection of organizations promoting the fundamental truth of existence that we are all in union with the Divine at ever instant of our lives, no matter what our scientific or religious beliefs might tell us.
The Alister Hardy Society Religious Experience Research Centre was founded in 1969 by Alister Hardy, an eminent biologist, to collect accounts of people’s deepest, innermost personal experiences. It is on the basis of these many and diverse experiences that we can create a world-view that truly represents ourselves and the world we live in.
“It’s about an aspect of natural human experience. It can come in on us, or arise in us, suddenly, at any time, in any place, and can affect and even change our lives. It can happen to anyone, whether religiously inclined or atheist, spiritually inclined or materialist, and regardless of age, sex, nationality or culture.
“It is called ‘spiritual’ and ‘religious’ because it is seen as either or both. It can include mystical, transcendental, out-of-body or near- death experiences, or a deep sense of meaning in a place or event. Psychical experiences such as déjà vu, clairaudience, clairvision, telepathy and precognition can be included. It can also include such features as meaningful co-incidences, or synchronicities, guidance and answers to prayer or contact with deceased loved ones.”
The Alliance for Lucid Living (ALL), founded by Timothy Freke, is an alliance of individuals who are engaged in their own unique ways with life as a process of awakening to the experience of gnosis or lucid living. The aim of the ALL is to help ameliorate the suffering caused by the illusion of separateness, by promoting the Gnostic BIG IDEA of waking up to oneness and love. The ALL aspires to nurture our collective awakening by making the timeless teachings of gnosis accessible to mainstream 21st century culture. Tim’s spiritual understanding is succinctly encapsulated in Lucid Living , “a book you can read in an hour that will turn your world inside out.”
The Christian Council for Monetary Justice is an open forum rather than an elaborate organisation, although it maintains a rudimentary structure, network, and annual meeting. It seeks to enable people far and wide to stimulate a more general awareness of the pertinence of faith to the economic order; and in particular to the urgent need to generate monetary reform.
The fate of most people in times gone by was grim unjust poverty for which charity was often the only, and usually totally inadequate, remedy. Sadly this is still the situation today for millions of people.
However, there is a vast difference between times past and today. Today we have the technological capacity to eliminate it. Thus any failure to eliminate poverty can be seen as a failure to serve God and the essence of morality, incumbent on us all, is a duty to work for inclusive structural justice for all. In the present world of conflict, such justice can be seen as the only concept capable of uniting people of faith, and of good faith, in an impelling cause—transcending cultural and political boundaries—for the betterment of humankind. To this end the CCMJ and its members are in dialogue with our Muslim brothers and sisters.
The ultimate aim of the Global Justice Movement is the Omega point, the purpose and end of the human adventure, which is a genderful and fully inclusive universal justice and holistic theology, set in an earth system science. We shall then be able to say, with John the Divine, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.” p>
With this vision in mind, Global Justice grows from within. It starts with endogenous money and ends with peace. The first principle of Global Justice is that there is a Source of all creation which has endowed the absolute values of Truth, Love, Justice and Goodness which represent the ultimate ends of human actions. The other four principles are: Respect the Earth, Abundance is possible, Creative work for all, and Economic democracy. These five principles, together with five inter-related components—Monetary Justice, Social Justice, Economic Justice, Environmental Justice, and Peace Justice—give:
Secure incomes for all, including pensions (created by new technology and new investment), Capital ownership for all (individual capital estates provide secure income), Public capital investment (at half the present cost), A huge reduction in debt (personal, corporate and national), A proper deal for women (ensures independent income), Safeguarding the environment (sustainable resource use), and thus Peace.
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Inner Directions is a nonprofit organization solely dedicated to communicating the immediacy of That which is eternal and infinite within us: the nondualistic ground from which religions and spiritual traditions arise. Our distinctive publications and programs are meant to provide an authentic expression of nondual wisdom, in the spirit of self-inquiry.
The Rational Spirituality Movement was founded in April 2005 by Ian Lawton, a former chartered accountant and IT consultant, but who became a full-time writer-researcher specialising in ancient history, esoterica and spiritual philosophy in his mid-thirties. It is an emerging worldwide association of like-minded individuals who share a common spiritual worldview based on the dual concepts of reincarnation and karma, although fundamentally different from any that has gone before because:
- it is predicated on rationality and analysis of modern evidence, not on faith and belief in ‘revealed wisdom’.
- it has a radical view of important spiritual principles, such as the extent of our personal responsibility for all aspects of our lives, and the way in which karma always involves learning and never punishment.
The ten precepts of the movement are detailed on Ian’s website, and based on the evidence and analysis in his latest work, The Book of the Soul.
Satsang.nu is a site based in Sweden (nu is Scandivaian for now), dedicated to sharing the truth that You and I are One. We are just different facets of the same precious diamond of unfathomable and inexpressible consciousness, beyond time and space. The site contains lists of many spiritual teachers holding satsangs (a gathering of friends) and their schedules.
The Theosophical Society was founded in New York City in 1875 by Helena P. Blavatsky, Henry S, Olcott, and William Q. Judge and is now active in sixty countries. Its three declared objects are:
- To form a nucleus of the Universal Brotherhood of humanity without distinction of race, creed, sex, caste, or colour.
- To encourage the study of comparative religion, philosophy, and science.
- To investigate unexplained laws of nature and the powers latent in man
The Wrekin Trust is an educational charity, founded by Sir George Trevelyan, concerned with the spiritual nature of humanity and the universe and part of a worldwide movement towards personal and planetary transformation. It aims to promote opportunities for learning that support people from all backgrounds and traditions:
- to search for meaning
- to explore a holistic and spiritual world view
- to develop as conscious instruments for creative change.
The Wrekin Trust’s key project is the University of Spirit Forum, a growing association collaboratively furthering spiritual education and developing a unity of approach from diverse traditions and perspectives.
Because the major organized religions of both East and West have long held a tight grip on human consciousness, it is not widely recognized that an increasing number of people have been emerging during the last century who have a similar level of unity consciousness to Shakyamuni Buddha and Jesus of Nazareth, but who do not wish to be identified with any of the traditional religions.
During the twentieth century, among those teaching Oneness—union with the Divine—a fundamental prerequisite to Wholeness were Ramana Maharshi, Aurobindo Ghose, J. Krishnamurti, Martinus, Nisargadatta Maharaj, Osho, Papaji, and Barry Long. Today, an increasing number of modern mystics are following in their footsteps. Here is a short selection.
Since 1962, when Rachel Carson wrote Silent Spring, the severe damage that we are causing to our physical environment has become increasingly obvious. While this problem is essentially a psychospiritual one, there are many ecological organizations in the world seeking to create a healthier approach to business, with the slogan ‘sustainable development’. Here is a short selection.
The Center for Ecoliteracy is dedicated to education for sustainable living. Founded in 1995 by Fritjof Capra, Peter Buckley, and Zenobia Barlow, it is a public foundation that supports a grantmaking program for educational organizations and school communities, primarily in the San Francisco Bay Area; convenes networks of its grantees; sponsors projects consistent with its mission; administers donor-advised funds; and manages a publishing imprint, Learning in the Real World®.
Since its founding in 1979 by Robert and Diane Gilman, Context Institute has explored how human society can become sustainable (i.e. able to meet the needs of the present without diminishing the prospects for the future), and has served as a catalyst for voluntary change toward a more humane and sustainable culture:
- A good life for all life that can be passed on to everyone's great, great … grandchildren.
- A culture (or society) that is meaningful and satisfying to its members today and that does not need to destroy or deplete its environment in order to be that way.
Yet as simple and almost universally appealing as this vision is,
- our present global society is, by these definitions, neither humane nor sustainable
- there is no broad understanding or consensus on how to get from where we are to a humane and sustainable way of life.
Context Institute exists to help bridge this gap and has the mission to "serve as an effective catalyst for signficant cultural change toward a humane and sustainable world." Central to our approach is our sense that the world is now going through a process of cultural change that is as profound as the shift, over 5000 years ago, out of hunting and gathering and into agriculture and cities.
Friends of the Earth wants a world where protection of the environment and meeting everyone's needs go hand- in-hand. Three beliefs underpin our work:
- We must look after our planet: Live within the limits of the natural world. This means polluting and using less.
- Everyone has a right to a fair share: Meet our needs—and keep the environment safe—now and in the future. This is environmental justice.
- Realistic alternatives are possible: Only grow the economy in ways that focus on quality of life and protection of the planet.
The means to these ends is just as important. We won't compromise our principles:
- Work within the law—campaign to change it.
- Independence from political parties.
- Don't take money from big companies.
Global Action Plan (GAP) is the practical environmental charity that helps people to make positive changes at home, at work, at school and in the wider community. By working together, we make the small changes that have a big impact on the things that matter. p>
GAP is the nonprofit research arm of Empowerment Institute, founded by David Gershon. It conducts research on the cutting edge of behavior change, public participation, and community empowerment. The GAP network consists of public sector agencies, non profit organizations and individual practitioners in seventeen countries around the world.
The Commons is a shared space on the Internet, with the intention of providing a wide open, world-wide, non-government forum which can serve as a working tool and assembly area for people and groups concerned with improving our understanding and control of technology as it impacts on people in their daily lives. The three central themes of all our exchanges and work here: the much needed move to sustainability, social justice, and the critical role of individual responsibility in the making of both.
The Commons has two principal functions: the first being to serve as an efficient gateway to the dozen or so focused programs/web sites that make it up. The second: to supply an independent, free forum for world news about and the open, critical discussion of the issues of sustainable development and social justice, and of the ongoing efforts to do something about it. Its web site hosts the World-Wide Sustainability Resource Inventory (New thinking, innovation & peer support at a time of emerging crisis).
Communities and course centres
To find deep inner peace within a society that it is at war with itself is not easy. So traditionally, spiritual seekers have withdrawn from the world into communities, typically of monks and nuns. The Buddhist community, called a sangha, ‘crowd, host’, and the Hindu satsang, ‘good company’, are just two examples.
However, this is no longer an option. We all need to look deeply within ourselves to find the root causes of conflict if we are to live in love, peace, and harmony with each other. There are many communities and course centres around the world engaged in such activities, seeking a more spiritual and ecological way of life. Here is a short selection.
The Ängsbacka course centre and community in Sweden is best known internationally for its No Mind festival run each summer, for it is something beyond the ordinary for people of all ages and backgrounds. It is a meeting place for world-reknowned teachers and musicians, who bring out the best in us. More than 800 people come together each year to share openness, inspiration and conscious living—a gathering of open hearts celebrating life and gaining new insights together. Workshops, satsangs, concerts, dance, open stage, rituals, african drums, children’s and youth program, fire walk, sharing groups, celebrations and much more.
The Fellowship for Intentional Community nurtures connections and cooperation among communitarians and their friends. We provide publications, referrals, support services, and sharing opportunities for a wide range of intentional communities, cohousing groups, ecovillages, community networks, support organizations, and people seeking a home in community.
Intentional Communities, who are often aware of themselves as different from mainstream culture, have for many centuries been places where idealists have come together to create a better world. Virtually all communities share a common root value of cooperation, which the Fellowship is facilitating through the extension of cooperation beyond membership boundaries and common values, understanding that differences can be a cause for celebration, and an occasion for enrichment and growth.
Gaia House is a Meditation Retreat Centre in the West of England offering Insight Meditation (known as Vipassana in the Buddhist tradition) and Zen Retreats throughout the year. The Centre provides comprehensive Dharma teachings and spiritual practices to realize wisdom and compassion in daily life.
The Global Ecovillage Network (GEN) is a global confederation of people and over 300 communities that meet and share their ideas, exchange technologies, develop cultural and educational exchanges, directories and newsletters, and are dedicated to restoring the land and living "sustainable plus" lives by putting more back into the environment than we take out.
Ecovillages are urban or rural communities of people, who strive to integrate a supportive social environment with a low-impact way of life. To achieve this, they integrate various aspects of ecological design, permaculture, ecological building, green production, alternative energy, community building practices, and much more.
Network members include large networks like Sarvodaya (11,000 sustainable villages in Sri Lanka); EcoYoff and Colufifa (350 villages in Senegal); the Ladakh project on the Tibetian plateau; ecotowns like Auroville in South India, the Federation of Damanhur in Italy and Nimbin in Australia; small rural ecovillages like Gaia Asociación in Argentina and Huehuecoyotl, Mexico; urban rejuvenation projects like Los Angeles EcoVillage and Christiania in Copenhagen; permaculture design sites such as Crystal Waters, Australia, Cochabamba, Bolivia and Barus, Brazil; and educational centres such as Findhorn in Scotland, Centre for Alternative Technology in Wales, Earthlands in Massachusetts, and many more.
The Richard Glyn Foundation at Gaunts House in Dorset in southern England is a centre for profound learning, healing and transformation. It is particularly noted for its summer gathering and the wide range of other courses it runs in its spacious house and grounds.
If we are to transform the Whole, it is not enough to work only at the global level; local initiatives are also vital. Here are some grass-roots organizations promoting such activities.
The Giraffe Heroes Project is a national nonprofit that honors people who stick their necks out for the common good, inspires others to do the same, and gives them tools to succeed.
Since 1984 we’ve been finding people acting with courage and caring in their communities or farther afield, then telling the stories of these “Giraffe Heroes” in print, in schools, on television and radio, and on the web. Others see or hear these stories and are moved to go into action themselves, on issues important to them.
But sticking your neck out to help solve a public problem can be confusing, difficult and even dangerous. Speeches, workshops and books by the Giraffe Heroes Project train tomorrow’s heroes. This work gives both inspiration and expertise to people wanting to make a difference in their world, from beginners to seasoned pros.
The Global Ideas Bank’s origins lie in the Institute for Social Inventions, which was set up in 1985 by Nicholas Albery, social inventor and visionary extraordinaire. From small beginnings (a network of inventors, a quarterly newsletter), the Institute grew into a fully-fledged organisation under his leadership: producing an annual compendium, running social inventions workshops and promoting creative solutions around the world. It was part of the first European Social Innovations Exchange, and has been a source of inspiration for countless individuals and organisations. In 2001, the Institute was awarded a Margaret Mead Special Recognition Award for “community creativity for a new century”.
In 1995, the Global Ideas Bank (itself an award-winning idea originally suggested by an American correspondent, Gregory Wright) was first established online, and has since become the name for the entire project's work. Gradually, the Global Ideas Bank became what it is today: the greatest ideas site on the internet today. A not-for-profit website that is part suggestion box, part networking tool, part democratic think-tank and part inspirational entertainment!