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Pointers to Presence
Here is a heads up: if you are going to wade into the deep intellect of Kurt Johnson, it pays to take a moment to familiarize yourself with Bede Griffiths, the singular individual most responsible for straddling Christianity and traditonal advaita vedanta. In fact, within a year of his arrival,Bede Griffiths had met Ramana Maharshi, who inspired him to found The Shantivanam Ashram in Southern India.
So, my suggestion is to take peak at a few of Bede Griffiths videos, posted here. It will help you bridge the apparent gap between eastern and western mystical heritages.
Kurt Johnson might be called an “advaita teacher” . He teaches along with Pamela Wilson, Annette Knopp and John Taylor through Pamela’s Fellowship of the Heart (www.pamelasatsang.com). You'll find some information on Pamela Wilson by clicking here.
Beyond that, however, Kurt has a peculiar background and pedigree, especially involving Kurt’s distinguished long career in evolutionary biology (for which his writings are known throughout the world, particularly through a 2000 bestseller in popular science), his co-career as a professor of world religions and spirituality, and his leadership position in aspects of the world’s transformational and integral movements. It’s an odd combination.
Kurt began as a Christian monastic for some 14 years, a background through which he became friends with many in the modern Christian contemplative movement, co-founding with Brother Wayne Teasdale an international network for discussion of the “experience of One” across traditions (InterSpiritual Dialogue in Action, www.isdna.org).
Through this alliance of Brother Wayne, Kurt and friends a new dialogue evolved, combining the common elements of not only Advaita but Dzogchen and the mystical roots of a number of other eastern and western traditions.
In 2001, Kurt had a spontaneous “shift”. Part of this remarkable story is how Kurt came to know Pamela Wilson. Without going into allot of details regarding this mystical occurance, here is what Pamela wrote...before meeting Kurt:
“Kurt. There is a reservoir of devotion in the spiritual heart which rests, waiting for a silent song…akin to moonlight whose soft touch opens the evening flowers. And then it flows unreservedly from heart to heart. How lucky we are to be the mystery’s children and to know it, not as father or mother, but that which breathes us, moves rivers within, and beats the drum of our heart. This is communion of Self to Self, life and love in devotion to itself, a celebration of what is Real, and cannot die. Sending love to my new friend. We must meet.”
After this abrupt "awakening", Kurt retired from his careers in science and business administrative law to devote himself to the unfolding dialogue of “Oneness” across all the traditions. His premise was simple: If Truth is Absolute, then, it would follow that this Truth should appear in the mystical root od all religious/spiriutal traditions.
One contribution Kurt has made is what he refers to as Lateral Satsang . it is a meeting format which serves the awakening spirit well. Click here to read "An Introduction to Lateral Satsang", by Kurt Johnson.
Another fascinating article on Bede Griffiths and Wayne Teasdale, cross referencing of the Truth as found in the hindu tradition Christianity. Read Bede Griffiths and Wayne Teasdale—One of the Crucial Threads of Christian/ Hindu Mystical Dialogue by Kurt Johnson here. It is a major contribution assisting the pointing interspiritually between various mystical texts of the major religon towards the same Truth.
In 2006, he co-founded NY’s dynamic Coalition for OneVoice (www.coalitionforonevoice.org) and joined NY’s OneSpirit Learning Alliance and Interfaith Seminary (www.onespiritinterfaith.org) where he teaches world religions and Integral Spirituality, melding Bro. Wayne's interspiritual vision, nondual spirituality, and the integral thinking of Ken Wilber ( see more on Ken Wilber here) and Don Beck. In New York City Kurt serves on the boards of several UN NGO’s, the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s panel “Dialogue of Science, Ethics and Religion”, and has associated recently with The Aspen Grove (www.theaspengrove.org) and Namaste books (www.namastepublishing.com) on several creative experiments in trans-traditional dialogue.
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