Dena Merriam received
One Spirit's "Friend of God" Recognition at Riverside Church in New York in June
2009 (see One Spirit at the New York hub)
"Cloud Reflections" by Dafna Mordecai
Aspen Spiritual Summit,
2008, and followup founding of The Contemplative Alliance,
As can be seen by the program list at the website
of The Global Peace Initiative of Women:
GPIW has hosted a myriad of events important to
inter-religious and interspiritual dialogue. Most recently these have included the
"Aspen Spiritual Summit" ("Gathering Spiritual Voices of America) held in
Aspen, Colorado immediately after the election of President Barack Obama in November 2008.
More recently, in October of 2009 a select group of the Aspen gathering met at
Osprey Point Retreat Center in Maryland to form the "Contemplative Alliance".
Of the Contemplative Alliance, GPIW has recently
Contemplative Alliance represents a deepening of the interfaith work of the last several
decades. This work has fostered dialogue among the religions so they can develop
tolerance, understand one another and cooperate around social issues. Contemplative
practice moves beyond dialogue to the knowing of our essential Oneness, which has great
implications for the perspectives we bring, for our actions and our very being. The Global
Peace Initiative of Women has worked for many years to gather spiritualresources in places
of great need, and we are eager to assist in generating the needed vision and energy to
pull together the Contemplative Alliance. On November 5, 2008, the day after the US
national elections, we called together spiritual leaders and meditation practitioners from
various faith communities to explore how we can build a new spiritual voice for the
nation, based on contemplative wisdom and the perception of the underlying Oneness of
life. Since then, through many conversations and by observing world events, it has become
clear that our collective voices are needed to give positive expression to the transitions
underway so that we can respond wisely to the opportunities presented. The Contemplative
Alliance must be a collective effort. It is an offering, a sharing of the
fruits of our collective inner work for the welfare of all beings."
The work of GPIW in forming the Contemplative
Alliance is in complete synchronity with the original vision of Brother Wayne. His
classic book The Mystic Heart was about this process and, as has been pointed out
in more recent writing about him (see Hayashi and Johnson at: http://www.via-visioninaction.org/via-li/ArticlesEssays.php) much of the rest of his life until his transition in 2004 was consumed by
articulating the process by which the deepest contemplative understandings of humankind
could skillfully serve the world's future. Needless to say, a number of friends and
colleagues of Brother Wayne are a part of this process, including his close associate Fr.
Thomas Keating and the founders of Wayne's "association", InterSpiritual
Dialogue in Action.
Dena Merriam, GPIW Convenor
and Photo of recent "Women's Summit"
The Global Peace Initiative of
Women (GPIW) was founded by a group of women religious and spiritual leaders to provide a
global platform through which women and men, working in partnership, can foster the
spiritual values of global unity, peacebuilding and the development of all the peoples of
the world. GPIW is an international network of women and men who come together
to tap our collective spiritual wisdom to stimulate reconciliation and healing in areas of
conflict and post-conflict, and to deepen understanding of oneness, compassion and the
principles of ahimsa (non-harm) as central tenets of life.
GPIW believes that a shift in
consciousness is needed, a change in heart and mind, if we are as a global community to
meet the challenges of climate change, environmental degradation, poverty and hunger,
violence and conflict. Central to its work is the belief that the feminine qualities
of wholeness, inclusion, and integration have a vital role to play in facilitating this
shift and bringing greater balance to our world. Thus it makes great effort to draw
upon the resources of women spiritual leaders as it seek to empower these vital qualities.
work aims to foster respect for all peoples on Earth and for the Earths natural
environment. It highlights humanitys shared values, even as we profoundly appreciate
the diversity of human culture and belief. GPIW realizes the importance of transmitting
such values to the next generation. Thus, in its sacred work, it places special emphasis
on tapping inter-spiritual wisdom and developing leadership in young adults around the
world, listening to the perspectives of all as all seek together to create a
more caring and compassionate world community.
You can read more of Dena Merriam's
See the Jaipur Women's Summit in Five Parts at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FA-HfH75BS8