The Earthsong Foundation is offering Interfaith spiritual gatherings on the island of Hawai’i.
What is an interfaith spiritual gathering?
An Interfaith spiritual gathering, in its most basic sense, is when people or groups from different religious/spiritual worldviews and traditions come together.
Interfaith dialogue refers to cooperative, constructive, and positive interaction between people of different religious traditions (i.e. “faiths”) and/or spiritual or humanistic beliefs, at both the individual and institutional levels. (Wikipedia).
We could see all of humanity as “interfaith”, with people from all backgrounds and beliefs co-existing on the planet Earth. Though we can see throughout history and presently, many continue to struggle to co-exist peacefully when there are differing perspectives, especially those of a religious nature. The reality is that these differences have long led to war amongst countries, and endless conflict between natives and newcomers, families and friends.
An interfaith spiritual gathering is not a church of organized religion. Spirituality denotes a connection to Spirit, or God, or the Divine, without the dogmatic, puritanical religious overtone that is often preached in institutionalized religion. While religion can lead to separation due to the emphasis on choosing one rigid belief system in which the devotee experiences and has faith, Spirituality emphasizes unity, and the availability of faith to reach all of us in many different forms.
Earthsong is an Earth Ashram, which means that we revere Mother Earth as our guiding spiritual force, teacher, and healer. We operate in service to the land and seek to learn from nature, while also remaining open to the wisdom of benevolent spiritual masters, teachers, and teachings. Therefore, we consider our spiritual gatherings to be interfaith as we are not closed to the teachings from Jesus Christ, Buddha, the Vedas, et al. In our experience, these teachings are universal and overlapping and are not at odds with one another.
Yoga and Permaculture are core parts of our daily lives as guiding living systems in how we care for ourselves and the earth. We share the practice of Yoga regularly with our community in weekly classes, however we are aware that the practice of yoga might not resonate or be accessible for every body. Thus, Soul Sphere – an interfaith spiritual gathering – is being offered as an inclusive space to connect to spirit through devotional song, community prayer, universal and unifying wisdom. While we include yogic philosophy, it is not a yoga class and we aim to expand our reach beyond our fellow yogis to welcome families, elders, youth, and people of all faiths. To us, it is of paramount importance to surround ourselves with people of faith. Because to have faith creates resilience, strength, and peace, even amidst times of chaos and upheaval. To lose faith means to give into the fear, uncertainty, and doubt (FUD) that life may present. We need spiritual community to lift one another up when FUD happens.
What do we do in an interfaith spiritual gathering?
Ahead of the gatherings we choose a theme to center the service around. We find mantras and medicine songs from different lineages and the musical artists we collaborate with create original songs to share relevant to that theme. We invite participation from the members of the community who join the gathering to sing with us or one can simply listen and absorb the music and high vibrations.
Music is core to Soul Sphere because music is a universal unifying force that harmonizes people together.
- We choose inspirational poems, verses, and stories from various spiritual texts and sages to read in addition to our own heartfelt messages.
- We also bring in elements of meditation and conscious breath to create a calm and peaceful atmosphere.
- There is a time for community prayer to send out ripples of healing and strength to our relations and beyond.
- We invite people to dance when the music inspires us to move.
- After the service, a wholesome meal is served made with the food grown on the land.
- We invite community members to bring seeds to swap with their neighbors, as many people in our rural district on the island of Hawai’i are homesteading and gardening.
- Families are welcomed to attend and there is plenty of space outside for kids to play. It is our intention for Soul Sphere to be a family friendly affair!
The members of Soul Sphere are giving their time and energy to this gathering as an act of service. Earthsong, as a non-profit organization, accepts donations to support the on-going care of the land, space, and community.
Watch this video for a glimpse into our first Soul Sphere; an Interfaith Spiritual Gathering on the island of Hawai’i:
Check out our Global Village Online, if you’d like to view the full hour long service and concert.
By initiating interfaith spiritual gatherings we know we are diving right into some of the core wounds dealt to humankind that lead to feelings of isolation and separatism. Here on the island of Hawai’i, there have been hundreds of years of pain common to native people all over the world whose spiritual life and customs were oppressed in favor to dominant religions. We can not change the past. We can, however, make a difference in our community today, by offering a safe space to transcend the illusion of separation and experience the bliss in Unity.
“There is a sweet wholesome fragrance in our lives. It is the fragrance of Christ within us” – 2 Corinthians 2:15
“I searched for God and found only myself. I searched for myself and found only God” – Rumi
“In nature there is fundamental unity running through all diversity we see about us. Religions are given to mankind so as to accelerate the process of realization of fundamental unity” – Mohandas Gandhi
In providing interfaith spiritual gatherings on the island of Hawai’i it is our intention to recognize the variety of ways people connect to Spirit and to build a bridge from which we can discover we are all walking in the same direction…Somewhere, over the rainbow.
If you’re interested in attending an interfaith spiritual gathering on the Island of Hawai’i, visit our website to see when the next Soul Sphere is coming up in our website calendar.
Written by Elena Rose, Earthsong Steward