From the Director

Welcome to Common Ground: Center for Spiritual Practice

Hermon75

Humans have a need to have rituals in their lives to mark transitions and to create meaning. The earliest humans probably sat around campfires asking questions about why things happen the way that they do, and very early hominid burials show the presence of objects with the bodies, indicating some form of burial rituals. Rituals and practices are a part of every human culture, although the type of practice and the meaning associated with the practice are unique to their own context. Even those faiths that are ostensibly found world-wide have significant differences in beliefs, rituals, and practices in different areas. What is constant is the need for some type of practice.

Human beings are embodied creatures. What we think is important, but what our bodies do are also important. Humans have body knowledge, knowledge that can only be obtained through actual practice. When I was teaching my sons to drive, it was clear that the knowledge associated with driving was embodied knowledge. Although they had the theory about driving a car before they ever got behind the steering wheel, that theoretical knowledge was only useful when combined with the embodied knowledge that they gained through the practice of driving. The practice was informed by their intellectual knowledge, but in the end, the embodied knowledge helped them to really understand the intellectual. In humans, these two types of knowing work together.

This need for both intellectual and embodied knowledge is important in the spiritual life. We often begin a practice because it fits with our intellectual understanding, but practice is not only necessary for deeply understanding the spiritual life− but that practice will also, in the long term, not only illuminate our intellectual knowledge, but also shape our embodied lives.

Common Ground: Center for Spiritual Practice was begun by a group of people who had come to appreciate the importance of practice in the spiritual life. We do not all come from one religion or faith tradition. In fact, some of us have also been deeply affected by spiritual practices from outside our primary spiritual communities. We hope to provide a variety of programs to nurture people’s spiritual practices. We hope that people will come to learn how to deepen the practices of their own spiritual traditions, to explore new spiritual practices, and final to learn about the practices of other traditions in a spirit of openness. We wish to welcome all who want to explore how practice might allow them to deepen their own spiritual journeys.

Hospitality is at the core of who we are and what we do. Come practice with us!

The Rev. Tara Soughers, PhD