ness. Last weekend my husband went out for sushi in Seattle with Dr. Wayne. My friend Chaya, the acupuncturist, called and said, "Dr. Wayne Dyer??!" I had the same initial response. My husband's funny that way. He often says surprising or bizarre things very matter of factly. I can remember when he came home one evening and said, "I had a nice time at Starbucks with the Rinpoche." I had to ask, "And which Rinpoche might that be?" and he said, "The one I met in the library." I guess he met a holy Tibetan Lama in the Seattle Public Library and took him out for hot cocoa at Starbucks and a walk around Greenlake. When Seong Yoon came home from his evening out with Dr. Wayne, he had an armful of reading material that we have been devouring ever since. He hardly noticed our mailbox that lay in pieces across the street in front of our house. While he was dining on sushi and discussing psychology and religion with Dr. Wayne, I was picking up mailbox pieces and talking to police officers. It was the second time there was a car accident in front of our house since we've lived here. The neighbors claim it has happened more than 10 times in the same spot. Perhaps the culprit is a spirit, a black hole or maybe it's just a blind intersection which needs a stop or yield sign. So, anyway, one of the books he brought back from his dinner out is titled Introducing Ken Wilber: Concepts for an Evolving World. Wilber describes how all people grow upward along a spiral of development. There are different stages along this spiral just as there are stages of human development starting from the infant stage and continuing on to old age. Humans often get stuck in a particular stage of development and live out there entire life in this stage. Wilber uses colors to denote the stages. The color blue describes people who are stuck in the 6-11 year age bracket. Under the color blue are the words traditional, conformist, ethnocentric and agrarian. According to Wilber, 40 percent of the world's population live in this stage. If you are stuck in this stage, it will be difficult to understand the other stages of development because you have yet to pass through them. At the top of the spiral, which is represented by the color Turquoise, the words holarchial, integral, mature, worldcentric and informational are written. People who have passed through all stages of development can see the value of earlier stages. However, people stuck in earlier stages, will disregard anything that doesn't fit into their picture of the world. I find this very fascinating.
Recently, one of my colleagues at the college asked me to be on a panel on a discussion about "religion" and "spirituality" in her Cultural Issues class. The panel included one Muslim, one Christian and one Buddhist. I was the Buddhist, although I don't think of myself as a Buddhist. I am just a person who practices meditation. The goal was not to strike up an argument, but to find the commonality amongst all religions. The first question for the panel was What do the words "religion" and "spirituality" mean to you? We all agreed that the word "religion" may be the cause of separatism amongst groups of people. We can ask the question "What's your religion?" and from the answer we are given, we have already drawn a picture in our minds of this person. So, if you say you are a Muslim, a Buddhist or a Christian, you are, in effect, identifying yourself with a title. The definition of that title varies from person to person. Spirituality, we decided, is very different from religion. Spirituality describes a "oneness". It is something all of us can have. This word doesn't seem to discriminate. Spirituality is a quality that is in every human being's nature. Whether or not one chooses to develop it is up to that individual. It is a personal thing but, once developed, includes all things. This is where Wilber's idea of the spirit being something that we develop makes sense. The last question for the panel was What do you think is common or shared across all religious or spiritual practices? Our panel came up with many answers along a similar vein. One is that we as humans have a goodness inside of us. Also, that many people feel a sense of happiness or peacefulness when practicing their given faith. Last, if people are truly following their religion or spiritual practice, love, compassion, peace and wisdom should arise.