The Braided Way is an approach to spiritual development, which allows us to integrate faith traditions, while honoring each faith’s unique contribution to the human awareness of the Holy. In the Braided Way, each faith tradition is a strand that intertwines with the other faith traditions, forming a braid, which contributes to our awareness of the Holy Mystery.
The Braided Way does not present all faiths blending into a single, thick strand. Rather, the image of the braid compels us to value each individual strand in its unique, cultural depth and heritage.
What is important in the Braided Way is the ability to choose spiritual disciplines from various faith traditions. There is no prescribed combination. A person raised Christian may decide to supplement his faith tradition with Native American ceremonies, which celebrate the Earth. A person without a tie to a faith tradition can approach the braid, searching for the spiritual discipline, which speaks to her intuitive connection to the Holy. A vivid dream life may draw her toward prophetic practices in the Kabbalah; warm hands in prayer may lead her toward studying Reiki; a desire for the calm of meditation may reveal a need for Buddhist practices. What is important is to respect and explore the deep, historic roots of each of these strands in the braid of spiritual experience. There are far too many books and spiritual teachers among us who are claiming to offer a “new” spiritual path, only to present a superficial and non-historical re-packaging of the ancient traditions. It is important in the Braided Way to acknowledge the deep historical roots of our world traditions.
A major criticism of this eclectic approach to developing spiritual awareness is that it does not allow for the life-time commitment and depth of a single tradition. People often claim that instead of digging one deep hole of spiritual development, people seeking a braided path will instead dig many shallow holes. However, the writer Debra Leigh Scott counters with the argument that she is indeed digging one deep hole of spiritual growth, she is simply willing to use a variety of tools. A more crucial question is: what is the goal of the hole?
When entering the Braided Way it is important to accept that the universal goal of spiritual living is to seek unity with the Holy. All of the mystical traditions in our world faiths rose from the unitive experience of their founders. At base, what unifies these traditions is a goal to what many call “unity consciousness.” In Theistic traditions, this goal is characterized by a desire to be in divine union with the Creator. In traditions such as Buddhism and Taoism, this unity experience is described as expanded consciousness. In both cases, the mystical journey entails an awareness of non-duality between the self and the universal. This sacred awareness of the interconnection of all things—of the union between the internal and the external, of the merging with the great mystery of the universe—is the foundation of the Braided Way because it is the natural origin of all mystical traditions. The unitive experience is described in different ways, understood in different frameworks, expressed in different languages, encouraged in different rituals, but it is fundamental to the mystical journey. The Braided Way is an invitation to a sacred path of interspiritual mystical experience.
Read the explanation of the Braided Way symbol.