THE INTERPATH PRINCIPLES: The Practice of Expansive Love, Compassion, and Understanding 2023
We offer these Nine Principles in a spirit of humility and gratitude. The Board of Directors formulated these Principles over more than three years of conversations. They are emerging Principles constantly subject to review, reflection, and reformulation. The Principles continue to emerge from our seeking to be persons practicing expansive love, compassion, and understanding. We often discover these Principles in our encounters with the people we meet, gleaning and learning from their wisdom and example.
1. Compassionate Care: We humbly commit ourselves to be people of compassionate love and care.
We respond to the issues of the day as we bond with people influenced by the issues of the day. We strive to commit ourselves to caring for and respecting everyone we meet. We practice compassion by walking with other people, meeting them where they are, and being willing to be a part of their lives as peaceful companions and friends. We are grateful for the opportunity to journey with these people.
2. Inclusivity: We strive to be open-hearted as we realize our need for one another.
We are inclusive of all people and work toward equality for women, LGBTQIA+, racial equality, and anyone who needs the justice befitting their dignity as human persons. Our advocacy includes listening to those who seek justice as we walk with them on the pathways of what is right, true, good, and just. We also seek to support those who ally themselves with those seeking justice. We believe every human being deserves to be recognized and treated as a full member of our Human Family.
3. Contemplation: We strive to harvest the wisdom of the great teachers past and present in our quest for expansive respect and understanding.
We seek to love, honor, and respect the wisdom revealed in the World of Nature and the Great Wisdom Teachers. The Great Teachings remind us to strive to do no harm as we seek to be persons dedicated to expansive love and compassion. We also seek the wisdom of our ancestors and friends. We strive to find wisdom even in the midst of conflict and division. We practice deep reflection as we strive to be empathetic and compassionate. We engage the contemplative arts and the practice of silence, seeking to hear the voice of Wisdom within our hearts. Without this interior voice, our lives would simply be busy.
4. Peace Filled World: We strive to commit and dedicate ourselves to reducing suffering in the world through the practice of justice, peace and empathy.
We strive to practice expansive love and understanding in every dimension of our lives. We seek to find what is good, true, just, and beautiful even in situations of great hurt and difficulty. While never justifying evil or suffering, we seek to move beyond despair and hopelessness. We seek vision in heartbreak, committing ourselves to comfort all who suffer as best we can. We support local, national, and global organizations, never forgetting the individual people we are blessed to serve. We claim the peace in our hearts for the sake of the World.
5. Simplicity: We seek to be organizationally simple.
The structures of our organization must never interfere with our desire to welcome everyone. We do not seek affiliation with any particular spiritual, philosophical or cultural institution since we strive to include and bond with everyone. We accept free-will donations rather than engaging in fundraising or charging fees or tuition for our outreach and programs. The greatest gifts we receive are the presence, wisdom, and courage of all we meet. We seek to transcend any attachment to outcome, realizing our work and journey are ongoing and radically open.
6. Interconnected, Interdependent, Interrelated: We delight in the presence of one another.
We meet with one or more persons. We recognize the dignity and uniqueness of everyone we meet. We seek to grow in wisdom and knowledge. Our experience has taught us to be open to everyone as best we can. We do not expect anyone to conform to any particular beliefs. We invite each person to bless us with their gifts and authentic selves. The Ancient Teaching rings true: “I am a better person because I met you.”
7. Outreach and Hospitality to Everyone: Hospitality is at the heart of our work and outreach.
We strive to offer a safe and welcoming haven. We strive to accept people as they are. This attitude of the heart comes from a deep practice of centeredness so that we may help our companions open the door to the depths of their hearts. Therefore, we strive to be open-minded and open-hearted as we realize our need for one another. We seek to be what people need us to be. Rumi reminds us, “We humans are each a guesthouse.” As a guesthouse, we open the doors of our hearts and emotions to those who might walk with us, seeking to be fully alive.
8. On-going Education and Formation: We strive to grow in wisdom continuously inspired by the traditions of humankind.
As we commit ourselves to the service of the communities in which we live, we seek to provide opportunities for our friends to learn, cherish, and incorporate the wisdom of the Traditions of the World in their daily lives. We make this possible through our ongoing study of the Traditions of Humankind. Our research and studies are not limited to religious sources. We seek wisdom in the beauty of art, the words of literature, the sound of music, and the conversations with friends. This study invites us to rediscover our hearts in new and profound ways.
9. Care of Self: We understand that our work requires each of us to practice self-care in all the affairs of our lives.
Above all, we realize no one of us can do this work alone. We strive to remember we need one another. As we recognize our limits, we realize our limits are not faults but opportunities for respect of others based on self-care and self-respect. We continue to discern these principles from our work and life experience. The Principles are not our burden but our stated insights. We seek to be our true selves. The greatest gift we will ever give is the gift of ourselves; for this, we give thanks.