Monasteries of the Heart

A Global Heart

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My favorite story of Saint Benedict happened at the end of his life. According to his biographer, Gregory the Great, Benedict was standing before his window in the dead of night, wrapped in prayer. Suddenly, a flood of light shone down from above, clearing away every trace of darkness. Gregory writes, “According to Benedict’s own description, the whole world gathered up before his eyes in what appeared to be a single ray of light.”

I thought of this story while I was viewing a preview copy of “Globalized Soul”. There’s no doubt that the filmmakers have the same vision as Benedict and know it to be the essential insight of all religion: darkness will be destroyed only when, in the light of love, we see every man and woman, ever nation and culture as one.

We are introduced in the film to many ordinary, deeply spiritual individuals people who are devoting their lives to bring abut this oneness. We find them in dangerous and divided places, working nonviolently to make possible “the dawn of a global village.”

The video took three years to film and involved trips to 5 continents, 100 hours of footage, 35 interviews of visionary and spiritual activist representing the world’s religions, and showcases sacred music and rituals from around the globe.

I have to say that I really enjoyed the sacred music, especially the Turkish Whirling Dervishes, and wished the film had given music equal time to the speakers. I think we still put too much trust in the word, rather than in music and art, to change the human heart. I say this even though Erie Benedictine Sister Joan Chittister is one of speakers in the film, as well as His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Rabbi Michael Lerner and Roshi Joan Halifax, among other inspirational figures.

You might think of renting the film for an inter-religious service and discussion. To get a 10-minute flavor of the hour-long feature, just click on

I also like to think that this prayer, which I wrote a few years ago, is in the spirit of Benedict’s vision and the Globalized Soul. I offer it for your consideration.

I bow to the one who signs the cross.
I bow to the one who sits with the Buddha.
I bow to the one who wails at the wall.
I bow to the OM flowing in the Ganges.
I bow to the one facing Mecca,
whose forehead touches holy ground.
I bow to dervishes whirling in mystical wind.
I bow
to the north
to the south
to the east
to the west

I bow to the God within each heart.
I bow to epiphany, to God’s face revealed.
I bow. I bow. I bow.