The potency of spirituality |

The potency of spirituality

Chad Abraham

Perhaps it’s just coincidence that a four-day spiritual seminar in Aspen will occur at the same time that some of the world’s top minds are convening in town.Whether it’s coincidence or karma, Ed Bastian of the Spiritual Paths Foundation said the opportunity to send a message of deep spirituality as it applies to relationships to global leaders is serendipitous.”The Path of Relationships,” a program presented by the foundation, runs July 7-10, while the six-day Aspen Ideas Festival starts two days earlier.Part of the seminar will be a multifaith service atop Aspen Mountain on Sunday, July 10. Attendees will sing songs, pray, and perform rituals and chants.The service “will bring together all the great spiritual traditions of the world, and symbolically on top of an Aspen Mountain where you have many of the world’s leaders circulating below,” Bastian said. “Hopefully it has some kind of a greater meaning.”The core of “The Path of Relationships” will be talks given by renowned teachers of spirituality from around the United States and the world. An understanding of spirituality, or a lack thereof, can make huge differences in everyday relationships, Bastian said. Those can include everything from how we relate to life partners and families to how we connect with the community and the world.Bastian, president of the Spiritual Paths Foundation, holds a Ph.D. in Buddhist studies and Western philosophy. He said a large percentage of mankind is not accessing the key dimension of human consciousness: spirituality.”We’re bombarded by a plethora of sense objects that distract us and give us false promise of happiness and satisfaction,” Bastian said. “As soon as we find out that one doesn’t work, we’re on to the next one hoping it’ll work. Our whole life is spent in pursuit of these false promises.”He emphasized that the conference is not about religion. Instead, the six teachers scheduled to speak are experts on “the original inspirations and epiphanies that led the great teachers to develop their teachings, upon which religions were formed.”Kabir Helminski, for instance, is the official shaikh, or one who has attained spiritual mastery, of the Mevlevi Order, which traces back to the Middle Ages and the great Sufi poet Rumi. Sufism is the mystical approach to Islam, according to an Institute of Ismaili Studies website.”Kabir is the recipient of that lineage of teachings in America,” Bastian said. “He’s a great teacher.”Along with studying and reflecting on the roots of diverse religions, teachers and attendees will explore the contemplative dimension of spirituality.Connecting with that aspect – and not the external forms of religion – “can help us develop successful and fulfilling relationships on all levels,” Bastian said.”When we’re dealing with the subject of our inner world and finding peace within us, that will then create a peaceful world around us.”Bastian, a longtime Woody Creek resident, said contemporary Aspen is only realizing two out of the three components of the Aspen Idea. But that can be rectified by events like “The Path of Relationships.””This is the spirit in the mind-body-spirit trilogy. The spirit doesn’t get a lot of play [here],” Bastian said. “We have a lot of mind and body going on this summer, and we’re hoping that by providing this multifaith event, it will have some potency.”Chad Abraham’s e-mail address is chad@aspentimes.comWant to take the path?The cost for the full “Path of Relationships” seminar is $250, which represents only half of the cost of producing the event, according to Ed Bastian.Costs range for single events; for more information, call 923-0370 or visit