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The "Paths to the Heart" Conference on Sufism and the Christian East took place in Columbia, South Carolina on October 18-20, 2001. Internationally recognized spiritual leaders and scholars gathered for three days of presentation and dialogue concerning the mystical and contemplative dimensions of Eastern Christianity and Islam. Speakers included Bishop Kallistos Ware, Lecturer in Eastern Orthodox Studies at Oxford University; and Dr Seyyed Hossein Nasr, University Professor of Islamic Studies at George Washington University.

In reflecting on the significance of the Conference, it occurs to us that rather than building bridges between the two communities of believers, participants instead were helping each other discover the bridges that have already been in existence for many centuries but that have become obscured to many for two reasons: (1) The ability to see the Beauty and Truth that lives at the center of a traditionally based faith that is not our own is weakened when political and other similar worldly differences take hold of our minds and hearts. And (2) we have become more and more distant from the Beauty and Truth within our own traditions, making many doubt the very existence or life-determining influence of those gifts of God to our own communities of faith.

Thus, as we help others to see the living core of our own traditions, we are also helping ourselves refocus on the invaluable gift that this core represents in guiding us beyond our own human limitations to spiritual vistas beyond our imagining. This makes a conference like Paths to the Heart both learning experience and celebration.

This slideshow will present audio clips from some of the presentations given at the Conference.

Please note that the audio presentations will work best if you have a high-speed data connection and may not work satisfactorily at speeds of 56 kbps or 128 kbps.

Paths to the Heart: Sufism
and the Christian East

is a book published by
World Wisdom in 2002
and edited by
James S. Cutsinger.

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