Welcome To The Unified Path

What Is the Unified Path?

The Unified Path is a practical methodology of spiritual growth whose objective is to open the practitioner to the Divine through the use of four keys that together engage the whole person: body, mind, heart, and soul. The Unified Path protects against the hypertrophy or deviation of any one of the four levels by opening the practitioner to the Transcendent. 

The four keys of the Unified Path, which are present in every authentic religious tradition, are ritual for the body; doctrine, philosophy, and theology for the mind; devotion, prayer, and service for the heart; and practice-of-presence, meditation, and inquiry into personal experience for the soul.

The Unified Path is a practice, not a belief system, and it is intended not to replace any religion or spiritual tradition you may be practicing, but to make it richer, clearer, and more effective. It is not limited to the conceptual but can—and must—be put into action.

Practicing the Four Elements of the Unified Path

The forms these practices take are highly customizable. The practitioner may use practices associated with their own religious tradition or a different religious tradition or adopt an eclectic combination of practices. The object is to practice all four of the basic methodologies, incorporated into a balance that is both personally and practically suitable for each individual traveler.

Although every spiritual practitioner must learn to persevere through times of dryness, the cultivation of mindfulness is essential. It is the turning of the key in the lock to open the door. Therefore, in order to maintain one’s center and not allow any practice to become rote or mechanical, you must always pay attention to what you doing. Just as it is your presence that unites the four elements of the Unified Path, your presence unites you—body, mind, heart, and soul—into an integrated whole.

Ritual (the body: the moving part)

Physical rituals are an important gateway to self-awareness and, consequently, an important part of our path to know ourselves. Physical rituals combine three essential elements: increased concentration and interiorization; a heightened ability to notice particular sensory signals; and a clearer understanding of the limits, place, and context of physical being As a result of our concentration and increased bodily awareness, we can become much more aware of the limits of physicality and the unlimited nature of our awareness. Cultivating a sense of where the body ends and where our awareness doesn’t end is an essential element of our path.

Doctrine and principles (the mind: the thinking part)

This element involves regular study of and involvement with spiritual, doctrinal, philosophical, and metaphysical literature. Practice can be personal study, participation in a class or spiritual group, or study under the direction of a teacher, master, or guru.

Devotion, service, and prayer (the heart: the feeling part)

This element engages the heart in love of the other: both other human persons and the Transcendent or Higher Power. Acts of prayer and devotion can be offered to the Transcendent. These are very personal and should be chosen according to what resonates with you. This is about creating moments of connection. It is not simply an acknowledgment or understanding of that which is greater than us, but a loving contemplation of It. Acts of love can also be offered to our fellow creatures. The element of devotion to the group, the community, and the world is indispensable because of its impact on ego erosion in the individual and spiritual support for one’s community and fellow travelers. Such acts are immensely helpful in their ability to reduce the sense of the “individual I” or “separate self,” which is, of course, the root of our delusion of the world and of ourselves.

Practice of presence, meditation, and inquiry (the soul: the being part)

This element encompasses the practice of presence as well as personal inquiry and guided introspection, in response to the human need to understand oneself and the context of one’s existence. It focuses on finding the One beneath the many, the Self beneath the ego, and pure awareness beneath perceptions, thoughts, and emotions. By overcoming our illusions about ourselves and our world, we get in touch with Being and the Transcendent. Meditation and inquiry discover and verify pure consciousness through your own experience, and not just as doctrine or theory or as mediated by the experience of others. Without this activity, much of the impetus for working a path is lost, as it is necessary to nourish the instinctive and intuitive interior understanding that there is a greater or whole of which we are a part and that we aspire to know personally.

The Unified Path is eminently customizable, and the way it is lived may look very different from one individual to the next. Its practices can be chosen from a particular religious tradition, gathered from several different traditions, or even newly designed. In addition to choosing practices, a traveler may cultivate a particular focus or emphasis that expresses his personality or calling. However, the core of the Unified Path is regular engagement with all four elements of the human person: body, mind, heart, and soul.

Download our 18-page booklet introducing the Unified Path, with a full explanation of each of the four elements and its purpose, a sample daily Unified Path routine, and additional resources.