This innovative book is a collage of overlapping views, each of which presents a distinct perspective on human spirituality as participating co creatively in the life divine You are invited to explore the text as a virtual conceptual reality, roaming freely among the chapters and pages, progressively generating a feeling for, and comprehension of, the whole A diversity of presentations include the manifesto, the personal story, theology, metaphysics, epistemology, pathology, psychology, and practice You are also invited to appropriate and adapt any of the author s ideas and integrate them in any way into any form of expression of your own spiritual vision The author lays no claim to intellectual property rights with regard to the content of this book With illustrations and front cover photo by the author Who is this book for That s the question I m left with I read Heron s Participatory Spirituality because it was a recommended text on a course I help facilitate, and my students had lots to say as they worked their way through it Work being a fitting verb here, Heron s writing is precise and nuanced, but he doesn t go in for brevity, accessibility or enchanting prose.Here s a sample section, taken from an extract of his journal entries The spiritual potential withing primary life energy Who is this book for That s the question I m left with I read Heron s Participatory Spirituality because it was a recommended text on a course I help facilitate, and my students had lots to say as they worked their way through it Work being a fitting verb here, Heron s writing is precise and nuanced, but he doesn t go in for brevity, accessibility or enchanting prose.Here s a sample section, taken from an extract of his journal entries The spiritual potential withing primary life energy the inquiry approach through combined presentational and practical knowing, through creative artistic vital and imaginal action Here are the steps I take The basic vital imaginal action is to draw a highly animated line on the canvas layer one in Adobe Photoshop This is a line charged with elan vital, the rhythmic vitality that is the classic aesthetic criterion of Chinese art This is a line fraught with the Dionysian emergent presence in the creative act of drawing it It is full of imaginal potential coded into the vital force of its emergence So There you are And perhaps I m being mean to pick on one paragraph and offer it up like this It s not as if I read the book as it was intended to be read John Heron explains that he wants his reader to pick up sections based on what they feel inspired to read, to wander from section to section, to experience the book as a virtual reality So the book is a collection of theology, manifesto, journal entries, philosophy The back of the book adds and above all practice to the list, but I found the practical lacking Here and there allusions were made to exercises, but tantalizing as they were the description above of drawing a line is one of the few moments where Participatory Spirituality seemed to actually describe anything manifest.Nevertheless, I went from cover to cover When I read about the need for a person to take time to integrate spiritual experience, it reminded me of Shaw s writing and I wished I was reading Shaw When I read about the primary purpose of verbal speech being a form of touching and joining, I was reminded of David Abrams and I wished I was reading Abrams There were times when Heron was writing things that I d never really read from anyone else and I was left wondering if someone, somewhere, hadn t written them a lot better.I realise I haven t even really said what this book is about I ll try that here Heron writes about how it seems like an increasing number of spiritual people are busy with their own lived inquiry and want to dialogue constructively about it with each other This is his participation His perspective on what it means for a person in general and Heron in particular to be participating co creatively in the life divine And there are moments that are golden When Heron writes about authoritarian religion, when he writes about the need for personal autonomy, when he writes about our own inner authority being the fundamental guide to our spiritual inquiry, I am shaken Yes, he writes about it in his dry, un charming way, but the points he makes are like a cymbal in my chest.But is it worth the slog I return to the question of Who is this book for There is little to no argument inside this text, so anyone not already agreeing with Heron is unlikely to be persuaded There is little to no direction in this text, so anyone not already on a spiritual path is unlikely to feel they have been pointed along a path There is little explanation in this text, so anyone not already familiar with this sort of world model is unlikely to feel educated by this text And my sense on reading this was that it was all so deliberate That Heron refuses to make the mistakes of authoritarian religion, refuses to write with charisma, refuses to instruct, refuses to give an answer that might distract someone else in their journey to their own inner authority.An anecdote As I was reading, someone popped through my door a small tract Old school Christian stuff, the second sentence being People are not often plainly told now that they are guilty sinners before a holy God It s short, reads like the most gifted of pulpit preachers, the language and imagery evocative, moving, emotional, grounded on the authority of a few key bible quotes I could feel the serpent quality of the argument it made, twisting and frightening to read So I used it as a bookmark in Participatory Spirituality and that felt almost homeopathic, like the pamphlet was dissolved and diluted down until, miraculously, like could cure like This is quite a difficult book to engage with initially, since it s not written in a strict sequential form The reader who perseveres with it will discover a rich collection of thoughts coming together, building up to a challenge to embrace a spirituality that isn t concerned with religious difference Thought provoking and challenging, I recommend giving this book the time that it deserves.