by CSW Director Rob Field


I’m a sucker for “odd animal friends” photos. I could look at them all day.

This one is a favorite: Anjana the chimpanzee loves to help an animal rehabilitator care for orphans, like these tiger cubs.

Unusual animal friendships demonstrate that unity is possible, even among unlikely allies. When you hear about lions, tigers, and bears, do you usually add “Oh my!”? When it comes to these 3 fully-grown friends who grew up together in Georgia, there’s no need for alarm.

We humans seem to be losing our desire and ability to pursue unity. We only need to think back to last week’s news headlines. Our country’s elected leaders were a few days away from being unable to avert a financial crisis with global implications because they found it almost impossible to get on the same page — even though the stakes were dire.

Perhaps our creaturely cousins in the animal world are inviting us to start unlearning our dualistic (either/or) ways and move toward unity (both-and). The prophets and mystics of all great religious traditions have been saying the same thing through the ages: we’re all made of the same fundamental stuff, and share the same destiny on this fragile planet, whether we like it or not. The time to awaken to our inherent oneness is now.

At Center for Spiritual Wisdom, we try to promote unitive thinking whenever and wherever we can. It’s at the heart of our new initiative called the School for Perennial Wisdom. Since the Center’s founding in 2016, we’ve shepherded a vision of a school that teaches the wisdom of the great spiritual traditions of the world. After much reflection and conversation since 2021, we’re now developing a detailed proposal to launch a 2-year program that will combine distance learning and in-person gatherings 2 or 3 times a year, with an interfaith and interspiritual faculty. Our guide for much of this preliminary work was Rabbi Rami Shapiro, an author, teacher, and regular contributor to Spirituality & Health magazine. I am deeply grateful to Rabbi Rami for sharing his wisdom and experience with us.

If you’d like to hear more about our vision for the School for Perennial Wisdom, please get in touch with me at


photos by Barry Bland