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Interfaith Perspective = in meditation in Sri Lanka retreat

Rev. Keith William Fiveson

God is too big for one Religion

My story is that I am a survivor, a spirit having a human being experience, a man, an Army Veteran, a husband, a father, a friend, a businessman, a consultant, a technologist, and Interfaith Minister.  Physically, I stand 6'2" and weigh somewhere near 200lbs (on a good day!), with brown hair and green/blue eyes.  But, is this who I am?  

I have a story that I tell.  I've survived cancer twice, a broken home, broken relationships, heartache, I've hurt others and have been hurt, had disappointment, but I am still captivated by life (can you afford not to be?).  I am recovering (daily) and living every day, practicing, practicing and then more practice, doing my best to live a full life that is present, as a human being.  But, is this who I am? 

I am also a human doing.  I am a spiritual seeker, public speaker, and advocate for living a balanced life, zen student, yoga teacher, therapist, successful corporate executive, consultant, and coach. But, is this who I am?  
Who are we...really?  What are we doing here?  What is it that I must do for my life right now?  What do I want the story of my life to be?  What am I to be as a human being?  When we show up for the world and the world looks or acts we stand or run away?  How are we going to be a positive force in relationships, with people, places and things, not when they are good, but when they are bad?  Are we creators, who create the story, or are we victims, who take what is given and cry or "act out" on the story that we can't let go of?

These are the questions that occupy the lives of many.  I have taken time, and still do, to study Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Zen, Taoism, Hinduism, and ancient wisdom.  They all point to questions of philosophy, psychology, myth, music, dance, celebration, and community building.  I have gone into the corporate world, with experiences at AT&T, MCI, BT, Price Waterhouse Coopers (PwC) and other corporate communities.  They have given me a deep appreciation for the "issues" we all face, as we balance our need to survive with our "story" about who we are.  We warriors who put on armor to battle, to bring home our bounties, and we call this business.   
I have been an actor, voice-over professional, consultant, coach, Interfaith Minister and counselor to business leaders. I completed my Credentialed Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Counselor (CASAC) training and am working with individuals to recover.  I am doing my best to give of myself, understanding that we all have different faiths, philosophies, and experiences and reconciling of our stories to guide healing.  The ordinary human experience and story are that we have all experienced some level of regret, remorse, trauma, hurt, and loss in some way.  This is the path to growth and the path to recovery.  We talk, hear, heal and understand ourselves to show up for this journey called life.  This is what we are obliged to do.  To help people do, to show up and not run away from themselves...our journey.

Our paths take us through schools for the experience.  Mine have been both formal and informal.  Lee Strasberg Actors Studio, Esalen, Omega, Kripalu, Shalom Mountain Retreat & Study Center,  Integral Yoga Institute, Zen  Mountain Monastery, The New York Open Center (closed), St. Peter's College (a Catholic Jesuit College) or Fordham University (another Jesuit Catholic College) for an MBA program.  The Interfaith dialogue started at The New Seminary and has continued after my ordination at New York City's St. John the Divine in 2003.  I have been an interfaith member of the clergy at The Church of the Village in New York City.  In 2016, I completed my Mindfulness and Contemplative Psychotherapy certificate at Nalanda Institute.  Subsequently, I continued studying and received a certificate at the Contemplative Studies Program. My work with individuals and trauma has led me to complete the IPI/MAPS program as a Psychedelic Assisted Therapy Provider (PATP), which has opened up a whole new area of counseling for individuals with treatment-resistant depression, especially Veterans. On the personal front, I am married, have kids and grandchildren, and have been blessed to counsel, coach, and marry people. 

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