NEIL DOUGLAS-KLOTZ, Ph.D., formed an interest in language, spirituality, the body, and ecological justice early in life. In many ways, he has been pursuing these interests ever since. After graduation from college in 1973, he pursued a career as a journalist in the fields of social justice, environmentalism, and consumer protection. He soon returned to the topics he studied in college that centered on the body and changes of attitude and behavior, mystical and expanded states of consciousness, and the early pre-religious roots of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.
He pursued some of this study academically through the University of California, Berkeley, seeking out teachers from the native traditions of the Middle East, Pakistan, and India who exposed him to other modes and methods of learning, like body-oriented spiritual practices. Beginning in 1976, he studied with the early students of the American Hebrew/Sufi mystic Samuel L. Lewis, who introduced him to the body prayer meditations called the Dances of Universal Peace. One phase of this intense period of study led him on a three-month pilgrimage in 1979 to sacred sites and teachers in Turkey, Pakistan, and India.
In 1982, he founded the International Network for the Dances of Universal Peace (now based in Seattle, WA), a multi-cultural resource center for those who utilize the arts as their forum for both peace demonstration as well as spiritual practice. Over the past 15 years, he has been actively involved in leading educational exchanges and citizen diplomacy trips with the Dances to Eastern Europe, the former Soviet Union, and to the Middle East. From 1986 until 1996, he served as a faculty member of the Institute of Culture and Creation Spirituality and as a member of the core faculty since 1990.
He currently lives in Edinburgh, Scotland, where he co-directs the Edinburgh Institute for Advanced Learning, an interdisciplinary research institute that explores the boundaries of psychology, religious studies, and culture. He also sits on the board of the Edinburgh International Center for World Spirituality, which was involved in the nearly successful bid to host the World Parliament of Religions in 2004. In addition, he is active in the work of the American Academy of Religion and in 2002 was elected chair of their mysticism group.
Presently, he is working on a collaborative research/ book project with Rabbi Arthur Waskow, focusing on the stories of Abraham, Sarah and Hagar as shared by Jews, Christians, and Muslims.