In the morning
When I began to wake,
It happened again —
That you, Beloved,
Had stood over me all night
That as soon as I began to stir
You put Your lips on my forehead
And lit a Holy lamp
Inside my heart.
— Hafiz from I Heard God Laughing: Poems of Hope and Joy
You cannot earn God. You cannot prove yourself worthy of God. Knowing God’s presence is simply a matter of awareness, of enjoying the now, of deepening one’s own presence. There are moments when it happens. Then life makes sense. Once I can see the Mystery here, and trust the Mystery even in this piece of clay that I am, then I can also see it in you. I am able to see the divine image in myself, in you, and eventually in all things. Finally the seeing is one. How you see anything is how you will see everything.
— Richard Rohr from Everything Belongs
Something ancient and holy was unfolding all around me. It was what the wandering pilgrim-poet Basho called “a glimpse of the underglimmer,” an experience of the deeply real that lurks everywhere beneath centuries of stereotypes and false images that prevent us from truly seeing other people, other places, other times. An enormous gratitude well up in me for the ritual kindness accorded the stranger. Me. During those hours I was never more a stranger and, uncannily enough, never more at home. That encounter was the first of many in my life that drove home the unsettling but inescapable fact that we are all strangers in this world and that part of the elusive wonder of travel is that during those moments far away from all that is familiar, we are forced to face that truth, which is to say, the sacred truth of our soul’s journey here on earth.
— Phil Cousineau from The Art of Pilgrimage: The Seeker’s Guide to Making Travel Sacred