Advent Day 06: An Open and Growing Heart …

Learn to get in touch with silence within yourself and know that everything in this life has a purpose. There are no mistakes, no coincidences; all events are blessings given to us to learn from. There is no need to go to India or anywhere else to find peace. You will find that deep place of silence right in your room, your garden or even your bathtub.
Elisabeth Kubler-Ross as quoted in “Messenger of Love” by Lennie Kronisch in Yoga Journal, Issue 11, November-December 1976, pp. 18-20

 

The spiritual life, in other words, is not achieved by denying one part of life for the sake of another. The spiritual life is achieved only by listening to all of life and learning to respond to each of its dimensions wholly and with integrity.
― Joan D. Chittister from Wisdom Distilled from the Daily: Living the Rule of St. Benedict Today

 

When the heart opens, we forget ourselves and the world pours in: this world, and also the invisible world of meaning that sustains everything that was and ever shall be. When the heart opens, everything matters, and this world and the next become one and the same. Continue reading “Advent Day 06: An Open and Growing Heart …”

The Wisdom Of Beauty …

I did not
have to ask my heart what it wanted,
because of all the desires I have ever known just one did I cling to
for it was the essence of
all desire:
to hold beauty in
my soul’s
arms.
— St. John of the Cross from Love Poems from God: Twelve Sacred Voices from the East and West

What’s Important in Life?

Once upon a time, there was an elder who was respected for his piety and virtue. Whenever anyone asked him how he had become so holy, he always answered, “I know what is in the Qur’an.”

So when the old man died, they raced one another to his hut to find out for themselves what was in his Qur’an. “Well, what is it?” they shouted.

The disciple holding the book looked up from it amazed and said with wonder in his voice, “What is in this Qur’an are notes on every page, two pressed flowers and a letter from a friend.”

There are some things in life, whatever its burdens, however it is spent, which if we cultivate them will never die, will be the source of our joy forever, will sustain us through everything.

Continue reading “The Wisdom Of Beauty …”

The Earth Is Burning (Prayers For The Amazon) …

For us to regard the bomb, the dying seas, or the poisoned air as monstrous injustices would suggest that we never took seriously the injunction to love. Perhaps we thought all along that Gautama and Jesus were kidding, or their teachings meant only for saints. But now we see, as an awful revelation, that we are all called to be saints — not good necessarily, or pious, or devout — but saints in the sense of just caring for each other.
— Joanna Macy from Coming Back to Life (The Injunction to Love)

 

We do not exist outside of nature
or above nature
or independent of nature —
we are simply its most vulnerable part.
— Joan Chittister from Becoming Fully Human

 

Prayer To Future Beings

You live inside us, beings of the future.
In the spiral ribbons of our cells, you are here.
In our rage for the burning forests, the poisoned
fields, the oil drowned seals, you are here. You
beat in our hearts through late night meetings.
You accompany us to clear-cuts and toxic dumps
And the halls of the lawmakers. It is you who drive
our dogged labors to save what is left.

O you who will walk the earth when we are
gone, stir us awake. Behold through our eyes the
beauty of this world. Let us feel your breath in our
lungs, your cry in our throat. Let us see you in the
poor, the homeless, the sick. Haunt us with your
hunger, hound us with your claims, that we may
honor the life that links us.

You have as yet no face we can see, no names
we can say. But we need only hold you in our
mind, and you teach us patience. You attune us
to measures of time where healing can happen,
where soil and souls can mend. You reveal courage
within us we had not expected, love we had not
owned.

O you who come after, help us remember: we are
your ancestors. Fill us with gladness for the work
that must be done.
— Joanna Macy from World as Lover, World as Self: A Guide to Living Fully in Turbulent times

 

The problems that exist in the world today cannot be solved by the level of thinking that created them.
― Albert Einstein

 

An Ancestor Worth Coming From …

I make a prayer now to your old ones,
to those whose face you never saw
and voice you never heard
and name you haven’t known,
that they remember you
while you try to find them remembering you,
that they come at the proper time to gather you in,
that they whisper to you the truth that you haven’t been alone,
and won’t be,
that they know the hard friendship of the ending of days;
I make a prayer that all who were there at your making
will be there for your gathering in,
that their hands will be there just by your opening head,
your little fountain,
to make a home for your sorrowing heart and for you;
I make a prayer that your house and your people
will be blessed by your coming and your going,
that the day will come
when they will boast of for a while having known you,
and will marvel at the way of your going out from among them,
and that you might be reason enough for them to continue for a while,
and that in the days to come
you will be claimed as noble,
as an ancestor worth coming from.
Stephen Jenkinson

 

 

How You Can Help …

Support: The Rainforest Alliance

 

 

See Also:

 

 

Uncommon Generosity, Uncommon Courage …

 

Full Interview

There are two ways to be holy.

There are people who labor all day in the worst of conditions, for instance, for the neediest people in the world. Other people love them for it. Call them saints; call them courageous; call them the “salt of the earth.” Indeed they are. Then there are other people who see the conditions in which the neediest people in the world are left to live and they work to see that those conditions are changed. And people denounce them for it. Call them unrealistic. Call them enablers. Call them unfaithful to their country—and even to their church. Continue reading “Uncommon Generosity, Uncommon Courage …”

Desert Day 35: Humility And Contemplation …

Abba Xanthias said, “A dog is better than I am because a dog also has love but, unlike I myself, the dog does not pass judgment.”

Abba Sarmatas said: “I prefer a person who has sinned if he knows that he sinned and has repented, over a person who has not sinned and considers himself to be righteous.”

Humility and contemplation are the invisible twins of the spiritual life. One without the other is impossible. In the first place, there is no such thing as a contemplative life without the humility that takes us beyond the myth of our own grandeur to the cosmic grandeur of God.  In the second, once we really know the grandeur of God we get the rest of life – ourselves included – in perspective.  Reaching the moon told us how really insignificant we were in the universe.  We begin to rethink all our dearly held notions of human consequence.  Humility leads directly to contemplation. Continue reading “Desert Day 35: Humility And Contemplation …”

Desert Day 30: Calling Ourselves Peacemakers …

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
— Matthew 5:9

In times of great personal and social upheaval, real peacemakers, genuine bridge builders do four things:

First, they must tap into their own deepest spiritual self and recommit to the higher values that shines in them there. Continue reading “Desert Day 30: Calling Ourselves Peacemakers …”