Mark Nepo

If not now, when?

May 31, 2020

‘Apocalypse (ἀποκάλυψις) is a Greek word meaning “revelation”, an unveiling or unfolding of things not previously known and which could not be known apart from the unveiling.’

‘Our nerves, our home, our country crave peace’…and leaders. As the helpers and heroes  sustain us, I pray for shift. -dayle

Now, I have no choice but to see with your eyes,

so I am not alone,

so you are not alone.

-Yannis Ritsos

Mark Nepo:

There is a story of Gandhi that reveals how profound and daring his sense of compassion was. It occurred during one of his famous hunger strikes. A man whose daughter was killed came in anguish, saying to Gandhi that he would stop fighting if the great soul would eat. But Ghandi knew the healing was deeper than just stopping the violence, and so he told the man he would eat only when the tormented father embraced the man who killed his daughter.

It is said that the man collapsed in tears, but did as Gandhi asked, and the larger conflict ended. This is an enormous thing to ask of someone in grief, of someone who has been violated. But beyond the vast courage needed to incorporate this kind of love into our daily lives, Gandhi’s request reveals the irrefutable wisdom that only when the broken are headed, no matter what they have done, will we as a people heal.

-The Book of Awakening, p. 179.

Image credit: Dorothy Day, by Julie Lonneman.

’So what makes a good community? Our very survival as a faith tradition, not to mention a species, might just depend upon this.’

Common Ground & Purpose

People want something more from church than membership. They long for a spiritual home that connects with their whole life, not just somewhere to go on Sunday morning. Church is meant to be a place that nurtures and supports individuals along their full journey toward the ultimate goal: a lived experience of the communion of saints, a shared life together as one family, the Reign of God “on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10).

Too often, the formal church has been unable to create any authentic practical community, especially over the last half-century. In response, we see the emergence of new faith communities seeking to return to this foundational definition of church. These may not look like our versions of traditional “church,” but they often exemplify the kinds of actual community that Jesus, Paul, and early Christians envisioned. People are gathering digitally and in person today through neighborhood associations, study groups, community gardens, social services, and volunteer groups. They’re seeking creative ways of coming together, nurturing connection, of healing and whole-making. The “invisible” church might be doing this just as much, if not more, than the visible one. The Holy Spirit is humble and seems to work best anonymously. I suspect that is why the Holy Spirit is often pictured as a simple bird or blowing wind that is here one minute and seemingly gone and then nowhere (John 3:8).

It’s all too easy to project unrealistic expectations on any community. No group can meet all our needs as individuals for emotional, mental, and physical well-being. The human psyche needs space and healthy boundaries and not co-dependent groupings. I certainly learned this lesson myself through my participation in the New Jerusalem Community in Cincinnati in the 1970s and 80s, and even earlier as a Franciscan brother. Almost any community can serve as an excellent school for growth, character, and conversion, even though it may not be a permanent “home” for many reasons.

Remember, the isolated individual is fragile and largely helpless to evoke long-term change or renewal. By ourselves, we can accomplish very little. We must find common ground and common purpose to move forward. Fr. Richard Rohr

‘We wake to our cities in pain but also in longing. Full of far more people ready to build & create than to tear apart. On Lake St in Minn yesterday I saw what the drones & news cameras do not convey – an alternative landscape of care rising up around devastation.’ -Krista Tippet, On Being

 

The NASA/SpaceX launch and ISS dock has brought needed respite, inspiration, and hope. Look what we can accomplish as a species when we work together. -dayle

 

Let us surrender to Divine Grace.

-Rev. Dr. David Ault

 

Alone with the unfamiliar…

April 11, 2020

Anything that removes what grows between our hearts and the day is spiritual. The aim of all spiritual paths, no matter their origin or the rigors of their practice, is to help us live more fully in the lives we are given. [Parker Palmer] The life of spirit is everywhere: in in dust waiting for light, in music waiting to be heard, in the sensations of the day waiting to be felt.  Beings spiritual is much more useful and immediate than the books about books would have us think.

-Mark Nepo

 

Pure logic is the ruin of the spirit.

-Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Creativity requires serendipity and a playful, receptive spirit. Let yourself go when you are trying to invent something new.

-Alexander Stoddard

 

Because we are alone with the unfamiliar presence that has entered us, because we feel momentarily abandoned by what we’ve believe and grown accustomed to; because we can’t keep standing as the ground shifts under our feet. That is why the sadness passes over like a wave. The new presence inside us, that which has come to us, has entered our heart, has found its way to its innermost chamber, and is no longer even there…it is already in our blood.

And we don’t know what it was. We could easily be persuaded that nothing happened, and yet something has changed inside us, as a house changes when a guest comes into it. We cannot say who has entered, we may never know, but there are many indications that the future enter us in just this way, to transform itself within us long before it happens. 

That is why it is so important to be alone and attentive when you are sad: because the seemingly uneventful and motionless moment when our future steps into us is so much closer to life than any loud and accidental point of time which occurs, as it were, from the outside.

-Rilke

 

 

Docta Ignorancia

January 27, 2020

“Deep acceptance of ultimate mystery is ironically the best way to keep the mind and heart spaces always open and always growing.”

Fr. Richard Rohr, Center for Action & Contemplation

“We do need  enough knowing  to be able to hold our ground. We need a container and structure in which we can safely acknowledge that we do know a bit, in fact just enough to hold us until we are ready for a further knowing. In the meantime, we can happily exist in what some have called  docta ignorantia or “learned ignorance.” Such people tend to be very happy and they also make a lot of other people happy.

A few years ago, a man from Colorado came to visit me. He said, “Richard, when you were still in Cincinnati, I gave you a dilemma that I was struggling with; and you told me something that has been my mantra for 30 years. You said to me, ‘You know, you don’t really need to know. It’s okay not to know.’”

‘Grace has released all the deepest energies of our spirit and assists us to climb to new and unsuspected heights. Nevertheless, our own faculties soon reach their limit. The intelligence can climb no higher into the sky. There is point where the mind bows down its fiery trajectory as if to acknowledge its limitations and proclaim the infinite supremacy of the unattainable…’

Love flings out a hundred burning stars, acts of all kinds, expressing everything that is best in (wo)man’s spirit, and the soul spends itself in drifting fires that glorify the name of God…Gaia…while they fall earthward and die away in the night wind!’

-Thomas Merton

Perhaps ‘love’ is beyond definition here, more the Tao of existence, in that defining it beyond all there is, is reducing it to knowing, rather than acknowledging we do not know…only ‘enough knowing.’ “You know, we really don’t need to know.” .d

Mark Nepo:

“When we bare our inwardness fully, exposing our strengths and frailties alike, we discover a kinship in all living things, and from this kinship a kindness moves through us and between us. The mystery is that being authentic is the only thing that reveals to us our kinship with life.”

I crave authenticity. There is so little.

 

Even if your voice shakes.

December 19, 2019

The truth is that what we want or dream of doesn’t always last. It tends to serve its purpose in our development and then fades away, losing its relevance. And we can do enormous damage to ourselves by insisting on carrying that which has died.

Living up to a dream is rarely as important as entering it for all it has to teach.

What is it teaching you?

-Mark Nepo

 

The Great Turning

November 4, 2019

I have set before you life and death . . . therefore choose life. 

—Deuteronomy 30:19

R. Richard Rohr, Center for Action & Contemplation:

Eco-philosopher, Earth elder, friend, and spiritual activist Joanna Macy, now ninety years old, has been promoting a global transition from the Industrial Growth Society to a Life-Sustaining Society for most of her life. She calls it the Great Turning, a revolution of great urgency: “While the agricultural revolution took centuries, and the industrial revolution took generations, this ecological revolution has to happen within a matter of years.” [1] She is hopeful as she sees individuals and groups participating in “1) Actions to slow the damage to Earth and its beings; 2) Analysis and transformation of the foundations of our common life; [and] 3) A fundamental shift in worldview and values.” [2]

Macy understands that the third type of action—essentially, a new way of seeing— “require[s] a shift in our perception of reality—and that shift is happening now, both as cognitive revolution and spiritual awakening.” [3] While the shift may not be obvious in my own generation, we need look no further than the ongoing powerful and prophetic presence of young leaders, like indigenous teenagers Tokata Iron Eyes (a member of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe who plays a key role in the “Rezpect Our Water” campaign) and Autumn Peltier (also a water protector and a citizen of the Wiikwemkoong First Nation); they have been joined recently by Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg, who spoke at the United Nations Climate Action Summit and helped inspire Climate Strikes around the world. In the face of criticism, Greta calls her Asperger’s syndrome a “superpower” that gives her a clear perspective on the climate crisis. May we be motivated by these committed young advocates and lend our voices and strength to heal our wounded world.

Macy explains:

The insights and experiences that enable us to make this shift may arise from grief for our world that contradicts illusions of the separate and isolated self. Or they may arise from breakthroughs in science, such as quantum physics and systems theory. Or we may find ourselves inspired by the wisdom traditions of native peoples and mystical voices in the major religions; we hearken to their teachings as to some half-forgotten song that our world is a sacred whole in which we have a sacred mission. [4]

St. Hildegard von Bingen (1098–1179), a Germanic nun, mystic, and healer, was doing this 800 years ago. In her book Scivias she wrote, “You understand so little of what is around you because you do not use what is within you.” [5] Somehow, she already understood what science is now affirming: “The macrocosm is mirrored in the microcosm.” Science is finding that the world is an integrated whole rather than separated parts. Nothing in the cosmos operates independently. We are all holons, which are simultaneously whole in themselves, and at the same time part of a larger whole. This understanding is moving us from a narrow, mechanistic, Newtonian view of the universe to a holistic/ecological view. [6] Nothing is static, and if you try to construct an unchangeable or independent universe for yourself, you will be moving against the now obvious divine plan and direction.

Gateway to Presence:
If you want to go deeper with today’s meditation, take note of what word or phrase stands out to you. Come back to that word or phrase throughout the day, being present to its impact and invitation.

 

[1] Joanna Macy and Molly Young Brown, Coming Back to Life: The Updated Guide to the Work that Reconnects (New Society Publishers: 2014), 4.

[2] Ibid., 6. Emphasis mine.

[3] Ibid., 14.

[4] Ibid., 14.

[5] Hildegard of Bingen, Scivias, 1.2.29. Translation from Avis Clendenen, “Hildegard: ‘Trumpet of God’ and ‘Living Light’” in Chicago Theological Seminary Register, vol. 89, no. 2 (Spring 1999), 25.

[6] Ilia Delio explores the concepts of holons and moving toward a holistic view in CONSPIRE 2014: A Benevolent Universe (Center for Action and Contemplation: 2014), MP4 video download.

Mark Nepo:

‘…to have been at one with the earth, seems beyond undoing. -Rilke

Ilia Delio:

‘Creation is not a demonstration of God’s boundless power but of God’s boundless love, a love so great that creation is drenched in it.’

‘Out of a long history of cosmic cataclysms and mass extinctions, we human emerge. We are born out of stardust, cousins of daffodils and bonobos; we are the conscious voice of a fragile earth.’

The world will always be broken.

June 13, 2019

 

“Hard, awful things happen in this broken world. Nothing we can do will change that fact. Bad things happen, and they will happen to good people we love, or to us.” [Forward Day by Day]

“Those who love us will miss us.” -Keanu Reeves

“Identification with suffering might just be non-dual thinking in its most active and proactive form and why nonviolence demands such a high level of transformation. Our resistance to suffering is an entire industry now, perhaps symbolized by the total power of the gun lobby and the permanent war economy in America, the fear of any profit sharing with the poor, or the need to be constantly entertained. Maybe that is why some have said that the foundational virtue underlying al others is courage (“cor-agere” = an action of the heart). It takes immense courage to walk in solidarity with the suffering of there’s, and even our own.” -Fr. Richard Rohr

As an inlet cannot close itself to the sea that shapes it, the heart can only wear itself open.

“One of the hardest blessings to accept about the heart is that in the image of life itself, it will not stop emerging through experience. No matter how we try to preserve or relieve what has already happened, the heart will not stop being shaped. It knows that the only way to truly remember or stay whole is to take the best and worst into its tissue.

Despite all our intentions not be hurt again, the heart keeps us going by moving us ever forward into health. Though we walk around thinking we can direct it, our heart is endlessly shaped like the land, often against our will.” -Mark Nepo

 

Thoughts and meditations.

May 19, 2019

The flower doesn’t dream of the bee. It blossoms and the bee comes.

-Mark Nepo

It is the tending of our own souls that invites the natural process of love to begin. I remember my very first tumble into love. I found such comfort there that, like Narcissus, I became lost in how everything other than my pain was reflected in his beauty. All the while, I was addicting my own worth, empowering him as the key to my sense of joy.

If I have learned anything through the years, it is that, though we discover and experience joy with others, our capacity for joy is carried like a pod of nectar into our very own being. I now believe that our deepest vocation is to  root ourselves enough in this life that we can open our hearts to attract others. In other words, in being so thoroughly who we are, an inner essence is released that calls others to experience our personal light.

It seems the very job of being is to ready us for such love.

In this way, the Universe continues through the unexpected coming together of blossomed souls.

So if you can, give up the want of another and be who you are, and more than not, love will come at the precise moment you are simply in love with you. [Nepo]

Identify one trait makes you feel good about who are are: your laugh, your simile, your ability to listen, or the sound of your voice.

Notice how this effects others.

These small moments are the beginnings of love. They do not yet have definition.

Take a moment. Give thanks for your small goodness and for the potential love of others.


A hunger drives us.

We want to contain it all in our naked hands,

our bribing sense, our speechless hearts.

We want to become it, or offer it-but to whom?

We could hold it forever-but, after all,

what can we keep?

Not the beholding, so slow to learn.

Not anything that has happened here.

Nothing.

There are hurts. And, always, the hardships.

And there’s the long knowing of love-all of it

unsayable.

Later,

amidst the stars,

we will see: these are better unsaid.

-Rainer Maria Rilke, from the Ninth Duino Elegy


Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle. 

-Plato

Science of Mind/Ernest Holmes:

This was the Christ speaking, the son begotten of the only Father-the Son of God. Humble in his humanity, compassionate in his tenderness, understand the frailties of the human mind, he let the Great Spirit speak through him, in words of love and sympathy. He proclaimed his divinity through his humanity and taught that all men are brothers.

Rev. Dr. David Goldberg:

The Sanskrit word karuna is translated as compassion, which means active sympathy or the willingness to bear the pain of others. Closely related to karuna is metta, loving kindness.

It’s important to remember also that genuine compassion is rooted in prajna or wisdom. Prajna is the realization that the separate self is an illusion. This takes us back to not attaching our egos to what we do, expecting to be thanked or rewarded.

In Essence of the Heart Sutra, His Holiness the Dalai Lama writes, “According to Buddhism, compassion is an aspiration, a state of mind, wanting others to be free from suffering. It’s not passive-it’s not empty alone-but rather an empathetic altruism that actively strives to free others from suffering. Genuine compassion must have both wisdom and loving kindness. That is to say, one must understand the nature of the suffering from which we wish to free others (this is wisdom), and one must experience deep intimacy and empathy with other sentient beings (this is loving kindness). [Right Action and Compassion, Barbara O’Brien, April 2018]

 

 

Facing risk, again.

May 15, 2019

Mark Nepo:

When resisting the flow of inner events suddenly feels more hurtful than leaping toward the unknown.

Yet no one can tell us when to leap.

There is no authority to bless our need to enter life but the God within.

As spirits in bodily form, we have the chance to tighten and bloom more than once. But even spirits, if turned in on themselves enough, may grow accustomed to being closed.

Unlike roses, however, the human chamber can be shut down for years, and still, it takes but one break from the true center and we will flower.

It has always amazed and humbled me how the risk to bloom can seem so insurmountable before hand and so inevitably freeing once the threshold of suffering is crossed.

We can flower in an instant, as soon as the pain of not flowering and not loving become greater than our fear.

Gaia.

April 22, 2019

Nature will always wear the colors of the p i r i t.

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as  long as life lasts.

-Rachel Carson

 

One touch of nature makes thew hole world kin.

-William Shakespeare

 

Life leafless trees waiting for morning, something as great and as constant as the Earth holds us up.

-Mark Nepo

 

Have you ever walked in nature and felt the presence of something greater than yourself? Did you find yourself being healed by the energy of beauty around you? Me, Too. Life finds lots of ways to remind us that our presence heals the world, just as being in nature heals us. You know who my heroes are? The plants that push through tiny cracks in concrete, pressing upward to be seen, and those trees that seem to be growing out of rock, standing tall, never giving up. Mother Earth teaches me to keep going, that there’s a way out of the darkness into the light. Just like the plants and the trees, I have what it takes to heal, thrive and be seen.Together, we are one heartbeat, breathing in unison. Thank you, Mother Earth, for the gift of life.

-Rev. Jane Beach

The value of truthfulness.

March 20, 2019

A liar no longer needs to feel that his lies may involve him in starvation. If living were a little more precarious, and if a person who could not be trusted found it more difficult to get along with other men, we would not deceive ourselves and one another so carelessly.

But the whole world has learned to deride veracity or to ignore it. Half the civilized world makes a living by telling lies. Advertising, propaganda, (politics) and all the forms of publicity that have taken the place of truth have taught men to take it for granted that they can tell other people whatever they like, provide that it sounds plausible and evokes some kind of shallow emotional response.

-Thomas Merton, No Man Is an Island [1955]

Humbly, we are asked to keep the flow real between what is taken in and what is let out. We have only to breathe to remember our place as al living inlet. Experience in, feelings out. Surprise and challenge in, heartache and joy out. In a constant tide, life rushes in, and in constant release, we must let it all run back off. For this is how the earth was made magnificent by the sea and how humankind is carved upright, again and again, by the ocean of spirt that sets us free.

-Mark Nepo, The Book of Awakening [2011]

There is something in me that knows what to do. It not only knows what to do, It impels me to act upon what It knows. This very acceptance flows forth into action through me. Always there is an inner, quiet, persistent confidence, a nonresistant but complete acceptance, an inward flowing with the stream of Life, knowing that It carries me safely and surely to my destination and to the accomplishment of every good purpose.

-Ernest Holmes, Science of Mind [2001]

We are guided continually. We choose to follow what is good, and right, and just.

 

 

Back to the sun.

March 4, 2019

“Feel the warmth from both stone and flower. See how both are covered differently with the same light. Now trace the light of each back to the sun.

We are all just small stones and little flowers searching for our sun. What you have seen under words, behind many eyes, and beneath all cries is the one direction.”

Mark Nepo

 

Songs to be sung.

March 3, 2019

‘Daring to enter, we are humbled to discover, again and again, that the act of living itself unravels both the answer and the question. When we watch, we remain riddles to be solved. When we enter, we become songs to be sung. When life feels far off, remember that a flute is just something hard with holes until it’s played. So, too, the heart. In this way, the life of every soul waits like sheet music to be played. What good are we if never played?’ -Mark Nepo

︶⁀°••°⁀︶

Blessed are you God of the universe.

You have created us, and given us life.

Blessed are you, God of the planet earth.

You have set our world like a radiant jewel in the heavens,

and filled it with action, beauty, suffering, struggle and hope.

Blessed are you, God of Aotearoa New Zealand

in all the people who live here,

in all the lessons we have learned,

in all that remains for us to do.

Blessed are you because you need us;

because you make us worthwhile,

because you give us people to love and work to do

for your universe, for your world and for ourselves.

  • A New Zealand Prayer Book/He Karaikia Mihinare Aotearoa. (1989).  p.142

 

Two hearts.

February 2, 2019

If you place two living heart cells from different people in a Petrie dish, they will in time find and maintain a third and common beat.

-Molly Vass

Yet we often tire ourselves by fighting how our hearts want to join seldom realizing that both strength and peace come from our hears beating in unison with all that is alive. It feels incredibly uplifting that without even knowing each other, there exists a common beat between all hearts, just waiting to be felt.

It brings to mind the time that the great poet Pablo Neruda, near the end of his life, stopped while traveling at the Lota coal mine in rural Chile. He stood there stunned as a miner, rough and blackened by his work inside the earth, strode straight for Neruda, embraced him, and said, “I have known you a long time, my brother.”

-Mark Nepo

A New Year Prayer

January 1, 2019

I know there is but One Mind, which is the mind of God, in which all people live and move and have their being.

I know there is a divine pattern for humanity and within this pattern there is infinite harmony and peace, cooperation, unity and mutual helpfulness.

I know that the mind of humankind, being one with the mind of God, shall discover the method, the way, and the means best fitted to permit the flow of Divine Love between individuals and nations.

Thus harmony, peace, cooperation, unity, and mutual helpfulness are experienced by all.

I know there will be a free interchange of ideas, of cultures, of spiritual concepts, of ethics, of educational systems and scientific discoveries–for all good belongs to all alike.

I know that, because Divine Mind has created us all, we are bound together in one infinite and perfect unity.

I know that all people and all nations will remain individual but united for the common purpose of promoting peace, happiness, harmony, and prosperity.

I know that deep within each person the Divine Pattern of perfect peace is already implanted.

Now declare that in each person and in leaders of thought everywhere this Divine Pattern moves into action and form, to the end that all nations and all people will live together in peace, harmony, and prosperity forever.

-Ernest Holmes

´*.¸.• .¸. ❥❥¸¸.☆¨¯ .¸.¸¸.☆¨¯`❥❥

This precious human birth is unrepeatable. So what will you do today, knowing that you are one of the rarest forms of life to ever walk the Earth? How will you carry yourself? What will you do with your hands? What will you ask and of whom?

Today you are a precious and rare and awake. It ushers us into grateful living. It makes hesitation useless. Grateful and awake, ask what you need to know now. Say what you feel now. Love what you love now.

-Mark Nepo

Ishvara

December 23, 2018

“We are waiting on the Divine Presence and listening to the voice of intuition, we come into a consciousness of peace and a realization that we all belong to one human family.

For surely God desires peace on earth and good will among (wo)men, and Christmas is the day of good will among (wo)men. It is a day when we find a common cause and gladly make our gifts of love to each other in the spirit of him who said, ‘Love one another. … It is your Father’s/Gaia’s good pleasure to give you the Kingdom.’

“Today, as our thought ascends in prayer, our good will is going out to the whole world. Today our great desire is that peace and good will shall come among all people and all nations, binding all together in golden chains of love.”

-Science of Mind

Love looked down and saw hate. “I will go there,” said Love.

“The ability to respect the outsider is probably the litmus test of true seeing. And it doesn’t stop with human beings and enemies and the least of the sisters and brothers. It moves to frogs and waters and weeds. Everything becomes enchanting once we have full sight. One God, one world, one truth, one suffering, and one love (see Ephesians 4:4-6). All we can do is participate.”

-Richard Rohr, Center for Action & Contemplation

You didn’t come into this house

so I might tear off a piece of your life.

Perhaps when you leave,

you’ll take something of mine:

chestnuts, roses, or a surety of roots.

-Pablo Neruda

“What makes Neruda such a great poet is the largeness of his heart, and through is large kindness, he suggests that giving heals and that until we step into that space between each other and try, nothing can happen. But once we do, giving and receiving become the same, and we all grow stronger for going there together.”

-Mark Nepo

The continuum of time.

October 12, 2018

 

‘It is the world that is enlightened and we who are intermittent.’

Like radios, we struggle through our static to receive wavelengths that are always there, and, being human, we are unable to sustain the clarity necessary to apprehend the magic inherent in everything.

So we vacillate from the extraordinary to the ordinary, time and time again, and most of us blame the world.

It is not surprising, then, that though we feel intermittently gifted, our gifts are ever-present. For if enlightenment stems from a clarity of being, then talent is no more than clarity of doing, an embodied moment where spirit and hand are one.

The chief obstacle to talent, then, is a lapse in being. It is not that people have no talent, but that we lack the clarity to uncover what it is and how it works.

Talent, it seems, is energy waiting to be released through an honest involvement in life. But so many of us check whether we have power with the main switch off…the switch being risk, curiosity, passion, and love.

Our purpose is life and our talent is living it in its most immediate detail, be it drying the dishes or raking the leaves.

So when I can’t find my purpose, I beg myself to sit in a field. And in a tremor of faith, I know if I don’t try at all, it will all return as surely and softly as light fills a hole.

-Mark Nepo

Our life experience will have resonances with our innermost being, so that we will feel the rapture of being alive.

-Joseph Campbell

More kindness.

August 15, 2018

‘One of the most painful barriers we can experience is the sense of isolation the modern world fosters, which can only be broken by our willingness to be held, by the quiet courage to allow our vulnerabilities to be seen. For as water fills a hole and as light fills the dark, kindness wraps around what is soft, if what is soft can be seen.

need

ask

help

Prayers without words that friends, strangers, wind, and time all wrap themselves around.’

-Mark Nepo

 

Revolutionary ❤

July 28, 2018

David Whyte

Heartbreak is unpreventable; the natural outcome of caring for people and things over which we have no control

Heartbreak begins the moment we are asked to let go but cannot, in other words, it colors and inhabits and magnifies each and every day; heartbreak is not a visitation, but a path that human beings follow through even the most average life. Heartbreak is an indication of our sincerity: in a love relationship, in a life’s work, in trying to learn a musical instrument, in the attempt to shape a better more generous self. Heartbreak is the beautifully helpless side of love and affection and is [an] essence and emblem of care… Heartbreak has its own way of inhabiting time and its own beautiful and trying patience in coming and going.

Maria Popova:

“Words belong to each other,” Virginia Woolf asserted in the only surviving recording of her voice. But words also belong to us, as much as we belong to them — and out of that mutual belonging arises our most fundamental understanding of the world, as well as the inescapable misunderstandings that bedevil the grand sensemaking experiment we call life.

David Whyte:

Heartbreak is how we mature; yet we use the word heartbreak as if it only occurs when things have gone wrong: an unrequited love, a shattered dream… But heartbreak may be the very essence of being human, of being on the journey from here to there, and of coming to care deeply for what we find along the way.

[…]

There is almost no path a human being can follow that does not lead to heartbreak.

Then, p. 113-115 in Consolations:

Hiding is a way of staying alive. Hiding is a way of holding ourselves until we are ready to come into the light. Hiding is one of the brilliant and virtuoso practices of almost every part of the natural world: the protective quiet of an icy northern landscape, the held bud of a future summer rose, the snowbound internal pulse of the hibernating bear. Hiding is underestimated. We are hidden by life in our mother’s womb until we grow and ready ourselves for our first appearance in the lighted world; to appear to early in that world is to find ourselves with the immediate necessity for outside intensive care.

Hiding is an act of freedom from the misunderstanding of others, especially in the enclosing world of oppressive secret government and private entities, attempting to name us, to anticipate us, to leave us with no place to hide and grow in ways unmanaged by a creeping necessity for absolution naming, absolute tracking and absolute control. Hiding is a bid for independence from others, from mistaken ideas we have about ourselves, from an oppressive and mistaken wish to keep us completely safe, completely ministered to,and therefor completely managed. Hiding is creative, necessary and beautifully submerse of outside interference and control. Hiding leaves life to itself Hiding is the radical independence necessary four our emergence into the light of a proper human future.

Parker Palmer

p. 161:

Suffering breaks our hearts, but the heart can break in two quite different ways. There’s the brittle heart that breaks into shards, shattering the one who suffers as it explodes, and sometimes taking others down when it’s thrown like a grenade at the ostensible source of its pain. Then there’s the supple heart, the one that breaks open, not apart, the one that can grow into great capacity for the many forms of love. Only the supple heart can hold suffering in a way that opens to new life.

p.39:

We both know that everyone has inner wisdom, and that one of the best ways to evoke it is in dialogue.

p. 161

Does a nation-state have a heart that can become supple enough to respond to collective suffering without violence?[…] I am not going to yield to cynicism. There are enough real-world facts and possibilities to justify hope.

p. 172

Pay attention to what’s right here, right now, and you’ll be rewarded immediately–the Beloved Community is in our midst.

pp. 117-188

Keep reaching out means saying to the world, “I’m still a member of this community. I have a voice and things I need to say, and I want to be part of the conversation.” Seeking Sanctuary is about finding the solace and support we need when our engagement with the rough-and-tumble world of politics starts to cost us our physical and mental well-being. I’m a Quaker. I stand in a religious tradition that asks me to live by such values as community, equality, simplicity, and nonviolence.

Recognize manipulations of

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“Violence is what happens when we don’t know what to do with our suffering.” [Palmer]

Valarie Kaur is a civil rights activist whose personal lens is colored through feminism and inspired by the Sikh concept of the warrior-saint.

p. 157:

Valarie is redefining and reviving the great tradition of nonviolent action in terms that respond to what Martin Luther kIng Jr. called “The fierce urgency of now.”

Quoting Thomas Merton:

“Loving God is a piece of cake compared to loving another human being. Being human is harder than being holy.”

Revolutionary Love

 

Declaration of Revolutionary Love:

We declare love even for our opponents. We vow to oppose all executive orders and policies that threaten the rights and dignity of any person. We call upon our elected officials to join us, and we are prepared to engage in moral resistance throughout this administration. We will fight not with violence or vitriol, but by challenging the cultures and institutions that promote hate. In so doing, we will challenge our opponents through the ethic of love.

Thich Nhat Hanh

Enlightenment for a wave is the moment the wave realizes that it is water. At that moment, all fear of death disappears.

Profoundly, grace comes to the wave when it realizes what it is made of. Since it has risen from the very same water into which it will crash its fear of ending is somehow lessened. For it is already a part of where it is going. Can it be that you and I, like simple waves experience such an enlightenment the instant we realize that we are all made of the same water? […] I think now that the other way to read all t his is to say that enlightenment is the moment we realize that we are made of love. At that moment, all fear of living disappears. For grace comes to the heart when it realizes what it is made of and what it has risen from.

-Mark Nepo, The Book Of Awakening

“The ‘Go away’ tribe believes that human beings by nature are self-serving and untrustworthy, in need of control. The ‘Go away’ tribe believes in stringent laws and constraints, both moral and legal, to ensure that people don’t run amok. The ‘Come, teach me’ tribe believes that human beings by nature are kind and trustworthy. The ‘Come, teach’ tribe believes in cultivating laws that empower freedom, to ensure that people actualize their gifts through relationship.

While Mark was a perceptive diagnostician of the modern world, offering insights into the human cost of industrialization. Marx foresaw that capitalism and industrialization break people from their true nature. In time, the modern world alienates from our true selves, which leads to fear and the strident calls of the “Go away’ tribe. Regardless of the type of government we support, there is always the need to repair that brokenness and to restore us to our true nature–from which we rediscover, one more time, that we are more together than alone.”

What we see across the devoid is us. We have created the systems we suffer under.”


Walter Starke

I realized that the spiritualization of our nation’s corporations is the most important development that can possibly happen for the spiritual growth of the the world as a whole.

“…feminine, cooperative and supportive.”

July 17, 2018

The shift to a more sustainable political policy will involve:

. . . a shift of emphasis away from means towards ends; away from economic growth towards human development; away from quantitative towards qualitative values and goals; away from the impersonal and organisational towards the personal and interpersonal; and away from the earning and spending of money towards the meeting of real human needs and aspirations. A culture that has been masculine, aggressive and domineering in its outlook will give place to one which is more feminine, cooperative and supportive. A culture that has exalted the uniformly European will give place to one which values the multi-cultural richness and diversity of human experience. An anthropocentric worldview that has licensed the human species to exploit the rest of nature as if from above and outside it, will give place to an ecological worldview. We shall recognize that survival and self-realisation alike require us to act as what we really are—integral parts of an ecosystem much larger, more complex, and more powerful than ourselves. 

James Robertson, Beyond the Dependency Culture: People, Power and Responsibility, as cited by Richard Rohr and The Center for Action and Contemplation.

We cannot expect to draw a pattern of this right seeing from he objective world of confusion or our inner thoughts of doubt and fear. We are to look and think independently of the confusion in the moment.  I am seeing through confusion to peace, through doubt to certainty, through fear to faith. As I do this everything I look upon shall become transformed and reborn. -Ernest Holmes

Terrible things are hard enough to experience the first time. Beyond their second and third and fourth experience as trauma, ,their impact can easily makes u become terrible if we do not keep our want to love alive. Perhaps the most difficult challenge of being wounded is not turning our deepest loving nature over to the lie and way of the wound. The human heart–no matter how often it is cut–can reassert its impulse to love. -Mark Nepo

Also from Mark:

I see that we’re such fragile, resilient creatures, here for just a long unplanned moment, tumbling and waking in this beautiful, harsh tender existence.

Dialogue is a matter of understanding, of peeling away the mind to stand under (our thoughts) in Oneness.

Community. Local and global.

May 8, 2018

The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice. —Martin Luther King, Jr. 

President Barack Obama would often recite this quote, adding it “zig-zags”. Today, post 2016, the arc is seemingly particularly long, perhaps longer. And it is ‘zagging.’


I remember the happiness among the Iranian people after the Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), or the Iranian Deal, was signed, and the sanctions on their economy lifted. How they praised America and their feelings of future prosperity.

The United States acts as though it exists on this higher moral plane, when in reality, ethically, and compassionately, our behaviors, particularly among our government, are subpar, and so much karma to endure. Contemporaneously we live in ignorance and within a piouty weakening our collective community fiber. However, “we must not get distracted, and we must continue to do our spiritual work to embody the qualities that are seeking to emerge as we manifest the life we are called to live from the inside out. There are not shortcuts” [Sheila Thomas, RScP, Berkeley, California].

And the arc is indeed long.

The Beloved Community

By Richard Rohr

‘As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. saw clearly in the last years of his life, we face a real choice between chaos and community—we need a moral revolution. If that was true fifty years ago, then we must be clear today: America needs a moral revival to bring about beloved community. —William J. Barber II 

I believe that “moral revival” is a natural outgrowth of realizing how connected we already are: what we do unto others or to the earth, we really do to ourselves. All created beings are included in this one Body of God. Protestant pastor and political leader Rev. Dr. William Barber writes:

The main obstacle to beloved community continues to be the fear that people in power have used for generations to divide and conquer God’s children who are, whatever our differences, all in the same boat. 

The goal of the spiritual journey is to discover and move toward connectedness and relationship on ever new levels, while also honoring diversity. We may begin by making connections with family and friends, with nature and animals, and then grow into deeper connectedness with those outside our immediate circle, especially people of races, religions, economic classes, gender, and sexual orientation that are different from our own. Finally, we can and will experience this full connectedness as union with God. For some it starts the other way around: they experience union with God—and then find it easy to unite with everything else.

Without connectedness and communion, we don’t exist fully as our truest selves. Becoming who we really are is a matter of learning how to become more and more deeply connected.

Inherent Goodness can always uphold you if you can trust it. It is the trusting that is important. When we fall into Primal Love, we realize that everything is foundationally okay—and we are a part of that ever.”

In a culture that honors celebrity, a reality TV culture where it appears possible to become a president, for doing nothing, this can be difficult to accept [Thomas]. We must be in alignment with Universal Law and stay vigilant to what we think, say and do. We want the law to say “yes” to the highest idea of ourselves” [Thomas].’

We have so much ugly and hurtful Karma to answer for our in this country from our behaviors and injustices that generally preceded us, and specfically live contemporaneously.

“Karma is evolutionary action, its action that has an evolutionary impact in the sense that it affects your embodiment, your life and spirit in the future.  You never stay still, you go up or down in your quality” -Robert Thurman

‘Tuskegee Institute records the lynching of 3,436 blacks between 1882 and 1950. This is probably a small percentage of these murders, which were seldom reported, and led to the creation of the NAACP in 1909, an organization dedicated to passing federal anti-lynching laws. Through all this terror and carnage someone-many times a professional photographer-carried a camera and took pictures of the events. These lynching photographs were often made into postcards and sold as souvenirs to the crowds in attendance. These images are some of photography’s most brutal, surviving to this day so that we may now look back on the terrorism unleashed on America’s African-American community and perhaps know our history and ourselves better. The almost one hundred images reproduced here are a testament to the camera’s ability to make us remember what we often choose to forget [Amazon].’

NPR/Fresh Air

‘As the New Lynching Peach and Justice Memorial opens in Alabama, a look back on America’s history of racial terrorism, listening back to interviews with historian Philip Dray, author of At the Hands of Persons Unknown, and James Allen, who collected postcard “souvenirs” of lynchings for Without Sanctuary.’

https://www.npr.org/2018/05/04/608477810/as-new-lynching-memorial-opens-a-look-back-on-americas-history-of-racial-terrori

‘Although fairness and. Justice are beautiful gravitates by which we as human creatures try to live with one another, the storm and the germ, the termites eating the foundation of your home, the errant stone breaking your windshield, the wave swamping your little boat—these molecules of experience do not understand what is fair. They just bombard us in the endless cosmic dance of life that just keeps happening. […] Life is not fair, but unbending in its capacity to change us; that compassion is fair and feeling is just—that we are not responsible for all that befalls us [or maybe we are] only for how we receive it and for how we hold each other up along the way.’

-Mark Nepo

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