I have set before you life and death . . . therefore choose life.
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.”  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.” 
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.”  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.
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. 
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.”  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.  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.
 Joanna Macy and Molly Young Brown, Coming Back to Life: The Updated Guide to the Work that Reconnects (New Society Publishers: 2014), 4.
 Ibid., 6. Emphasis mine.
 Ibid., 14.
 Ibid., 14.
 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.
 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.
‘…to have been at one with the earth, seems beyond undoing. -Rilke
‘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.’
“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
The flower doesn’t dream of the bee. It blossoms and the bee comes.
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.
There are hurts. And, always, the hardships.
And there’s the long knowing of love-all of it
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.
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]
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.
Nature will always wear the colors of the s 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.
One touch of nature makes thew hole world kin.
Life leafless trees waiting for morning, something as great and as constant as the Earth holds us up.
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
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 
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 
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 
We are guided continually. We choose to follow what is good, and right, and just.
“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.”
‘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
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.
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.”
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.
´*.¸.• .¸. ❥❥¸¸.☆¨¯ .¸.¸¸.☆¨¯`❥❥
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.
“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.
“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.”
‘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.
Our life experience will have resonances with our innermost being, so that we will feel the rapture of being alive.
‘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.
Prayers without words that friends, strangers, wind, and time all wrap themselves around.’
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.
“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.
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.
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.
We both know that everyone has inner wisdom, and that one of the best ways to evoke it is in dialogue.
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.
Pay attention to what’s right here, right now, and you’ll be rewarded immediately–the Beloved Community is in our midst.
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
“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.
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.”
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.”
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.
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.
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].’
‘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.’
‘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.’
Feminine and masculine energies.
’When we are dominated by our male side (overrational and stoic, never showing our feelings), our feminine side (our deeper creative, receptive energies) becomes strident and stifled, explosive when finally allowed to surface.
Those who are contained and guarded—male or female—are somewhat frightened by those who are intuitive and expressive; just as those who are intuitive and expressive; just as those who are more readily impacted by what they feel find inexpressive quite suffocating. We find each other, and the stocks grow nervous, while the passionate sweat more.
This is part of life: we find each other and pull.
Too often, under the guise of being asked to be prepared and mature, we are seduced into watching over living, into naming over feeling, into understanding over experience. Yet, as two hands cup water to the mouth, we need both male and female energies to drink fully of this life.’
-Mark Nepo, Book of Awakening
Science of Mind:
There is a place where we begin and leave off physically, but there is no place where we begin and leave off mentally or spiritually.
If we do not merge with others in cooperation, in unity, and in happiness, we may be certain that there is something in us that feels it has been rebuffed or rejected.
In truth, the heart, like the Earth, is continually blanketed by ever-changing atmospheres that come and go between who we are and how we leave our days.
If we could only suspend our judgement when clouded in the heart. For many skepticisms are born from conclusions draw while unable to see, as if any kind of understanding will prevent the clouds from coming or going, again and again.
But no clouds last forever.
The Earth and all that grows from it knows this well. So does the heart and everything that grows from it, in spite of all our very understandable pains.
“Beauty, whoever we find it, is the salve that keeps us vital and fresh. But Truth, in its uncompromised and naked story, no matter how harsh, has a Beauty all its own that is cleansing. […] Like X and Y chromosomes, they make up the fundamental elements of life that no one can do without. They are the yin and yang of existence–one cleanses the wound, while the other heals the wound.”
Beauty is Truth, Truth Beauty
That is all you know on earth,
and all you need to know.
“This is why we must remember the Holocaust and other atrocities exactly as they were. This is why it is essential to bear honest witness to our own naked stories.
Still, as wise as the message he came upon is, there is an equal lesson in how young Keats came upon it. For only by voicing our tender pains can we find our way to the deer Beauties and Truths that like ropes and wheels can carry us.”
“Breathe fully and, in the next breath, allow the beauty around you to revitalize the place in you that is raw.”
“True expression rises through us. In this expression, all the conversations and honest sharing that passed through our small tribe(s) over those years permeated (our) consciousness, the way the ocean saturates a sponge. A sponge doesn’t create the water it holds. […] We soak up the deepest meaning from each other and the water of wisdom passes through us.”
“Everything exists as a vibration in time and space. Only the frequencies separates sand from water, soul from dust and me from you. In the boundless order beyond the Universe we are ONE. Only briefly ‘separate’ from each other under the stars, moon and the sun.”
-Super Soul Sunday
Righteousness is not just the private practice of doing good; it sums up the global responsibility of the human community to make sure every human being has what they need, that everyone pursues a fair sense of justice for every other human being, and that everyone lives in right relationship with one another, creation, and God.
- …this discovery is life’s real and highest goal. Our supreme purpose in life is not to make a fortune, nor to pursue pleasure, nor to write our name on history, but to discover this spark of the divine that is in our hearts.
- Last, when we realize this goal, we discover simultaneously that the divinity within ourselves is one and the same in all—all individuals, all creatures, all of life.
God’s passion is justice. . . . As the social form of compassion, justice is about politics [the word “politics” comes from the Greek polis for “city”]. . . . Politics is about the shape and shaping, the structure and structuring, of the city and, by extension, of human communities more generally, ranging from the family to society as a whole. . . . Justice is the political form of compassion, the social form of love, a compassionate justice grounded in God as compassionate.
The Slow Arm of All That Matters
I have fallen through and worked into
a deeper way – one step at a time, one pain
at a time, one grief at a time, one amends at a
time-until the long, slow arm of all that matters
has bowed my estimation of heaven. Now, like a
heron wairting for the waters to clear, I look for
heaven on earth and wait of for the turbulence to settle.
And I confess, for all the ways we stir things
up, I can see that though we can stop, life never
stops: the lonely bird crashes into the window
just as the sun disperses my favorite doubt, a
sudden wind closes your willing heart as the
moment of truth passes between us, and the
damn phone rings as my father is dying. All
these intrusions, majestically unfair, and not of our
timing. So we spin and drop and catch and land.
And sometimes, we fall onto these little islands of stillness,
like now, from which we are renewed by our kinship
with all and that irrepressible feeling resurrects our want to be here,
to push off again into the untamable stream.
Under all the conflicts and dilemmas we face, we can discover over and over that everything, and everyone, in life is connected.