September 2017 (Vol. XXX, No. 8)

Dear Friends ~ In the wake of so much prejudice, violence and hatred, we must once again search our hearts for seeds of love and compassion. Why is it so hard to cultivate human kindness and respect? How is it that we can invent incredibly complex technology, push the limits of physical endeavor, and hone our intellects and yet be unable to transform the human heart? When will moral development and ethical evolution even catch up to, let alone surpass, our capacity for animosity and contempt and havoc? Who will be the teachers of peace, the champions of compassion?

Great compassion

Great compassion is the root of all forms of worship.

~ His Holiness the Dalai Lama

We cannot separate awareness and compassion

We cannot separate awareness and compassion. Awareness without compassion is sterile and lacks depth, while compassion without awareness is blind and unable to respond creatively to real situations. Awareness married to compassion allows a real relationship to develop. It is only through understanding, through a feeling of relationship to the world, that we can go beyond the selfishness that characterizes so much of the modern world.

~ from REFLECTIONS ON EVERYDAY LIFE by Paramananda

We can only care for others if we are cared for

We can only care for others if we are cared for... Caring is not something sentimental; it means giving time, listening, affirming, understanding and encouraging. It means also challenging and evaluating, when necessary....To care for people does not mean to flatter them; it is to help them discover their own worth and their gifts, in order to grow in truth, and to accept their brokenness and shadow sides...

~ from LETTER TO MY BROTHERS AND SISTERS IN L'ARCHE by Jean Vanier

Compassion is the only way forward

Compassion is the only way forward if we are to be well. Compassion for those who do not know that they are beloved. Compassion for the children and creatures who are suffering today. Compassion even for the people and nations who wrong us. Revenge has no future, apart from bitterness and the multiplication of wrong. As Mahatma Gandhi taught his people in the midst of his nation’s struggle for justice and liberation, the philosophy of revenge, of an eye for an eye, will only make the whole world blind. If what we are committed to is transformation, then the only way forward is compassion, not revenge. A passion that is with and for the other as well as oneself, a passion that is with us and for the other as oneself.

~ from A NEW HARMONY by John Philip Newell
A New Harmony
By J Philip Newell

From each heart is a window to other hearts

From each heart is a window to other hearts
They are not separated like two bodies,
Just as, even though two lamps are not joined,
Their light is united in a single ray.

~ Jalaluddin Rumi
Rumi: The Art of Loving
By Jalaluddin Rumi

Every joy becomes your joy and every pain your pain

Do you know that your fervent wishes can only find fulfillment if you succeed in attaining love and understanding of humankind, animals and plants, and stars, so that every joy becomes your joy and every pain your pain?

~ Einstein
The World As I See It
By Albert Einstein

Learning to listen to our bodies

Learning to listen to our bodies, emotions and thoughts gives us the ability to recognize and deal with irrational states of mind, seeing them for what they really are, and learning to bless them and embrace them before letting them go. Mastery of our emotional and intellectual behaviors must begin with forgiving ourselves and others. Harboring old grievances and resentments is a sure way of creating negative energies which will produce negative outcomes. Knowing how to heal old wounds in positive ways and moving into the Light is an important lesson in the mastery of our behaviors.

~ from THE LIGHT WILL SET YOU FREE by Milanovich and McCune
The Light Shall Set You Free
By Dr. Norma J. Milanovich, Dr. Shirley McCune

The stripping of pettiness from life

The stripping of pettiness from life in those early days of the war, the sense of unity and mutual help among all sorts and conditions of people, was a thing no one who was in England at that time could ever forget. There was an atmosphere of forgiveness everywhere, that most rare of human qualities...such moments reveal the beauty hidden in the most unlikely persons and affirm the truth, "what a piece of work is man, is woman!"

~ from SUCH STUFF AS DREAMS ARE MADE OF by Helen Luke

Hatred is a curved blade

"Edward," she said softly. "Learn this from me. Holding anger is a poison. It eats you from inside. We think that hating is a weapon that attacks the person who harmed us. But hatred is a curved blade. And the harm we do, we do to ourselves.

~ from THE FIVE PEOPLE YOU MEET IN HEAVEN by Mitch Albom

School Prayer

In the name of daybreak
and the eyelids of morning
and the wayfaring moon
and the night when it departs,

I swear I will not dishonor
my soul with hatred
but offer myself humbly
as a guardian of nature,
as a healer of misery,
as a messenger of wonder,
as an architect of peace.
~ from "School Prayer" by Diane Ackerman
I Praise My Destroyer: Poems
By Diane Ackerman

True compassion is more than flinging a coin at a beggar

True compassion is more than flinging a coin at a beggar; it comes to see that an edifice that produces beggars needs restructuring.

~ Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Strength to Love
By Martin Luther King Jr

Where love is strong

Where love is strong, forgiveness can be there for us before there is any movement on our part. Something special happens when forgiveness is given fulfillment by its recognition and acceptance. Sorrow and understanding can be involved in healing. The words needed may be, "I’m sorry," and it may take time before it is clear that the words are real. But forgiveness is given, not earned. Healing may take time; the forgiveness is gift. Where there is love, the gift will not be withheld.

~ from GOD FIRST LOVED US by Anthony F. Campbell

Compassion is a sign of nobleness

Compassion, even towards one's enemies, is a sign of nobleness and spiritual perfection.

~ Ostad Elahi
Knowing the Spirit
By Ostad Elahi

It is no longer good enough to cry peace

It is no longer good enough to cry peace—we must act peace, live peace, and live in peace.

~ Shenandoah proverb

The world is hungry for goodness

The world is hungry for goodness and recognizes it when it sees it...When we glimpse it in people we applaud them for it. We long to be just a little like them. Through them we let the world’s pain into our hearts, and we find compassion.

~ Desmond Tutu

July-August 2017 (Vol. XXX, No. 7)

Dear Friends ~ Far too many people in today's world seem intent on defining what they believe everyone must have faith in as if they alone had captured The Truth. One's faith must pass their litmus test in order to be real or valid or redeemed. Looking back through history at the inquisition, the crusades, the Pharisees and Romans, the suppression of the Sufis and countless other persecutions reminds me that it has often been this way. Yet if God is truly holy, then taking off our shoes and bending in awe might be a better response than looking from side to side to take inventory of who's there and who's not. I find it hard enough to have faith without people co-opting and abusing it in the name of their own fundamental righteousness. What is faith if not hope in the unseen? And if unseen, then how can we lock down The Truth as if we know it? It is human nature to fear uncertainty, confine paradox, and hammer away at ambiguity with our doctrines and creeds.

There is no progress in prayer without progress in faith

There is no progress in prayer without progress in faith, a purification of faith. And this entails the removal of all the props which depend on human endeavor, human reasoning, signs and the rest. It is the naked faith which is a terrifying experience and yet is the meeting point ultimately between God and ourselves in the depth of our being. This experience of the purification of faith is not normally one which comes early in the spiritual life. We must learn to wait.

~ Basil Hume

Don't worry about what is reality

...don't worry about what is reality,
or what is plain, or what is mysterious.
If you were there, it was all those things.
If you can imagine it, it is all those things.
Eat, drink, be happy.
Accept the miracle.
Accept, too, each spoken word
spoken with love.

~ from "Logos" by Mary Oliver, in WHY I WAKE EARLY

The getting up and going

Sometimes I wondered if
I had any faith.
I sat down and thought about it.
And when I had had enough
of that I got up
and went on my way.
And that—the getting up
and going—was faith.

~ from YES, WORLD by Mary Jean Irion, as reprinted in AN ALMANAC FOR THE SOUL by Marv and Nancy Hiles

The faithful moments

There are mountaintop experiences for some, and thin places for very many. But underlying them—and making them possible—are the faithful moments, the faithful hours, and the faithful days which make up a lifetime of actively seeking to allow God's love to live in us and through us.

~ in "Thin Places" - newsletter of the Westminster Presbyterian Church

Faith is the fountain of spiritual discipline

Though it may seem as though faith is absent more often than it is present, it is possible to strengthen this quality through silence and meditation. Like the sun and the stars, faith is a natural part of our soul life—we have only to learn to put our trust in this intuitive sense to begin to feel its healing effects. Faith is the fountain of spiritual discipline...an inner sense that allows us to bear with patience our doubts and despair, as well as the dry, depressing passages of life, knowing that somehow, some way, we are being led forward in the right direction.

~ from SOUL SISTERS by Pythia Peay

How we live

Faith is not about how we feel; it's about how we live. 
~ Anne Lamott

Faith, optimism, and hope

One becomes an active participant in the world when he or she believes in something. Faith, optimism, and hope—we have to have those things as human beings; otherwise, life is unbearable because there is nothing that we can see beyond ourselves.

~ Gabriel Byrne
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