The lesson which life repeats and constantly enforces is "look under foot." You are always nearer the divine and the true sources of your power than you think. The lure of the distant and difficult is deceptive. The great opportunity is where you are. Do not despise your own home and hour. Every place is under the stars, every place is of the world.
"Peace!" the angel announced. But peace is as much task as gift. Only if we become calm as earth, fluid as water, and blazing as fire will we able to rise to the task of peacemaking, and the air will stir with the rush of wings of angels arriving to help us. This is why I wish you that great inner stillness which alone allows us to speak, even today, without irony, of "peace on earth" and, without despair, to work for it.
~ Brother David Steindl-Rast, OSB, thanks to Toto Rendlen
What shall I do
with this quiet joy?
It calls forth the expanse
of my soul, calls
it forth to go singing
through the world...
calls it forth
to bear into this world
where light will glisten
the edge of every wing
and blade of grass,
shine along every hair on every head,
gleam among the turnings of every wave,
the turning open of each life,
each human hand
Perhaps the most important lesson of Ladakh has to do with happiness. Only after many years of peeling away layers of preconceptions did I begin to see the joy and laughter of the Ladakhis for what it really was: a genuine and unhindered appreciation of life itself. In Ladakh I have known a people who regard peace of mind and joie de vivre as their unquestioned birthright. I have seen that community and a close relationship to the land can enrich human life beyond all comparison with material wealth or technological sophistication.
I was walking down the street in New York City one day, when I heard a woman's voice saying, "I was very sick all winter." Intrigued, I turned around and saw the woman handing a street person, sitting on the sidewalk, some money. She went on talking to him. "I had pneumonia, and every time I started to get better, I'd have a relapse. Now I am finally really getting better, and I just wanted to share the joy."
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