The word blessing evokes a sense of warmth and protection; it suggests that no life is alone or unreachable. Each life is clothed in raiment of spirit that secretly links it to everything else. Though suffering and chaos befall us, they can never quench that inner light of providence. . . . A blessing is not a sentiment or a question; it is a gracious invocation where the human heart pleads with the divine heart. . . . When a blessing is invoked, it changes the atmosphere. Some of the plenitude flows into our hearts from the invisible neighborhood of loving kindness. In the light and reverence of blessing, a person or situation becomes illuminated in a completely new way. In a dead wall a new window opens, in dense darkness a path starts to glimmer, and into a broken heart healing falls like morning dew. It is ironic that so often we continue to live like paupers though our inheritance of spirit is so vast. The quiet eternal that dwells in our souls is silent and subtle; in the activity of blessing it emerges to embrace and nurture us. Let us begin to learn how to bless one another. Whenever you give a blessing, a blessing returns to enfold you.
~ from TO BLESS THE SPACE BETWEEEN US by John O'Donohue
The warmth provided by our capacity to love is as necessary for the soul's growth as any part of the meditational way... Love increases as we look out for the strangers and welcome them and particularly as we work at trying to transform our enemies into friends. Steadily the warmth that is given by this kind of action draws the soul toward the reality of the loving God. Step by step the soul's reach grows, so that it becomes easier to find the One who is Love and to carry more Love out actively to others.
Winding down a path unknown
With souls entwined together
Staying in the dark recesses of the
underworld, waiting patiently
Until that which has been forgotten
Can be remembered
And once remembered, can be healed.
~from DANCING BETWEEN TWO WORLDS by Margaret Smerlinski
In living with the mystery, we realize that recognizing our wounds is a prerequisite for recognizing and embracing the wounds of another. The fruit of personal suffering is a more compassionate heart....When this important first step is taken, when each of us tears away the bandages and takes the risk to allow our wounds to breathe, we begin to conspire together for the healing of our world.
~ from THE CONSPIRACY OF COMPASSION by Joseph Nassal
Great strength exists in the smallest things... Love can be a mere glance, a brief word, a silent touch. But it reaches past time and space and mere existence. Prayer, short, deep—a word from the depth of heart and spirit can work miracles and change a whole world.
~ from A CHEROKEE FEAST OF DAYS by Joyce Sequiche Hifler
The skin of deeply spiritual persons
is not a dividing membrane
that separates them from the world—
a connecting membrane,
a permeable membrane,
events of the world and
events of their inner life
flow into one another.
~ from TOWARD A GLOBAL SPIRITUALITY by Patricia Mische
Think of the high noon of summer, or of the stillness of a snow-covered country, how the heat or lightness everywhere gives an intense sense of overflowing and abounding life, making a quietness of rapture rather than fear. Such, only of a deeper and far more intimate kind, is the atmosphere of waiting souls...Gradually, as mind, soul and even body grow still, sinking deeper and deeper into the life of God, the pettiness, the tangles, the failures of the outer life begin to be seen in their true proportions, and the sense of the divine infilling, uplifting, redeeming Love becomes real and illuminating.
The polestar that will guide you into a more loving future is already shining bright in the night sky of your soul. But to see it, you must accustom your eyes to the fertile darkness you have tried to avoid. Look deeply into your disappointments, examine your heartache, interrogate your longing, probe your loneliness, meditate honestly on the elements of love of which you are still ignorant, and you will discover that the void within you is already filled with the desire for fulfillment. Your yearning itself is an internal guidance system that is moving you to become a lover.
We are all in this together. So when you realize that you're talking to yourself, label it "thinking" and notice your tone of voice. Let it be compassionate and gentle and humorous. Then you'll be changing old stuck patterns that are shared by the whole human race. Compassion for others begins with kindness to ourselves.
While all major religions rightly expect people to help others in need, paradoxically the real refreshing, and mysterious challenge of spiritual life is not primarily to give love, but to receive it. For when our hearts are alive with love, we can, and do, spontaneously share with a sense of mitzvah (giving and expecting nothing in return)... With a healthy sense of self-love, the call from God to love others as we love ourselves is transformed from an exterior command into a powerful interior attitude of hope that can lead to true compassion, sound friendship, and effective social action.
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