Ebook Quotes

Worship in work

The idea of worship in work was at once a doctrine and a daily discipline. The ideal was variously expressed that secular achievements should be as "free from error" as conduct, that manual labor was a type of religious ritual, that godliness should illuminate life at every point.

~ from SHAKER FURNITURE by Edward and Faith Andrews

Their ability to enjoy so completely each other and their work

Watching these people and the way they interacted with each other, I could not help but be impressed. But there was another feeling, difficult to define. Was I possibly jealous of this Quechua family? There was no denying that I who had never known poverty or hunger felt, if not jealous, at least envy for their ability to enjoy so completely each other, their work, the meager food and homes they shared, and all that was around them. I had learned that Andean Indians often talk to nature. It is not uncommon to hear a man or woman murmur words of greeting to a bird, flower, or cloud. Such things are a part of their lives and the source of immense pleasure. Was it possible that these people knew something I did not understand? Could I learn from the Quechua what my own culture and background had failed to teach?

~ from PSYCHONAVIGATION by John Perkins

Work is central to the soul's OPUS

Most of us put a great deal of times into work, not only because we have to work so many hours to make a living, but because work is central to the soul's OPUS. We are crafting ourselves -- individuating. Work is fundamental to the OPUS because the whole point of life is the fabrication of the soul.

~ from CARE OF THE SOUL by Thomas Moore

The artist must be obedient to the work

The work comes to the artist and says, "Here I am, serve me." The artist must be obedient to the work.

~ Madeleine L'Engle

Works that touch the Divine

I believe that works that touch the Divine or teach us or are still with us centuries after their creation are the ones that did not come out of a place of power or control or techniques, but came at the moment when the heart let go and God answered the question.

~ Paula Matthew

Even if your current job does not reflect your dreams

Even if your current job does not reflect your dreams and ultimate direction, you can find ways of expressing more of your special qualities while you are looking for your next step forward. If you are committed to expressing your spiritual purpose through your day-to-day activities, then your work will automatically become more satisfying. Think about your current position in life and ask yourself:

How can I best serve others and my own higher purpose through my work? How can my current work become more fulfilling? How can I bring more healing into the world?

~ David Lawson

Let the neglected presence of your soul come to meet you again

Many people who are secretly weary of work have never given themselves time, or taken time out or away from work, to allow their spirits to catch up. Giving yourself plenty of time is a simple but vital reflective exercise:

Leave all agendas behind you. Let the neglected presence of your soul come to meet and engage you again. It can be a lovely reacquaintance with your forgotten mystery.

~ from ANAM CARA by John O'Donohue

No despair of ours can stain the joy of the cosmic dance which always there

The silence of the spheres is the music of a wedding feast. The more we persist in misunderstanding the phenomena of life, the more we analyze them out into strange finalities and complex purposes of our own, the more we involve ourselves in sadness, absurdity and despair. But it does not matter much, because no despair of ours can alter the reality of things, or stain the joy of the cosmic dance which is always there.

Even on the foggiest nights.

~ Thomas Merton

The joy that spins the universe

Somewhere downstairs a door slammed, and my father entered the house laughing. Instantly, the whole universe joined in. Great roars of hilarity sounded from sun to sun. Field mice uttered, and so did angels and rainbows. Laughter leavened every atom and every star until I saw a universe inspirited and spiraled by joy, not unlike the one I read of years later when Dante describes his great vision in paradise.

"D'el riso d'el universo." (The joy that spins the universe). This was a knowledge of the way everything worked. It worked through love and joy and the utter interpenetration and union of everything with the All That Is.

~ from A MYTHIC LIFE by Jean Houston

Joy is the perception of beauty

Joy is the perception of beauty, unlike happiness, which is because of something. Joy is singing of the heart, a feeling of praise.

~ ~ from WALKING IN BEAUTY by Dick Olney

Joy does not come from outside

Why has this Frenchman from France written his book in the United States to present to his friends today? Because loving the country and wanting to show his gratitude, he could find no better way of expressing it than in these two truths, intimately known to him [Jacques is blind] and reaching beyond all boundaries.

The first of these is that joy does not come from outside, for whatever happens to us it is within. The second truth is that light does not come to us from without; Light is in us, even if we have no eyes.

~ from AND THERE WAS LIGHT by Jacques Lusseyran

Feeling joy while find the outer life more difficult

The way toward individuality is deceptively simple. When suffering is felt, it is time to move, to do something. Moving means moving out of the fixed patterns of habit. ...It is quite possible to feel joy while finding that the outer life is in many ways more difficult, more trying than was lived before. The bodily sensation that tells us that we are at least moving toward the sense of individuality is joy. Nothing given from the outside can bring joy; it may bring pleasure, but not joy. We are always surprised by joy because this is living from the time current from the future and there are no concepts for joy.

~ from LOVE AND THE SOUL by Robert Sardello

We're seeking the joy of being alive

People say that what we're all seeking in life is a meaning for life. I don't think that's what we're really seeking. I think we're seeking the rapture, the joy, of being alive.

~ Joseph Campbell

Mix them!

Cultivate seeds of joy!

You carry
All the ingredients
To turn your life into a nightmare --
Don't mix them!

You carry all the ingredients
To turn your existence into joy,

Mix them,
Mix Them!

~ from THE GIFT by Hafiz with thanks to Paula Brown

Deep within my heart the bird of faith stirs

The sky of my being is dark and still,
But deep within my heart
The bird of faith stirs, awakens,
And begins a song of joyous anticipation,
Until at last,
Beyond the horizon of my mind,
The Self's own Light breaks forth,
Illumining me with joy.

~ Ann Amerson

The joy of being in love is in the very loving

The smile of the contemplative in the presence of the Beloved is merely a physical expression of the total joy one perceives as one communes with God. St. Bernard used to say, "The joy of being in love is in the very loving." In other words, joy is not to be sought for itself, but is a by-product of love, and the smile is but the physical, exterior expression of the inner joy-love.

~ from ANGELS by F. Thomas Francis

The true source of joy is love

The true source of joy is love -- love of God, love of beauty, love of wisdom, love of another human being, it does not matter which.  It is all one love: a joyful awareness of dissolving boundaries of our ordinary narrow self, of being one with the reality beyond, of being made whole.
~ from "The Door to Joy" by Irma Zaleski

Without joy all forms held in consciousness begin to disintegrate

Several years ago I realized the profound impact that joy had in my life by experiencing the lack of it. I did not know that I was "joyless" until I sought the answer to a ridiculous turn of events where everything seemed to be out of kilter. During a very specific time frame the car broke down, the lawn mower fell apart, the clothes dryer died, the TV went on the blink, and my business affairs were like a soap opera. When I finally stopped to go into the silence within and ask, I heard the answer:

"Your joy vibration is practically nonexistent, and joy is the energy and the catalyst for order and harmony. Without joy all forms held in consciousness begin to disintegrate."

Joy is made full through the act of abiding in the Presence. When we are consciously aware of the Presence of the divine consciousness, we become in tune with the Energy of Joy, because the song of the soul is joy.

~ from THE ANGELS WITHIN US by John Randolph Price

An eye made quiet by the deep power of joy

While with an eye made quiet by the power
Of harmony, and the deep power of joy,
We see into the life of things.

~ William Wordsworth

Joy has the power to open our hearts

Joy has the power to open our hearts, remove fear, instill hope and foster healing. Joy leads us to wisdom because it connects us to all we are -- our mind, heart, power, and spirit. Joy stimulates our immune system, increases our energy, and gives us mental clarity. It helps us heighten our level of consciousness so we can more readily tap our inner wisdom. Instead of agonizing over decisions, we become more able to simply listen within and KNOW what to do.

~ from FINDING JOY by Charlotte Davis Kasl

Ineffable joy

Sitting there in silence, listening to the quiet, I was filled with a unique feeling of peace, an impression so intense that it seemed to expand into ineffable JOY. ...It went on, second after second, so pervasive that it seemed to fill my entire body. I relaxed into it luxuriated in it. Then with no warning, and surely without preparation or expectation, I knew what it was: for the seconds it lasted I felt, with a certainty I cannot account for, a sense of the presence of God.

~ from THE PRESENCE OF ABSENCE by Doris Grumbach

Sitting still

Sitting still
doing nothing
Spring comes
and the grass grows by itself.

~ a bit of Zen wisdom

To go into the wilderness

I found myself in a miniature inlet. An intense tranquility covered the scene. And yet -- within the tranquility, the lake and hills were burning with spiritual energy. The silence was almost palpable; still, the silence had a sound of its own, like a subterranean waterfall. I felt as if I had stepped back a million years in time; but the energy I felt was electric and immediate. ... The very wildness of the wilderness generates a spiritual field that connects us with the source from which all life evolved. To go into the wilderness, we must undertake a journey that purifies our senses and prepares us for the subtle lessons that the wilderness has to teach us.

~ Martin Hawes, author of ABOVE ME ONLY THE SKY (Tasmania) with thanks to Elaine Laforet

As seed germinates in silent, fertile soil

As seed germinates in silent, fertile soil, may the seed of the Divine Word be nourished in the silence of your soul.  
~ Anonymous

As the animals

Ask the animals and they will teach you, or the birds of the air and they will tell you; or speak to the earth and it will teach you, or let the fish of the sea inform you. Which of these does not know the hand of God?

~ Job 12:7-9

The human being is a microcosm of the great cosmos

If each of us opens the depths of our hearts to the Mystery of God in the concrete events of life, and then -- in freedom -- decides for the good, then fecundity of cosmos and nature will proceed from this very personal act. For Hildegard the human being -- body and soul -- is a microcosm of the great cosmos and is meant to be a creative member of the circle of life on this precious earth. Each personal decision affects all of us. It can contribute either to the healing of the planet or to a further shriveling up in separation, hopelessness, fear, and pollution. We are responsible not only to God and to each other but also to the elements.

~ from HILDEGARD by Renate Craine

The earth is an awesome, fragile mystery

Responsible people are beginning to realize that the earth is an awesome mystery, ultimately as fragile as we are ourselves. ...That being so, there is need to be sensitive to the earth, for the earth identifies with our own suffering, exploitation of the earth is exploitation of the human, elimination of the aesthetic splendors of the earth is the diminishment of all existence.

~ Thomas Berry

Let the woodlands become your chapel

As you see the world as part of yourself
you will care for it;
As you see yourself as part of the world
you will be cared for.

When alone with your thoughts,
listen and hear the Silence.
Listen and see the Silence.
Listen and taste the Silence.
Close your eyes and feel the Silence
deep within.

Let the woodlands become your chapel --
your body the altar.
In the Silence, as you begin to
communicate with the Creator,
receive peace.

~ from a Seneca song with thanks to Richard Siebels

Gardening can provide an opportunity to slow down

Gardening can provide an opportunity to slow down, be still, breathe, and connect with another form of life. For me, it is an experience of communion; I become one with this precious life in my garden, and it heightens my experience of love in the world. And that is what spirituality is all about: growing in love.

~ from GROWING MYSELF by J. Handelsman

Nature's perfect economy

Nature's perfect economy is at work in the unfurling of leaves, the structure of galaxies, and the emergence of a butterfly from a chrysalis.  Universal patterns, forms and processes are embodiments of efficient harmonies, proportioned relatedness, and ways of sharing.  By looking at the world in a certain way, we can see patterns of interconnectedness and come to realize that the world is not a collection of "things", but an unfolding creative process at the deepest level.
~ from "A Natural Harmony" by David Fideler

An obligation to return to this planet

Every human being has an obligation to return to this planet and to all its creatures the sound of beauty, the power of prayer, the sense of harmony. In O PIONEERS!, Willa Cather reminds us of our need to believe in the good soil of our lives, to do what we can to wake it up and then to wait.

"The land had its little joke. It pretended to be poor because nobody knew how to work it right; and then all at once it worked itself. It woke up out of its sleep and stretched itself and it was so big, so rich, that we suddenly found we were rich, just from sitting still."

We can learn the same lesson from sitting still with the land of the heart. It, too, has its little jokes. We think it is poor soil because we don't know how to work it. When we learn to do our inner work, it will wake up and work itself. All we need is a PATIENT WAITING and a TENDER ABIDING.

~ from THE SONG OF THE SEED by Macrina Wiederkehr

The silence of nature

People talk about the silence of nature, but of course there is no such thing. What they mean is that OUR voices are still, OUR noises are absent.

~ Sue Halpern

Bird trust

When I had my breakfast I would leave the door open in the summer and the birds would come right inside and pick up the crumbs around my feet. They had no fear of me at all. These birds also brought their families when ready. I later found out that this bird trust was because of my silence. Once I spoke to them, all went like the wind, and I praised God for such trust. Providing I remained silent they had no fear of me and I learned a great deal about their ways.

~ from WIND ON THE SAND by Pinions

New love to the world

We are here because Love recognizes our value and knows what we can become, what we can give, what we can do that will bring new life, new vision, new spirit, new love to the world. The call in the lives of each of us is the call to treasure and value and love one another and all the other creatures and things of the Earth. It is the call to acknowledge and to act from that knowledge that each person is just as valued and just as loved as the next, and all are invited to participate in the communion of that love.
~ from THE CALL by David Spangler

My share in the world

Every person has a share in this world and a share in the world to come. We understand the concept of a share in the world to come, but what does it mean having a share in this world? Open your hearts. Having a share in this world means I know exactly what I have to do in this world. This is a very high level. If I know that if I don't do it, it just won't happen. Then I've just got to do it. This is my share in this world.

~ in HOLY BROTHER by Y. H. Mandelbaum

When a person's words and inner self finally match

The saints were not people with the greatest education or even the largest results. But they did have a couple traits in common which were almost invisible: ehat they SAID correlated almost one hundred percent with what they WERE and what they DID. An amazing and invisible power may be released when a person's words and inner self finally match.

~ Keith Miller

Work is more than work

Work is more than work. Work is a way of creating and contributing; It is giving to the world; it is sacramental, because It is serving. It is a yielding up and a showing, WHATEVER it is you did — The best-made bed, the best-written book, the best piece of pottery you had within you. It is good for the psyche and good for the soul.

~ Peggy Noonan

Your mission on earth is not complete

If your still alive your mission on earth is not yet complete. People are happiest when they are so completely engrossed in an activity that they lose track of time and go into what is called a flow state. For this to occur, the activity must be reasonably challenging, neither too easy or too hard. It must be something that is of value to others, and it must be something that you love, that you can be passionate about. Your passion for your work will get you out of bed and into the workplace' even when you don't really feel like it, even when you are discouraged about your progress.

~ Deborah G. Whitehouse in "Unity Magazine"

Whatever we do for the love of God

Whatever we do for the love of God benefits our souls and our lives in a way that ego-motivated actions never can. Whatever we do for the love of God is done with sincerity because it is not motivated by self-interest. We leave our concern for gain and loss, success and failure, in the hands of God. We stop considering ourselves as the sole cause of our actions and their results. Consequently, we become the instruments of a deep wisdom and love.

~ from THE KNOWING HEART by Kabir Edmund Helminski

My life belongs to others

I am of the opinion that my life belongs to others, and as long as I live, it is my privilege to do for them whatever I can. I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work, the more I live. Life is no brief candle for me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for a moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations.

~ George Bernard Shaw

Much of our work is invisible

Much of our work is invisible and intangible. You cannot measure it by human means; and sometimes a period of silent reflection will accomplish more good than if the time had been spent in outward activity. Our work is immaterial where we are and what we do; the thing that matters is who we are and what we intend. Constant preoccupation with exterior work handicaps our knowledge of ourselves and of our intentions.

~ from COME, HOLY SPIRIT by Francis Xavier Ford

Practicing the Presence of God

Everything faded -- beside
The light which bathed and warmed, the Presence
Your being had opened to. Where it shone,
Their life was, and abundantly; it touched
Your dullest task and the tasks were easy.
Joyful, absorbed,
You "'practiced the presence of God" as a Musician
Practices hour after hour his art:
"A stone before the carver,"
You "entered into yourself."

~ Denise Levertov on Brother Lawrence's conversion

Judge me not for the deeds I've done

"The book is done then. I guess we're finished."

"No, son, we're not finished. We just don't need us a book anymore. You can just come and visit anyway. I might go to see your family too. I hear there's a good fishing your way. We did this book just like we said we would. We did our best. I don't care if nothing else happens with it or if somebody was to print a hundred copies. I'll have my own copy and I can read now."

"You've accomplished a lot."

"That's right. Yet judge me not for the deeds I've done. But for the life I've lived. Son, people think one hundred years is a long time. Most folks just don't understand. My life hasn't been as long at all; seems short to me. It's all gone by so fast. Life is so good and it gets better every day."

~ from LIFE IS SO GOOD by Dawson and Glaubman

Sacred Idleness

Work is not always required. There is such a thing as sacred idleness.

~ George MacDonald

Becoming conscious of our inner and outer lives

Consciousness individually and collectively shapes our material world. Our interior life constantly shapes our exterior life. This is why no matter how diverse our work in the external world, the "common work" of humanity —the only true way we can live our external lives — requires becoming conscious of the relationship between our inner and outer lives.

~ from "Weaving Together" by Rob Lehman

Work which is our most durable monument

It so happens that the work which is likely to be our most durable monument, and to convey some knowledge of us to the most remote posterity, is a work of bare utility; not a shrine, not a fortress, not a palace, but a bridge.

~ "Harper's Weekly" 1883

Enjoying the moment before the task is complete

To keep our feet on the ground is to find wholeness in our lives. We bring spirit down in the world of soul to be embodied, to work, to be of benefit. At the same times we go the other way, too, bringing world up toward spirit, ennobling the kitchen and the freeway. Integrity is active, a practice concerned with motion, connection, and struggle. It does not just go by the rules. In the great silence, integrity listens for the true course. This means that integrity is slow. It allows us to feel the anxiety of events developing, finding their shape; it does not rush through the time of growth, and enjoys the moment before the task is complete.

~ from THE LIGHT INSIDE THE DARK by John Tarrant

We can restore the earth

The separate parts of humanity are coming together to form a whole that is greater than and unpredictable from the sum of its parts. Synergy feels like love, loving one another as ourselves. We are, in fact, one body! Our capacities as a whole are infinitely greater than we we are separate tribes and nations. Once our consciousness shifts from feeling separated to knowing that we are all members of one body, our vast technological genius begins to serve the growth of ourselves as one planet. And that consciousness shift an happen in the twinkling of an eye. Once our consciousness shifts collectively, we can restore the Earth, we can feed all peoples, we can emancipate unique potential We can!

~ from THE REVELATION by Barbara M. Hubbard

Your heart is a seed

Your heart is a seed.
Go. Plant it in the world.

~ Sue Monk Kidd

May the harmony of sky and water

May the harmony of sky and water,
leaf and rock,
Nourish the creation and growth
of your inner being.

~ The Wayfarer's Chapel

How wonderful and precious are all God's creatures

The unique saga of the whooping crane's struggle to survive as a species reminds us of how wonderful and precious are all God's creatures. In its fragility and its numinosity the whooper provides a needed symbol for a spirituality of creation that rekindles human reverence for the mysterious presence of God dwelling deep down within the beauty and splendor of all that lives.

~ from ONE HUNDRED CRANES by William J. Fitzgerald

This was happiness: sitting in a tree

A week of silence had tipped the balance from the desire for external rewards to the intrinsic value of being. I passed the oak I'd sat on the day before. This was happiness: witting in a tree. Lying in the grass. Feeling the fog or the sunshine touching my skin. Watching a hawk circle. All anbition and seeking had fallen away. Even my desire to cling to the sensations of the moment had dissolved. I only wanted to live my life while it was happening, not enmeshed in the past of all that lives.

~ from SITTING STILL by Patricia Hart Clifford

Forests and fields all speak the same language

Forests and fields, sun and wind and sky, earth and water, all speak the same language: peace, solitude, silence.

~ Thomas Merton

Sacred hart in the blackening wilderness

Sacred hart in the blackening wilderness
stately deer, gracefully bounding,
holy vision of the Eternal Heart;
countless, unending blood memories,
surge like gold through your rhythmic veins,
ancient paths stir the soul's journey.
Sleeping titans stand on the edge,
disregarding the dark, grasping webs of life,
or silver antlers shining with white wisdom,
of pulsating pearls of poetry flowing
from open eyes of song,
as the saintly sculpture disappears
from its vanishing home into
a dying paradise.

~ from Sacred Poems by Richard W. Bachtold

The mirrors of silence

Diving Love and Light are the mirrors of silence in which all of creation is reflected. Be still and know.

~ Anonymous

Silently a flower blooms

Silently a flower blooms,
In silence it falls away;
Yet here now, at this moment, at this place,
The world of the flower,
the whole of the world is blooming.
This is the talk of the flower,
the truth of the blossom;
The glory of eternal life is fully shining here.

~ Zenkei Shibayama

Our task before us is to build the earth

When one views the planet Earth from outer space and sees no national boundaries, the prophecy of Teilhard de Chardin is compelling:

The age of nations is past. That task before us, if we would not perish, is to build the earth ... to help hear her wounds.


~ Teilhard de Chardin

To live close to the earth

I just love silence. I love lying quietly in the afternoon with the sun streaming in through the windows of my cabin. Just being very quiet. Ninety-nine times out of a hundred, when I climb the hill up to the cabin, I stop and either throw myself down on the ground or look up to the stars and say, "This is fabulous. I am so happy, happy, happy that I am doing this. It's so nice to live close to the earth." I just love silence.

~ from "A Voice For the River" by Myczack in "Heron Dance"

Being one with the rhythm of all life and all time

Colin Fletcher, in THE MAN WHO WALKED THROUGH TIME, describes how from moments of peak awareness, there came at last after long solitude and silence, and for the time being, a continuous sense of being one with the rhythm of all life and all time, of being inside as well as outside the life of everything he saw – animals, insects, the living rocks, the wind, the river; and finally, most difficult of all, he could feel even the craziness of modern humanity as part of the unbroken pattern of eternity.


Without the darkness nothing comes to birth

Help us to be always helpful gardeners of the spirit who know that without the darkness nothing comes to birth, as without light nothing flowers.

~ May Sarton

Everything is of interdependent nature

In our world, we need a clear awareness of the inter-dependent nature of nations, of humans, animals, and the world. Everything is of interdependent nature. I feel that many problems, especially man-made problems, are due to lack of knowledge about this interdependent nature.

~ from THE PATH TO TRANQUILITY by Dalai Lama

May you walk in balance

Each of us has the responsibility to protect sacred land and life in every country of the world, in whatever way he or she can. We must remember that lightning and wind are not controlled by human boundaries. A sacred breath unifies the divine web of life. Any part that is broken affects us all. May you walk in balance.

~ from a video "The Earth Is Alive" by Joan Price

What is our dream for the Earth?

What is our dream for the Earth? What is our dream for our children?

My hope is that all children will become earth literate. That they will experience no separation of spirit and matter! That they will come to know the Story of the Universe as theor story! That they will have a deep sense of being a unique expression of the universe and that they are the universe celebrating itself in their songs, dances, and rituals! Finally, I hope that they realize they have a purpose to fulfill and that they are a gift for the whole web of life!

~ Thomas Berry with thanks to Carl Ritz

The mystery of the voice its its potent transformative sounds

My spiritual heritage included the weekly hymn by P. P. Bliss which continues to come to mind:

Sing them over again to me,
  Wonderful words of Life.
Let me more of their beauty see,
  Wonderful words of Life.
Words of Life and Beauty
  Teach me faith and duty:
Beautiful words, wonderful words,
  Wonderful words of Life.

The mystery of the voice and its potent transformative sounds may be experienced int he wonderful words of life, the tuning and vibration of the sacred breath, and the roaring silence of internal thought. 

~ by Don G. Campbell

Become the music you long to sing

Become the music you long to sing: the beautiful song of your soul.

~ Anonymous

The reason we are singing to one another

I think, to a poet, the human community is like the community of birds to a bird, singing to each other. Love is one of the reasons we are singing to one another, love of language itself, love of sound, love of singing itself, and love of the other birds.
~ by Sharon Olds

Hearing him play, he knew there was a God

Nadia Boulanger once described a Menuhin recital: He gave a number of encores, and the last was the slow movement of Brahm's Sonata in D minor. What happened then was part of an indescribable completeness. The whole house found itself in the grip of the same mute emotion, which created silence of an extraordinary quality. Everyone understood, felt, participated in what he himself must have been feeling." Menuhin has always possessed this quality. Even as a child, his playing had an innate innocence (which is still intact) that made Einstein declare that, hearing him play, he knew there was a God.


Silence is my music now

One of the things he liked most about the hermitage was the silence. "Silence is my music now." He could pick up the small sounds of insects and animals. Sometimes when the wind was strong, it blew the sound of the traffic to him. He liked to think of all the people going on with their lives and to think of himself as in a sense staying where he was for their sakes, "like a lighthouse keeper."

~ from "The Music of Silence" by Phyllis Rose in Atlantic Monthly" - Oct. 1997

Erase the din of noise and hear the music

The rock vibrates, the air is riven
Like ripe fruit splayed on a summer's day
The bird's song is used to call a mate,
Warn of danger, find a nest...
If you listen you will hear our
Universal music on the street, in the air.
It is not the splitting of reeds,
The thrumming of strings,
The thrusting of air, or tambour of skins.
It is the passion and yearning to fully
become that which we already are.
To reach out and express...
to become connected and more whole.
Erase the din of noise and hear the music.
It is all around.

~ by James P. Behony

There is a divine music

There is a divine music called the silence of the Spirit.

~ Kirsten Daiensai

Let it come through you like something that doesn't belong to you

When I used to compose music, I'd sit for ages squeezing it out of myself; I made a huge effort, drove myself. But there was nothing like that this time. It was like music pouring out by itself. It was like the desire to sing – and I sang, the desire to pray – and I prayed. Do you remember?

The abbot said: "Let it come through you like something that doesn't belong to you."

~ from PILGRIMAGE TO DZHVARI by Valeria Alfeyeva

What is the formless?

The formless, what is that? As a pianist, I can best begin to understand through the study of piano music: notes on a page, each one to be taken hold of by the fingers and made to sing. One learns to listen, to seek the composer's intention, to try to recapture the tempo; to give attention to every note, however small, and to love each silence... Music is a transmission from one person to another, a deepening of understanding, and an awakening to the sense of beauty and order which lives deep inside us.

~ Claire Sykes in "Parabola" - Summer 1996

To listen to music has not practical purpose

To listen to music or to sing a chant is to do something that has no practical purpose; it is just celebration and praise; it is just tasting the joy and beauty of life, the glory of God. Listening to it, even in the midst of a very purposeful day, reminds us to add the other dimension to our experience, the dimension of meaning, that makes it all worthwhile.

~ from THE MUSIC OF SILENCE by David Steindl-Rast

The loveliness of the music depended upon my saying "yes" to the silence

Once a visiting musician said to me in an empty auditorium, "Play, and listen to the silence between the notes. The silence between the notes is as important as the music itself." Enhanced by the emptiness, the sound of my flute soared over the space and sang back from the far wall. But the sílences where I paused to breathe were even more lovely and articulate, creating a wholeness I had not perceived before. The silence shaped itself to the voice of the flute. The loveliness of the music depended upon my saying "yes" to the silence between my notes.

~ from GRACE'S WINDOW bv Suzanne Guthrie

While the song I came to sing remains unsung

I have spent my days
stringing and unstringing
my instrument
While the song I came to sing
remains unsung.
~ by Rabindranath Tagore

The song nobody else can sing

Listen for the special music,
the song nobody else can sing
but you.

~ Denise Shekerjian

Music is a disciplined feeling

Music is a DISCIPLINED feeling, sound given form and pattern through number and rhythm – the single sound of the universe bringing consciousness through incarnation in music to the inner ear of the soul . As a woman, it is the masculine creative spirit within, who brings me the sound of the music of God – unlike man, who hears it through the numinous feminine within. God's music unites all.


Birds inspire and uplift us with their carols

Birds inspire and uplift us with their carols... In the muslc of both birds and humans, beauty is "the wine which overflows." When the last lark has fallen silent, something holy will have vanished from the world. The chorus of life will be muted. The cathedral of the earth will have lost its choir.

~ from THE SOULS OF ANIMALS by Gary Kowalski

Work made holy

Over many a Sabbath the lads showed me where the rabbit warrens were, and the places in the rocks along the coast where the plovers hid their eggs, to be looked at but never disturbed. For hardy lads they had a gentle touch with flowers, and the discovery of a tiny bloom hidden beneath the leaves of a larger plant would draw from them both a sudden intake of breath. In the same manner that we played, so too we worked, and we made of work a thing of joy, for even hard work shared is work made worthwhile, and when shared with those we love, it is work made holy. So, I believe, not because someone taught me with some words, but because, clear and simple, that was the way of it.
~ from DARK THE NIGHT, WILD THE SEA by Robert McAfee Brown

Seed sowed in weakness and in the dust of daily life

Many a humble soul will be amazed to find that the seed it sowed in weakness, in the dust of daily life, has blossomed into immortal flowers under the eye of love.
~ Harriet Beecher Stowe

To do the smallest thing so supremely well

A pair of long, black woolen stockings hung there, and in one of them a huge darn. A perfected circle of calmly woven thread, no bobble or tug, no tension, no rough knot. Only someone very special, stable, and peaceful could make that kind of darn. To me it was a work of art. To do the smallest thing so supremely well, it had to be done with Love.
~ from ON PILGRIMAGE by Jennifer Lash

Moved quite naturally and joyfully to serve others

Once God has become a living reality for us, we simply have to love others. We cannot do otherwise. And once we live in love, we are moved quite naturally and joyfully to serve others. God is love and if we live in union with God, we have the strength and longing to love others. Service is a spiritual activity, the natural fruit of love.

True vocation joins self and service

True vocation joins self and service, as F. Buechner asserts when defining vocation as "the place where your deep gladness meets the world's deep need." Buechner's definition starts with the self and moves toward the needs of the world: it begins, wisely, where vocation begins – not in what the world needs (which is everything), but in the nature of the human self, in what brings the self joy, the deep joy of knowing that we are here on earth to be the gifts that God created.
~ from LET YOUR LIFE SPEAK by Parker Palmer

What is my work?

I have one longing only: to grasp what is hidden behind appearances... What is my work? ... to let the mind fall silent that I may hear the Invisible calling.
~ Nikos Kazantzakis

God is absorbed in work

God is absorbed in work, and hears
the spacious hum of bees, not the din,
and hears far-off
our screams. Perhaps
God listens for prayers in that wild solitude.
And hurries on with weaving:
till it's done, the garment woven,
our voices, clear under the familiar
blocked-out clamor of the task,
can't stop their
terrible beseeching. God
imagines it sifting through, at last, to music
in the astounded quietness, the loom idle,
the weaver at rest.

~ "The Task" by Denise Levertov

May the work you do make your heart sing

May the work you do make your heart sing,
and my the vocation you choose be LOVE.

~ Anonymous

Rules for an icon painter

Rules for an icon painter: During work, pray in order to strengthen yourself physically and spiritually; avoid, above all, useless words, and keep silence.

~ from PRAYING WITH ICONS by Jim Forest

Work flows out of your fullness

Villagers in AFrica are interested not in accumulation but in a sense of fullness. Abundance means a sense of fullness, which cannot be measured by the yardstick of the material goods we possess or the amount of money in a bank account. Abundance, in that sense of fullness, has a power that takes us way from worry. It is the kind of feeling you get when you are in communion with the natural, in communion with the source. There is some sense in which the work,, or the love of work, is the love of this kind of abundance. It is the kind of fullness you get by being with other people. Most work done in the village is done collectively. The purpose is not so much the desire to get the job done but to raise enough energy for people to feel nourished by what they do. The nourishment does not come AFTER the job, it comes BEFORE the job and DURING the job. The nation that you should do something so that you get paid so that then you can nourish yourself disappears You are nourished first, and then the work flows out of your fullness.
~ from THE HEALING WISDOM OF AFRICA by Malidoma Some with thanks to Fredi Brown

Barter my labor instead of my soul

Sandy and Ginny knew what they wanted to create for their neighborhood. They started with three goals: to make a safe place for everyone; to offer nourishing meals affordable to all people; to offer job training and work experience.

"We talked to a lot of people, but I was struck that one of our future customers said: 'Create a place where I can barter my labor instead of my soul.'"


~ from ORDINARY GRACE by Kathleen A. Brehony

What good work is about

Good work is really all about love's way

~ Fran Peavey

To do ordinary things with the perception of their enormous value

Do not forget that the value and interest of life is no so much to do conspicuous things as to do ordinary things with the perception of their enormous value.
~ Teilhard de Chardin

Important work that anybody can do

This is a story about four people named Everybody, Somebody, Anybody, and Nobody. There was important Work to be done and Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it. Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did. Somebody was angry about that, because it was Everybody's job. Everybody thought Anybody could do it, but Nobody realized that Everybody wouldn't do it. It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have done.

~ from a Friend of Silence in Philippines

No two hearts are on fire with God in the same way

No two hearts are on fire with God in the same way. We are all called to live this vibrant love of God in our own way, according to our own personality and temperament. In life's ups and downs, at times we will wonder if any fire remains in us. Because of our inner battles, we will at times resist the fire or fear its power. Yet, within us all, the fire of God continues to flicker even though we may not see its glow.

How do we keep the love of God aflame in us? We must stay close to the original flame of love, and draw near to the heat of God through daily prayer and through a continual yearning to be one with the divine presence. Each time we intentionally draw near to God, we light a candle in our heart.

~ from MAY I HAVE THIS DANCE? by Joyce Rupp

Barriers are sundered by the Divine Fire

Barriers are sundered, fetters are melted
By the Divine Fire,
And the eternal dawn of a new life rises
In all, and all in One.

~ by Vladimir Solovyov (19th century)

The fire of contemplation

There is a realization taking place within me, as my eyes reach out through the skylight, that the deeper I go in prayer the farther out I go in the cosmos. Inner and outer are one. The mystics understood this as they went deeper into the inner experience of God. They experienced a harmonization of their lives with the greater rhythms of existence. They knew by faith what science knows empirically, that the universe is charged with the presence and reality of the Divine. These mystics allowed the fire of contemplation to transform them into a union of love with all creation. They understood that Divine Radiance floods the universe making all things holy.

~ by Gail Worcelo in "Earthlight," Issue 39. Fall 2000

Spiritual hunger is a living, radiant fir

Spiritual hunger is a living, radiant fire put by God into hearts so that the ego can be burned; when it has been burned, this fire becomes the fire of longing, which never dies, either in this world or the next. There is no quicker way to God than spiritual hunger; if it travels through solid rock, water gushes forth. Spiritual hunger is essential for the Sufis; it is the showering of God's mercy on them.
~ by Abu Said Ibn Abi Khayr

Tend the flame

Remain vigilant! Tend the flame, the Divine Spark,
that nurtures and guides your way!
Not for drugery or duty do you awaken;
rather to delight: to dance and play within creation's wonders.
Enlightened sould know the joy and power of humble service
offered freely, lovingly, and in harmony with the universal Song.
When the flame shines brightly,
who remembers the darkness?
Remain vigilant!
Even in lonely moments, remember to be mindful;
you are never alone.

~ from LUMEN CHRISTI...HOLY WISDOM by Nan Merrill

My body of a sudden blazed

While on the shop and street I gazed
My body of a sudden blazed
And twenty minutes more or less
It seemed, so great my happiness
That I was blessed, and could bless.

~ by William Butler Yeats

That sublime Beauty will flame out in your heart

Whether your destiny is glory or disgrace,
Purify yourself of hatre and love of self.
Polish your mirror, and that sublime Beauty
From the regions of mystery
Will flame out in your heart
As it did for the saints and prophets.
Then, with your heart on fire with that Splendor
The secret of the Beloved will no longer be hidden.

~ by Jami in PERFUME OF THE DESERT edited by Andrew Harvey and Eryk Hanut