Leaves of Grass

"This is what you shall do: Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to every one that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men, go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young and with the mothers of families, read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life, re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul; and your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes and in every motion and joint of your body."

Source: Preface to the 1855 edition of Leaves of Grass, by Walt Whitman



Contemplation is a very dangerous activity. 
It not only brings us face to face with God. 
It brings us, as well, face to face with the world, 
face to face with the self. 
And then, of course, 
something must be done. 

Nothing stays the same 
once we have found the God within…. 
We carry the world in our hearts: 
the oppression of all peoples, 
the suffering of our friends, 
the burdens of our enemies, 
the raping of the Earth, 
the hunger of the starving, 
the joy of every laughing child.



When I have a terrible need of

-dare I say, 'religion'-

then I go outside 

at night 

and paint 

the stars. 

~Vincent van Gogh


Mind-boggling Diversity

We come from God and return to God, 
and in the 'interim' we live in the presence of God--
even when we do not know or acknowledge it. 
We are created in the image of God 
(the entire universe reflects God's glory, 
each and every creature and thing in its particular, 
concrete, unique way). 
Creation is a panoply of mind-boggling diversity, 
a myriad of outrageously extravagant species and individuals
 who all together make up the body of God.... 
Each creature praises God by simply being itself, 
by being fully alive.

Source: Sallie McFague ~ Life Abundant

The Universe as Communion

The universe is a communion of subjects, not a collection of objects. And we have this from our first awakening to the universe. Your first impression when you see a flower or see a tree or see a sunset or see the ocean, or see anything in the natural world, your first impression is a communion experience. 
There’s one experience that I think has had a very deep influence on my life. When I was about ten years old I saw a meadow and I saw it first in spring time--in early May. How wonderful this is to live in the universe where there's a sun in the heavens; where there’s so many wonderful creatures of Earth; where the song of the birds and the butterflies and the cicada in the evening.
What is all this? Obviously, it’s not a collection of objects to be used. Obviously, it’s a world to be venerated. It’s a world to be communed with, to be present, to be delighted in, and together to have a certain experience that might be called ecstatic experience. A good economy is what makes that meadow survive. Good politics protects that meadow. A good religion is what enabled me to understand the deep mystery in the meadow. 

If we don’t have certain outer experiences, we don’t have certain inner experiences or at least we don’t have them in such a profound way. We need the sun, the moon, the stars, the rivers and the mountains and the trees, the flowers, the birds, the song of the birds, the fish in the sea. All of this evokes something in our inner world, evokes a world of mystery. It evokes a world of Sacred and gives us that sense of awe and mystery.

Source: Thomas Berry, The Great Story (video)



When I pray for peace,

I pray not only

that the enemies of my own country

may cease to want war,

but above all

that my country will cease

to do the things

that make war


Thomas Merton


What leads to peace

is not violence

but peaceableness,

which is not passivity,

but an alert,



and active

state of being.

American essayist Wendell Berry


You can't shake hands
with a clenched fist.

Indira Gandhi


Quest for God

Amidst the meditation of mountains, 

the humility of flowers 

wiser than all alphabets--

clouds that die constantly 

for the sake of God's glory--

we are hating, 




we feel ashamed 

of our clashes 

and complaints 

in the face of the tacit






Source: Abraham Joshua Heschel ~ Quest for God


Live in Awareness

In Buddhism, the most important precept of all is to live in awareness, to know what is going on. To know what is going on, not only here, but there. For instance, when you eat a piece of bread, you may choose to be aware that our farmers, in growing the wheat, use chemical poisons a little too much.... When we eat a piece of meat or drink alcohol, we can produce awareness that 40,000 children die each day from hunger and that in order to produce a piece of meat or a bottle of liquor, we have to use a lot of grain. Eating a bowl of cereal may be more reconciling with the suffering of the world than eating a piece of meat....
Every day we do things, we are things, that have to do with peace. If we are aware of our lifestyle, our way of consuming, of looking at things, we will know how to make peace right in the moment we are alive, the present moment.

Source: Being Peace ~ Thich Nhat Hanh



washes away

from the soul

the dust 

of everyday


~ Berthold Auerbach



Keep me away from the wisdom 

which does not cry, 

the philosophy 

which does not laugh 

and the greatness

which does not bow 

before children.

~ Kahlil Gibran



Your task is not to seek for love, 

but merely to seek 

and find all the barriers 

within yourself 

that you have built



~ Rumi



We are 

what we repeatedly do.

Excellence, then, 

 is not an act, 

but a habit.




Why must 

the number of intervals we have on earth 

be finite? 

The answer is: 


~ Mary Jo Bang



My primary relationship 

is with myself 

all others 

are mirrors of it.  

As I learn to love myself, 

I automatically receive the love 

and appreciation that I desire from others. 

If I am committed to myself

and to living my truth, 

I will attract others with equal commitment.  

My willingness to be intimate

with my own deep feelings 

creates the space for intimacy

with another.

 ~ Shakti Gawain

In the Desert

In the desert the most urgent thing is--

to wait. 

The desert does not take kindly 

to those who tackle it at breakneck speed, 

subjecting it to their plans and deadlines. 


the desert welcomes those who shed their sandals of speed

and walk slowly in their bare feet, 

letting them be caressed and burnt by the sand. 

If you have no ambition to conquer the desert, 

if you do not think you are in charge, 

if you can calmly wait for things to be done, 

then the desert will not consider you an intruder 

and will reveal its secrets to you.

Source: Alessandro Pronzato ~ Meditations on the Sand



We Know 

Through Concretes  

More Than by Universal Theories. 

We can only know 

in focused moments 

what is always 

and everywhere 



Source: Richard Rohr ~ Scripture as Spirituality, p. 17


Live in the Difference

Don't try to make a difference

be willing to live in the difference 

God has made 

and continues to make.

Source: John Westerhoff ~ Spiritual Life

Simply Wait

You do not need to leave your room.

Remain sitting at your table and listen.

Do not even listen, simply wait,

be quiet, still and solitary.

The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked,

it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.

~Franz Kafka


My True Character

To say that I am made in the image of God 

is to say that love is the reason for my existence, 

for God is love. 

Love is my true identity. 

Selflessness is my true self. 

Love is my true character.
 Love is my name.

Source: Thomas Merton ~ New Seeds of Contemplation



Sit down

Let go

Breathe in deep

Exhale slow



Ease up

Free the mind

No rules

No goal

Light heart

Quiet soul

Spoil the child

Spare the rod

Give up

Rest in God


Source: Julie Palestrina, 
written for a Servant Leadership School class


Waiting to Be Revealed

We do not believe in ourselves until someone reveals that deep inside us is someone valuable, worth listening to, worthy of our trust, sacred to our touch. Once we believe in ourselves we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight or any experience that reveals the human spirit.

e.e. cummings


Amo Ergo Sum

Because I love
The sun pours out its rays of living gold
Pours out its gold and silver on the sea.
Because I love
The earth upon her astral spindle winds
Her ecstasy-producing dance.

Because I love
Clouds travel on the winds through wide skies,
Skies wide and beautiful, blue and deep.

Because I love
Wind blows white sails,
The wind blows over flowers, the sweet wind blows.

Because I love
The ferns grow green, and green the grass, and green
The transparent sunlit trees.

Because I love
Larks rise up from the grass
And all the leaves are full of singing birds.

Because I love
The summer air quivers with a thousand wings,
Myriads of jeweled eyes burn in the light.

Because I love
The iridescent shells upon the sand
Takes forms as fine and intricate as thought.

Because I love
There is an invisible way across the sky,
Birds travel by that way, the sun and moon
And all the stars travel that path by night.

Because I love
There is a river flowing all night long.

Because I love
All night the river flows into my sleep,
Ten thousand living things are sleeping in my arms,
And sleeping wake, and flowing are at rest.

~ Kathleen Raine


Just Passing Through

Did you hear about the couple that was headed out west, their car loaded down with furniture and possessions? They stopped at motels and each night unloaded all their things and carried them inside. Then in the morning they packed everything up again.

Well, one morning they met a Buddhist in the unit next to them. He traveled with nothing, not even a single bag.

"Why are you packing up all your possessions?" the Buddhist asked, watching the couple squeeze things into their trunk.

"Because we're not staying," the couple replied. "We're driving all the way down Route 66 to California. We're just passing through." Then they looked at the Buddhist and asked, "Why do you carry nothing?"

"Because I have no possessions."

"Nothing at all?" they asked. "Why?"

"Because I'm not staying," he said. "I'm just passing through."

Source: Mary Swander ~ The Desert Pilgrim


Life Will Break You

Life will break you.
Nobody can protect you from that,
and living alone won't either,
for solitude will also break you with its yearning.
You have to love.
You have to feel.
It is the reason you are here on earth.
You are here to risk your heart.
You are here to be swallowed up.
And when it happens that you are broken,
or betrayed, or left, or hurt, or death brushes near,
let yourself sit by an apple tree
and listen to the apples falling all around you in heaps,
wasting their sweetness.
Tell yourself you tasted as many as you could.

~ Louise Erdrich

Set the Compass of Your Heart

No matter what situation we find ourselves in, 
we can always set our compass to our highest intentions in the present moment. 
Perhaps it is nothing more than being in a heated conversation 
with another person and stopping to take a breath and ask yourself, 
'What is my highest intention in this moment?' 
If you can have enough awareness to take this small step, 

your heart will give you an answer that will take the conversation in a different, 
more positive direction.

~ Jack Kornfield


Kyle Green for The New York Times
Robbie Norris teaches an ashtanga yoga class for female inmates at the Richmond City Jail in Richmond, Va.


Prayer is not doing, but being

I sometimes think of prayer as a certain quality of attention that comes upon me when I'm busy doing something else.
~ Kathleen Norris


Holy Laughter

By laughing at the imprisonment of the human spirit, humor implies that this imprisonment is not final but will be overcome, and by this implication provides yet another signal of transcendence - in this instance in the form of an intimation of redemption. 
~ Peter Berger

When the Lord changed Zion's circumstances for the better, it was like we had been dreaming. Our mouths were suddenly filled with laughter . . .  Psalm 126:1–2


Yoga and the Cross

My beloved sister Margaret Bacon wrote a great article about being a Christian Yogini.
Please check it out...


"Mindfulness in Plain English"

It is crucial for you to understand what meditation is. 
It is not some special posture, and it's not just a set of mental exercises. 
Meditation is the cultivation of mindfulness and the application of that mindfulness once cultivated. 
You do not have to sit to meditate. 
You can meditate while washing the dishes. 
You can meditate in the shower, or roller-skating, or typing letters. 
Meditation is awareness, and it must be applied to each and every activity of one's life. 
This isn't easy.

-Henepola Gunaratana



Conservatives look for absolute truth; liberals look for something “real” and authentic. Spouses look for a marriage that will last “’til death do us part.” Believers look for a God who never fails them; scientists look for a universal theory. They are all on the same quest. We are all looking for an immortal diamond: something utterly reliable, something loyal and true,
 something we can always depend on, something unforgettable and shining.
There is an invitation and an offer for all of these groups from John’s very short Second Letter, when he writes: “There is a truth that lives within us that will be with us forever” (2 John 2). But most of us know very little about this, so we end up as St. Augustine admits in his Confessions: “Late have I loved you, Beauty so very ancient and so ever new. Late have I loved you! You were within, but I was without.”

Source: Richard Rohr ~ Excerpted from Immortal Diamond: The Search for Our True Self, pp. 1-2

Running From Life

Has it ever struck you that those who most fear to die are the ones who most fear to live? That in running away from death we are running away from life?
Think of a man living in an attic, a little hole of a place with no light and little ventilation. He fears to come down the stairs because he has heard of people falling down stairs and breaking their necks. He would never cross a street because he has heard of thousands who have been run over on the streets.
And of course, if he cannot cross a street, how will he cross an ocean or a continent or one world of ideas to another? This man clings to his hole of an attic in the attempt to ward off death and in doing so he has simultaneously warded off life.
Source: Anthony de Mello The Way to Love

O que é "o verdadeiro eu"?

Conservadores buscam a verdade absoluta; liberais procurar algo "real" e autêntico. 
Cônjuges procuram um casamento que dure, crentes procuraram um Deus que nunca falha; Cientistas procuram uma teoria universal. Eles estão todos na mesma busca. 
Estamos todos à procura de um diamante imortal: algo totalmente confiável, algo leal e verdadeiro, algo que sempre pode contar, algo inesquecível e brilhante.
Há um convite e uma oferta para todos esses grupos em uma carta muito curta de II João, quando ele escreve: 
"Há uma verdade que vive dentro de nós que estará conosco para sempre" (2 Jo 2). 
Mas a maioria de nós sabe muito pouco sobre isso, então vamos acabar como Agostinho admitindo em suas Confissões: 
"Tarde te amei, beleza tão antiga e tão sempre nova. Tarde Vos amei! Você estava dentro, mas eu estava fora."

Fonte: Richard Rohr ~ Extraído do Imortal Diamond: A busca para o nosso verdadeiro eu, pp 1-2


Let Go of Everything But God

I must let go.

For so long I have held to the habit of holding on.
Even my muscles
Are tense; deeply fearful are they
Of relaxing lest they fall away from their place.
I cling clutchingly to my friends
Lest I lose them.
I live under the shadow of being supplanted by another.
I cling to my money, not so much
By a wise economy and a thoughtful spending
But by a sense of possession that makes me depend upon it for strength.
I must let go--
Deep at the core of me
I must have a sense of freedom -
A sure awareness of detachment - of relaxation.
I must let go of everything.
I must let go of pride. But--
What am I saying? Is there not a sense of pride
That supports and sustains all achievement,
Even the essential dignity of my own personality?
It may be that I must let go
My dependence upon triumphing over my fellows, which seems
To give me a sense of security in their midst.
I cringe from my pain; I do not relish
The struggle of life but I do not want to let go
Because the hurt and the tension of contest feed
The springs of my pride. They make me deeply aware.
But I must let go of everything.
I must let go of everything but God.
But God--May it not be
That God is in all the things to which I cling?
That may be the hidden reason for my clinging.
It is all very puzzling indeed. When I say
"I must let go of everything but God"
What is my meaning?
I must relax my hold on everything that dulls my sense of Him,
That comes between me and the inner awareness of His Presence
Pervading my life and glorifying
All the common ways with wonderful wonder.
"Teach me, O God, how to free myself of dearest possessions,
So that in my trust I shall find restored to me
All I need to walk in Thy path and to fulfill Thy will.
Let me know Thee for myself that I may not be satisfied
With aught that is less."

Source: Deep Is the Hunger ~ Howard Thurman