“I know a person who is convinced their deceased brother is in hell because of who they loved I told them that if hell is real, I don’t think it is a destination I believe hell is a campsite that gets formed in the hearts of people who judge others for living a life that they refuse to try and understand Those who condemn others to damnation are the very architects of hell on Earth my love Let us build a heaven in the space that exists between my life and yours Let us create an endless garden paradise where every single exotic flower is honored Let us form a community of angels who don’t try and polish each other’s halos We only have so many heartbeats left inside of us to waste a single one on deciding who gets to grow like a sunflower under the light of the hereafter Who knows what happens to us once our bodies release our souls like birthday party balloons? Why spend an ounce of energy on deciding who gets to go to heaven when we can spend our lives building it here on Earth with the bricks of how we treat each other? Until I hear the harps and see the golden gates, I’m going to consider this world the Promised Land And I promise to be as kind as I can be with your heart while we are here together.”
A well-known cleric was teaching in the desert, reciting the scriptures to a group of spellbound listeners. As he was speaking, a sick cat meandered into the camp, slid next to him, and went to sleep on the hem of his exquisite robe.
Now the cleric was unaware of this cat, even though he continued to speak for the remaining of the day. The whole day the cat slept on the hem of his robe, finding warmth and healing in the shadow of the teacher.
When the day came to an end, everyone returned to their tents for the evening. But the cleric, seeing the cat asleep on his robe, took a sharp knife and cut off the hem of his robe where the cat was sleeping. In this way the teacher destroyed his most beautiful garment, but left the cat undisturbed in its slumber.
Compassion for others is a symptom of love for one’s own self.
“Advaita is not a path. It is an experience. An experience of dropping the path. Those who have tried to turn non-duality into a “path” have created delusion and mental strain for many. I am discontented and I’d rather be somewhere else. I want to get to Oneness, I want to get “there,” so I follow a “path” that I call advaita, leading me away from “here.” But isn’t it obvious that what separates here from there is the path? This is the joke-like structure of our seeking. So just drop advaita, drop non-duality: that’s your only hope of experiencing it. Drown your senses in your heart, and your heart in a late summer rose. Drop the path and leap into the inexplicably entangled frolic of distant stars and protons on the tip of your nose. In the ever-dissolving quantum crystal of the present moment, nothing actually exists but the explosion of Grace.”
A priest was in charge of the garden within a famous Zen temple. He had been given the job because he loved the flowers, shrubs, and trees. Next to the temple there was another, smaller temple where there lived a very old Taoist master.
One day, when the priest was expecting some special guests, he took extra care in tending to the garden. He pulled the weeds, trimmed the shrubs, combed the moss, and spent a long time meticulously raking up and carefully arranging all the dry autumn leaves. As he worked, the old master watched him with interest from across the wall that separated the temples.
When he had finished, the priest stood back to admire his work. “Isn’t it beautiful,” he called out to the old master. “Yes,” replied the old man, “but there is something missing. Help me over this wall and I’ll put it right for you.”
After hesitating, the priest lifted the old fellow over and set him down. Slowly, the master walked to the tree near the centre of the garden, grabbed it by the trunk, and shook it. Leaves showered down all over the garden.
“Ah, there,” said the old man, “you can put me back now.”
“I have been practising meditation, I have been to workshops, I have read many books on spirituality, I try to be in a state of non-resistance – but if you ask me whether I have found true and lasting inner peace, my honest answer would have to be “no.” Why haven’t I found it? What else can I do? You are still seeking outside, and you cannot get out of seeking mode. Maybe the next workshop will have the answer, maybe that new technique. To you I would say: Don’t look for peace. Don’t look for any other state than the one you are in now; otherwise you will set up inner conflict and unconscious resistance. Forgive yourself for not being at peace. The moment you completely accept your non-peace, your non-peace becomes transmuted into peace. Anything you accept fully will get you there, will take you into peace. This is the miracle of surrender.”
Anniversary of the discovery of the cave paintings in Lascaux in 1940
“Storytelling is the oldest form of entertainment there is. From campfires and pictograms – the Lascaux cave paintings may be as much as twenty thousand years old – to tribal songs and epic ballads passed down from generation to generation, it is one of the most fundamental ways humans have of making sense of the world.” Maria Konnikova
“The trouble is, we’ve been taught what to see and how to render what we see. If only we could be in the position of those men who did those wonderful drawings in Lascaux and Altimira!” Pablo Picasso
“I can only say this is a time of awakening for all of us. And we cannot wake up to a new dream until we fully let go of our old dreams and old stories. I know in my life my own stories were who I was. I have lived a rich, varied, and wild life, and I feel I have lived multiple lifetimes in this one life. And now it is time for me to put all my old stories to rest and create a new story out of who I am now and in the present.” Sandra Ingerman
Adaptation of Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 – A season for all things by Rev. M Jade Kaiser,
“For everything, there is a season. Very little is as simple as “good” or “bad.” It is more often a question of who and of when, a why or a how. There are times for the birth of something new. There are times to welcome death. There are times to plant seeds for those to come and times for harvesting the long labor of others. There are times when destruction is necessary, or at least unavoidable, and there are times when healing is possible. There are times to create art and times to tear it down. There are days where only weeping will do; others for laughing. Some days we can only mourn, others we dance. We ebb and flow our way in community. Sometimes we long to be in the arms of another, other times we need the intimacy of solitude. There are times for seeking a way through the impossible, and other times for accepting our losses. There is a time to hold on and a time to let go. There are times when some of us need to be silent and times when the rest of us must speak. Love has its time and hate has its place. Conflict must be accepted; and peace welcomed in due time. May we listen our way into and out of each season, with Wisdom as our guide, forcing nothing outside of its time, receiving everything for what it is, trusting Love’s companionship, laboring toward liberation together.”
“I do not wish women to have power over men, but over themselves… The more equality there is established among men, the more virtue and happiness will reign in society.. Virtue can only flourish among equals… It is justice, not charity, that is wanting in the world.”