Insights and Wisdom From The World Religions: The Spiritual or Worthwhile Life
For a spiritual practitioner, one’s enemies play a crucial role. As I see it, compassion is the essence of a spiritual life. And in order for you to become successful in practicing love and compassion, the practice of patience and tolerance is indispensable. There is no fortitude similar to patience, just as there is no affliction worse than hatred.
I believe that to meet the challenge of the next century, human beings will have to develop a greater sense of universal responsibility. Each of us must learn to work not just for his or her own self, family or nation, but for the benefit of all mankind.
From the Dalai Lama
Some Initial Christian Thoughts:
” I now see clearly that, if there is any path at all on which I can approach [God] it must lead through the middle of my ordinary life.” Karl Rahner
Nobody ever finds a life worth living. One has to make it worth living. All the people to whom life has been abundantly worth living have made it so by making a creative, unselfish, and spiritual contribution of their own back to the community and to others.
Is life worth living? Most people seem to think this is a question about the Cosmos. No, my friends, it is a question about the inside attitudes of you and me.
Harry Emerson Fosdick
Another way in which we look at life is summed up by the Medieval mystic, dissenter, and one of the founders of Creation Spirituality, Meister Eckhart. He stated that all can be seen as a reflection of what is held in our minds and hearts . This is what he said about the reality some of us call God:
“God sees us through the same eyes as we see ourselves.” If we view God, the world, and others with judgment and condemnation, we will appear to be seen as judgmental and condemning, if we see God, the world and one another with compassion and joy, our perceptions of ourselves will be equally compassionate and joyous to our perceptions of ourselves and of one another.
From Contemporary Jewish and Psychological thought:
In the concentration camps, we needed to stop asking about the meaning of life, and instead think of ourselves as those who were being questioned by life itself, daily-hourly. Our answer must consist, not in talk or meditation, but in right action and in right conduct. Life ultimately means taking responsibility to find the right answers to its problems and to fulfill the tasks which as constantly set before us as individuals.
Dr. Viktor Frankel
In her latest book, Kitchen Table Wisdom, Dr. Rachel Naomi Remen, gives us some insight on how we best can approach seeing ourselves and the reality of our lives. She writes:
[“Whatever we believe about ourselves can hold us hostage… It seems to shift the way in which we actually experience ourselves and how we live our lives.
According to Talmudic teachings, ‘we do not see things as they are. We see things as we are.’ A belief is like a pair of sunglasses…. When we look at life through it, it is difficult to convince ourselves that what we are seeing is not real, for with sunglasses on, life looks green to us.. Knowing what is real requires that we remember that we are wearing sunglasses, and that we can take them off. One of the great moments in life is the moment when we recognize we have them on in the first place. Then freedom is very close to us. It is a moment of great power.”]
On the Many Meanings of Church:
Count Leo Tolstoy offered this definition of church, and of the Spirit and where we will find it. He said:
[The church is composed of people who are united, not by creed or sacrament, but by deeds of truth and love. And whether this Spirit-filled church is large or small, it shall never perish, for such is a true church that unites the hearts and minds of all whom it serves.]
From a contemporary Buddhist poet, Ngoma Uhura: a poem entitled “Nia”
From the books you read, from the news you know, from the word you give, build where you are.
Nia is purpose, Nia is greatness, Nia, build where you are, Nia, do what must be done.
In the town you live, on the block you stay, In the time you spend, build where you are.
On the job you work, with the money you earn, with the food you eat, build where you are.
In the men you birth, in the women you raise, in the family you know, build where you are.
In the church you go, or the temple inside you, in the faith you keep, build where you are.
“She(Shug) say, “Celle, tell the truth, have you ever found God in a church?’ I never did. I just found a bunch of folks hoping for him to show. Any God I ever felt in church I brought in with me. And I think all the other folks did, too. They come to church to share God, not find God.”
Alice Walker The Color Purple