ritual

Removing Barriers to Entry

Removing Barriers to Entry

"Do I think one minute is going to be the thing that changes your life? It could be really powerful, but...what I love about one minute is it's a very low-cost option. Very few barriers to entry.

Because if you start saying, Oh, I don't have a minute to meditate, we really got to start evaluating some things going on in your life, because you definitely need more than meditation if you make that argument. 

It's hard to argue yourself out of it."

~ Cory Muscara 

What Makes a Place Feel Like Home?

What Makes a Place Feel Like Home?

"Home is a place where you feel accepted, whether you are Jacob leaving Egypt to be buried in his true home, or a young teen who desires to feel accepted by family and society. I urge everyone to continue to strive for good character and to accept people who may look or act differently. In this way we will all experience home; we will all receive blessings."

~ Eleanor Teweles

The Best Possible Conditions

Exceprts from Help, Thanks, Wow: The Three Essential Prayers by Anne Lamott:

Some of us have cavernous vibrations inside us when we communicate with God. Others are more rational and less messy in our spiritual sense of reality, in our petitions and gratitude and expressions of pain or anger or desolation or praise. Prayer means that, in some unique way, we believe we're invited into a relationship with someone who hears us when we speak in silence.

Prayer can be motion and stillness and energy—all at the same time. It begins with stopping in our tracks, or with our backs against the wall, or when we are going under the waves, or when we are just so sick and tired of being psychically sick and tired that we surrender, or at least we finally stop running away and at long last walk or lurch or crawl toward something. Or maybe, miraculously, we just release our grip slightly.

Prayer is talking to something or anything with which we seek union, even if we are bitter or insane or broken. (In fact, these are probably the best possible conditions under which to pray.) Prayer is taking a chance that against all odds and past history, we are loved and chosen, and do not have to get it together before we show up. The opposite may be true: We may not be able to get it together until after we show up in such miserable shape.

But in any case, we are making contact with something unseen, way bigger than we could ever imagine in our wildest dreams, even if we are the most brilliant, open-minded scientists and physicists of our generation. It is something we might call divine intelligence or love energy (if there were no chance that anyone would ever find out about this). Prayer is ushumans merely being, as e. e. cummings put it—reaching out to something having to do with the eternal, with vitality, intelligence, kindness, even when we are at our most utterly doomed and skeptical.

My belief is that when you're telling the truth, you're close to God. If you say to God, "I am exhausted and depressed beyond words, and I don't like You at all right now, and I recoil from most people who believe in You," that might be the most honest thing you ever said. If you told me you had said to God, "It is all hopeless, and I don't have a clue if You exist, but I could use a hand," it would almost bring tears to my eyes, tears of pride in you, for the courage it takes to get real—really real. It would make me want to sit next to you at the dinner table.





See also: To Get Back There

The Best Possible Conditions

Exceprts from Help, Thanks, Wow: The Three Essential Prayers by Anne Lamott

Some of us have cavernous vibrations inside us when we communicate with God. Others are more rational and less messy in our spiritual sense of reality, in our petitions and gratitude and expressions of pain or anger or desolation or praise. Prayer means that, in some unique way, we believe we're invited into a relationship with someone who hears us when we speak in silence.

Prayer can be motion and stillness and energy—all at the same time. It begins with stopping in our tracks, or with our backs against the wall, or when we are going under the waves, or when we are just so sick and tired of being psychically sick and tired that we surrender, or at least we finally stop running away and at long last walk or lurch or crawl toward something. Or maybe, miraculously, we just release our grip slightly. 

Prayer is talking to something or anything with which we seek union, even if we are bitter or insane or broken. (In fact, these are probably the best possible conditions under which to pray.) Prayer is taking a chance that against all odds and past history, we are loved and chosen, and do not have to get it together before we show up. The opposite may be true: We may not be able to get it together until after we show up in such miserable shape.

But in any case, we are making contact with something unseen, way bigger than we could ever imagine in our wildest dreams, even if we are the most brilliant, open-minded scientists and physicists of our generation. It is something we might call divine intelligence or love energy (if there were no chance that anyone would ever find out about this). Prayer is us—humans merely being, as e. e. cummings put it—reaching out to something having to do with the eternal, with vitality, intelligence, kindness, even when we are at our most utterly doomed and skeptical.

My belief is that when you're telling the truth, you're close to God. If you say to God, "I am exhausted and depressed beyond words, and I don't like You at all right now, and I recoil from most people who believe in You," that might be the most honest thing you ever said. If you told me you had said to God, "It is all hopeless, and I don't have a clue if You exist, but I could use a hand," it would almost bring tears to my eyes, tears of pride in you, for the courage it takes to get real—really real. It would make me want to sit next to you at the dinner table.    

 


 

See also: To Get Back There

Vows

Matt & Daron, February 7, 2003

Daron's Vows

Matt —

Being born into this world is a mystery. There is no way for us to take credit for even one of the infinite number of steps that lead to the initial spark of our lives. Our lives are our gifts to us and I want to be wide awake for mine. I want to live it fully and honestly.

I did not go searching for you. You were a complete surprise. If I had known that such a phenomenon as Matt White existed, I would have set out to find you. You were like a pond hidden in the mountains of New Mexico that I accidentally happened upon — your surface completely still, your water crystal clear, the sun shining in the clear blue sky above you. Breathtaking. I continue to be amazed by the endless discoveries I've made in you.

How lucky are those who have been given a glimpse of the brightly colored fish living inside you. But I am the luckiest of all, having learned that contained in your depths is a treasure chest overflowing with riches and magic beyond my wildest dreams. I will never tire of swimming in you as long as I live. 

Considering what stood between where we were when we first met in February 1993 and where we are these ten years later, I am profoundly humbled by the impossibility of our union which I know is sacred and which is now being recognized as civil.

It is in awe of these miracles of life and love which are so easily taken for granted, that I enter into this vow of commitment to you by the choices I make every day. By practicing paying attention to the holiness hidden in each moment — in private and in public, in pleasure and suffering, alone and together — may our love continue its slow, unrepeatable blooming.

Matt's Vows

Daron —

I join you as my partner for life.

I vow to love you, honor you, respect you, and cherish our union. 

I seek to live each day with you in search of wisdom, truth, compassion, and peace. 

I promise to love you, comfort you, and encourage you through all of life's joys and sorrows.

Our union is made in love and will sustain us in our lives together. 

Closing Blessing

May we be free from internal and external harm.
May we have calm, clear minds.
May we be physically healthy, strong, and vital. 
May we share our experiences of love, joy, wonder, peace, and wisdom, in this life together, just as it is. 
And may the love we have for each other quietly ripple out of our home and into the world.

For What Binds Us
by Jane Hirshfield

There are names for what binds us:
strong forces, weak forces.
Look around, you can see them:
the skin that forms in a half-empty cup,
nails rusting into the places they join,
joints dovetailed on their own weight.
The way things stay so solidly
wherever they've been set down—
and gravity, scientists say, is weak. 

And see how the flesh grows back
across a wound, with a great vehemence,
more strong
than the simple, untested surface before.
There's a name for it on horses,
when it comes back darker and raised: proud flesh, 

as all flesh,
is proud of its wounds, wears them
as honors given out after battle,
small triumphs pinned to the chest— 

And when two people have loved each other
see how it is like a
scar between their bodies,
stronger, darker, and proud;
how the black cord makes of them a single fabric
that nothing can tear or mend.

Essence of the Circle

“The Tibetan art form of sand painting is an ancient and sacred practice intended to uplift and benefit not only every person who sees it, but also to bless the environment. It is referred to as a mandala of colored powders. The Sanskrit term mandala is the name for this circular representation of spiritual truths. The Tibetan name is kyil-khor meaning essence of the circle.”

From the web page of Losang Samten, who created this center panel of the Kalachakra Mandala in the new Ohio Union of the Ohio State Campus this week.

We all helped dismantle the panel this afternoon…

…and scattered the sand into Mirror Lake to bless the campus.

Here is a time-lapse video of an entire Kalachakra Mandala.

 

Description of the above design from the International Kalachakra Network

Full Peal

Trinity Church in Manhattan plans a full peal in honor of Barack Obama's inauguration today. The churches twelve bells will be ringing for three and a half hours. "What we do is ring them one after another, not necessarily in the same sequence all the time, that's where our music comes in," said tower secretary Tony Furinvall. "You're not allowed to swap people out. We call ringing the ultimate team activity."