Saturday, June 25, 2022

Peace

 Some thoughts for today:

Peace is a daily, a weekly, a monthly process, gradually changing opinions, slowly eroding old barriers, quietly building new structures.  (John F. Kennedy)

If you don't know the guy on the other side of the world, love him anyway because he's just like you.  He has the same dreams, the same hopes and fears.  It's one world, pal.  We're all neighbors.  (Frank Sinatra)

Peace cannot be kept by force.  It can only be achieved by understanding.  (Albert Einstein)

 

 


Saturday, June 18, 2022

An Interesting Book of Spiritual Fiction, Part 3

      Here are a couple more interesting quotes from the book, The Forty Rules of Love, by Elif Shafak.  Enjoy!

East, west, south, or north makes little difference.  No matter what your destination, just be sure to make every journey a journey within.  If you travel within, you'll travel the whole wide world and beyond.

and

Patience does not mean to passively endure.  It means to be farsighted enough to trust the end result of a process.  What does patience mean?  It means to look at the thorn and see the rose, to look at the night and see the dawn.  Impatience means to be so shortsighted as to not be able to see the outcome.  The lovers of God never run out of patience, for they know that time is needed for the crescent moon to become full. 

Saturday, June 11, 2022

An Interesting Book of Spiritual Fiction, Part 2

      Last week I was discussing Elif Shafak's brave book, The Forty Rules of Love.  It was an interesting exploration of spiritual intimacy in two stories, one set in the thirteen century featuring Shams and Rumi, and the second one set in modern times with a timid housewife and an aspiring author who happened to have penned the first story.  

     If you are wavering as to whether to explore this book yourself, I'll offer some juicy tidbits:

"Intellect and love are made of different materials," he said.  "Intellect ties people in knots and risks nothing, but love dissolves all tangles and risks everything.  Intellect is always cautious and advises, 'Beware too much ecstasy,' whereas love says, 'Oh, never mind!  Take the plunge!'  Intellect does not easily break down, whereas love can effortlessly reduce itself to rubble.  But treasures are hidden among ruins.  A broken heart hides treasures."

"Loneliness and solitude are two different things.  When you are lonely, it is easy to delude yourself into believing that you are on the right path.  Solitude is better for us, as it means being alone without feeling lonely.  But eventually it is best to find a person, the person who will be your mirror.  Remember, only in another person's heart can you truly see yourself and the presence of God within you." 

Saturday, June 4, 2022

An Interesting Book of Spiritual Fiction

      A while ago I finished a most interesting book, The Forty Rules of Love, by Elif Shafak.  I must say it was a brave book by a brave writer because it tackles the relationship of Shams and Rumi while at the same time examining whether a man and woman in modern times can have a similar spiritual intimacy.

     The story flip-flops between two stories.  The first is the thirteenth century story of Shams' calling to act as a spiritual catalyst in Rumi's life, their eventual meeting and how it turned Rumi's life upside down, to Shams' death and Rumi's grief.  The second story involves a modern housewife and mother whose marriage has grown stale, her children nearly grown and needing her less and less, and her increasing involvement with an author of the first tale, The Forty Rules of Love.  

     I wish I could say that I found the story of Shams and Rumi as portrayed here to be believable, but sometimes I felt like it had too much 21st century sensibilities creeping into the story.  The second story was somewhat more believable, although I'm not sure the ending really rang true.  It's a little hard to understand how a timid housewife would suddenly cast herself into a whole new life so suddenly like that.  Still, the stories were fascinating and stuck with me for quite a while.

     I think that the whole genre of spiritual fiction needs to grow as it explores eternal themes in a fictional setting.  The author, Ms. Shafak, should be commended for taking the leap and daring to plumb the depths of spiritual exploration.  

                                                   

Saturday, May 28, 2022

If You Want to Know the Back Story . . . Part 4

      I wanted to share one more quote from Anita Moorjani's amazing book, Dying to Be Me.  It talks about how she connects with her inner guidance.  She contrasts this with being driven to please people and being externally focused.  After her near death experience, she learned to be internally focused.  One of the interesting things she learned is that her internal world is reflected in her external world.

I found that having an inside-out view means being able to fully trust my inner guidance.  It's as though what I feel has an impact on my entire universe.  In other words, because I'm at the center of my cosmic web, the Whole is affected by me.  So as far as I'm concerned, if I'm happy, the universe is happy.  If I love myself, everyone else will love me.  If I'm at peace, all of creation is peaceful, and so on.  If things seemed challenging, instead of trying to change them physically (which is what I did pre-NDE), I began checking in with my internal world.  If I'm stressed, anxious, unhappy, or something similar, I go inward and tend to that first.  I sit with myself, walk in nature, or listen to music until I get to a centered place where I feel calm and collected.  I noticed that when I do so, my external world also changes, and many of the obstacles just fall away without my actually doing anything.

     And she believes that our internal state affects others as well.

When we get in touch with that infinite place within us where we are Whole, then illness can't remain in the body.  And because we're all connected, there's no reason why one person's state of wellness can't touch others, elevating them and triggering their recovery.  And when we heal others, we also heal ourselves and the planet.  There's no separation except in our own minds. 

     Fascinating ideas. 

Saturday, May 21, 2022

If You Want to Know the Back Story . . . Part 3

      I'd like to share some highlighted sections from Anita Moorjani's book, Dying to Be Me.  

     On what she learned about herself during the near death experience:

This was a rather surprising realization for me, because I'd always thought I needed to work at being lovable.  I believed that I somehow had to be deserving and worthy of being cared for, so it was incredible to realize this wasn't the case.  I'm loved unconditionally, for no other reason than simply because I exist.

      On what she was to learn from being ill with cancer:

It was then that I understood that my body is only a reflection of my internal state.  If my inner self were aware of its greatness and connection to All-that-is, my body would soon reflect that and heal rapidly.

     On our true purpose in life:

If we're all One, all facets of the same Whole, which is unconditional love, then of course who we are is love!  I knew that was really the only purpose of life:  to be our self, live our truth, and be the love that we are.  

 

Saturday, May 14, 2022

If You Want to Know the Back Story . . . Part 2

      Last week I was raving about Anita Moorjani's book, Dying to Be Me.  I found myself highlighting and dog-earing section after section while I was reading.  One of the main lessons that she learned from her near-death experience was that we are all part of the One, and are wonderous, luminous beings of love.  Given that, one of our main priorities in this life is to acknowledge that and to love ourselves.

     Moorjani's upbringing taught her to deny herself and put others first.  She found that, after spending her whole life trying to please people and squash her individuality, she was deeply unhappy and did not love or honor herself.  She felt that one of the reasons she was given the near death experience (NDE) was to change all that.

   Of course, that wasn't all that she received from her NDE.  Her body, which was so riddled with cancer that her organs were shutting down, quickly returned to full health and she soon returned home, completely cancer free.  She believes that she was given another chance in this life to spread the word about her NDE and what she learned.  This books is what resulted.  Its message will stay with you a long time.