November 10, 2016

What's Happening This Week at SpiritualityandPractice.com

Editor's Picks  

By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat 

Barbara Kingsolver's insight is worth remembering: "The very least you can do is to figure out what you hope for. And the most you can do is live inside that hope. Not admire it from a distance but live right in it, under its roof." These readings and practices help you apply her wisdom as you face the American election results.  
 
"Give us, O God,
leaders whose hearts are large enough
to match the breadth of our own souls ..."

This collection of prayers about government leaders -- and all of us who elect them -- offers challenges, reassurance, and vision as we seek guidance for what lies ahead.
 
Practices   

By Pir Elias Amidon

How can we maintain an open heart when our judgments and disappointments about our lives can be so stubborn? A Sufi teacher reminds us that "there is nothing more important in life than uncovering our heart quality, our openheartedness. It's what allows the world to touch us, and what allows us to touch the world." Try these three suggested "movements" for opening your heart.

 

At the presentation of the UNESCO Peace Prize to Seeds of Peace on November 17, 2000, then UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan offered these words of praise: "There can be no more important initiative than bringing together young people who have seen the ravages of war to learn the art of peace." These quotes and a practice draw you into the invaluable idealism of youthful vision.

E-Courses   


Planning winter and spring programs for your spirituality circle or congregational small group? Here's a way to 
help group members get to know one another better and involve people who have time or travel constraints.  

Reminder: Our on-demand e-courses make inspiring, affordable gifts! Choose from a wide range of options in any of several categories: sacred texts; classic practices; ways to practice spirituality through the religions, places, activities, and relationships or with master teachers; and 21-day life-changing courses. 
Films

Directed by Mel Gibson

In this inspiring true story, a mocked and maligned conscientious objector faces battle unarmed, showing nearly unrivaled heroism by saving lives during one of the bloodiest battles of World War II.

More Films: After Fire, Doctor Strange, Notes on Blindness, Peter and the Farm 
DVDs

Directed by James Schamus

This exquisite treatment of Philip Roth's novel -- set in 1951, when diversity was frowned upon and  independence seen as an enemy of the suburban way -- conveys the tragic consequences of the choices we make in the name of love, rebellion, and nonconformity.  
 
Books   

By Pir Elias Amidon

This elegantly written collection of meditations by a Sufi teacher invites us to avail ourselves of the spiritual wealth available through nondual awareness. He celebrates what Islam calls ihsan or "doing the beautiful," revealing the rich mix of beauty, goodness, meaning, creativity, mystery, and wonder available to one with an open heart. 

More Books: Unspeakable, Whispers from the Wild, The Root of War Is Fear, Who Rules the World?
Blogs   

Spiritual Literacy Blog
By Frederic Brussat

What about restoring the word "zeitgeist" to its original formidable context, which Slate correspondent Katy Waldman calls "those startling, rare moments of clarity when an entire culture rises up as one, to support civil rights or condemn bigotry or mourn the dead."
 
KidSpirit Youth Voices Blog
By Ammara Mohsin

Being able to visit the boundary dividing India and Pakistan leads this young writer to a surprising initial reaction: "Where was the 'other country' I was promised?" She reminds us how strange it is that rivalries exist between people who have so much in common.

From Our Wisdom Archive   


A parishioner lighting votive candles. A woman pouring out water and prayer into the sacred Ganges River. Muslim women praying at Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. These and other images of people talking to God offer consolation and strength while reinforcing the miracle of diversity.

A Thought to Carry with You  

We all have people, living or linked to us by their recorded legacies, to whom we turn in times of trouble. Few offer more sane grounding than Etty Hillesum (1914 - 1943), the Jewish writer whose intelligence and gallantry amidst Nazi occupation of the Netherlands during WWII gives testimony to the best of the human spirit. She could be speaking for our times when she writes, "After dealing out crushing blows, history often takes the strangest of turns. Life is so odd and so surprising and so infinitely varied, and at every twist of the road the whole vista changes all of a sudden."

Fighting what can be seen in retrospect as frighteningly legitimate worries, she observes that "ultimately we have just one moral duty: to reclaim large areas of peace in ourselves, more and more peace, and to reflect it toward others. And the more peace there is in us, the more peace there will also be in our troubled world." Those of you who have read her diaries and letters will know how tirelessly she fostered this peace, for herself and others, even in increasingly devastating conditions.

As each of us struggles this week to interpret the Serenity Prayer for ourselves -- to find the serenity to accept the things we cannot change, the courage to change the things we can, and the wisdom to know the difference -- let us draw around us as a cloak of protection the company of great souls like Etty who have kept God safe within them. May we, too, listen with infinite care for what it is we are called to do now and in each moment to come for the sake of mercy, peace, and love.

Peace, 
Your Spirituality & Practice Team 
Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat 
Patricia Campbell Carlson 
Darren Polito