May 27, 2016

What's Happening This Week at

Editor's Pick   

By David Steindl-Rast   

Silence is a matter of presence rather than absence, writes beloved spiritual teacher Br. David Steindl-Rast. So we are most spiritual when we are most alive, in a capacious experience that embraces body, mind, and spirit. In an excerpt from this book , he describes his personal relationship with God as saying yes to belonging and longing.

We would like to see the dual purposes of this day -- reconciliation and remembrance -- resurrected. Here's an article and prayers to help you tap into the reverence, gratitude, and desire for peace that Memorial Day engenders.   

Practicing Spirituality with Anthony de Mello
By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat      
May 30 - July 8, 2016

Starts Monday: An e-course on the teachings of this Jesuit priest who pioneered post-denominational Christianity and proclaimed a lyrical mysticism rooted in story and imagination. Read more and sign up here:  
By Thomas Keating and Contemplative Outreach      
June 6 - July 1, 2016

Starts one week from Monday: Jesus' parables resonate in the depths of our being. They are both easy to remember and bottomless in their layers of meaning.
Read more and sign up here:

Directed by Lorene Scafaria

A newly widowed woman leaves New Jersey and moves to Los Angeles to be closer to her daughter. Her character flaws may make it seem like she does the right things for the wrong reasons but by the end of her journey of self-transformation she is more awake, alive, and clear than she has ever been.

Directed by Chris Hegedus and D. A. Pennebaker

This extraordinary documentary traces the heroic efforts of a dedicated, patient, clever, and wise advocate for animal rights in his five-year crusade to get courts to recognize certain high-level animals -- great apes, elephants, and cetaceans (dolphins, whales, etc.) -- as "persons" in the eyes of the law.

More Films: POV - The Return  

Directed by Laurent Bécue-Renard
In this hard-hitting installment of the POV ("Point of View") series on U.S. public television, filmmaker Laurent Bécue-Renard zeroes in on the harrowing experiences of veterans and their families as they struggle to reclaim their lives. Premieres, appropriately, on Memorial Day.


Chan Heart, Chan Mind
By Master Guojun
These insightful meditations by the Western-educated abbot of Mahabodhi Temple in Singapore deliver the wisdom of the East as a perfume for the West.

More Books: Wellsprings, The Vitality Map  

KidSpirit Youth Voices Blog
By Sharon Lin

Compassion, one of the greatest virtues of Buddhism, teaches us to help others. Rather than retreating in times of trouble, a true hero is able to see past his/her problems and reach out to lend others a hand.

Spiritual Literacy Blog
By Frederic Brussat

Patience demands that we act in humility and let "the Big Picture" animate our ethical actions in this world of injustice, misery, and manifold mysteries.  

Elder Spirituality Project

By Michael Kinsley

"Having Parkinson's is very much like growing old," claims Kinsley. He received a diagnosis of Parkinson's at 42 and began to consider himself a "scout," able to address concerns faced by B
aby Boomers as they age. He urges those in the last chapter of life to be remembered as a good person by trying to be a good person now.  
From Our Wisdom Archive   

By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat 
Stories have been the air that we have breathed and the ground upon which we have walked. Here are 16 of our favorite story collections (with a sample story from each). 

A Thought to Carry with You  

A Russian saying gives us this encouragement: If all of us take hold of it, it won't feel heavy. The roots of the phrase can easily be imagined, stemming from times when friends and family members would take their places around a heavy object -- say, a log to be raised in building a house -- and together easily achieve what one or two could not. Other traditions drew the same idea directly from nature: for instance, "two ants do not fail to pull on grasshopper" (Tanzania), "when spiders unite they can tie up a lion" (Ethiopia), and "sticks in a bundle cannot be broken" (Bondei).

In times of ecological, political, and economic uncertainty, these phrases take on more potency than ever. Not to recognize our shared humanity, not to collaborate, not to combine our strength can in rare cases lead to individual triumph, but more often leaves "the Earth household" (poet Gary Snyder's perceptive phrase) impoverished, broken, and vulnerable.

And we also risk peril when we fail to harmonize with the creatures who share the planet with us: for instance, when we have the hubris to believe that our proportionately larger brains equate with greater wisdom. How much an elephant can teach us about loyalty and royal dignity! How much a chimp can teach us about curiosity and playfulness, or a whale can teach us about the power of song! (By the way,  a recent Scientific American article explains that the jury is still out: Whales may be smarter than we are.) We cannot begin to measure how much we stand to gain from treating our vast Earth family -- some 8.7 million species -- with respect for our distinct contributions.

We like to think that your presence here at Spirituality & Practice is a vital way for all of us together to lift values and visions to a higher level. The weight of these times is way too much to handle alone, but when we connect with each other through shared ideals, much more becomes possible. We can take the wisdom offered here back into our own communities, lifting a little here, shaping a little there, coming just that much closer to the reign of kindness, common sense, and a blessed interconnection with all our relations. 
Your Spirituality & Practice Team 
Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat 
Patricia Campbell Carlson 
Darren Polito