July 1, 2016

What's Happening This Week at SpiritualityandPractice.com

Editor's Pick   

Directed by Matthew Cassel 

Thousands of Syrians escape their homeland every day after witnessing the destruction of their neighborhoods and the deaths of family members and friends. Field of Vision and The New Yorker have created a documentary, filmed in 2015, that immerses us in the Syrian refugee crisis. You can watch the six 10-minute episodes on The New Yorker's website for free.


On July 6, celebrate the birthday of the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate whose wisdom, compassion, peacemaking, interfaith endeavors, scientific curiosity, and delightful sense of humor make him a shining light for countless people from all walks of life and all religious traditions.

More Practices: Beyond Fireworks: Celebrating Our Interdependence, Birthday of Hazrat Inayat Khan

A new e-course by Kathleen Deignan and Kevin Cawley
July 4 - 29, 2016   

This soft-spoken southern gentleman, priest, and professor, was a visionary mystic and fierce prophet who announced to all who would hear the dire circumstances yet vibrant potentials of our present Earth order. He activated an awakening in all those he met and continues to do so in all who draw near to his legacy.
A 21-day e-course by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
July 10 - 30, 2016

Often when we are living with uncertainty, we find ourselves asking "why?" and exclaiming "I just don't get it!" Instead of trying to figure things out, we can learn to appreciate being part of a great and unknowable mystery. This e-course helps guide you on that path.


Directed by Anne Fontaine

Compassion takes on rare depths amid the chilling blasts from the winds of World War II, the context for horrific events that take place in a large Benedictine convent in Poland. In the midst of great suffering, shame, and chaos, a young French doctor learning her craft helps to bring courage and hope.

More Films: Dying to Know, Free State of Jones, Microbe and Gasoline, Misconception 

Directed by Gavin Hood

This drama's outstanding acting and ethical screenplay enable us to see how drones have changed everything we have ever thought or felt about war, technology, and the value of the lives of innocent noncombatants.

More DVDs: Embrace of the Serpent; Margarita with a Straw; Whiskey Tango Foxtrot; Rabin, the Last Day; Rams; Cemetery of Splendor  

A Way to God
By Matthew Fox

In this visionary and formidable work, Fox spells out the lineaments of a journey to God revealed in the writings of Thomas Merton. He identifies intersections between Merton's musings and the mysticism of the 13th century theologian Meister Eckhart; he also identifies his own common ground with the Trappist monk.

More Books: Silence: A User's Guide, Trance Journeys of the Hunter-Gatherers, Tears to Triumph

By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat

In the wake of the attack by three suicide bombers on Ataturk Istanbul airport in Turkey, we pray to remain sensitive to the shock of those who have lost loved ones and to speak out against the terrible cruelty of terrorism which puts people of all nations in harm's way.

By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat

Paul Cox, one of Australia's finest and most sensitive film directors, died recently of liver cancer at the age of 76. His pensive dramas show us ordinary people struggling with the large and unruly intangibles of love, loss, grief, sexuality, and imagination.

From Our Wisdom Archive   

"When we try to pick out anything by itself," John Muir reminds us, "we find it hitched to everything else in the universe." This picture book, designed for children 4 - 8 years old, focuses on a vital process of interdependence: how flowers need pollinators to flourish, and pollinators need flowers for nourishment.

A Thought to Carry with You  

On Monday, July 4th, America celebrates Independence Day, commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence in 1776 by the Continental Congress. Falling shortly after the Solstice, this holiday is as close as Americans come to the traditional Midsummer revels of Northern Europe. Patriotic parades, fireworks, and other celebrations of independence get mixed together with summer pleasures like family picnics and baseball games.

But in our times, people increasingly recognize interdependence as more needed than independence. So for this upcoming holiday we are happy to recall a Navajo chant that speaks of our intimate connections with all life through a setting of summertime beauty:

"The mountains, I become part of it . . .
The herbs, the fir tree,
I become part of it.
The morning mists,
The clouds, the gathering waters,
I become part of it.
The wilderness, the dew drops, the pollen . . .
I become part of it."

If we thoroughly held to this perspective, we might see patriotism as Charlotte Brontë did in The Professor: "I'm a universal patriot, if you could understand me rightly; my country is the world." That world is the world of all nations. Those nations include those of all our kindred spirits on the planet: humans, plants, animals, some even say stones. 

Mary Oliver writes in Blue Pastures: "I would not be the overlord of a single blade of grass, that I might be its sister. I put my face close to the lily, where it stands just above the grass, and give it a good greeting from the stem of my heart. We live, I am sure of this, in the same country, in the same household, and our burning comes from the same lamp. We are all wild, valorous, amazing."

What would it mean to embrace a new form of independence: freedom from seeing ourselves in isolation from each other? This Fourth of July, we wish you a strong, immersive feeling of loyalty to all our sisters and brothers.  
Your Spirituality & Practice Team 
Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat 
Patricia Campbell Carlson 
Darren Polito