July 7, 2017

What's Happening This Week at SpiritualityandPractice.com

Editor's Pick   

By Thich Nhat Hanh  

In this sturdy work, world-renowned spiritual leader Thich Nhat Hanh explores seven key meditations: emptiness, signlessness, aimlessness, impermanence, non-craving, letting go, and nirvana.The ample grace of his writing helps us build firm resolve about reconciliation in a tattered world.  In the excerpt, he discusses the one reality of interbeing.

By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat

The changed pace of summer makes it a little easier to dedicate time to spiritual growth -- for instance, with this month's worth of practices, full of wonder and joy:
Days 1 - 7      
Days 8 - 14    
Days 15 - 21     
Days 22 - 31
By John Brehm

Here's a refreshing change from analyzing poetry: using our senses to notice and appreciate the poem's atmosphere, tone, and textures rather than trying to interpret and explain.

More Practices: Birthday of E. B. White, Birthday of Woody Guthrie   

A new e-course by Donald Altman
July 3 - 28, 2017

Wouldn't we all like life to just slow down a little? In this e-course, Donald Altman gives dozens of ways right within the normal flow of life to stay grounded, keep your pace and focus, and relax. Best of all, you're still in time to sign up! Read more and subscribe:
A new e-course by Joan Chittister
July 3 - 28, 2017

If you've been through serious struggles, you probably don't want to hear platitudes. What this course offers is more likely to help: stories of how other people survived their struggles and retroactively found something of value, along with writing and art prompts to stir your own reflections. It's not too late to sign up:

Directed by Laura Dunn and Jef Sewell

This remarkably rich documentary conveys the insights and truths that Berry -- philosopher, writer, farmer, environmental activist, and cultural critic -- has humbly shared with the world.

More Films: Okja, Little Hours, Nobody Speaks: Trials of the Free Press  

Audubon: John James Audubon and the Birds of America
Directed by Al Reinert  

"I never for a day gave up listening to the songs of our birds, or watching their peculiar habits, or delineating them in the best way I could," wrote John James Audubon. This lovely and uplifting documentary tells the story of the genius who has been called "the godfather of the conservation movement."

More DVDs: Apparition Hill, The Zookeeper's Wife

Real Love
By Sharon Salzberg 

An accomplished and well-known Buddhist teacher offers mindfulness exercises and meditation techniques designed to evolve real love into a spiritual maturity animated by compassion, empathy, and inclusion. An excerpt from the book explains how we can stretch our capacity for compassion.
No Time Like the Present
By Jack Kornfield 
One of the foremost Buddhist meditation teachers in the world believes that every life is "a visionary journey, a creative palette." He helps us reclaim trust as an empowering force in our lives, animating us to service. A practice from the book helps us open to mystery.

More Books:
The Golden Condom; The Poetry of Impermanence, Mindfulness, and Joy; Reclaiming Your Body; Strangers in Their Own Land  

By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat 

This Dutch painter immerses us in the powerful image of a multicolored waterfall exuding beauty, passion, and astonishing energy -- a reminder of flowing grace. 


A Commonplace Blog
By Frederic Brussat

Three practices help you set a mood of relaxation, kindness, and calm that you can recreate through simple recollections whenever needed. 

KidSpirit Youth Voices Blog
By Swastika Jajoo

An Indian teen from a Hindu family views progress through individual and social lenses: looking for authenticity and purpose in our lives while at the same time seeking threads that link us together.

"Wonder encourages us to stand humbly before the unfathomable mysteries of human life, trusting that, in them, we encounter God," writes Melannie Svoboda. If you want to discover the bounties of everyday spirituality, make your prayer life down-to-earth and hopeful, and appreciate God's endless creativity, you will enjoy these articles, books, quotes, and websites.

From Our Wisdom Archive   

"See the oncoming day as a parade coming down the street or a circus coming into town," suggests Kirk Byron Jones. These memes help you face each new day with joy and wonder.

A Thought to Carry with You  

Chinese poet Tao Yuanming (365-427 CE) shares with us across the centuries this image of perseverance:

"I sow beans under the south hill -- 
flourishing weeds, meager bean sprouts. 
Rise at dawn to clear tangled brush 
Lift my hoe and lead the moon home, 
my trail narrow with grass and trees. ..."

Flourishing weeds, meager bean sprouts -- can't you just see it? The sprouts are fighting for their lives, and this poet-farmer helps them by hoeing away all that could choke them. His hoeing, mysteriously, is not simply earthbound; he is also able to "lead the moon home." Perhaps each rising of his tool aligns with the bright orb's graceful journey across the sky. Tao Yuanming continues:

"The evening dew dampens my clothes, 
but wet clothes are of no concern 
as long as my hopes aren't thwarted."

He has risen at dawn, but we find him still at work as the evening dew dampens his clothes. That has got to be a clammy feeling, and he must be tired by now, but does he care? Not so long as his hopes aren't thwarted and his beloved bean sprouts grow.

This week, think of one project of yours that could benefit from this degree of tender loving care. Then provide it, and don't let the evening dew dampen your hopes. 
Your Spirituality & Practice Team 
Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat 
Patricia Campbell Carlson 
Darren Polito