Spiritual Writers: July 2008 Archives

From Soren Kierkegaard


Found in the book cited below:

Most men pursue pleasure with such breathless haste that they hurry past it.

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I continue to read through Soul in the City and while there is nothing astonishing here, there are a great many insights that are thought-provoking and even, as my protestant friends would have it "convicting."

fromSoul in the City
Marcy Heidish

"There are some peoplewho, in order not to pray, use as an excuse the fact that life is so hectic that it prevents them from praying. This cannot be," wrote Mother Teresa of Calcutta. "Prayer does not demand that we interrupt our work, but that we continue working as if it were a prayer" Everything we do, then, can be offered to God in a prayerful way.

If you don't feel comfortable with concepts such as breath prayer, try speaking directly to God. Just speak. Tell Him everything; talk to Him. "He is our father," Mother Teresa said. "He is father to us all whatever religion we are."

Add insights from Saints and holy people of all faiths, to outright challenges at the end of each chapter:

[source as cited above]

5. Begin to see God in each person you pass in a crowd. Practice this slowly for one block, then two block, then more.

6. Pray silently in a crowd. Deliberately note when you're intent on holding your own in an urban setting.

10. When you're walking downtonw or in an urban settings, try this mental exercise: imagine being part of a crowd swarming around Jesus. Do you behave differently? Is your attitude different? Note these times in a journal.

Ms. Heidish write's particularly for the urban dweller, but her advice holds for anyone who feels hard-pressed by the tensions, anxieties, and heartaches that come with living in a world that is moving far too quickly for us. The warm and beautiful insights of this book can help us to focus once again on the presence of God wherever we happen to be.

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Gandhi's Gita


from The Gita According to Gandhi

No knowledge is to be found without seeking, no tranquility without travail, no happiness except through tribulation. Every seeker has, at one time or another, to pass through a conflict of duties, a heart-churning.

Dhritarashtra Said:

1. Tell me, O Sanjaya, what my sons and Pandu's assembled, on battle intent, did on the field of Kuru, the field of duty.

The human body is the battlefield where the eternal duel between right and wrong goes on. Therefore it is capable of being turned into a gateway to Freedom. It is born in sin and becomes the seed-bed of sin. Hence it is also called the field of Kuru. The Kuravas represent the forces of Evil, the Pandavas the forces of Good. Who is there that has not experienced the daily conflict within himself between the forces of Evil and the forces of Good?

This, apparently is Gandhi's translation into Gujarati, then translated into English, of one of India's great sacred books. For those interested, the entirety is available here.

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I recently started reading this book, finding the concept intriguing--city spirituality. I'm intrigued not because I live in a city, I don't--but because the concept has larger applicability. I can think of it as the spirituality of those who do not appreciate the crowd, as it were.

A real delight upon opening the book was to find an index, a bibliography, and end-notes, like a real books. So few books on spirituality bother to share the sources from which they derive much of their insight. And with this books the sources range from magazine articles to Holy Scripture itself.

I'm not attempting at this point to review the entire work, just to share some of my enjoyment and the high-point of today's reading.

from Soul and the City
Marcy Heidish

I learned a great deal about praying in crowds from homeless women, especially Nell. She practiced prayer on the street by holding a phrase from a humn, a song, or Scripture with her throughout the day and repeating it to herself--and to God. Sometimes, she said, the phrase was short. For example, "Lord, have mercy on me." Sometimes she would vary this phrase by praying it as intercession, "Lord, have mercy on her/him/them." Other times the phrase was longer.

There is nothing astounding in this--nothing to take the breath away. And yet there is a down-to-earth solid practicality that I find inspiring. To read this is to be reminded that prayer is only a thought away--prayer is a choice, an act of love, and act of will that each person can make his or her own through the true prayer and exertion of the Holy Spirit whose inward work is both inward and upward, translating us into the realm of the Father even as we remain ignorant of it.

I'll share more as I continue to read.

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About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Spiritual Writers category from July 2008.

Spiritual Writers: April 2008 is the previous archive.

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