To my Muslim family, you know Ramadan starts on June 18 this year. Many in the West believe it's a month when we abstain from food and drink during daytime. That's true. But in reality, Ramadan is about abstaining from all carnal desires, not just food. It's a spiritual flight requiring us to follow certain protocols.
"God, may we keep on sowing The seeds of justice here, Till guns are silent, people sing, And hope replaces fear."
Cholo goth duo Prayers are blazing hot right now, shifting their universe onto a higher plane, making their dreams reality and taking their fans with them into virtual reality.
I know my father died a hero. Even after being shot multiple times, he courageously fought off the gunman, saving many, including my mother, at the expense of his own life. He defended the temple he founded, and this house of worship is the gift he left to us and his grandchildren. Just like Felicia Sanders. She sacrificed her body to cover and shield her young granddaughter, as her son, Tywanza, tried to talk down the gunman.
Whatever ounce of peace that is left in my heart, I give it to our brothers and sisters in need in Charleston. To lose one's life because of a hate crime is horrifying. To lose one's life to a hate crime in a holy place of worship stems from the ultimate act of cowardice and hatred.
As the executive director of Interfaith Worker Justice, a national organization that builds power with workers through faith-rooted organizing and advocacy, my faith and values are what ground me and call me to do this work.
I don't want to pray for Charleston. I can't. I am an Itinerant Elder in the African Methodist Episcopal Church, yet, prayer doesn't seem like enough. I need action. To my white Christian brethren, I don't need for you to tell me how angry you are. I need you to tell your white friends.
The events of the past several weeks, including Charleston and here in the Dallas area, represent an unparalleled opportunity for us. A gift, even. A gift of reflection. A gift of looking in the mirror.
Holding hands with our neighbors, and with a tear in my eyes, at the end of the service we sang "We Shall Overcome." It reminded me of when I sang it during civil rights marches and Vietnam War protests. It turned out that I came to sing, pray and keep the dark away.
It's very refreshing to know that mindfulness has grown over the years and has entered the mainstream today as one of the many ways of demonstrating prayer.
Thursday morning I posted the obligatory Facebook status, encouraging others to pray for all involved and affected by this massacre. When stuff like this happens, it's easy to sputter over your words and sometimes, prayer is all you've got.
I am by no means a minister who is going to tell people who are subject to racism not to be angry. I am, however, going to say that this moment needs our faith. This moment needs our focus. And in spite of this young man's attempt destroy the sanctity of prayer, we need prayer.
A failure to acknowledge and deal with illness doesn't mean that it's not there. I can pretend like I'm not sick, but my body will let me know otherwise. We can pretend like our society is not in pain and in need of healing, but atrocities like Charleston will let us know otherwise.
Woo-woo or not, compassion is needed today more than ever, and perhaps mindfulness can help bring us there. Through Mumford's book, we can all learn to be Mindful Athletes in our day-to-day lives.
"Before I leave you, I promise if my wishes are granted I will come back with my new Israeli husband to thank you and if I have a son, I will bring him to you and name him Jonathan in your honor."
Whenever I come across a new book or material about spirituality, I feel that I'm in touch with something bigger than me because of the author's profound knowledge, dedication, and experience. Over the years, they've become my spiritual family by sharing their insights on love and compassion, and the power of prayer and meditation.