I could hardly believe we were finally making this long-planned trip to Turkey. Much in the news today, Turkey sits at the intersection of Europe and Asia and borders the Middle East. It is unique in that it has been home for centuries to all three of the great "revealed" religions.
Sounds are also not a cultural universal: music for one person may be noise to another; the sound of thunder may frighten some and be soothing to others; the call of the adhan may be "grating and annoying" to some and "beautiful" to others.
Perhaps this year we can look at religion and identify some stories that never die, that are not simply events that happened over the course of 12 months but are, in a sense, eternally returning and deeply rooted in human cultures and consciousness.
We are part of a magical, beautiful, and suffering Earth, whose darkening we have created with our endless exploitation. The Earth, which is so infinitely generous, needs our prayers, needs our loving, our open hearts and remembrance.
The wholeness of who we are is what matters and we need to live in a way that honors this, not in a way that dismembers it. We need to live more with reverence, which can't be reduced to a billboard slogan, than with certainty, which can.
Andy Siegel was only fourteen when I met him. But he carried himself with an air of experience. His questions were striking, and his ability to work with people of all ages was like nothing I had ever seen, especially in someone so young.
When we set aside the quality time and claim the psychic space for ceremony, when we assume the authority to do so, we are able to transform our perceptions, our perspectives, our experiences, and in the process, our reality.
I am not angry at my doctor. I feel compassion for her, because she was trained in the mechanical model, but I write this today for myself, as a reminder that it is okay to take my time and listen to my body, even if there are time pressures and the schedules of others to accommodate.
There is a form of atheism that is closer to the divine than the standard theism witnessed in the church. For wherever a concern of beauty, an embrace of life and a love of liberation are exhibited the sacred is proclaimed.
Marianne Williamson's strength is the way she boils down complex dogmas into simple truths. At one point, she says, "You think you have many problems, but really you have only one: separation from God." Here are three of my favorite Williamson strategies for aligning with the sacred.
Mark Nepo is a philosopher, poet, and teacher whose work has inspired millions of readers to take the spiritual plunge. I recently caught up with this modern-day magus at his home to talk about his new book, Seven Thousand Ways To Listen.