Yoga Teacher, Amateur Cyclist, and Clergy
“There is no human act that cannot be hallowed into a path to God.”
“If you want to talk to somebody honestly, as a human being, ask him about his kids. Find out what his dreams are - just to find out, for no other reason. Because as soon as you lay your hands on a conversation to steer it, it’s not a conversation anymore, it’s a pitch. And you’re not a human being, you’re a marketing rep.”
It seems to me that we have made God a being instead of Being itself. Both John Duns Scotus and Thomas Aquinas said “Deus est Ens,” or “God is existence itself.” That is the first name of God in the Book of Exodus (3:14), which could rightly be translated “I am Am-ness,” or perhaps as Acts of the Apostles puts it: “God is the one in whom we live, and move, and have our being” (17:28).
Being, or naked existence, is the one thing that we all are a part of. It seems the essential religious problem is that human beings suffer almost universally from a massive case of mistaken identity about their radical union with God. If we can break away from the illusion of our separateness then the rest follows rather clearly, and we can reconnect with our core identity. We are each a manifestation of that Universal and Divine Being, which then takes the form of angels, humans, animals, trees, water, and Earth itself. Until we recognize that inherent and shared sacredness, we have no philosophical or compelling basis for nonviolence.”
“The most powerful weapon on Earth is the human soul on fire.”
“I love this world because it is imperfect. It is imperfect, and that’s why it is growing; if it was perfect it would have been dead. Growth is possible only if there is imperfection. I would like you to remember again and again, I am imperfect, the whole universe is imperfect, and to love this imperfection, to rejoice in this imperfection is my whole message.”
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has beens sent
as a guide from beyond.
“But she did look back, and I love her for that, because it was so human. So she was turned into a pillar of salt. So it goes.”
“Its going to keep hurting, until you realize that there are places in the human heart created only by, and for, God.”
Suffering is the necessary deep feeling of the human situation. If we don’t feel pain, suffering, human failure, and weakness, we stand antiseptically apart from it, and remain numb and small. We can’t understand such things by thinking about them. The superficiality of much of our world is that it tries to buy its way out of the ordinary limits and pain of being human. Carl Jung called it “necessary suffering,” and I think he was right.
Jesus did not numb himself or withhold himself from human pain, as we see even in his refusal of the numbing wine on the cross (Matthew 27:34). Some forms of suffering are necessary so that we know the human dilemma, so that we can even name our shadow self and confront it.
Brothers and sisters, the irony is not that God should feel so fiercely; it’s that his creatures feel so feebly. If there is nothing in your life to cry about, if there is nothing in your life to yell about, you must be out of touch. We must all feel and know the immense pain of this global humanity. Then we are no longer isolated, but a true member of the universal Body of Christ. Then we know God not from the outside but from the inside!”
“The human journey is not about becoming spiritual beings nearly as much as becoming fully human beings, which is actually much harder. We are already spiritual beings from the moment of our conception; we just don’t know it yet.”
“You take refuge in the Buddha not as a savior - not with the feeling that you found something to make you secure - but as an example […] as someone you can emulate. He is an example of an ordinary human being who saw through the deceptions of life, both on the ordinary and spiritual levels.”