"That we go numb along the way is to be expected. Even the bravest among us, who give their lives to care for others, go numb with fatigue, when the heart can take in no more, when we need time to digest all we meet. Overloaded and overwhelmed, we start to pull back from the world, so we can internalize what the world keeps giving us. Perhaps the noblest private act is the unheralded effort to return: to open our hearts once they’ve closed, to open our souls once they’ve shied away, to soften our minds once they’ve been hardened by the storms of our day.”
―Mark Nepo, “Hearing the Cries of the World” from our summer 2013 issue (which happened to be our 150th issue of Parabola.
Read Nepo’s essay here.
Photography Credit: Fernando Lemos
"Most of us need to be reminded that we are good, that we are lovable, that we belong. If we knew just how powerfully our thoughts, words, and actions affected the hearts of those around us, we’d reach out and join hands again and again. Our relationships have the potential to be a sacred refuge, a place of healing, and awakening. With each person we meet, we can learn to look behind the mask and see the one who longs to love and be loved. We can remember to say our blessings out loud.”
―Tara Brach, BREATHING OUT: OFFERING OUR CARE: Transforming suffering, from the Spring issue 2013, “Spirit in the World.”
Photography Credt: Film Still from Wings of Desire, by Wim Wenders, 1987. Watch the trailer at Criterion.
I’ve been hurt so bad and I still love so hard. I admire my heart for that.– Alexandra Elle, Words from a Wanderer (via silentious)
It is a great honour to sit with discomfort, for all the mysteries of the universe lie within. As you sit with discomfort, you also meet discomfort’s best friend - the urge to escape that discomfort! Is there enough room in you for both discomfort AND the urge to escape discomfort? Of course - who you are is vast and spacious enough to hold anything. This is true meditation - no longer resisting discomfort and trying to escape to a future comfort, but discovering the ever-present, unconditional Comfort that you are, the perfect calm in the midst of the storm.– Jeff Foster (via ashramof1)
If you mistreat an animal it becomes afraid. This is what happened to your psyche. You have mistreated it by giving it a responsibility that is incomprehensible. Just stop for a moment and see what you have given your mind to do. You said to your mind, “I want everyone to like me. I don’t want anyone to speak badly of me. I want everything I say and do to be acceptable and pleasing to everyone. I don’t want anyone to hurt me. I don’t want anything to happen that I don’t like. And I want everything to happen that I do like.” Then you said. “Now mind, figure out how to make every one of those things a reality, even if you have to think about it day and night.” And of course your mind said, “I’m on the job. I will work on it constantly.”– Michael Singer - The Untethered Soul (via iam-youis)
You can’t find intimacy—you can’t find home—when you’re always hiding behind masks. Intimacy requires a certain level of vulnerability. It requires a certain level of you exposing your fragmented, contradictory self to someone else. You running the risk of having your core self rejected and hurt and misunderstood.– Junot Díaz (via wewerenevertragedies)
Are you quiet when you need to be loved? Or do you raise your voice into a lion’s roar? Will you nudge yourself into my hips? Will you bite my shoulders and say ‘I need you to love me harder today’? Are you softer in the mornings? Which side of the bed do you like to take? Do you sprawl yourself out and steal the covers? Do you sleep naked? Do you take your coffee black? In the summer, do you flip the pillow and sigh when your cheek touches the cold side? Do you keep the windows open at night? If so, how? Aren’t you scared of monsters? Do you know that I’m scared of everything that lives in the dark? Are you aware that sometimes I get so nervous I forget how to move my feet? Can you be patient? Can you be gentle? Do you know how? Is there a quiet war raging inside of you? When you curl your fists and raise your chin, are you donning your armour? Can I help? Can I fight all of your demons with you? I won’t shy away from them, not if it would make you happy. Do you know that I’d stand in the dark in an empty room for you? Do you know that I trust you’d never ask that of me? Do you know that I don’t flinch when you cup my face? Even though if you so much as twitched too hard you could break me? Isn’t this what trust looks like? Isn’t it how I am always skin and emotions for you? Isn’t it saying ‘I love you more today than I did yesterday, but it was a whole lot yesterday’? Listen, do you feel safest when you’re holding yourself together? Do you think someday you can let that go? Will you let me take the pieces of you and keep them close? Can you let me love you? Will you learn how to? It doesn’t matter, I’ll wait.– Azra.T “34 Questions” (via hip-)
– Paulo Coelho (via beingblog)
To be totally honest, I don’t know who I am. And I don’t think people ever will know who they are. We have to be humble enough to learn to live with this mysterious question. Who am I? So, I am a mystery to myself. I am someone who is in this pilgrimage from the moment that I was born to the day to come that I’m going to die. And this is something that I can’t avoid, whether I like it or not, or — I’m going to die.
So, what I have to do is to honor this pilgrimage through life. And so I am this pilgrim — if I can somehow answer your question — who’s constantly amazed by this journey. Who is learning a new thing every single day. But who’s not accumulating knowledge, because then it becomes a very heavy burden in your back. I am this person who is proud to be a pilgrim, and who’s trying to honor his journey.
"I believe we are endowed with a faculty of discernment that guides us to seek life-giving truths. When we encounter different faiths, we know exactly how to excavate and sift to find the jewels that lie at the heart of each tradition. Every religion contains a treasure trove of wisdom teachings and transformational practices, and each one is also burdened with divisive messages and a history of violence and oppression. The gems are our birthright, and this God-wrestling process is our legacy.
Contrary to the assumption that the inter-spiritual path is for those who lack conviction—spiritual dilettantes who dabble in the feel-good aspects of religion because they’re too lazy to cultivate the discipline required for “real” religious life—it requires tremendous rigor and courage to say “yes” to the beauty wherever we encounter it, and to say “no” to whatever generates the poison of “otheriz-ing.”
There is a subtle elitism—almost a violence—in the message that we have to “pick one path and go deep,” implying that following multiple points of entry to Spirit precludes depth. My own encounters in an array of religious contexts have been anything but shallow! And I am finding more and more people like me, who seem to be temperamentally incapable of choosing one way to God, to the exclusion of all others.
My guiding value is love. Wherever I find access to the teachings and practices of love—whenever I am drawn into a field of love in the context of religion—I enter, I drink, I allow myself to be changed by the encounter. These soul visits to the holy houses of a faith tradition not my own frequently have the effect of dissolving my preconceptions; I am delighted when that happens. I cherish not-knowing!”
–Mirabai Starr , author and adjunct professor of philosophy and world religions at the University of New Mexico-Taos, on practicing more than one tradition.