The Imperative


There is a lot of negativity and darkness in the world right now. I still don’t believe in war but I can see we need to stop this barbaric and horrific genocide. In the UK, there was a demonstration and it consisted of Muslims holding up signs which said, “They don’t speak for me.” I give these young people my support and I want to praise their bravery to take a stand against the fundamentalists in their countries. It will be important going forward that we remember that not all Muslims are fundamentalists and extremists. Many thousands of them are just like you and I. They don’t want war anymore than we do. They want peace and the ability to live their lives without constant danger and retaliation.

 

“Hunger for love, He looks at you.

Thirsty for kindness, He begs from you.

naked for loyalty, He hopes in you.

Sick and imprisoned for friendship, He wants from you.

Homeless for shelter in your heart, He asks of you.

Will you be that one to Him?”   —Mother Teresa 

 

“What we need is to love without getting tired. How does a lamp burn? Through the continuous input of small drops of oil. What are these drops of oil in our lamps? They are the small things of daily life: faithfulness, small words of kindness, a thought for others, our way of being silent, of looking, of speaking, and of acting. Do not look for Divinity outside of yourself. It is not out there. Divinity is within us. Keep your lamps burning, and you will recognize the Divine.”   —Mother Teresa

 

Rumi was very good friends with Shams Tabriz. He absorbed all of the traditions and doctrines in the ocean of reality. The way that Rumi and Shams clarified for the world of mystical experience is their continuously unfolding friendship. The source of that friendship-sunlight, everything the sun lights, and the mystery of the inner sun-is what he worships. This is a difficulty some traditional believers have with Rumi: he does not stress the distance  between human beings and the Beloved, but rather he stresses the remembered intimacy. Rumi taught a continuous conversation with the Beloved.

 

Coming up on September

 

White butterflies, with single

black finger paint eyes on their wings,

dart and settle, eddy and mate

over the green tangle of vines

in Labor Day morning stream.

 

The years grinds into ripeness

and rot, grapes darkening.

pears yellowing, the first 

Virginia creeper twining crimson,

the grasses, dry straw to burn.

 

The New Year rises, beckoning

across the umbrellas on the sand.

I begin to reconsider my life.

What is the yield of my impatience?

What is the fruit of my resolve?

 

I turn from my frantic white dance

over the jungle of productivity

and slowly a niggun slides,

cold water down my throat.

I rest on a leaf spotted red.

 

Now is the time to let the mind

search backwards like the raven loosed

to see what can feed us. Now,

the time to cast the mind forward

to chart an aerial map of the months.

 

The New Year is a great door

that stands across the evening and Yom

Kippur is the second door. Between them are song and silence, stone and clay pot 

to be filled from within myself.

 

I will find there both ripeness and rot,

what I have done and undone,

what I must let go with the waning days

and what I must take in. With the last

tomatoes, we harvest the fruit of our lives.”   —Marge Piercy

 

Tonight at sundown, the Jewish New Year begins. It is the beginning of the Days of Awe. It is a time for reflection and introspection. Where each Jew and the community look inside and see and confess their sins. The Jewish people look at things like lack of compassion, lack of kindness and withholding love as sins. They use these ten days to review their lives and decide what to change within themselves. Jews around the world will be eating a holiday dinner and going to Temple. Prayers and love for G-d will open their hearts for reflection. So I wish every Jewish person on Mother Earth to have a sweet New Year. May it be a good year.

 

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A time of renewal

A time of renewal

 

New Year prayers and candles

New Year prayers and candles

 

 

For a sweet New Year

For a sweet New Year

Kindness in Our World


Jews pray at the wailing wall for peace, kindness and for their families

Jews pray at the wailing wall for peace, kindness and for their families

The harder part is people.

So Lord, help me face them

without rancor or disappointment.

Help me see the pain behind their actions

rather than the malice;

the suffering rather than the rage.

And in myself, as I struggle

with the vice of my own desire—-

give me strength to quiet my heart,

to quicken my empathy, to act

in gratitude rather than need.

Remind me that the peace I find

in the slow track of seasons

or an uncurling fern frond,apples

is married to the despair I feel

in the face of nuclear war.

Remind me that each small bird shares atoms

with anthrax, with tetanus, with acid rain, that each time I close my heart

to another, I add to the darkness,

Help me always follow kindness.

Let this be my prayer.      ——Karen Holden