"We all carry within us places of exile, our crimes, our ravages. Our task is not to unleash them on the world; it is to transform them in ourselves and others." ~ Camus
I carry within me the potential for all unspeakable horrors committed by anyone at any time in history. My task is to find the unchallenged core beliefs that would impel me to find evidence for these beliefs. All these core beliefs are just that: beliefs. They can be transformed. I am on it.
“Once you know with absolute certainty that nothing can trouble you but your own imagination, you come to disregard your desires and fears, concepts and ideas and live by truth alone.” ~ Nisargadatta
I do not doubt the breathtakingly beautiful Truth in what Nisargadatta says. Is it true for me at all times? No it is not. The key for me is not to judge the times when I ignore that Truth in exchange for some ‘special request’ but to be kind with myself and say: “Aww, honey, you are once again believing something that is not true and that belief is what is offering you and experience of ‘pain’. Time to heal that belief yet?”
"In the courageous standing of uncertainty, faith shows most visibly its dynamic character." ~ Tillich
I am not sure what Tillich is saying. Does it take courage to allow faith to take its place in my heart? Or is it faith that gives me the courage to stand in uncertainty? Either way in my beginner's experience faith has allowed me to appear courageous where in fact I am just resting on the faith-based certainty that everything is inevitably for the best. It would take an outrageous, perhaps even irrational, level of courage to continue breathing if I did not have that rock solid faith.
"If God invited you to a party and said,
“Everyone in the ballroom tonight will
be my special guest,”
how would you then treat them when you arrived?
And Hafiz knows that there is no one in
this world who is not standing upon
His jeweled dance floor." ~ Hafiz
This is truly one of my continued challenges: recognizing each and every one as the One, as the Self, and not like a robot accepting my sad and instant judgements which are, after all, all of me....
"I hope for the day when everyone can speak of God without embarrassment." ~ Paul Tillich
It took me years to be able to say ‘God’ not just without embarrassment but also without disgust, resentment, in fact judgement of any kind. The god I grew up with (or, rather, did not grow up with) was an image I had made up based on wrong interpretations all around me from when I was very little. Once I grasped the idea of an all encompassing God, the Truth and beauty of all I could see, the word God became an affirmation of who I Am and of All that IS. Gratitude.
"Language has created the word “loneliness” to express the pain of being alone. And it has created the word “solitude” to express the glory of being alone." ~ Paul Tillich
The pain of being alone comes from the hatred for the one I am alone with. The glory of being alone comes from Knowing the One.
"Neurosis is the way of avoiding nonbeing by avoiding being" ~ Tillich
‘Avoiding nonbeing’? What does that mean to me? Am I afraid of losing my sad little, self-made, identity by embracing the blinding beauty of ‘nonbeing’? Could it be that I can only ‘Be’ by surrendering to ‘nonbeing’. Is my ‘Being’ defined by the eternity of ‘Nonbeing’?
"Faith is the bird that feels the light and sings when the dawn is still dark." ~ Tagore
'Feels the light', regardless of the seeming immensity of the darkness surrounding me, that is Faith.
"To be grateful is to recognize the Love of God in everything He has given us - and He has given us everything. Every breath we draw is a gift of His love, every moment of existence is a grace, for it brings with it immense graces from Him.
Gratitude therefore takes nothing for granted, is never unresponsive, is constantly awakening to new wonder and to praise of the goodness of God. For the grateful person knows that God is good, not by hearsay but by experience. And that is what makes all the difference." ~ Thomas Merton
Faith teaches me, lovingly, that everything always and all ways is for me. This is a benevolent Universe.
"Love isn't something natural. Rather it requires discipline, concentration, patience, faith, and the overcoming of narcissism. It isn't a feeling, it is a practice." ~ Erich Fromm
Diederik Wolsak is program director at Choose Again