Spiritual Literacy

Reading the Sacred in Everyday Life

by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat

I received this via a bookring on Bookcrossing.  This 600-page hardcover book looks rather intimidating, and I almost considered just giving up and sending it on…  However, as there are a lot of short quotes from writers of all religious background, it is not as hard and slow to go through as I feared. 

If I start writing down all the gems I find in this book, I may be in trouble for copyright infringement.  This is a good book to keep as a PC, to ocassionally leaf through, whenever you feel frizzled.  I don’t know how the authors collected all the wisdom, but I am glad they did and gather them in one volume.

(ETA: Yicks! I did copy down a lot… but hey it’s a 600-page tome!)

And here are some of the lines I like:

“If the desert is holy, it is because it is a forgotten place that allows us to remember the sacred… There is no place to hide, and so we are found.”  – Terry Tempest Williams   

“Not only persons call for service; their things do, too… Objects have thier own personalities that ask for attention… Treating things as if thjey had souls, carefully, with good manners – that’s quality service…” – James Hillman

“I am not a good shopper… I get my purchase home and immediately have second thoughts… Once when I was in the grip of such a litany of doubts, Fred said, ‘Stop, you are hurting its feelings.  Nothing is perfect.’ ” – Mary Ann Brussat

“Boredom is lack of attention.  Take yourself off automatic pilot and you enter a whole new world of wonders.” – Frederic Brussat

“The Hopis say that we all began together; that each race went on a journey to learn its own road to power, and changed; that now is the time for us to return, to put the pieces of the puzzle back together, to make the circle whole.” – Starhawk

“When we plant a tree, we are planting ourselves.  Releasing dilphins back to the wild we are ourselves returning home.  Composting leftovers, we are being reborn as irises and apples…we can know the acitivity of the world as not separate from who we are but rather of what we are.” – Joan Halifax

“I saw that if I belonged here, it was not because anything here belonged to me.  A man might own a whole country and be a stranger in it.  If I belonged in this place it was because I belonged to it.  ANd I began to understand that so long as I did not know the place fully, or even adequately, I belonged to it only paritally.” – Wendell Berry

“Home is somewhere you can close a door and open your heart.” – Theo Pelletier

“I wonder if a tree knows when someone’s hand is on its body.  Does it feel a little warm, like an exchange of electricity?  This act of reaching out is a small gesture, but it is filled with great intention.  I am simply trying to say hello across the barriers of form and language.  I beleive the hands communicate this intention most honestly.” – Stephanie Kaza

“Since nothing we intend is ever faultless, and nothing we attempt ever without error, and nothing we achieve without some measure of finitude and fallibility we call humanness, we are saved by forgiveness.” – David Augsburger

“A weed is a plant whose virtues have never been discovered.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

“What is loved reveals its loveliness.” – Bonnie Friedman

“Like the spider, we must return again and again to rebuild our webs by bringing together the threads of our lives and uniting them to the divine center within.  Without such work, our lives become disconnected, unpeaceful and broken.” – Edward Hays

“When we clean up after ourselves, whether it’s a spilled jar, a broken chair, a disorganized study, or a death, we can see and reflect upon our own life and perhaps envision a new way that won’t be so broken, so violent, so unconscious.  By cleaning up our own homes we take responsibility for ourselves and for preserving what we love.” – Brenda Peterson

“Consider a jigsaw puzzle.  each piece has its place and no other piece can fit that place.  Yet no one piece makes sense on its own.  Each piece needs the whole for its integrity and coherence.  And the whole needs each piece to fulfill its purpose and bring meaning and order to the puzzle.  Once a piece is in its proper place, its separateness is surrendered.  We know a piece is in its place when it blends with the whole and disappears.” – Rabbi Rami Shapiro

“It’s easy to criticize others and make them feel unwanted.  What takes effort and skill is picking them up and making them feel good.” – Rabbi Nachman of Breslov

“He was not feeling great or rotten; he was just not feeling.  He realized he had to really concentrate to figure out what day of the week it was.  And then he woke up: ‘You have got to own your own days and name them, each one of them, every one of them, or else the years go right by and none of them belong to you.'” – – Mary Ann Brussat

“A friend’s son was in the first grade of school, and his teacher asked the calss, ‘What is the color of apples?’ Most of the children answered red. A few said green. Kvein, my friend’s son, raised his hand and said white.  The teacher tried to explain that apples could be red, green, or sometimes golden, but never white.  Kevin was quite insistent and finally said, ‘Look inside.'” – Joseph Goldstein

“The love we give away is the only love we keep.” – Elbert Hubbard

“Growth means evolving and waking up, not remaining asleep in the illusion of the learned self.” – Brenda Schaffer

“The Church says: The body is a sin.
Science says: The body is a machine.
Advertising says: The body is a business.
The body says: I am a fiesta.” – Eduardo Galeano

“There is only one valid way to partake of the universe – whether the partaking is of food and water, the love of another, or indeed, a pill.  That way is characterized by reverence – a reverence born of a felt sense of participation in the universe, of a kinship with all others and with matter.” – Larry Dossey

“Husband: I’m going to work hard, and someday we are going to be rich.
Wife: We are already rich, dear, for we have each other. Someday maybe we’ll have money.” – Anthony de Mello

“A boy an dhis father were walking along a road when they came across a large stone.  The boy said to his father, ‘Do you think if I use all my strength, I can move this rock?’ HIs father answered, ‘If you use all your strength, I am sure you can do it.’  THe boy began to push the rock, he pushed and pushed. The rock did not move. Discouraged, he said to his father, ‘You were wrong, I can’t do it.’ ‘No son, You didnt use all your strength – you didn’t ask me to help.” – David Wolpe

“Give us clear vision that we may know where to stand and what to stand for, because unless we stand for something, we shall fall for anything.” – Peter Marshall

“The fragrant rose and the stinking garbage are two sides of the same existence.  WIthout one, the other cannot be.  When we speak of impermanence, we understand that everything is in transformation. ” – Thich Nhat Hanh

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Published in: on July 9, 2007 at 3:42 pm  Leave a Comment  

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