Sanctuary House Quarterly
P. O. Box 332 Crestone, Colorado 81131 (719) 256-4420 email@example.com www.sanctuaryhouse.org
Volume VI- I The Millennial Issue of Discipleship Winter 2001
The Bottom Line
One reading of the strange and ment on God and goodness, we Which brings up the whole
unprecedented 2000 election is revert back to being rugged question, a big one, of whether
that America is in for some individuals. Yet in our material or not we need a guru, a guide.
much-needed purification. culture where greed is grand, The can-do pioneer American
When nature’s cleansing mode those of us called to make a will say, “Nope, I can figure it
is turned on, it’s time for clarity more mysterious sort of journey out myself.” But the wise say
and the bottom line. (No, we’re to a more unitive goal know otherwise. Indeed, we each
not speaking of either profits or that we a.) have not left home need a guru, a most capable
skin-tight underwear.) for ourselves only and b.) must someone who has already gone
The bottom line I refer to is be headed somewhere (ie. not the way, or at least who has
that place inside that is rock just leave an old life behind.) journeyed farther than we in a
solid, that point of absolute conscious way. The higher the
integrity, the line you will not goal, the more we need such a
cross. Because--in a bubbling, guide, because the subtlety and
boiling time of phase transition- power of what is to be revealed
-much in us is challenged, so is ever greater the deeper/higher
that to know where we stand is we go, the pitfalls/road blocks
imperative. Our forefathers so bigger and more numerous.
stated in the Declaration of Discipleship asks, “With
Independence: “We hold these whom I am traveling and who
truths to be self-evident….” is in charge of this expedition?”
We each need a world-view, a The way can be dangerous. We
philosophy, a way of seeing need to find a true leader and
that, at its core, is immutable— scrutinize our companions. And
else we risk madness. Discipleship means having a we need to practice (even The
But commitment is not the direction, a goal, and keeping Dalai Lama does daily practice)
forte of our culture. The media that goal before our gaze, even and keep on trucking. (Look at
message is a fairly constant one (as with a mountain or lake or what it takes to be a CEO.)
of “I, I and I, speed, pleasure, town) we don’t always see our When we go for our driver’s
and youth” (in which taking destination, but keep it in mind license, we’re tested on “The
stock meaning buying low and inwardly as we follow a path. Rules of the Road.” On the
selling high). In such a millieu, Which brings up the route. highway, we’re often left to our
going 180 degrees opposite to The way to the destination is own best judgment. Like a
the general spiel will be a fairly tricky, tricky in the sense that river, we need the banks of
accurate spiritual direction. we’ll be facing inward and conduct and the rush of proper
Topsy turvy times demand outward obstacles. These service in order to flow.
discipline, which means ‘guardians at the gate’ represent In 2001, leadership and
discipleship, perhaps not a juicy lessons that (if we look closely) community are ever-new and
subject to most of us. In 1901, are not surprising, but which lasting categories of necessity.
discipline was almost a given, usually seem like definite turns The way to the top is filled with
modeled (not necessarily off the marked route. It’s icefields, ledges, snow bridges,
graciously) in the family, the because the trek is so utterly weathers inside and out, and the
schools, the workplace. Now unique that we require need for stamina. It’s always
that there is no societal agree- discipleship. been so. +
to the Editor
Will the SHQ hear from you?
(Your thoughts, queries, poems, challenges)
DEAR FRIENDS of SANCTUARY HOUSE,
You have been on my mind so much since my last visit. I keep wanting to stand in the middle of
your space and hold each religion’s people in my heart in a space of harmony. Your vision holds
me. Joan Beals October 2000
[Please, do visit again; the labyrinth will be finished, God willing, in the summer, and
you can walk into the empty center where the perception will be exquisite.—Ed.]}
Just a quick not to tell you that we enjoy reading your newsletter. It is a wonderful way for us to
stay informed on the journey the two of you are undertaking. After reading this past newsletter, I
felt called to write and thank you for the time we spent together years ago [at Sanctuary House in
Snowmass] when our family joined you for a couple of days of fellowship. It is amazing how
certain thins occasionally just pop into our minds. Our visit is one such thing that regularly makes
a visit during meditation…. Blair and Shari Gagne Duluth, MN October 2000– The Editor
[And we’re never separate, though we’d cherish a visit. And now we’re four, plus
LaVerne is five!—Ed.]
Dear LaVerne, May you be saturated this Christ-mas with the Radiant Present of the Child-Christ.
I love you. Special love and wishes to dear William & Barbara. Hope their trop to India was
glorious & splendid. Please ask William if he writes anything about the India visit. I’d love to
read it. Sr. Nora Sligo, Ireland December 2000
[Ah, dear Nora, wanting to satisfy your sincere request, the best way to receive these 6
weeks in India is to ask in meditation and/or to go yourself. This was the most integrated of our 4
visits, and this special Silver Jubilee Retreat with Bapu and Mataji (She may come this spring to
Crestone!) was ever more natural and ever more splendid. Bapu gave satsangs that riveted my
being, saying that which, could I have put into words my deepest and most human and expansive
moments of 30+ years of seeking the Ultimate, I would have said just that. Thrilling! We toured a
bit of Gujarat and offered the Hari Om Tatsat Jai Guru Datta mantra to hundreds, including a
school of 250 childlren who clapped during the chant as if they were one person. And the
hospitality was celestial. Our appreciation to the Ashram and to all who showed us every
kindness. And then there were the nameless experiences that will never be exhausted, as your own
journey via your latest Crestone letter reveals. We had both Arunachala and Girnar, two of
India’s three most holy mountains, and we were showered with blessings. Jai Guru Datta—Ed.]
SANCTUARY HOUSE NEWS...
* Just as Trinity House is finished (good reviews from all) where William and Barbara live, the lower
house is now occupied by Rodney Volkmar and Sindja Ming, both mature souls who attended a retreat in
the Redwoods with Shantibaba and William in Northern California last September. This doubling of
commitment and community brings a new era to Sanctuary House. It does feel astounding that perhaps the
main prayer of the past year has been answered in such a timely way.
* William travels to Mexico City at the request of Sheikha Amina Teslima to offer a Centering Prayer
workshop weekend. It will be the first time that Centering Prayer will have been offered in Mexico.
* Shantibaba will give a Maui retreat in early April, which the Sanctuary House community will attend.
And, just before the retreat, Barbara’s middle son Buck will marry his beloved Yuki, both who attended the
Silver Jubilee Retreat with Bapu this past November in India (after a week in Japan with Yuki’s family).
-- The FORM of DISCIPLINE at SANCTUARY HOUSE --
This is the nineteenth in a series concerning the nature, reach and practicalities of Sanctuary.
In the firstness of things, even with Creation itself, there was light which became sound, whose
vibration in-scribed a form. And that energetic form then took on more and more solidity, until it became
matter appearing to be O’ so solid. So, too, with human enterprise: it is wise to give form to a venture by
creating a symbol (whose nature is layered) which can represent the direction and service to be offered: a
logo. Christ is called The Logos, and through him, in the Christian path, all that came to be was created.
Sanctuary House, perhaps belatedly, now has a form, a logo. It comes to us via a deep and sincere
friend (Emily Matulay, with the Hari Om mantra for nearly two decades) who wanted to see Lord Datta
(the unity of the Creator, Maintainer and Destroyer—the Trinitarian nature of the Source, Course, and Goal
of all that is) in her own way. Some years ago, as she formed this wish, she literally saw in the sky the
symbol that centers the first page of this issue. Emily has permitted Sanctuary House to adopt this
cognition as its logo. Jai Guru Datta.
To me, it stands as the form of discipleship at Sanctuary House. The predominant shape is like a
heart, which must beat in the one who wishes to offer (and become) Sanctuary, for without heart (an
expansive enough heart to receive anyone who walks through the entry), service is empty and the beautiful
structures of our efforts here will be structures only.
The heart is the reverse of its usual cultural and physiological portrayal, it being a mystic heart
whose tip points to the Highest. As you can see, there is an inside and an outside. The outer is the
container, is the entirety of the One Heart that exists as Creation and whose rhythms are the waves of
harmony and joy that generate the music of the spheres. Its inner sanctum is the yoni, the womb, the
reproductive cavity that generates new life. For Sanctuary House and each of us here long to be the fertile
and restful field protected from the inconclusiveness of the world so that, indeed, birth can happen.
Out of this interior cavity of regeneration rush three streams, the trinitarian nature of every action,
every event—and thus the nature of service itself. It is the goal of each of us at Sanctuary House that those
three rivers become one flow of giving, such that giver and given and giving become singular and that no
separation exists between the one graced to offer and the one graced to receive.
This trinity of streams also flows back into the place of rebirth, so that all our actions take on the
newness of innocence and childlike beauty. We each require refreshment. And, when that refreshment is
constant, nothing will be stilted or hyped or manipulative in the slightest; rather, the real happens and real
love is the result once in and out, container and flow, goal and path are no longer dualities, but one
simplicity which breathes the naturalness of life.
The heart is also a flame, hot and unpredictable, yet tamed by the Divine. Thus we have here--
coupled with the rivers of service, humility and love/truth—the union of fire and water, a symbol of
alchemy, the completeness of unitive vision in the service of all.
May this symbol enliven discipleship at Sanctuary House and preserve in mind and heart the
totality of the vision here, leaving no one out by virtue of including all that is Lord Datta, the one who is
beyond all form and infuses every form, the one who is the essence of every wisdom tradition, the one who
gives away all knowledge to those who sincerely seek Fullness. +
Through that which is beautiful, let me go beyond to Beauty itself;
Through that which is simple, let me go beyond to Simplicity itself;
Through that which is intelligent, let me go beyond to Intelligence itself;
Through that which is alive, let me go beyond to Life itself;
And through that which is light, which is loving, let me move
even to Light and Love;
And that which is divine, let me be pulled in and pulled in, pulled in
all the way to You. --Vishnu Datta--
Excerpts on the Path
[What follows are insights taken from satsangs by Sri Punitachariji (‘Bapu’) during the recent
Silver Jubilee Retreat. Bapu is a master of sadhana, of the spiritual journey. Not all I would wish to
present can be included, and the flow of Bapu’s erudition and humanity will be somewhat halting in
extracting those examples relevant here. Any lack stems not from him, but from myself.
The following are reading by Raj Patel of his on-the-spot notes of Bapu’s talks. My thanks to
him. Any part that is not in italics I have paraphrased for the sake of space.–Ed.]
What’s going to happen to each of you, you don’t know and even I don’t know. That we leave to
Sadguru [God]. You will have experiences and then we can talk about them and their significance.
…How long is this journey? Everyone wonders about this. But like the child who eventually
becomes old after so many years, you’ll see the changes. You’ll see that the journey has been going on and
that you have moved from one place to another. To be successful…one of the keys is to have complete and
utter faith and surrender. Never find faults in the guru, never find faults in Sadguru. Never find faults in
the mantra [the practice]. Don’t try to evaluate what’s going on. It’s not necessary to understand it. Just have
faith the process is happening and that it’s for my good, and the journey will be completed in its own time.
…This[ journey] takes time because a purification process has to go on. The habits of the mind—anger,
greed, lust—they take a long time to go away. When a male and a female get together, when your parents
conceived you, their state of mind, their feelings, their thoughts formed the sankalp [force of will] that makes
the physical body. Therefore, that sankalp, all those feelings and thoughts are inherent in you.
…You must ask for it, you must wish to go deeper. Recognizing Sadguru means understanding
everything in all of nature, because He is omnipresent and He is both with and without form.
…Even if they sadhaks [aspirants], do things they shouldn’t, I [Sadguru] never let go of them because I
stay focused on the goal….For example, I look at the cotton growing in the field, the basic substance.
From that cotton people can weave all sorts of different cloth. The cloth can be clean, it can get dirty, it
can get worn or torn, but in the end it is cotton and I see it always as cotton. And that is what I stay
focused on, the pure essence. The sadhaks that I make mine, I always keep, I always love from my heart.
…Sadhaks should never feel that Sadguru gets mad, that if they’ve done something wrong…that Sadguru
will let them go. …I am omnipresent. I speak from within.
…The world is round. Where we need to go, that is exactly where we will return. Because it’s a
circle. The one whom we’re looking for we will find only ourself at the end. But after sometime.
…Always pray to Sadguru to help you stay focused on the goal. …We always have these little
wishes that we pray to God for, but we should be careful what we pray for. Sometimes Sadguru will satisfy
our wishes and sometimes not. …When a patient is sick, the doctor controls the diet and only lets the
patient eat what is good.
…The fruit [of the journey] is that I have no negative feelings for anyone, no discrimination, no sense
of difference, no desires left in this worldly life. I have friendship and love for everyone—regardless of
caste, creed, faith. …Even though you may be a saint or politician, regardless of how much shakti [energy,
power] we have been given by God, it’s meant to be used in this world that’s been created by God. But we
shouldn’t have the sense that I am the doer…but that I am the witness, that whether waking, sleeping or
doing work don’t forget that I am the Atman. The Atman doesn’t perform any action. I am the instrument
and Sadguru is the doer. That’s the sign that sadhana is progressing well… What chakra has been opened
or what stage I am at in sadhana…is not important. What we are trying to do is lighten our load. We are
trying to be empty of the weight of seeing differences and distinctions and discrimination, of jealousy.
…We shouldn’t have the sense that…I want bliss for myself, I want salvation for me. Good
sadhaks…want to help others…to share this wonderful gift they’ve found…so others can attain to the goal.
Sadhana is like a clean mirror in a closed room. If we go away for a month or 2 or 6, even if
we’ve locked the room up airtight, dust is going to collect on the mirror. It’s not inherently dirty, it’s just
clinging to the surface. Still we have to come back and clean it up.
…Try to use your…wisdom as a bright light to shine and bring out all the bad tendencies that are
in you. That’s part of this sadhana process. If somebody criticizes or insults you, the tendency is to get
angry, to react. Instead, try to engender the behavior of stopping for a moment and looking inside. Is
there anything to what is they’re saying? …If there is, you should thank them for it.
…All sorts of…things get in the way of sadhana, and oftentimes we tend to stay in our own
opinion: that I know what’s best for me, and that I am right. But that’s not always true. A smoker might
try to justify the act of smoking cigarettes…. Following what’s given in the books of knowledge of different
religions, or the guidance of someone who is realized—these are the ways of getting proper guidance.
We know when the journey is complete or not. Everyone may say, ‘Oh, you’re so spiritual,…a
great sadhak, you meditate all the time,’ but when we are alone…and feel that ‘I am empty, I’ve not
achieved this Self-Realization, that feeling is Sadguru speaking from inside, guiding you to keep going.
Sadguru won’t stop people from getting lost in transient desires. If you’re going to…not do your
sadhana and start getting lost in…sense pleasures, you’ll hear the voice inside, “You shouldn’t do this…”
But we can all ignore that. Sadguru is really patient; he won’t let go…but the journey may take longer.
Ego is a very, very big obstacle. Therefore, good sadhaks keep secret the good deeds that they do.
…On this path of sadhana, so that you get to the final goal…all the things that you do, all the blessings and
good karma that you have—distribute it freely…for freedom in this life itself. Go for the realization that I
am a pure, perfect Atman while you are in this physical body. …Get rid of this ‘you, me, mine,, yours.’ As
you become empty, people will start coming to you; …everyone wants to get on an empty bus. As you
become empty, you become that vehicle for others…for…all you will see is love for everyone around.
Some people prefer different paths—Ram, Buddha, Jesus. But whomever you prefer, the method
of explaining the words may be slightly different, but the message is always the same: …to recognize the
Self within, to recognize your true nature…. Some people will say to do japa [repetition of the Divine name], to
do dhyan [meditation], to do kirtan [songs of praise to God]; there is the path of gyan [knowledge] and…bhakti
[devotion]—all of these will lead to the same place.
…To get away from society is not the goal. Even staying in society you can continue on this path.
The experience of this renunciation, this dispassion, is like unclarified butter… freshly made from the
milk—there’s still buttermilk[subtle desires] in there and you can’t light a flame with it. You can get to a state
where you want to build an ashram, want to help people and get recognized for it. …We have to use the
flame of dhyan and yoga [union] to burn away the buttermilk and clarify the butter to get to the pure ghee….
We need a perfected guru to make sure the ghee is not burned as well, [that] only the water is burned away.
Sadhana is different for everyone. Some journey by foot and see so many details along the way.
Some…by train…see…not as many,…and some people are in a plane and go straight away…
The idea of mukti [liberation] is not freedom from this body. Mukti is freedom from all of these
attachments—freedom from name, form, ego. …Our thoughts…don’t get destroyed; they get purified. If
we surrender fully to the Sadguru essence inside…then the path is very easy, for he is carrying us along.
But if we still get upset when we don’t have a certain experience or when something doesn’t go our way,
then that is not full surrender.
We can in meditation experience…pure thoughtlessness, but when we open our eyes the world is
always there, and we always have to be alert and aware in order to be without desires. …Achieving
thoughtlessness is easy. Raja Yoga is easy. Sitting for 5 hours…or even 1000 years in dhyan is easy. But
to stay in that same state, regardless of whether…you are awake …or sleeping—that is the state of sahaj
[naturalness—the yoga Bapu offers], that whatever state you are in you are unchanging…always in samadhi.
We’re on this stage of the world. We’re playing these parts…have been assigned a name
and…duties…. So we should play our part, but inside nothing should touch us. So this knowledge is what
sadhana really is—this knowledge of the duties we have to discharge, but…with the sense that I am the
witness and to surrender completely to Sadguru. …Whenever we think of Him, He is instantly there.
…Everyone can easily find fault in others, but the true wise one…finds only good in otheres and
finds all the bad qualities in himself.
If you can’t let go, …can’t reach the goal, …then don’t blame the guru and don’t blame the
mantra. The weakness is inside. …If you can’t apply the wisdom, then it’s just ‘parrot wisdom.’
The Buddha said, “The world is not holding onto you; you are holding onto the world.”
…Many people come to the Ashram to say that by using the mantra my business improved, or we
were childless and through this mantra got a child—countless examples. But only one in a million says, “I
can see how gently Sadguru cuts away all the karmas I still have to account for; Sadguru is so…kind to
me, I don’t have the wisdom He does, but he is cutting away all the barriers. So few come to say that.
Just one person, if truly faithful and sincere, if fully surrendered to Sadguru, can shake a whole
nation with their sincerity, with their honesty, with their true spirituality. …I have this treasure; it’s yours
for the taking. I give it away. Take this treasure home with you. Don’t put it in a bag; don’t put it in a
sack around your shoulder. Put it in your heart. And keep it there every day. +
The Nature of Discipline
Discipline does not disappear forever, but she does take vacations from time to time.
By nature she is a conservative person, and yet she lives a radical life. Guided by a sense of
inner necessity, she works hard and takes many risks. When Discipline was a teenager too
poor to afford dance classes, she skipped lunch to pay for her lessons.
Discipline has a strong sense of order. However, when things are too neat she feels
compelled to mess them up. She has a complex relationship to form. She appreciates the
necessity and dangers of structure. She understands that the same structure which supports
you can also hold you back. The bones of the skeleton which support the body can become
the bars of the cage which imprison the spirit. After Discipline has mastered a form, she is
free to improvise.
-- From Ruth Gendler’s BOOK of QUALITIES --
"Small Miracles" --
HOW GOD SPEAKS TO US
This regular feature of the SHQ depends on you sharing the "small miracles" that are in our very midst.
The nature of discipline is keeping the goal in sight, quite a gnostic event at times, since the goal is
for a great percentage of the time not seen with physical eyes. So we have to move on faith, on the best
directions we can find, on nose-knowledge, on foolishness at times. But its rewards, at some point,
generate an outcome far better than on-the-way expectations envision.
I have a Sufi friend, a widower, who trusted the expansive energies arising within him such that he
sold his mountain estate where he had buried his wife: the time had come “to move on.” This was partly
the result of finding no suitable work nearby. The workplaces—new ventures and established concerns—
he did locate, despite their high-tech (his field) experience and hopes, left him unimpressed. (He could in
days see what was necessary yet hadn’t been seen for years—a bit too insightful for most employers.) He
enlarged his search arena, interviewed here and there, and followed an inner guidance to relocate in the
South, close to a vibrant Sufi community. He was in Tennessee but a few weeks when on a walk in a
deciduous forest, lovely though it was, he began to weep over the absence of aspens.
Back to Colorado he came, but still feeling the inward urge toward a more creative self-
expression. He took a conscious sabbatical, wrote stories and poems, until the call back to work
necessarily announced itself. He found a position, but the double-speak an ill boss had my friend for
integrity’s sake managing only a couple of weeks. Enjoying his grown son and other relationships, and
continuing to write, he had to admit that the pinch of being in the red was becoming a bruise. He had to do
something, and again sent out sterling resumes and researched websites.
However, with no responses and seeing nothing on the employment horizon, he recently entered
his prayer room and wept over the long and tiring run of the same, seemingly endless, situation. He wept
and simply gave up, surrendering the situation in its entirety to Allah.
THE NEXT DAY a phone call came—from a firm who “can’t say enough good things” about
him, and whose business set up and relationships are sound and harmonious. Amazingly, my friend had
not sent these people a resume, had not visited their website, did not even know of their existence.
“How did they find me?” he wondered. But his continuing discipline—listening inside and
moving in trust with his heart, often seeming off the path, coupled with a need for and capacity for a giving
employment environment—set up the conditions that found him. And brought more glory, revealing the
nature of the way the spirit works, to the Most High than would have otherwise occurred. Allahu akbar. +
QUOTE: Everything the same; everything distinct -- Zen proverb --
DISCIPLESHIP and CONTEMPORARY CHRISTIANITY
by William Howell
This is the 19th in a series of articles, the views solely the author’s concerning the contemporary Christian contemplative path.
Remember the Simon and Garfunkel song, “To Every Season Turn, Turn,” taken directly from
Ecclesiastes (3.1-8)? The lyrics suggest a life that is full and requiring varied responses at different times,
different situations, different depths of participation. Life never stagnates, but ever is on the move, a
motion backed by the lastingness of Christ. Thus, like a tree (or a mustard plant, per the parables of Jesus),
life is here soft and pliant as leaves and there hard and firm as the supportive and understanding trunk.
It is simplistic to think we can act in a given way in every situation, or that we never have to
change our minds. Especially in these times. Especially in the West. St. Paul’s elegant rendering of
“when I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child; but when I became a man, I put away
childish things” (I Cor 13:11) comes to mind.
However, there is something beyond thinking and acting that constitutes the nature of being a
disciple, of discipleship. When Mary of Bethany sat at Christ’s feet and listened to his word (the Word),
she was within inches of the Lord of the Worlds. And she, who by Jesus’ own estimation had “the one
thing necessary,” was not thinking about what the Master was saying. Her listening was pure, and she was
less taking it in than allowing herself to be taken in…into the heart of the world. We, on the other hand,
have to be more gnostic (—though gnosticism has rarely gained favorable press in organized Christian
circles, recent biblical scholarship and deepening spirituality in our remarkably spiritual age is confirming
that the gnostic impulse to be not only alive in Christianity but ever more necessary—), more able to travel
the inward avenues and back roads of devotion. I personally take heart from physicists who, while never
having seen an atom, talk as if they have, have made what amount to road maps, have even discovered
numerous subatomic particles and, from there, theorize intelligently about the very nature of creation itself.
So we, who do not have Christ Jesus walking among us and raising the dead, have him as if he were still
healing the sick, which, of course, he still is doing.
While the word ‘disciple’ to many would seem a distinctly Christian term, it is, of course,
universally applicable. Yet, Christian discipleship for that very reason needs to be constantly renewed,
well beyond the reaches of dogma (yet not without the firm basis of faith out of which dogma arises) and
organizational demands (also having their necessary stratum in the great Grand Canyon of religion).
For the modern-day disciple, we have to ask ourselves Where are we going? What is the goal?
Answers that look pat, that are phrases heard before, rarely hold power. We need to be clear about the
actuality of what those phrases, if we admire them, really mean. Are we after faith, service, justice, piety,
love for God, love for all, or real union? How close to the God-man, to God, do we want to get?
And What is the route? We need to ask around, inquire deeply and sincerely of those we respect,
read widely—recognizing that the terrain gets mapped out differently by different authors. St. John of the
Cross’ verses paint a considerably varied landscape than does Bonaventure, for example. There are, thank
God, similarities, and one can discuss signposts along the way, though everyone’s experience will be
unique. The more mystical the goal, the more inward the route becomes, and methodologies such as
Centering Prayer or the Jesus Prayer must be employed to lead beyond discursive prayer (which, of course,
we need not give up). And daily practice, two or more times a day, will be essential. Plus retreats—long
periods of silence. Those wanting more unitive dimensions of love will need to fall farther and deeper in
love, beyond the mind and the senses, and even time.
And our companions? We must take Christ, and find a way (ways) that he comes alive, more alive
than if he were in a body (How many people seeing him in physical form still failed to see who he was,
even to take the first steps of trust.) I certainly recommend (can hardly imagine) negotiating discipleship
without also a living representative—someone in whom we have complete trust, whom we sense has gone
well down the path, recognizing, however, that our path will at various important points differ, perhaps
dramatically. Christianity, despite its wealth of saints, has utterly played down the discipleship to Christ
through a soul whose is emptied enough to be filled by God, though Bonaventure, for example, was
unabashed about how Christ used Saint Francis to save and guide him.
We need a guide. We need Christ. We need to feel on our own but never alone. We need a
practice we have faith in. We need to feel the deepest longings of our heart can be fulfilled in this lifetime,
in this precious body. This is the time for it. Serious journeyers are precious, more than we know. And,
whether we know it or not, we are all hand in hand. +
Daughter of Fire
by Irena Tweedie—Golden Sufi Center Pub.
The unique diary of the relationship of a master
and a disciple that results in enlightenment.
Dead Man Walking
by Sister Helen Prejean—Vintage
The gripping story of a man full of hatred and the
nun who offered him mercy on death row.
by Tom Brown told to W. J.Watkins--Berkley
The true story of an incredible apprenticeship in
the Wild, and a harrowing search far deeper than
Dialogue on the Path of Initiation
by Karlfried Graf Durkheim—Globe Press
The life and thought of a man who combined Zen,
depth psychology and Christian mysticism into
over 40 years of pioneering, practical inner work.
Jonathan Livingston Seagull
by Richard Bach—Morrow
Don’t leave the body until you’ve read this
classic of perseverance and moving imagination.
What looked like cloud was an angel,
its wings cumulus and nimbus,
the eyes holes into the blue beyond.
I was fishing, stood dumbfounded.
“Yo, you on a journey?”
“Am I heading the right way?”
“Go on, don’ look back, don’ keep time.”
I went my way, pitched my watch,
looked, sniffed, got lost. Some fed me,
some gave me work; a few loved me,
a few more threw me out—until I looked
to sea (having always loved water) and
wondered where I was, what’d happened.
Then that cloud returned from the East
to say all weathers had been necessary,
not to worry. Now all I had to do was
start swimming (without wondering if
I’d survive). I hesitated (a few years),
then one day dove in.
I never found dry land, never
drowned, but never lost sight
of how the water rose and fell and rose
again. Again. Again. Always
different, yet never anything
but water. When I became water
I forget. But wave and depth, I am.
Your $10 subscription for the 4 issues of 2001—or a note
that you still wish to receive the SHQ—will have us gladly continuing to send it to you.
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P. O. Box 332 Permit No. 15
Crestone, Colorado 81131 Crestone,. CO
-- Editorial -- The One Thing Necessary
One can, I believe, gain insight into the whole of life via any of its portions This is pure theory, of course,
but it seemed born out while I was digging up a significantly large rock.
The crew, God-given to be sure, had finished applying the final coat of stucco and had headed home, the
summer day was cool with a perceptible touch of fall--the very best time to work, I had some energy left,
working with rocks is fun for me, and Barbara was at a lecture which meant I had only my own cooking to
look forward to, so I decided to dig out some large rocks in the rear of what will be the Hindu shrine room.
What struck me first was their weight: most was unseen--the ice-berg principle.
The second thing I noticed was how certain rocks--often not very big--were keys, necessary rocks to
remove. When I unearthed such a rock, a number of other rocks around the large rock came out easily.
Does life not come in stages of lockedness and unlockedness? The locked parts require willingness,
diligence and effort--whereas the unlocked parts seem easier, even effortless., which brings joy.
Equally fascinating was realizing that, had I been digging from a different position, the key rocks would
have been the last in a line of inter-locking stones. Which is to say that the key stone for me would not be
key for another digger. So what matters is the angle of approach: The way life reveals itself to us depends
on our angle of entry, our point of view, our unique approach to any situation.
Actually, every stone is a key of some kind, which is to say that every event and object we encounter in our
precious lives is also precious, if we take the time to touch it, fondle it so that all the dirt falls away from its
surfaces and we can see it clearly in the light of day.
And we must keep digging, mustn't we. This large rock was actually a key rock in the removal of another
even larger rock, which I'll save for another day or let a back hoe deal with it.
I'd used another rock to pry this large rock (like It takes a thorn to remove a thorn?) and had had no luck--
this rock was seeming a lot bigger--ie. massively bigger--than I'd thought. Ah, the imagination loves to turn
the first signal of difficulty into clear indication of defeat.
But then, after I could see the outline of this large rock from two of its sides, I pried under its largest mass
and, voila!, the immovable moved.
Which led to its considerably easy (given its mysterious toughness and imposing size)removal. Which left
me to use what had been an obstacle as part of the stairway that next year will lead to a statue of our
Guardian--the Blessed Virgin of Crestone--and an adobe meditation dome.
And wouldn't you know, that revealed rock was amaxingly beautiful, its striations open to evening light, its
shape far more interesting than expected. Indeed, I loved that rock--because I'd invested myself for maybe
an hour (though, until I drew close to its unlocking, seemed far longer, and then when it broke free it was as
if I all invested time had vanished in the nowness of revelation). because I'd touched it so thoroughly,
because I hadn't given up, and because in the ease of its final unearthing I was in a state of ease so that I
could perceive beauty. As if what had been an enemy of sorts had become a significant friend and ally--as
if I'd unearthed my soul.
We're all diggers. Unearthing one rock, we look for (or will be led to) another--one obstacle after another
turned into surprising utility, one necessary transformation after another.
When visiting dear friends, Martha and Mary of Bethany, the Christ speaka to Mary, who sits at the feet of
the Lord, listening to his word. Martha, busy to the point of distraction with preparations, complains of
having to work while her sister sits. Yet the Lord tells Martha that she is worried about many things, "but
only one thing is needed." (Luke 10: 42) And he suggests that Mary, in choosing "the better part," has "the
one thing necessary."
What is that one thing? Surely it will look different to each of us. Yet I venture that we can name this one
thing needed: I call it giving--the kind of giving that, in T.S. Eliot's lasting words, "costs not less than
everything." Mary gave all and everything of herself in her listening.
How will we each give the all of ourselves? How will we pull out that final rock that turns out to be our
very soul? +
THE FAMILIAL BOND
Winter takes me in--indoors and inside, hopefully toward insight. And coming inside, people become more
important. In some major ways, winter returns us to priorities--staying warm, keeping dry, being together.
The fires are kindled and human warmth becomes more concentrated--Thanksgiving, Christmas,
Valentine's Day--is it an accident that the main times of intimacy are in the wintery months?
We all want to feel at home. Robert Frost said that home is the place that when you get there they have to
take you in. Rather true if merely practical. But the question is of family. Family and home--these are the
human parameters of belongingness. And to belong is rather like being understood--perhaps the main
prerequisite in being loved. And being loved is everything--people are born for it; people die for it; some
even kill for it. In short, it makes the world go round, so says the title of a song from the musical Carnival.
I don't want to bore you about my grand-daughters, who, truly grand, are among the least boring beings on
the planet. But to watch them grow--so quickly in this first year--is to watch the purpose of creation. I
sometimes wonder if the world can wait for them, for they are so necessary to the world. I am simply
grateful that they are in my world, and when I'm with them they're its very center. When I'm with them, I
have no questions about whether or not I belong or am loved.
Not that they've solved all the problems of my life, or smoothed out all the tensions of family dynamics.
No, they've also brought new responsibilities and commitments, new investments and duties. Yet now
they're sitting at the table, playing with strands of pasta while their parents, Barbara and I chow down on
more complicated fare. With winter here, the silence of the sow surrounding the house, the trees held in
ballet positions as if time is held in place..
If the twins have not solved family dynamics, they have helped reveal the true purpose and nature of
The notion of family is, obviously, basic to humanity and human society. Yet certainly is changing. In our
global society, family may be expanding to include, for the first time in recorded history, the entire human
family. Maybe the breakdown of the nuclear family is serving some larger purpose But the family a we
know it is not, in my opinion, called to irrelevance in the name of some higher order, but to fulfill itself.
Fr. Keating has said often that the spiritual journey is everyday and is most concentrated in the situations
we are already in--our work and our families. The tendency to sentimentalize the family, I'm convinced,
isinversely proportional to the tendency to think that the spiritual journey is somewhere else than the
family. Which is to say that there is a great pull to falsely overrate the family and at the same time to want
to demean it by escaping it.
Which is to say, simply, that we find it enormously difficult to look our family straight on, in the eye, and
be willing to see what is there and what is not. They are so intimate to us that we often cannot see the forest
for the trees. They are so constant that we can take them for granted. They are so obvious that we think they
hold no more promise than what is obvious. And they are so lasting that we are often hopeless that anything
Families can feel like arranged marriages without the possibility of divorce. They can be cultish. They can
be societies of dark ly held secrets. They can also be sanctuaries. They can even be holy.
They are likely all the above, like any person, you or me. The trick is to trust in their purpose, believe in
their possibility, and act in the name of love for sake of purity and fulfillment. But, even if we are disowned
by then, they hold the basis of our journey here in our bodies.
Let us pray for all families in these times that tend toward intimacy, toward the very reason we are here on
Earth. AS ABOVE< SO BELOW
The Sanctuary of Silence
THE SANCTUARY OF ART -- Hada
The Sanctuary of Intimacy
Any of us who regard sexuality as sin, as evil, will certainly have trouble being in on this earth in a body.
Piety will be the best we can do, and loneliness will be a deep companion.
We would have to hold a subtle disdain for harvests, for babies, for bees.
The Sanctuary of the moment
THE SANCTUARY OF AS ABOVE, SO BELOW
-- The SANCTUARY of INVESTMENT --
This is the third in a series concerning the nature, reach and practicalities of Sanctuary.
Priests wear vestments, outer garments that signify their connection with the Divine. In-vestment, which
precedes vestment, is the act of dressing ourselves internally, creating a oneness of spirit and purpose with
our time and energies and funds manifesting in sound returns that will cloth us in garments of real living.
According to the parable of the ten talents, money is to invest.
While well-known as "the root of all evil," money can assist those in need with food, medical expertise,
education, and protect from the elements. Ergo, money is an energy--its influence depending on the
consciousness of the user.
The increasing number of charitable causes competing for our discretionary funds all seem important. If
you're like me, it's hard to say no. I find myself praying for those in need as into the wastebasket I deposit
many of the pleas I receive for financial help.
Our communication age, which makes us ever more aware of the needs of the world, forces us to choose
how we give away the wealth of our resources. For myself, I ponder the sanctuary of investment. What am
I able to give? How can I most effectively use my resources? What arena attracts me most, meshes with my
strongest hopes, the deepest forms of my faith?
. Thank God, the resource pool is without depth, and the realm of giving is not a zero-sum proposition in
which giving to one deprives all others. Otherwise, Sanctuary House and all good efforts from Boys' Town
to The Tibetan Relief Project would bear the weight of reducing the resources of all other charitable
organizations. Does not this whole creation come seemingly out of nothing? And didn't the widow's mite
outdistance all the gifts of the rich?.
The key is, when we give, to give whole-heartedly: our labors, our ideas, our expertise, or our finances.
And let us feel we are giving for something, rather than feel guilty that we have not given to other
The charitable organism itself bears responsibility here. Fundraisers need to be sure that moneys solicited
for will go to the expressed goals of that cause. I prefer that organizations not, as Mother Theresa does not,
solicit funds at all. And that givers are not rewarded by favors and frills, by front-row seats and private
audiences for giving quantitatively more than others. Status erodes the real benefits of giving.
This is a tough ideal to follow, especially if vested in raising a certain amount in a fixed time. Thus,
Sanctuary House strives for integrity with regard to donated resources. We have in the past made retreat
space available by donation, choosing to give retreat space and let retreatants give back. lest we become a
business. This arrangement that has worked well, despite the rare exceptions which are valuable teachings.
We seek to continue this arrangement once Sanctuary House is up and running in Crestone. If Sanctuary
House is part of the Divine vision and not just our own, then the Infinite, out of its infinite resourcefulness,
will provide, albeit not as we might expect, yet in far more beautiful ways.
To manipulate, even subtly, supporters to give, to feel guilty, to suggest that our cause is more deserving
than others seems to rob both donor and donee. We will make our readers aware of what is needed. But
Sanctuary House offers no giving categories or hierarchies.
Let giving be the inner call that wants to invest itself in this and/or that effort with the rewards lying in the
giving itself, in the tangible results of such gifts (which include the opening of the heart), and in our
accountings with the Divine to Whom we owe everything. Then our investments create sanctuary for the
causes we cherish and also raise the act of investment itself to sanctuary. Sanctuary dwells in our own
hearts--may we follow them. +
T H E S A N C T U A R Y OF V I S I O N
First task of any artist is to see.
Fear falls away when I look at it closely.
Quotes on vision from BKs.
-- "Small Miracles" --
HOW GOD SPEAKS TO US
This regular feature of the SHQ depends on you
sharing your "small miracles."
For a father, the loss of a wife can be staggering, even with significant involvement in a spiritual path. And,
even without such a loss, raising teenagers can also be staggering--especially with two precious and
precocious teenagers who are also spiritually gifted and advanced, for with ready souls the Lord often puts
them through their paces early on. Thus, both children left high school early, against their father's wishes,
because, even with progressive educational programs, they were not stimulated. The daughter headed south
with a beau to attend school. The son, now 20, left home to live in his van. The dad worried, tried to
understand, and prayed a lot.
The son's ideals took him to a bio-dynamic farm in Georgia and then a Sufi community in New York City.
There he apprenticed as a carpenter for two months, felt loved and worthwhile. The father was glad to see
his son return home much more mature, grown-up, serious.
Time passed, the son's attitude being like the ancient Egyptians--What's the rush; build it (his life) right so
as not to have to do it over again. The father was confused.
Then came the announcement that the son planned to marry his high-school sweetheart, who at 16 was still
in high-school. The father protested. So the son called the Sheikh of the New York City community of
Sufis, who reportedly affirmed it (marriage) to be "a great idea" Suspicious and understandably concerned,
the father then called the Sheikh himself, who clarified: "If love is true, it will last; your son should
establish himself." The father, feeling sane again, sensed life's tests to be the closest thing to guidance.
After he got off the phone, he entered the house to find his son crying, wailing while trying to cook. What
to do, wondered the father, who wondered outside and sat on the hillside in the sun and the wind. He
wished his wife were with him there. It would be far easier for his son. After a while, he returned back
inside and sat on his bed.
He re-started a fire in the wood stove. The kindling was from the branches he used to provide shade for the
outdoor prayer hall during a Sufi retreat held two years before there on his land. He gathered a handful of
willow branches and remembered the stacks of wood outside his tent when he and his wife would go
camping on the ridge. And he recalled how the both of them would share responsibilities, he doing his part
and she doing hers. He held the willow sticks--muted gray, brown, mauve--in his hand. The curling, striated
bark and every detail came into luminous focus. A poignant memory.
He started the fire and leaned against the stove. And as he did so, the room became bigger and brighter and
bigger and brighter and bigger and brighter. His son entered, bringing him a plate of rice and dahl and
papads. He took the plate and put it down. Then he took the hands of his son in his own. They embraced.
They cried in each other's arms.
They had lunch. They had coffee. They had chocolate. They talked together for hours.
Walking a Sacred Path--Sheika Fatima Roberts
Christmas (Winter) Death and Dying
The Fullness of Christ Cult
-- Naming the Nameless -- Intimacy
by William Howell
This is the third in a series of articles concerning the contemporary Christian path.
SHQ welcomes such submissions. The views herein are solely those of the author.
The legendary hero never revealed his true name, for Adam, who named all creatures, had power over them
by virtue of knowing their names. We each have a name, Divinely given: "I have called you by your name,
you are mine" (Is 42: 1), not necessarily the name on our birth certificate, but the name of our soul writ in
the book of life (Phil 4: 3). Our having been named means The Creator has power over us. We your people,
the flock of your pasture, will give thanks to You forever. (Ps 73: 13)
The Almighty spoke out all realms--In the beginning was the Word. Thus, all creation
is sound, vibration, music. Every sound has a form. Creation is form of The Divine made
The Divine name invokes the energy it describes.
manifest. Amazingly, so are we, each of us being made in the Divine image.
Our Father...hallowed be Thy name--The foremost Christian prayer, given by the Word Made Flesh, points
out how uttering a holy name with reverence creates the thing named, to manifest the Presence. The name
is the thing itself.
The name invokes the energy described by its unique frequency into manifestation. Holding the energy of
what is named, the name becomes authority. The Master spoke with such authority (Mt 7: 29 & Mk 1: 22),
and the crowds were astounded at His teaching. Those who do not know the name they call forth, because
they do not know themselves (See Acts 19: 13-16), can accomplish little good.
The third Commandment--You shall not make wrongful use of the name of The Lord--was given to Moses
to prevent wrongful use and to indicate the great positivities in using the Holy Name correctly. The Jewish
understanding holds the name of The Most High as not pronounceable, not a word as we know it. Similarly,
SHQ will hereafter use "G-D" to signify The Infinite, The Eternal Truth, uncapturable and unconfinable by
For spiritual clarification, all words in any Divine name, such as "The Eternal Truth," will be capitalized,
thereby assigning an ultimate and changeless quality to the realm of Pure Spirit. Attributes of G-D will be
capitalized but not their articles--such as, "Christ Jesus offers the Truth"--when designating The Everlasting
manifested in the realm of change. Qualities of G-D are not capitalized when referring to human reality,
such as "the individual truth" of a given, and therefore bounded, experience.
Pronouns for G-D require precision. Because G-D transcends male and female, and because patriarchal
images do not assist the cause of human equality, trust and harmony--IHS (pronounce to rhymes with
"peace") will be employed as the pronoun for the Divine (for It, He, and She, for Its, His, Hers, for Him,
Her). G-D is inclusive of masculinity and femininity, personality and impersonality, yet IHS is infinitely
beyond such concepts.
Sacred names, in no way arbitrary, carry precise meaning and ability. The Name
The name is the thing itself. The Divine Name is the Divine..
above every name (Phil 2: 9) means that by calling on Christ Jesus and understanding His Name to be
Himself, a fact as real as whatever we call reality, all can be accomplished.
Its power depends on our clarity of faith, humility and selflessness of purpose. Hallowing the name of G-D,
we imbibe the Divine Presence. Holding to the name of G-D in times of trial is to stand on the rock of faith.
Repeating any of the Divine names is an ancient transformative practice. And to continually keep in mind
or breathe a name of G-D can open the gate of eternal communion. Said courteously, it blooms instantly
like a rose of Sharon, a lily of the valley (S of S 2: 1). If we allow it to penetrate us, it becomes salvific.
Uttering with reverence any name of G-D, we make G-D real. When G-D becomes as real as a tree, a
cathedral, even a mustard seed, we live life with true Power.
The book Caroline Maess recommended to Russell
QUOTES: Eckhart quote in Jager book Lex Hixon quote John of Cross quote in Jager
Snow has pressed
against my door all night.
I know the silence
and the feathered flight
of the Holy Ghost.
Outside my house
the pond is sealed,
Fox Fleur de Lis
stitched down the field.
Look! There he pounced
for his morning yield
The Spruce that stands
just out of sight
has bent her knee
and stepped into the light.
Wrapped in her silent
her long arms bow
to touch her feet.
Her needled hands
that waved in green delight
are bound in heavy paws of white.
I wait and wish
she would let go
this cold investiture of snow,
invite the breath of God
to blow and shake herself.
Grace Huffman, Woody Creek, CO
-- The SANCTUARY of HELPLESSNESS --
This is the sixth in a series concerning the nature, reach and practicalities of Sanctuary.
It's one of the most difficult of experiences to feel helpless. To watch someone suffer and not be able to do
a thing--this is a pure form of agony. I often think that the tradition of putting animals out of their misery
with a bullet arises, at least in part, from the fact that animals have no ego sheaths muffling their pain and
that we humans simply cannot stand the sight and sound of such unadulterated agony.
This experience of being helpless to act in the face of pain applies also to ourselves. We have to, as it were,
stand by and suffer and feel that we cannot do a darn thing about it. Yet such experiences, despite their
difficulty, are immensely fortunate.
A great yogi once defined Grace as "being trapped by God." It's the kind of damned-if-you-do and damned-
if-you-don't feeling in which we are convinced that to move to the left is too dangerous or uncertain and to
move right is unethical or rubs us the wrong way. Yet, to be trapped is to be surrounded by God. In such a
case we have to face something and have no other choice. Excellent! For when our choice vanishes, what
appears is God's choice. "Thy will be done" is, however we interpret it, happening..
Granted, all our emotional programs--about being in control or being a loving person or, conversely,
fearing the consequences or projecting our own painful fears--are front and center. What a goldmine, as Fr.
Theophane would say. It's a time on our spiritual journey, while it feels horrible, in which we're climbing
straight up a cliff on the Sacred Mountain.
` In that famous story about a child of God , seeing footprints in the sand and remembering the Lord's
promise to always be along side, asking why in various parts of the journey only one set of prints was
visible, the child assuming that he/she had been walking alone, abandoned when most in need, the Lord
then answering, "Oh, at those times I was carrying you"--those times were times of helplessness.
Helplessness arises as a feeling because our personality, what we ignorantly define as ourselves, is stymied.
What we experience then is utter frustration. However, we as doers in control are being frustrated by life's
Sole Accomplisher, the All Powerful, Who is loving us as we are and not for what we do. Indeed, when we
think that it is ourselves who initiate any action, perform the action and carry it to completion, we are in
effect stealing from the Lord, Who is author, executor and fructifier; beginning, middle, and end; Source,
Course and Goal; Alpha and Omega.
Helplessness is, could we see it as such, a resting place, a point of incapacitation, a hospital bed, so to
speak. If we could just ease off our modalities of doing and rest there, we would find the world opening its
sanctuary to us, revealing one of its deepest secrets: that in even the most painful of times God is fully
ministering, fully in control, fully loving, fully revealing the Divine Qualities of strength, endurance,
perseverance, vulnerability, mercy, justice, compassion, clemency, radiance....
Pain is not suffering. Suffering is what we, in our fear and limited evaluations, add to pain. In the sanctuary
of helplessness, there is no suffering. There may be pain, but far more than pain--for actually being helpless
is the queue card for the Holy Spirit to make her entrance. After all, Mother must rush in to save her
It is a disparate experience to find Reality in suffering. The strangest words Christ Jesus utters are on the
Cross when he says, "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani." And the silence following those marvelously enigmatic
words mark the hinge between crucifixion and resurrection. It is the place we all must, however eventually,
negotiate. When we can be truly helpless, in the sanctuary of helplessness, in the shadow of His wings, in
the Mercy of Her arms, then we do indeed pass through the eye of that needle.
-- Editorial -- Holy Family
We have passed from Joseph and Mary leaving their lives in the ordinary world (the transcending motif--
entering the realm of accentuated power) and returning to their home (omphallos) where the magical birth
(union with the Divine) could take place in the miracle of Christmas and Epiphany. Now we enter the
gardian-at-the-gate (Lent) blocking final transformation in all its promise. Long ago we left Joseph, once he
finds his Divine son in the temple. But Mary stays until the end, with her son at the foot of the Cross.
So Joseph, just like the Almighty Father, stays basically out of sight. And Mary, just like the Holy Spirit,
utters barely a word after her virgin impregnation. She says only, "Do whatever he asks," after provoking
Jesus' first miracle at the wedding feast of Cana. It is the son who is the big star of the saga which births
Similarly, the star of the saga we call our lives is the earth and our five senses of apprehending experience.
The material plane is Jesus, the act of breathing is the Holy Spirit, and the sky/cosmos is the Father. But
clearly the Holy Spirit is Mother, is the feminine, is relationship itself.
We need not be limited by this imagery. It's really quite helpful, especially if we are to plug into the notion
that we are created in the Divine image. As long as we deal with image, we might as well get it right.
But there comes a time when images, any image--even the cross--becomes a hang-up. For images, finally,
lead beyond image. They're metaphors.
Which leads me inevitably to my grandchildren, those two utterly different, utterly the same pink
encapsulations of breath-taking sweet innocence and power. In my eyes, Katherine is a bhakti yogini and
Elixabeth is a gyani yogini.
-- The SANCTUARY of GIVING --
This is the sixth in a series concerning the nature, reach and practicalities of Sanctuary.
In this season when Nature's mothering gives itself lavishly, overflowing with the multi-forms of earthy
milk, we in our empowered aliveness among the leafing trees and sprouting soils witness the essence and
fullness of giving. To give lavishly, to give totally, to give without thought of reward, to give universally,
to simply give and give and give.... Is this not the ideal displayed before us. Even the desert cactus bloom
with outrageous color?
And what of our own giving? At our wedding nearly a decade ago, Barbara and I watched Fr. Thomas
Keating speak before the backdrop of the mountains of Snowmass of the secret of marriage which he had
just that day gleaned from a man who had been married for 50 years: "Both husband and wife must always
give more than they receive." I sense that we all know that, that we feel better when we give, that indeed
we are meant for giving.
But what if we are not healthy, or are out of a job, or simply don't feel we have an arena in which to share
ourselves. I hope you have been blessed, as have I, with people in your life who have been generous with
their finances, who have helped in your employment, who have mentored us in some way. But we can,
regardless of circumstance, give our faith, our strength of character, our experience of love on this planet.
Yes, we can always love. To this we are called. It is the highest giving.
We are called by giving the way we are called by Heaven. Giving is what opens up--it is how we are
poured out like water. It is how we connect. Giving is human electricity, it is our true power, it is when we
are most ourselves.
The trick is twofold--not to image giving, so that we neither confine it or figure it in others' terms rather
than uniquely our own; and to look to see that our motives are pure, lest we indulge in degrees of
manipulation. Giving is a trick and therefore tricky. For we can always give. If sad, we can give our
sadness--but not our anger. If poor, we can give humbly our poverty--but not our jealousy. If sick, we can
give our pain--but not our lack of hope. The trick is not thinking of self. The trick is creating sanctuary
around the reality of our situation--for we can only give what we have and from where we are. But there is
always a gift, if nothing more than our mere presence, which in itself is a powerful event.
The great women and men of the world have been and are givers. They give beyond the fear of finger
pointing, of retaliation, even of death. And their giving lasts beyond their lifetimes. But it is not for being
remembered that we are called to give. Giving is the reason for Creation. God gave us The Word Made
Flesh. Mother's give their bodies to give the souls they love a body. Men and women make love by giving
each to the other. Teachers give in teaching. And saints give their entire being to be.
Giving, let us realize, always involves three--an I, a you and a we. And so we give in the essence of the
trinity--giver, act of giving, and receiver(s) in a trinitarian process--inspiration, action, effect. We bring
together past and future into a lasting present when sharing what we have been given is the motive.
For whatever we are called to share has been bestowed on us by Divine providence and agency.
God is the inspirer. God is the structure of giving. God is the plan. God is the action of sharing. And God is
the results, which are always unfathomable.
Giving is like a tree whose seed is the very urge to create, out of which all Creation sprouted, whose roots
are the Divine Qualities, whose trunk is the union Truth and Love and whose leafing branches rise and rise
and rise and open and open and open unendingly to the very ends of the cosmos. +
What do you think happens when we die?
Do you think we become disembodied spirits?
No, we become human beings.
Murshida Amina Teslima of Mexico City
PRAYER Most precious Allah
may we enter into the essential heart,
that place of ultimate truth,
and may we come forth from there
radiating the Divine Qualities
of clemency, of mercy, of gentleness,
of beauty, of power, of intensity, of victory
and may Humanity become a seamless whole
as God has created it to be;
may all divisions between religions
and races and ideologies be erased;
may the barrier that separates individuals
into false individuality
be burned down
by the fires of love. Lex Hixon/Sheikh Nur-al-Jerrahi
-- Christianity: Political or A-political? --
by William Howell
This is the sixth in a series of articles concerning the contemporary Christian path.
SHQ welcomes such submissions. The views herein are solely those of the author.
All the religions of the world, during the course of the centuries of their remarkable sagas, have become
deeply--for both good and ill--aculturated. This state of affairs is most understandable. But it raises the
question of what, say in Christianity, is essential and what is man-made and culturally induced.
It is a question the times in which we live are asking. Over the decades, the centuries, the millenia, the urge
for Truth rises and falls in clarity. In the long corridor of time a wave comes to wash clean from all
sediment the diamond of Religion. The longing for essence is rising to re-baptize us all. But what of
history, what of tradition, what of tried practice?
When the Lord came to the Earth two millenia ago, He stated, "I have not come to change one jot or tittle
of the Law." ( ) Yet he came to make everything new. Thus, one response, the one most of me prefers, is
that the essence of religion, of Christianity in this case, is so marvelous, so expansive and important and all-
pervading as to include and uplift all that has "gone before."
Yet we do well to remember that whatever is truly good, authentically revealed, of the past is also eternal,
for timeless messages can come into time, just as the Eternal was enfleshed into our realm as Christ Jesus
So what about the issues of our day--abortion, physician-assisted suicide, the haves ignoring the have nots,
war, pestilence, famine? I'll offer my response, while you will have to come up with your own. I say that
the above concerns are the symptoms of the disease of ignorance, of lack of honesty and intimacy, of
defining ourselves as separate from Reality. Which is to say that, when we do not love the Lord with all our
heart, with all our strength and with all our might ( ), we will abort life, create poverty in ourselves and
others, and pass on the various viruses of orienting ourselves to outer rather than inner fulfillment.
But life on this Earth, where all the forces of duality cross and where full evolutionary potential reaches its
divine peak, is not so simple. For did not the Lord say that it was He who was in prison, poor and hungry,
sick and in need of our care ( )? And is not the rest of ( ) about loving our neighbor as ourself?
And is not the desire to help others as divinely inspired as the desire to love God for the sake of love alone?
This mysterious path of Christianity is one of loving service, but also of living the essence of love. In the
process of life, one may take experiential preference over the other, but finally one is the other and they
cannot be separated.
The essence of Religion is to love. Yet we will "know them by their fruits," says the Lord. In the beginning
of our life, which began eternally before our birth, we were a seed planted in the dark, fertile loam of the
Lord. We have sprouted here and are asked only to continually reach for the sun and drink in the rain and
the wind and the lightning. In doing so, we will produce fruit. And shade. And oxygen. But we are called to
remember our roots, the unseen essence. Otherwise, our fruiting may be stunted, less than nourishing, or
only for show.
Many are called to political and cultural realms. May they serve God in so doing, and may they be as
inwardly diligent as they are outwardly. Many are called to retire from the world. May they serve God in
doing so, and may they be outwardly diligent as they are inwardly. Life is whole and is, finally, about
uniting all into the Source of Life. Whatever we do not love will keep us separate and in pain and creating
pain, until we eventually do throw our net of love around the entire world and all its creatures.
Perhaps the question is how long we are willing to wait. But, in the short run, if that term is relevant, we
must do what we have been given to do. May we serve God in so doing and may we be inwardly and
outwardly diligent. +
Zen Spirit, Christian Spirit
by Robert E. Kennedy (Harper/S.F.)
A Catholic priest and sensai offers a steady poetic gaze into the place of Zen in Christian life
Tales of the Hasidim
by Martin Buber (Schocken)
The life work of a man who devoted 40 years of his impressive life to collecting and retelling the legends
of "the soul force of Judaism."
The Living Flame of Love
by St. John of the Cross (Truimph)
Translated and edited by E. Allison Peers, this Christian classic is the essence of the essence.
Go to the door of the Tavern
where the Wine of Love is distributed.
Go and sit there
as a beggar would.
Even if nothingness remains
For you, but just the film
on the bottom of the bottle,
It will be enough to take you
right to God
A Persian couplet