Making Reading Sacred

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Lent is traditionally a season for reflection, revision, and renewal. It's a time when we set aside a little extra time for spiritual reading. We know that each year our Lenten e-courses, such as this year's Practicing Spirituality with Brian McLaren, are very popular because they focus on short readings perfect for daily meditation.Reading — whether a book, an article, or an email — is one of the ways we practice gratitude, meaning, hospitality, openness, and enthusiasm, and we commend it to … [Read more...]

Discovering Resilience or How I Learned to Fall Down Seven Times and Get Up Eight

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We have a guest blog this week from our friend James Kullander. He's leading a one-month e-course on "Mastering the Art of Resilience" starting next Monday, November 4, from our website SpiritualityandPractice.com. We're sure you'll understand why we invited to do this once you read about what he's learned about resilience through his own personal experience.In the late autumn of 2001 as I watched my former wife, Wanda, die of cancer, I felt so heartbroken that I was going to lose her and so … [Read more...]

The Hokey Pokey Is What It’s All About . . . and Other Signs in Daily Life

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It happens all the time. A song comes on the radio, and we hear a lyric in a new way. We notice an interesting sign while walking in the city – like "Look" at a crosswalk. We're paging through a book or browsing the Internet and a picture catches our eye. We pass a playground and remember a childhood game.What if these are signs? What if they are messages from the Divine?We talk a lot about spiritual literacy in this blog, and here's how we define it: "Spiritual literacy is the ability t … [Read more...]

Passing on Spirituality: Teaching the Spiritual ABC’s

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Spirituality is a way of being in the world, and it is marked by activities and experiences. We didn't learn a lot about it when we were growing up and going to Sunday School, confirmation classes, and youth group, although we were taught the beliefs of our faith. Spirituality came later when we met a variety of teachers and attended conferences and workshops.  So when Patheos asked us to reflect upon how we would pass it on to children, we realized it's all about things we can … [Read more...]

Spiritual Practices for Hot Weather

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This is the fourth year in a row that we've seen record high temperatures in July in many parts of the United States. To the usual tips for staying cool (drink more water, stay in the shade, find an air-conditioned spot) we would add some spiritual ways of dealing with heat — tips from sages and seers who have lived through hot times.See Your Connection to the WeatherThe world-famous Catholic monk Thomas Merton sets the tone for our spiritual weather strategies in this passage from When t … [Read more...]

Handle Your Things with Care (Part I)

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We're leading an email course this summer on Practicing Spirituality at Home. Preparing the 40 daily emails and looking forward to discussions in our online Practice Circle, we find we are really interested in hearing how people find spiritual meaning in their things. Here are some of our thoughts on the matter.There is a rich and soulful emphasis in the world's wisdom traditions on respecting inanimate objects. Many Christians see the sacramental value of things as signs of God's presence; … [Read more...]

The Graduation Speech We’d Like to Give (Part II)

Several times this week we've passed little groups of people in graduation garb taking pictures in front of New York monuments. Beaming friends and families were looking on. We congratulate them — and others graduating in the days to come — on completing this stage of their education. Here's Part II of the graduation speech we'd like to share with them. Part I, published last week, covered "wisdom to go" in the form of proverbs and pith instructions. Here's more.Mind Training SlogansAlso … [Read more...]

The Graduation Speech We’d Like to Give (Part I)

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It's that time of year, when millions of students "graduate" to a new stage of their education or life. During the ceremonies they will hear representatives of their classes share about what they have learned and then listen to graduation speakers talk about what they will need as they move into the future. Here's the graduation speech we'd like to give -- offering "wisdom to go" in the form of spiritual practices for everyday life. (This is Part I; we'll have more wisdom to go next … [Read more...]

The Spiritual Value of Repetition and Routine

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Variety is the spice of life. We've been taught that by our consumer culture since we were very young. Think of all the movies in which immigrants experience for the first time the incredible diversity of brands in a supermarket. Our stores are stuffed with variations on the same things. All this feeds our need to constantly seek new foods, clothing styles, appliances, technological toys, and other objects of our desires.We are also programmed by our culture to look down upon the drudgery of … [Read more...]

12 Practices to Honor the Earth

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Spiritual practices are the best ways we know to demonstrate kindness and courtesy toward the Earth, to express our gratitude and wonder, to yield to the mystery and the beauty of it all. In observance of Earth Day we offer a set of practices (from the Alphabet of Spiritual Literacy) you can do to honor the Earth over the next months.1. AttentionThe great Catholic writer Ernesto Cardenal in Abide in Love observes: "Everything in nature has a trademark, God's trademark: the stripes on a … [Read more...]


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