Looking Into The Faces We See Every Day We are surrounded by other people’s faces. Whether we see them in person, across a table or in line at Starbucks, or in photos, the faces are there. Some days it seems we see faces everywhere we look. What do we notice when we look into the faces we see every day? Some people believe we can tell a lot about someone when we see their face. There may be a… Read more

Visiting the Stillness Within Us Many of us have lost the sacred stillness within us and cannot find our way back to it. Some of us probably remember when we could visit a quiet place deep inside ourselves. There was somewhere calm and safe within us where we could escape the stresses of life. It may have been our own private island or a penthouse high above the rest of the world. We may never have actually visited the stillness… Read more

Our Thoughts and Prayers Are With You Our thoughts and prayers need to be a beginning, not a conclusion. We tell people who have had traumatic experiences they are in our thoughts and prayers. For many of us, it is our way of expressing our empathy and support for them. It may even be accurate when we actually think about them and pray for them. I do not believe thinking and praying are bad or wrong in and of themselves…. Read more

The Stillness of Ash Wednesday Ash Wednesday is the first day of the liturgical season of Lent, a season for listening. I belong to a liturgical church which divides the year into liturgical seasons. Each season has its own flavor, its own personality. Some seasons, like Christmas and Easter and Pentecost, begin in noisy celebration. Other seasons are times for seekers, or for thinkers, or for preparation. There is even one season traditionally called Ordinary Time. Lent, the season which… Read more

The Power of Love We talk about the power of love. It can be a challenge for us, though, to appreciate the practical, everyday power of love in our lives. Sometimes it is easier for us to see how powerful hate can be. Hate often appears to be better equipped and better organized than love. Love can seem to be warm and gooey, accompanied by lush strings and soft harmonies. We think love is emotional and romantic, maybe familial, and… Read more

Sacred Texts One of the first contemplative practices I learned from monastic life is lectio divina, or sacred reading. Lectio divina is an approach to reading with different priorities than how we usually read. When we read a news story or a textbook, or even a blog post, we often read to find information. We generally read sacred texts more for formation. Our intention is for what we read to help form us as much as, or more than, it… Read more

Recognizing When All is Said and Done Do we ever really experience life when all is said and done? Many of us appear to have something more to do, and more to say, no matter where we are. We live our lives saying and doing from the time our alarm wakes us until we fall back into bed exhausted. Only a tiny amount of our lives are lived when all is said and done. Some of us always seem to… Read more

Paying Attention and Reflecting What spiritual disciplines do we practice? Which of the ways we behave are spiritual practices and which are not? People ask me quite a few questions about practicing spiritual disciplines. Some people want to know about traditional, classic, established practices. Other people have particular questions about the practices of specific religious traditions. There are also people who would like to create and practice their own disciplines. Which practices are most important, most essential, most basic? Where… Read more

Peeling Away the Noise and Confusion It can be a challenge for us to find a way to listen to sacred stillness in our everyday lives. We feel stillness is wrapped in a thick skin of noise and confusion which keeps us out. How do we get through the bitter challenge of the rind to the sweet stillness inside? Many of us feel we need to cut or bite or tear our way through the skin to get to the stillness. Like… Read more

Living Everyday Spiritual Life It is easy for us to assume spiritual life is for special people to practice at special times in special places. We lose sight of everyday spiritual life. Some of us travel great distances to visit places we think have spiritual significance. We may believe spiritual life is all about extraordinary things happening to extraordinary people. It can be a challenge to see what spiritual life has to do with people like us. We may think… Read more

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