Christ has no body now on earth but yours,
no hands but yours, no feet but yours,
Yours are the eyes through which to look out
Christ’s compassion to the world
Yours are the feet with which he is to go about doing good;
Yours are the hands with which he is to bless men now.
― St. Teresa of Avila
I Sing the Body Electric — Walt Whitman(1 – excerpt) …
And if the body does not do fully as much as the soul?
And if the body were not the soul, what is the soul?
… The natural, perfect, varied attitudes, the bent head, the curv’d neck and the counting; Such-like I love … (7 – excerpt)
… This is not only one man, this the father of those who shall be fathers in their turns,
In him the start of populous states and rich republics,
Of him countless immortal lives with countless
embodiments and enjoyments. How do you know who shall come from the offspring
of his offspring through the centuries? (Who might you find you have come from yourself,
if you could trace back through the centuries?) (8 – excerpt)
A woman’s body … She too is not only herself,
she is the teeming mother of mothers,
She is the bearer of them that shall grow
and be mates to the mothers.
Have you ever loved the body of a woman?
Have you ever loved the body of a man? Do you not see that these are exactly the same
to all in all nations and times all over the earth?
If any thing is sacred the human body is sacred …
Except for the Body — Mary Oliver
Except for the body of someone you love,
including all its expressions in privacy and in public,
trees, I think, are the most beautiful
forms on the earth.
Though, admittedly, if this were a contest,
the trees would come in an extremely distant second.
I Got Kin — Hafiz
Plant: so that your own heart will grow.
Love: so God will think,
“Ahhhhhh, I got kin in that body!
I should start inviting that soul
over for coffee and rolls.”
Sing: because this is a food our starving world needs.
Laugh: because that is the purest sound.
Solitude — Nancy Wood
Do not be afraid to embrace the arms of loneliness.
Do not be concerned with the thorns of solitude.
Why worry that you will miss something?
Learn to be at home with yourself without a hand to hold.
Learn to endure isolation with only the stars for friends.
Happiness comes from understanding unity.
Love arrives on the footprints of your fears.
Beauty arises from the ashes of despair.
Solitude brings the clarity of still waters.
Wisdom completes the circle of your dreams.
Our Bodies As Sacred
comes a time when it is vitally important for your spiritual health to
drop your clothes, look in the mirror, and say, ‘Here I am. This is the
body-like-no-other that my life has shaped. I live here. This is my
soul’s address.” — Barbara Brown Taylor
May you see in what you do the beauty of your own soul. — John O’Donohue
If you have a body, you are entitled to the full range of feelings. It comes with the package. ― Anne Lamott, Grace (Eventually)
Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human
freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to
choose one’s own way. ― Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning
Breath is the gift of life from the one who created us – from the God
who is both our origin and our destination … some Rabbis teach that Yahweh is not even really a word at all. It is literally breath itself. Yah – exhale. Weh – inhale. Yah – exhale. Weh – inhale. Which would make sense – since the closest translation of its [Yahweh’s] meaning is The One Who Causes to Become.
There is just something about being known by God and animated by God’s
breath in our birth and in our death that wouldn’t leave me this week as
I thought about talking to you all here in this room today … This is
the comfort I thought of this week as I bore witness to both birth and
death. That the God whose name is our very breath – who breathed the
words let there be light, who breathed into dust to create humanity, is
present when we breath our first breath and present when we breathe our
last – I believe that our final exhale is Yah – and that God completes God’s name inhaling Weh – and carries us on God’s divine breath into the heart of God from where we came to begin with. … Amen. — Nadia Bolz-Weber
All great spirituality teaches about letting go of what you don’t need
and who you are not. Then, when you can get little enough and naked
enough and poor enough, you’ll find that the little place where you
really are is ironically more than enough and is all that you need. At
that place, you will have nothing to prove to anybody and nothing to
protect. That place is called freedom. It’s the freedom of the children
of God. Such people can connect with everybody. They don’t feel the need
to eliminate anybody … ― Richard Rohr, Healing Our Violence through the Journey of Centering Prayer
Caring for Other Bodies As Sacred: Serving the Communal Body
We sit and talk,
quietly, with long lapses of silence
and I am aware of the stream
that has no language, coursing
beneath the quiet heaven of
which has no speech.
― William Carlos Williams
Speak your mind, even if your voice shakes. — Maggie Kuhn
… I see [God] here, in the eyes of the people in this [hospital]
corridor of desperation. This is the real house of God, this is where
those who have lost God will find [God] — Khaled Hosseini, The Kite Runner
The beginning of love is to let those we love be perfectly themselves,
and not to twist them to fit our own image. Otherwise we love only the
reflection of ourselves we find in them. — Thomas Merton
rarely have time for everything you want in this life, so you need to
make choices. And hopefully your choices can come from a deep sense of
who you are. — Fred Rodgers
Driven by the forces of love, the fragments of the world seek each other so that the world may come into being. — Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
We are each other’s harvest; we are each other’s business; we are each other’s magnitude and bond. — Gwendolyn Brooks
Saints cannot exist without a community, as they require, like all of
us, nurturance by a people who, while often unfaithful, preserve the
habits necessary to learn the story of God. — Stanley Hauerwas
This time, like all times, is a very good one if we but know what to do with it. — Ralph Waldo Emerson
day, for a moment, it almost seemed that we stood on a height, and
could see our inheritance; perhaps we could make the kingdom real,
perhaps the beloved community would not forever remain that dream one
dreamed in agony. — James Baldwin
The lack of material well-being among the poor reflects a lack of spiritual well-being among the rest. — William Sloane Coffin
God does not look at your forms and possessions but he looks at your hearts and your deeds. — Prophet Muhammad
Loving with Body & Soul, Heart & Mind: Holy Acts
Let me tell you about love, that silly word you believe is about whether
you like somebody or whether somebody likes you or whether you can put
up with somebody in order to get something or someplace you want or you
believe it has to do with how your body responds to another body like
robins or bison or maybe you believe love is how forces or nature or
luck is benign to you in particular not maiming or killing you but if so
doing it for your own good. Love is none of that. There is nothing in
nature like it. Not in robins or bison or in the banging tails of your
hunting dogs and not in blossoms or suckling foal. Love is divine only
and difficult always. If you think it is easy you are a fool. If you
think it is natural you are blind. It is a learned application without
reason or motive except that it is God. You do not deserve love
regardless of the suffering you have endured. You do not deserve love
because somebody did you wrong. You do not deserve love just because you
want it. You can only earn – by practice and careful contemplations –
the right to express it and you have to learn how to accept it. Which is
to say you have to earn God. You have to practice God. You have to
think God-carefully. And if you are a good and diligent student you may
secure the right to show love. Love is not a gift. It is a diploma. A
diploma conferring certain privileges: the privilege of expressing love
and the privilege of receiving it. How do you know you have graduated?
You don’t. What you do know is that you are human and therefore
educable, and therefore capable of learning how to learn, and therefore
interesting to God, who is interested only in Himself which is to say He
is interested only in love. Do you understand me? God is not interested
in you. He is interested in love and the bliss it brings to those who
understand and share the interest … Amen. ― Toni Morrison, Paradise
When this is, that is.
From the arising of this comes the arising of that.
When this isn’t, that isn’t.
From the cessation of this comes the cessation of that.
— Buddha, Assutava Sutta, Samyutta Nikaya 12.2
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace:
where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy.
O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console, to be understood as to understand,
loved as to love. For it is in giving that we receive, it is in
pardoning that we are pardoned, and it is in dying that we are born
toeternal life. Amen. — St Francis, Prayer
Madhyamika means “middle way,” and it examines the nature of existence. Madhyamika
tells us that nothing has an intrinsic, permanent self-nature. Instead,
all phenomena — including beings, including people — are temporary
confluences of conditions that take identity as individual things from
their relationship to other things. — Barbara O’Brien, Interbeing: The Inter-existence of All Things (essay excerpt)
Clouds In Each Paper — Thich Nhat Hanh
If you are a poet, you will see clearly that there is a cloud floating
in this sheet of paper. Without a cloud, there will be no rain; without
rain, the trees cannot grow: and without trees, we cannot make paper.
The cloud is essential for the paper to exist. If the cloud is not here,
the sheet of paper cannot be here either. So we can say that the cloud
and the paper inter-are. “Interbeing” is a word that is not in the
dictionary yet, but if we combine the prefix “inter” with the verb “to
be”, we have a new verb, inter-be. Without a cloud, we cannot have
paper, so we can say that the cloud and the sheet of paper inter-are.
If we look into this sheet of paper even more deeply, we can see the
sunshine in it. If the sunshine is not there, the forest cannot grow. In
fact nothing can grow. Even we cannot grow without sunshine. And so, we
know that the sunshine is also in this sheet of paper. The paper and
the sunshine inter-are. And if we continue to look we can see the logger
who cut the tree and brought it to the mill to be transformed into
paper. And we see the wheat. We know that the logger cannot exist
without his daily bread, and therefore the wheat that became his bread
is also in this sheet of paper. And the logger’s father and mother are
in it too. When we look in this way we see that without all of these
things, this sheet of paper cannot exist.