saving one heart at a time

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I am confident that it is both possible and worthwhile to attempt a new secular approach to universal ethics. My confidence comes from my conviction that all of us, all human beings, are basically inclined or disposed toward what we perceive to be good. Whatever we do, we do because we think it will be of some benefit. At the same time, we all appreciate the kindness of others. We are all, by nature, oriented toward the basic human values of love and compassion. We all prefer the love of others to their hatred. And who among us does not prefer tolerance, respect and forgiveness of our failings to bigotry, disrespect, and resentment? It is clear that something is seriously lacking in the way we humans are going about things. But what is it that we lack? The fundamental problem, I believe, is that at every level we are giving too much attention to the external, material aspects of life while neglecting moral ethics and inner values. I should make it clear that my intention is not to dictate moral values. Doing that would be of no benefit. To try to impose moral principles from outside, to impose them, as it were, by command, can never be effective. Instead, I call for each of us to come to our own understanding of the importance of inner values. For it is these inner values which are the source of both an ethically harmonious world and the individual peace of mind, confidence, and happiness we all seek. So far, of the twenty first century, just over a decade has gone, the major part of it is yet to come. It is my hope that this will be a century of peace, a century of dialogue- a century when a more caring, responsible, and compassionate humanity will emerge. This is my prayer as well……..The Dalai Lama

we cannot pity one another….rather, we only grow through the heart center, a tiny thought and wish away……our tenuous disconnections healed with deep imagination that wills love and the strength of trees……may we feel the union of the heartbeats of wind, soul, rain, and tears…

It’s easy to get discouraged: bees are dying, radiation is leaking into the ocean, and everyday there are people who do not have the basic necessities of life for themselves and their children. How do we inform ourselves about what is happening in the world so we can participate fully, without overwhelming ourselves with news that could breed hopelessness? For me, it’s about taking in information in the moments when I have the heart and energy to do so (not just before sleep) and finding encouragement that helps me to stay present, patient and hopeful. Recently, I watched Bill Moyers interview one of my favorite writers, Wendell Berry. And I received grounded encouragement. Berry is a poet and a farmer, an activist and an elder. As he describes his involvement in creating sustainable agriculture, warning that these changes will take time, Moyer understandably asks, ‘Do we have time, given what agri-business is doing?’ Wendell Berry replies, ‘We don’t have a right to ask whether we’re going to succeed or not. The only question we have a right to ask is what’s the right thing to do? What does this earth require of us if we want to continue to live on it?’ He’s right, and whether we are talking about personal or collective choices about how to live, we need to take care not to discourage or paralyze ourselves by worrying about whether or not the action we are called to take will be big enough or fast enough. We all need encouragement. We are small and brief and highly bio-degradable, and the world is large and on many fronts, in need of tending. But we are also resilient, connected and contributing every day to shaping the world by our choices about how to be here. When I become overwhelmed- whether by news of another species being endangered or with concern for someone I love going through a challenging time- I remember and focus on these words from Arthur Ashe that have become a guide for focusing on life instead of wasting precious energy on attachment to results we cannot foresee: ‘Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.’ We need both practical solutions and poetry, strategies for living in balance and stories that sustain the heart and soul. There are infinite ways to contribute to how the world unfolds…..Oriah Mountain Dreamer

settling into our world

When despair for the world grows in me and I wake in the night at the least sound in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be, I go and lie down where the wood drake rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds. I come into the peace of wild things who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief. I come into the presence of still water. And I feel above me the day-blind stars waiting with their light. For a time I rest in the grace of the world, and am free……Wendell Berry

6 thoughts on “saving one heart at a time

    • the gift of seeing is yours and the sharing softens our lines……this is the gift…..the giver and the receiver as one…..beauteous you, in gratitude…..

  1. I have read that there were two factions in Atlantis, those who thought less reliable but softer pyramid power would save them from the upheavals caused by the geothermal tapping of the earths core, taking energy from earth currents without respect for the consequences. History – or should I say mythology – tells us how that turned out.
    Thanks for this gentle reminder that we should learn from our collective history, we love the ocean, yet we fear its fury … perhaps there is something to the myth, perhaps Noah saw the signs and did what he could? Peace be with you as this week begins …

    • we see it daily don’t we? it is so humbling to come at overwhelming degradation with ‘one step at a time’ and to know greed within ourselves first…..and it’s our humanness….this cyclical planet and tears and hopes…..may the simplicity of our hearts and givings bring you deep solace g.f.s….

  2. There is no place of another that we are not near…… Every situation, every heartache…….but a breath away. But for the grace of God……..and if we have known that place of brokenness, we are blessed…… for it was there we learned the truth of love – for it was the only thing to reach us. ~ B

    • love how you invite me ever deeper to living close to the bone….it is here, without regret that we discover our inner wisdom to have been there all along….we know this universality of beingness, of love, of rootedness between us…..may the earth breathe softly around you today Bobbie….

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