Readers, please enjoy this guest blog post by John Beckett, author of the new The Path of Paganism.
One of the most universal spiritual practices is prayer. Whatever else it may or may not do, prayer keeps us connected to that which we pray and that for which we pray. It serves as an affirmation of our values and our priorities, and at least when it's done thoughtfully and reverently, reminds us that much of what we enjoy comes to us as a legacy from our ancestors and by the grace of the Gods.
My usual routine is to pray four times a day: before starting the day, before lunch, before dinner, and before going to bed. These are times when it's easy to stop what I'm doing for a few
I was recently asked by someone if I have a daily spiritual practice. The question caught me off guard and I had to stop and think. Do I? If I do, what is it? What inspires me from day to day and brings me a deeper sense of connection to myself, the world as a whole, and everything that exists beyond? In that moment I was stumped and my lack of response left me sad.
In the following weeks I tried to pay attention to anything that might fill my personal need for a spiritual practice. I was surprised to notice that it was actually already present here and there in my life: practicing yoga in my kitchen (not what I’d consider a “spiritual” environment, but it’s the best flat surface
On Monday, September 10, 2012, the Dalai Lama wrote the following to his friends on Facebook(!):
All the world's major religions, with their emphasis on love, compassion, patience, tolerance, and forgiveness can and do promote inner values. But the reality of the world today is that grounding ethics in religion is no longer adequate. This is why I am increasingly convinced that the time has come to find a way of thinking about spirituality and ethics beyond religion altogether.
The 14th Dalai Lama
Many, if not most of you reading this were brought up in a religion. Most of you were brought up within some sect of Christianity. A few of you were brought up Jewish. And since
Watching someone you care about suffer through a painful struggle, whether physical or emotional, is a distressing place to be. The phrase, “If I could take your place I would” comes to mind and is a true expression of longing and love. Without the option of taking on suffering in someone’s place, we instead often create our own distress and are left feeling helpless on a whole other level. This brings to mind another phrase: “Misery loves company.”
I was recently in this situation and while I offered to help where I could, it felt like I was lifting grains of sand off of the enormous pile of boulders that was weighing this person down. Sadness, fear, and isolation all took