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Quotes and Poems

Session 5 - Sacred Activism 

Thich Nhat Hanh

You carry Mother Earth within you. She is not outside of you. Mother Earth is not just your environment. In that insight of inter-being, it is possible to have real communication with the Earth, which is the highest form of prayer. 

Hafiz 

I should not make any promises right now,

But I know if you

Pray

Somewhere in this world--

Something good will happen. 

Rumi

"Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing

and rightdoing there is a field.

I'll meet you there.

When the soul lies down in that grass

the world is too full to talk about."                                                                                                                                                              

Barry Lopez - Arctic Dreams

“ There are simply no  answers to some of the great pressing questions. You continue to live them out. making your life a worthy expression of leaning into the light.”

Andrew Harvey 

“Sacred Activism is about finding gratitude, forgiveness, and compassion; it is about opening yourself up to the kindness within you, letting go of pain, and making a conscious choice to help heal the world.”

“A spirituality that is only private and self-absorbed, one devoid of an authentic political and social consciousness, does little to halt the suicidal juggernaut of history. On the other hand, an activism that is not purified by profound spiritual and psychological self-awareness and rooted in divine truth, wisdom, and compassion will only perpetuate the problem it is trying to solve, however righteous its intentions. When, however, the deepest and most grounded spiritual vision is married to a practical and pragmatic drive to transform all existing political, economic, and social institutions, a holy force – the power of wisdom and love in action – is born. This force I define as Sacred Activism.” 

Ken Wilber 

Evolution does not isolate us from the rest of the Kosmos, it unites us with the rest of the Kosmos: the same currents that produced birds from dust and poetry from rocks produce egos from ids and sages from egos. 

Frederick Buechner 

The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.

Francis of Assisi 

“Lord, make me an instrument of thy 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;

And 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,

to be 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 to eternal life.” 

Mother Teresa 

“May God break my heart so completely that the whole world falls in.” 

Anthon St. Maarten

“You are one thing only. You are a Divine Being. An all-powerful Creator. You are a Deity in jeans and a t-shirt, and within you dwells the infinite wisdom of the ages and the sacred creative force of All that is, will be and ever was.” 

Martin Luther King Jr. 

  • “Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”
  • “Now there is a final reason I think that Jesus says, "Love your enemies." It is this: that love has within it a redemptive power. And there is a power there that eventually transforms individuals. Just keep being friendly to that person. Just keep loving them, and they can’t stand it too long. Oh, they react in many ways in the beginning. They react with guilt feelings, and sometimes they’ll hate you a little more at that transition period, but just keep loving them. And by the power of your love they will break down under the load. That’s love, you see. It is redemptive, and this is why Jesus says love. There’s something about love that builds up and is creative. There is something about hate that tears down and is destructive. So love your enemies. (from "Loving Your Enemies")”
  • “One has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.”
  • “Hatred paralyzes life; love releases it. Hatred confuses life; love harmonizes it. Hatred darkens life; love illuminates it.” 
  • “Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness.” 
  • “The choice is not between violence and nonviolence but between nonviolence and nonexistence.” 
  • “Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy to a friend.”

Mary Oliver - The Messenger 

My work is loving the world.

Here the sunflowers, there the hummingbird — equal seekers of sweetness.

Here the quickening yeast; there the blue plums.

Here the clam deep in the speckled sand.

Are my boots old? Is my coat torn?

Am I no longer young, and still not half-perfect?

Let me keep my mind on what matters, which is my work,

which is mostly standing still and learning to be astonished.

The phoebe, the delphinium. The sheep in the pasture, and the pasture.

Which is mostly rejoicing, since all ingredients are here,

which is gratitude, to be given a mind and a heart

and these body-clothes, a mouth with which to give shouts of joy to the moth

and the wren, to the sleepy dug-up clam, telling them all,

over and over, how it is that we live forever.

Please Call Me by My True Names

Thich Nhat Hanh

Don't say that I will depart tomorrow—

even today I am still arriving.

Look deeply: every second I am arriving

to be a bud on a Spring branch,

to be a tiny bird, with still-fragile wings,

learning to sing in my new nest,

to be a caterpillar in the heart of a flower,

to be a jewel hiding itself in a stone.

I still arrive, in order to laugh and to cry,

to fear and to hope.

The rhythm of my heart is the birth and death

of all that is alive.

I am a mayfly metamorphosing

on the surface of the river.

And I am the bird

that swoops down to swallow the mayfly.

I am a frog swimming happily

in the clear water of a pond.

And I am the grass-snake

that silently feeds itself on the frog.

I am the child in Uganda, all skin and bones,

my legs as thin a bamboo sticks.

And I am the arms merchant,

selling deadly weapons to Uganda.

I am the twelve-year-old girl,

refugee on a small boat,

who throws herself into the ocean

after being raped by a sea pirate.

And I am the pirate,

my heart not yet capable

of seeing and loving.

I am a member of the politburo,

with plenty of power in my hands.

And I am the man who has to pay

his "debt of blood" to, my people,

dying slowly in a forced labor camp.

My joy is like Spring, so warm

it makes flowers bloom all over the Earth.

My pain is like a river of tears,

so vast it fills the four oceans.

Please call me by my true names,

so I can hear all my cries and laughter at once,

so I can see that my joy and pain are one.

Please call me by my true names,

so I can wake up

and the door of my heart

could be left open,

the door of compassion.

Gene Sharp

By placing confidence in violent means, one has chosen the very type of struggle with which the oppressors nearly always have superiority

Nonviolent action involves opposing the opponent's power, including his police & military capacity, not with the weapons chosen by him but by quite different means...Repression by the opponent is used against his own power position in a kind of political " ju-jitsu " and the very sources of his power thus reduced or removed, with the result that his political and military position is seriously weakened or destroyed.

Nonviolent struggle is the most powerful means available to those struggling for freedom.

Mahatma Gandhi

  • Carefully watch your thoughts, for they become your words. Manage and watch your words, for they will become your actions. Consider and judge your actions, for they have become your habits. Acknowledge and watch your habits, for they shall become your values. Understand and embrace your values, for they become your destiny.
  • Our greatest ability as humans is not to change the world; but to change ourselves.
  • Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.
  • When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love has always won.
  • There have been tyrants and murderers and for a time they seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall.. think of it, always.
  • If you want to change the world, start with yourself.
  • The world is big enough to satisfy everyones needs, but will always be too small to satisfy everyones greed
  • The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others. 

Dalai Lama

“I consider human rights work or activism to be a kind of spiritual practice. By defending those people who persecuted for their race, religion, ethnicity, or ideology, you are actually contributing to guiding our human family to peace, justice, and dignity.”

“Human rights are of universal interest because it is the inherent nature of all human beings to yearn for freedom, equality, and dignity and they have the right to achieve it.”

“Rich or Poor, educated or uneducated, belonging to one nation or another, to one religion or another, adhering to this ideology or that, ultimately each of us is just a human being like everyone else. We all desire happiness and do not want suffering.”

“We need to address the issue of the gap between the rich and poor, both globally and nationally. This inequality, with some sections of the human community having abundance and others on the same planet going hungry or even dying of starvation, is not only morally wrong, but practically also a source of problems.”

“Even though they will lose money in the short term, large multi-national corporations must curtail their exploitations of poor nations. Tapping the few precious resources such countries possess simply to fuel consumerism in the developed world is disastrous; if it continues unchecked, eventually we shall all suffer. Strengthening weak, undiversified economies is a far wiser policy for promoting both political and economic stability.”

"To me, it is clear: a genuine sense of responsibility can result only if we develop compassion. Only a spontaneous feeling of empathy for others can really motivate us to act on their behalf.”

“Wherever it occurs, poverty is a significant contributor to social disharmony, ill health, suffering and armed conflict. If we continue along our present path, the situation could become irreparable. This constantly increasing gap between the haves and halve not’s, creates suffering for everyone.”

“It is not enough to be compassionate we must act.”

“Peace, in the sense of the absence of war, is of little value to someone dying of hunger or cold. It will not remove the pain of torture inflicted on a prisoner of conscience. I t does not comfort those who have lost their homes in floods caused by senseless deforestation in neighboring countries. Peace can only last where human rights are respected, where people are fed, and where individuals and nations are free.”

“We must recognize that the suffering of one person or one nation is the suffering of humanity.” 

Nelson Mandela

“ There is a force in the universe, call it god or spirituality or whatever you like - that wants the victory of truth and justice- this force will help you if you are steady, humble, brave and patient. Never, ever give up, however bad things get.” 

Dalai Lama

“ The meaning of life is to embody compassion. Anyone can discover this. When you discover this and live it , you discover your truest nature and share its joy.” He also says “ In your heart and in the world work for peace, and I say again never give up no matter what is going on around you.  Never give up.” 

Barbara Marx Hubbard

  • So, the path of the co-creator is to be awakened spiritually within, which then turns into your own deeper life purpose, which then makes you want to reach out and touch others in a way that expresses self and really evolves our communities and our world. Certainly, we can't do that unless we activate ourselves first. That's why, for me, emergence is the shift from ego to essence. That is so important.
  • Synergy does not mean giving up what we want. It means joining to co-create so each is able to receive ever more of what attracts us through joining rather than opposing.