The Emerson Center for Spiritual Awakening, Redwood City, CalifSeptember 16, 2001
Join me today in affirming for your self:
"Blessed be this day and this place." --Kahlil Gibran
"The thing that matters is not what you bear, but how you bear it."--Seneca
We do not move toward God by understanding.
As long as we cling
to what we can understand,
imagine, or even desire,
especially as long as we depend
on our own efforts,
we will not reach God,
who transcends all that we are,
all that we can achieve.
We must move
from knowing to unknowing,
from daylight to the night of faith.
Our spiritual ascent
is a journey by night.
Faith is our only light.
Therefore we must begin our ascent to God
with minds and souls emptied
of whatever images, whatever ideas of him
have come through our senses.
The light of faith
does not improve our human intellect;
it overwhelms it.
--St. John of the Cross
"Be still and know I am GOD. I will be exalted among the heathen. I will be exalted in the Earth."--Psalm 46:10
"I still believe, in spite of everything, that people are really good inside."--Anne Frank
"With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope."--Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
"I was standing on the highest mountain of them all, and round about beneath me was the whole hoop of the world. And while I stood there I saw more than I can tell and I understood more than I saw; for I was seeing in a sacred manner the shapes of all things in the spirit, and the shape of all shapes as they must live together like one being. And I saw that the sacred hoop of my people was one of many hoops that made one circle, wide as daylight and as starlight, and in the center grew one mighty flowering tree to shelter all children of one mother and one father. And I saw that it was holy...but anywhere is the center of the world."--Black Elk
"God himself culminates in the present moment, and will never be more divine in the lapse of all the ages."--Henry David Thoreau
When I was a kid I used to mix up Albert Schweitzer and Albert Einstein. Both smart men, both men who contributed greatly to the collective consciousness. But I don't think that is why I mixed them up. I think it was that both of their names violated the "i before e rule" and I was a competitive speller--and they both had bushy white hair in the pictures I saw as a child. It wasn't because they were both Albert. Later I became a great admirer of Schweitzer because of his amazing commitment to being of service. Later I found the following quote that explains the underlying idea that reached out and touched me when I was a small girl,
"Example is not the main thing in influencing others, it is the only thing."--Albert Schweitzer.
Clearly, today we are a nation that will require of each one of us that we be of service in getting through recent events. Schweitzer also said "I don't know what your destiny will be, but one thing I do know, those among you who will be happy will be those who have sought and found how to serve."
As we look around for ways that we can help those who seem so far away, let us not forget these words of two of our former U.S. presidents, "My faith demands--this is not optional--my faith demands that I do whatever I can, wherever I can, whenever I can, for as long as I can with whatever I have to try to make a difference."--Jimmy Carter. And Abraham Lincoln said the same thing in another way: "I do the very best I know how--the very best I can; and I mean to keep on doing so until the end."
We have the say of how this thing turns out, and one of the primary ways that we can express this is through loving service to one another and to the very world itself. We are not alone in this tragedy and I would suggest that we remember that we might give up the isolationist view and notice that there is tragedy all around us that needs to be alleviated. We cannot put our heads into the sand and forget the suffering of the rest of the world. Just as after a massive earthquake here in California, a Hurricane in the tropics, a tornado or a flood, we have to return to our sense of groundedness and safety. We have to trust our homes and the earth on which we live again. I suggest to each of you that in seeing to the feelings of safety and belonging of one another we regain those same securities within ourselves. The world joins us in our suffering but it will be ours to see and choose to come out of this experience conscious of our co-creative abilities.