AWAKEN, THE TIME IS NOW
– Excerpt from Sri Atma Gita, Krishna’s final discourse to his beloved disciple Uddhava on the eve of Krishna’s departure from the earth:
When you can surrender in full love to God,
You’ll rise to the heights of the heaven within;
In blissful awakening, you’ll know your true Self,
And fathom the depths of the whole universe.
When your minds light becomes steady and bright,
All ignorant notions will fade out of sight.
The false sense of ego will then disappear
And the world of appearance will bind you no more.
– The Buddha’s “Awakening” comprise four elements usually referred to as the four noble truths:
1. All existence is suffering:
2. There is a cause for this suffering:
3. The cause may be brought to an end; 4. The discipline necessary to bring it to an end.
Discipline of the mind diminishes the impact of suffering, and deepens the virtues of compassion and gentleness. Mental discipline makes people see things as they really are and leads to insight and wisdom. Escape from suffering is the goal of Buddhist discipline. Cessation of suffering is obtainable through the practice of the eightfold path.
“There is only one time when it is essential to awaken. That time is now.”
– “Hear, O Israel the Lord is our God, the Lord is one.” Deuteronomy (6:4)
This statement, known as the Shema from the first word in Hebrew, epitomizes the faith of the Jews. Out of Judaism, Christianity emerged in the first century A.D., and the birth and growth of Islam were to be influenced by both Judaism and Christianity. Judaism is closely related to Christianity and Islam, both of which drew heavily on its religious and ethical teachings. Christianity incorporated the Jewish Bible in its own scripture, calling it the Old Testament, and Islam incorporated the great figures of biblical times into the religious past of Muslims. The holy places of the Jewish past became holy to Islam as well.
– Islam is the religion of those who follow the prophet Mohammed. The name is an Arabic word that may be translated “submission,” “surrender,” or “commitment.” In the religious movement initiated by Mohammed in Arabia in the 7th century A.D., the term “Islam” describes the proper relationship between men and God (Allah). Mohammed called his fellow Arabs to submit, or surrender, to the will of God, to commit themselves afresh each day and each moment to the service of the Divine intention. Followers of Islam are known as Muslims, that is, “submitters” to God, those who commit themselves to Him.
– “This we know: This earth does not belong to man, man belongs to the Earth. All things are connected like the blood that unites us all: Man did not weave the web of life, he is but a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web he does to himself.” –Chief Seattle, Native American leader
When you arise in the morning give thanks for the morning light. Give thanks for your life and strength. Give thanks for your food. And give thanks for the joy of living. And if perchance you see no reason to give thanks, rest assured, the fault is yours. American Indian Saying
– “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God….You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hid. Nor do men light a lamp and put it under a bushel, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” – Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount (Mt 5.3-7.27)
-“Energy in the form of light is trapped in gross matter. Sparks of holiness are imprisoned in the stuff of creation. They yearn to be set free, reunited with their Source through human action. When we return something to its proper place, where it belongs, where it was meant to be; when we use something in a sacred way or for a holy purpose; when we treat another human being as a human being, the captive sparks are released and the cosmos is healed. This liberation of light is called the Repair of Creation.
“This process occurs also within each individual. According to one legend, once there was a primordial person as big as the whole universe whose soul contained all souls…
“This person is identical with the universe and, for this reason, each human being is at the same time both riddled with divine sparks and in desperate need of repair. Each person is the whole world. And every human action therefore plays a role in the final restitution. Whatever we do is related to this ultimate task: To return all things to their original place in God. Everything a person does affect the process.” –Lawrence Kushner in the The Book of Words.
-Do all the good you can
by all the means you can,
in all the ways you can,
in all the places you can,
at all the times you can,
to all the people you can. –John Wesley
– An old Rabbi once asked his pupils how they could tell when the night had ended and the day had begun.
“Could it be,” asked one of the students, “when you can see an animal in the distance and tell whether it’s a sheep or a dog?”
“No,” answered the Rabbi.
Another asked, “Is it when you can look at a tree in the distance and tell whether it’s a fig tree or a peach tree?”
“No,” answered the Rabbi.
“Then what is it?’ the pupils demanded.
“It is when you can look on the face of any man or woman and see that it is your sister or brother. Because if you cannot see this, it is still night.” –Hasidic Tale
– “To a large extent, the future lies before us like a vast wilderness of unexplored reality. The God who created and sustained the evolving universe through eons of progress and development has not placed our generation at the tag end of the creation process. God has placed us at the beginning. We are here for the future.” –Christian philanthropist Sir John Templeton
-The Lord is my shepherd;
I shall not want.
He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake,
Yea though I walk through the valley of the
shadow of death, I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil.
My cup runs over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord Forever. Twenty-third Psalm (NKIV)
-The practice of loving kindness must find its root deep within us. The story is told that Mohandas Gandhi once settled in a village and at once began serving the needs of the villagers who lived there. A friend inquired if Gandhi’s objectives in serving the poor were purely humanitarian. Gandhi replied, “Not at all. I am here to serve no one else but myself, to find my own self-realization through the service of these village folk.”
As Gandhi wisely points out, even as we serve others we are working on ourselves; every act, every word, every gesture of genuine compassion naturally nourishes our worn hearts as well. It is not a question of who is healed first. When we attend to ourselves with compassion and mercy, more healing is made available for others. And when we serve others with an open and generous heart, great healing comes to us. –Wayne Muller in Legacy of the Heart
-“There is a passionate love for God that He creates in us when we surrender to Him. It is this wild love for Him that is not only the basis for any real knowledge we have of God, but also the basis for a whole new way we can look at life. The God who calls us into an intensely personal and passionate relationship with Him transforms us through that relationship so that we encounter everything else in our lives conditioned by that passion.” -Dr. Tony Campolo in Carpe Diem, Seize the Day
-There is a marvelous story of a man who once stood before God, his heart breaking from the pain and injustice in the world. “Dear God,” he cried out, “look at all the suffering, the anguish and distress in your world. Why don’t you send help?”
God responded, “I did send help, I sent you.” –David J. Wolpe in Teaching Your Children About God
-“The task of the individual is to prepare himself for the acceptance of his totality. Only a genuine transformation of the individual will produce meaningful changes in the race, since the individual who has gained personal insight will influence others in achieving the same goal.” –C. G. Jung
-“Responsibility does not only lie with the leaders of our countries or with those who have been appointed or elected to do a particular job. It lies with each of us individually. Peace, for example, starts within each of us. When we have inner peace, we can be at peace with those around us. When our community is in a state of peace, it can share that peace with neighboring communities, and so on. When we feel love and kindness towards others, it not only makes others feel loved and cared for, but it helps us also to develop inner happiness and peace. And there are ways in which we can consciously work to develop feelings of love and kindness. For some of us, the most effective way to do so is through religious practice. For others it may be non-religious practices. What is important is that we each make a sincere effort to take our responsibility for each other and for the natural environment.” -The Dalai Lama of Tibet, Nobel Lecture 12/89
-“If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.”