About This Life: Journeys on the Threshold of Memory by Barry Lopez conveys an exquisite reverence that taps into kinship with all living creatures. In a wonderful essay in this collection, he expresses awe at his own history by looking at what his hands have done over the years.
Abraham Joshua Heschel: Essential Writings (edited by Susanah Heschel) lets us sample the great Jewish sage's writings. This passage offers his insights about wonder as the root of knowledge, a state of mind that leads to amazement and gratitude.
Beauty: The Invisible Embrace by John O'Donohue explores the yearning of the human soul for beauty. This excerpt shows how reverence is a beauty enhancer, thanks to its fidelity to dignity, respect, playfulness, and wonder.
A Conservationist Manifesto by Scott Russell Sanders celebrates a conservation ethic which embraces frugality, simplicity, beauty, community, justice and much more. In this excerpt, he asks why the ark-builders don't identify themselves as consumers but as conservers.
The Dream of the Earth by Thomas Berry reminds us that instead of demanding a right to reduce the Earth to an object for human use, we need to teach people reverence for the divine milieu in which we live. Such a change of attitude could stop the extinction of species caused by our domineering ways.
The Essential Seyyed Hossein Nasrby Seyyed Hossein Nasr and edited by William Chittick offers a wide-ranging array of essays by this Iranian-American scholar, Sufi, and perennial philosopher. In this passage, he reaffirms his view of the body as "the theatre of Divine Presence" and the bridge between ourselves and the natural world.
50 Ways to Save the Ocean by David Helvarg presents many ways to enjoy, protect, and preserve the ocean. Here are some suggestions for practicing reverence for these waters.
The Great Awakening: Reviving Faith and Politics in a Post-Religious Right America by Sojourners founder Jim Wallis looks at the spiritual revival and zeal for social change afoot in America. In this excerpt he points out that disrespect pervades our culture and can only be eradicated by practicing reverence, which fosters equality.
The Healing Wisdom of Africa: Finding Life Purpose through Nature, Ritual and Community by Malidoma Patrice Some tells of the Dagara community where the highest respect was given to the very old and the very young. This reading shows the high regard they carry within for each other.
Kindness, Clarity, and Insight by His Holiness the Dalai Lama reminds us that despite differences in doctrine and rituals, religions emphasize a deep respect for those who walk another path. In this excerpt, His Holiness reveals that this reverence is brought into action through love and kindness aimed towards the compassionate betterment of humanity.
Living Presence: A Sufi Way to Mindfulness and the Essential Self by Kabir Helminski outlines the path to mindfulness and the refining of the essential self. In this passage he describes reverence as a spiritual practice that grows out of courtesy, right action, and respect.
The Monk Upstairs: A Novel by Tim Farrington tells the story of a young couple just married and on a honeymoon in Hawaii. In this passage, they visit a volcano, unprepared for the feelings of awe that overtake them as they watch a stone on the beach double in size from the lava flow.
Not Always So: Practicing the True Spirit of Zen by Shunryu Suzuki and Edward Epse Brown, editor, conveys this Zen Master's practice of reverence beyond the zendo. In this reading, he points out that it is disrespectful to push a chair noisily across the floor; instead he suggests picking it up gently and moving it silently, with grace.
To Pause at the Threshold: Reflections on Living on the Border by Esther de Waal celebrates the pause that occurs as one passes from one place to another. This excerpt illustrates the importance of honoring thresholds as sacred things.
A Private History of Awe by Scott Russell Sanders is a poignant memoir saluting the ways that awe enriches life. Reverence invades the life of a young boy in Tennessee: in the air he breathes, the games he plays, the love he absorbs, the books read aloud to him, the smells of gravel dust and manure, the sky overhead, and much more.
Rediscovering Reverence by Ralph Heintzman pays tribute to the circle of virtues connected with reverence. In this reading he encourages us to consciously cultivate compassion, honesty, civility, joyfulness, self-giving, and other positive qualities, with recognition that they are intimately woven into the fabric of reverence.
Reverence: Renewing a Forgotten Virtue by Paul Woodruff presents an overview of this ancient virtue, held in high esteem in both Greek and Chinese traditions. He agrees with these traditions that reverence is a "bulwark of society," a virtue much needed in modern leaders to restrain their need to act like gods by controlling people's lives.
Seeking the Sacred: Transforming Our View of Ourselves and Others by Stephanie Dowrick describes how the quest for the sacred connects us effortlessly to all living beings. In this excerpt, she encourages us to honor life by choosing empathy, kindness, and forgiveness.
Slow Food: Collected Thoughts on Taste, Tradition, and the Honest Pleasures of Food (edited by Carlo Petrini with Ben Watson and Slow Food Editore) includes an essay by Dominque Predali about stewardship of leftovers, highly regarded by monks of the Middle Ages. They would gather crumbs and use them in soup at the week's end.
Wisdom from the Earth: The Living Legacy of the Aboriginal by Anna Voigt and Neville Drury makes it clear that "the land is sacred and it is the well-spring of all life forms and all beings." In this excerpt, we're called to revere the earth as Mother of All.
With Heart in Mind: Mussar Teachings to Transform Your Life by Alan Morinis explains 48 Mussar practices that are at the heart of a well-developed spiritual curriculum. In this reading, he challenges us to practice awe in everyday life and not just assume that it only can happen during extraordinary incidents.
Your (Re)Defining Moments: Becoming Who You Were Born to Be by Dennis Merritt Jones sees reverence as a main ingredient in an authentic life. "Reverence gives birth to compassion and acts of loving-kindness, which manifest as harmony, peace and joy." Under this umbrella, he observes, we are all connected, and to harm another is to hurt ourselves as well.