Hugh Prather is the author of twenty books, including The Little Book of Letting Go and Standing on My Head. He lives with his wife Gayle in Tucson, Arizona, where for many years they were resident ministers at St. Francis in the Foothills United Methodist Church. Prather is also the host of Everyday Wisdom with Hugh Prather on Wisdom Radio and Sirius Satellite Radio.In this daily meditation paperback, he lays out some positive and uplifting thoughts than can jump-start your day. After forty years of writing, he has plenty of material to do this kind of resource.
There are a number of selections on letting go. Here is one: "Instead of trying to force the day I want, let me embrace the day I am given."
Prather also finds that he has to put considerable energy into counterbalancing his need to control what happens to him. What he calls "pushing against people and events" is a futile effort that only disappoints and creates friction. A far better use of energy is kindness. Here are two takes on this spiritual practice:
• "If God is love, kindness is the key to happiness, freedom, and true success. And if God is one, it is impossible that the practice of love would mean choosing between myself and another. I am being dishonest when I say that I must put myself first. I must put love first. Today I will use the most powerful and transformative of all spiritual practices: I will be kind. I will be kind to myself, to everyone I encounter, and to everyone who crosses my mind."
• "A gentle effect can disguise a malicious intent. Kindness is not smiling or agreeing or speaking softly. It must come from my heart and if expressed, always include a silent blessing. Letting people know that I hold them in my prayers sometimes engages my ego because of the acknowledgement I seek. At other times, telling them that I am praying for them can be a way of connecting and showing support. Kindness must dictate the form my efforts take. Every living thing is held in endless blessing by the divine. By being like God, we feel God."
Being kind fosters the connections that link us to others. Prather is convinced that positive thoughts can work wonders and bring us closer to others through empathy and love. We like the idea of faith as "the willingness to rest in the arms that already hold me." Here is another one of our favorite passages:
"Everyone knows enough to be a good friend, a tolerant and helpful partner, a loving mother or father, a considerate customer, a fair and honorable boss. It really doesn't matter what I don't know if I will apply all that I do know this instant. Just one spiritual concept, practiced consistently, is enough. The golden rule is an example of a safe substitute for any moral philosophy, religion, or metaphysical system on earth. But will I practice it today?"
The challenge of the spiritual life is to put into practice what we already know. The only way to live the virtues that mean the most to us is by practicing them day by day.