Awakening the Buddhist Heart by Lama Surya Das demonstrates how to activate "spiritual intelligence" in all aspects of our lives. In this excerpt he suggests a reverence practice from Shantideva, the great Indian sage, teaching us the importance of equality.
Awakening to Awe: Personal Stories of Profound Transformation by Kirk J. Schneider considers some specific conditions that can enhance what he calls "awe-based awakening:" transience, surprise, vastness, unknowing, solitude, and sentiment. In this excerpt, he applauds life's poignant emotions; they deepen our capacity to be moved.
The Blindfold's Eyes: My Journey from Torture to Truth by Sister Dianna Ortiz with Patricia Davis faces into the humiliation and torture of victims around the world, which cannot be stopped without reverence. In this excerpt, Ortiz shares that recovery is slow and it is difficult to ever fully trust anyone again.
Christ in the Margins by Robert Lentz and Edwina Gateley celebrates the equality and dignity of all people. Gateley calls us to defend those who are downtrodden and oppressed by the principalities and powers. Here reverence transforms us into prophets and activists.
Civility: Manners, Morals, and the Etiquette of Democracy by Stephen L. Carter contends that civility and good manners are habits of the heart that can function as social lubricants in our rude society. In this passage, he writes about the spiritual practice of reverence as a moral obligation whereby we honor all human beings as part of God's creation.
Dignity for All: How to Create a World Without Rankism by Robert W. Fuller and Pamela A. Gerloff shows that our respect for all people serves as an antidote to the cruel degradation of rankism, in which power-hungry people lord it over those they consider worthless. Here Fuller and Gerloff outline 10 Dignity Principles, guidelines for thought and behavior.
Divining the Body: Reclaim the Holiness of Your Physical Self by Jan Phillips offers a compelling and imaginative call to take seriously the Divine presence in our bodies. In this reading, she challenges us to take a tour of the sacred territories of foot and hand, back and chest, heart and brain, resulting in deep appreciation and reverence for our flesh.
The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom by John Haidt reflects on the uplift people receive through connections of love and trust. He writes here about three kinds of tears flowing from expressions of compassion, kindness of others, and courage. These emotions restore reverence, helping us to believe in people's goodness.
Heart Yoga: The Sacred Marriage of Yoga and Mysticism by Andrew Harvey and Karuna Erickson celebrates the presence of reverence in yoga poses where "we open ourselves completely to all of creation." Here they describe the Child Pose as the natural human position of prayer and the gateway to the heart.
Saying No and Letting Go: Jewish Wisdom on Making Room for What Matters Most by Edwin Goldberg links reverence with the ideal of royal respect for all. This excerpt closes with a tribute to Don Quixote from The Man of La Mancha, whose soulful honoring of a downtrodden prostitute, renaming her Dulcinea, lifts her spirits and transforms her character.
Sheltered in the Heart: Spirituality in Deep Friendship by Gunilla Norris celebrates friendship. Here she reminds us that our reverence for soul-mates enables us to trust the Spirit that makes "music in each of us."
The Soul of Politics: Beyond "Religious Right" and "Secular Left" by Jim Wallis puts forward an ethically rooted and socially responsible political vision. In this passage, he encourages us to imagine what might happen if the image of God in every person were honored and respected.
United America by Wayne Baker points to a battery of national surveys he conducted, discovering that 90 percent of Americans considered respect for people of different racial and ethnic groups important. This core value was shared by young and old, liberals and conservatives, and people of all faiths: a reverence for diversity.
With Roots in Heaven: One Woman's Passionate Journey into the Heart of Her Faith by Tirzah Firestone is a stirring autobiography. This excerpt calls for respectful tolerance based on honoring and giving an ear to all voices, even to the most unpleasant and critical.