A Larger World to Live In

"In our century this global outrea0ch is important, for lands around the planet have become our neighbors — China across the street, the Middle East at our back door. The change this new situation requires of us all — we who have been suddenly catapulted from town to country onto a world stage — is staggering. Twenty-five hundred years ago it took an exceptional individual like Diogenes to exclaim,'I am not an Athenian or a Greek but a citizen of the world.' Today we must all be struggling to make those words our own. Anyone who is only Japanese or American, only Oriental or Occidental, is but half human. The other half that beats with the pulse of all humanity has yet to be awakened.

"World understanding brings many rewards: it enables corporations to do business abroad, and diplomats to stumble less frequently. But its greatest gains need no tally. To glimpse what belonging means to the people of India; to sense with a Burmese grandmother what passes in life and what endures; to understand how Hindus can regard their personalities as masks that overlay the God within — to swing such things into view is to add dimensions to the glance of spirit. It is to have a larger world to live in.
The Illustrated World's Religions: A Guide to Our Wisdom Traditions

Morning Ritual

"The Winnebago medicine man Reuben Snake was my pre-eminent teacher from the Native Americans. I recall one of the things he taught me. He told me, 'Huston, our tepees are pointed east, and when we stepped out of them in the morning we would throw up our arms and shout Aho! when we saw the sun. Huston, you should do that, too.' And I do. At my first glimpse of the sun I raise my arms and shout 'Aho!' I did it this morning. The first time I see the sun it infuses me with this inspiration, just like the sunlight brings vegetation and the beauty and all life."
The Way Things Are: Conversations with Huston Smith on the Spiritual Life, edited by Phil Cousineau

Working for Peace

"Those who listen work for peace, a peace built not on ecclesiastical or political hegemonies but on understanding and mutual concern. For understanding, at least in realms as inherently noble as the great faiths of humankind, brings respect; and respect prepares the way for a higher power, love — the only power that can quench the flames of fear, suspicion, and prejudice, and provide the means by which the people of this small but precious Earth can become one to one another.
The World's Religions

Honor Mystery

"We are born in mystery, we live in mystery, and we die in mystery. It is not a dead mystery that bogs down in befuddlement. Religious mystery invites; it glows, lures, and excites, impelling us to enter its dazzling darkness ever more deeply.
The Soul of Christianity: Restoring the Great Tradition

Jesus' Humility and Selflessness

"Certainly the most impressive thing about the teachings of Jesus is not that he taught them but that he lived them. From the accounts that we have, his entire life was one of humility, self-giving, and love that sought not its own. The supreme evidence of his humility may be that he didn't tell Matthew, Mark, and Luke precisely what he thought of himself — to his beloved disciple John he disclosed himself transparently. For the rest, his concern was not what people thought of him but what they thought of God — God's nature and God's will for their lives. By indirection, to be sure, this does tell us something about Jesus' self-image, but only that he esteemed himself to be less than God — 'Why do you call me good? Don't you know that only God is good?'

"It is impossible to listen to what Jesus said about selflessness without sensing how free of pride he himself was. Similarly with sincerity; what he said on the subject could only be said by someone whose life was uncluttered by deceit and guile, Truth to him was like the life-giving air we breathe."
The Soul of Christianity: Restoring the Great Tradition

Holy Light

"I was flying from California to Kansas City, and night had fallen when the pilot announced over the intercom that if we looked out our windows we would see a once-in-a-lifetime sight. We were flying four thousand feet above normal cruising altitude to avoid a violent thunderstorm that was sweeping across western Kansas, he explained. I looked out my window and was indeed astonished. I was looking down on an unbroken sea of light, but light of a kind I had never before seen — Wordsworth's 'light that never was on sea or land.' It was so ethereal that simply to gaze on it was to feel peaceful. It was no exaggeration to say that it was a holy light."
The Soul of Christianity: Restoring the Great Tradition