Transforming This World
"I have come to be suspicious of any religion or form of therapy that focuses exclusively on cultivating the interior life or saving the soul and that does not include a celebration of the senses, an ecological vision, and a concern for social justice. We can aspire to care for and transform this world only if we trust that spirit is incarnate in flesh and dirt. This world is our home. We are in the right place."
— Hymns to an Unknown God
Express Your Emotions
"The ability to feel is indivisible. Repress awareness of any one feeling and all feelings are dulled. When we refuse to allow fear we correspondingly lose the ability to wonder. When we repress our grief we blunt our capacity to experience joy. The same nerve endings are required for weeping and dancing, fear and ecstasy."
— Fire in The Belly
Read the Signs
"I suspect that we are all recipients of cosmic love notes. Messages, omens, voices, cries, revelations, and appeals are homogenized into each day's events. If only we knew how to listen, to read the signs."
— The Passionate Life
Know What Time It Is
"The wise man knows what time it is in his own life and in the life of the community. he knows that sensing the kairos (the prepared or ripe moment) is more important than conforming to the compulsive rhythm of chronological time. Thus, the wise man is able to give himself gracefully to seemingly contradictory experiences, because he knows that they belong to different seasons of life, all of which are necessary to the whole. Spring and winter, growth and decay, creativity and fallowness, health and sickness, power and impotence, and life and death all belong within the economy of being."
— Apology for Wonder
"Vision moves us more efficiently than will-power; we are more often drawn into the fullness of our being than we are pushed into it. Let your eyes and your imagination soar and your body will follow. The great power that propels us — the prime mover — is that inner vision of how our best possible self we see with 'the eye of the soul.' As the acorn yearns to become an oak tree, we are drawn toward our ideal future by a magnetic force, an inner homing device. What the great spiritual traditions call 'hope' is the veiled vision of our now and future unfolding."
— Learning to Fly
The Love Quotient
"For openers, consider the lopsided amount of attention we have paid to the definition, measurement, and cultivation of intelligence, in contrast to our failure to investigate the many modes of love. We have a national obsession with IQ, but we never seriously consider the possibility that we possess an LQ, a love quotient, a genetic aptitude for empathy or compassion that may be enhanced or diminished by circumstances.
"Without doubt we desire love, dream about it, are disappointed by its absence, and become angry when it vanishes. In fact, love has become the secular equivalent of the Holy Grail — the magic treasure that should save us. But we think about love, if at all, as a kind of warm, squishy, pink feeling like the grace of God or a Chinook wind that is supposed to come mysteriously out of nowhere and bring eternal spring into our frigid hearts, Unless and until that happens, we wait, and wait for Godot, the godlet that might bring happiness to our strife-filled lives. It seldom occurs to us while we want, we might analyze the complexities of love and figure out how to do it."
— To Love and Be Loved
Quit Blaming Others for War
"The persistent efforts of liberals, peacemongers, and assorted groups of nice people to assign the blame for war to the Pentagon, the military-industrial complex, or some other surrogate for the devil, are no less a denial of responsibility than laying the blame on an external enemy. The sentimental cliche, 'the people don't want war, only their leaders do,' is a pious way to avoid thinking seriously about the problem. And we will not make progress in severing the roots of war without reowning our consensual paranoia and the corporate responsibility for evil. The body politic will change only when there is a democratization of guilt, responsibility, power and authority. We become politically potent by accepting responsibility, for better or worse, for the conduct of our leaders. In the long view, nations have the leaders they deserve."
— Faces of the Enemy
Boredom: A Social Disease
"Boredom is our number one social disease. It's growing in epidemic proportions. The closer we get to the prepackaged world of the mall, the more we are engulfed by psychic smog.
"Unfortunately, boredom is not dramatic like cancer. It appears to be a minor league demon, gray and anonymous. There is no Anti-Boredom Week, no Crusade Against Tedium, no Boredom Anonymous, no Foundation for the Elimination of Monotony. The amorphous blob creeps over our land like a giant fungus in a grade-B science fiction movie. It devours our innocent enthusiasms and destroys our dreams. It insinuates itself into any ho-hum corner of our lives that has been prepared by fatigue. And the plague is mostly invisible because it paralyzes our powers of perception even as it invades our psyches. So many of us suffer from it that we consider it normal, part of the inevitable atmosphere of modern life."
— Inward Bound