Since September 11, 2001, we have had a spiritual practice of writing "I am" prayer. Our inspiration for these prayers are the poems of Buddhist peacemaker Thich Nhat Hanh, especially his "Please Call Me by My True Names." Another influence is Jelaluddin Rumi whose poem "Say I Am You" expresses a mystical connection with all things.

We experience "I Am" prayers as affirmations of unity, ways of practicing empathy and reverence, and opportunities to expand the circle of our compassion. They also help us do shadow work as we own up to the very human tendency to project what we don't like about ourselves onto other people.

Catholic priest Richard Rohr in Simplicity: The Art of Living gives the best summary of this process that we've read.

"God calls all of you to take the path of the inner truth — and that means taking responsibility for everything that's in you: for what pleases you and for what you're ashamed of, for the rich person inside you and for the poor one. Francis of Assisi called this, 'loving the leper within us.' If you learn to love the poor one within you, you'll discover that you have room to have compassion 'outside' too, that there's room in you for others, for those who are different from you, for the least among your brothers and sisters."

Here are some of our "I Am Prayers":