How can reading or hearing the news be as much a part of your spiritual practice as studying sacred scriptures or everyday prayer? How can the news help you clarify your particular service work when the needs and opportunities are so great?
Praying the News Begins by Being Fully Present To It
“Reality shows” can be watched as entertainment. Genuine news demands that we be fully present to what is and allow it to affect us, even when there’s nothing we can do about it. That means honoring life as a mystery, not as a problem to be solved, but as a paradox where we are called to go deep into the heart of compassion without agenda or attachment to outcome. Continue reading →
When everything works right with work, clarity of purpose meets will to follow guidance on how to fulfill said purpose. It’s easier to sort out which tasks which are mine to do and those that are not. It’s routine almost to bless my challenges and those of others, then just do my paid work while doing the work of simply living. Thus, tasks mundane and profound get done simply and well, with a spirit of kindness and compassion.
And then there are days like today. Days like this Monday morning after Thanksgiving that came way too early. Days when it’s so unclear about what to do first and how to stop wasting time and energy in stewing and fretting. Days that call not for dramatic breakthrough wisdom but for the smaller, moment-to-moment acts of protecting what I know to be true from such threats as perfectionism or wanting to avoid doing something that just must be done.
Days when the only prayer I can say is “God Guide me,” when I haven’t the foggiest notion of who or what God is.
Monastic life in all faiths is ordered around prayer. Such prayer sets the rhythm for each day. It keeps members focused on the mission of the order and the life of the community, as well as the spiritual life of each member.
I spent 13 years in the Discalced Carmelite monastic order, which traces its origins to hermits living on Mt. Carmel in the 13th century. As is the case with most religious orders, the Discalced Carmelites prayed together at least six times a day on a regular schedule, using Latin names for the hours. These were also known as Canonical hours, because they have been used by all orders in the Roman Catholic Church for many centuries.
As our Muslim friends have so ably demonstrated, prayer can also provide the framework for secular life, including busy workdays. Inspired by what I learned in the monastery and from the example of Muslims, I adapted the canonical hours to my spiritual practices. Continue reading →
To me, a spiritual practice is any routine or ritual that connects you to your inner wisdom and helps you be less stressed and fearful and more positive, focused and productive. It’s often how you communicate with your subconscious mind. It may or may not relate to any religion or belief. Continue reading →
Do you ever feel called to say something and don’t know exactly what it is? Or wish someone else would say that something that could cut through anything from confusion and fear-mongering or overwhelm to a quiet truth? A truth that could get you and others, just for a moment, to stop? To listen? To find clear wisdom for whatever ails or calls you?
I really want that right now, not just around the ever-present health care financing issue, but around everything else that’s dominating the news today, like how hard it is for many of us to make a living right now. Like how many people we know are stuck in painful jobs they hate but don’t dare leave. Or for those of us who are entrepreneurs, where the next clients are coming from in a time when so many are still cutting back. Continue reading →
If we had to pick just one prayer to fit the needs and gifts in the workplace today, that prayer would probably be The Prayer of St. Francis. Though it is profoundly Christian, the Prayer of St. Francis is quoted and used by people of many faiths.It has been sung beautifully by Sarah Mac Lachlen and set to exquisite photos of love in action in daily life. And though it was probably not written until many years after the death of St. Francis, it definitely expresses his mission that is still so relevant today. Continue reading →