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Showing posts from May, 2017

The Sacred Pause

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Photo Credit: Linda M. Rhinehart Neas (c) 2017
What happens when we take the time to mindfully pause - when we stop long enough not to react spontaneously to a given situation? What do we discover in the space between breaths? 
Dr. Tara Brach suggests, "Through the sacred art of pausing, we develop the capacity to stop hiding, to stop running away from our experience. We begin to trust in our natural intelligence, in our naturally wise heart, in our capacity to open to whatever arises. Like awakening from a dream, in the moment of pausing our trance recedes and Radical Acceptance becomes possible." 
Dr. Brach is a Buddhist teacher, author and clinical psychologist. She writes that when we pause, an activity that has a beginning and an end, we take control of our lives. She says that pausing allows us to see our fears and desires more clearly; thereby, enabling us to make better decisions.
In my life, I have had moments of sacred pausing where I become acutely aware of what is ha…

Sacred Text

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By definition, Sacred Text is writing that "is venerated for the worship of a deity." For some, Sacred Text is writing that has been "Divinely inspired." However, in the Harvard Divinity course I took on World Religions, we looked at sacred text as writing that inspires, enlightens and/or encourages the reader.  Therefore, poetry, prose and even graffiti can be sacred text. (Remember, the word sacred means "to hold as precious.")

I have come to see there are religious Sacred (with a captial "s") texts: Torah, Bible, Qur'an, Bhagadava Gita,  etc.  But, I have also come to see other writing, such as poetry, as sacred (with a lower-case "s") texts.


Let me give you an example:  Basho, a Japanese poet, who traveled around Japan practicing Zen, writing beautiful haiku. His poems are, when taken at face value, little snapshots of his day and observations, BUT, when read critically from a spiritual viewpoint, hold lovely insights into loving…

In Search of the Sacred

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When I was a young girl in parochial school, sacred meant something that was very holy and almost untouchable. The consecrated hosts in the tabernacle were sacred. We didn't use this word for anything that was not related to God.

As I matured and began studying world religions, I realized that sacred was used for other reasons. Often, the word meant something looked upon as precious or special, something full of awe, something for which you have the highest respect.

When I first began my journey towards ordination, I came to realize that our world was filled with the sacred. Our Earth is sacred, as are all the living creature upon it. We can have sacred space in a building or garden. We can read sacred text in books, online and as graffiti. We can find sacred geometry in art and within seashells or flowers. 

I believe technology has desensitized us to what is sacred. Computers, online programs, gadgets that miniaturize phones, cameras and TVs have created a sense of awe that is relat…

Bible Sisters

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As a child, Bible stories fascinated me. I tried to imagine what it was like to live in times so long ago. Rarely, however, did I ever see any connection to what happened in ancient times with what was happening in my life. After all, my world was close to 2000 years older and far from the lands of Pharaohs and Roman invaders. 

As I grew, I learned to see the lessons within Scripture. But, again, I found it difficult to connect to these men who battled giants or spoke eloquent words in the Temple. The only women I remember mentioned were few and far between. How I wished there was more for a woman to connect with in the Bible.

A few weeks ago, I had the great pleasure of receiving a copy of Bible Sisters by Rev. Gennifer Benjamin Brooks in the mail. Bible Sisters is a 365-day devotional that includes the well-known women of the Bible (Eve, Sarah, Ruth, Rebecca, Mary, Martha...) as well as those we know little about and who often go unnamed like Hagar or the Widow of Zarephath.

When I rec…

Connections

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Entwined - photo by L.M.Neas
Scientist recently released a study that said that trees communicate with each other through their root systems. One tree becomes linked to all the other trees in the forest by means of soil fungi and neighboring plants. This got me to thinking...
The grandmother trees in the forests of our world are connected one to the other across acres and acres of land. We humans are also connected one to the other through thousands of millions of DNA strands. 
Just as a tree has one core but many branches fed by many roots, we humans have a common essence but our branches and the roots that feed us are many. This idea fueled my thoughts further...
Mother's Day is difficult for many people for various reasons. Some people have had no relationship with their mother, others have had painful and abusive relationships. For those people, I offer this.
Think about the people, female or male, that nurtured you. Many children had a Dad who supported them. Some people have been…

More Than Words

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Someone told their elder that they didn't pray. Curious, the elder asked why. The person told the elder that they were never taught any prayers. So, the elder asked the person what they said when they saw something beautiful. The person replied, "Oh God, how beautiful." The elder next asked what did the person say when they wanted to show their love for someone. Looking at the elder like she was totally crazy, the person said, "I say, I love you."

The elder stood quiet for a second. With a huge smile, she lifted her head and said, "Then, you pray all the time!"


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Prayer is conversation with the Creator, the Divine, the Source of All. Conversation isn't a canned script. Conversation is the exchange of words to express ideas and feelings as well as the sound of the words, facial expressions, gestures and unconscious thoughts. A simple, "Thank You," can be the catalyst for a conversation that lasts a lifetime.
But how does the Almighty spea…