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  • Writer's pictureDavid Carlson

928: Deep down there is only one faith that human beings have, and that is that deep trust in life

Day 928: Friday, September 30, 2022

Deep down there is only one faith that all human beings have, and that is that deep trust in life.

What we really want is joy. We don’t want things. We don’t want to accumulate things. We forget that, and so gratefulness can help us see that, can help us realize that.

Deep down there is only one faith that all human beings have, and that is that deep trust in life. Even our body expresses that trust in life by always taking another breath. We can’t even stop it. We can’t stop breathing.

So that deep trust in life—that is what all humans share, and that expresses itself, then, in a Buddhist way, in a Christian way, and even in ways that we don’t recognize as explicitly religious. Many atheists have a deep faith. They all have that deep faith, but they express it very differently.

The practice of gratefulness that I’m concerned with is grateful living. That means every moment of your life you practice gratefulness. You practice awareness that everything is gift, everything is gratuitous, and if it’s all given, gratuitously given, then the only appropriate response is gratefulness

We cannot be grateful for war. That’s an unmitigated evil. We cannot be grateful for exploitation, for untimely death. But we can be grateful in every situation. The key word is “opportunity.” If you catch onto that, then if we are in practice, when something comes along for which we cannot be grateful, spontaneously we will—our mind will say, “Well, what’s this the opportunity for now?”

And there’s always an opportunity for something positive, usually the opportunity to learn something new, even in the worst situations, or for the opportunity to do something. If we learn of an injustice we have the opportunity to stand up and to speak up and to do something.

The mystic is not a special kind of human being, but every human being is a special kind of mystic. We all have mystic experiences, and in these peak moments, in these peak experiences, all of us have this experience of being one with all. Those are the moments in which we feel most alive, most truly ourselves.

“Word” is not just vocabulary, but “word” is everything that speaks to us, and in this sense a flower can be a word that speaks to me. A poem as a whole can be a word that speaks to me, a piece of art, everything. It speaks to me. It tells me something, it tells me something about ultimate reality. That’s a mystic insight that every human being can appreciate, I think, and experience, if we only allow ourselves.

The one most frequently repeated command in the Bible is not “love your neighbor,” but “fear not.” And if there is one thing that we need in our world, if there’s one thing that we should write on our mirror and see every morning when we look into the mirror, it’s “fear not.” If we went into the day with that command deeply tattooed on our heart, “fear not,” we’d be completely different people and create a completely different world—a world of faith.

So we participate in this tremendous dance in which the gift comes forth from the source and through thanksgiving returns to the source, where the word comes out of the silence and through understanding returns to the silence. Gratefulness is not just saying “thank you.” It’s acting. It is being your self. A mother is grateful, shows gratefulness by mothering, a scientist by doing science. That is what the Bible calls “in God we live and move and have our being.”

- Reflection by Brother David Steindl-Rast

Announcement: Art Trails with Bob McFarland

Please make it a point to visit Bob McFarland's studio this weekend (the second and final weekend of Art Trails)

to see his amazing work:

Address: 2404 2404 Marylyn Cir

Petaluma, CA 94954-1810


Of his art Bob says:

I photograph for beauty. Beauty is as essential to life as air. We are addicted to it. We are zombies without it. All living organisms survive, thrive, with the pursuit and enchantment of beauty. The satisfaction, the passionate desire for beauty provides, Plato thought, our greatest pleasure, our greatest happiness.

The world we live in is so wonderful and mysterious, we need only to believe in transcendence merely beyond our egos to experience harmony, integration, wholeness, the contemplative nourishment that gives us our humanity: compassion, innocence, dignity, purity, peace -- the hallmarks of our very humanity.

Announcement #2: For lovers of Mark Shields

Mark Shields Celebration of Life at Georgetown University - Lovely to watch

Mark Shields, columnist, legendary political campaign strategist and longtime contributor to the PBS NewsHour, has died at 85.

For 30 years, PBS viewers tuned into the NewsHour on Friday nights to hear what Shields had to say about the most pressing political issues of the week. Mark brought a lifetime of Washington experience to the conversation, drawing upon his work on countless political campaigns supporting candidates from Robert F. Kennedy to Moe Udall to Sargent Shriver.

Sitting opposite a conservative counterpart — David Gergen, William Safire, Paul Gigot, Michael Gerson, David Brooks – Mark helped the PBS NewsHour establish its reputation as a place where even the most contentious political issues could be discussed with respect and civility.

“It would be hard to describe a political temperament more needed in our times,” said Michael Gerson. “He personified all that’s special in the PBS NewsHour,” anchor and managing editor Judy Woodruff said.

In fact, Mark was a founding member of our weekly political discussion with anchor Jim Lehrer. After joining the show for semi-regular conversations during the 1988 presidential campaign season, Lehrer and the NewsHour team decided to make the segment a regular part of the program.

Mark grew up in Weymouth, Massachusetts, graduated from Notre Dame and volunteered for the Marines, where he served for two years. (Lehrer and Mark shared a bond as former Marines.) After the military, he turned his attention to politics, joining the staff of Sen. William Proxmire and then moving on to contribute to numerous local and national campaigns. In 1979, he joined the Washington Post as an editorial writer and soon established a weekly column, which was eventually syndicated.

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