Many / One

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Compiled by JoAnn Kite

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The Soul's Religion, Cultivating a Profoundly Spiritual Way of Life
Thomas Moore

1 "We pray because we can stretch beyond our narcissism, knowing that our life is a grace and that the mysteries we are born into ask for acknowledgment."

2 "He who Loves feels love descending into him and if he has wisdom may perceive it is from the Poetic Genius which is the Lord." William Blake, 'Annotations to Swedenborg's 'Divine Love and Divine Wisdom'

3 "I don't know how other people are, but I am always talking inwardly to presences that I take as real – my dead grandparents, an animal, existence itself, or no one in particular. I find myself in the midst of that otherness and I talk to it."

4 "The secret of finding the sacred in ordinary life is not in applying moralisms and ideologies to current affairs but in grasping the inherent profundity and indeed spirituality of every situation."

5 "He (Christ) shows a way to reimagine existence radically where we come into this world not to defend our egotism and separateness but to express our commonality with nature and with other human beings, where we are not anxiously trying to improve and succeed but rather embody the eternal realities of beauty and love."

6 "I simply trust the impulse to pray. It is strong and sometimes overwhelming. Besides, people all over the world pray. It is clearly a natural instinct and therefore can be trusted as valuable."

7 "We can glimpse God in the electric beauty of nature and art. That is how I became aware of the 'Thou' in nature on a day in Galway when I was lifted out of my usual state by the simple shimmer on the sunlit sea."

8 "The eternal quality of the most ordinary things allows our souls to enjoy the eternity of a moment in time….Everyday life is porous, full of holes that open onto the sacred."

9 "A truly ethical decision, large or small, releases me from my imprisonment in self-interest and allows me to glimpse the eternity of the self."

10 "God far transcends reason, but he is well embodied in the sensuous world. To know the creator we have to know creation firsthand and not through the secondary means of logic."

11 "Prayer…is grounded and completed in an openhearted engagement with the world."

12 "God who is unnameable is not for that reason abstract. If God is in the heart of things, we can relate to him personally either in direct dialogue and prayer or through the medium of life and the world."

13 "Opening up the pores of sensation – or the doors of perception, as Blake called them – we might sense more in the world than can be seen with the literal eye. We might perceive the world's beauty, its presence as a whole and in parts in relation to us, and our family relationship to it. We might sense a stirring there, a spark – a scintilla, the ancients called it. We might sense, as Meister Eckhart said, an eye looking back at us as we look into the world."

14 "The old paradoxes express God's nature better than any plain statements. God is greater than great, smaller than small. God is the most transcendent being and yet the most intimate. God is beyond any image I might have and yet requires the best of images."

15 "We are born with the seed of belief buried deep inside us. Over the years it may go through many different external forms, but it is profoundly personal and not consciously chosen. It is inseparable from our angel, the guiding presence that Heraclitus said is our character and Wordsworth pictures as a star."

16 "I am aware that my choices and experiences come from such a deep and mysterious place that even in the most concrete and timebound moments I am more than I could ever imagine myself to be. The eternal plays a constant role in my everyday life, and so it takes no intellectual stretch to imagine immortality."

17 "In the Gospel of Thomas, Jesus says, in a phrase that inspires me in many different ways, 'Split a piece of wood and I am there.' When I literally split a piece of wood and smell the pristine aroma of the virgin pulp, I know that once again my senses have detected the presence of God. I also find there my original self and my entire world in microcosm."

18 "Meister Eckhart describes prayer at its best as a sinking down into 'God's dearest will', a lovely phrase which of course can be taken naively but might also be understood as the affectionate and benign source of our lives."

19 "Having its own origins, educated by no one, without a mother, calm, nameless, having many names, living in fire: that is God." Lactantius (300 ad)

20 "God is in the flutter of the butterfly and the sweet aroma of the honeysuckle, in the steam rising from the pot of potatoes on the stove and in the smells and sounds and passing light in every room of the house."

21 "Every human life is a profound mystery. Deep and invisible currents make us who we are, and the world around us is full of secret intentions and laws."

This body of quotes compiled by JoAnn Kite