This summer, I attended some retreats with my spiritual teacher, Amma, or Mata Amritanandamayi. One of the topics she talked about was about cultivating gratitude. She said that “Gratitude is a decision just like happiness. . . Gratitude is an inner connection between God, the entire creation and us.” She reminded us that everything we are receiving is due to the work of countless people living now and in the past, Mother Nature, and unseen forces. We are indebted to the world. Nature is our mother.
Other notes I wrote down:
Life is a blessing. Gratitude is a prayer that opens and enlarges our hearts to receive more. Appreciate life with each breath we take. Accept all situations with discernment. It is man’s nature to notice what we don’t have, instead of seeing all the good around us. Replace “mine” with “O God, everything is yours.” Help others without expecting anything in return. Remember that the next breath may not be ours. Remember God constantly. Our real success in life lies in unity.
Some time ago, I used the header image to make a greeting card. The positioning of the clouds, opening up in freedom, reminded me of Thich Nhat Hanh’s teachings about embracing our feelings. So I wrote these words:
inner skies widen
as each breath is observed
as each feeling is embraced
with arms of compassion
“I rarely let the word No escape
From my mouth
Because it is so plain to my soul
That God has shouted, Yes! Yes! Yes!
To every luminous movement in Existence.”
—Hafiz quoted in “Power of Intention”, Dr. Wayne Dyer
“The radiance in some places is so great as to be fairly dazzling . . . every crystal, every flower a window opening into heaven, a mirror reflecting the Creator.”—John Muir
This reminds me of the section in the Christmas carol, “O Holy Night”:
“A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices
for yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.”
The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you.
“Don’t go back to sleep.
You must ask for what you really want.
Don’t go back to sleep.
People are going back and forth across the doorsill where the two worlds touch.
The door is round and open.
Don’t go back to sleep. ”
“Neither in environment nor in heredity can I find the exact instrument that fashioned me, the anonymous roller that pressed upon my life, a certain intricate watermark whose unique design becomes visible when the lamp of art is made to shine through life’s foolscap.”
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.”—Proverbs 3:5-6
A beautiful spring day and sacred circle dancing led by Maureen and Andrea at my neighborhood park…
“Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in where nature may heal and cheer and give strength to the body and soul.”
“I know nothing, except what everyone knows if there when Graces dances, I should dance.”—W. H. Auden
“The nature of God is a circle of which the center is everywhere and the circumference is nowhere.”—Empedocles
“When our eyes see our hands doing the work of our hearts, the circle of Creation is completed inside us, the doors of our souls fly open, and love steps forth to heal everything in sight.”—Michael Bridge
“The one factor which connects a human being to Nature is the innate innocence within man. When we see a rainbow, or the waves of the ocean, do we still feel the innocent joy of a child? An adult who experiences a rainbow as being nothing but light waves will not know the joy and wonder of a child who sees a rainbow, or a child who is watching the waves of the ocean.”
—Amma, “Man and Nature”, p10
“The whole world is pulsing with the power of God…wave after wave of bliss. Your heart is like the shore, and the Ocean of Infinite Love is breaking on the shores of your heart.”
“You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment.”
—Henry David Thoreau
repetition can give beautiful structure
and an orderedness
can bring comfort
the repetition of a positive phrase, mantra,
can have the effect of stilling the mind
of de-cluttering the mind
of polishing the soul
of reflecting the world the way it is
of seeing the truth
of feeling God’s presence
of practicing concentration
repetition of a good habit or practice
can be like steady nailing of your boat,
so when the storms come,
you will have a solid boat
you won’t sink
“All life has emptiness at its core; it is the quiet hollow reed through which the wind of God blows and makes the music that is our life. Without that emptiness, we are clogged and unable to give birth to music, love, or kindness. All creation springs from emptiness: In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form, and void…”
-WayneMuller, “Sabbath, Finding Rest, Renewal, and Delight in Our Busy Lives”, p.51
“We inter-breathe with the rain forests, we drink from the oceans. They are part of our own body. “
—Thich Nhat Hanh
“The purpose of life is undoubtedly to know oneself. We cannot do it unless we learn to identify ourselves with all that lives. The sum-total of that life is God.”
“There is within each of us a deep and holy hunger for sacred union….Sacred partnership provides a gateway to God, an opportunity to practice love daily, a chance to enhance our heart connection through commitment and consistent gentle kindness to someone else.”
-Sue Patton Thoele, “Heart Centered Marriage”