God Notes Archives
One God Note #607. 2014/01/05.
Theophany, from the Ancient Greek (ἡ) θεοφάνεια (theophaneia, meaning "appearance of god"), refers to the appearance of a deity to a human or other being. This term has been used to refer to appearances of the gods in the ancient Greek and Near Eastern religions. While the Iliad is the earliest source for descriptions of theophanies in the Classical tradition (and they occur throughout Greek mythology), probably the earliest description of a theophany is in the Epic of Gilgamesh. The term theophany has acquired a specific usage for Christians and Jews with respect to the Bible: It refers to the manifestation of God to man; the sensible sign by which the presence of God is revealed.
Retrieved from Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theophany on 5 January 2014.
The love of God is blessedness, and that is joy, and to love God is to be full of joy. Loving God and serving Him is done by imitating Him in His incarnation as man, that is by being Christ-like, and following Christ's example.
Thomas Merton, Run to the Mountain, P.62.
More on Thomas Merton (1915-1968) can be found at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Merton
One God Note #608. 2014/01/12.
Consider how wool is turned into an elegantly designed carpet by coming into contact with an intelligent person. See how dirt can be turned into a fine palace by coming into contact with an intelligent person. If association with the intelligent has such an effect on inanimate objects, think what effect there will be when one seeker of God associates with another ... God's saints have witnessed heavens beyond the heavens we know. (...) The sheik is the root of spiritual joy. The oceans of joy are with him.
Rumi, Fihi Ma Fihi #63, quoted in: Helminski, Kabir (2000). The Rumi Collection. P.123.
More on Rumi (1207-1273) can be found at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rumi
One God Note #609. 2014/01/19.
If you have weapons, take them home; if you do not have them, please do not seek to get them. We cannot solve this problem through retaliatory violence. We must meet violence with nonviolence. Remember the words of Jesus: "He who lives by the sword will perish by the sword." We must love our white brothers, no matter what they do to us. We must make them know that we love them. Jesus still cries out in words that echo across the centuries: "Love your enemies; bless them that curse you; pray for them that despitefully use you." This is what we must live by. We must meet hate with love. Remember, if I am stopped, this movement will not stop, because God is with the movement. Go home with this glowing faith and this radiant assurance.
Martin Luther King's words after a bomb was thrown into his house in Alabama, on 30 January 1956, in Stride Toward Freedom (1958). Retrieved from: http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Martin_Luther_King,_Jr. on 19 January 2014.
More on Martin Luther King Jr. (1929-1968) can be found at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin_Luther_King_Jr.
One God Note #610. 2014/01/26.
In ancient times, people lived holistic lives. (...) If you want to stop being confused, then emulate these ancient folk: join your body, mind and spirit in all you do. Choose food, clothing and shelter that accords with nature. Rely on your own body for transportation. Allow your work and your recreation to be one and the same. Do exercise that develops your whole being and not just your body. (...) Serve others and cultivate yourself simultaneously. Understand that true growth comes from meeting and solving the problems of life in a way that is harmonizing to yourself and to others. If you can follow these simple old ways, you will be continually renewed.
Hua Hu Ching 43, quoted after: Novak Philip, The World's Wisdom. P.171.
More on Hua Hu Ching can be found at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Huahujing
One God Note #611. 2014/02/02.
The goddess awakens in infinite forms and a thousand disguises. She is found where she is least expected, appears out of nowhere and everywhere to illumine the open heart. She is singing, crying, moaning, wailing, shrieking, crooning to us, to be awake, to commit ourselves to life, to be a lover in the world and of the world, to join our voices in the single song of constant change and creation. For her law is to love all beings, and she is the cup of the drink of life. The circle is ever open, ever unbroken.
More on Starhawk can be found at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Starhawk
One God Note #612. 2014/02/09.
of domination and servitude
are what you know as love
but love is different
it arrives complete
like the moon in the window
love is the sea of not being
and there intellect drowns
a million galaxies
are a little scum
on that shoreless sea
Rumi, Subtle Degrees, quoted in: Helminski, Kabir (2000). The Rumi Collection. P.49-50.
More on Rumi can be found at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rumi
One God Note #613. 2014/02/17.
If I knew something useful to me and harmful to my family, I should put it out of my mind. If I knew something useful to my family and not to my country, I should try to forget it. If I knew something useful to my country and harmful to Europe, or useful to Europe and harmful to the human race, I should consider it a crime.
Charles de Montesquieu, as quoted by Robert John Loy, Montesquieu, chapter 3, p. 122 (1968).
More on Charles de Montesquieu (1689-1755) can be found at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_de_Secondat,_Baron_de_Montesquieu
One God Note #614. 2014/02/23.
The important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win, but to take part; the important thing in Life is not triumph, but the struggle; the essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well. To spread these principles is to build up a strong and more valiant and, above all, more scrupulous and more generous humanity.
Pierre de Coubertin (1863-1937), founder of the International Olympic Committee, as quoted in: The Olympian (1984) by Peter L. Dixon, p. 210
More on Pierre de Coubertin can be found at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pierre_de_Coubertin
One God Note #615. 2014/03/02.
O Lord and master of my
life! a spirit of idleness, despondency, ambition and
idle-talking, give me not.
But rather, a spirit of chastity, humble-mindedness, patience and charity, bestow upon me Thy servant.
Yea, my king and Lord, grant me to see my own failings and refrain from judging others: For blessed art Thou unto ages of ages. Amen.
Saint Ephraim’s prayer for the time of Great Fast. Quoted after: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Fast
More on Great Fast can be found at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Fast
More on the Prayer of Saint Ephraim can be found at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prayer_of_Saint_Ephrem
More on Saint Ephraim the Syrian (306-373) can be found at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ephrem_the_Syrian
One God Note #616. 2014/03/09.
The daily life is a life of action. Whether you like it or not, you must function. Whatever you do for your own sake accumulates and becomes explosive; one day it goes off and plays havoc with you and your world. When you deceive yourself that you work for the good of all, it makes matters worse, for you should not be guided by your own ideas of what is good for others. A man who claims to know what is good for others, is dangerous. (…) (Work) Neither for yourself nor for the others, but for the work’s own sake. A thing worth of doing is its own purpose and meaning. (…)
Nisargadatta Maharaj. I am That. P.89-90.
More on Nisargadatta Maharaj can be found at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nisargadatta_Maharaj
More quotations from Nisargadatta can be found at: http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Nisargadatta_Maharaj
One God Note #617. 2014/03/16.
Oh bury me, then rise ye up
Taras Shevchenko, 25 December 1845, Pereiaslav, Translated by John Weir, Toronto, 1961.
Retrieved from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taras_Shevchenko on 16 March 2014.
More on Taras Shevchenko can be found at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taras_Shevchenko
One God Note #618. 2014/03/23.
The good man, though a slave, is free; the wicked, though he reigns, is a slave, and not the slave of a single man, but — what is worse — the slave of as many masters as he has vices.
Retrieved from: http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Slavery on 23 March 2014.
More on Saint Augustine (354-430) can be found at: http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Augustine_of_Hippo
One God Note #619. 2014/04/06.
Leave your thought quite naked, your affection uninvolved, and your self simply as you are, so that grace may touch and nourish you with the experimental knowledge of God as He really is.
The Book of Privy Counseling, P.151.
More on The Book of Privy Counseling can be found at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Cloud_of_Unknowing
One God Note #620. 2014/04/13.
When a woman is about to give birth, she is sad because her hour of suffering has come; but when a baby is born, she forgets her suffering because she is happy that a baby has been born into the world. That is how it is with you: now you are sad, but I will see you again, and your hearts will be filled with gladness, the kind of gladness that no one can take away from you.
Gospel of John 16:21-22.
More on Gospel of John can be found at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gospel_of_John
One God Note #621. 2014/04/13.
Jesus said, "The heavens and the earth will roll up in your presence, and whoever is living from the living one will not see death (...)."
Gospel of Thomas, 111.
More on Gospel of Thomas can be found at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gospel_of_Thomas
One God Note #622. 2014/04/26.
The art of taxation consists in so plucking the goose as to obtain the largest possible amount of feathers with the smallest possible amount of hissing.
Attributed to Jean Baptiste Colbert, minister of finance to Louis XIV of France; and Cardinal Mazarin, under whom Colbert served. Reported in Burton Stevenson, ed., The Home Book of Quotations (1967), 10th ed., p. 2300f, no. 5. Retrieved from: https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Taxeson 26 April 2014.
Naturally, the common people don't want war; neither in Russia nor in England nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship. ... the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country.
I am most anxious to enlist everyone who can speak or write to join in checking this mad, wicked folly of "Women's Rights," with all its attendant horrors... Were women to "unsex" themselves by claiming equality with men, they would become the most hateful, heathen, and disgusting of beings and would surely perish without male protection.
Queen Victoria, in an 1870 letter, quoted in All For Love: Seven Centuries of Illicit Liaison by Val Horsler (2006). Retrieved from https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Victoria_of_the_United_Kingdom on 19 May 2014.
The renown Chinese sage Lao Tzu promoted a concept and practice called wu wei, which means effortless being and doing. Effortless being means to be natural, unforced, and adaptive. Effortless doing means not applying undue energy of force to anything. Most people struggle unnecessarily through life, battering walls instead of finding the doorway. Many exhaust their energy by digging in dry, hard soil instead of softening it with water beforehand. Keep these metaphors in mind and translate them to daily life. (...) If you practice wu wei in your life, you will be rewarded with increased joy, flow, health, and longevity.
One of the astonishing attributes of Sabbath time is its unflinching uselessness. Nothing will get done, not a single item will be checked off any list. Nothing of significance will be accomplished, no goal realized. It is thoroughly without measurable value. Many of us are reluctant to slow our pace because we feel a driving need to be useful. (...) But Sabbath time offers the gift of deep balance; in Sabbath time, we are valued not for what we have done or accomplished, but simply because we have received the gentle blessing of being miraculously alive.
By following his qualities of work, every man can become perfect. (...) It is better to engage in one’s own occupation, even though one may perform it imperfectly, than to accept another’s occupation and perform it perfectly. Duties prescribed according to one’s nature are never affected by sinful reactions. Every endeavor is covered by some fault, just as fire is covered by smoke. Therefore one should not give up the work born of his nature, O son of Kunti, even if such work is full of fault.
Learn to talk less and work more. This is the field of spiritual practice. Karma is the highest way of perfection. It is a great thing to take a human body. Whoever comes to the earth must do work. (...) All who have taken birth must work to be successful. (...) By working hard, a man can achieve peace within himself and in the world around him. If everyone works diligently and with love, there will be peace throughout the world. (...) A person might argue that when destruction is going to take place, why should I work? Why should I do any karma? But that is not right. One should work to his last breath. (...)
The whole universe is ever in his power. He is pure consciousness, the creator of time: all-powerful, all-knowing. It is under his rule that the work of creation revolves in its evolution, and we have earth, and water, and ether, and fire and air. His being is the source of all being, the seed of all things that in this life have their life. He is beyond time and space, and yet he is the God of infinite forms who dwells in our inmost thoughts, and who is seen by those who love him.
After centuries of knowing God through faith, we are now ready to understand divine intelligence directly. In many ways this new knowledge reinforces what spiritual traditions have already promised. God is invisible and yet performs all miracles. He is the source of every impulse of love. Beauty and truth are both children of this God. In the absence of knowing the infinite source of energy and creativity, life’s miseries come into being. Getting close to God through a true knowing heals the fear of death, confirms the existence of soul, and gives ultimate meaning to life. (...) There are no known physical mechanisms that trigger it, yet feeling close to God occurs in every age, among all people. We’re all capable of going beyond our material bonds, yet we often fail to value this ability. (...)
(…) The great and holy deeds done by others are examples for us, since they show, in a concrete manner, what greatness and holiness is, but they are not models which we should copy. However small our achievements may be in comparison with those of our forefathers, they have their real value in that we bring them about in our own way and by our own efforts.
(…) Every person born into this world represents something new, something that never existed before, something original and unique. (…) for if there had been someone like him, there would be no need for him to be in the world. Every single man is a new thing in the world, and is called upon to fulfill his particularity in this world. (…)
All men have access to God, but each man has a different access. Mankind’s great chance lies precisely in the unlikeness of men (…). God’s all inclusiveness manifests itself in the infinite multiplicity of the ways that lead to him, each of which is open to one man.
Three gifts in particular distinguish the spiritual father. The first is insight and discernment (diakrisis), the ability to perceive intuitively the secrets of another’s heart, to understand the hidden depths of which the other is unaware. The spiritual father penetrates beneath the conventional gestures and attitudes whereby we conceal our true personality from others and from ourselves; and, beyond all these trivialities, he comes to grips with the unique person made in the image and likeness of God. (…)
With this gift of insight there goes the ability to use words with power. As each person comes before him, the starets knows – immediately and specifically – what it is that the individual needs to hear. (…)
The second gift of the spiritual father is the ability to love others and to make others’ sufferings his own. Of Abba Poemen, one of the greatest of the Egyptian gerontes, it is briefly and simply recorded: “He possessed love, and many came to him.” (…)
A third gift of the spiritual father is the power to transform the human environment, both the material and the non-material. The gift of healing, possessed by so many of the startsi, is one aspect of this power. More generally, the starets helps his disciples to perceive the world as God created it and as God desires it once more to be.
Samhain was seen as a liminal time, when spirits or fairies (the aos sí) could more easily come into our world. (…) The belief that the souls of the dead return home on one night or day of the year seems to have ancient origins and is found in many cultures throughout the world (…) As at Beltane, bonfires were lit on hilltops at Samhain and there were rituals involving them. (…) It is suggested that the fires were a kind of imitative or sympathetic magic – they mimicked the Sun, helping the "powers of growth" and holding back the decay and darkness of winter. (…) They may also have served to symbolically "burn up and destroy all harmful influences". Accounts from the 18th and 19th centuries suggest that the fires (as well as their smoke and ashes) were deemed to have protective and cleansing powers. (…) In Moray, boys asked for bonfire fuel from each house in the village. When the fire was lit, "one after another of the youths laid himself down on the ground as near to the fire as possible so as not to be burned, and in such a position as to let the smoke roll over him. The others ran through the smoke and jumped over him". When the bonfire burnt down, they scattered the ashes, vying with each other who should scatter them most. (…) Sometimes, two bonfires would be built side by side, and the people – sometimes with their livestock – would walk between them as a cleansing ritual. The bones of slaughtered cattle were said to have been cast upon bonfires. In the pre-Christian Gaelic world, cattle were the main form of wealth and were the center of agricultural and pastoral life.
People also took flames from the bonfire back to their homes. In northeastern Scotland, they carried burning fir around their fields to protect them, and on South Uist they did likewise with burning turf. In some places, people doused their hearth fires on Samhain night. Each family then solemnly re-lit its hearth from the communal bonfire, thus bonding the families of the village together. (…)
Over time, the night of 31 October came to be called All Hallows' Eve (or All Hallows' Even). Samhain influenced All Hallows' Eve and vice-versa, and the two eventually morphed into the secular holiday known as Halloween.
If there is one word that you find coming out like a bomb from the Upanishads, bursting like a bomb-shell upon masses of ignorance, it is the word fearlessness. And the only religion that ought to be taught is the religion of fearlessness. (...) It is fear that brings misery, fear that brings death, fear that breeds evil. And what causes fear? Ignorance of our own nature.
Stillness. The world is chaotic. Everyone is busy. It can be difficult to find quiet time. But there is something important in stillness. It is often when we stop; when we give ourselves time (just with ourselves and our thoughts) that allow our inner most desires and voices to be heard. This year we asked submitting artists, “Where do you find stillness?” Is it … wandering in a field where old totems whisper their ancient stories into gentle breezes? Or perhaps you find it in the beauty of a grey sky as it opens and spills out its gift of first snow. (…)
I hereby accept the training rule of
avoiding all Killing.
I hereby accept the training rule of avoiding all Stealing.
I hereby accept the training rule of avoiding all Sexual Abuse.
I hereby accept the training rule of avoiding all Dishonesty.
I hereby accept the training rule of avoiding all Alcohol & Drugs.
As long as this life lasts, I am thus protected by these 5 precepts.
For the Eternal God is God supreme, the great, the mighty and the awesome God who shows no favour and takes no bribe, but upholds the cause of the orphan and the widow and befriends the stranger providing him with food and clothing. You must too befriend the stranger for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.
Let us remember that the Christmas heart is a giving heart, a wide–open–heart that thinks of others first. The birth of the baby Jesus stands as the most significant event in all history, because it has meant the pouring into a sick world the healing medicine of love which has transformed all manner of hearts for almost two thousand years... (…)
No one can celebrate a genuine Christmas without being truly poor. The self-sufficient, the proud, those who, because they have everything, look down on others, those who have no need ever of God — for them there will be no Christmas. Only the poor, the hungry, those who need someone to come on their behalf, will have that someone. That someone is God, Emmanuel, God-with-us. Without poverty of spirit there can be no abundance of God.
Best of all, Christmas means a spirit of love, a time when the love of God and the love of our fellow men should prevail over all hatred and bitterness, a time when our thoughts and deeds and the spirit of our lives manifest the presence of God.