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“However many holy words you read, however many you speak, what good will they do you if you do not act on upon them?” -Buddha

By Rev. Majorie Rivera

Most religious and spiritual practices have a call to action. A daily practical application of values and beliefs that lead to a great inner knowing. There are many things one can read about, let’s take for example, the sea. I could say to you that the sea is vast, blue and has waves of water. I could tell you many things about the sea, that in fact, unless you have direct relational experience with the ocean, the awesomeness of concept will simply be lost. An excellent example; picture the 1999 movie with Brendan Frasier and Alicia Silverstone called “Blast from the Past.” Where the lead character, Adam sees the ocean for the first time after having been in a nuclear fallout shelter for 35 years. He plodded off into the water in his clothes and socks with sheer delight at first sight of the water’s edge.

Experience changes everything. Talking about helping someone is vastly different than rolling up your sleeves and actually helping. Life, as we call it, is an opportunity for us to know experientially what we already know conceptually. We have been reading and talking and letting life pass us by for quite some time, haven’t we?

Spirituality calls for all of the concepts to be put into action; kindness, love, and compassion in action. In other words, let a passion for something, anything, fuel your action. If you see a need for change, somewhere in your world, don’t be afraid to make one small ripple, that ripple could create a wave. Remember the concept of “pay it forward?” It was a movement stemmed from the Helen Hunt movie of the same name. The movie showed us the interconnectedness of kind acts and exemplified the famous Ghandi quote, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” How many quotes can I cram in here this month you ask, dear reader? It all goes so well together, I could go on for days . . .

Suggested Reading: The Hope by Andrew Harvey (A Guide to Sacred Activism)

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“Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp, Or what’s a heaven for? ” -Robert Browning

By Rev. Majorie Rivera

This is, by all means, my favorite quote by any writer or poet, ever. The original poem, Andrea Del Sarto was penned to honor the great technical painter of the same name. His work was admired by many, and yet the most common critique of the painter’s work was that he lacked ambition, or soul. In the poem, Browning was speaking to the part in all of us that exists in mediocrity. He was calling us out. Browning was saying that even if you are a great technical “anything”, whether that be a painter, a sculptor, a poet, a pianist, a mother, a doctor, anything… if you don’t aspire to be better than your actual skill set, you will never achieve greatness. You can perform any task with great technicality, but not greatness. When Browning says “what’s a heaven for?” he means inspiration is what makes the difference between having technical skill and using the universe’s great capacity to inspire within us, something that is greater than the human capacity.

It is implied within the word “heaven”, that Browning saw God as his muse. To me, when someone does something with love/God/universe, the difference is palpable, taste-able, sense-able. When anything is done with love, the impossible becomes possible, the limited becomes unlimited and the finite becomes infinite. Heaven houses the infinite, the unlimited, the possible, and from what all reports indicate, love. That’s what heaven is for— Love. Love is the driving and motivating force of the universe. Love trumps all other emotions. It loosens blocks, it primes the pump for other wonderful states of being, such as joy, harmony, reverence for life, peace and creativity. Love enhances every possible endeavor, strive to do things holding love in your heart as your inspiration.

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