22 great quotes from the book God of Love: A Guide to the Heart of Judaism, Christianity and Islam by Mirabai Starr

by Mark Votava


1. The compassionate Father and the protective Mother

“The One revels itself as the compassionate Father and the protective Mother, as unrequited Lover and loyal Friend, residing always at the core of our hearts, and utterly invisible.  The One transcends all form, all description, all theory, categorically refusing to be defined or confined by our human impulse to unlock the Mystery.  And the One resides at the center of all that is, ever-present and totally available.”

2. Taking care of the land

“Our challenge is not only to recognize the face of the Creator in the beauty of creation, but also to serve the Divine by taking care of the land, the air, and all beings that dwell with us here…”

3. Giving voice to the voiceless

“Countless women and men – known and unknown – stand up every day to give voice to the voiceless – not because it seems like the right thing to do, but because they have no choice: The call comes storming through the gates of their hearts…  In the act of surrendering to the Divine, the prophet relinquishes comfort, control, and any hope of being understood.”

4. At the heart of spiritual practice

“There is a longing that burns at the heart of spiritual practice…”

5. Longing and wholeness

“Longing may be our legacy, but wholeness is our birthright.  It lies at the heart of the disappointments and delights of everyday life.  In weeding the garden and burning the toast.  In falling asleep alone or enfolded in the arms of another.  In reading poetry instead of watching the news.  In missing the grandmother you adored and becoming the father you never had.  In weeping for the suffering of the oppressed, the degradation of the planet.”

6. Interdependence with all beings

“Interdependence with all beings has never again been an abstract concept to me.  I am viscerally aware of my debt to every blade of grass.  Innumerable, unexpected blessings emerged from the ashes of my loss: a childlike wonderment and gratitude in the face of the simplest things: a bowl of buttered noodles, reading poetry to my husband in bed, two horses prancing across the field behind our house.  These are the blossoms that unfold from my growing relationship with the Mystery of Love…”

7. Intrigued by your own unraveling

“You dare not speak these questions aloud…  It looks like a crisis of faith.  They will rush in to fix you.  But you are intrigued by your own unraveling.  You would like to see what comes next.  It is a relief to know nothing, to want nothing.  If this is an ailment, you think, may I never recover.”

8. Undergoing periods of radical unknowing

“It can be terrifying to find ourselves alone with Mystery.  Yet it is necessary to undergo periods of radical unknowing.”

9. An authentic spiritual meltdown

“…an authentic spiritual meltdown is a cause for celebration.  It is only then that we are stripped of our attachment to the way the presence of God is supposed to feel, and begin to rest in spiritual nakedness.  Divested of our constructs about the existence and nature of this God, we come face to face with Ultimate Reality.  In the midst of our crumbling, we may not see it as grace.  In fact, it looks as though we are giving up on God or, even worse, that God has abandoned us.”

10. The Dark Night of the Soul  

“The Dark Night of the Soul is often an intensely private experience, invisible to the casual observer.  It may have nothing to do with external circumstances…  Yet life-changing losses can be a catalyst for the internal breakdown of our most cherished beliefs.  If we tighten against the pain of this process, we may miss the opportunity for personal transformation and spiritual healing…”

11. Too mysterious to be defined

“The God of my parents repudiated is not my God.  My God is too vast to be contained by theology, too mysterious to be defined, too holy to be personified.  My God neither punishes nor rewards, but invites me into a living relationship that unfolds in the heart of all that is.  My God belongs to everyone, and this belonging connects me to the web of all life.”

12. The embodiment of the beloved

“The life of Christ is a mirror of the generous face of the Divine.  One Gospel story after the next reveals a God-Man who treated everyone as the embodiment of the beloved…”

13. A direct engagement with the roots of poverty

“Compassion is not a matter of feeling pity for the poor; it is a direct engagement with the roots of poverty, a willingness to sacrifice our own comfort for the well-being of someone else…”

14. The most difficult stranger to welcome

“Maybe the most difficult stranger to welcome is the one who lives inside us…”

15. Striking a balance

“How do we strike a balance between tending to our own welfare and serving the endless needs of humanity and the earth, between pouring ourselves out into the world and seeking to refill our own cup?  How do we ensure that we are not rolling down a path of convenience, showing up to serve when it suits our comfort and boosts our prestige, and withholding our gifts when we are feeling impoverished and underappreciated.”

16. Our most beautiful gifts

“And so I am reminded that our gravest errors can leave scars that become our most beautiful gifts.  And our scars become reminders of grace, of forgiveness.  Our wounds can serve as signs of our interconnectedness with all beings, and motivate us to continue striving to make things right between us.”

17. The technological world

“What is it in the psyche of the human family that now so deeply yearns for the Divine Feminine?  Why has She been shunned, ridiculed, and buried alive for millennia?  Perhaps by revitalizing our relationship with the Holy She, in the form of Mother, of Lover, of most intimate female Friend, we may unfold the treasure map that leads to the resources we need to heal the ravaged planet and all who dwell on her.  Tribal peoples have always understood the sacred nature of Mother Earth, but the technological world, in losing its connection with the land, has lost its connection to the Feminine.  It’s time to reclaim our birthright.”

18. Lifting up the whole world

“When you drop down into the silence, you lift up the whole world.”

19. The gift of being in the present moment

“To live a contemplative life means to consciously put aside the thousand demands of the world and offer ourselves the gift of being in the present moment, alert to the signs of the sacred that are breaking through everywhere, always…”

20. The line between genius and madness

“The greatest saints and mystics were plagued by all the same challenges the rest of us grapple with – often more so…  The line between genius and madness has always been a fluid one.  Radical gifts seem to be accompanied by equally potent imbalances.  Many brilliant artists, poets, and spiritual leaders suffer from depression and substance abuse.”

21. Let our experiences break us open

“…we all have the opportunity to let our experiences break us open to a place beyond the dualities of good and evil, right and wrong, self and the Divine…”

22. Rest in your groundedness

“So don’t do anything fancy.  Just rest in your groundedness and witness what happens.  Be willing not to know…”

Which quote here is your favorite?