Letting Go of Preconceived Prayers and Theology – 9 quotes from Mirabai Starr’s book – God of Love: A Guide to the Heart of Judaism, Christianity and Islam

by Mark Votava

51DfoLMQwkL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_1. Tending the earth that sustains us

“We are called to balance the cultivation of our own spiritual liberation with our dedication to tending the earth that sustains us.”

2. The catalyst for my longing for God

“I have simply experienced an unusual number of tragic losses, which propelled me to plunge into spiritual practices as if my life depended on it, which in many ways it did. As the years went by, death after death continued to reveal traces of grace. As long as I can remember, my sorrow has been the catalyst for my longing for God.”

3. How do we strike 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?”

4. Losing our connection to the Feminine

“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.”

5. Letting go of prescribed prayers and theology

“The Christian contemplative tradition involves letting go of prescribed prayers and theology…”

6. Loosen the grip of the ego

“Prolonged periods of silence and solitude loosen the grip of the ego…”

7. The boxes human beings so elaborately construct

“…the Holy One does not live in the boxes human beings so elaborately construct to contain her…”

8. Making room for the Mystery

“But when we say yes to the God of Love in an unfamiliar, and potentially uncomfortable form, locks fly off the doors of the heart, making room for the Mystery to dwell there.”

9. Our life in the world

“We lose patience with ourselves for not being enough; we condemn ourselves for being too much. We forget that the path to God is bound up with our life in the world. Evidence of our spiritual mastery lies in our ever-deepening, continuously expanding humanity. The trick is to be as fully present as possible to the holiness of the moment. We are challenged to embrace, yet not identify with, all that is. This requires practice: meditation practice, relationship practice, social action practice. It is built on nobodyness training and yet is dependent on somebodyness experience.”

Have you let go of preconceived prayers and theology?

My new book The Mystical Imagination: Seeing the Sacredness of All of Life (2015) is finally done! It is available on kindle and paperback!

“Our crowded, overly-consumed, hyper-active, digitally-addicted lifestyle is draining the life out of us. We are desperate to transcend the chaos and find a better way to live. We need a mystical imagination. Get ready to be transported into the depths of meaning as Votava breaks open the contemplative path and shows you how to live your life to the fullest.” Phileena Heuertz, author of Pilgrimage of a Soul: Contemplative Spirituality for the Active Life and founding partner, Gravity, a Center for Contemplative Activism

My first book The Communal Imagination: Finding a Way to Share Life Together (2014) is available on kindle and paperback also!

“Inside everyone there is a longing for community, to love and be loved. We are made in the image of a communal God. But in our hyper-mobile, individualistic, cluttered world… community is an endangered thing. And community is like working out – it takes work, sweat, discipline…  without that our muscles atrophy. Everybody wants to be fit, but not too many people want to do the work to get there. Mark’s book is sort of a workout manual, helping you rediscover your communal muscles and start building them up slowly. It is an invitation to live deep in a shallow world.”  Shane Claiborne, author and activist