Culture of Imagination

connecting spirituality to everyday life

Tag: spirituality

Some Great Quotes by Some Great Writers

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“Modern society is losing its appetite for community…”  Jen Pollock Michel Teach Us to Want: Longing, Ambition and the Life of Faith

“A dark night of the soul is not an intellectual exercise but a life-shattering experience.  This kind of experience cannot be crafted or sought after – it can only be submitted to.  Darkness of the soul, though terrifying, is a profound grace.  It is an invitation by the Spirit to transformation.”  Phileena Heuertz Pilgrimage of a Soul: Contemplative Spirituality for the Active Life

“We stop looking to the future; we take time to live.  We are no longer in a hurry because we have discovered that there is gift and grace in the present…”  Jean Vanier Community and Growth

“Let us remember that attentiveness toward others is attentiveness to God.  We cannot have one without the other…”  Natalie Smith Stand On Your Own Feet: Finding a Contemplative Spirit in Everyday Life

“The voices of the poor simply aren’t as loud or demanding as the ones constantly insisting that I deserve to satisfy my every whim…  When I really focus, though, and when I do pay attention to the voices of the poor, I hear in them God’s own wisdom.”  Margot Starbuck Small Things With Great Love: Adventures in Loving Your Neighbor

“I’d never before considered how my identity was tied to my place…  I’d never realized how my place defined me until I was no longer there…”  Michelle DeRusha Spiritual Misfit: A Memoir of Uneasy Faith

“Community carries us over the rough spots of life.  It lifts us in its current and moves us when we cannot move ourselves.”  Joan Chittister Listen with the Heart: Sacred Moments in Everyday Life

“After years of being taught that the way to deal with painful emotions is to get rid of them, it can take a lot of reschooling to learn to sit with them instead, finding out from those who feel them what they have learned by sleeping in the wilderness that those who sleep in comfortable houses may never know.”  Barbara Brown Taylor Learning to Walk in the Dark

“…if people skimp on their inner work, their outer work will suffer as well.”  Parker J. Palmer Let Your Life Speak: Listening to the Voice of Vocation

“Once we’ve found a community that accepts the way God has made us… we stay.  We grow roots.  We take a vow of stability.”  Marlena Graves A Beautiful Disaster: Finding Hope in the Midst of Brokenness

“God can work in me even when I can’t see squat…”  Becky Garrison Jesus Died for this? A Satirist’s Search for the Risen Christ

“Walking lends itself to a contemplative rhythm…”  Carolyn Weber Holy is the Day: Living in the Gift of the Present

“While earthly kingdoms belong to the rich and powerful, Jesus spoke of a kingdom that belongs to the meek and the gentle, the merciful and the peacemakers.  Whereas earthly kingdoms usually start with a sovereign leader taking control, Jesus said his kingdom would start small, like a mustard seed, and grow from the bottom up.  While earthly politicians associate with the rich and elite, Jesus associated with the outcasts.  While earthly kings prefer liberty by conquest, Jesus spoke of liberty through forgiveness.”  Rachel Held Evans Evolving in Monkey Town: How a Girl Who Knew All the Answers Learned to Ask the Questions

“Jesus had come to make the world a place in which it was a little easier to be grateful…”  Mary Jo Leddy Radical Gratitude

“Fixating on differences leads us to ignore glaring commonalities…”  Christena Cleveland Disunity in Christ: Uncovering the Hidden Forces that Keep Us Apart

“It is, of course, impossible not to hear things from one’s own position, but it is possible to listen in a sensitive and careful way that has the power to unsettle our preconceived ideas.  This means that one pays attention to what the other says, allowing the words and phrases to place our own assumptions into question.”  Peter Rollins The Idolatry of God: Breaking Our Addiction to Certainty and Satisfaction  

“We cannot miss that Jesus makes no such division or distinction between the spiritual and material needs of humanity.  The righteousness and justice we are called to hunger and thirst after, and the shalom we are called to create in the world… are absolutely concerned with the whole person, and indeed all of creation…”  Jamie Arpin-Ricci The Cost of Community: Jesus, St. Francis and Life in the Kingdom

“We are an infamously mobile nation…”  Maggie Jackson Distracted: The Erosion of Attention and the Coming Dark Age

“For centuries, humility was seen as a key component of a healthy spiritual life.  In more recent times, humility has lost a good deal of status…”  Paula Huston Simplifying the Soul: Lenten Practices to Renew Your Spirit

“On any given morning, I might not be able to list for you the facts I know about God.  But I can tell you what I wish to commit myself to, what I want for the foundation of my life, how I want to see…  Let this be the place I work, struggle, play, rest.  I commit myself to this.”  Lauren F. Winner Still: Notes on a Mid-Faith Crisis

“The reality of God appearing in live action is to be found only in this sense of the present moment, because it alone is living, real, dynamic…”  Beatrice Bruteau Radical Optimism: Practical Spirituality in an Uncertain World

“Life can too easily get away from us when we unintentionally just follow whatever daily rhythm we fall into.  When we do not take a moment to reflect on what values are guiding our decision making.  But when it comes to their own habits, the wise will choose awareness.”  Sarah Cunningham The Well-Balanced World Changer: Staying Sane While Doing Good

“God picks us up, carries us a little way on the journey, and then puts us down for a rest.  Then God picks us up and carries us a little farther, and stops, giving us small increments on the journey, one piece at a time, in the hope that we might stop focusing on where we are going and instead notice where we are.”  Lillian Daniel When “Spiritual But Not Religious” Is Not Enough: Seeing God in Surprising Places, Even the Church

“Inevitably, all adaptive work is a creative act…”  Sharon Daloz Parks Leadership Can Be Taught: A Bold Approach for a Complex World

“Where you have freedom in love, the space to be yourself, there you truly exist…”  Ilia Delio Compassion: Living in the Spirit of St. Francis

“Although Jesus had a tremendous amount of power, he did not refer to himself as a leader or a king.  Yet no one else has influenced this world as much as Jesus.”  MaryKate Morse Making Room for Leadership: Power, Space and Influence

“There are Dorothy Days everywhere.  Some are known; others serve invisibly.  None seem to be interested in personal recognition, and dismiss characterizations as saints as silly and irrelevant…”  Mirabai Starr God of Love: A Guide to the Heart of Judaism, Christianity and Islam

“When I experience myself as separate from everyone else, it creates an automatic mentality of scarcity and an automatic sense of competing for limited resources.  Another person’s gain is at least potentially my loss, so I need to be constantly vigilant that my rights and needs are being upheld; that I am not being taken advantage of…”  Cynthia Bourgeault Mystical Hope: Trusting in the Mercy of God

“We all shape and are shaped by others and by our own experiences.  I do not believe there is one way of following Christ…”  Wendy McCaig From the Sanctuary to the Streets: How the Dreams of One City’s Homeless Sparked a Faith Revolution that Transformed a Community

“It is no more possible to live in the future than it is to live in the past.  If life is not now, it is never.  It is impossible to imagine ‘how it will be,’ and to linger over that task is to prepare a disappointment.  The tomorrow I hope for may very well be worse than today.  There is great waste and destructiveness in our people’s desire to ‘get somewhere’…”  Wendell Berry The Long-Legged House

“This gift, to see Christ in others, is mystical…”  Emilie Griffin Wonderful and Dark is this Road: Discovering the Mystic Path

“May we all keep growing, continue learning, and become communities that bear light together, even in our brokenness.  And as you go forward wherever you find yourself, remember, you are not alone – others are on similar paths.  This is hard work.  It’s okay to find closure.  It’s okay to make mistakes.  It’s okay to start simply.”  Kelly Bean How To Be A Christian Without Going To Church: The Unofficial Guide to Alternative Forms of Christian Community

“Hospitality is not the only answer to difference, but it is one way to respond to this challenge.  It points us to the future that God intends, where riotous difference is welcomed!  Hospitality will not make us feel safe, but it will lead us to risk joining in the work of mending the creation without requiring those whom we encounter to become like us.”  Letty M. Russell Just Hospitality: God’s Welcome in a World of Difference

“Wherever there is love, the poor can have hope, and we can have it with them.”  Jon Sobrino No Salvation Outside the Poor: Prophetic-Utopian Essays

“As we keep traveling forward on this bumpy, beautiful road looking for signs of life, we turn our attention to the passions we have inside of us to love, serve, create, advocate, and cultivate some of our dreams…”  Kathy Escobar Faith Shift: Finding Your Way Forward When Everything You Believe is Coming Apart

“What makes the temptation of power so seemingly irresistible?  Maybe it is that power offers an easy substitute for the hard task of love.  It seems easier to be God than to love God, easier to control people than to love people, easier to own life than to love life…”  Henri Nouwen Seeds of Hope

“Commitment to a place and a people means that relationships can be formed that are able to withstand trials and disagreements, but often people move in and out of… communities before deep roots are established.  When expectations of mobility are combined with a consumer mind-set, people are very likely to leave when things get difficult.”  Christine D. Pohl Living into Community: Cultivating Practices That Sustain Us

“Although Western Christianity would eventually be defined as a belief system about God, throughout its first five centuries people understood it primarily as spiritual practice that offered a meaningful way of life in this world – not as a neat set of doctrines, an esoteric belief, or the promise of heaven…”  Diana Butler Bass Christianity After Religion: The End of Church and the Birth of a New Spiritual Awakening   

Which quote resonates with you?

http://www.amazon.com/Communal-Imagination-Finding-Share-Together/dp/1495487423/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1424538555&sr=8-1&keywords=the+communal+imagination+finding+a+way+to+share+life+togethe

8 Must Read Books

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1. Pilgrimage of a Soul: Contemplative Spirituality for the Active Life by Phileena Heuertz.

I love this book!  One of my favorites of all time.  Phileena takes us on a journey to become contemplative activists as she draws from her experience of serving the world’s poor and walking the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage.

“The spiritual journey is an invitation to know God and to be known by God, which necessitates that one finds and knows oneself.  Intimacy is something that either saturates our life or leaves us craving more.  Awakening to deeper intimacy with God fuels the growth of intimacy with others, vice-versa.  When we pursue intimacy and our awareness is heightened to our limitations in intimacy, we are en route toward growth and transformation.”

2. Friendship at the Margins: Discovering Mutuality in Service and Mission by Christopher L. Heuertz and Christine D. Pohl.

Friendship has seemed to be a lost way of life and is extremely countercultural in our time.  This book brings together a sense of justice, hospitality and friendship within the context of service.  Mutuality, solidarity and compassion toward those who are on the margins of society is the central theme.

“This is challenging terrain.  But we can ask ourselves as we seek to change our orientation: Could I invite my friends who are poor into my home and lifestyle and have a good time with them?  Would I be ashamed of my comforts or expenditures?  Is the embarrassment I feel an expression of my conflicted commitments and divided loyalties?”

3. Making Room: Recovering Hospitality as a Christian Tradition by Christine D. Pohl.

Making Room is all about recovering hospitality in our culture.  Hospitality is one of the most subversive practices in regards to spirituality and is very uncommon today.  Christina D. Pohl focuses on how this needs to become a recovered practice in our way of life together.

“Although we often think of hospitality as a tame and pleasant practice, Christian hospitality has always had a subversive, countercultural dimension…  Especially when the larger society disregards or dishonors certain persons, small acts of respect and welcome are potent far beyond themselves.  They point to a different system of value and an alternate model of relationships.”

4. Simple Spirituality: Learning to See God in a Broken World by Christopher L. Heuertz.

Simple Spirituality is a book that helps us to understand if we do not know the poor, oppressed and marginalized there are aspects of God we will never know.  Christopher says that we learn to see God through: humility, community, simplicity, submission and brokenness.  This is an excellent book that will open your eyes to God in a world of pain, suffering and poverty.

“It’s humility that opens our eyes to the discovery of God…”

5. Living into Community: Cultivating Practices that Sustain Us by Christine D. Pohl.

Living into Community presents us with practices that will help us to sustain our connection to one another: gratitude, making and keeping promises, living truthfully and hospitality.  This is a very practical book with much wisdom.  These practices are simple and accessible to all of us to create a better way of life in the world.

“Dissatisfaction as a way of life is encouraged by a consumeristic culture that feeds notions of entitlement…”

6. Unexpected Gifts: Discovering the Way of Community by Christopher L. Heuertz.

Christopher L. Heuertz’s book focuses on the practice of community in everyday life together with others.  He takes us through several stages of community: failure, doubt, insulation, isolation, transition, the unknown self, betrayal, incompatibility, ingratitude, grief and restlessness.  Ultimately, this book is about practicing something that has unexpected gifts within it – life together with others.

“Community is an incubator in which faith and doubt can coexist.  In tension and in safety, community is a place where we are free to ask tough questions.  And when we don’t have good answers or the doubts start to take us to dark places, community is there to remind us of God’s faithfulness.”

7. Strangers at my Door: A True Story of Finding Jesus in Unexpected Guests by Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove.

Strangers at my Door is all about hospitality to the stranger.  This book shares the stories of how Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove and his family and friends have practiced hospitality for over a decade at the Rutba House in Durham, North Carolina.  It is all about learning to see Jesus in the poor, oppressed and marginalized as they are welcomed and embraced with love.

“…there is a risk in welcoming people…”

8. The Irresistible Revolution: Living as an Ordinary Radical by Shane Claiborne.

Shane Claiborne’s book is such a good one!  He takes us on a path of advocating for the poor, oppressed and marginalized.  Embodying a life of interdependence, community, hospitality and social justice are all a big part of this wonderful book.

“I read a study comparing the health of a society with its economics, one of the things it revealed is that wealthy countries like ours have the highest rates of depression, suicide, and loneliness.  We are the richest and most miserable people in the world.  I feel sorry that so many of us have settled for a lonely world of independence and riches when we could all experience the fullness of life in community and interdependence…”

Which books look like ones you might want to read this year?

Some Books that I Really Like

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1. Faith Shift: Finding Your Way Forward When Everything You Believe is Coming Apart by Kathy Escobar.

I really love this honest and thoughtful book by Kathy Escobar.  Faith Shift draws us through various stages of development in our spirituality when things are no longer working for us.  How do we find what is authentic and life-giving in the midst of being disillusioned with everything?  This book presents Kathy Escobar’s own unique journey of embracing her own pain, letting herself ask honest questions and accepting the loss that comes with a Faith Shift.  This is one of the best books you will ever read!

“I am an expert at minimizing.  I know how to gloss over pain and take the blame, to do almost anything not to feel hard feelings.  My pull-myself-up-by-my-bootstraps skills usually come back to bite me. One of the hardest parts of my spiritual journey has been acknowledging how much I have truly lost over the years through this stripping process.  It’s easy to look at my life now and see how much I’ve gained.  It’s true, I am freer and healthier than I’ve ever been. But I still lost much of what held me together for so long.  People, places, and beliefs that buoyed me are now completely gone.” 

2. God of Love: A Guide to the Heart of Judaism, Christianity and Islam by Mirabai Starr.

I appreciated this book because of its ecumenical stance in looking at the good we can find in the three traditions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam.  Mirabai Starr focuses on love as the unifying theme of these traditions.  This is a fascinating book that helps us to look at our spirituality with deeper understanding.  She draws out themes of radical wonderment, welcoming the stranger, compassionate action, the feminine face of the divine, contemplative life, the path of suffering and gratitude.

“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, withholding our gifts when we are feeling impoverished and underappreciated?  

3. Radical Optimism: Practical Spirituality in an Uncertain World by Beatrice Bruteau.

This is a wonderful book that is very contemplative.  Beatrice Bruteau shares how there is a radical optimism of possibility through the difficulties of life.  In a world of violence and pessimism how do we find an authentic spirituality in our world today?  This is the question she gets at through various themes such as leisure, stillness, meditation, the heart of Jesus, listening, mysticism, compassion and love.

“The most important thing in initiating a contemplative attitude toward life is being still and open.  I see it as involving various levels of relaxation and silence, the kinds of not-doing that are so essential to the contemplative life.” 

4. A Beautiful Disaster: Finding Hope in the Midst of Brokenness by Marlena Graves. 

Marlena Graves takes us on a journey through the wilderness experiences of darkness where difficult seasons of life become our reality.  In these dark nights of the soul what do you do?  How do you survive in a peaceful way? This is a book about the deep pain we all experience as humans beings in this life.  Marlena Graves is a guide that will help us to cultivate silence, survive the death of our dreams, find our identity beyond illusions and become human beings that are fully alive even though we suffer some harsh realities in life.

“In the wilderness, we remember that God did not bring us out here in the desert to die…  God ever and always has our flourishing in mind.  It is we who must learn to receive.”

Which book looks most interesting to you?

Top 10 Ways to Practice Humility in Your Life

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Humility seems to be one of the most difficult paths to embody as we live out our spirituality in the twenty-first century.  It seems Jesus lived with a deep sense of humility.  Humility is very mysterious and often neglected.  Without humility, we cannot show love or compassion to others in everyday life.

I want my life to be an embodiment of the humility of Jesus.  Is this even possible in a world of noise, consumerism and objectification?  I don’t know, but it is worth the risk to value this way of embodiment.  The religiosity of Western life seems to know very little of what Jesus taught about humility.

Here are 10 ways that I think we can learn to practice an embodiment of humility in our time:

1. Practice Honesty.  Honesty with ourselves, others and God is foundational for living life.  When we become honest and live truthfully, we cultivate a sense of humility within ourselves.  It is something that happens naturally as we equate truth with honesty.  We are always being led by God to become more honest in our lives.

2. Practice Vulnerability.  Vulnerability is such a neglected value in our time especially among men.  But vulnerability is essential in our communion with God and one another in everyday life.  Without vulnerability, we will go around judging everyone in our arrogance and miss the ways of humility.

3. Become a Local Practitioner in the Place You Live.  It takes humility to become rooted in a place over time.  Our humility will help us to make the ongoing decision to not follow the narrative of upward mobility so common in our society.  We will pursue community in the place we live and this will guide our lives instead.

4. Practice Gratitude.  Humility and gratitude are intertwined in so many ways.  Without humility, we cannot practice gratitude.  Gratitude is a redemptive practice that allows us to find some sense of peace in our lives.

5. Practice Silence and Solitude.  Silence and solitude bear the values of humility in our lives.  We learn to talk less, impose our ways less and take care of ourselves better.  Silence and solitude teaches us the ways of seeking God in humility.

6. Practice Listening.  Listening is at the core of humility.  Listening is the way of the spirit.  Listening helps us to live in community with others.

7. Practice Gentleness.  Humility is gentle.  Jesus practiced gentleness in the world.  Our gentleness is the way of humility.

8. Practice Neighborliness.  Humility teaches us neighborliness.  This is following in the path of what Jesus taught about loving our neighbors as we love ourselves.  This could revolutionize our lives.

9. Practice Compassion.  Compassion is to bear with the suffering of another and be present to them.  Compassion leads us into humility in everyday life.  We learn to see the commonalities with another not our differences.

10. Practice Living in the Questions.  When we live in our questions, we live in humility.  Our humility is cultivated because all the easy answers are gone.  Our questions push us to live more authentically.

How can we live our way into humility as a core of our identity?

http://www.amazon.com/Communal-Imagination-Finding-Share-Together/dp/1495487423/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1415977892&sr=8-1&keywords=the+communal+imagination

10 Ways to Recover from Our Dualistic Thinking

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I have been thinking a lot about dualistic thinking and how this affects our spirituality.  I am on the path of healing and recovery from my dualistic ways.  I am learning that Jesus did not know dualistic thinking at all.  But redemption awaits us if we unlearn some of our ways and embrace what the Spirit is doing in the twenty-first century.  Here are 10 ways to start on the path of recovery from dualistic thinking:

1. Embrace your spirituality as a way of life instead of just a belief.  Christianity is not thought of very much as a way of life, but Jesus says I am the way.  Following Christ is about a way of love, compassion and grace in the world.

2. Embrace local community as the foundation of your ecclesiology.  When the church is not a local community together in a particular place there is a duality between its existence and the culture.  Church becomes more about meetings, buildings and growth than an expression of love together in everyday life.  Those in our culture who do not like our meetings we define as church will never experience the body of Christ in the context of everyday life if it doesn’t exist there.

3. Embrace listening and do not hold onto preconceived ideas about God.  Listening always leads us to greater awareness, understanding and wisdom.  Listening will not allow God to live in our boxes, preconceived ideas about life and colonial ways.

4. Commit to in a particular place over time and give up on upward mobility.  A theology of a rootedness to a particular place gives a whole new outlook on life.  We start to see the illusion of the dominant narrative of upward mobility.  We start to lose our trust in the path of upward mobility.

5. Learn to practice hospitality and see Christ in the poor.  When we create a theology around Matthew 25 about the sheep and the goats this will transform us constantly.  We will develop an imagination to see Christ in the poor.  Our rational minds cannot understand this and we will live into the mystery of this teaching of Christ.

6. Embrace worship as an embodied practice of love in everyday life.  We will see worship more holistically as encompassing all of our life.  Worship becomes a longing that lives within us as we share life with others.

7. Embrace the ordinary as sacred.  Everything is sacred in the ordinary moments of life.  And these are really the only moments we have.  So we must pay attention to the ordinary and learn to see all of life as sacred.

8. Value relationships as more important than making money.  We will start to understand that our identity is not about how much money we have.  Our identity is about the way we value people in everyday life.  We start to love.

9. Show empathy, compassion and love to those who you have labeled as different.  Giving up our labels becomes a life practice and see similarities is something we work on.  In seeing the good that is, we give up on judging others.  We become compassionate and empathetic.

10. Practice gratitude when life turns out to be something you did not expect.  Gratitude becomes our healing path in the midst of life.  We need this so we do not become angry, cynical and apathetic when the difficulties of life happen.

How can we recover from our dualistic thinking?

http://www.amazon.com/The-Communal-Imagination-Finding-Together/dp/1495487423/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1408040227&sr=8-1&keywords=the+communal+imagination

Book Review – The Spiritual Dimension of the Enneagram: Nine Faces of the Soul by Sandra Maitri

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This book by Sandra Maitri is fascinating.  Sandra demonstrates the spirituality within the enneagram by going through what she calls as the nine faces of the soul.  I was struck by the way the book teaches that the enneagram can help us to become fully present and conscious to our Being of who we really are apart from our masks, illusions or techniques to distort reality.

The book goes through the nine enneagram types of ego identity while also talking about the healthy sides, gifts to the world and natural strengths that each particular type demonstrates when an individual connects to what is most true for them within their Being.  The nine types of ego identity are as follows: one, resentment; two, flattery; three, vanity; four, melancholy; five, stinginess; six, cowardice; seven, planning; eight, revenge; nine, indolence.  The book also goes through subtypes and wings.

As I have been studying the enneagram, I’ve have found it as an essential resource tool to help us to understand ourselves and get along in community.  The enneagram has become a path to formation and growth for me as I have understood some unhealthy patterns within myself that constantly lead me to a melancholy, withdrawn state instead of engaging the world with something beautiful and authentic.  As far as I understand I am a 4 with a 5 wing having a sexual subtype ( I connect best one on one through deep intimate connection, want what is authentic, see what is missing, I love knowledge, am extremely interior and feel deeply).  So things like writing, physical activity and local community activism get me out of my melancholy state of being withdrawn.

I often see too much of what is missing in life leading to a struggle with melancholy and depression.  So I am learning to engage the world more through what I find authentic.  This has lead me to some serious healing within instead of more depression, anger and cynicism about life.  Learning to practice gratitude and contentment is so healthy for me to become fully present in everyday life, but takes extra work on my behalf.

  • Developing the capacity to be present continuously

“Through developing the capacity to be present continuously, to contact our experience deeply, and to be curious about its contents, we can begin to see reality without the distortion of our inner movies…”

  • Making conscious the unconscious

“One way, then, of looking at spiritual development is as a matter of making conscious the unconscious…”

  • Being present in our immediate experience

“Therefore what we have to do to regain contact with our depths is to retrace, in effect, our development steps.  This entails being present in our immediate experience, which means fully contacting and feeling our bodily sensations, our emotions, and our thoughts – and being curious about inquiring into what we find…”

  • Consciousness and inner exploration

“By bringing consciousness to our bodies, experiencing and fully allowing whatever sensations, emotions, and thoughts that arise within our consciousness, we move deeper into ourselves and start feeling more in contact with ourselves.  This shift of focus from outer directedness to inner exploration in and of itself begins to take some of the wind out of the personality’s sails…”

  • Living at a distance from our depths

“We suffer because we are living at a distance from our depths – it is as simple as that.  The more our souls are infused with Being, the better we feel and the better life seems to us, no matter what our outer circumstances happen to be.”

  • Being is who and what we are

“Since Being is who and what we are, one cannot turn away from it without turning away from oneself…”

  • Embodiments of expressions of the Divine

“The more we perceive our essential nature, the more we know ourselves to be ultimately embodiments of expressions of the Divine.  While this is true for all of the manifest world, as humans we alone have the capacity to recognize our deepest nature.  This gives us a unique place in creation and is another aspect of our strength…”

  • The way we experience the world and ourselves

“When we perceive in this unquestionable way that who we are is Essence, our souls have undergone a radical transformation.  The way we experience the world and ourselves is dramatically different from how it was prior to this shift in consciousness.  We are no longer believers and seekers but have become identified with Being as who and what we are.  This, then, is a particular way of conceiving enlightenment…”

  • Ability to persevere in discovering our deepest truths

“Being, in contrast, is what is present when we fully relax and stop trying to make anything happen, and when we let go of all of our beliefs and positions…  Ultimately it is the confidence in our ability to persevere in discovering our deepest truths, to travel our inner terrain resolutely and find out firsthand who and what we really are.”

  • Developing and unfolding of the soul

“If the soul is supported in developing and unfolding, in other words, it will naturally be drawn toward its Essence, which is its inner truth.  Spiritual development, then, is really a matter of nondoing and of removing the obstacles and logjams that impede the flow of our souls.  Most people experience movement and change, but it usually stays within more or less narrow confines…”

  • Experiencing our lives as more harmonious

“The more we open to the flow of our souls, the more we experience our consciousness and in turn our lives as more harmonious…”

  • Being acts through us

“Being acts through us.  This is one of the most difficult things for most people to understand…”

  • We are individual manifestations of Being

“…we can begin to live a life in touch with and informed by Being, knowing consciously that we are individual manifestations of it…”

  • Embodied and open emotionally to our consciousness

“Being fully present means we are embodied and open emotionally to what our consciousness comes in contact with…”

  • Blocking our capacity to learn from our experience

“Any reaction to our experience – whether moving toward it, away from it, or trying to alter it – creates a contradiction in the soul and blocks our capacity to learn from it.”

  • An orientation of serenity

“If we are serious about discovering the truth of who we are, an orientation of serenity toward our experience is necessary.  Serenity means meeting the moment with openness of heart and mind – accepting whatever arises within or without – and not contracting against it.  Rather than habitually judging or evaluating our experience, we simply open, allowing ourselves to be touched by what is there…”

  • Profoundly in the moment

“Only when we are profoundly in the moment and our consciousness is anchored in its depths do we feel that we have arrived at our center.  At this stage, we know ourselves to be Being.”

  • Connecting to a dimension within ourselves

“The solution to human destructiveness does not lie in trying to regulate or eradicate it but rather with connecting to a dimension within ourselves in which such behavior does not make any sense.”

  • Living our human potential fully

“Within each of us, then, is a drive to know who we really are.  Our souls have a drive to connect with, know, and live the innermost nature of what we are.  We have an innate drive to actualize ourselves, to live our human potential fully, which if allowed takes us to the deeper and deeper levels of reality beyond the subjective, beyond the personality, beyond the separate self.”

  • What we experience in the present touches our souls

“Without our histories influencing our perception, our souls are indeed fresh and innocent.  What we experience in the present touches and impacts our souls directly, free of our associations or preconceived ideas about it.”

  • Our interconnection as members of humanity

“Beyond our interconnection as members of humanity, as individual souls we are each an expression and manifestation of Being…”

  • All of creation is an outpouring of Being

“All of creation is an outpouring of Being – Its manifestation and embodiment…”

  • When we are present, fully existing in the now  

“…real work is the endeavor of becoming conscious of our True Nature as Being.  This is the holiest work a human being can engage in…  This work of real transformation only takes place when we are living in real time, which is another way of saying when we are present, fully existing in the now…”

  • The central characteristic of Being is presence

“Being, whose central characteristic is presence, can only be experienced by being in tune with that characteristic – being present in other words.  So if we are to make contact with our essential nature, with the depths within us, we can only do so by being fully present each moment of our lives…”

  • Facing our truth through listening

“The more we inquire into what it is that brings us joy through listening closely to our hearts, we will see that joy arises the more we are real and the more we face our truth, because this takes us one step closer to our depths…”

  • The enneagram can deeply affect and even unsettle us

“…the enneagram gives us great power.  The information it contains can deeply affect and even unsettle us…”

  • The journey is not easy and requires a degree of honesty with ourselves

“The Journey requires facing painful and sometimes deeply frightening aspects of ourselves, tucked away in the recess of our souls…  It is not an easy journey and it requires a degree of honesty with ourselves only possible if we are personally driven to know who we really are…”

Does anyone have a story about how the enneagram has helped them to be more fully present, aware and alive?

http://www.amazon.com/The-Communal-Imagination-Finding-Together/dp/1495487423/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1404596836&sr=8-1&keywords=the+communal+imagination