Welcome To The Religion Network!
I'm Lisa Bowman, editor of The Religion Network, a multi-faith Web site. This site provides inspirational quotes through an
exploration of a new spiritual theme every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. The Religion network is offered with the
conviction that inspiration can be found in all spiritual faiths, and furthermore, that finding the commonalities
among the world's religions is more healing than pointing up their differences.
Religion as an institution is a precious gift, blessing individuals and uplifting communities. However you choose to
worship, I hope this site enhances your journey. If you'd like to know my story, click on biography.
ON TODAY'S SITE:
Book of Psalms, Pema Chodron, Melody Beattie, Simon Jacobson, Emmet Fox, Book of Jeremiah
I just got back from walking our dog, which means I've strolled past a
peaceful army of trees: tall pines with cracked bark, gnarled olives with
silvery leaves, Japanese maples holding up lacy umbrellas of shade, and
other trees that I can't identify but savor anyway.
And I notice they have all
one thing in common: they all bear scars, whether it's from pruning done for
symmetry or a brutal lopping off of a limb that was just in someone's way.
One tree even bears 11 nails all bunched together, hammered into its trunk.
I can't imagine why that seemed necessary, but I do know the tree is still
a thing of beauty, and has continued on, nobly adding its quota of
peaceful dignity to the charming street.
We humans know what it feels like to be scarred by loss. We know what
grief feels like, though it comes in many forms and in different intensities.
To lose a loved one sears a deep scar onto our "trunks." To lose a job or
an opportunity leaves a scar less deep, perhaps, but nonetheless painful.
But all grief feels like the loss of an important piece. It's like losing a limb.
We feel alone, lonely. We feel despair. But we can grow around it as
we continue to reach toward the sun; to sprout new beauty.
I've been talking to two dear friends about grief recently, so the subject has
been dancing in my mind. I decided to make it sit down so I could get a better
look at it. I wanted to find the growth in it. I wanted to find the beauty in it.
May we face our grief when it comes and turn it into "good" grief.
Photo by Chuck Bowman All rights reserved
Be merciful to me, O LORD, for I am in distress;
my eyes grow weak with sorrow,
my soul and my body with grief.
My life is consumed by anguish
and my years by groaning;
my strength fails because of my affliction,
and my bones grow weak.
The Holy Bible
New International Version
When we protect ourselves so we won't feel pain, that protection
becomes like armor, like armor that imprisons the softness of the
heart. We do everything we can think of not to feel anything
threatening. We try to prolong feeling good about ourselves...
(But) when we breathe in pain, somehow it penetrates that armor
...and we find we can breathe deeply and relax. A kindness and
a tenderness begin to emerge...When we breathe out relief and
spaciousness, we are also encouraging the armor to dissolve...
At the bottom we discover water, the healing water of *bodhichitta. Right
down there in the thick of things, we discover the love that will not die.
Excerpted from "When Things Fall Apart,"
by Pema Chodron (Tibetan Buddhist teacher)
*Bodhichitta is a Sanskrit word meaning "noble or awakened heart."
Photo by Lisa Bowman All Rights Reserved
The grief process, says Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, is a five-stage
process: denial, anger, bargaining, sadness, and, finally,
acceptance. That's how we grieve; that's how we accept;
that's how we forgive; that's how we respond to the many
changes that life throws our way.
Although this five-step looks tidy on paper, it is not tidy in life.
We do not move through it in a compartmentalized manner.
We usually flounder through, kicking and screaming, with much
back-and-forth movement -- until we reach that peaceful
state called acceptance...
Today, God, help me open myself to the process of grieving
my losses. Help me allow myself to flow through the grief
process, accepting all the stages so I might achieve peace
and acceptance in my life. Help me learn to be gentle
with myself and others while we go through this very
human process of healing.
Excerpted from "The Language of Letting Go,"
by Melody Beattie
Photo by Chuck Bowman All Rights Reserved
Wherever we turn, we see the design and purpose--
the hallmark of our creator. It would follow, then,
that each human being, too, has a purpose, as does
every single event in our lives.
So even death has a purpose in our lives; even death
becomes a tool for leading a more meaningful life;
and even death is another form of energy...
Even in the deepest moments of despair, we must realize
that our absolute faith in G-d is what gives us the
capacity to somehow reconcile and deal with our grief...
This is the great challenge of pain: Will you allow it
to debilitate you or will you see it as a catalyst to
delve deeper into yourself and your beliefs?
Excerpted from "Toward a Meaningful Life:
The Wisdom of the Rebbe Menachem Mendel Schneerson,"
by Simon Jacobson
Perennial Currents, 2002
There is no difficulty that enough love will not conquer;
no disease that enough love will not heal; no door that
enough love will not open; no gulf that enough love will
not bridge; no wall that enough love will not throw down;
no sin that enough love will not redeem...
Emmet Fox (1886-1951)
Spiritual leader who influenced founding of Alcoholics Anonymous
The Last Word:
Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed;
Save me, and I shall be saved,
For You are my praise.
The Holy Bible
New King James Version
Totally Random Bonus Quote:
Even if you have failed nine time in trying something,
you have at least tried nine times to succeed.
Old Tibetan Saying