|Welcome To The Religion Network!
I'm Lisa Bowman, editor of The Religion Network, a multi-faith Web site. We provide inspirational
quotes by exploring a new theme every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. This site is offered in 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 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 Theme:
There's nothing like a good paradox to put you in a "Zen" mood.
Or a rousing laugh in the face of absurdity to celebrate Purim.
Wednesday, March 11, is the final day of Purim in the Jewish
religion and it is full of joy and fun while recognizing the dark
shadow of hatred. On today's site I've inserted a Purim medi-
tation that includes a paradox. It also contains my new favorite
term, "holy madness." And why not? Ugliness is absurd.
The perfect antidote is a beautiful absurdity.
It all got me thinking about the daily practice of spirituality:
the many ways to practice the fun and joy of living in the
light of God. Yes, we all know about the shadows. But
aren't they absolutely absurd? I'd rather live in the
light of "holy madness."
- Lisa Bowman
Daily spiritual practice is the "technology" of inner change.
Without it, such change is inconceivable. Devotions alone are
insufficient;the practice must be contemplative. Only such
intense forms of inner discipline lead to the interior break-
throughs that provide real progress in the spiritual life. This
insight is found in all spiritual traditions, and marks the difference
between a genuine mystical process and popular religion, or a
purely devotional type of spirituality. All spiritual practices are
transformative, be they contemplative forms of prayer, meditation,
and sacred reading; a restful, active participation and presence in
liturgy and ritual; music and chanting; yoga and certain martial arts;
hiking and even walking. They change us within and make this inner
change consistent with our actions in the world in our daily lives.
Seekers and saints of every tradition have cultivated a spiritual
practice and have thus cultivated a profound self-knowledge.
Spiritual practice shapes our understanding, character, will,
personality, attitudes, and actions by enlarging their
scope through the light of compassion and love.
Excerpt from "The Mystic Heart"
by Wayne Teasdale
New World Library, 2001
Whenever your mind wanders in the maze of myriad worldly thoughts,
patiently lead it back to remembrance of the indwelling Lord. In time you will
find Him ever with you -- a God who talks with you in your own language, a
God whose face peeps at you from every flower and shrub and blade of grass.
Then you shall say: "I am free! I am clothed in the gossamer of Spirit; I fly
from heaven on wings of light." And what joy will consume your being!
Paramahansa Yogananda (1893-1952)
Founder of the Self-Realization Fellowship
A Purim Meditation
by Tzvi Freeman
Courtesy of Chabad.org
The world is absurd. Ugly absurd.
To repair ugly absurdity, you can't just be normal.
You need an alternative absurdity. A beautiful absurdity.
We call it, "holy madness."
A monk was anxious to learn Zen and said:
"I have been newly initiated into the Brotherhood.
Will you be gracious enough to show me the way to Zen?"
The Master said:"Do you hear the murmuring
sound of the
The monk said: "Yes, I do."
The Master said: "Here is the entrance."
People who are honestly trying to follow the spiritual life
often make the mistake of being too hard on themselves.
Because they do not seem to be progressing as fast as they
would naturally like, or because they find themselves
repeating some old fault that they thought they had
completely overcome, they feel discouraged,
and condemn themselves mercilessly.
All this is foolish. If you are doing your best to use what Truth you know,
at present, you are doing all that you have a right to expect of yourself.
Don't be impatient with yourself.
Excerpted from 'Around the Year with Emmet Fox'
...and now, a little more Holy Madness:
From cowardice that dare not face new truth
From the laziness that is contented with half truth
From the arrogance that thinks it knows all truth,
Good Lord, deliver me.
Random Bonus Quote:
A humble person is more likely to be self-confident...
a person with real humility knows how much they are loved.
Cornelius Plantinga, Jr. (1947- )
President of Calvin Theological Seminary