Build Your Own Beliefs II | St. Lawrence University Chaplain's Office

Build Your Own Beliefs II

BYOB II Readings

Dive deeply into being, beyond identity and form. Encompass all around you. Penetrate into complete quietness. Enter into emptiness—where "self" is no more. Silence the noise of fear and craving, the static of social obligation. Have no fear; in silence the image or form of your life's natural expression will become clear. It is in your heart; it has been there all along. As the great poet Rumi has written, "Everyone has been made for some particular work, and the desire for that work has been put in every heart."

Can you hear it? Can you silence the confusion of the mind and its conflicts and listen for your Bliss—the voice of your heart? Listen now for the voice out of The Silence. Listen for what moves or draws you the most. Listen for what you can dedicate yourself to. Listen to what you love. If many things attract your attention, you're still on the surface. Go deeper. A relative few will speak powerfully to you. When you hear this call, what will it say? Make this—bring this into being. A poet is one who hears and one who makes. 
          ~ “Zen and the Art of Making a Living” - Laurence Boldt

I hear someone calling,
A voice I know.
I hear, yet I see no one.
The voice is soft, gentle, low, sweet.
The voice of a mother,
The voice of a woman.
“What do you want?
Where are you?”

I’m in the cabin with Grandfather,
Sitting by the wood stove.
The rain is coming down.

I ask Grandfather, who sits with his back to the stove,
His eyes closed, facing east,
“How do I find that one, Grandfather?”
Grandfather says to me,
“Hey, what you do is you follow that voice.
You answer.
What else do you do when someone calls?”
          ~ Tsimmu

"We could say that meditation doesn't have a reason or doesn't have a purpose. In this respect it's unlike almost all other things we do except perhaps making music and dancing. When we make music we don't do it in order to reach a certain point, such as the end of the composition. If that were the purpose of music then obviously the fastest players would be the best. Also, when we are dancing we are not aiming to arrive at a particular place on the floor as in a journey. When we dance, the journey itself is the point, as when we play music the playing itself is the point. And exactly the same thing is true in meditation. Meditation is the discovery that the point of life is always arrived at in the immediate moment."
          ~ Alan Watts

 “Come and find the quiet center in the crowded life we lead, find the room for hope to enter, find the frame where we are freed; clear the chaos and the clutter, clear the eyes, so we can see all the things that really matter, be at peace, and simply be.”
          ~ by Shirley Erena Murray

Our greatest fear is not that we are inadequate, but that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, handsome, talented and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of god. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory of god within us. It is not just in some; it is in everyone. And, as we let our own light shine, we consciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
          ~ Marianne Williamson

Do the thing you are afraid to do and the death of fear is certain.
          ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Let go. Why do you cling to pain? There is nothing you can do about the wrongs of yesterday. It is not yours to judge. Why hold on to the very thing which keeps you from hope and love?
          ~ Leo Buscaglia


The plow has savaged this sweet field
Misshapen clods of earth kicked up
Rocks and twisted roots exposed to view
Last year’s growth demolished by the blade.
I have plowed my life this way
Turned over a whole history
Looking for the roots of what went wrong
Until my face is ravaged, furrowed, scarred.

Enough.  The job is done.
Whatever’s been uprooted, let it be
Seedbed for the growing that’s to come.
I plowed to unearth last year’s reasons –

The farmer plows to plant a greening season.
          ~ by Parker Palmer

"At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us."
          ~ Albert Schweitzer

"You can't see the light in others until you see it in yourself. Once you see it in yourself, there is no one in whom you do not see the light. It does not matter if they see it or not. You know it's there. And it is the light you address when you speak to them."
          ~ Paul Ferrini

We have not even to risk the adventure alone,
For the hero's of all time have gone before us.
The Labyrinth is known.
We have only to follow the thread of the hero path.
And where we had thought to find an abomination,
We shall find a God.
And where we had thought to slay another,
We shall slay our selves.
And where we had thought to travel outward
We shall come to the center of our own existence.
And where we had thought to be alone,
We shall be with all the world.
          ~ Joseph Campbell

Morality, spirituality, and religion are concentric circles. Each can be defined as a response to the sacred. "Sacred" is the highest encomium in the human lexicon. It is the superlative of precious. It is where valuation dips into mystery… Spirituality is born in the affections, in the deepest part of the affections that the medievals called mystical… True spirituality reacts appropriately and enthusiastically to the value of human life and to the rest of terrestrial life with which we are kith and kin.
          ~ from “Sex and the Sacred” - by Daniel Maguire

Pleasure is what sex is about. The old axiom "listen to your body" was misapplied [in Western culture]. We listened too much to the penis when we should have sought an audience with the clitoris. The penis has divided loyalties and multiple missions. It is concerned with procreation and waste removal. The clitoris is single minded. Its one goal, as ethicist Susan Ross says, is "exquisite female sexual pleasure."
          ~ from “Sex and the Sacred” - by Daniel Maguire

"Here," she said, "in this here place, we flesh; flesh that weeps, laughs; flesh that dances on bare feet in grass. Love it. Love it hard. Yonder they do not love your flesh. They despise it… You got to love it. This is flesh I'm talking about here. Flesh that needs to be loved…Love your neck; put a hand on it, grace it, stroke it and hold it up.”
          ~ from Beloved: A Novel - by Toni Morrison

For what is Mysticism? Is it not the attempt to draw near to God, not by rites or ceremonies, but by inward disposition? Is it not merely a hard word for “The Kingdom of Heaven is within”? Heaven is neither a place nor a time.
          ~Florence Nightingale

Just as in earthly life lovers long for the moment when they are able to breathe forth their love for each other, to let their souls blend in a soft whisper, so the mystic longs for the moment when in prayer he can, as it were, creep into God.
          ~Søren Kierkegaard

And I have felt
A presence that disturbs me with the joy of elevated thoughts;
a sense sublime
Of something far more deeply interfused,
Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns,
And the round ocean, and the living air,
And the blue sky, and in the Mind of man;
A motion and a spirit, that impels
All thinking things, all objects of all thought,
And rolls through all things.
          ~ “Tintern Abbey” - William Wordsworth

Sometimes, when a bird cries out,
Or the wind sweeps through a tree,
Or a dog howls in a far-off farm,
I hold still and listen for a ling time.

My world turns and goes back to the place
Where, a thousand forgotten years ago,
The bird and the blowing wind
Were like me, and were my brothers.

My soul turns into a tree,
And an animal, and a cloud bank.
Then changed and odd it comes home
And asks me questions.  What should I reply?
          ~ “Sometimes” - Hermann Hesse

It may be that when we no longer know what to do
we have come to our real work,

and that when we no longer know which way to go
we have come to our real journey.

The mind that is not baffled is not employed.
The impeded stream is the one that sings.
          ~ “The Real Work” - by Wendell Berry