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Beautiful music so ethereal that it fades into the corners of your mind without taking focus. The sounds invigorate, sending spirals of energy throughout your body, and yet profoundly relax you at the same time. I’m truly grateful to have his very special music as one of my spiritual tools.
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It's only fair that we inherit our world view from those most present in our lives at an early age. As we grow, we have the opportunity to evaluate if that's really us, or not. Sometimes in the process, things can hit us squarely in the head ... and after that, nothing is ever really the same. I should know. It happened to me.
I was born in the northern Chicago suburbs, son of a logic-driven chemical engineer and a woman who loved to get her hands dirty tending to the roses in her garden. Religion, practiced faith ... was not a part of our household. It seemed right to at least one of them that at the appropriate age, I begin to attend Sunday School, and so off to the Community church it was, dropped off weekly at the curb. My folks did not attend services. Not long into it, it was suggested to my mom that the class might be better off if I wasn't there so frequently disrupting it. I was pretty darn OK with that.
Fast forward through a happy childhood, through my undergrad years in Boston as a music composition major, and my graduate work at The University of Chicago as a graduate Teaching Fellow ... all of which found me personally fulfilled, while pretty much devoid of any awareness of spirit's presence in my life. One day, all that changed forever.
I had been asked by a dear friend at Assumption College to write a choral work based on Biblical text. Reluctantly, I did. Oddly, the writing was effortless, and the music unlike anything I'd ever done. I was able to see them rehearse, and premiere the work. It went well.
Afterwards, at the reception, a young man from the choir and his parents came up to me. He was, as was his mother ... in tears. He proceeded to tell me: "Mr. Walker, I have been ready to walk away from this College, and from my religion. Working with your music has given me reason to reconsider my faith."
And so, speechless is how Spirit left me after our first meeting.
Over the years since, I've continued to let my intuition guide the way, and have come to an understanding of our interconnectedness on this planet that we all share together. The world's great Wisdom Traditions share so much with each other. Music as a unique expression of Spirit shares in the same way among so many traditions.
My belief is that, as we come to better understand what we all have in common, we can in turn better embrace our differences ... and build a powerful community based on love, mutual respect, and understanding.
My hope is that we'll have the opportunity to come to know you as the incredibly unique, creative expression of Spirit that you are.
With all my heart,
Rev. James Anthony Walker
We know these as insights into the essential meaning of our reality. They come unexpectedly, in unexpectedly simple ways.
I don't think it's just a flash of insight for our immediate consideration. I think it's a reveal that's meant to stay with us. A glimpse at who we really are and how we are loved ... where we see our lives by looking on the outside of our world views, our opinions, our stuff ... and we just see us. And we are these moments.
I'll never know the reason. But when I reached the age of 18, my folks finally thought to tell me that I had contracted polio as a child. That one day my kindergarten teacher called and said that I kept falling down at recess. That for the next 6 months, I was in the hospital, taking cold baths. It was all they could do. It was a year before the vaccine was invented. Minimal lasting damage.
Over the years, I've come to know others who were much less fortunate.
One night along the way, volunteering at a local hospice ... I found myself sitting vigil for the first time. At the family's request, they had moved their loved one home. I first saw him in his bed, surrounded by candles, listening to ambient music. He was in his early 90's, and would make his transition the next day. But right now, this was where he wanted to be. And there was an almost indescribable calm on his face. It was then that I realized the real power of music. The gift that I had been given, and the greater gift of sharing it with others.
And then there was Constance. Mutual friends introduced us. I learned about her past. That she had been in high demand as a physical fitness trainer. That she was a tri-athlete, and nothing short of a whirling dervish who had two strokes that almost killed her. That was the Constance that I haven't yet met in person. The one I have met, the one I fell in love with ... has a light that shines its way through the darkest hour, knows the best in everyone she meets, was my study partner through seminary, and whose beauty shows through from the inside-out.
What has she helped me see? That Spirit sustains us. People say that I am her angel. I tell them that she is surely mine. The first one of so many in my life that I have actually met. I am blessed.
So are you.
The more life goes on, the more I've found that there are way more than a few expressions that can take what I may in the moment feel is my oh-so complicated life, and put it back in better perspective.
There are so many. Here are a few of my favorites.
Mentors may easily flow into our lives, or we may never know even one. A few have come into mine, and I say say without hesitation that they are a gift from God. Were any of them on an openly spiritual path? No. Is that important? Of course not. We're all on a spiritual path, and in service according to our needs and gifts.
A completely incorrigible, cantankerous mentor of mine during graduate school, whose influence has lasted a lifetime. Ralph was a difficult man, but dedicated to his lifelong desire to manifest in his music the one ineffable quality which he held so dear … that “all great art is a miracle.” As much of a character as he was, with an exceptionally colorful vocabulary … Ralph was a very spiritual man, who helped me find my authentic voice in a highly self-directed way. He was a gift, at a time when I very much needed one.
Hmm. Seems as though incorrigible and cantankerous are prerequisites for my mentors. Charlie was all that and much more. We met while working in the music industry. A recovering alcoholic and cancer survivor, he felt blessed to be both, and went on to direct ... until his death ... several county-wide public forums for cancer patients and survivors alike. The meetings were incredibly raw, real, life-changing and life-affirming. Charlie turned me on to hospice volunteering, which made a huge difference in my life.
Joyce Mekeel is quite possibly the most eccentric person I've ever known. She was my composition professor through my undergrad years at Boston University, and over time, we became good friends. We spent hours in the University's Electronic Music Studio, where she taught me nothing less than how to hear. How sounds are made from their basic building blocks. Was it a spiritual experience for me? Yes. She taught me how to be present. In the moment. I will never forget her.
David taught me most of what I know about marketing and communications. We met when I was a fresh young recruit at Gibson Guitars. He thought I had potential, and took me under his wing. He taught me how to make studied decisions, and let me make my own mistakes (of which I made plenty). He showed me how much marketing was like music composition. He showed me how, in communications ... sometimes less is often more. Oh, and one other thing. That thing which means so much to all of us, whether we want to admit it or not. He believed in me.
An NYU professor of psychology by day, nights (as in overnights) would catch Manny, sleeping bag in hand, at Bell Labs in NJ ... where he did pioneering work on electronic music synthesis. He was passionate about creating environments where sound and light could be synchronized through computers. A lot of what you see on stages today is a result of his early work. He did a lot of work focused on time. Manny taught me about time as a continuum, which is how I look at religion and spirituality today ... from seeds planted in conversations over 40 years ago.
Upon taking an inventory, I found my list to be all over the place: from the highly spiritual, to those who would at first glance seem to be not so much. My wild guess is that I am by no means unique in that assessment. The important thing is not who is on the list, it’s what they have meant, or could mean to you. Their being famous earns you no extra credit. Their being authentic in the life they have lived does. That it resonates with you, and that it spurs you on towards your best self does as well.
Members of the Baha’i faith believe that Bahá'u'lláh was the most recent of a series of Divine educators, including Abraham, Krishna, Zoroaster, Moses, Buddha, Jesus, and Muhammad … and that the religions of the world come from the same Source, and are in essence successive chapters of one religion from God. Their vision is that the crucial need facing humanity is to find a unifying vision of the future of society and of the nature and purpose of life. I'm good with that concept.
For helping so many (and myself eventually) understand that the Sabbath is not only a great idea, but that it can be a life-changing spiritual practice. While in Judaism it is a practice to which an entire day a week is dedicated, I’ve found that from both a spiritual and a practical perspective… a “mini-Sabbath” … whether that may be ten minutes or several hours of dedicated rest (where we take what respite we can from our busy lives) … has become a godsend. Thank you Moses.
Once, Mother Teresa was asked how she could continue day after day after day, visiting the terminally ill: feeding them, wiping their brows and giving them comfort as they lay dying ... and she said: "It's not hard, because in each one, I see the face of Christ in one of His more distressing disguises." This is not an easy path, but it is one that opens one’s heart in plain sight of our highest self, as we bear witness to our shared humanity. I'm a big fan.
A practicing Buddhist for a large part of his life, Steve Jobs became, and remained focused on the very Zen principle of simplicity. One of his mantras became this: that the most important decisions you make are not the things you do, but the things you decide not to do.
He believed in simplicity, and in its power to change the world. And in his own way, he did. A mindful man who was present in the moment.
"I vow that I will continue to more fully nurture my spirituality, while using the gifts with which I have been uniquely graced, in the service of all life in need of healing, on this tired planet."
AARP AARP’s Caregiving Resource Center provides family caregivers with information, tools and resources to help them on their caregiving journey. The site also provides access to caregiving experts in various issue areas, who provide information through blogs, webinars and one-on-one interaction through social media channels. Family members and friends can find a supportive online community that offers a safe space to connect with others experiencing similar challenges as they care for a loved one.
Alzheimer’s Association Specializing in caring for those with Alzheimer’s and other dementias, the Alzheimer’s Association has links with details on what to expect for each disease stage. It also explains behaviors specific to Alzheimer’s and links caregivers to local respite care and activities, legal and financial advice and resources, and local caregiver support groups. Also included are pragmatic stress tests and caregiver message boards.
Alzheimer’s Foundation The Alzheimer’s Foundation provides online tips, a toll-free hotline, educational and social services, professional development, advocacy and grants, as well as a link for teens to connect, educate others and support caregiving teens. The Foundation puts its stamp of approval on facilities that meet their strenuous standards for good care for those with Alzheimer’s, hosts a national memory screening day and a national brain game challenge.
American Association of Caregiving Youth The American Association of Caregiving Youth is geared toward supporting the 1.4 million children and teens who are caregiving for parents and grandparents. They provide counseling and support services, education and advocacy. The Association works directly with schools to help students remain academically successful while they are in the caregiving role.
ARCH National Respite Network The ARCH (Access to Respite Care and Help) National Respite Network connects caregivers directly to local respite and crisis care services, assists and promotes the development of quality respite and crisis care programs, and advocates for respite in all forums.
Caregiver Action Network The Caregiver Action Network (CAN) (formerly the National Family Caregivers Association) offers practical lists for immediate help with caregiving: patient file checklist, doctors office checklist, how to find a support group, medication checklist, independent living assessment and helpful videos. This easy-to-navigate site takes caregivers through step-by-step processes to help get a handle on caregiving.
Caregiver Support Services Caregiver Support Services supports family and professional caregivers through direct services such as trainings on medication, on how to become a personal assistant or a nursing assistant, case management, employee assistance, Alzheimer’s and HIV/AIDS, as well as self-advocacy and other pertinent services.
Caring.com This website offers informative articles about common caregiving concerns for family caregivers, and hosts a directory of services.
Caring Bridge CaringBridge.org connects families and friends who are experiencing a significant health challenge through private websites where people can share updates and support.
E Care Diary E Care Diary provides the tools and resources to simplify caregiving, including the Care Diary, a medication- and appointment-management tool that helps families store and share their loved ones’ information in a secure, private place.
eldercare locator A free nationwide directory assistance service, eldercare locator helps older persons and their family caregivers locate local support resources. It is administered through the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging in Washington, D.C.
Family Caregiver Alliance The Family Caregiver Alliance supports caregivers through information, education, services and research. It also advocates for family caregivers, including a new initiative to foster a consumer movement to improve healthcare quality, coordination and communication for elders and their caregivers. FCA also connects caregivers to services and support groups and has an ongoing story project. FCA’s National Center on Caregiving advances the development of high-quality, cost effective policies and programs for caregivers in every state. The Family Care Navigator is a state-by-state, online guide to help families locate government, nonprofit and private caregiver support programs.
Home Instead Senior Care To hire trusted care for a loved one in your home, the Home Instead Senior Care network of locally owned franchises has been providing in-home care for elders since 1994, so older adults can age in their home, and caregivers can get a well-earned break. For either a few hours a day or 24-hour care, Home Instead’s caregivers are screened, trained, insured and bonded.
Lotsa Helping Hands Through Lotsa Helping Hands anyone can create private Web-based communities to organize care and help for people in need, with a group calendar for scheduling and sign-ups for tasks from providing respite to meals, rides and visits. There is a place for announcements, a message board and an information section for families to store and retrieve health data, emergency contacts, medications and legal and financial records for designated members.
I’m a caregiver/Medicare.gov The Medicare.gov landing page for caregivers has resources, stories and newsletters about taking care of someone on Medicare. There are easy links to find out if procedures are covered, as well as finding someone to talk to about a multitude of potential nuts-and-bolts questions, from coverage to urgent care to complaints on kidney dialysis.
National Alliance for Caregiving A coalition of 40 national organizations that conducts research and policy analysis, develops national programs and works to increase public awareness of family caregiving issues across the life span.
National Adult Day Services Association The National Adult Day Services association connects family caregivers with adult day centers and supports the interests of adult day services’ providers. It provides members with advocacy, educational and networking opportunities, technical assistance and research, and communications services.
National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers The National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers is a nonprofit professional development organization whose mission is to advance professional geriatric care management through education, collaboration and leadership. Members are also listed on the site, where they can be linked to caregivers. The site explains care management and how to finding the best geriatric care manager, and offers easy links for families to search for one via zip code.
National Family Caregiver Support Program The National Family Caregiver Support Program provides grants to states and territories, based on their share of the population ages 70 and older, to fund a range of supports that help family and informal caregivers to care for their loved one at home for as long as possible. Overseen by the Administration on Aging, the NFCSP provides five types of services: information to caregivers about available services, assistance to caregivers in gaining access to the services, individual counseling, organization of support groups, and caregiver training, respite care, and supplemental services, on a limited basis. These services work with other state- and community-based services to provide a coordinated set of supports for caregivers.
National Institute on Aging’s National Alzheimer’s Education and Referral Center The National Institute on Aging’s National Alzheimer’s Education and Referral Center has a section for Caregivers with tip sheets and resources on behaviors, care, communication, relationships, safety, caregiver health, legal and financial issue and stages. It has an extensive list of publications on caregiving and papers on the latest in Alzheimer’s research. And there’s an easy-to-navigate, thorough and helpful Frequently Asked Questions section.
National Long-Term Care Clearinghouse For caregivers or elders considering long-term care, this clearinghouse run by the Administration on Aging answers questions about the nature of long-term care, who needs it, how much it costs (with a state-by state breakdown), how it can be paid for, who provides care within long-term care facilities, details on Medicare and Medicaid coverage of long-term care, even legal help for LGBT elders considering long-term care. Not only does the site explain why everyone needs to plan for long-term care, but also it takes one through the step-by-step process.
Next Step in Care: Family Caregivers and Health Care Professionals Working Together United Hospital Fund’s Next Step in Care program provides information and advice to help family caregivers and healthcare providers plan safe and smooth transitions for patients between care settings. All materials for family caregivers are available in English, Spanish, Russian and traditional Chinese, and they emphasize careful planning, clear communication and ongoing care coordination.
Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregiving The Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregiving is an advocacy, education, research and service unit of Georgia Southwestern State University. It has its own training center, caregiving management certificate program, scholarship and fellowship opportunities, as well as caregiver resources.
VA Caregiver Support Run by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, it provides support and services for family caregivers of veterans.
Well Spouse Association The Well Spouse Association provides peer support and education about the special challenges and unique issues facing “well” spouses. Members speak out on their caregiving situations, providing a window into the not-so-well-known world of the estimated 6 million spousal caregivers in America and many more around the world.
We've linked all of these resources to their websites for your convenience.
We'll continue to add more as we come across them!
Zoom is a wonderful tool that's easy to use, and that we'd like to share with you. It's one of the latest generations of online videoconferencing, using HD video and high quality audio.
That's all well and good, but we like it most because it's a great way for us to connect with each other ... one on one ... or with the whole family (all the way out to third cousins twice-removed).
And if you need to take some time to reflect on what we've shared in our call, we're happy to provide you with a recording of it, so you can re-hash as much of it as you need to.
Like we said, Zoom is pretty cool.
I have come to understand how many things happen for a reason, sometimes, at great personal cost. My childhood was filled with such things. Bad things. But it was also filled with interventions on my behalf, which, looking back ... I can only know as Divine. I'm still here. Life is somehow richer today than it ever was. Simpler, filled with humility. And for that, I am grateful.
I was born on the south side of Chicago, to parents of Midwestern descent. My Dad was a scholar at the University of Chicago, and my mom, a stay-at-home. When I was three, we moved to Eugene, Oregon ... a place my father loved deeply.
He was an agnostic, but found his spirituality through music. My Mom was a Lutheran, from a long lineage of Masons.
We were not a religious home. I was taught to say two prayers, every night at bedtime, by my mom: The Lord’s Prayer, and “Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep" ... after which followed a long list of blessings ... including every relative, pet and friend I had! After all of that, falling asleep was easy. Interestingly, I still say them!
Life brought us back to Illinois for a few years, before we moved back out west to Montana. I was ten. The first few years in Montana were a challenge for me. I loved Missoula, but it was difficult for me to connect with the new kids at my grade school. But I know now that it was these childhood years that grew my large compassionate heart.
I saw so much cruelty, prejudice and meanness in children during that time. A traumatic moment found me chased down by a pack of four older boys, who tried to pull my underpants down on the playground. But an intervention, a Divine act of pure grace saved me, when two little boys from my class saw what was happening, and came to my rescue. This is how I came to know compassion ... loving kindness in action, that has helped me again and again in this life's journey ... even to this day. And I love those boys still!
Years later, as a student at the University of Montana, another trauma ... good, life-changing trauma ... while singing the Brahms Requiem, with the world’s most famous choral conductor of the day, Robert Shaw.
I was one of a hundred voices in the chorus, accompanied by an orchestra as large. The performance moved me so that, when we finished, I was breathless and shaking. I couldn't stand, even though I needed to leave the stage, and meet my parents. I will never forget the look on my Dad’s face as he walked down the aisle toward the stage to help his ‘lost daughter.’ Something Divine passed between us in that moment. I didn't know what it was then, but after decades of reflection, I know it was a God connection. We never had a chance to discuss that moment. He died six months later, and I was devastated.
After college, I was ready to sprout my wings of independence, and took off with my music, theater and dance degree to Los Angeles. It was the mid 70’s. There was a lot of change in the air. I needed parents, but had left my mom back in Montana. Over the next ten years, I lived my dream ... working in a number of bands, traveling around the country. But once ‘out there’ I soon became disillusioned with the world of entertainment. Too much alcohol, too many drugs, and too many people using people.
Since then, a move to Dallas, and now, many years in Santa Barbara. Growing passions for spirituality, and for personal fitness as well ... until I suffered two massive strokes at the age of 59, which have left the left side of my body still largely paralyzed, four years later. I have learned a lot about myself in that time. A lot about humility. And a lot about being in service.
Epiphanies are such bright bursts of clarity. It seems that the more we push for them, the more elusive they become.
It is because of the few that I have had that my life has been infused so richly with this graceful yearning for more Spirit in it. Grateful for the insights I've gained, but hungry for more. Hoping that they continue to come, and that they continue to validate this path on which I find myself, again and again. I hope we meet each other on it.
My first spiritual “aha" moment was at the age of three, when my mom dressed me up in a pretty little yellow dress to go to a church in Chicago to be baptized. As my nervous forehead approached the large basin of water, I felt an inner connection to a mysterious energy. Looking back, I'll call that God. By the age of ten, I realized that was prologue to my spiritual yearning.
At the time, my best friend in school belonged to a fundamentalist church, and her parents would take me, and their nine children in their beat-up station wagon to get to church every Sunday. This was my introduction to Jesus. I began to sit alone in my bedroom and pray to this Son of God. I began to trust the invisible.
Another major epiphany occurred for me through music. As a music major in University, I was given an opportunity to work under the direction of the world’s best choral director Robert Shaw, singing the Brahms Requiem.
During rehearsals I fell in love with this sacred piece of music ... so much so, that after the performance I was totally spent, as in: unable to move. As I sat there, watching the 100-piece orchestra and the 100-voice chorale all leaving the stage around me ... I felt God, as never before. Something momentous had just happened to me, and I knew it, and never wanted to leave that moment.
I saw in that moment that Spirit was living in this music, and the man who wrote it. Maybe it lived in me as well.
The next spiritual epiphany is actually a bunch of cathedral-inspired sensory experiences that have occurred over the past fifty years of church explorations around the USA and Europe. It seems that from the moment I enter these ‘Houses of God,’ I only want to so one thing.
To sit down immediately. To pray, and to listen for God’s message. The denomination has never been important to me. What I hear from one to the next always feels slightly different in the way it is expressed, but I am always filled with the same loving message in my heart and soul: “you are loved.”
I have to say that I hit the jackpot one year in the mentor department. A lovely soul by the name of Ed Bastian, once a regular presenter at One Spirit Learning Alliance, had just formed Spiritual Paths Foundation, with experiential coursework focused on interspirituality. Through my involvement in that two-year program, I left blessed with no less than six deeply influential mentors! Their gifts that they shared remain deep in my heart. I will never forget them.
Ed became my mentor while I was studying in The Claritas Program of Spiritual Inquiry and Spiritual Mentoring. Even before our first meeting, I knew that this relationship was by divine intervention. And it was. At our first meeting, we meditated together, and it was a most profound experience, that brought together Christ consciousness and Buddha nature as one.
Ed had created the Spiritual Paths Foundation, and was just about to launch an Interspiritual institute ... which became a gateway for me in reaching the other wonderful mentors here. Heaven sent!
Modern day mystic, Episcopal priest and writer, she divides her time between solitude, and traveling globally to teach and spread the recovery of the Christian contemplative and Wisdom path.
My greatest blessing from Reverend Bourgealt was her courageousness in speaking and writing of her mystical and scholarly truth. She spoke of Jesus as a Wisdom teacher, and of her devotion to God. She encouraged me daily, as I wrestled with the ineffability of God.
Swami Atmarupananda was born in the US, and discovered the Vedanta tradition of Hinduism as a teenager. His lifelong fascination and dedication had brought him, at the time of our meeting, to the spiritual leadership of the Southern California Vedanta Society.
He gave me rich insight into my own true nature. The meditative practices he taught me were nothing less than transformative.
Rabbi Rami Shapiro is one of the wisest and most accessible spiritual teachers of our time—humble, funny, authentic, and deeply grounded in the world’s great wisdom traditions. He is a living witness to the importance of interfaith life, and combines in his practical teachings an unfailing sense of humor, powerful inspiration, and the challenge of genuine spiritual awakening and transformation. From Rami, I began to learn something of the rich lessons of Judaism ... and that it’s OK to argue with God.
The precious, precious gift of Camille. She was the first woman to translate a substantial portion of the Qur’an into English. No small task!
It was through Camille that I began to learn how to embody a devotion to Source. Through her, I began to gain a depth of spiritual Presence I had often only dreamed of.
She is gentle , tender, and strong. All attributes I deeply admire, and wish to carry.
From Kabir, I learned of Islam, of the devotional meanings of Islam, and began to more deeply understand the Prophet Mohammed, and the incredible beauty and wisdom of the great Sufi poet Jalaledin Rumi.
He also helped me understand the remarkable power of the Zikr ... which absorbs the worshiper through the rhythmic repetition of the name of God or its attributes.
His life's work has underlined his dedication to InterFaith understanding through communication.
My list of exemplars is vast. Some alive today, many I have never met because they have passed on ... but all have imprinted their mystical Spirit on me, and include all of the world’s great Wisdom teachers and spiritual leaders across time: Jesus of Nazareth, Lao Tzu, the Buddha/Siddhartha, Rumi, Hafiz, Bede Griffiths, Meister Ekhart, my Sufi guides Kabir and Camille Helminski, and last but not least, Andrew Harvey, for his Light on Sacred Activism.
As large as my list is, there are a few that have changed, and continue to change my life immensely, because they have touched me so deeply:
Her selfless love, so often under-appreciated … could easily be seen as martyrdom personified … but I understand her as a true exemplar of foundational selflessness and love. She teaches me daily to awake gently … in the spirit of peace and friendship … as the sunrise brings the infinite beauty of her creation to light, and as sunset sets the sky ablaze as thanks for the splendor she has brought us.
Thich Nhat Hanh arrived in my life at a perfect time, and in the form of a book on my spiritual soulmate Matthew Edwards’ bedside table. We had just come back from a long run. I needed to go to the bathroom, but the cover caught my attention as I passed by it.
I was about to leave Matt, my best pal of ten solid years … to enter graduate school in Oregon. As a small going away present, he wanted me to take the book, said that he had finished it, and that I would love it.
As I read it, I knew immediately that I had met a seriously important teacher, in the form of a humble Vietnamese Zen Master and peace activist who had been exiled from his country in 1958.
Once I finished the book, I found myself wanting more of this humble monk’s voice, and proceeded to read every one of his books I could find. Thay (his nickname) taught me three critical things that I seemed meant to absorb at that point in my life:
That I am a human,who will best be served by slowing down in everything I do. At that time in my life, my thirties, I was the complete opposite of that … rushed, mindless and unhappy.
That I could gain freedom through accepting things as they are, and in letting go of those things to which I had become attached.
That my Presence at all times was what mattered most.
Jeanne Houston became a powerful exemplar for me when I found her, quite by accident in a public library. The book was titled: The Possible Human. Wow … yes! As human beings, we can all be so much more than we allow our potential to be. As with Thich Nhat Hanh, I immediately read all I could from and about this amazing Renaissance woman, and began to follow her call to a magnificent life born of service to mankind. Through her Mystery School, her teachings, and her rituals, she helped me begin to focus on the infinite possibility of me.
Joan Borysenko,PHd is a Harvard-trained scientist and deeply spiritual woman who became an exemplar for me when I became one of the first students in her spirituality-focused Claritas Institute … an institute for spiritual inquiry and spiritual mentoring. This was right up my Interspiritual alley at age fifty, and over its two-year course, also served to introduce me to another Exemplar in Brother Wayne Teasdale … author of a most important book in my life: The Mystic Heart.
"I vow to look through eyes of a Godly presence. I vow to hear through ears of opened and unprejudiced clarity. I vow to honor all truths as equal truths, no matter my exposure or full comprehension of differences. I vow to seek counsel whenever I am in question about my work as a servant to All That Is on this Great Ground of Being."
Rev. Constance McClain