People are often unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered. Forgive them anyway. If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish ulterior motives. Be kind anyway. If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies. Succeed anyway. If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you. Be honest and frank anyway. What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight. Build anyway. If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous. Be happy anyway. The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow Do good anyway. Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough. Give the best you've got anyway. You see, in the final analysis it is between you and God; it was never between you and them anyway.
(This poem is engraved on the wall of Mother Teresa's home for children in Calcutta)


The experience of belonging

"When we look at the world around us, we find that we are not thrown into chaos and randomness but are part of the great order, a grand symphony of life. Every molecule in our body was once a part of previous bodies-living or nonliving-and will be part of future bodies. In this sense, our body will not die but will live on, again and again, because life lives on. We share not only life's molecules but also its basic principles of organization with the rest of the living world. And since our mind, too, is embodied, our concepts, and metaphors are embedded in the web of life together with our bodies and brains. We belong to the universe, we are at home in it, and this experience of belonging can make our lives profoundly meaningful."
--Fritjof Capra



"Love and Compassion are Necessities -
Not luxuries.
Without them humanity cannot survive."
~ The Dalai Lama

I believe the first living cell

...I believe the first living cell had echoes of the future in it
And felt direction and the great animals
The deep green forest and whale's track sea.
I believe this globed earth not all by chance and fortune
Brings forth her broods
But feels and chooses.
And the galaxy, the firewheel on which we are pinned
The whirlwind of stars in which our sun is one dust grain
One electron, this giant atom of the universe
Is not blind force
But fulfills its life, and intends its course.
(from De Rerum Virtute - Robinson Jeffers)


Why does history matter?

Amnesia is as detrimental to society as to an individual. The historian Daniel Boorstein put it very well. "Trying to plan for the future without a sense of the past is like trying to plant cut flowers." There is no such thing as a self-made man or woman. We are all influenced by people around us. Every action has consequences, and we have to be very careful about leaping to conclusions from first impressions. Integrity and character truly do count in the long run. The idea that no one has lived in more difficult or dangerous times is untrue. Others have weathered more horrendous storms; we can take heart from them.
David McCullough (Pulitzer Prize-winning Historian)


The Language of Soul is Meaning.

The language of soul is meaning. Meaning helps us to see in the dark. It strengthens the will to live in us. Finding meaning does not require us to live differently. It requires us to see our souls differently. Soul is not just a human capacity, it is a human need. In ancient times illness was defined in terms of "soul loss," that is a loss of direction, meaning, purpose, mystery, and awe. To have meaning in our lives keeps us healthy. Meaning heals many things that are beyond cure. Meaning is a form of strength. It has the power to experience, to open the most difficult of work to the dimension of joy and gratitude. Few works of service can endure unless they are sustained by a lived sense of their meaning and purpose.
Rachel Naomi Remen, M.D.


We are most human when ...

It is in meditation and reflection, dreams and imagination, where we make creative discoveries. We are most human when we are bored. To be bored is to stop reacting to the external world and to explore the internal one. We may emerge from boredom feeling we have accomplished nothing, but consider, boredom is often occupied by revery, and it is in revery that we have our deepest insights. Boredom is the essential human emotion underlying art, literature, philosophy, science, psychology, even love. Boredom engages the imagination; it is a doorway to that which underpins emotions. Feeling bored has a purpose. The most creative people have the greatest tolerance for long periods of boredom. Creative people strive to communicate that which seemingly cannot be communicated - truth, beauty, meaning. Feeling bored actually brings us back to basics, to levels of knowing ourselves, and to understanding our internal connections to "meaning" and "being."
(Image is Paul Cezanne's "The Smoker.")


Working assumption

"My working assumption is that we are here as local-Universe information gatherers. We are given access to the divine design principles so that from them we can invent objectively the instruments and tools that qualify us as local Universe problem solvers in support of the integrity of an eternally regenerative Universe."
--Buckminster Fuller

Do all the good you can,
By all the means you can,
In all the ways you can,
In all the places you can,
At all the times you can,
To all the people you can,
As long as ever you can.
(John Wesley)

The ability to laugh

The ability to laugh and to cry is one of the marks which distinguishes human beings from other animals. It is the ability to enter into life, to feel and to share joys and sorrows. This sharing of light and shadow, this ability to live both above and below the flat surface of things within the compass of companionship is one of the greatest gifts of life. Choose a companion with whom there is always shared laughter, it will never put money in the bank but it will ease many rough places along the way.
(Robert Rodenmayer, from the book "I, John, Take Thee, Mary")


Around Memorial Day

There are those - soldiers and nurses, poets and priests - for whom death is a sure companion. But most of us treat it as a notorious celebrity we watch from afar, fascinated but removed, until we have no choice, preferring myth to truth. Ten million people watched Professor Randy Pausch's Last Lecture on YouTube;see the shining, dying man; and quietly promise themselves to shift out of neutral, stop being stupid about stupid things. Celebrate Memorial Day as a day when gratitude comes to life.
(Nancy Gibbs, Senior Editor, Time Magazine, paraphrased)


Answers to question put to Mick Jagger

I respond first by saying that being human means to be humble and to learn how to be confident without being selfish and self absorbed. It means to live with a level of understanding not measuring life by attainment of materials, but having a high level of morals and beliefs and sticking to them. Measuring success by failures overcome. JUST LIVE. By the end of our lives those who knew us will remember us in an honorable and loving way.

What we gave. we have ...

What we gave, we have ...
What we spent, we had ...
What we kept, we lost.
(Epitaph for Edward,
Earl of Devonshire, 1419)