The wise elder knows that a balanced life is about both saving and savoring the world. She sees the world as whole, and the whole is not just 'us' and 'our' predicaments. Whatever language we give to that, whether we call it spiritual or something else, the central idea is to recognize that it's about something much bigger than we are, and that we each need to sort out our roles in it.
Harry Rubin - b. New York City 1913, d. Santa Monica, Ca., 2008. From his days as an undergraduate at UCLA Harry never held back an opinion or ceased to question the establishment or status quo. He stood true to his beliefs in free speech and a utopian world in which education would unlock possibilities for all, banish economic disparities, and make war obsolete. The question he considered seminal was "What does it mean to be human?" Ultimately he summed it up with a single phrase, "to be compassionate."
"In the presence of presence the accumulated suffering from the past begins to dissolve, and that's the true teaching. That's why presence is so beautiful and why people want to be close to a teacher. It's not the form of the teacher; the attraction is to be in the presence of the presence. It's a very powerful thing to sit with someone who looks like somebody but is not somebody. When there's somebody there who is transparent enough so that the stillness comes through unhindered, there's a reciprocal movement in you because the presence of stillness suddenly recognizes itself. There's an almost magnetic pull of being. It gets pulled out of you, forward, and it meets all of the other being's being. Words are not really necessary for that to happen. They can be floating on the surface. Being recognizes itself. People come together, being in response to being. That's the beauty of it."
Ekhart Tolle in an interview "Stillness & Presence" in Inquiring Mind 18:1, Fall 2001
"We are at a stage in human history that is as monumental as changing from a hunter/gatherer society to an agricultural society and from an agricultural society to and industrial society. Where we're headed now will be different because we have exhausted planetary space and human space for us to continue to look at things through the Cartesian measurement of material things. We need to face the way we used the world for our gains, pleasures, satisfactions. This is the way we evolve to a higher stage of humanity. And unless we want to live in terror for the rest of our lives, we need to change our view about acquiring things. We have the opportunity to take a great leap forward in these very challenging times. We need to change our institutions and ourselves. We need to seize opportunities. We need to launch our imaginations beyond the thinking of the past. We need to discern who we are and expand on our humanness and sacredness. That's how we change the world, which happens because WE will be the change."
What makes for the best relationship between mentor and apprentice? The core of it is trust. The only way to build trust is through deep presence - meaning that both parties need to sense that it is an embodied thing, an earned thing. Great mentors are lovers of questions. They have the presence to hit the pause button and listen. Then they ask more questions. It's out of this deeper presence, this willingness to listen with patience that a meaningful relationship will grow. Richard Leider (Claiming Your Place at the Fire)
“A person awakening in the morning is like a new creation. If we begin the day with unkind words or even trivial matters – even though we may later turn to prayer, we have not been true to our Creation. All of our words each day are related to one another. All of them are rooted in the first words we speak.” (Ba’al Shem Tov)
"Politics and spirituality are the two sides of the same coin. Politics is the driving force visible to the outside; spirituality is the internal force driving the consciousness to open up to the world and conjoin it. Politics bared of spiritual awareness always leads to violence and the abuse of power. Spirituality without political engagement resembles an escape from the world."
-- Gundula Schatz
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
(from the Declaration of Independence)
"A mature person is one who does not think only in absolutes, who is able to be objective even when deeply stirred emotionally, who has learned that there is both good and bad in all people and in all things, and who walks humbly and deals charitably with the circumstances of life, knowing that in this world no one is all knowing and therefore all of us need both love and charity."
-Eleanor Roosevelt, diplomat and writer (1884-1962)
The humbleness of a warrior is not the humbleness of the beggar. The warrior lowers his head to no one, but at the same time, he doesn't permit anyone to lower his head to him. The beggar, on the other hand, falls to his knees at the drop of a hat and scrapes the floor for anyone he deems to be higher, and yet demands that someone lower than him scrape the floor for him.
(From Tales of Power by Carlos Casteneda)