"Instead of an intellectual search, there was suddenly a very deep gut feeling that something was different. It occurred when looking at Earth and seeing this blue-and-white planet floating there, and knowing it was orbiting the Sun, seeing that Sun, seeing it set in the background of the very deep black and velvety cosmos, seeing - rather, knowing for sure - that there was a purposefulness of flow, of energy, of time, of space in the cosmos - that it was beyond man's rational ability to understand, that suddenly there was a non-rational way of understanding that had been beyond my previous experience. There seems to be more to the universe than random, chaotic, purposeless movement of a collection of molecular particles. On the return trip home, gazing through 240,000 miles of space toward the stars and the planet from which I had come, I suddenly experienced the universe as intelligent, loving, harmonious."
He who is in harmony with the Tao is like a newborn child. Its bones are soft, its muscles are weak, but its grip is powerful. It doesn't know about the union of male and female, yet its penis can stand erect, so intense is its vital power. It can scream its head off all day, yet it never becomes hoarse, so complete is its harmony.
When a woman of the Ubuntu African tribe knows she is pregnant, she goes into a consecrated circle with other women, and together they pray and meditate until they get to "The song of the child. "When a child is born, the community gets together and sings the child's song. When the child begins his education, he sings his song. When he or she becomes an adult, the community get together again and sings it. When it comes to their weddings, those persons hear their songs sung. Finally, when their soul is going from this world, family and friends approach and sing their song to accompany it in the "journey". In the Ubuntu tribe, there is another occasion when men sing the song. If at some point a man commits a crime or aberrant social act, the men take him to the center of town and the people of the community form a circle around her. Then they sing "your song." The tribe recognizes that the correction for antisocial behavior is not punishment, but is the love and memory of true identity. Those who love you can not be fooled by mistakes you have committed, or dark images you show to others. They remember your beauty as you feel ugly, your total when you're broke, your innocence when you feel guilty and your purpose when you're confused. When we recognize our own song, we have no desire or need to hurt anyone.
"The term "enlightenment" is used to translate a variety of words in various Asian languages that, while closely related, aren't exactly identical. Most fundamentally, enlightenment refers to the Pali and Sanskrit word bodhi, which is more literally "awakening." Enlightenment is our true nature and our home, but the complexities of human life cause us to forget. That forgetting feels like exile, and we make elaborate structures of habit, conviction, and strategy to defend against its desolation. But this condition isn't hopeless; it's possible to dismantle those structures so we can return from an exile that was always illusory to a home that was always right under our feet. For many of us, there is something that pushes us and something that pulls us. We're pushed by our own pain and the pain we see in the world around us; we're pulled by intimations not random, not chance, but readily and consistently present. It's possible to make ourselves available, in all the hours of our days, to the grace we so long to be touched by, and to spread that grace to the world around us."
"All concepts setting boundaries to what we term the self are arbitrary. In the systems view, we consist of and are sustained by interweaving currents of matter, energy, and information that flow through us interconnecting us with our environment and other beings. Yet, we are accustomed to identifying ourselves only with that small arc of the flow-through that is lit, like the narrow beam of a flashlight, by our individual subjective awareness. But we don't have to so limit our self-perceptions... It is as plausible to align our identity with the larger pattern, interexistent with all beings, as to break off one segment of the process and build our borders there."
"On the journey of the warrior-bodhisattva, the path goes down, not up, as if the mountain pointed toward the earth instead of the sky. Instead of transcending the suffering of all creatures, we move toward turbulence and doubt however we can. We explore the reality and unpredictability of insecurity and pain, and we try not to push it away. If it takes years, if it takes lifetimes, we let it be as it is. At our own pace, without speed or aggression, we move down and down and down. With us move millions of others, companions in awakening from fear.