Becoming One with God
“What kind of God do you believe in?” my answer is easy: “I believe in a magnificent God.”
Be very careful…not to get too obsessed with the repetition of religious ritual just for its own sake.
Flexibility is just as essential for divinity as is discipline.
Devotion is diligence without assurance.
Destiny is also a relationship–a play between divine grace and willful self-effort.
Faith is a way of saying, “Yes, I pre-accept the terms of the universe and I embrace in advance what I am presently incapable of understanding.”
If faith were rational, it wouldn’t be–by definition–faith.
Faith is belief in what you cannot see or prove of touch.
Man is neither entirely a puppet of the gods, nor is he entirely the captain of his own destiny; he’s a little of both.
In 1954, Pope Pius XI, or all people, sent some Vatican delegates on a trip to Libya with these written instructions: “Do NOT think that you are going among Infidels. Muslims attain salvation, too. The ways of Providence are infinite.”
Bird is the Word
“The Vatican isn’t part of Rome. They have a different word over there. Their word is POWER.” “You’d think it would be FAITH.”
“It’s POWER,” he repeated. “Trust me. But the word in Rome–it’s SEX.”
Giulio asked, “What’s the word in New York City?”
I thought about this for a moment, then decided. “It’s a verb, or course. I think it’s ACHIEVE.”
(Which is subtly but significantly different from the word in Los Angeles, I believe, which is also a verb: SUCCEED. Later, I will share this whole theory with my Swedish friend Sofie, and she will offer her opinion that the word on the streets of Stockholm is CONFORM, which depresses both of us.)
The word amok, as in “running amok,” is a Balinese word, describing a battle technique of suddenly going insanely wild against’s one’s enemies in suicidal and bloody hand-to-hand combat.
Babies Aren’t Us
Having a baby is like getting a tattoo on your face. You really need to be certain it’s what you want before you commit.
I also know that I won’t go forth and have children just in case I might regret missing it later in life; I don’t think this is a strong enough motivation to bring more babies onto the earth.
But what if, either by choice or by reluctant necessity, you end up not participating in this comforting cycle of family and continuity? What if you step out? Where do you sit at the reunion? How do you mark time’s passage without the fear that you’re just frittered away your time on earth without being relevant? You’ll need to find another purpose, another measure by which to judge whether or not you have been a successful human being. I love children, but what if I don’t have any? What kind of person does that make me?
The Bobbsey Twins
Some time after I’d left my husband, I was at a party and a guy I barely knew said to me, “You know, you seem like a completely different person, now that you’re with this new boyfriend. You used to look like your husband, but now you look like David. You even dress like him and talk like him. You know how some people look like their dogs? I think maybe you always look like your men.”
When in Rome
I try to look at the Pantheon every chance I get, since I am here in Rome after all, and an old proverb says that anyone who goes to Rome without seeing the Pantheon “goes and comes back an ass.”
The One Who Gets Away
People think a soul mate is your perfect fit, and that’s what everyone wants. But a true soul mate is a mirror, the person who shows you everything that’s holding you back, the person who brings you to your own attention so you can change your life. A true soul mate is probably the most important person you’ll ever meet, because they tear down your walls and smack you awake. But live with a soul mate forever? Nah. Too painful. Soul mates, they come into your life just to reveal another layer of yourself to you, and then they leave.
Zealand said, “I see marriage as an operation that sews two people together, and divorce is a kind of amputation that can take a long time to heal. The longer you were married, or the rougher the amputation, the harder it is to recover.”
La Dolce Vita
You were given life; it is your duty (and also your entitlement as a human being) to find something beautiful within life, no matter how slight.
Life, if you keep chasing it so hard, will drive you to death.
The Bhagavad Gita–that ancient Indian Yogic text–says that it is better to live your own destiny imperfectly than to live an imitation of somebody else’s life with perfection.
To lose balance sometimes for love is part of living a balanced life.
If we truly knew all the answers in advance as to the meaning of life and the nature of God and the destiny of our souls, our belief would not be a leap of faith and it would not be a courageous act of humanity; it would just be…a prudent insurance policy.
Namaste with Me
Yoga is the effort to experience one’s divinity personally and then to hold on to that experience forever.
True Yoga neither competes with nor precludes any other religion.
Yoga, in Sanskrit, can be translated as “union”. It originally comes from the root word yuj, which means “to yoke,” to attach yourself to a task at hand with ox-like discipline. And the task at hand in Yoga is to find union–between mind and body, between the individual and her God, between our thoughts and the source of our thoughts, between teacher and student, and even between ourselves and our sometimes hard-to-bend neighbors. The ancients developed these physical stretches not for personal fitness, but to loosen up their muscles and minds in order to prepare them for meditation.
But the Yogis believe a human life is a very special opportunity, because only in a human form and only with a human mind can God-realization ever occur.
A great Yogi is anyone who has achieved the permanent state of enlightened bliss. A Guru is a great Yogi who can actually pass that state on to others. The word Guru is composed of two Sanskrit syllables. The first means “darkness,” the second means “light.” Out of the darkness and into the light.
Of Sound Mind and Body
To find the balance you want,” Ketut spoke through his translator, “this is what you must become. You must keep your feet grounded so firmly on the earth that it’s like you have four legs, instead of two. That way, you can stay in the world. But you must stop looking at the world through your head. You must look through your heart, instead. That way, you will know God.
The resting place of the mind is the heart. The only thing the mind hears all day is clanging bells and noise and argument, and all it wants is quietude. The only place the mind will ever find peace is inside the silence of the heart. That’s where you need to go.
You gotta stop wearing your wishbone where your backbone oughtta be.
Just as there exists in writing a literal truth and a poetic truth, there also exists in a human being a literal anatomy and a poetic anatomy. One, you can see; one, you cannot. One is made of bones and teeth and flesh; the other is made of energy and memory and faith. But they are both equally true.
True Bliss Takes Work
It’s easy enough to pray you’re in distress but continuing to pray even when your crisis has passed is like a sealing process, helping your soul hold tight to its good attainments
In a world of disorder and disaster and fraud, sometimes only beauty can be trusted. Only artistic excellence is incorruptible. Pleasure cannot be bargained down. And sometimes the meal is the only currency that is real.
Guilt’s just your ego’s way of tricking you into thinking that you’re making moral progress. Don’t fall for it.
Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it. You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestations of your own blessings. And once you have achieved a state of happiness, you must never become lax about maintaining it, you must make a mighty effort to keep swimming upward into that happiness forever, to stay afloat on top of it. If you don’t, you will leak away your innate contentment.
What is It Good For?
There are only two questions that human beings have ever fought over, all through history. How much do you love me? And Who’s in charge? Everything else is somehow manageable. But these two questions of love and control undo us all, trip us up and cause war, grief and suffering.
He says all Americans are like this: repressed. Which makes them dangerous and potentially deadly when they do blow up.
So…are you doing anything to bring yourself closer to God? Do you think true happiness takes effort? Are babies for you? Do you mirror your partner in relationships? Are you a yogi? Do you love your life? Are you a lover or a fighter? Let us know in the comments! |RL