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I don't believe in heaven and hell. I don't know if I believe in God. All I know is that as an individual, I won't allow this life -- the only thing I know to exist -- to be wasted.

George Clooney

I love the idea of God, but it's not stylistically in keeping with the way I function. I would describe myself as an enthusiastic agnostic who would be happy to be shown that there is a God.

Carrie Fisher

Organized religions and their dogmas only serve to indoctrinate the participants into sheeplike common behaviors. This type of blind assimilation promotes the popularity of Top 40 count-down radio stations and movie sequels. Skepticism toward groups, holy or otherwise, is enriching and makes you a far more entertaining person.

Janeane Garofalo

....quotes from books by Warren Allen Smith:  

Celebrities in Hell -- and/or longer book : 

Who's Who in Hell : A Handbook and International Directory for Humanists, 
Freethinkers, Naturalists, Rationalists, and Non-Theists

....
~ ~ ~ ~

[Like others who are very famous, do you ever tune-in spiritually?]

I allow myself to take on way too much stress, but I'm not good at relieving it through anything but acting. But I'm not one of these people really into the latest fetishes like yoga or the Kabbalah.

I can't imagine anything worse than wearing a trendy red bracelet around my arm and running around saying, "I'm at peace with myself." [laughs] To me, that's totally hypocritical.

Mischa Barton .. [Hollywood Life Nov 2004]

....

~ ~ ~ ~

The forms of life teach us if we but await their meaning. They need us in order to fulfill themselves. They release meaning as valves release steam. The power is not in the valves; the valves translate the power into a language. 

There is a way of experiencing the power directly, then something remarkable happens. Instead of experiencing attitudes, one experiences experiences. 

Somehow, the mind as we ordinarily think of it, is gone. The mind is empty. The mind is washed clean, in the blood of the lamb. What does this mean? In the blood of newborn life. In this blood flow the impulses of science and poetry, life and art, truth as it circulates through us: the dialogue between the inner and outer, the centering. ...

....Centering in Pottery, Poetry, and the Person by Mary Caroline Richards

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~ ~ ~ ~
The word enlightenment conjures up the idea of some superhuman accomplishment, and the ego likes to keep it that way, but it is simply your natural state of felt oneness with Being. It is a state of connectedness with something immeasurable and indestructible, something that, almost paradoxically, is essentially you and yet is much greater than you. 

It is finding your true nature beyond name and form. The inability to feel this connectedness gives rise to the illusion of separation, from yourself and from the world around you. You then perceive yourself, consciously or unconsciously, as an isolated fragment. Fear arises, and conflict within and without becomes the norm.

Eckhart Tolle   .. [site: eckharttolle.com]
*The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment

~ ~ ~ ~
As I pondered what I had learned on my [near-death] journey I realized that my life had indeed been born of a desire for growth, a growth I had determined could be most efficiently accomplished under conditions of adversity and pain. 

The higher purpose served by this choice was joy, the joy of being in physical reality, the joy of breaking free of old patterns, the joy of discovering inner resources I might never otherwise have cultivated, and the joy of acquiring a quality of self-knowledge I could achieve nowhere else. 

And I was reminded that we are never truly alone. Not only does there exist an immense network of intelligent and loving allies who sustain and support us as we struggle to grow, but also some portion of our larger self always comprehends what we are doing and where we are heading. No matter where we might find ourselves in the vast complexity of the whole, there is always a level of awareness that is old enough and smart enough to understand. 

And I was shown that each of us, no matter how small or insignificant we might sometimes feel, is vital to the whole, to a depth and degree we are wont to forget.  .....Kathleen D. Noble, PhD

*from her book:*Riding the Windhorse: Spiritual Intelligence and the Growth of the Self
..............also quoted in column: spirituality and creativity  //   image from savetibet.org > 

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"In order to survive, the sacred has to be practical. It's practical to know everything about an animal, about the land. What that really is, is an intense sensitivity to what's happening in the moment. And that's what has enabled native people to live in such an extremely harsh world."   Louise Erdrich   [O magazine, April, 2001]

...book:*The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse

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I have always had a strong spiritual life.  That's not to say I didn't spend a few years, when I was a teenager, cut off from my experience of that reality. 

I remember feeling so hurt once I said, "God, how can you be good if you let all these bad things happen?  I donít want to talk to you anymore." 

But by the time I was sixteen, I'd sorted out that it wasnít God's fault people acted the way they did.  He/She was waiting for people to wake up, to stop indulging in their fear/control games, and to start using their will to choose to be open to learning instead of protecting themselves.  What a different world it would beif people did that! 

I also realized I didn't have to understand everything in order to ask for help from the source of all life, the source of love. So I would ask for strength, guidance, healing, clarity, something constructive that would bring me joy.

I just kept asking and opening myself to receiving help.  I still do.  The tough part of that process is not to get a fixed idea on how you want the help. 

You can be given a better solution than you could have imagined, or the first step in an even bigger healing process, but you look right by it because you're looking for the answer the way you think it should be.  .. Lindsay Wagner 

from interview for Daughters-Sisters Project: daughters-sisters.org
more info on page: social activism


 
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As a child, I loved the dizziness that came when I asked myself, "What is at the edge of the universe? What is found when all ends?" I often tried to go there to look at what happens when matter stops. ...

Years later, when I let myself be fully free in my expression, I discovered that creative painting has the same effect on me. As I let my hand be guided by an inner impulse, it was moved by energies much beyond my will or comprehension. I would enter that primary place at the edge of matter, that other side of reality. 

Painting would slow the activity of my mind or simply short-circuit it. I was led into that great expanse where consciousness frees itself from its thoughts and knowledge. ...Michele Cassou

*books:*: Point Zero : Creativity Without Limits   /   Life, Paint and Passion   ...photo from her site: michelecassou.com >

~ ~ ~ ~

 

Spiritual intelligence is the soul's intelligence. It is the intelligence with which we heal ourselves and with which we make ourselves whole. 

So many of us today live lives of wounded fragmentation. We long for what the poet T. S. Eliot called `a further union, a deeper communion', but we find little resource within our ego-bound selves or within the existing symbols or institutions of our culture.

SQ is the intelligence that rests in that deep part of the self that is connected to wisdom from beyond the ego, or conscious mind, it is the intelligence with which we not only recognize existing values, but with which we creatively discover new values. ...

We use SQ to be creative. We call upon it when we need to be flexible, visionary or creatively spontaneous. 

    [excerpt from Chapter One]

**Sq : ConnectingWith Our Spiritual Intelligence

by Danah Zohar, Ian Marshall

~ ~ ~ ~
I began to wonder if achievement could take a form uniquely my own as a woman, and whether my mature vision of what matters in life, and the means of best going about what matters, might quite naturally and inevitably part company with men's; indeed whether it might not contribute something of unique and irreplaceable value to the culture in which I live.

This is the story of a journey of awakening. My intention is to share my efforts to achieve in my middle years a wholeness that I did not know (and didn't care to find) as a younger woman. Simply by listening to my inner soundings, and to the many inspiring women whom I have met over the past few years, I have learned what it means to genuinely honor the Self.

   Kathleen Hirsch ......**A Sabbath Life : A Woman's Search for Wholeness

~ ~ ~ ~
"The heart of creativity is an experience of the mystical union... Those who speak in spiritual terms routinely refer to God as the creator
but seldom see 'creator' as the literal term for 'artist.' I am suggesting you take the term creator quite literally. You are seeking to forge
a creative alliance, artist to artist, with the Great Creator."
 

Thich Nhat Hanh.  Peace Is Every Step :  The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life
 
 

~ ~ ~ ~
detail of 'The Angel Picture'

from ghost gallery on artbell.com

~ ~ ~ ~
"All mankind is of one author and is one volume," John Donne wrote
in one of his most beautiful meditations. "When one man dies, one
chapter is not torn out of the book, but translated into a better language;
and every chapter must be so translated."

It continues: "God employs several translators; some pieces are translated
by age, some by sickness, some by war, some by justice; but God's hand
is in every translation, and his hand shall bind up all our scattered leaves
again for that library where every book shall lie open to one another."

At the time I had only a dim remembered impression of Donne's words,
and I decided that, as soon as I had the chance, I would find the passage
on the Internet.

I hadn't yet used the Internet much beyond E-mail, but I had somehow
gathered that universities were all assembling vast computer-text libraries
and that anyone with a modem could scan their contents.

Though I had often expressed cynicism about the Internet, I secretly
dreamed it would turn out to be a virtual analogue to John Donne's heaven."

from Jonathan Rosen  The Talmud and the Internet: A Journey between Worlds

~ ~ ~ ~
Talmudic wisdom proclaims that over every blade of grass there stands an angel whispering, "Grow! Grow! Grow!" I believe that this extends to every moment as well. There are illumined thought forms that emanate from a divine source, guiding us, every moment, away from darkness and into light.

The fact that we so often ignore these illuminations does not mean that they are not there. They are our thoughts of wisdom and conscience and love. They are our sense of goodness, the lure of becoming by which we are taken, though often kicking and screaming, in the direction of our healing. It is this illumined presence--in ourselves and others--that inspires us to hope.

It carries the miraculous authority to reroute our bridges, individually and collectively, when the ones we have built are leading nowhere. That is because it has the authority to transform the human heart."  Marianne Williamson

**from Imagine: What America Could Be in the 21st Century

 
~ ~ ~ ~
In 1984, before I moved to New York, I wrote the following in my journal: "I feel like I have two options. I can either turn my studio in Washington into a kind of sanctuary, and dedicate myself to going deeper into the life of the spirit
as a long range goal, or I could jump into the abyss, move to New York, and try to earn a living doing assignment work. I would love to try to bring a sense of the spiritual into the world of commerce."

In retrospect, it's obvious that the latter option, which I took, has brought me an amazing worldly journey. It has made me grow in ways I never would have if I had stayed in Washington. And, had I known how difficult it would be, I probably would not have had the courage to make such a huge life change. 

photographer Joyce Tenneson -- image from her book: Illuminations

*
~ ~ ~ ~
Some traditional spiritual teachers seem to imply that the mind is the enemy.

Our thoughts keep us lost in the illusion of duality. If we stop the mind,
we will attain the highest level of enlightenment.

This idea can be misleading. It is true that the vast majority of our thinking
process leads nowhere. But the mind adds a dimension to our natural awareness
that differentiates us from the awareness of animal life.

Did you eve closely watch a deer in the wild? Every few moments they stop
what they are doing, lift their heads, and listen, smell, watch. Every few
moments they are acutely alert for possible danger. Most wild animals
have fine-tuned awareness like this.

Yet our potential for higher awareness far exceeds that of any animal,
because we have unique minds. We must take the reins of the mind in hand,
and at the same time we must realize that the mind is not the enemy.

It is all that we have that allows us to appreciate everything we consider
precious in life. Without the awareness of the human mind, we could
never experience our own process, and more important, the connection
with the Divine could never be made.

**David A. Cooper  God Is a Verb : Kabbalah and the Practice of Mystical Judaism
 
 

~ ~ ~ ~
 Gretel Ehrlich's life was at a turning point when she took a filming assignment in Wyoming.
When the job was over, she found she could not bring herself to return to her home in the city.
As she explains it, "The vitality of the people I was working with flushed out what had become
a hallucinatory rawness inside me.... The arid country was a clean slate. Its absolute indifference
steadied me."

With the quiet vastness of the Wyoming landscape as her muse, Ehrlich explores the ways
our culture separates us from ourselves: "From the clayey soil of northern Wyoming
is mined bentonite, which is used as a filler in candy, gum, and lipstick. We Americans are great
on fillers, as if what we have, what we are, is not enough.

We have a cultural tendency toward denial, but, being affluent, we strangle ourselves
with what we can buy. We have only to look at the houses we build to see how we build
against space, the way we drink against pain and loneliness.

We fill up space as if it were a pie shell, with things whose opacity further obstructs
our ability to see what is already there."

She writes of the people, animals, landscape, hardships, and weather with a singing
clarity: "Thoughts, bright as frostfall, skate through our brains. In winter, consciousness looks like
an etching."

from Amazon.com article: Women Who Talk to Nature by Kathryn True -
    'Women nature writers see things through different eyes.'

*book:*Gretel Ehrlich The Solace of Open Spaces

~ ~ ~ ~

Writing that is produced with consciousness and care is essential to our growth. But if you are intent upon manifesting your sacredness in life, there is never a replacement for experience.

My work deals with four specific issues. First, how you physically manifest your dreams, and what holds you back. Second, how you balance your emotions with your mental abilities and your relationship with death as a contrast to life.

Third, how to pray and define your spiritual existence; and last but not least, how you develop your relationship with the Old Wise One within you, that great teacher, master, and flame of divinity that is your soul.

Lynn V. Andrews ... [Amazon.com interview]

**books by Lynn Andrews:

Love & Power : Awakening to Mastery   //  Windhorse Woman : A Marriage of Spirit

 
~ ~ ~ ~
My cocoon tightens, colors tease,
I'm feeling for the air;
A dim capacity for wings
Degrades the dress I wear.
A power of butterfly must be
The aptitude to fly,
Meadows of majesty concedes
And easy sweeps of sky.
So I must baffle at the hint
And cipher at the sign,
And make much blunder, if at last
I take the clew divine.

Emily Dickinson

book: Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson

~ ~ ~ ~
"So when I would talk about principles of manifestation or spiritual healing, I received
ice-cold receptions. This didn't make sense to me at first. After all, I thought that they
would enjoy learning how to use their minds to create more peaceful and harmonious lives.
Yet, it soon became apparent that these spiritual principles were too far-out for them to consider using.

"That's when I went into the spiritual closet. I kept my mouth shut, and sometimes,
I even went along with the crowd. When people would discuss how "awful" or how
"unfair" life was, I'd solemnly nod in agreement. By going along like this, I was readily
accepted and soon became fairly popular. After awhile, I began to develop a form of
amnesia about my spiritual beliefs...

"I stayed in the spiritual closet until a series of profound adulthood experiences,
which I've written about in my book, The Lightworker's Way, helped me
to remember the spiritual principles and beliefs of my childhood.

from Coming Out of the Spiritual Closet by Doreen Virtue, Ph.D. - an article on her site: angeltherapy.com

 
 ~ ~ ~ ~
 

Art as a Hidden Message: A Guide to Self-Realization by J. Donald Walters

"J. Donald Walters has provided a manual for creativity as spiritual practice.
Insightful, inspiring and imaginative, Art as a Hidden Message reveals the sacred dimension
of artistic expression and opens a new world of meaning and purpose."

Michael Toms, Co-founder, New Dimensions Radio; co-author of True Work

~ ~ ~ ~

"The more that scientists learn from the natural environment - from the universe to our planet to our genes - the more they bump up against the ineffable religious mystery and beauty... 

We need to popularize this sensibility - trumpet it in the media and in our schools - and demonstrate that respecting the natural dynamics of our planet is not just good science, it's a spiritual responsibility and pleasure." 

   Norman Lear-------[Sunrise mag. February/March 1996 article: posted on theosophy-nw.org]

~ ~ ~ ~

"Contemplative prayer has the quality of an inner Sabbath.
In a world driven by the need to accomplish and acquire, in
a world where we judge one another on the basis of performance,
God calls us to the radical trust of rest. Does the Lord require so
much of us that we cannot join God in a little divine rest?"

from Marjorie J. Thompson Soul Feast: An Invitation to the Christian Spiritual Life

 ~ ~ ~ ~

Sooner or later, we must find out who we are. So we begin to ask questions and contemplate our lives.
As we continue to explore essential questions about self, mind, reality, and consciousness, we expose
those limiting beliefs, mistaken identities, attachments, fears, and contractions which obscure the truth
of who we are.

The more we expose, the more we illuminate-not just the questions, but the questioner. The light
that illuminates the questions and the questioner is awareness itself. We are that awareness. It is
important to recognize this directly, because that recognition is freedom. Within the instant of
sudden freedom, the promise of life is fulfilled.

----book: Echoes of Silence : Awakening the Meditative Spirit by Robert Rabbin
 

~ ~ ~ ~
 

To sense the patterns and gifts given to us and to fulfill them is a wondrous part of the development of self.
It is an honoring of our potential and our unique destiny. In this we can bring together our practice, our
particular tasks in our family and community, fulfilling our capacities, our gifts, and our heart as a unique
individual. As we do so, our individual nature reflects the universal.

Jack Kornfield.  A Path With Heart: A Guide Through The Perils and Promises of Spiritual Life
 

~ ~ ~ ~

 
My religiosity consists in a humble admiration of the infinitely superior spirit that reveals itself in the little that we, with our weak and transitory understanding, can comprehend of reality. Morality is of the highest importance -- but for us, not for God. 

Albert Einstein****related book: Ideas and Opinions by Albert Einstein

~ ~ ~ ~
I'm an optimistic agnostic. I'd like to believe. I'm willing to listen to any sort of evidence. I hope there's a God, I sure hope there is. I hope we don't just die and that's it. ... 

There remains in my work, in my writing, an element of spirituality. But there are other moments when I feel profoundly insignificant. And that actually is a feeling that kind of frees me. A kind of feeling that this is it. This is my life, so I'd better enjoy it and I'd better be responsible. ...

When I wrote Sudden Manhattan and a writer friend said to me "Look, Adrienne, it's your first feature. It might take seven years to get produced." And I thought that is not acceptable to me. Because in my way of thinking I might not live another seven years. ...

There's something Kierkegaard writes about, in a similar vein. Don't make plans for the future without adding the phrase "However, I might be dead in the next 10 minutes, in which case I shall not attend to it."

writer director actor Adrienne Shelly   [moviemaker.com Aug. 1996]

books by Soren Kierkegaard:***Fear and Trembling  ***The Essential Kierkegaard

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