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  • In the course of my studies, I have discovered that the religious quest is not about discovering ‘the truth’ or ‘the meaning of life,’ but about living as intensely as possible here and now. The idea is not to latch onto some superhuman personality or to ‘get to heaven’ but to discover how to be fully human.

    Karen Armstrong, author, BBC commentator, former nun
  • Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.

    Steve Jobs, the late Apple CEO
  • There is no need for temples, no need for complicated philosophies. My brain and my heart are my temples; my philosophy is kindness.

    Dalai Lama
  • If there are dreams about a beautiful South Africa, there are also roads that lead to their goal. Two of these roads could be named Goodness and Forgiveness.

    Nelson Mandela
  • Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.

    Muhammad Ali, champion heavyweight boxer and activist
  • You meet saints everywhere. They can be anywhere. They are people behaving decently in an indecent society.

    Kurt Vonnegut, author of the anti-war novel “Slaughterhouse-Five”
  • Many people would define peace as deliverance from one’s enemies. I believe Jesus would define peace as the transformation of enemies into friends.

    Unknown
  • From the cowardice that dare not face new truth, from the laziness that is contented with half truth,
    from the arrogance that thinks it knows all truth, Good Lord, deliver us.

    Kenyan prayer
  • The truth is that male religious leaders have had–and still have– an option to interpret holy teachings either to exalt or subjugate women. They have for their own selfish ends, overwhelmingly chosen the latter.

    Jimmy Carter, former U.S. President
  • For my part, I have come to see religion as more of a medium than a container. I no longer see any religion (including my own) as the sole repository of truth, wisdom, or profound insight.

    Jo McGowan, Catholic humanitarian living in India
  • I do not prefer one religion or philosophy to another. I have no sympathy with the bigotry and ignorance which make transient and partial and puerile distinctions between one man’s faith or form of faith and another’s – as Christian and heathen, I pray to be delivered from narrowness, partiality, exaggeration, bigotry. To the philosopher all sects, all nations, are alike. I like Brahma, Hari, Buddha, the Great Spirit, as well as God.

    Henry David Thoreau, 19th century author and Unitarian

Everyday we hear about global warming and the global financial crisis. We experience both either directly or indirectly. Both threaten our current way of life on planet earth. The scale of the challenges in both instances seems huge, hence the prefix “global”. As global challenges they remind of the fact that neither is going to be solved by one or two individuals or even countries. It demands a concerted by us all. We as ordinary people have a major role to play and we cannot only leave it to governments and politicians to sort out these challenges. We cannot leave it to a Barack Obama and a Nelson Mandela to save us from our folly. We need to take a breather and carefully reflect upon our times and its challenges and then we need to take small, but deliberate steps to help change things for the better.

Both global warming and the global financial crisis seem to invite us to think about living a simpler and more sustainable life. We are invited to slow down in order to see which way we are heading. It is a time that invites us to reconnect with the essence we share as human beings. Shall we call it our spirit? If we do reconnect with this inner essence I would like to think that it will be a spacious spirituality which includes rather than excludes. In fact I would suggest that global challenges need a “spacious spirituality” to in order to find a solution to these particular challenges. Such a spirituality will allow us the inner space to view these challenges from a larger perspective that doesn’t revolve around our own ego concerns and economic considerations only. It will help us to work towards that which is good for the world and not only that which is good for ourselves. There is a simple way suggested by numerous spiritual traditions to develop this “spacious spirituality”. It is the simple practice of watching our breath and reflecting on the simplicity of this act and how it relates to the issue and challenges we face. And asking ourselves the question: “What do I need do now to ensure that the breath of life on planet earth will continue even when I have breathed my last and final breath”.

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