- The more one pursues spirituality in the teachings of world religious leaders like Jesus, Mohammed, Lao Tzu and Buddha, the more one experiences oneness, interconnectedness and less separation.
- The new cosmology (the story of the origin and development of the universe and our place in it) that science is showing us: – things develop from matter (big bang, galaxies, planets) to life (plants) to sensitivity (animals) to thought (humans) – demonstrates that the whole universe is heading in a spiritual direction – the whole universe is moving inexorably towards more life and consciousness. This new cosmology can heal the former split between science and religion. Matter intrinsically moves toward spirit. The whole universe is bound for enlightenment!
- Contemplation does not kill your pain and anguish. In fact it increases your awareness of the false faith in things that most “normal” people put their trust in: money and possessions. Once you start to grasp the folly of this – the cultural trance or sleepwalking that is the status quo – it increases your grief for the all those who are trapped in it. You shed tears of compassion for your fellow human beings. “Compassion” means “to suffer with.” Contemplation leads to suffering with and for others.
- This is what God wants to say to you. Imagine yourself being full-immersion baptized like Jesus, the heavens parting and God saying to you “You are my beloved in whom I take great delight.” Let God’s voice resonate deep within you and heal all your emptiness and pain.
- The point of both the Councils of Chalcedon and Nicaea is that only God can save us from destroying ourselves. And God can only save us humans through a fully human life, the life of Jesus.
- According to St. Francis de Sales, God placed you in the world not because God needs you in any way, but just to exercise God’s own goodness by giving you God’s grace and glory.
- The Cosmic Christ was already in the world before Jesus of Nazareth came along. The Cosmic Christ is the light that enlightens everyone who pursues goodness, truth, and beauty in any discipline. This includes non-believers, since the Cosmic Christ is goodness, truth and beauty.
- Spiritual seekers went to India in the 1960s and 70s thinking they could become mystics through drugs, sex, or ‘siddhis’ (psychic powers). However the true test of mysticism is becoming merciful as God is merciful.
- It is the imperfections in our universe, the wrinkles in space-time, that creates the galaxies, stars, and planets. If space-time was perfectly smooth, nothing would now exist. It is our imperfections that make us human, sensitive creatures. If we were all perfect, life would be perfectly boring.
- The journey of enlightenment in any religion involves shedding not collecting; it is a constant process of letting go of more and more defences until you are spiritually naked.
- The cure for anyone’s sense of emptiness, loneliness, and shame is to feel God’s unconditional love and acceptance.
- Overall, evolution’s direction is from pre-personal to personal to transpersonal; from pre-rational to rational to trans-rational; from id to ego to spirit. For example: from subconscious (dog) to conscious (human) to superconscious (divinized human).
- The problem with scientific methods is they can seduce us to think that all truth can be reduced to observable data, and therefore God and the great religious traditions of the world are irrelevant – humans are self-sufficient. However, these methods cannot penetrate the intimate, personal meaning of essential experiences of life such as suffering, sex, death, and the search for meaning itself. Nor can they give us answers to life’s biggest questions such as why are we here? where are we going? Is life and the universe essentially trustworthy?
- Nine seemingly good things that can become key temptations if you overdo them: striving for perfection (where nothing is ever good enough); helping others (to the point of burning yourself out); efficiency (when you ignore the needs of those right in front of you); authenticity (sharing too much of yourself when it is not appropriate); knowledge (dwelling only in your mind); security (being afraid to try anything new); idealism (to the point of losing touch with messy reality); striving for justice (to the point of always being angry about everything); self-deprecation (to becoming a doormat).
- The Church, rather than being, as Karl Marx wrote: an “opiate of the masses,” should be a radically counter-cultural force challenging the prevailing ethic of consumption that is destroying our planet.
- Religion is for those afraid of going to hell. Spirituality is for those who have been there.
2. Henri Nouwen saw dogma as peripheral to his task of spiritual renewal of all Christians. He appeals to both conservatives and progressives because he focuses on everyone’s deep spiritual longing: to live a life centred on God.
3. The new cosmic story, where humans are at the centre and cutting edge of cosmic evolution, calls us to wake up from the despair and meaninglessness of the postmodern era.