Saturday, August 29, 2015


+ This post includes entries from August 29, 2015 until a date yet to be determined. Latest entries are at the top. If you would like to contribute, write JW in your subject line and send it to or make a comment on my Facebook page if you are a Facebook friend of mine.

Today I am devoting myself to the spiritual practice of prayer which I regard as the comprehensive term for all spiritual practice. 

“Prayer is none other than an expanding of our hearts in the presence of God.” -- John Calvin

For me, prayer begins with simply being still and listening to the wisdom which comes in mysterious and wonderful ways.  To remind me to pray I use the mindfulness bell when I sit in front of my computer. As a Christian I am called by the apostle Paul to pray unceasingly.  This is simple but not easy!

I am particularly fond of the Prayer attributed to Saint Francis:

Lord, make us instruments of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let us sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is discord, union;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.
Grant that we may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen.

This, I believe, is prayer at its best for it emphasizes service, compassion, reconciliation, unity, cooperation and, most of all, peace.  Peace is beyond understanding.  In Christ we are offered a peace which is different than any peace the world offers.  To find this peace, detachment and humility are essential.  We can live up to the ideals of this wonderful prayer only by “letting go and letting God.” This requires practice, practice, practice and, then, more practice.  Practice throughout life.  Never stop practicing.  

The more we practice, the more we can reduce our attachments to worldly pleasures and expectations. We can become our true selves, the Real Self God intends us to be.  This is bliss.  This is heaven.  This is the treasure we seek and which requires giving up all other treasures.  This can only be accomplished through prayer.

Praying is done in solitude and in community.  Both are essential.  We are accountable both to God or our True Self AND to each other, to every creature, to everything everywhere.  We must reach deeply within and far, far out, as deep and as far as we can.  The founder of my branch of Christianity, John Calvin, said it well: “Prayer is none other than an expanding of our hearts in the presence of God.”

Of course, other wise voices have spoken as well.  Mary Oliver encourages us in this way:

It doesn't have to be
the blue iris, it could be
weeds in a vacant lot, or a few
small stones; just
pay attention, then patch
a few words together and don't try
to make them elaborate, this isn't
a contest but the doorway
into thanks, and a silence in which
another voice may speak.

Prayer is far more listening than speaking.  It is wise to heed the guidance of Sue Bender who said: “Listening to your heart, finding out who you are is not simple. It takes time for the chatter to quiet down. In the silence of 'not doing' we begin to know what we feel. If we listen and hear what is being offered, then anything in life can be our guide.”

Openness is essential.  Henri J.M. Nouwen (1932-1996), a great spiritual teacher, spoke eloquently about this practice:

"To pray means to open your hands before God. It means slowly relaxing the tension which squeezes your hands together and accepting your existence with an increasing readiness, not as a possession to defend, but as a gift to receive. Above all, prayer is a way of life which allows you to find a stillness in the midst of the world where you open your hands to God's promises and find hope for yourself, your neighbor, and your world. In prayer, you encounter God not only in the small voice and the soft breeze, but also in the midst of the turmoil of the world, in the distress and joy of your neighbor, and in the loneliness of your own heart.

"Prayer leads you to see new paths and to hear new melodies in the air. Prayer is the breath of your life which gives you the freedom to go and to stay where you wish and to find the many signs which point out the way to a new land. Praying is not simply some necessary compartment in the daily schedule of a Christian or a source of support in a time or need, nor is it restricted to Sunday mornings or mealtimes. Praying is living. It is eating and drinking, action and rest, teaching and learning, playing and working. Praying pervades every aspect of our lives. It is the unceasing recognition that God is wherever we are, always inviting us to come closer and to celebrate the divine gift of being alive.”

And, finally, here is the big question as Brother David Steindl-Rast puts it: “… prayer is an attitude, an attitude of lifting up heart and mind to God. So … ask, ‘What lifts up your heart and mind? …’ Whatever lifts up your heart, focus on that.” (found in Celeste Yacoboni, How Do You Pray?)

Yes, what lifts up MY heart and mind?  Let me list a few things here: My wife, my family, my friends, my church, my planet, my universe, my discoveries, my explorations, my history, my dreams and visions, my hopes, my travels, my colleagues, my teachers, tastes, odors, movement, music, ideas and more.

What lifts up YOUR heart and mind?

Keep praying.  Keep celebrating “the divine gift of being alive.” Be open to all kinds of possibilities.

+ Since JW56 I have been to England and Wales and, closer to home, the Adirondacks and the Berkshires.  My life has been affected deeply by the deaths of my wonderful mother-in-law, Dorothy Hann, and my wonderful sister, Anita Solomon.  

Saturday, June 13, 2015


+ updated on Monday, June 15, 2015 at 4:31pm ESDT.

I wonder what the world would look like if it was made in my image. I would save the rain forests, no, increase the rainforests. I would rebuild the railroads in the USA and in other nations where they have deteriorated. I would find all kinds of ways to reduce noise so that we could enjoy plenty of peace and quiet in our daily lives. Not that there isn’t a place for noise but let’s make it quality noise and reduce the quantity of noise we are subjected to. I would disarm the nations of the world as rapidly as possible.

I would make sure that we all knew the Golden Rule and tried to practice it as frequently as possible. I would make everyone aware of the need for solar power and wind power and possibly other new ways to create the energy we need for sustainable abundance, not exceeding our needs. As Gandhi said: “The world has enough for everyone's need, but not enough for everyone's greed.” That’s the world I want to see and I now am trying to imagine and then create along with my fellow dreamers.

It is the world Nelson Mandela imagined when he wrote:
The time for healing of the wounds has come.
The time to build is upon us …
We pledge ourselves to liberate all our people
from the continuing bondage of poverty, deprivation,
suffering, gender and other discrimination …
There is no easy road to freedom …
None of us alone can achieve success.
We must therefore act together as a united people,
for reconciliation, for nation building,
for the birth of a new world.

And his fellow South African, Desmond Tutu, advocates a global transformation based on the African concept of Ubuntu. He says Ubuntu is a big part of God’s dream.

Ubuntu [...] speaks of the very essence of being human. [We] say [...] "Hey, so-and-so has ubuntu." Then you are generous, you are hospitable, you are friendly and caring and compassionate. You share what you have. It is to say, "My humanity is caught up, is inextricably bound up, in yours." We belong in a bundle of life. We say, "A person is a person through other persons."

[...] A person with ubuntu is open and available to others, affirming of others, does not feel threatened that others are able and good, for he or she has a proper self-assurance that comes from knowing that he or she belongs in a greater whole and is diminished when others are humiliated or diminished, when others are tortured or oppressed, or treated as if they were less than who they are.” -- Desmond Tutu in No Future Without Forgiveness

I am imaging a global community like that. I believe we can make it happen. Why not? It will take prayer.  It will take mindfulness.  It will take courage.  It will take new ways of thinking and acting based on old and new wisdom and knowledge.  It will take a lot of openness and humility.  It will take a lot of repentance and reconciliation. We need to embrace the wisdom of the graet judge, Learned Hand, who said:

The spirit of liberty is the spirit which is not too sure that it is right; the spirit of liberty is the spirit which seeks to understand the minds of other men and women; the spirit of liberty is the spirit which weighs their interests alongside its own without bias; the spirit of liberty remembers that not even a sparrow falls to earth unheeded; the spirit of liberty is the spirit of Him who, near two thousand years ago, taught mankind that lesson it has never learned, but has never quite forgotten; that there may be a kingdom where the least shall be heard and considered side by side with the greatest. -- “The Spirit of Liberty” - speech at “I Am an American Day” ceremony, Central Park, New York City (21 May 1944).”

I can’t say enough about the importance of humility. I see humility emerging out of the spiritual practices of stillness and detachment.  The images I have are important but so are the images you have and everybody has.  We need to share our images with each other in an atmosphere of trust and curiosity.

+ You are a heavenly being.  I am a heavenly being.  It takes a whole lot of prayer to become fully aware of just how heavenly we are.  Let go of any limited idea you might have regarding prayer.  Prayer is more than anything we have learned about prayer. Some unlearning is required no matter how good you may think your prayer practice has become.  

Saturday, May 23, 2015


+ This post includes entries from May 23 until June 13. Latest entries are at the top. If you would like to contribute, write JW in your subject line and send it to or make a comment on my Facebook page if you are a Facebook friend of mine.

+ Updated at 3:09pm ESDT on Saturday, June 13, 2015

Inner Frontier Inner Work this week (June 8-14) is Living in Flow, Part 4, Fluid Mind. Here is an excerpt: “Flow means freedom. We can only live in flow to the extent that we are inwardly free. And freedom in front of our thoughts is a major step toward complete liberation. What does that freedom look like? Imagine that rather than falling under the spell of and reacting to every chain of thoughts going on in your mind, you instead know intuitively and without effort that those thoughts are not who you are, that they have no power or claim over you, that they are just thoughts, just words passing through your mind, and then you return to your presence and breathe easy. If there is something useful, creative, or truly urgent in those thoughts, you may take appropriate action, but without being identified with the thoughts. One measure of our being is the extent to which we live in the deep currents of stillness beneath our thoughts, the source of true flow, rather than on the surface of our mind, where endless chatter and self-centeredness abound.”

+ Inner Frontier Inner Work this week (June 1-7) is Living in Flow, part 3: Sensory Flow. Here is an excerpt: “As this river of our sensory life cascades through time, our relationship with it determines the extent to which we live in flow. There are two primary ways we stop ourselves from living in flow. The first is by putting obstacles into the stream and the second is by letting ourselves be carried away by the stream.”

+ MAY I BE TRANSFORMED: Breath by breath I seek to be transformed into my better self, my real self, my divine self.  We all are divine in our depths.  This is a hidden reality until we accept the truth that we really are made in the likeness of God and, therefore, we are intimately, intricately and infinitely connected by a matrix of unconditional, unlimited and uniting love which is miraculous, mysterious and marvelous.  What a wonderful reality this is and how we miss it unless and until we accept the truth. 

Back to first person: I have a tendency to avoid the truth, to live in the darkness of the perception that I live in a realm of scarcity, deprivation, loneliness and confusion.  I don’t!  I am called to live in the light, the love, the joy of this realm of abundance. 

In other words, I need to embrace transformation as liberation rather than bondage, as something I can accomplish through the amazing grace of God.  I will not be fully transformed into my perfectly divine self in this life.  But I can enjoy the process of getting a little closer and maybe even a lot closer since God loves me no matter what and miracles do happen. 

+ I am a fan of James Redfield and his Celestine Vision. Now he has written an article which gets to the heart of his insights: "5 Ways Spirituality Will Enhance Your Life." Excerpt > “In the genuine search for Spirituality, the first experience one often detects is the development of ‘mysterious coincidences.’ This very common phenomenon was termed ‘Synchronicity’  by the noted, early twentieth-century, depth psychologist, Carl Jung. It is defined as ‘the experience of meaningful events in one’s life that are so timely in occurrence it feels as though some hand of fate or destiny is involved.’”

The five ways are: 

  • Awareness of Synchronicity
  • Intuitive Awareness
  • Karmic Design
  • Prayer Power
  • The Ultimate Sense of Peace and Well Being
+ Here is an excerpt from this week's Inner Frontier Inner Work on "Body Flow"“Walking is a microcosm of our life. We are active, needing to pay attention, but thoughts come, some from other thoughts, some from the sensory impressions we receive while walking. Can we just simply be in our body, as we walk? Not distracted by our thoughts, but here in our body.”

+ Cartoons can get right to the point of what's happening. Check out "Stuff Jesus Said" by Matt Bors.

+ I thought that maybe JW54 was getting too long.  

+ Where would YOU like to wander joyfully?

Wednesday, May 20, 2015


+ This post includes entries from May 20, 2015 until May 23, 2015. Latest entries are at the top.  If you would like to contribute, write JW in your subject line and send it to or make a comment on my Facebook page if you are a Facebook friend of mine.

+ There is a new post on The Abundancetrek Travel Blog. Mary and I are headed for England and Wales this summer.

+ Ed Bastian just shared a very thoughtful and moving column with his InterSpirituality network: “BuildingSpiritual Capital” by NYT columnist David Brooks. Excerpt: "Public schools often give short shrift to spirituality for fear that they would be accused of proselytizing religion. But it should be possible to teach the range of spiritual disciplines, in order to familiarize students with the options, without endorsing any one. In an era in which so many people slip off the rails during adolescence, we don’t have the luxury of ignoring a resource that, if cultivated, could see them through. Ignoring spiritual development in the public square is like ignoring intellectual, physical or social development.

+ This week's Inner Frontier Inner Work is "Surrender to the Present" by Joseph Naft. Excerpt: "Whatever pulls on us, whatever keeps our body, mind, heart from working together and being fully engaged in what we are doing, can we let that go and totally surrender into the present? For this week, please practice entering flow through relaxation. Relax your body. Relax your mind. Relax your heart. Surrender your tensions to the present."

+ I am glad I have discovered OnFaith.

OnFaith offers “Breaking Free From the Spell of Religion” by Galen Guengerich. Excerpt: “(Rachel Held) Evans cites recent research showing that two-thirds of millennials prefer a classic church over a trendy one, and three-quarters would choose a sanctuary over an auditorium. She quotes her friend and blogger Amy Peterson on this issue: ‘I want a service that is not sensational, flashy, or particularly “relevant.” I can be entertained anywhere. At church, I do not want to be entertained . . . I want to be asked to participate in the life of an ancient-future community.’”

+ My pastor just offered a link to an interview with Walter Brueggemann on OnFaith. Brueggemann is one of the great biblical scholars of our times and a leading advocate for compassion, peace, justice and sustainable abundance.  Excerpt: "We in the United States live in a deathly social context that’s marked by consumerism and militarism and the loss of the common good. Younger people that are committed to the gospel have to think carefully about how to critique that dominant system of military consumerism and how to imagine alternative forms of life that are not defined by those corrosive pressures."

+ Sojourners offers "Who Said It: Fox News or Jesus?" by Jim Wallis

+ Word for the Day today, May 22, is one of my all time favorites: “To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best day and night to make you everybody else, means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight, and never stop fighting.” – E.E. Cummings

+ A friend just shared this with me: "I learned this week about Maria Popova and her weblog Brain Pickings.  This is a recent post.  It is surprisingly poignant advice from a young Hunter S Thompson.  thought you might enjoy it." >

+ It will be Pentecost on Sunday. Spirituality and Practice offers some practices for the celebration Excerpt: "One of the reasons we love Pentecost so much is that it signifies wild freedom and intoxicating joy. The Holy Spirit is always confounding our expectations, slipping out of our restrictive ideas, and opening new doors for the people of God. So on this very special day, we suggest you offer the following toast.

"Invite family and friends to bring a special goblet, glass, or mug to a Pentecost gathering. Fill them with celebratory beverages. Then stand in a circle. Have each person share a brief example of feeling blessed by the Holy Spirit. The younger people may want to share visions, and the older people, dreams. After each person has spoken, raise your goblets and toast 'To the Holy Spirit'!"

+ Let's Go! There is a section at called Let's Go.  Using the metaphor of journey, I invite you to go to "places" where you can be inspired and illuminated and have spiritual encounters of various kinds.  I haven't added a "place" for a long time.  So, I think it is about time I add a "place." The new place is InterSpirituality, a movement which has the potential to produce the things which the world so desperately needs: compassion, peace, justice, sustainable abundance. Actually there are plenty of "places"where this important wisdom can be found.  I invite you to begin this exploration at The Spiritual Paths Institute created and led by Edward W. Bastian.  (I intend to add more InterSpirituality "places" as I add to this particular post which will eventually be revised and become the sixteenth place. Stay tuned.)

+ Every day I try to reflect on some inspiration and wisdom offered by great spiritual guides.  Here are some places on the web that I count on for daily nourishment:
+ Sometimes these posts have a theme and sometimes they don't.  Wandering is wandering.

Friday, May 8, 2015


+ This post includes entries from May 8, 2015 until May 20. Latest entries are at the top.  If you would like to contibute, write JW in your subject line and send it to or make a comment on my Facebook page if you are a Facebook friend of mine.

+ I just submitted an article for our Presbytery newsletter:

35 years ago, General Assembly declared its commitment to peacemaking. Now we are being asked to renew this commitment by considering the following 5 affirmations:  

     "1.     We affirm that peacemaking is essential to our faith in God’s reconciling work in Jesus Christ, whose love and justice challenge hatred and conflict, and whose call gives our church a mission to present alternatives to violence, fear, and misused power.
     "2.     We confess our complicity in the world’s violence even as we pray for the Spirit’s courage to “unmask idolatries,” to speak truth about war and oppression, and to stand with those who suffer, and to respond to acts and threats of violence with ministries of justice, healing, and reconciliation.
     "3.     We reclaim the power and authority of Jesus Christ, Prince of Peace and Reconciler, who proclaims God’s reign, who inspires the prophetic church, forgiving, healing, and undoing violence, and who overcomes evil through the cross and resurrection.
     "4.     We seek to understand the nonviolent revolutions and armed struggles of our time by drawing on the traditions of Christian pacifism, just war, just peacemaking and active nonviolence, and by cultivating moral imagination through prayer, study, and engagement with friends and enemies. Even as we actively engage in a peace discernment process, we affirm our responsibility of continuing the long tradition of support by the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) for our sisters and brothers who serve in the U.S. military, veterans, and their families.
     "5.     As disciples of Jesus Christ, we commit ourselves earnestly to seek and promote loving, nonviolent responses to conflict in our daily lives, in our communities, and in our world, and to risk calling our nation back from the practices of empire to the highest ideals of our heritage, and to practice boldly the things that make for peace."

MICAH, our Presbytery committee on Mission and Social Concerns, has been doing some reflecting and responding using the traditional process of Lectio Divina. We would now like the Presbytery to join us in this process so we can add our collective voice to the reflections and responses of our denomination which are now being collected. Before the May 26 Presbytery meeting, please consider each affirmation separately (or choose one) using the Lectio Divina process. Whether or not you will be at that meeting, you can do this and we would love it if you would send your reflections and responses to MICAH member John Wilde at You can find several Lectio Divina methods on the web. Here is a link to the Contemplative Outreach page on Lectio Divina: Their brochure is found at

Monday, April 27, 2015


+ This post includes entries from April 27, 2015 until May 6. Latest entries are at the top. 

+ Thank God we can wander ... and wonder ... isn’t it wonderful? Wander-full? But, there is a problem. I think E.B. White states it well: “I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day.”  

+ "Wanderer, there is no way, the road is made by walking." -- Antonio Machado

+ I am beginning to think about our 2016 trip to Japan.

+ On Twitter @fredericbrussat offers great quotes today, May 1, and almost every day. Here's one: "Until he extends his circle of compassion to all living things, man will not himself find peace." -- Albert Schweitzer

+ I invite my fellow Presbyterians and others to contribute to Presbyterian Disaster Relief for Nepal.  I like giving through the church because I know that the CEO is not getting the big bucks that many other agencies think are so necessary.

+ Patheos offers "16 Ways Progressive Christians Interpret the Bible" by Roger Wolsey.

Thursday, April 23, 2015


+ This post includes entries from April 23 through April 26. Latest entries are at the top. 

+ updated at 5:02pm ESDT on Monday, April 27, 2015

+ It feels so right to be joyfully wandering again. #abundance

+ A regular feature of Spirituality and Practice is Praying the News.  Here is today's post on praying for the people suffering from the devastating earthquake in Nepal: "Prayers and Practices for Victims of the Earthquake in Nepal" by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat.

+ One of my major sources of inspiration on an almost daily basis is The Bowl of Saki.

+ Something deep within me is moved by Celtic music. Here's one I like:

+ When you follow @fredericbrussat on Twitter you find gems like this one: "Nothing in all creation is so godlike as stillness." -- Meister Eckhart

Inspiration comes from many sources. If you wander around you will find many sources from all kinds of wisdom traditions. I have learned a lot over the years and I am eager to share my knowledge with YOU. My particular focus these days is InterSpirituality, a growing movement of people who cherish their own traditions but want to share wisdom with others, receiving and giving.

+ You can use these links to see what I wrote in the first 10 Joyful Wandering posts back in 2010 and 2011:

JW1 > May 5-21, 2010 > Daily Lectionary / synchronicity / Music / "New Soul" by Yael Naim / Journey
JW2 > May 21-October 15, 2010 > Connections Galore / The Church of I AM > Peter Russell / Katha Upanishad
JW3 > October 13-15, 2010 > Balance / Prayer / Stillness / 12 practices / Paying Attention / Mindfulness / Spirituality & Practice > Mary Ann & Frederic Brussat / 9 heavenly attributes
JW4 > October 15, 2010 > Breathing / Yoga / Erich Schiffmann / Stillness
JW5 > October 26, 2010 > Humility / Detachment / Inner Frontier > Joseph Naft
JW6 > November 23-24, 2010 > Solitude
JW7 > March 2, 2011 > The Charter for Compassion / The Church of I AM > Peter Russell / InterSpiritual Meditation > Ed Bastian / Spirituality and Practice
JW8 > March 11-14, 2011 > Breathing / Stillness / Rochester
JW9 > March 15-16, 2011 > Modes of Will / Spontaneity / Creative Energy / Inner Frontier > Joseph Naft
JW10 > March 23-25, 2011 > Prayer / Modes of Will / Grace / Inner Frontier > Joseph Naft

Wednesday, April 22, 2015


+ Updated at 1:45pm ESDT on #EarthDay, April 22, 2015.

#earthday + "This is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it."

#‎earthday‬ + “When we tug at a single thing in nature, we find it attached to the rest of the world.” -- John Muir

#earthday + Here are some great ideas for earthday and every day: Earth Day: 12 Spiritual Practices to Honor the Earth by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat.

#earthday + "Driven by the forces of love, the fragments of the world are seeking each other, so that the world may come into being." -- Teilhard de Chardin

#earthday + A book to buy: 50 Ways to Help Save the Earth: How You and Your Church Can Make a Difference by Rebecca Barnes-Davies, an environmental activist with over a decade of experience in advocating for public policy changes, educating groups of concerned Christians, and writing numerous articles.

#earthday + Visit Earth Ministry

#earthday + Visit Presbyterians for Earth Care: An Eco-Justice Network

#earthday + A Prayer for the Environment:
Awake! Awake! Holy One, we are the choir. We are awakened to the terrible things we have done to your gift of the garden. Now our plea is for the music, notes and words, that we need to sing to those around us who are in a deep sleep of unawareness. Our hearts are full to overflowing with the pain of what we see around us. Give us, we pray, the melody for awakening our human family. Amen.
(This prayer was written by Holly Hallman for a Presbyterians for Earth Care event.)

#earthday + Visit Presbyterian Church (USA) Environmental Ministries

#earthday + Visit

#earthday + Visit GreenFaith

#earthday + Visit Interfaith Power and Light: A Religious Response to Global Warming

#earthday + "I'm always aware that the world around us is never going to be as beautiful and intact as it is now so I do everything I can to take pleasure in it. One of our jobs is clearly to bear witness to this beautiful world we were given and to understand that it is never going to be quite as glorious again, so we had better pay attention." -- Bill McKibben of

#earthday + Visit Earth Policy Institute

#earthday + “Our global civilization today is on an economic path that is environmentally unsustainable, a path that is leading us toward economic decline and eventual collapse.” -- Lester Brown of Earth Policy Institute

#earthday + “The first and greatest surprise – a miracle, really – is this: that anything exists at all, and that we get to be part of it. Ripe peach, crisp apple, tall mountain, bright leaves, sparkling water, flying flock, flickering flame, and you and me … here, now!” -- Brian D. McLaren in We Make the Road by Walking

Tuesday, April 21, 2015


+ Let me know if you have anything to add to this post or any other post by contacting and use JOYFUL WANDERING in your subject line. My hope is to make this a community blog particularly focused on Spirituality, Progressive Christianity, Peace & Justice, the Environment, Politics.

+ “The only thing I want is to awaken all humans on the planet that we are living on Mother Earth.” —Afrika Bambaataa + Thanks to Spirituality and Health for sharing this quote on the eve of Earth Day.

+ It's my fantastic and wonderful and delightful and only grandchild's eleventh birthday. HAPPY BIRTHDAY.

+ The Charter for Compassion is such an important document that I intend to publish it in JW posts from time to time from now on. Here it is:

The principle of compassion lies at the heart of all religious, ethical and spiritual traditions, calling us always to treat all others as we wish to be treated ourselves. Compassion impels us to work tirelessly to alleviate the suffering of our fellow creatures, to dethrone ourselves from the centre of our world and put another there, and to honour the inviolable sanctity of every single human being, treating everybody, without exception, with absolute justice, equity and respect.

It is also necessary in both public and private life to refrain consistently and empathically from inflicting pain. To act or speak violently out of spite, chauvinism, or self-interest, to impoverish, exploit or deny basic rights to anybody, and to incite hatred by denigrating others—even our enemies—is a denial of our common humanity. We acknowledge that we have failed to live compassionately and that some have even increased the sum of human misery in the name of religion.

We therefore call upon all men and women to restore compassion to the centre of morality and religion ~ to return to the ancient principle that any interpretation of scripture that breeds violence, hatred or disdain is illegitimate ~ to ensure that youth are given accurate and respectful information about other traditions, religions and cultures ~ to encourage a positive appreciation of cultural and religious diversity ~ to cultivate an informed empathy with the suffering of all human beings—even those regarded as enemies.

We urgently need to make compassion a clear, luminous and dynamic force in our polarized world. Rooted in a principled determination to transcend selfishness, compassion can break down political, dogmatic, ideological and religious boundaries. Born of our deep interdependence, compassion is essential to human relationships and to a fulfilled humanity. It is the path to enlightenment, and indispensable to the creation of a just economy and a peaceful global community.

+ Upworthy offers a beautiful video for the 46th annual Earth Day which is tomorrow, April 22.

+ The Peter Russell Quote of the Moment: "The voyage of discovery is not seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes." -- Marcel Proust

Monday, April 20, 2015


+ Updated at 6:13pm ESDT on April 20, 2015.

+ HAPPY BIRTHDAY, REBECCA. It's great to have you in the family.

+ Let me know if you have anything to add to this post or any other post by contacting and use JOYFUL WANDERING in your subject line. My hope is to make this a community blog but with me as dictator! (just kidding of course)

+ I can't believe it has been almost 2 years since my last Joyful Wandering post. What's wrong with me? I love doing this.

+ I still love to simply enjoy web surfing. There is so much information, knowledge and wisdom being shared by millions and millions of us. Sorry about the split infinitive but I like to joyfully wander splitting infinitives as I wander and wonder where I am going, where WE are going together!

+ Some of my favorite places on the web may be repeated from time to time. I am not going to go back through all of the previous JW posts to see what links I have offered.

+ I am interested in many topics. Here are some of the most likely topics to be covered in this continuing series of posts:

  • Spirituality
  • InterSpirituality
  • Progressive Christianity
  • Peace & Justice
  • Environment
  • Politics
  • Baseball
  • Rock'n'Roll

  • + What Barrett Lee offers on his blog is always worth a read. Here is what he posted today: AMERICA IS NOT THE FUTURE OF THE CHURCH.

    + This post by the Coffee Party goes back to early March but is well worth the read because it deals with what's happening in our political system here in the USA: Republicans dominating Congress but surrendering the White House to the Democrats. | Read the post

    + Spirituality and Practice currently features this:
    American Tibetan Buddhist teacher Lama Surya Das has a new book, and it provides a doable path to overcoming our illusions of duality and experiencing oneness. "Inter-meditation" takes us from the meditation pillow out into our everyday world where every aspect of our lives becomes part of our spiritual journey. Best of all, the book is packed with practices. 
     Read our review of Make Me One With Everything
     Read an excerpt on Ten Keys to Inter-Meditation
     Read an excerpt on Thirty-Three Potent Aphorisms

    Saturday, November 22, 2014


    + It has to happen. You can be a Christian but you’ve got to be a Buddhist too … and a Hindu … and a Jew …and a Muslim … and a Shaman … and a Taoist … and a Wicca … and a Sikh … and an agnostic … and an atheist … and a scientist … and (add your own possibilities).  I call this mutual conversion. 

    + Humanity is at a crossroads.  We have come a long, long way in our million years since we evolved from something pre-human.  But we have a long way to go if we are going to stop killing each other and killing far too many animals and plants. 

    + How are we going to do that?  I don’t know but I want to urge us on somehow.  I have a few ideas … well maybe even a lot of ideas that I want to share.  They are not original ideas.  Maybe one or 2 are, I don’t know. They are ideas I have discovered over the years as I have sought wisdom and guidance from many sources. I don’t pretend to speak to the whole human race. But I have your attention and maybe I can keep your attention long enough to influence you in a positive way so that you can contribute even more effectively to a future of compassion, peace, justice and sustainable abundance. I believe we can create such a future if we can learn how to radically embrace and own the stories of others, one story at a time.

    + It is urgent that we begin to affirm the stories of others as much as we affirm our own stories. So urgent.

    + I have a story.  It’s a good one.  It is not better than your story.  But my story is a good story and I want you to embrace it, to own it, yes, to make it your own.  You don’t have to claim all of the details but I want you, I need you, to embrace and own my story as much as you possibly can.  And my promise to you is that I will embrace and own your story as much as I possibly can. 

    + Some of my story may be easy for you to embrace and own because you and I surely share some common themes.  I am going to call these themes “gifts.”  As you look over the contents of this book I hope you can identify some gifts you have received with the same titles that I use. But, on the other hand, there may be some gifts in my story which you will not find easy to embrace and own.  That’s the challenge I put before you and me. I need to move out of my comfort zone and radically embrace some gifts which are not familiar to me, which threaten me, which scare me, which confuse me.  I believe we all need to do that. I believe our journey will become more and more amazing, fantastic, wonderful as we discover, explore, experiment, create a new and greater story by giving and receiving new and different gifts.  What do you think?

    Friday, September 12, 2014


    A motto of the Reformed branch of Christianity is: REFORMED AND ALWAYS BEING REFORMED. That’s not only a good idea for a church or a mosque or a sangha. It is also a good idea for each and every person and every nation, tribe, family, neighborhood, association. Humility and openness are absolutely necessary. Gentleness and kindness and patience. An attitude of gratitude. Always forgiving. Always respecting, appreciating, caring, helping, serving. These are all tried and true virtues promoted by all the sages of the ages. They are not to be ignored or dismissed. Violence only as a last resort of self-defense and maybe even that should be examined carefully and thoroughly.

    PRAY CONSTANTLY + I hate to use the word “should” BUT you should always be praying, Yes, always. Constant gratitude works. This creates an attitude of gratitude. Constant gratefulness. Constant thanksgiving. Constant communion with God and all the Saints. And everyone is a Saint. The more you pray, the more you know just how holy, wonderful, fantastic, amazing, awesome, you are. You and everyone else. Every human. Every creature. Yes, that means everything. Everything is holy. The more you pray, the more you know that. Wow.

    One possible way for you to become one who prays constantly is to say thank you for every situation you encounter as much as you possibly can. I am thankful for this pen and paper and my knowledge of English. I am thankful for my brain, my fingers, my hand, my arm, my eyes, my lungs, my nose, my mouth, coffee, water, air and on and on it goes. Blue Sky. Clouds. Rain. Snow. Dogs. Cats. Birds. Flowers. Pizza. Ice Cream. Apples. Oranges. Television. Radio. Internet. And on and on it goes. Rock’n’Roll. Classical Music. Folk Music. Poems. Stories. The Dance. Running. Walking. Stretching. Breathing. Dreams. And on and on it goes. Mom. Dad. Spouse. Siblings.  Children. Friends.  Cousins.  Aunts. Uncles. Movies. Actors. Plays. Politicians. Lawyers. Teachers. Doctors. Engineers. Cashiers. And on and on it goes.

    Friday, August 15, 2014


    Many ways.

    Maybe you already know a way, or ways. Maybe you are practicing a way, or ways.

    Good! Great! Fantastic! Wonderful!

    Actually I am sure you already know a way, or ways. It’s just that you can do better. We all can do better.

    Let us contemplate the way or the ways we now know and we now practice. Rest and relaxation.  Breathing.  Awareness of breathing. Awareness of what’s happening right now, right here. Touching. Singing. Dancing. Sleeping. Dreaming. Praying. Learning. Teaching. Hoping. Caring. Giving. Receiving. We know these practices. We do these practices. We simply can do better. We all can do better. We all want to do better. God empowers us, blesses us, challenges us, comforts us, heals us. We are heavenly beings. We are connected. Intimately. Intricately. Infinitely. Now. Here. Wow. Right?

    Good! Great! Fantastic! Wonderful!

    I am awake. I am aware. I am connected. Now. Here. Wow.

    Many Ways.

    There are many wonderful wisdom traditions which offer all kinds of stillness practices. Christianity. Islam. Hinduism. Buddhism. Judaism. Taoism. Shamanism. You cannot go wrong if you follow many of the time-tested practices of these and other wisdom traditions. They work. You can go wrong if you choose a particular practice which does not meet some or all of the requirements for authentic heavenly awakening. It is important to be open-minded, compassionate, humble and part of a community of sincere seekers of wisdom. It is important to appreciate traditions and beliefs and practices of other wisdom traditions. Don't judge. Treat others the way you want to be treated. That’s the Golden Rule and it is found in all of the great wisdom traditions. Many today are describing themselves as spiritual but not religious because religion has too often been associated with violence, hatred, intolerance, fear, oppression and control.

    Friday, March 28, 2014



    Good! Great! Fantastic! Wonderful!

    So, let’s keep exploring, keep discovering, keep enjoying, keep risking, trusting as much as we possibly can that there is nothing to fear. Remember: WE ARE INTIMATELY, INFINITELY, INTRICATELY CONNECTED BY A MATRIX OF UNCONDITIONAL, UNLIMITED, UNITING LOVE WHICH IS MIRACULOUS, MYSTERIOUS AND MARVELOUS. WOW!

    I am a heavenly being.  I am awake, aware, connected.  I am making all things new now.  I am doing a new thing now.  I am creating new heavens and a new earth now.  I am creating the new, glorious, fantastic realm of abundance, joy, wisdom, beauty, love, truth, peace, justice and freedom. Now. Here.

    You are. We are. God is.

    Do you remember what the key is to this glorious, fantastic realm.  Do you?

    STILLNESS, or the practice of being still.

    Paradoxically, one must find ways to move into this amazing state.  Actually, even more paradoxically, the stillness I have in mind is actually exquisite motion.  I told you this heavenly realm is mysterious.  In other words, stillness is a different kind of motion, heavenly motion, miraculous motion, marvelous motion, mysterious motion.  It’s a dance.  It is music.  It is rhythm. It is melody.  It is finally indescribable.  Practice stillness and see for yourself why no words, no image, can adequately describe this state of awakening, awareness and connectedness.  In stillness, you become the heavenly dance, the heavenly music, the never ending beat of new creation.  You are creating heaven.  You are creating a new glorious, fantastic, realm of ABUNDANCE, JOY, WISDOM, BEAUTY, LOVE, TRUTH, PEACE, JUSTICE AND FREEDOM. You are.  I am.  We are.  God is.

    Isn’t this exciting?

    Good! Great! Fantastic! Wonderful!

    Exciting and also strange, even spooky.  In stillness we leave earth behind and even realize we don’t really need earth.  Some of us even decide to leave earth behind and never come back but most of us are far too attached to earthly pleasures and we do come back.  I assure you there is nothing to fear.  Your permanent home is heaven, not earth, where there is nothing to fear.  Those who can practice stillness with some degree of skill come to realize that there is nothing to fear in the temporary home of earth either.

    So, practice, practice, practice.

    There are many ways to practice stillness and become one with God and all creation.

    Friday, February 28, 2014


    PAGE 4

    Celebrate. Enjoy. Be glad all over.

    The Burning Bush, of course, is a metaphor. It stands for the presence of Godand the unquenchable desire of God to set us all free, free to be creative, free to be unique, free to be holy.  God does not want anyone to be enslaved, oppressed, marginalized. We are all holy, fantastic, wonderful creatures made in God’s likeness. Enjoy being present at the Burning Bush. Feel the glow. You are always in that holy presence, standing on sacred ground. Wow!

    The more we enter that presence of the Burning Bush, the more we discover our vocation, our calling, our purpose, our raison d’etre. God is always ready to give us meaningful and joyful work to do or play to do. We might get lost or confused from time to time but we can find our way to that holy presence, that unquenchable fire, that sacred ground, that connection which can never be broken. As we continue on the Amazing Journey we gain the incredible awareness that the Burning Bush moves with us, guiding us, inspiring us, challenging us, comforting us, freeing us, renewing us, resurrecting us. WOW!

    It is so wonderful, so fantastic, so fascinating.

    There is a key to realizing just how wonderful, fantastic, fascinating it all is.  That key is the practice of simply being still.  Try to be as still as possible from time to time.  It is amazing to realize how intimately, intricately, infinitely connected we are to the matrix of unconditional, unlimited, uniting Love which is miraculous, mysterious and marvelous. Wow. Simply be still and know this truth.

    The sages of the ages teach this practice and emphasize how important it is.  They teach it in many ways. It’s simple but not easy to attain a state of stillness.  It is often quite a struggle.  But as I said, it is the very key to being awake, aware and connected, to being in heaven right now, right here. Wow.

    First, I need to convince you that stillness is indeed the key to heaven.  Then we can look at various ways to attain this state.

    If there is a heaven why would God want to deny you the incalculable, immense joy of its presence right now, right here?  Well, there is a heaven and God does not want to deny you the incalculable, immense joy of its presence right now, right here. Trust me. This is really true and no one in their right mind would want it any other way. Right?

    Saturday, February 15, 2014


    PAGE 3

    Something wonderful is happening. Right now. At this time. At all times. All the time. Paying attention to what’s happening right now will reveal miracle after miracle.  This is the realm we want to discover, explore, know, enjoy. Let’s go. OK?

    Good! Great! Fantastic! Wonderful!

    If we are in a realm of miracles, we are also in a realm of mysteries.  This realm is marvelous, but also risky, even dangerous. Make sure you have support from trusted friends, colleagues, guides, teachers as you travel through this marvelous realm.  It is fantastic. It is wonderful. But there are unexpected hazards or expected hazards here. Be careful. Be prepared. PRAY! Yes, pray. There are many ways to pray and I am not about to tell you which way is best for you.  I will share some of my ideas about prayer here.  Maybe you will benefit from them.  I believe praying is as natural as breathing so we are praying whether we know it or not.  God is always with us.  Actually it’s more than that: WE ARE PART OF GOD. We are intimately, intricately, infinitely connected to the source, to the Creative Energy, to the Mind and Heart of God who is Love, unconditional, unlimited, uniting LOVE. You need to know this. You need to experience this. You must enter this realm of Love because it is pervasive.  It is everywhere.  The more we know God, the more we can avoid the unexpected or expected hazards here.  They are not really here but it sure does feel like they are here, there and everywhere we go. So, be careful, be prepared. Pray. Trust your companions who are also praying, especially those companions you have reason to believe know how to pray.  This is really important.  Fortunately, these companions who can be trusted are here, there, and everywhere.  Take a  moment, take as long as you need, to think about your companions on this amazing journey. OK?

    Good! Great! Fantastic! Wonderful!

    It really is wonderful.  It really is fantastic. WOW! I am awake, aware, connected.  I am amazed, delighted, glad all over. Awe. Wonder. Beauty. Right here. Right now. WOW. Breathe deeply. Breathe fully. Be still. Be silent. Be centered. Be grounded. Gaze, like Moses, at the Burning Bush. You may have to use your imagination. You are in a holy place. You are the unquenchable fire, the eternal flame. You are the Light of the World, of the Universe, of Heaven. Lighten up. Loosen up. Let go. Let God.