Faith is a vast concept which, in our lives and in the world, expresses itself in myriad ways. No matter our faith tradition, or whether we have something we would call a faith tradition, we all live informed by some degree of faith in what we cannot see, cannot reason, and cannot know. Brother David refers to faith as “courageous trust,” and believes that gratefulness is at the heart of all religions. This definition of faith can pertain to trusting in life itself, and/or it can refer to trusting in the Source of life, or in the Spirit which holds all of life. Regardless, the definition of faith which informs our work holds an essential respect for all faiths, and is a wide, inclusive embrace for the beauty and mystery of its expression. Deepening our faith means expanding our hearts and what they can hold.
Grateful living calls us to actively engage with faith and courageous trust in life. We sit with faith when we enter stillness, when we are in awe, and when we act with love. There is something greater than our current circumstances that we can imagine, and we make ourselves willing to surrender to, rather than control, life in these times. On a committed path, we want to deepen our exploration of faith because we recognize its nourishment and many gifts. Poet Rabindranath Tagore said beautifully, “Faith is the bird that feels the light when the dawn is still dark.” And faith allows us to sing from our branch at simply the prospect of a new morn.
Try a Sample Practice: Practicing Faith in Life
I awaken before dawn, go into the kitchen and fix a cup of tea. I…
(On Being, January 2016) Br. David speaks to Krista Tippett of mysticism as the birthright of every human being, and of the anatomy and practice of gratitude as full-blooded, reality-based, and redeeming…
(2007) On 4 February 1968, Martin Luther King, Jr. gave what was to be his last sermon, ‘‘The Drum Major Instinct,’’ from the pulpit of Ebenezer Baptist Church. This is an excerpt from the sermon set to music. “If you want to be important—wonderful. If you want to be recognized—wonderful. If you want to be great—wonderful. But recognize that he who is greatest among you shall be your servant. (Amen) That’s a new definition of greatness.”
John George is a Maori carver. He plays a key role in a culture that is built around the memories and stories of ancestors. “It’s all about who you are, what you are and where you come from…and also to remember the old knowledge and to take it forward.”
There’s no doubt that the idea of “letting go” — the advice to “let it go” — has become more popular in recent years. Especially in light of the popularization of meditation and mindfulness, it seems people are starting to see that there is a profound power in the act of surrender.
(February, 2012) What is the relationship between gratitude and happiness? Why is gratitude so important? And, what does religion have to say about it? Does Judaism say anything unexpected? Written, drawn, and animated by Hanan Harchol.
In the leaf, in the bud,
in the shell-colored sand.
In the eye of a fly,
in the rainy-day sun…
We offer these blessings, prayers and invocations for meal times, gatherings and grateful living…
An extensive oral history / testimony project documenting the role of spiritual experience inside and outside of formal religion, expected and unexpected, told in people’s own words, and brought to life with video and photography. “I was–we were (as several folks in the office crowded ’round)–completely blown away. By its power and dignity, its implicit compassion and yet unblinking eye.” – Ken Burns
Willing to experience aloneness, I discover connection everywhere; Turning to face my fear, I meet…
(December 2013) Lifestyle artist John ‘Halcyon’ Styn delivers an inspirational talk about how a special relationship with his ‘Grandpa Caleb’ inspired his life work. Through sharing experiences with his grandpa, at Burning man and with starting his own non-profit called ‘1st Saturdays’ he presents a challenge for us to hug more, share more and love more.
(The Washington Post, August 2015) “Everything has been pleasant for me. So I’m thankful. And hopeful.” With those words, and a big, toothy smile, former President Jimmy Carter, 90, ended his press conference Thursday. He looked so completely, boyishly happy that you could almost forget he’d also announced he has cancer in his brain.
The orb of light crests the ridge, I stand facing her at the high point…
(On Being, July 2015) She works at an emerging 21st century intersection of industry, social healing, and diverse contemplative practices. Raised Catholic with Joan of Arc as her hero, Mirabai Bush is one of the people who brought Buddhism to the West from India in the 1970s. She is called in to work with educators and judges, social activists and soldiers. She helped create Google’s popular employee program, Search Inside Yourself. Mirabai Bush’s life tells a fascinating narrative of our time: the rediscovery of contemplative practices, in many forms and from many traditions, in the secular thick of modern culture.
If you knew yourself for even one moment, if you could just glimpse your most…
(2015) Muslims and Jews prayed together side-by-side in public spaces across Los Angeles, in an effort to show that peace is possible. “We were just so surprised that we could do this together and it’s very similar,” said participant Maryam Saleemi. “It was kind of like an ‘Aha Moment’ that we’re praying to the same God, why aren’t we doing this all the time together?”
The objective of this website is to gather the great prayers written by the spiritual visionaries of our planet into an online database representing all life affirming traditions. Many of these prayers have been used for hundreds if not thousands of years. Others are from spiritual contemporaries in today’s intricate global fabric. Though these sacred verses arise from divergent paths, voices, languages, cultures and heritages, they all carry within them the same burning flame – the same impassioned love for life and the divine mysteries.
Spiritual Directors International is an inclusive, global learning community of people from many faiths and many nations who share a common passion and commitment to the art and contemplative practice of spiritual direction, known as spiritual companionship, spiritual guidance, anam cara in Gaelic, and mashpiah in Hebrew.
Through a vibrant Charter for Compassion Partner Network, CfC welcomes and communicates the sharing of information, stories and experiences that touch the work of compassion. Sign the Charter for Compassion here and learn about initiatives to cultivate compassion around the globe.
(2010) Terry Patten interviews Brother David as part of the Beyond Awakening: The Future of Spiritual Practice series of teleseminars. (1:43:37)
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