Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Sunday, Nov. 28,2007


Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues,
but the parent of all the others."

Gratitude Theory, The Osgood File
In recent years, many scientists have begun examining the links between religion and good health, both physical and mental. Now two psychologists are working to unlock the puzzle of how faith might promote happiness. Dr. Michael McCollough, of Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, and Dr. Robert Emmons, of the University of California at Davis, say their initial scientific study indicates that gratitude plays a significant role in a person's sense of well-being.

McCollough and Emmons were curious about why people involved in their faith seem to have more happiness and a greater sense of well-being than those who aren't and decided to study the connections. After making initial observations and compiling all the previous research on gratitude, they conducted the Research Project on Gratitude and Thanksgiving. The study required several hundred people in three different groups to keep daily diaries. The first group kept a diary of the events that occurred during the day, while the second group recorded their unpleasant experiences. The last group made a daily list of things for which they were grateful.

The results of the study indicated that daily gratitude exercises resulted in higher reported levels of alertness, enthusiasm, determination, optimism and energy. Additionally, the gratitude group experienced less depression and stress, was more likely to help others, exercised more regularly and made more progress toward personal goals. According to the findings, people who feel grateful are also more likely to feel loved. McCollough and Emmons also noted that gratitude encouraged a positive cycle of reciprocal kindness among people since one act of gratitude encourages another.

McCullough says these results also seem to show that gratitude works independently of faith. Though gratitude is a substantial part of most religions, he says the benefits extend to the general population, regardless of faith or lack thereof. In light of his research, McCullough suggests that anyone can increase their sense of well-being and create positive social effects just from counting their blessings.

The night's departed; yet, my friend,Our story's not yet at an end.

The Hidden Messages in Water, Masaru Emoto
Japanese researcher Masaru Emoto is known for his fascinating pictures of water crystals before and after being exposed to certain words.What he found was water that was labeled with harsh and negative words resulted in deformed crystals (if they could form at all). The most perfect crystals developed when the words "love and gratitude" were pasted onto the bottle. After seeing water react to different environmental conditions, pollution and music, Mr. Emoto and colleagues decided to see how thoughts and words affected the formation of untreated, distilled, water crystals, using words typed onto paper by a word processor and taped on glass bottles overnight..

The Astonishing Power of Emotions, Ester and Jerry Hicks
… And as you come to understand this powerful Stream of Life that we are explaining, and as you get a glimpse of the larger picture of who-you-really-are, and, most important, as you become convinced that your true work is to simply realign with who-you really-are, the Art of Allowing will become second nature to you. The most common misunderstanding that prevents people from getting control of a situation and gaining their personal balance is the belief that I need to get to where I want to be right now or as quickly as possible. We certainly understand your desire to find the answers to your questions quickly or to solve your problems as fast as you can, but still, that urge works against you. When you feel an urgency to be somewhere else, you are pushing hard against where you are. That is upstream. But an even more important flaw in the premise you are beginning from is this: In your belief that you must hurry to an improved place, you are discounting the power of the Stream, its speed, its direction, and its promise. And in the forgetting of those things, you are definitely pointed in the opposite direction of who you-truly-are and all that you have become.

So now, turn your attention once again to the upstream/downstream analogy, and feel for a moment the sensation of relief that you would experience if you had been paddling against the Current in an upstream direction and then suddenly just stopped paddling, in an attitude of giving in to the Stream and letting it just turn you and take you downstream. Let this picture soothe you even further as you try now to remember that this Stream is benevolent and wise, and it is actually taking you toward the things that you want. In your mind’s eye, lie back in your boat, feel it turn naturally downstream, and relax into the idea that this Stream will carry you to your inevitable Well-Being and to a fulfillment of your desires. You Are Adding Power to the Stream.


On gratitude and aging

Why does a date-palm lose its leaves in autumn?
Why does every beautiful face grow in old age
Wrinkled like the back of a Libyan lizard?
Why does a full head of hair get bald?
Why is it that the Lion's strength weakens to nothing?The wrestler who could hold anyone down Is led out with two people supporting him,Their shoulders under his arms?
God answers,“They put on borrowed robes And pretended they were theirs.I take the beautiful clothes back,So that you will learn the robe Of appearance is only a loan.”Your lamp was lit from another lamp.All God wants is your gratitude for that

The Gospel According to Mary
And desire said, I did not see you descending, but now I see you ascending. Why do you lie since you belong to me?
The soul answered and said, I saw you. You did not see me nor recognize me. I served you as a garment and you did not know me.
When it said this, it (the soul) went away rejoicing greatly.

We ask for your comments/thoughts to continue our Sunday conversation. Thank you.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Guidelines to Walking the Labyrinth

The labyrinth is not a maze. There are no tricks to it and no dead ends. It has a single circuitous path that winds its way into the center. The person walking it uses the same path to return from the center and the entrance then becomes the exit. The path is in full view, which allows a person to be quiet and focus internally.

Generally there are three stages to the walk: releasing on the way in, receiving in the center and returning when you follow the return path back out of the labyrinth. Symbolically, and sometimes actually, you are taking back out into the world that which you have received.

There is no right way or wrong way to walk a labyrinth. Use the labyrinth in any way that meets what you need while being respectful of others walking. You may go directly to center to sit quietly -- whatever meets your needs.

To prepare, you may want to sit quietly to reflect before walking the labyrinth. Some people come with questions, others just to slow down and take time out from a busy life. Some come to find strength to take the next step. Many come during times of grief and loss.

There are many ways to describe a labyrinth. It is a path of prayer, a walking meditation, a crucible of change, a watering hole for the spirit and a mirror of the soul.


University of St. Thomas Labyrinth

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Opening Music

A World Within, from The Magdalene Mystique: Songs from Within, © 2007, Anita Kruse

There's a world within
every human heart
where a river flows
with no end or start

There's a world within
where creation blooms
with each rising sun
with each waxing moon

There’s a world within
wherever I may roam
It’s a world within
Where I find my home
There's a world within
where a wisdom flows
with a love that heals
and a peace that grows

There's a world within
where a quiet sings
with the voice of the soul

There’s a world within
wherever I may roam
It’s a world within
Where I find my home

There's a world within
where the pure light glows
with the truth we seek
and the truth we know

There's a world within
where we find ourselves
it's a quiet place
where the spirit dwells.....

There’s a world within
wherever I may roam
It’s a world within
Where I find my home

Call to Silence and Opening Meditation

A Reading from the Gospel of Mary Magdalen

What is matter?
Will it last forever?

The Teacher answered:
“All that is born, all that is created,
are interwoven and united with each other.
All that is composed shall be decomposed;
everything returns to its roots; matter returns to
the origins of matter. Those who have ears, let
them hear."


A Reading from Rumi's Kolliyaat-e Shams-e Tabrizi, #84, Edited by Badiozzaman Forouzanfar (Tehran, Amir Kabir, 1988)

Don't even think, just let yourself dream.
Thoughts are veils that hide the moon's bright face.
The heart's a moon, where thinking has no place.
Toss these thoughts away into the stream.

A Reading from the Wisdom of Solomon, Chapter 7

For wisdom is more mobile than any motion;
Because of her pureness she pervades and penetrates all things.
For she is the breath of the power of God
And a pure emanation of the glory of the Almighty
For she is a reflection of eternal light
A spotless mirror of the working of God
An image of his goodness.
Although she is but one, she can do all things,
And while remaining in herself, she renews all things;
In every generation she passes into holy souls
And makes them friends of God, and prophets
For God loves nothing so much as the person who lives with wisdom.

A Reading from Colossians 3

As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves
With compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience.
Above all, cloth yourselves with love, which binds everything
Together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule
In your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body.
And be thankful.

A Reading from the Gospel of Mary Magdalen

Levi said, “We should clothe ourselves with the perfect Human
Acquire it for ourselves as he commanded us, and announce
The good news, not laying down any other rule or law
That differs from what the Savior said.”

Call to Conversation

Closing Music

There’s a Peace, from The Magdalene Mystique: Songs from Within, © 2007, Anita Kruse

there’s a peace that passes all human understanding
there’s a hope that offers a hand in the dark
there’s a light that’s shining with grace inside me
and I think it’s riding the wings of my heart

there’s a love that leads me
there’s a love that frees me
there’s a love that heals me when I fall

there’s a peace that passes all human understanding
there’s a love that holds us all

when the world seems shattered and faith unraveled
when the ground is shaking and lives torn apart
there’s a light still shining with grace inside me
and I know it’s riding the wings of my heart
there’s a love that leads me
there’s a love that frees me
there’s a love that heals me when I fall

there’s a peace that passes all human understanding
there’s a love that holds us all

©2006 Anita Kruse/Sandy Stewart

We ask for your thoughts/comments to continue our conversation. Thank you.