We Share One Life, We Are One Life
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Smaragd - Meditation, Angela Marie Henriette, Flickr
We cannot live for ourselves alone. Our lives are connected by a thousand invisible threads, and along these sympathetic fibers, our actions run as causes and return to us as results.
*Hermann Melville, American Novelist, Short Story Writer, and Poet (b. 1819)
A Sufi story tells of a man who was so good that the angels asked God to give him the gift of miracles. God wisely told them to ask the man if that is what he would wish.
So, the angels visited this good man and offered him, first, the gift of healing with his hands. Then, they offered him the gift of converting souls to God. Last, the angels offered him the gift of great virtue. The man surprised them, refusing them all.
The angels insisted that the man choose a gift, or, as they told him, they would choose for him. "Very well," he replied, "I ask that I might do much good without ever knowing it."
The angels were confused. They talked among themselves and decided on the following plan. Every time the manís shadow fell behind him, it would have power to cure disease, soothe pain, and give comfort. As he walked along, behind him his shadow made dry paths green, caused withered plants to bloom, gave clean water to dried up brooks, and turned polluted water to fresh, cool water for children to drink. His shadow, furthermore, brought joy to unhappy men and women, boys and girls.
The man went about blessing everyone, as the stars diffuse light and the flowers scent, without knowing what gifts he was giving.
The people so respected the kind humbleness of this man, that they walked behind him silently. They never spoke to him about the miracles. Soon, they forgot his name. And they started calling him "the Holy Shadow."
True, spiritual Prayer leads to spontaneous humbleness. This humbleness naturally serves others, without need of reward. The reward is in the serving itself. In this self-forgetting, the self is blessed by the same blessing given to the other. The gift given is the gift received. Therefore, prayerful kindness transcends self and other. Spontaneous, natural generosity is a giving of self through what is given. This is Prayer itself, and this is cultivated in Silence.
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*You can contact Brian at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please keep in mind, when reading from this site, that teachings cover an extended period of years and, therefore, reflect changes over that time.