Lauryn Hill unplugged:
We took...we were in Florida this weekend and we took the kids to Disneyworld, and you know we were going, they gave us a tour. They escorted us through the back. And when they escorted us through the back, we got to see how, there all these people workin all hard, and it was like, real dirty back there, and of course, in the front it was all immaculately clean. And I said, I said, you know, People need to see the reality, they need to see, you know, how these people slave to maintain this illusion. And it felt like my life.
Isn't that about the way of it? We look at someone's life and are envious not seeing the dirty, sweaty work that it took to get to that point. Like the illusion of Disneyland! What magic would be erased if we stopped pretending things were easy and revealed that behind the closed front door, is a cluttered kitchen counter? A piano with music scattered everywhere? A pile of homework with books as yet unread? The first, second, third drafts of a poem?
I wonder if our ego is attached to the illusion of perfection. I'm sure it is! I wonder what it would feel like to lay down the illusion and to just be? Can we say this: I am not perfect and I deserve to be loved. I am not perfect and I am loved. I am not perfect and I am beloved.
Today's practice is inspired by music from Lauryn Hill, poetry from Rumi, and sacred wisdom from Mahatma Gandhi along with readings from the Jewish and Christian lectionaries, the Qur'an, and the Bhagavad Gita. The photo is mine.
Let my heart rise up to meet mercy, my voice to meet compassion, my hands to meet action.
BIBOLOVE: Breath In, Breath Out--yum
Oh Jerusalem by Lauryn Hill
Can I even factor, that I've only been an actor
In this staged interpretation of this day
Focused on the shadow, with my back turned to the light
Too intelligent to see it's me in the way
How We Move in Grace by Rumi
Doing prayer and meditation at a particular time,
fasting, and going on pilgrimage
are outward statements of inner intention.
Giving to charity and giving up jealousy
are ways to say how it is inside us.
Serving food and welcoming guests into your house
are actions that mean, I feel close to you.
Any time you exert yourself by going somewhere,
giving money, or taking time to pray,
you are saying, There is a priceless jewel inside me.
Fasting says, I have not eaten
even what is permitted. I must want no connection
to what is not. Giving to the poor says,
I am distributing my own property.
Certainly, I will not steal from others.
There are, though, fowlers who throw out grain
to snare birds, and cats who pretend to fast,
fast-asleep, when really they are peeking
through eye-slits to ambush prey.
They give generosity a bad name.
But despite all crookedness,
water comes from the star Arcturus
to wash even the hypocrites.
When our water here
becomes saturated with pollution,
it gets led back to the original water, the ocean.
After a year of receiving starlight,
the water returns, sweeping new robes along.
Where have you been? In the ocean of purity.
Now I’m ready for more cleaning work.
Give me your demons. I’ll take them to sea.
If there were no impurity, what would water do?
It shows its glory in how it washes a face,’
and in other qualities as well,
the way it grows the grass
and how it lifts a ship across to another port.
Every medicinal ointment derives essence
from water, as every pearl and every seed.
A river is a shop of salves,
food for the abandoned, movement
for those who are stuck.
When the river slows with the weight of silt
and corruption, it grows sad and prays,
Lord, what you gave me I gave others.
Is there more? Can you give more?
Clouds then draw up the riverwater,
and dissolve it in the ocean.
What this means is
we often need to be refreshed.
Mingling with surroundings, the soul falls ill.
It calls out to the first caller-out, Bilal,
revive us. Beat the drum that glides us along.
As the body stands at prayer,
the soul says, Peace, my friend,
then leaves for a while.
When it comes back, you don’t have to do ablutions
with sand anymore or guess which way
to point the prayer rug.
Water is the story of how we are helped.
Hot baths prepare us to enter the fire.
Only salamanders can go directly in
without an intermediary, salamanders and Abraham.
The rest of us need guidance from water.
Satisfaction comes from God,
but to get there you need to eat bread.
Beauty comes from the presence,
but those of us in bodies
must walk in a garden to feel it.
When this body-medium goes, we will see directly
the light that lives in the chest.
The qualities of water show
how we move inside grace.
For full, typed-out scripture, follow this link
Psalm 119: 97-176
I Corinthians 15:19-28
Qur'an Surah 3.42-50
Bhagavad Gita 3.27-31
Please bring your own sacred readings to the daily pattern. If there is something else you'd like to see, let me know! The readings are from the Daily Torah Study, the Christian Lectionary, and reading the Qur'an and Bhagavad Gita straight through.
“Prayer is not asking. It is a longing of the soul. It is daily admission of one's weakness. It is better in prayer to have a heart without words than words without a heart.” ― Mahatma Gandhi
For the oppressed and weary
Especially for #blacklivesmatter and
for the LGBTQIAP community.
For signs of despair and violence,
for the teacher in Texas who called her 12-year-old Muslim student a terrorist
for suicide bombings in Iraq, killing 17
for Syrian refugees who are waiting and waiting
for US victims of gun violence in the last 72 hours,
254 incidents, 73 killed, 153 injured
For signs of hope and peace,
for the discovery of ancient burial rituals at the Plain of Jars excavation site
for the Lebanese rescue of 75 sex slaves
for Lucca, a war-dog who received the Dicken Medal in Great Britain
for the Governors, states, and corporations uniting against hateful laws
For Brunei, Malaysia, and Singapore
For those who suffer, are homeless, or are sick
For those we love, those we hate and those we are indifferent to
For the transformation from ME to WE
Let peace prevail on earth.
So may it be.
Translation by Neil Douglas Klotz, Sufi
O Birther! Creator of the Cosmos,
Focus your light within us— make it useful:
Create your reign of unity now-
Your one desire then acts with ours,
as in all light, so in all forms.
Grant what we need each day in bread and insight.
Loose the cords of mistakes binding us,
as we release the strands we hold
of others’ guilt.
Don’t let surface things delude us,
But free us from what holds us back.
From you is born all ruling will,
the power and the life to do,
the song that beautifies all,
from age to age it renews.
Truly— power to these statements—
may they be the ground from which all
my actions grow: Amen.
May Peace Prevail on Earth. Amen. So mote it be.
"Amen" means "may it be so."
"May peace prevail on earth." is an addition inspired by Michael Dickel
BIBOLove is an addition attributed to the work of Soyinka Rahim, InterPlay practice, BIBOLove
The Complete Jewish Bible with Rashi Commentary
18 If [a person's] flesh has an inflammation on its skin, and it heals,
19 and on the place of the inflammation there is a white se'eith, or a reddish white bahereth, it shall be shown to the kohen.
20 The kohen shall look [at it]. And, behold! its appearance is lower than the skin, and its hair has turned white; so the kohen shall pronounce him unclean. It is a lesion of tzara'ath that has erupted on the inflammation.
21 But if the kohen looks at it, and behold! it does not contain white hair, nor does it appear to be lower than the skin, and it is dim, the kohen shall quarantine him for seven days.
22 And if it spreads on the skin, the kohen shall pronounce him unclean. It is a lesion.
23 But if the bahereth remains in its place, not spreading, it is the scar tissue of the inflammation, and the kohen shall pronounce him clean
Psalm 119: 97-176
The Complete Jewish Bible with Rashi Commentary
How I love Your Torah! All day it is my conversation.
98Each of Your commandments makes me wiser than my enemies, for it is always mine.
99From all my teachers I gained understanding, for Your testimonies are my conversation.
100From the wise elders I gain understanding, for I kept Your precepts.
101From every evil way I restrained my feet in order that I keep Your word.
102From Your judgments I did not turn away, for You guided me.
103How sweet are Your words to my palate, more than honey to my mouth!
104From Your precepts I shall gain understanding; therefore, I hate all ways of falsehood.
105Your words are a lamp for my foot, and light for my path.
106I swore and I fulfilled, to keep the judgments of Your righteousness.
107I have been exceedingly humbled; O Lord, sustain me according to Your word.
108The freewill offerings of my mouth accept now, O Lord, and teach me Your judgments.
109My soul is constantly in my hand, and I have not forgotten Your Torah.
110The wicked laid a snare for me, but I did not stray from Your precepts.
111I inherited Your testimonies forever, for they are the joy of my heart.
112I have inclined my heart to perform Your statutes forever on their paths.
113I hate those who harbor iniquitous thoughts, but Your Torah I love.
114You are my protection and my shield; I hoped for Your word.
115Go away from me, you evildoers, and I shall keep the commandments of my God.
116Support me as Your word, and I shall live, and do not put me to shame because of my hope.
117Sustain me and I shall be saved, and I shall constantly engage in Your statutes.
118You trampled all who stray from Your statutes, for their deceit is false.
119As dross, You cut off all the wicked of the earth; therefore I love Your testimonies.
120My flesh bristles from fear of You, and I dread Your judgments.
121I performed justice and righteousness; do not leave me to my oppressors.
122Be surety for Your servant for good; let the willful sinners not oppress me.
123My eyes pined for Your salvation and for the word of Your righteousness.
124Deal with Your servant according to Your kindness, and teach me Your statutes.
125I am Your servant; enable me to understand, and I shall know Your testimonies.
126A time to do for the Lord; they have made void Your Torah.
127Because I loved Your commandments more than gold, even more than fine gold.
128Because I considered all precepts of all things upright; [and] every false way I hated.
129Your testimonies are hidden; therefore, my soul kept them.
130The commencement of Your words enlightens; You make the simple understand.
131I opened my mouth and panted because I yearned for Your commandments.
132Turn to me and favor me as is Your custom with those who love Your name.
133Prepare my steps with Your word, and do not allow any iniquity to rule over me.
134Redeem me from the oppression of man, and I shall keep Your precepts.
135Cause Your countenance to shine upon Your servant and teach me Your statutes.
136Rivulets of water ran down from my eyes because they did not keep Your Torah.
137You are righteous, O Lord, and Your judgments are upright.
138You commanded Your testimonies, [which are] righteousness, and they are exceedingly faithful.
139My zeal incenses me, for my adversaries have forgotten Your words.
140Your word is very pure, and Your servant loves it.
141I am young and despised; I have not forgotten Your precepts.
142Your righteousness is perpetual righteousness, and Your Torah is true.
143Distress and anguish have overtaken me; Your commandments are my occupation.
144The righteousness of Your testimonies is eternal; enable me to understand and I shall live.
145I called with all my heart; answer me, O Lord; I shall keep Your statutes.
146I called to You; save me and I shall keep Your testimonies.
147I arose early, when it was still night, and I cried out; I hoped for Your word.
148My eyes preceded the watches to speak of Your word.
149Hearken to my voice according to Your kindness; O Lord, according to Your custom sustain me.
150Pursuers of lewdness have drawn near; from Your Torah they have distanced themselves.
151You are near, O Lord, and all Your commandments are true.
152From before, I knew from Your testimonies, for You established them to [the end of] the world.
153See my affliction and release me, for I have not forgotten Your Torah.
154Plead my cause and redeem me; for Your word sustains me.
155Salvation is far from the wicked, for they did not seek Your statutes.
156Your mercies, O Lord, are abundant; according to Your custom, sustain me.
157Many are my pursuers and my adversaries; from Your testimonies I did not turn away.
158I saw traitors and I quarreled [with them] because they did not keep your word.
159See that I love Your precepts, O Lord; according to Your kindness, sustain me.
160The beginning of Your word is true, and each of Your righteous judgments is eternal.
161Princes pursued me for nothing, but my heart feared Your word.
162I rejoice over Your word as one who finds great spoil.
163I hate falsehood, and I abominate [it], I love Your Torah.
164Seven times a day I praise You for Your righteous judgments.
165There is abundant peace to those who love Your Torah, and they have no obstacle.
166I hoped for Your salvation, O Lord, and I performed Your commandments.
167My soul kept Your testimonies, and I love them exceedingly.
168I kept Your precepts and Your testimonies, for all my ways are before You.
169May my song of prayer draw near before You, O Lord; according to Your word, enable me to understand.
170May my supplication come before You; according to Your word, save me.
171My lips will utter praise when You teach me Your statutes.
172My tongue will proclaim Your word, for all Your commandments are righteous.
173May Your hand be [ready] to help me, for I have chosen Your precepts.
174I yearned for Your salvation, O Lord, and Your Torah is my occupation.
175May my soul live and praise You, and may Your judgments help me.
176I went astray like a lost lamb; seek Your servant, for I did not forget Your commandments.
I Corinthians 15:19-28
The Voice version
19 If what we have hoped for in the Anointed doesn’t take us beyond this life, then we are world-class fools, deserving everyone’s pity.
20 But the Anointed One was raised from death’s slumber and is the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep in death. 21 For since death entered this world by a man, it took another man to make the resurrection of the dead our new reality. 22 Look at it this way: through Adam all of us die, but through the Anointed One all of us can live again.23 But this is how it will happen: the Anointed’s awakening is the firstfruits. It will be followed by the resurrection of all those who belong to Him at His coming, 24 and then the end will come. After He has conquered His enemies and shut down every rule and authority vying for power, He will hand over the Kingdom to God, the Father of all that is.25 And He must reign as King until He has put all His enemies under His feet. 26 The last hostile power to be destroyed is death itself. 27 All this will happen to fulfill the Scripture that says, “You placed everything on earth beneath His feet.”[a] (Although it says “everything,” it is clear that this does not also pertain to God, who created everything and made it all subject to Him.) 28 Then, when all creation has taken its rightful place beneath God’s sovereign reign, the Son will follow, subject to the Father who exalted Him over all created things; then God will be God over all.
Ecclesia Bible Society (2012-04-09). The Voice Bible, eBook: Step Into the Story of Scripture. Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.
Quran Surah 3.42-50
Quran: A Simple English Translation
42 The angels said, ‘Mary, God has selected you and purified you. He has selected you over [all] the women.
43 O Mary! Remain truly devout to your Sustainer, and prostrate yourself in worship, and bow down with those who bow down [before Him].’
44 This is an account of the unseen, which We reveal to you. You were not with them when they drew lots as to which of them should be Mary’s guardian and you were not with them when they disputed with one another.
45 When the angels said, ‘O Mary, your Lord gives you good news of a Word from Him. His name is the Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, honoured in this world and in the next and one of those who are granted nearness to God.
46 And he shall speak to men in his cradle, and as a grown man, and shall be one of the righteous.’
47 ‘Lord,’ she said, ‘how can I have a child when no man has touched me?’ [The angel] replied, ‘Thus it is: God creates what He wills: when He wills a thing He need only say, “Be,” and it is.
48 God will instruct him in the Book and in wisdom and in the Torah and in the Gospel.
49 He will make him a messenger to the Children of Israel. He will say: “I have come to you with a sign from your Lord. I will make the shape of a bird out of clay for you and then breathe into it and, by God’s leave, it will become a living bird. And by God’s leave I will heal the blind and the leper and bring the dead to life. I will tell you what you eat and what you store up in your homes. Surely in this there is a sign for you, if you are believers.
50 I come to fulfil [the prediction] of the Torah which preceded me and to make lawful for you some of what was forbidden to you and I come to you with a sign from your Lord. So fear God and obey me.
Khan, Maulana Wahiduddin; Goodword (2013-12-11). Quran: A Simple English Translation (Goodword ! Koran) (Kindle Locations 930-945). Goodword Books. Kindle Edition.
Bhagavad Gita 3.27-31
Actions are really performed
by the working of the three gunas;
but a man deluded by the I-sense
imagines, “I am the doer.”
The wise man knows that when objects
act on the senses, it is merely
the gunas acting on the gunas;
thus, he is unattached.
Deluded by the gunas,
men grow attached to the gunas’ actions;
the insightful should not disturb
the minds of these foolish men.
Performing all actions for my sake,
desireless, absorbed in the Self,
indifferent to “I” and “mine,”
let go of your grief, and fight!
Men who constantly practice
this teaching of mine, Arjuna,
who trust it with all their heart,
are freed from the bondage of actions.
Mitchell, Stephen (2007-12-18). Bhagavad Gita: A New Translation (Kindle Locations 518-526). Potter/TenSpeed/Harmony. Kindle Edition.