Aryae Coopersmith

  • First of all I want to apologize for not communicating for so long. With all the absolutely crazy events going on here in the U.S. and in Europe — and how friends in the Middle East, Africa, Asia, Central A […]

  • Thank you Diane. And may all the seeds watered with these tears soon bring forth joy.

  • It is written that King Solomon built the Holy Temple in Jerusalem in the 10th century BCE. It stood for about four centuries before being destroyed by the Babylonians in 587 BCE. After the Hebrew exiles […]

  • Sometimes we learn more from what we don’t know than from what we know. And when we learn about what we don’t know, the ground under our feet — and the spirit within us — can change.

    Every year I hike up to t […]

  • We learn from the mathematics of fractals how patterns in nature repeat themselves no matter how large or small the scale.

  • Apr. 29 Global Wisdom Circle:
    Paula Green

    Sharing wisdom, experience and support among global citizens everywhere.

    Building Bridges Across the Hills

    Paula Green, Ph.D. — psychologist, […]

  • Mar. 18 OWL Global Wisdom Circle:
    Richard Whittaker

    Sharing wisdom, experience and support among global citizens everywhere.

    Art as a Gift of the Spirit

    Richard Whittaker is the […]

    • Dear friends,

      How wonderful to be on the videoconference with Richard and with all of you this morning. Soon after we spoke, I opened my daily blog message from Fr. Richard Rohr (of the Center for Action and Contemplation) and found it so relevant to what Richard shared with us this morning, that I thought I’d post it here for you all.

      What struck me is that, while we spoke this morning about the philosopher’s description of God as “goodness, beauty, and truth,” what we didn’t name, but was certainly implicit in our conversation, is the aspect of love. I feel that the kind of “beginner’s mind,” or “open listening” that Richard and others bring to their interviewees in “Works and Conversations” partake of a flow of attention that I can only describe as “loving”–that is, present, accepting of, open to, encouraging, connected “subject to subject” (i.e. “I-Thou”). This in itself is, or can be, a kind of embodied practice.

      It seems to me that, in terms of the spirit, all creative acts both spring from and bear witness to a “love-process,” which, like the “beauty-process,” is often defined too narrowly in our usual conceptions. My sense when I functioned for many years in the dance and theatre worlds (in NYC and Minneapolis), was that this loving aspect, along with the sense of beauty, was often squeezed out, neglected, or relegated to the background, which turned the atmosphere dry and brittle.

      Here are Fr. Rohr’s words, and I welcome your responses:

      Irreplaceable “Thisness”
      Sunday, March 18, 2018

      Each mortal thing does one thing and the same;
      Deals out that being indoors each one dwells;
      Selves—goes itself; myself it speaks and spells,
      Crying what I do is me: for that I came.
      —Gerard Manley Hopkins, “As Kingfishers Catch Fire”

      Franciscan philosopher-theologian Blessed John Duns Scotus (1266-1308) taught extensively on the absolute uniqueness of each act of creation. His doctrine of haecceity is derived from haec, the Latin word for “this.” Duns Scotus said the absolute freedom of God allows God to create, or not to create, each creature. Its existence means God has positively chosen to create that creature, precisely as it is.

      Each creature is thus not merely one member of a genus and species, but a unique aspect of the infinite Mystery of God. God is continuously choosing each created thing specifically to exist, moment by moment. This teaching alone made Duns Scotus a favorite of mystics and poets like Gerard Manley Hopkins and Thomas Merton, who both considered themselves “Scotists”—as do I. I studied this largely unknown genius for four years in college, which is why I quote him so often.
      Duns Scotus taught that you cannot know something spiritually by saying it is a not-that, by negation or distinguishing it from something else. You can only know anything by meeting it in its precise and irreplaceable thisness and honoring it there. Each individual act of creation is a once-in-eternity choice on God’s part. The direct implication of this truth is that love must precede all true knowledge, which was at the heart of all Franciscan-based philosophy.

      In a word, this is contemplation: to look at reality with a primary gaze of love. Contemplation has been described as “a long, loving look at the Real.” [2] Nondual consciousness is learning how to be present to what is right in front of me, to the Now, exactly as it is, without splitting or dividing it, without judgment, analysis, or resistance. We must say yes before we offer any no!

      In other words, our mind, heart, soul, and senses are open and receptive to the moment, just as it is. This allows us to say, “Just this,” and love things in themselves, as themselves, and by themselves, regardless of how they benefit or make demands on us. Is there any other way to truly love anything?
      Spiritual knowledge is to know things subject to subject (I-Thou), whereas rational knowing is to know things subject to object (I-it). There is, of course, a place for both; but most people have never been taught how to see in this deeper, nondual way, center to center and subject to subject—and that is the seeing that changes our lives.

    • Thank you Richard and Diane for your comments. I believe that truth has to be a given in any form of art. But if it is just limited to truth, then I may just admire
      the piece. If love/compassion is at its core, then my spirit is uplifted, and I feel connected with the artist and with humanity as a whole.

      Also beauty can take different forms. I was blown away by the discordant harmonies of Eastern European harmonies such as Bulgarian singers. That form changed how I perceive of beauty.

    • Yes, this rings so true, Richard. Thank you for your many years of work to open the “connecting doors” between art and heart and spirit, and to foster substantial and nourishing conversations.

  • Dec. 10 Spiritual Travelers Circle:
    Rev. Charles Gibbs

    Spiritual travelers
    from all backgrounds and traditions,
    sharing experience — seeking wisdom.

    Spirit and Action in the World T […]

  • Oct. 15 Interfaith Spiritual Travelers Circle:
    Anuj Kumar Pandey

    Spiritual travelers
    from all backgrounds and traditions,
    sharing experience — seeking wisdom.

    A Pilgrim’s Interfaith J […]

  • Thank you Patricia — good to read your comments. It would be great to have you with us for future circles. 🙂


  • May 21 Interfaith Spiritual Travelers Circle:
    Kaylynn Sullivan Two Trees

    Spiritual travelers
    from all backgrounds and traditions,
    sharing experience — seeking wisdom.

    Guidance from A […]

  • Being American Now
    Conversations at a time of darkness
    about engaging and supporting
    the emergence of light.

    At this time of endless Trump administration drama in the U.S. with consequences […]

  • Being American Now — March 26

    Conversation at a time of darkness
    about engaging and supporting the emergence of light.

    Building on our past conversations, we’ll hold this circle to […]

  • April 23 OWL Global Wisdom Circle:
    Trish Sewe

    A monthly video-circle for sharing wisdom, experience and support among global citizens everywhere.

    Empowering Youth & Saving Wildlife in […]

  • March 19 OWL Circle:
    Cam Danielson & Pam Fuhrmann

    A monthly video-circle for sharing wisdom, experience and support among global citizens everywhere.

    Leadership for the Common Good
    At this […]

  • Terrific! Looking forward to meeting Barbara.

  • Feb. 15 Global Gender Partnership Circle

    Women and men in global partnership for the empowerment of women

    Women Waging Peace
    Convener: Bonita Banducci
    Speakers: Yael Deckelbaum, Hamutal Gouri […]

  • February 26 OWL Circle: Colleen Choi

    A combined gathering of
    OWL Global Wisdom Circle and
    Being American Now

    On the Front Lines at Standing Rock
    Artist and social activist Colleen Choi […]

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