Where's the Spirit? Sit frog listen

WHERE'S THE SPIRIT?

A weekly collection of content from the wonderful world wide web that challenges us to explore the role of spirituality in society. Subscribe to receive this weekly in your inbox.

FREEDOM

Image: Andrea Mongia via New York Times

Image: Andrea Mongia via New York Times

The Muslims of Early America
by Peter Manseau
The New York Times

 
“It was not the imam’s first time at the rodeo,” Manseau begins. In his article, Manseau educates us all on the fact that there have been Muslims present here on American soil for a long, long time. African Muslims arrived against their will via the slave trade and were either converted to Christianity or not free to practice their faith openly. Arab immigrants began arriving in the late 19th, and in the 20th century, many African Americans began reclaiming Islam as their religion of origin. What is clear upon reading this brief piece is that anti-Islamic sentiment cannot be separated from our national history of slavery, racism, and otherization. How do we counter the deep-rooted fear of otherness that penetrates today’s national understanding as well as the ways we tell our history?

Image: Flickr Commons

PRESENCE

Presence, Not Praise: How To Cultivate a Healthy Relationship with Achievement
by Maria Popova
Brain Pickings

 
Popova reviews Stephen Grosz’ book, The Examined Life: How We Lose and Find Ourselves. She highlighting excerpts of Grosz’ work that offer insight into how praise of product can have a negative impact on children’s motivation while present mindful attention can build resilience and confidence. She ends with this gem of a quote from Grosz’ book: “Being present, whether with children, with friends, or even with oneself, is always hard work. But isn’t this attentiveness — the feeling that someone is trying to think about us — something we want more than praise?”

When you love someone, the best thing you can offer is your presence. How can you love if you are not there?
— Thich Nhat Hanh

WITNESS

Image:  Klamath Lake, OR 2, 2009, by Matthew Brandt, via tricycle

Image:  Klamath Lake, OR 2, 2009, by Matthew Brandt, via tricycle

The Witness: Opening our eyes to the nature of this earth
By Paul Kingsnorth
tricycle magazine

 
“What happens if you sit with the earth? If you reach down and touch it, if you call it as your witness?” Kingsnorth asks us these and many other questions seeking to awaken our environmental stewardship and activism. In this article, he challenges himself and all of us to examine our interconnectedness to all life and the world in which we together live. He discloses his realization that change is inevitable and death is reality, and yet, he offers us a depth of hope in his final sentence, “If we sit with the earth, with the trees and the soil and the wind and the mist, and pay attention, we may know what to do and how to begin doing it, whatever burden we carry with us as we walk.” So, sit?

We are talking only to ourselves. We are not talking to the rivers, we are not listening to the wind and stars. We have broken the great conversation. By breaking that conversation we have shattered the universe. All the disasters that are happening now are a consequence of that spiritual ‘autism.’
— Thomas Berry

THE DESSERT

Some additional goodies: