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Listen with Your Whole Heart

There is a whole dimension of life to which we have to listen with our whole heart, mind-fully, as we say. Mindfulness is necessary to find meaning—and the intellect is not the full mind. The intellect, one has to hasten to say, is an extremely important part of our mind, but it isn’t the whole mind. What I mean here when I say “mind” is more what the Bible calls the “heart,” what many religious traditions call the “heart.” The heart is the whole person, not just the seat of our emotions. The kind of heart that we are talking about here is the lover’s heart, which says, “I will give you my heart.” That doesn’t mean I give you part of myself; it means I give myself to you. So when we speak about wholeheartedness, a wholehearted approach to life, mindfulness, that alone is the attitude through which we give ourselves to meaning.

—from the book The Way of Silence: Engaging the Sacred in Daily Life by Brother David Steindl-Rast



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Leisure Is a Virtue

We tend to think that the opposite of work is leisure. Leisure is not the opposite of work; play is the opposite of work, if you have to have a polarity like that. And leisure is precisely the bridging of this gap between the two. Leisure is precisely doing your work with the attitude of play. That means putting into your work what is most important about playing, namely, that you do it for its own sake and not only to accomplish a particular purpose. And that means that you have to give it time. Leisure is not a privilege for those who can take time for leisure. Leisure is a virtue. It is the virtue of those who give time to whatever takes time, and give as much time as it deserves, and so work leisurely and find meaning in their work and come fully alive. If we have a strict work mentality we are only half alive.

—from the book The Way of Silence: Engaging the Sacred in Daily Life by Brother David Steindl-Rast



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Do We Limit Belonging?

All morality that was ever developed in any tradition in the world can be reduced to the principle of acting as one acts toward those with whom one belongs. And the differences between the different codes of morality are only the limits that we draw for belonging: “These are the ones toward whom you have to act morally, and the others are ‘the others,’ outside.” And when you really live with common sense, that has no limitations; you live out of a morality that includes everybody, and therefore you behave toward everybody as one behaves when one belongs. That is what Jesus meant when he said “the kingdom of God”—and any other term of that sort that you get from any religious tradition will fit in here.


—from the book The Way of Silence: Engaging the Sacred in Daily Life by Brother David Steindl-Rast



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Take Nothing for Granted

Gratefulness brings joy to my life. How could I find joy in what I take for granted? So I stop taking for granted, and there is no end to the surprises I find. A grateful attitude is a creative one, because, in the final analysis, opportunity is the gift within the gift of every given moment. Mostly this means opportunities to see and hear and smell and touch and taste with pleasure. But once I am in the habit of availing myself of opportunities, I will do so even in unpleasant situations creatively.

from the book The Way of Silence: Engaging the Sacred in Daily Life by Brother David Steindl-Rast


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Growing in Mindfulness

Is there a method for cultivating mindfulness? Yes, there are many methods. The one I have chosen is gratefulness. Gratefulness can be practiced, cultivated, learned. And as we grow in gratefulness, we grow in mindfulness. Before I open my eyes in the morning, I remind myself that I have eyes to see, while millions of my brothers and sisters are blind—most of them on account of conditions that could be improved if our human family would come to its senses and spend its resources reasonably, equitably. If I open my eyes with this thought, chances are that I will be more grateful for the gift of sight and more alert to the needs of those who lack that gift.

—from the book The Way of Silence: Engaging the Sacred in Daily Life



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Everything Is Gift

Gratefulness strengthens a sense of belonging. There is no closer bond than the one which gratefulness celebrates, the bond between giver and thanks-giver. Everything is gift. Grateful living is a celebration of the universal give-and-take of life, a limitless “yes” to belonging.

—from the book The Way of Silence: Engaging the Sacred in Daily Life


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The Key to a Joy-filled Life

Joy goes beyond happiness. Joy is the happiness that does not depend on what happens. It springs from gratefulness. When we begin to take things for granted, we get sucked into boredom. Boredom is deadly. Yet, everything within us longs for “life, life in fullness” (John 10:10). The key to life in fullness is gratefulness.

—from the book The Way of Silence: Engaging the Sacred in Daily Life


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