Happy New Year from SGTI!
We offer you this meditation from the mystic, Howard Thurman as you embrace all that will come in 2023. This piece, “Through the Coming Year” is featured in his book, Meditations of the Heart. May it encourage you in the days ahead.
Grant that I may pass through
the coming year with a faithful heart.
There will be much to test me and
make weak my strength before the year ends.
In my confusion I shall often say the word that is not true and do the thing of which I am ashamed.
There will be errors in the mind
and great inaccuracies of judgment...
In seeking the light,
I shall again and again find myself
walking in the darkness.
I shall mistake my light for Your light
and I shall drink from the responsibility of the choice I make.
Nevertheless, grant that I may pass through the coming year with a faithful heart.
May I never give the approval of my heart to error, to falseness, to vanity, to sin.
Though my days be marked
with failures, stumblings, fallings,
let my spirit be free
so that You may take it
and redeem my moments
in all the ways my needs reveal.
Give me the quiet assurance
of Your Love and Presence.
Grant that I may pass through
the coming year with a faithful heart.
In Memoriam - SGTI Student Bijayananda Singh
This post is in honor of one of SGTI's most luminous students, Bijayananda Singh, who departed this earth one month ago. Bijay was a graduate of our "Interfaith and Interspiritual Wisdom Training" program and was much loved by all who studied with him. He lived in India, a devoted son, husband and father. He will be dearly missed.
Bijay had a heart of service and enormous love for young people. He was Secretary/Executive Director of the NFP, "Solidarity for Developing Communities"
(www.sfdc-org.in/institutionalbased). He headed up a residential school for marginalized students, especially those considered to be "untouchable", instilling in them the skills and values to be "human harmonizers." "Human Harmonizers are expected to grow physically, mentally and spiritually in a balanced manner. As they grow holistically, they are expected to influence others by their thoughts and actions leading to ushering transformational changes within and outside their own communities."
Bijay's heart of compassion lives on through his colleagues at SGTI. He penned many beautiful poems as part of his SGTI learnings and submitted them for assignments. With his family's permission, we share one of them here. His words convey the essence of Interspirituality which he believed was necessary for world peace, and the commonly held value of compassion. We hope you will be moved by it as we were.
Bijay, your spirit of service, unconditional love and respect for others of all religious traditions, is something we can all aspire to. We are honored to have walked the earth with you. Thank you for being a way-shower for us. Peace be upon you. Shalom. Om Shanti, dear friend.
to be avatars as Buddha, Christ, Krishna, Moses, Muhammad, Nanak and the like
striving to find the way outs by the avatars for the sufferings of the humankind
avatars’ desire to pass their wisdom to their next generations
infinite manifestation of the Unmanifest
infinite names of the Nameless
infinite forms of the Formless
the attraction of man and woman
the potential on a seed to produce infinite seeds
a plant not germinating with ripen fruits with it
an untaught bird weaving nest for its kids
a baby fish able to swim instantly
a caterpillar taking time to become a butterfly
roots of trees on the sunshine and on the shed sharing food secretly
my mother’s ability to not eat after her children eat up everything
our school peon’s love that donated one of his kidney to his son
missionaries leaving their land for another country
trees breathing out oxygen
Mother Teresa’s desire to document her aridity of God’s love
father burping his baby putting on his shoulder
trees dropping their ripen fruits gently down on the ground
our country supported by other countries during this pandemic
Creator creating infinite emptiness to house infinite things
getting in touch with our own hearts and functioning from it
watching the tongue lest it slip a bad word
Nature’s food cycle
meeting of your eyes with the eyes of your dog
praying for know and unknown, asked or unasked
loving-kindness or kindness plus love
Dalai Lama’s pet name
mother’s milk ready when baby is on the way
the worms forming on the dead body for it to decompose
silence understood without speaking a word
death in God’s time
wondering what is not compassion?
Sun’s desire to evaporate water to form cloud in the sky
cloud’s desire not to hold the rain up in the sky
willing to write a book on the compassion
jasmine’s wish not to hide its fragrance inside
Earth’s ability to nurture its infinite plants, on its womb, with sweet, bitter and sower milks
being compassionate to the compassionless
cooperation of an iron to be modeled as a tool
patience of a reed flute to be holed to produce a melody
empathy, sympathy and mercy, all put together
heart’s ability to feel the feelings of ‘others’
intuiting, everyone and everything is One
not surplus of compassion, but deficiency of it
gratitude, sometimes, overflowing
innumerable births as Bodhisattva
common to all the faiths without which it is not a faith
Buddha Purnima 2021
The Next Thing in Line to be Loved
At SGTI, we encourage our students to express their learning in creative ways. Today, we gladly offer this series of poems by one of our current students, Katie Spero. We are grateful for her permission to post them. Enjoy!
Estimated Time of Arrival
she starts to notice shoulders under a t-shirt in front of her
the atmosphere breathes his body out
and it expands
breathes him in and it contracts
that one too
and the woman standing
grabs a seatback as the bus jolts
the voice wants to know
how can I love myself
when I am myself
who is breathing us
who am I
I breath it in
it’s swept away
with a place to land
who is next in line to be loved
Don’t Give Away the Ending
An old couple walks onto the bus
Sit across from each other
Then next to each other
Then a few rows back
Whispering silently under the loud hum
She sips water
I am thirsty
We are all a part
Apart is the illusion
Two small boys with big hair like me
Stomp up the two stairs towards the back of the bus
They shout observations
A car with people in it
A car radio
It sure is right
It is all right
Everything is part of the poem
picks up a pen.
and I awake. I fall asleep
and it disappears.
About the poet:
Katie Spero is the Parish Life Director at Church of Saviour, an Episcopal church in Chicago. Prior to that she spent time serving and living at the Satchidananda Ashram in Buckingham, Virginia which was founded on the principle that reflects Katie’s own life journey, “truth is one, paths are many.” Katie is a trained teacher of Hatha Yoga, Raja Yoga, and Stress Management, and is a member of the COS College of Preachers. Calling on her degree in Poetry from Columbia College Chicago, it is Katie’s joy to try to put into words that which cannot be spoken to spiritually connect and serve her communities.
I am a blade of grass
a grain of sand
a drop of rain
I began as a single cell
99% oxygen, carbon, hydrogen
nitrogen, calcium, phosphorus
.85% potassium, sulfur, sodium,
All necessary for Life
I am human complexity, effectively & efficiently
designed in body and soul
intertwined with Mystery divine
like all my human family
intrigued to grow and experience
the gift of life
alone & together
I am unique and I am everyman/woman/child
we all travel through the same developmental seasons
lived in and through the endless complexity & diversity
of human civilizations, past and present
we are one and we are many
all lived out on
I am sacred, you are sacred, we are sacred
Birthed through the womb of timelessness
finite days given to be alive, aware, alert
to walk with one another
with and on mother earth,
caring, loving, respecting, honoring
self, other & mother earth
revealing Mystery as we go
~ Original art and poetry by emerging spiritual director and SGTI student,
About this blog
Deepening the understanding, practice and importance of spiritual guidance-companionship across traditions.