Awake in the World: An Inter-religious Dialogue

Roland Cohen:Good evening everyone. Or wherever you may be. It may not be evening where you are.Uh we are very pleased to be here at Naropa University in beautiful Boulder, Colorado.Uh for this uh interreligious dialogue and it will indeed be a dialogue uh that is tosay people will be talking not just to you butto each other. So we are hoping that it will uhspark some very, very uh profound and helpful uh ideas for all of us…about livelihoodand how we can bring the path – the spiritual journey to entirely fully to our lives andincluding our livelihoods in that. So uh I would like to uh welcome our panelof distinguished guests to this inter-religious dialogue and uh they are guests from 6 differentuh great world religious traditions.And I’d like to begin by saying that the topicthat we will be discussing tonight as I said was livelihood and the spiritual journey. And beginning all the way to the left yourscreen is uh Pir Natenel Miles-Ypez, representing Sufism and Islam. Pir Natenelis the current head of the Inayati-Maimuni –sorry for my pronunciation – Maimuni Lineage of Sufism. He studied both Sufism andHasidism under Zalman Schachter-Shalomi and other teachers as well.He is author of anumber of books and teaches here at Naropa University in Religious Studies. Welcome. Next is Stephen Hatch who is representingProtestantism. Uh Stephen is the uh – represents the Contemplative Spiritual branchof the Radical Reformation that also produced Mennonites and Amish and flowed intoQuaker spirituality. He trained with Thomas Keating, the Catholicmystical tradition of Centering Prayer. He teaches in the Religious Studies Departmenthere at Naropa where he specializes in Christian mysticism. Welcome. Next, to my right is Sreedevi Bringi. Uh Hindutraditions is what she is representing here tonight. She received training in the Hindutraditions of yoga, meditation, Sanskrit and spiritual practices from her family elders,swamis and other yoga teachers in India. She also holds graduate degrees in Chemistry,Atmospheric Sciences and Education. She currently teaches at Naropa University inthe Religious Studies and Traditional Eastern Arts Departments. Welcome. Namaste. And to my left and is Acharya Judith Simmer-Brownwho is here representing Buddhism.Acharya Judith is a Distinguished Professorof Contemplative and Religious Studies here at Naropa University. She teaches Buddhistethics, scripture, philosophy as well as inter- religious dialogue and contemplative education.She is Acharya or senior dharma teacher of the Shambhala Buddhist lineage of SakyongMipham Rinpoche and Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche. Welcome. Thank you Roland. You are welcomed. And next is Father Alan Hartway who is representingthe Roman Catholicism. Father Alan is an ordained Catholic priest in theSociety of the Precious Blood and has served asa pastor for 12 years. He taught at St. Mary of the Plains College and worked for aChristian Foundation for Children and Aging, a lay Catholic missionary organization. Heteaches in the Religious Studies Department here at Naropa University. Welcome. Thank you Roland. And next is Rabbi Tirzah Firestone. Who isuh representing Judaism. Rabbi Tirzah is also a Jungian therapist and widely knownfor her work on the confluence for Kabbalah and psychology as well as the reintegrationof the feminine wisdom tradition within Judaism. She was ordained by Rabbi ZalmanSchacter-Shalomi in 1992. She has authored a number of books and has taughtat Shambahala Mountain Center as well as lecturing and teaching throughout the UnitedStates and she has also taught here at Naropa University.Welcome. And it’s interesting, everyone on this stagehas at one time or another is either presently or at some time taught in the religious studiesdepartment here at Naropa University. So to begin I would like to pose the firstquestion to our panel which is – that uh – other than for survival what role does livelihoodplay within your tradition on the spiritual journey? And we will begin with Pir Netanel. Pir Netanel:Thank you. I like to think of it this way. I often saywe train for the race — a runner gets up everyday,gets out on the road everyday, every week, every month and puts in the miles so thatjust two or three times a year uh – on the dayof the race or the marathon they can perform atthe peak of the ability. In the same way we do our spiritual practicesdaily, weekly, monthly – for those times – those occasions when we really need them towork for us and we hope that they will. And…what they can do with that moment is- help us be less reactive or perhaps more compassionate.So we do our spiritual practices in orderto transform our lives so that in our lives we canmake a different choice. A better choice. One that produces uh – perhaps better results. You know – aside from weekends – I see mywife a little bit of time in the morning and maybe a few hours in the evening before bed.But from 8 to 5 really 7:30 to 5:30 or sometimes 7 at night she is at work with otherpeople. And…that’s how – that’s how it is for mostof us today. We spend the majority of our timewith these other people at work. And the people that we spend a lot of timewith tend to see…over time the cracks in ourarmor.Uh the flaws in our character. We can’t help it – the more time you spend withsomebody the more you reveal that stuff. So, we should really think about work as anopportunity to – uh display something different. To look at it as the testing groundof our – spiritual lives. Uh to think of it perhaps as…the race forwhich we train. Thank you. Roland Cohen:Thank you very much. And now uh – Stephen Hatch. The whole topic of work…In a Christian tradition uh there is a saying – and in the Jewish traditions that we aremade in the image and likeness of God. And of course,God is conceived first and foremost as a creator. So that means that if we are in theimage and likeness of God that we are creators as well. So work uh for all of this is meant primarilyas the arena in which we can be creative. In which we can create new uh – new things.And in my tradition there is the sense that- that each of us is a kind of mirror in which the divine presence knows itself. And uh – so there is the sense that the divinecreates the world and uh – in the spaciousness in the out of nothing or no thingand then we each appear with our own creativity seemingly out of nowhere and itsas though uh – you know say you go into your bedroom in the morning and you look in themirror and the mirror image starts to flirt back with you. And – say things that you neversaid and uh – and make gestures you never made. So there is the sense in which there is thisgreat surprise and awe and wonder that we’re put here on this earth each to reflect thecreator back in new and surprising and shocking ways.So there is the sense that all of us are theway the divine man – manifest itself in completely new ways. Each of us is a uniqueexpression. And our work gives us the opportunity to do that. Uh interestingly we are in a world that hasrough edges. Uh as we all know. We have all different types of people. We have all differentagendas.We have uh sickness and illness uh and uh sufferings and joys and that isthe raw material out of which we are able tocreate something new when you think of it so many things that are created that are newwhether they are scientific inventions, spiritual uh insights are all based on the previouschallenge or suffering that – that isn’t able to reveal the divine creativity. So if I look at it in my own life I have – threearenas of work. One is in teaching.And uh I love to teach because I love the sense ofgiving students the sense of awe and wonder inthe world. And the sense that I have of awe and wonder when they reveal their characters. In photography, which I do quite a bit of,landscape photography uh I love sharing the sense of awe and wonder that comes uh withthe beauty of the world. So that awe and wonder is related there and finally I havea janitorial business uh – in which I am challenged to take the ordinary mundane andboring and create meaning out of it. Thank you. Sreedevi… Namaste. In the Hindu traditions, there has alwaysbeen the complete uh engagement of the external world, the internal world, the worldof work in which we could really call the world of action. And in the Book of Gita uhone of the most sacred texts that still has enormous contemporary significance – the Krishnaspeaks about the world of work as something that – becomes the arena for ourspiritual growth.We could use the Sanskrit terms uh karmashatriya, dharmashatriya…karmashatriya- the field of action, the field of action whether its livelihood from the perspectiveof uh a man in the family being uh computer scientist and the woman being thestay at home mother with the kids. There is still the aspect of action in the world thatis not only survival but going beyond into the….which is our spiritual field and thatis our dharma. So dharma are the codes of conduct and the behaviors we would manifestwould really represent our temperaments, our gender, our what we are best at doing,the skills that we bring and the awareness ofusing that context – the field of work, livelihood and action in order to further our ownprogress uh spiritually. So there is in that sense in the Hindu traditions there is noclear separation at all. They are completely integratedand interwoven. Thank you. Acharya… Thank you. And this is a wonderful conversationwith all of us.Uh in the Buddhist tradition one of the core realizations isthere is no such thing as individual enlightenment. The only kind of uh – life that we live isone that’s interconnected with everyone else. And this means that in Buddhism we begin torecognize that life is an opportunity to find a way to serve and to connect and to be ofbenefit with others. So in Buddhism there is a sense even fromthe Buddha’s earliest teachings when he talked about right livelihood the importancewas to find a way to make the activities of our lives of some kind of benefit to othersand that there is a way to serve more skillfully or less skillfully depending what kind ofenvironment we find ourselves in.The Buddhist teachings emphasize the importance of wisdomand compassion in whatever our work is. And the Buddha put a lot of emphasis in findinga way that our work could be of service to others. So from that point of view I think we oftentend to think of work as an incredible obligation, a burden, its too bad we haveto work if only we could be rich. If only wecould you know be free to just do whatever we want and that our private life is wherewe enjoy ourselves and we you know uh pursueour own pursuits, but very much in the Buddhist sense there is – there is a sensethat that boundary between public and private orbetween work and our personal life begins to dissolve especially as we find work thatis meaningful to us.And that serves the worldin some kind of way and the – the admonition to look for right livelihood isto find work we actually love. So the sense is that work could be – no differentfrom our personal life and of course in uh in the Buddhist teachings the importanceis to bring mindfulness to our work to see that a relating in the world – all of theactivities of our daily life whether its sitting at ourdesk and working at our computers – we can be mindful at our computers. When we are talking on the phone we couldhave telephone mindfulness. But beyond that of course mindfulness is important butthen there is the importance of developing asense of wisdom and insight and clarity in our work. So there is nothing that wakes us up likeother people. And uh – we are finding a difficulty in the workplace is very much partof our – of our challenge and our delight inour ongoing spiritual development. Thank you. Father Alan… I want to build on what Stephen said uh Ihave always been puzzled by the actual text atthe beginning of Genesis or…its uh it tells us that Adam and Eve worked in the garden.This was before – the trouble.Before the explosion. And then I have to wonder wellwhat were they doing? Were they – were they hoeingand weeding and no it was perfect so uh – what were they doing? I think their work- was three fold. Uh – I think their first workwas that inner – interior conversation with God. God who showed up every evening towalk with them – that’s our first work. Uh – in the Latin…prayer uh – and the secondwork uh – was joy and delight.Uh in the garden. They – their work was – joy. And Ithink St. Thomas Aquinas say this – he says the greatest human work – is joy. Uh so they – that was their work. They werein the garden to have joy at being in the garden. Their very existence. This joy. Andthe third work – the one that got most interrupted and broken I think is the workof their relationship. They got – gave them toone another as partners in work and they had to come to know that. To learn that, todevelop that. Progress and mature. Uh – that work of relationships. So I – Ithink our greatest work is that we do especially ashumans uh – we – we are tended to – we are inclined toward that relationship. That isour real work. We have lost a lot of that withthe coming of the uh – assembly line work, ofthe industry revolution and the modern world and our isolation in front of our computerscreens. Uh we have lost a lot of that relationship – well texting sort of kind of seems tobring us closer together its – it’s not the work of relationship.We are – all of ourwork – our livelihood everything even being at workbrings us into relationship with others. It’s this uh – notion of relationship thatis our fundamental human work. The one that we’re I think being called back to is forthe Garden of Eden. Its the work of a – of renewed relationship with the natural world.Uh – that work is really confronting us at thispoint and should return us to joy and that’s just because I traveled to the mountains togo wow what a beautiful scene – there is – thereis work to do that uh there is work in the relationship of family.All the violence beingsuffered and endured right now throughout the world. So we uh – I think the work of relationshipis where we are at in prayer interior and exterior. Thank you. And…(Rabbi Tirzah) Well I am relishing this conversation. It’sso much and I get to go last and I hear all ofthese beautiful jewels and delight in how much they’re dovetailing with – with the Jewishorientation. In Judaism and in particular in the approachthat is infused with Kabbalah with Jewish mysticism and the Hasidic masters…thereis an understanding that uh everything we dono matter how menial or how outwardly meaningless it may seem to us – everyinteraction and every business situation. Every – every uh relationship that we haveand every encounter with the world is an opportunityfor – bringing holiness into the world.Bringing consciousness into the world. Bringingbeauty into the world — everything! And uh – and so there isn’t that scene reallyisn’t there between work and between our spiritual practice. But the – also said in…ifthere is no flower, there is tura. Meaning thatif there is no sustenance – if there is no bread. If you are not putting bread on thetable – how can you have a spiritual practice? Howcan you have uh luminous teachings which is what tura means – its the study of illumination.How can you sore in uh into the sacred dimensions. So in Judaism in general uh livelihood isfoundational. It’s the floorboards under which we stand.And uh – there really isn’t a uh- this world is infused with God. And I will sayone last thing and that is that uh – the word for world – for this world is – the same andI know you know Hebrew so well – its the samein modern Hebrew conversational Hebrew as it was in the bible in ancient – and inancient times. Its h’wlm but h’wlm really meanshidden-ness. It means that which is concealed. So the teaching goes that this world is acover in a sense – Zalman used to say this to all his – we were playing hide and seekwith the divine.And uh a work here is to lift up to discoverin every business, in every job we have and every relationship and every encounter tolift up the – the cover to discover and uncover -the hidden sparks, the trapped sparks, the divine bing that is uh – that is waiting tobe revealed and waiting to be released and waitingto be redeemed and – uh – and freed up. And uh – so that goes very, very much forwork as well. Uh whatever we are engaged in – it may notbe our vocation and I am sure we will talk about that more. It may not be our purposein life, but whatever we are doing has the potential for this beauty and for uh bringingholiness into the world. Thank you Rabbi. And thank you all. Uh before I go to the second question I wouldlike to remind the people who are uh – watching or participating from home to pleasebe sure to ask questions.You are part of this discussion and there is a space underthe – under the video where – for you to do such.So please do ask your questions and we will be looking at those and including those inour discussion. So the second question I have for whoeverwould like to address it is that many people nowadays feel that they are trapped in jobsthat are not making a difference or helping others or really benefiting the world in anyway. And in fact, many feel people feel that they’re jobs are doing harm in one way oranother is there any way to reconcile this withthe need to earn a living. Acharya:I think it’s a really important question and uh finding meaningful work is something thatI think all of us think about. I think sometimes we have a very narrow sense of whatmeaningful work would be. And of course so often meaningful work is – does not payvery well.So it’s hard to support ones family on that. So the ongoing experience of trying to jugglelivelihood has to do with figuring what meaningful work is. But in the spiritual teachingsparticularly of Tibetan Buddhism uh and if you look at the traditions of the Hasid’sthe great uh yogis who uh studied with their teachers they were encouraged not toleave whatever job they had. They were encouraged that if you are doing – a tailor,sewing that there is a way to do that that helpsone become enlightened and serve others. If you are uh a taxi driver, if you are afarmer, if you are in any kind of profession there isa way to do this in a way that spiritually awakens us and helps us serve others, butall of it depends upon spiritual training and ithelps to have guidance and specific spiritual instructions about how to bring this intoour life.It is – uh a challenge however. Howeveralso if we are doing harmful work that can be shocking and uh – beginning to engage inthe spiritual path we see how things can cause harm and we have to reassess. Yes indeed, would anyone else like to addressthis question? Stephen:I could go with the meaningless part first. Uh I chose to – 35 years ago I decided thatI wanted to try to live the contemplative lifeuh in the mist of everyday society.And uh – Thomas Martin has mentioned threedifferent jobs he thought would be good for uh – try to bring the contemplative life intothe everyday world. One was fire tower work and I had a young family so I couldn’t dothat. The other was night security guard work andI don’t really like to be the person that is telling others what to do so that was out. So the third was janitorial work. So uh I was always impressed with the monksthat here they were very scholarly uh they carried the scholarly traditions through themiddle ages – well through the dark ages – part of the middle ages but they cleaned horsestables and uh – did all of this manual labor uh that that we would consider meaningless and rogued.And uh – so the janitorial workespecially after doing it for 35 years definitely has that element uh you do the same thingover and over uh the standard office talk is man the janitorial service really sucks! You know so there is that constant sense youare not doing a good job. Most of the people in the office feel that they coulddo a better job than you.Uh – so uh – there is really an opportunity to practice in the solitude uh that comes with the janitorial work youare left with your own thoughts, which can be just as oppressive as working with otherpeople. LAUGHING Uh so uh so the temptation of course is alwaysto – to read the People magazine on the stand. But I found the janitorial work whichmany would see as meaningless as the bottom of society uh the things that peopledo that can’t uh – can’t have – they don’t havetraining for anything else. Offers me the opportunity number one for humility foridentifying with what so many people in the world are doing uh work that seems…andboring and meaningless but it offers the opportunity to be creative.It offers theopportunity to work with my own thoughts to do uh spiritual kinds of practices where Irepeat a phrase over and over where I visualize a setting that I see a spiritual and bring it into that work to find the – cleaning thetoilets and emptying the trash as spiritual. So that’s the meaningless part. I think the- the part of the question about work that harmsthe world eventually I think all of us see that some aspect of work harms the worldbecause we are embedded in a system that is oppressive. The clothes we wear. Maybewe’re made in a sweatshop or whatever.So I think there is an opportunity for humilityto be able to see yes I am embedded in a webof interrelation – some of which are unethical. And to do what we can to make it sacred – touncover the sparks of holiness as Tirzah was saying in something that seems to at leastparticipate in an oppressive system. Yes Pir… It’s really interesting. There is a Sufi textthat spends about a chapter going over what is the best uh – uh livelihood for a contemplative. And in order to uh arrive at prophecyactually. And it was Shepherd. LAUGHING. But you get the idea. Its very much like Martinwas suggesting to be uh somewhere where you are alone with your thoughts andyet you can still uh earn a livelihood and for many years when I was a student at Naropa actually I was a grounds keeper. For over10 years I was a groundskeeper. And – and that’s precisely why I did it. Becauseit gave me my thoughts all day I could walk around – I was planning chapters of booksand working on ideas. But – there came a certain point where itwas also a safe job.I got – I was just really used to it. And one day a buddy – a fellow student atNaropa visited me at work and he said what are you doing? He said the world doesn’t need you to do this work. He says, this is for somebody who can’t doanything else. Now you are just hiding. And, it’s after that that I quit that. So– its interesting why we do things and when weneed to change you know to find what is our actually vocation.For a while I was doingit so that I could find a contemplative lifewhile earning a living. And then, I was awakened to this notion thatI was hiding from my actual vocation So — just something interesting. Thank you. Father Alan:Pir, I want to respond to you if I may. Uh you bring up a very interesting question inthis sort of order of work – this uh – there isthese jobs that anyone could do and then these jobs that like shepherding might be – reallynice. LAUGHS. For the scenery, the mountains, the uh everything.Uh – and that some of us do have privilegejobs in work and many, many ways. Uh so how do we uh – at all as spiritual leaders- we all have a tradition were spiritual leaders in – the people who work in uh – like cubicles and factory lines or uh I – one of the worstjobs involved the lechuge lores in California picking the lettuce. Just horrible demeaning drudge work. Problematic. How do we uh – at what pointdo we touch those lives and bring them into the circle of spirituality and this contemplativepractice and this uh – bring spirituality into their work? Because we are not goingto take them out of their work if that is their work, but how do we get there? That is the question that I wrestle with all the time.Uh – I don’t know if anybody has any to pursuethat? Sreedevi:I want to pursue that a little bit because in my father’s village in South India uh when I think about the people who were originallyinvolved from the outcast community, the lowest rung of the social cast system in carryingout the compost and human waste uh – out to the edge of the village and now howthere are uh – millions of what we call global gas plants all over India with – where a cottageindustry has set up mechanism by which the methane generated from waste is then storedand converted back into uh harnessed back into power and so those villagers whothen were in these routine jobs that were the lowest rung and they felt trapped are now the operators of the machinery or they getto work with the mechanics of it – so the morewe can as societies think of ways where these completely dead end jobs can become mechanizedin ways that are not harmful to environment but have completely zero wasteand then the move those people on the – on the rung of ladder so they too can take valuein what they do.Uh – at a different level and – and to reallyin the Hindu system there is also attention paidto what we called the…our inner temperants and so keeping those temperants in mind aswe seek a vocation and we get a device on that from a very young age from family eldersand uh from within the Hindu community – the swamis.I went to see my spiritualteacher…at a certain stage in my chemistry career where the chemicals I was using uhfor research were not only harming my own bodybut I felt it was unconscionable that I would be teaching chemistry experiments atthe community college level or the college level that we are using big amounts of uh- these uh – harmful chemicals. So a professor on the campus at CSU in Ft.Collins found me who was introducing small scale chemistry so we began to do chemistrywith tiny drops of solutions and immediately for the hundreds of thousandsof teachers in public schools who would be teaching chemistry and in community collegeswhere teachers came to take the training I was an instrumental force in being able tosay let’s move to a system that is less harmful. And that came from the Hindu ethics of…tobe able to have less harm on the environment and to others. So it’s an example I want tooffer.Roland Cohen:One of our online participants had a question – that is actually connected with what youwere just saying. I will read – what do each of you listen for when a vocation or a callto a particular kind of work or purpose arises?Specifically when might know when to take a risk when we are called into our vocation?This is Jenna asked this question. Rabbi Tirzah:I will speak to that. Uh its a wonderful question in Kabbalah there is an idea that – wellthere is – first I will say there is inner work and there is outer work.Uh – and thereis – always this – sense of having to listen inwardly.Uh so in Kabbalah there is an idea that each person and now how many – how many billions- there is 7 1/2 billion people on the planet and each person – no person is created.No person is born without a particular…we call it – a uh contribution to be made – auh piece of repair at uh – a piece of the puzzle ofthe great whole of the puzzle. And uh – that there is no – there is no duplicates. Sowhether our work is – a…on the outside or whether its repairing something on uh withinmy family for instance or within my religion or inventing something or writing a pieceof music – we don’t know what that is but wehave to be listening inwardly always and the – the mythical languaging for that is that the divine is always speaking to us. If we can- listen. If we can sort of uh tuned down – tuneout the noise so that the noise to signal ratio is in balance.So that we can hear betteruh we are going to be given the signals – like the bread crumbs will – will be scattered- there will be synchronicities. There will be coincidences. There will be people cominginto our lives at the right moment. Uh if weare attuned but the question is there a spiritual practice. If were uh lowering the noiselevel.If we are unplugging. If we are uh just quieting ourselves and know how to tameour minds then we will be more readily available – that voice will come through and wewill know the right moment when to take the risk to say I have to take this prompt. Ihave to uh – answer this call. Would you like to speak to that? Acharya:Yes, I’d love to speak to it as well. It seems – I am very much based on what you aresaying Tirzah there is such a similar kind of perspective in Buddhism I think oftenstudents are coming to me – they feel so much that they have to – they have to make adecision about their livelihood before graduation and they have to know a job – they haveto put their work into their plans.And one of the things I learned most from my Buddhistpractice is that we – when we think we make decisions there is a kind of self importanceinvolved that isolates us, puts a lot of pressure, and we have no idea how to make adecision but there is so much emphasis in Buddhism in this kind of listening practiceof attuning yourself and realizing that decisionsmake us – if we can just tune into all of theauspicious coincidences of our lives and as Trungpa Rinpoche used to say if we can listento the messages of the phenomenal world we begin to see themes of things comingtoward us rather than our reaching out sort of chasing it and feeling that we need toyou know I important who is all powerful in mylife – making decisions in my life to recognize that a slightly more contemplativeapproach is to relax and listen and tune in to all of the messages coming toward us and begin to see that the world is telling us so oftenwhat to do and where to go.And uh so particular senioritis might entergraduate students – I encourage them to just relax and see what doors open and then gotoward those doors. I think that is a very helpful thing that I heard you talking aboutas well Tirzah. Pir:I just want to add one thing. I agree the messages are there. But in terms of Jenna’squestion – about what to look for – I think with regard to vocation there is always achallenge. There is always an aspect of challenge with that intuition that comes aboutvocation. And to look for that and to take the challenge. Roland Cohen:Very good. So I’d like to introduce one more new question here. Which is that it seemsthat uh – even though it would be lovely to be a shepherd uh LAUGHING or to have ajob that really does enable us to uh – relate with one thing at a time and have a senseof panoramic view of things – most people thatI know – whoops there goes my microphone. Many people that I know are really tied intotechnology like this microphone and in the current work place technology of computers- there seems to be much speed and such a quantity of information that has never evenbeen encountered in the history of humans before really that people are in the middleof this barrage of – of uh information.And thatit can be – that it can actually be very stressful. And uh – how does one find equanimityin the midst of such speed? Father Alan:First of all the sheep smell uh – LAUGHING – so it’s grubbier than we mightromanticize. And the thing about that speed it seems to go along with a kind ofsleekness. A slickness. A cleanliness that’s uh that’s into it that isolates us from oneanother and from the actual work that there is a weird since of distance that gets created.And when I am working on my computer that uh – makes it – its – I don’t know quite howyou put your finger on it. It’s so foreign to our human – our temperament as humans. Uh it really separates us and so uh – I thinkwe need to – one of the things I learned a long time ago is to only go online so many times a day and don’t – stay with that.Don’t – don’tjust neurotically compulsively addictively you know read the New York Times 10 timesduring the day and you know uh – those others – habits that we fall into. To stop – gooutside to the garden. Uh – play with your cats uh – do something else. Uh – but ourworkplaces don’t provide that. That cubicle atmosphere that is so sterilized. Uh anddehumanizes – doesn’t allow for that. How do we – again we are – being a religious person- leader – and worker is really kind of a privilege job and I wish more of our youngpeople knew about this because its really great work! LAUGHING But its also very messy work.The sheep smellagain you know. You get called to hospitals, county jails. You get called tofamilies in crisis. You get called into all this stuff, but it has life. You know its not slick clean, neat, fast. Uh at all. So I’d justlike to share that observation about the effect ofthe modern world. It’s not always positive. Steve… Its really a great question uh – because thespeed seems antithetical to almost all of the spiritual traditions which – which seem to talk about providing space to take one thing at a time. What do you do if you can’t take one thingat a time? And you are just moving from thing to thing? So something that I have experimentedwith is to see not only the – the realm of the spiritual as one of space, but as oneof flow.And uh so…for me I bring up an image ofsomething that enables to connect everything into a solid flow – often using the breathin the biblical tradition breath and spirit are linked. So to bring an exhalation just once and a while – sometimes you can’t look atthe big picture. Uh sometimes you’re just attendingto those minute little details, but to bring up some sort of an image that bring that senseof flow and to picture it in a seamless kind of way. So that the exhalation can do that. To breathethrough the uh activities and to see them as part of a seamless flow with no beginning and no end. One that I use – John Muir ison of my favorite Christian mystics uh he lovedthis portion of – of one of the rivers in Yosemite that is called the Silver Apron andI have gone up to it and its just – it like a hundred yards of water that is flowing down this cascade of this smooth granite slope.You get right up next to it with your camera like 2 inches away and see this three inchesof water and it looks like a solid seamless flow of water.Jesus talks about having therivers of living water. So I’ll picture – I’ll flash an image of that water – that breathexhale and just for a second bring up that imagebefore I have to go back to all of the minute details. That’s beautiful. Acharya:One of the – just very briefly in the Mahamudra tradition of Tibetan Buddhism as we trainin this very profound deepness meditation of resting in the true nature of mind – thatis very very powerful is done. Retreat – itsvery much like a shepherd lifestyle and yet uh – in the Mahamudra you’re practice is considered maybe questionable until your teacherssend you to the busiest city to the speediest profession with the greatest technology -Wallstreet and these kinds of places and if you can practice in those environments thenyou’ve become a real practitioner – a real master or you know an adept of the practice.So I think its also – its important – we needto know how to train but we also need to also test our training in these kinds of things like technology.Rabbi Tirzah:What about unplugging? I mean let’s say something radical here uh – how about justunplugging for a day. Uh right now its interesting this is – that this particular panel wascalled at exactly this time when we are folding up our week – its 6 o’clock Friday after.The dusk is falling outside and typically that’s the bridge between uh the secular workweek and what we call in Judaism Shabbat or the Sabbath. And I – I want to uh – invite us to lightthe Shabbat candles which could be sitting righthere – two tall candlesticks that are representing the perfect equanimity of divinemasculine or the masculine principle and the feminine principle in the world uh this waythere are two.And uh – allowing it to serve as a gateway into eternal time and for that24 hours uh a traditional Jew or a practicingJew would literally unplug and not be online. Heaven forbid – not being online for a wholeday and how radical is that? Uh not perhaps not carry money. Perhaps uh – not be checking the mail and checking the – checking ones uh checking the breaking news and just take that – 24 hours to be not a creator as you said Stephen but recreatedto be – just to fall back into nature. To fall backinto eye to eye relationships to really drop into our lives. Perhaps that is a painfuluncomfortable experience as well. But to uh to find out who we are again. Oneseven. So we’re not 24 / 7 were 24 / 6 – but there is that one seventh of the week thatwe are – that we let ourselves fall back into ouressence and let ourselves be recreative and recreated uh – its a – its a challenge.Butit’s a beautiful one. Sreedevi:I want to add something to uh – at this point – the number on thing that struck me aboutthe speed of doing all of this is then – what are we speeding about? We are speedingabout the rate of knowledge that is being transmitted – that is available. And in oneof our earliest Hindu texts uh called….thesacred dialogue that was birthed in the forest andthe sages say in the realm of knowledge – there is knowledge that is always unknowable.There is the knowledge that is yet to be known. And there is a knowledge that is alreadyknown. So with – with uh the internet and the accessto technology we are bridging what is already known with what is yet to be known.Every moment. And uh – so in the Hindu way of life its like we have means to know- how to access those domains and have reverence and humility that there will alwaysbe something that we will never know.And we approach the knowledge domain withthat reverence – the path of Yana or the path of seeking the divine through the seekingof itself through knowledge – knowledge of the self. So then the tools are available and as weare ready we seek those tools – we seek those teachers. So in the uh – in the contemporary- in the diospora – all over many of our computer scientist and entrepreneurs are alsoseeking the deeper knowledge of our ancient teachings. And such entrepreneursare the ones who are also funding major Hindu foundations in order to spread the dharmasof India. So there is – they are doing this balancing act on these rounds of knowledgeand having the humility to be able to say I will never know everything. I will havehave to have tools to say how can I store thisinformation well? It was a Hindu computer scientist over 30 years ago predicted theinternet cloud.And that metaphor comes from one of our yogatechs called the Yoga sutra where uh the uh the term is used by Sage…where the stateor enlightened state this what surrounds a seeker so that is what the show of rain isfrom the pregnant rain cloud. So the cloud is always available – we canalways go to it. We need the techniques, the tools of storage and be able to pause anduse breath – its another big uh tool of yoga is theuse of breath – in order to stop the mind and therefore uh the uh – the tools of breath…tobe able to use to stop ourselves.Its not the flow of knowledge that is going to stop- we again need to stop our mind. Roland Cohen:Very good. Well we are now half way through and I wanted to say for people who havejoined us recently and didn’t uh – hear the introductions. I wanted to just go back throughbut to just say that we are doing an inter-religious dialogue here with our panel ofdistinguished guests and they represent 6 of the world’s great religions.And with usare representing Sufism, Pir Netanel Miles-Yepez. And representing Protestantism we have StephenHatch. And Hindu traditions is Sreedevi Bringi. And Buddhism is Acharya Judith Simmer-Brown. And Roman Catholicism is represented by FatherAlan Hartway. And Judaism is represented by Rabbi TirzahFirestone. And I would like at some point to intro – toencourage the studio audience if you have questions to please come up soon. And uh bring those up. But I have another question to spark somedialogue here which is uh…is there a necessity in your tradition? Do they speak of a necessityfor retreat practice or leaving the world as part of the spiritual path altogether. Is there an appropriate balance between retreatand involvement in the world proposed for laypeople? For non-clergy? Who would like to address that first? Pleasefeel free. Father Alan… In Catholic tradition during what you callthe Dark Ages – I don’t know if they were that dark.They were illuminated by these manuscripts after all – uh the church deliberatelydeveloped at that time uh many, many additional holy days so that people could rest. Theworker in the field. The serfs, the lower classes. They developed a whole host of daysthroughout the year uh – for that kind of rest. And for companionship, for company, for family,for just stopping that work and doing this other interior work. Uh – bringing peopletogether in the churches for music and beauty that they may not have had as partof their lives uh to experience that and the – the princes, the dukes, the over lords had to respect that or they would be excommunicatedof course. LAUGHING. And uh – they had that extra time – to dothat. To slow down to – and rest. Our modern world we work 7 days a week andare happy about – Americans are working longer hours than ever – its kind of funnya century ago the labor unions that aroused were deliberately designed partially to keepus safe from that excessive 60, 70 hour work week uh so its – we have gotten ourselvesinto a bit of a mess here and away from that time.That we probably need to get back to.Uh to develop the interior life. Acharya:So in Buddhism, a retreat has always been important particularly in Tibetan Buddhism.There are lots of practices that you simply don’t get in your bones unless you go on yourretreat and the importance of sinking into solitary retreat, group retreats, but especiallysolitary retreat is where there is a sense of transformation that comes from – for one thing being with your own thoughts and when you begin to really learn uh about how your mind works – its a very profound experience.You can’t blame other people for what is goingon when it’s happening inside of your own mind. So that retreat experience in particular solitaryretreat experience is really important in my lineage. On the other hand there is anemphasis as well on daily practice and uh – the small practice that you carry throughout your life. And one of the images that I love fromTibetan Buddhism is that going on retreat is like going into a cave with a bucket ofwater and throwing the bucket water against thewall of the cave makes a wonderful splash – you feel like you really did something and then you leave the cave but it doesn’t havethat much effect on the rock.But its the dailytrickle of the drip that really ways away therock. So that combination of the uh – the bucket of water which really immerses youalong with the daily trickle that has a tremendous effect on us as practitioners. Thanks Acharya. Any other. Yes Pir Netanel… The ideal of Sufism is very similar. Uh retreatin Sufism is called in Arabic rather and Islam is…means seclusion. And there is asense in which uh just doing your formal daily practices is retreat. Its time taken out fromthe world. But there are also uh – three-day retreats, 40-day retreats – even three-yearretreats – you don’t see much of that anymore. But the idea is that this is a time for moreintense, spiritual training in order to really set apattern that can affect your life.Sufi’s tend to look at it as since Sufi’sare oriented toward service in the world, they lookat retreat as uh – preparing one’s self to be in the world. So…similar to Buddhism. Sreedevi:Yes, I want to say from the Hindu tradition uh in India at least even our very calendarof work everyday uh there is – there is firstthe opportunity for the home puja or a daily worship uh with the deity – the family deitywith the teachers guidance – the guru that isfollowed and so are those gurus teachings. So to have time for that in the early hoursof the day before the workday begins so – governmentoffices in India don’t begin till about 10 or 10:30 in the morning. In order to allow the morning to be set asideas an early morning retreat and the uh – the Hindu men are initiated into the guide, thepuja – these are actively practiced and for thewomen and children as well uh we have our morning time for the puja to decorate thealter and to bring in the flowers from the garden to put it at the alter.To preparethe food to gather as a family all of the cooking isdone in the morning. And so there is – there isthat time during the day itself and we also have pilgrimage. Pilgrimage is a big partof uh Hindu living. And so that is the time as awhole family you take time out from the everyday world. You visit places of sacredimportance whether they are specific rivers ormountains or lakes uh – or uh – temples. So whatever it might be than that is plannedand often it is planned in a small group and so that entire pilgrimage experience….the…isthe journey and…the sacred place but that sacred place is really about crossing overto the other side.You have the opportunity – theuh – is also about taking us from the mundane phenomenal world of existence into thesacred – the link to the sacred that happens and so there is both the family opportunityas well as – the women get closer to the womenand are more supported by other women on the pilgrimage. The men get closer to themen and are supported in practices that are – delegated for men. So there is such an opportunity and I see this as integral part uh andalso as Netenal was saying – in the sense that this pilgrimage then prepares us to re-enterthe world.To come back, to find more and more of the sacred dimension in our mundaneworld. Thank you Sreedevi. Is there anyone else?Yes, Stephen… It seems to me you are talking about threedifferent types of retreat. Uh – which also carries over into the Christian tradition.One if your daily sense of retreat and another is a weekly sense of retreat and I would think that the Sabbath is something we are reallymissing in our culture right? We work on – you know the 7th day in our culture. And the third is a more extended retreat uhthe daily retreat uh – I think its interesting tosee that even Jesus in the Christian tradition had to spend each morning alone in the hills before he could go into his ministry that day.He had to have his quiet time. So I think each day there is that quiet time to be spent alone.. Uh the second is the weekly retreat uh – anduh – my wife and I like to go on Saturdays on a hike and even in the winter time you can often find a warm sunny meadow on the southfacing slope that uh where you can just sit and be – and read and journal and be silenttogether and in the United States here we have our national parks and wilderness areasand I think we often don’t recognize – those are places of pilgrimage.They wereoriginally established at a time when America felt and inferiority complex toward Europebecause we didn’t have the massive cathedrals. So they came up with the idea that ouroutside spaces are our cathedrals – indeed people from all over the world come to thesecathedrals and people from Europe sometimes say wow you come to the national parks inAmerica and they tell you what’s your behavior. What your behavior is supposed to be.But take only photographs you know leave only footprints. There will be a sign that saystake some quiet time here so – its religious in our culture. Uh so anyway, I think its important to havea weekly time for that kind of retreat and third there is some sort of a yearly retreat.I like to go for 4 days after Thanksgiving into the desert and into all of the western religious traditions the desert is a place of strippingand they all originated in the desert.You know in the desert of the Middle East. Uh so I like to go to Canyonlands uh wheneverybody is shopping the first day of shopping day after Thanksgiving alone in thedesert and to me its very powerful. The beginning of winter uh so I think those threeare important aspect in our culture. Our culture tends just to say I am going to bebusy, busy, busy all year and then 2 weeks a year I am going to go on vacation and that’s my retreat. What we really need is a way tointegrate it into daily life. So in a daily way – in a one-day a week and we really need to recover – don’t you think the tradition ofthe Sabbath? I want to hear what Tirzah has to say about that too.Rabbi Tirzah:I love what you are saying Steve – so much – that is the – this is the crux of it isthe Sabbath form we take it in. Is it one day?Is it Saturday? Is it Sunday? Is there some self-restraint? Isaiah talked about – just restrain your foot from your normal habit and don’tgo to the marketplace. Don’t go just doing yournormal uh routine but just stop it and watch yourself. And be in joy. Be in pleasure. Be in nature.So remember – one of the first times – years and years ago I was studying at a mysteryschool with Zalman and he had like a private darshan with him – it wasn’t called darshan- its called…. and he looked at me and he could see it. This is an extrovert. He saidyou need not only Shabbat once a week you need a little Shabbat everyday. And its exactly speaking to what you are sayingStephen its – every day to just restrain our habit mind and sit quietly, pray – orjust take a walk. Be in beauty. Look around -unplug uh – however we do it – for each one of us it’s a different way.Acharya:I often feel Buddhism needs a Sabbath so its a beautiful practice particularly Buddhismin the west where we tend to just keep goingall the time and uh those little daily things thatare important and the retreats that we do but the weekly uh marking is so beautiful. Father Alan:I really enjoyed a summer in Israel…at an archeological dig because Friday was – thePalestinian holy day and Saturday was the Jewish and Sunday was the Christians and youhad like 3 days to uh – to do that rest and travel – to enjoy and relax and things stoppedand closed down and you had to know the religion of the person’s story you were going toor it would be closed when you got there.LAUGHING So it made life kind of an interesting waya little richer and more complicated. And threedays out of our neurotic 7. Two days of work. Yes, Pir…. I just want to add two brief comments. Youknow we have named a couple other kinds of retreat here – one the retreat that is – abreak from the world and its pace. I think that isimportant. Tirzah and I share the same teacher and I remember him saying about theSabbath that for 6 days it’s our job to fix the world. But we need at least one day inwhich we treat it as perfect. Its just fine as it is. Everything is beautiful.Everything is perfect. Because without that we don’t have the energy to start again onthe next 6 days. It’s beautiful. The other thing was what Sreedevi and Stephenwere saying about pilgrimage. So important. I remember a wonderful – the dantateacher here in America – wonderful woman named…was also a teacher.She saidwhen will Americans realize sacred landscape and do pilgrimage here. So it’s a kind of challenge I am putting out. We need to do that here. Very much what Stephendoes. So let me leap into the neurotic – one ofthe more neurotic aspects of our culture if I maysay so which is the sense of success and failure, which is so deeply embedding us. So myquestion would be it seems that the question would be is our success or failure at workconsidered to be connected with one’s spiritual development in your tradition? In whatway – does success as a motivation for one’s livelihood conflict with the spiritual path?So its really two questions. And I’d actually like Stephen to start with this because wetalked a little bit about this earlier. It seems that in the West particularly inAmerica we have this uh Protestant work ethic that came – it has been claimed from the Puritans.And its – its innately connected to a sense of individuality, which the sense ofsuccess and failure is also connected to.Interestingly the Protestant Reformation cameout at a time in human consciousness development in the West when there was theturn inward to the individual. So before people’s consciousness had beenmore identified maybe with society or with the church but there was this sudden turninward of Ken Weber would call it existential stage of consciousness or this turn inwardand when that happened in the West it came with an immense sense of terror – the terrorof this individual cut off from its source. Cutoff from everything else. So part of this was a preoccupation with one’s own personaldestiny – what is going to happen to me when I die? And then so in the Christian tradition- in the Protestant Reformation of wisdom am I going to heaven or hell? What’s my eternal destiny and when it firstoccurred there was a sense of terror – absolute terror? Martin Luther – I mean he was in alightening storm and just you know had this -he was absolutely terrified to the point of neurosis – what is his eternal destiny goingto be? So the Puritans come along.They were Calvinists- Calvin had taught that – that god either pre-destined you to heaven or hellso everybody is like well how do I know if I amgoing to heaven or hell if the decision has already been made? So the Puritans came up with this ingeniousidea that they could have a sense that they might be one of the ones going to heaven ifthey worked really, really hard and their efforts were blessed with success in the world- with financial success. So if they were successful financially thenthey may be one of the elect. So there was very much this sense of individualsuccess and trying to avoid uh individual failure and by the way they say it as unethicalto accumulate goods or to give to the poor because they thought the poor are manifestingthat maybe they are not one of the elect.So what did they do with the money? They investedit in their business. So we really get this beginning of capitalism. So anyway this – this…whole move towardthe individual and success uh and shunning offailure and I think what happened later after that was this sense of this concentratedinward individualistic self was so oppressive that many of the other Protestants groupsstarted uh re-engaging again with the mystical tradition that came from Catholicism ofbeing part of a larger whole where success and failure don’t mean so much because youare part of a larger web of being in the Christian tradition is the body of Christ – you arejust one part of this whole web – one person’s a foot, one person’s an arm, an hand, aneye. So to rest again in that sense of something larger – and this is what the…right andthe Amish and the Mennonites did be a part ofa community where the success and failure doesn’t matter so much. You are part of somethingbigger and then with the mystical Christians you are part of a grounded beingwhich supports all of you.Thank you very much. Do you want to speak to this? I would love to. Its interesting particular as a western Buddhistand to see how Buddhism as its come to the West has picked up a lot of individualsfound in Western culture that’s not so prevalent in Buddhism elsewhere in the worldand if we look at how Buddhism has entered recently the workplace in the formof the mindfulness movement and how mindfulness is now becoming very much of themainstream in society, in corporate life and schools and medicine and non profits andin the military. And mindfulness — there isMindful magazine – there is a lot of mindfulness research taking place. There is a lot ofemphasis on mindfulness. And mindfulness is now being used to ensuresuccess! So this is an example of how Buddhist teachingsand Buddhist practices are being appropriated for exactly what you are talkingabout Stephen. Of the Protestant work – work ethic that if you’re mindful then youwill be successful. And you will be – you willstay at work longer. You will be more effective.You will be a greater uh – unit ofproduction in society. And this is really contrary to the way inwhich Buddhist practice has been taught in thepast and the understanding of the importance of Buddhist practice because fundamental -the fundamental view in Buddhism is understanding our interdependence and that there isno such thing as individual happiness. And that if anything success is measured by well-being. And a sense of being connected with otherpeople and being able to serve in and enjoying with others and collaborate with others. Soas we really look at how uh – the values of Buddhism enter Western culture unfortunatelythey are often being appropriated toward this narrow notion of success that you aretalking about, but this is something that I thinkis really important for Buddhist practitioners who are part of a lineage of teaching wherethey understand mindfulness and awareness in context to begin to see that these practicesgive us a greater sense of that – that traditional materialistic notions of success areproblematic and instead that uh what really matters is a sense of – individual well beingbut especially community well being, society well being.If we are going to bring abouta sense of enlightened society it’s going tobe giving up this individual notion of success. I think you are – your teacher and the founderof Naropa Trungpa Rinpoche talked about spiritual materialism and that this was – youjust beautifully illustrated it and uh we haveto always constantly be on the look out for – the capitalist enterprise appropriatingsort of just munching away at everything – and itsnomulous. In Hebrew – just interesting I am thinking the word for work is…it also isits also the same word we use for service.And itsbegs the question what are we serving? Who are we serving? What is my work in service to? And uh – isit my own – my own grandiestment. Is it my – my own bottom line. Is it my corporation’sbottom line? Is it something larger and I think it’s a useful question. Who am I serving?What am I serving right now? Seems we are coming in and out of the dark. Sreedevi… I want to address this from the perspectiveof – the uh – spiritual materialism particularly in what I see as yoga in the West. So uh thereis such a move towards seeing that too how what will you gain from attending a certainyoga festival? What are the – what are the kinds of yoga one could go to well sothere is an almost ego relationship with being able to consume – you know finding differentteachers, different paths of exploring the yoga itself.And the uh – the success or failure for yogastudios, yoga festivals so that is all part of theWestern capitalism that has cracked into this tradition as well. And uh but at the veryheart of it what we call karma yoga – one of the major paths that is espoused inthe…dialogue that uh Krishna has with his cousin…on the battlefield. So metaphoricallythe battlefield is chosen in order to address the battlefield of our everyday mundane worldwhere we are looking at success and failure. And as Krishna says there is no defeat andthere is no victory. Ask who is the one – go deeper into who is the one who is experiencingthis sense of defeat or the sense of victory and so it points back to using the work ofworld as a way to uh – use it as a spiritual ground. And at the very heart of karma yogais this principle of action less action.Or acting where the action is pure. And uh withno uh attachment to the outcome – the possibility of the outcome. No attachmentto the action itself. Who might benefit from it- how will I benefit from it? So its what uh we call….karma. The karma or action thathas no selfish desire. So if that can be at the very basis of it- and we know that the individual journey in theworld of work is held in the collective – much in the way Judith put it – its – since Hindubut the Buddhist ethics are so completely interrelated so its always about in my actof service how are others being served? How wasthe cause of my organization being served? How were all humans being served?So uh – there is an integrated worldview that can become such a part of this that successand failure from the outer realm can be seen as pointers to now what more do I needto do on my internal path? How can I best use these circumstances uhto go deeper into my path knowing I am being supported in the world of work? Yes indeed.Father… The – this affirmation of the human personoutside of work – is so important and I think for all of us in whatever religious tradition,spiritual tradition is – is what we have – is our work. Because I am painfully aware that the vast majority of human beings do notexperience success at work. They’re unaligned. They’re – they might doa little tiny part – when I graduated from highschool I spent the entire summer at a Ford plant. I was on a dye press doing quarterpanels of cars. We had to do 50 an hour. And it was very hard to get that quota.It washot and grueling and it was miserable and pointless because I never saw the car. LAUHGING There was no success except that number whichwas meant nothing. When people are with us in that – in our com- congregations and our communities – they can experience authentic success…our ofour compassion for being with them – a success in that interior work or relationship. Thatthey might – millions might not get elsewhere. So we have something incredibly rich to offerthe human person uh you know Jesus for – he calls these fisherman. Who would have everguessed? Fisherman. Like shepherds or some other andtax collectors and all these people to – to this other kind of success that uh we havean opportunity here in this kind of dialogue and in our world to restore to people as real work for people. Wonderful. I wanted to add something briefly. I thinkthat our failures in work and in our spiritual practice help put us in touch with the factthat every moment is what seems like success and failure.Every moment is a coming intobeing and then dissolving back into our source. And I have always loved that poeticline from the poetic Rilke – he says be the crystal cup that rings as it shatters. So every moment there is a ringing – it’slike a fireworks display right in the very moment when the fireworks is its most colorful- it’s also dissolving and every single moment it’s like that. In the Western traditions- everything comes out of God’s love – every moment and then dissolves back intoit. You know so uh I think that when we have a failure it helps us put us in touch withimpermance. Everything is constantly coming out of thisno thing ness and disappearing back into it. To quote Rilke – further – the very end – thelast lines of the duologues – he talked about we who always had thought of happiness orjoy as something rising up toward – uh understand here he is on – at the very endof the world.He says its what befalls us. You know just descends upon us unexpectedlyand – just there. It’s incredible. It’s beautiful. That we should – we need thoseexperiences of that. Just falling happiness upon us for no reason. Thank you Father. Well we’re coming closeto 10 minutes left and I want to ask each member of the panel to please just say somethingto kind of bring a large – larger view to this topic of – of you know our livelihoodson the spiritual journey and to kind of bring it into some kind of context that you feel is important or perhaps that hasn’t been broughtup as yet.So at this point, who would like to beginwith that? I will begin. Very good. Rabbi… I don’t know that this hasn’t been said, butit’s a recapitulation perhaps. First of all, I wasa shepherd. And when I was 17 I left – I cut all my ties in America and went to Israeland went to a kibbutz and that’s what they gaveme. They – so for about 6 months every morning at about 4AM, I would wake up – itwas still dark and it take out 200 sheep out way into – Mt…beautiful site. And it wasduring those months – it was in a sense an enforced retreat. Because I was for about5 or 6 hours everyday and just with the sheep with the hills with the birds, with the cactus.It was quite beautiful – astonishing. And during that time I had experienced a hugehealing of memories. It was like a retroactive healing that was going on and through thetraumas of my own life and it was also a time when I understood that if I could get quietenough I would always hear the voluminous sound of my spirit.The inner spark insidethat would be directing me. And I am not an introvert – I think if it really is importantto know if you are going to be a shepherd youshould really be an introvert not an extrovert. LAUGHING. And for those 6 months I was illuminated thevoice inside my being who – which told me and in a sense laid down a map for the restof my life. And I became accustomed to listening. So that was uh – I guess I wouldclose by saying uh – allow the – however you do this by unplugging by going on retreator pilgrimage or just going out into the national parks or into your own backyard and lie bellydown on the ground. Listen. Listen and you will be guided to your vocation and ifyour vocation has come to completion you will be guided – spirit will guide you to the nextand to the next and to the next if you keep the- the signal raised and the noise down.Thank you Rabbi. Father… Earlier this week I celebrated 40 years ofmy religious profession. And uh – I realize – Iwas thinking about this all week long – there wasn’t really work because the work wasoutside of that or different from the actual religious profession. The religious professionwas all the work about the work of relationships. And I want to return to that. Becausethat is among our most authentic human work is relationships.Friendships – love withone another. And finding the joy in that. And people ask me what does that to mean tohave be professed in the religious community for 40 years. That is somethingthat is so odd in our culture uh – and yet it’suh – been a central part of my life all this time. I think we keep it to ourselves toomuch. We need to share that with others. Its verygood work. LAUGHS. Acharya… I think if I were to leave the audience withany message it would be that the particular discovery of the Buddha under the tree ofenlightenment was that – we will not find happiness with anything outside of ourselves.That fundamentally the only happiness that we can truly discover is the happiness withinour own experience within our own minds and that uh – if we try to have work fulfillus or try to have relationships fulfill us we willnever be fulfilled.So fundamentally the path of meditation. The path of mindfulness andawareness is the discovery of the inherent happiness in who we are as human beings. And as we discover that, then we share thatwith others but we will never find work that externally satisfies us. So from that pointof view, we – it – our contemplative practice iscrucial to happiness at work. If we are not really developing a contemplative practice- if we don’t have spiritual guidance the bestjob in the world will still make us unhappy because we have not developed that inner happinessand so if we have that kind of – happiness that comes from the mind than anywork can be fulfilling.That is the most important thing. Thank Acharya…Sree… I want to reiterate that in this fast pacedworld we must stop and seek of the connections between the sacred and the mundane realmsof our life. Uh no matter what religious tradition we may be inheriting or maybe wepractice a combination of elements from different traditions or perhaps we are agnosticor perhaps we are humanists uh the key question is what is that gives us a sacredconnection? And to pursue that and to honor that – torecognize that and to find that whether it’s in theworld of work or it’s in our own inner world. Or in our relationship to nature uh so inall of these ways to find that – that spark thatwill link us from the sacred to the mundane. And uh – this has been something that hasbeen deeply fulfilling for me and I want to offer that.Thank you Sree…Stephen… The Quaker part of my heritage speaks of GeorgeFox as to his disciples to travel the world seeking to answer to that of God andeveryone. And so I think one of the parts ofthe radical reform tradition I come out of is that sense of learning from everyone else.So I just like to say a few things that I havelearned from the different traditions here uh oneI think its fascinating that in a Jewish tradition Jacob is renamed after the incident wherehe wrestles with God in the form of an angel.And so, Israel means God Wrestler. So Ithink you know we all experience a resistance at work. A resistance from people andsuch. Maybe we can see that there is a playful aspect of the divine in all things sort ofyou know – come on, come get me. You know thatthe resistance isn’t necessarily a negative thing that we feel at work. It can be playful.In the Catholic tradition I love the sense of – St. Benedicts idea that work is prayer and Thomas Martin saying that we should treatthe tools of our trade – the shovels and everythingas the sacred vessels on the alter.I think that is just amazing that that sense of uhin the Catholic tradition – in the Buddhist tradition I have learned so much from thatsense of spaciousness. Of providing it a space when I feel stressed you know at work – puttingthat spaciousness. In the Hindu tradition I feel that I learned so much from that senseof playing hide and seek with God and it is really the divine within us that is goingthrough all of these various difficulties that we gothrough and joys.And in the Sufi tradition I can’t get over the spinning of the zucre.And wondering how that metaphor you know so thereis the spinning of the human and divine – how could that apply to our working dayworld where we just seem to be spinning. Is there a way that – that way of being can helpus with our own spinning sensation at work.Thank you Stephen…Pir… Do I have a few minutes or do I have — You have a couple of minutes. One minute. LAUGHING. Well if their one minute then I will justquote something Sufi…said treat your duty as if it was uh – howdid he say it exactly? As if it was sacred activity. Very much as you were just saying.That whatever it is you have to do whether it’s taking out the trash you know – do itwith sacred intention. I think that applies to allof our work. Thank you. And I would like to thank all of our panelists.It’s been an absolute learning experience and a delight to be here. So thank you andthank you to our – to our listeners and our viewers and our participants. Thank you verymuch. [CHIME].

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