Until a man is nothing, God can make nothing out of him
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hasn’t got a damn thing to do with anything, ‘cause all it has to do with is nothing. Nothingness. Okay? It doesn’t develop the mind, it dissolves the mind. Self-improvement? Forget it, baby. It erases the self. Throws the ego out on its big brittle ass. What good is it? Good for nothing. Excellent for nothing. Yes, Lord, but when you get down to nothing, you get down to ultimate reality. It’s then and exactly then that you’re sensing the true nature of the universe, you’re linked up with the absolute Absolute, son, and unless you’re content with blowing smoke up your butt all your life, that there’s the only place to be.

As I thought of these things, I drew aside the curtains and looked out into the darkness, and it seemed to my troubled fancy that all those little points of light filling the sky were the furnaces of innumerable divine alchemists, who labour continually, turning lead into gold, weariness into ecstasy, bodies into souls, the darkness into God; and at their perfect labour my mortality grew heavy, and I cried out, as so many dreamers and men of letters in our age have cried, for the birth of that elaborate spiritual beauty which could alone uplift souls weighted with so many dreams.

Jelikož postrádáme univerzální spiritualitu, redukujeme ji na soupeřící náboženství, což je závažné snižování víry na subjektivní názor, nikoli duchovní moudrost a otevřenost, a na centralistické, autoritářské církevní instituce. Zeptejte se někoho na jeho náboženství a on vám s největší pravděpodobností řekne, ke které organizaci patří, čemu věří nebo do kterého kostela chodí. Nebude mluvit o svých metodách rozjímání ani o své službě lidstvu. Nezmíní se o svém životním poslání ani o své morálce a vizi. Lidé dnes uvažují o náboženství jako o nějaké věci, jako o instituci. Mnozí tudíž opouštějí slovo náboženství a místo toho používají spiritualita.

Existuje mnoho forem spirituality. Jednou z nich je spiritualita transcendence – tázání se po vznešených vizích, univerzálních morálních principech a osvobození od mnoha omezení lidského života. Ovšem i strom, zvíře, potok nebo lesní hájek, to vše může být v ohnisku náboženské pozornosti. Spiritualita místa může být vyznačena zdí, kresbou na zemi nebo hromadou kamenů. Když na starých bojištích umísťujeme historické památníky nebo pamětní desky na domech, kde se narodily naši předkové či přespal George Washington, konáme ryzí spirituální akt. Uctíváme zvláštního ducha, který je spojen s tímto místem.

Everything in modern city life is calculated to keep man from entering into himself and thinking about spiritual things. Even with the best of intentions a spiritual man finds himself exhausted and deadened and debased by the constant noise of machines and loudspeakers, the dead air and the glaring lights of offices and shops, the everlasting suggestion of advertising and propaganda.The whole mechanism of modern life is geared for a flight from God and from the spirit into the wilderness of neurosis.

I have my own way to walk and for some reason or other Zen is right in the middle of it wherever I go. So there it is, with all its beautiful purposelessness, and it has become very familiar to me though I do not know “what it is.” Or even if it is an “it.” Not to be foolish and multiply words, I’ll say simply that it seems to me that Zen is the very atmosphere of the Gospels, and the Gospels are bursting with it. It is the proper climate for any monk, no matter what kind of monk he may be. If I could not breathe Zen I would probably die of spiritual asphyxiation.

People need to believe in more than what they see in everyday life. Somewhere inside, we all know that there is more out there than we experience normally. A belief in the other world can help explain why things happen to us. It can give us hope. I feel that we all hope we never get to be too old to fly to Never-Never Land or go through a wardrobe into Narnia. We want to think that there is something looking back at us when we look at the stars. We want to think that just around the bend in the forest, we’ll find fairies dancing in a ring. I hope that my work affirms those beliefs,” she continues. “I want people to think of my work as a key to that other world.