Living the Questions: February 2014

Theme for February
Incarnation: the practice of grounding the spirit

Questions for contemplation and conversation on your own,
around the dinner table, in your journal, with each other

Download 02-2014-questions


  • Where do you experience the sacred, the holy, God, the Spirit, incarnate (in flesh/in real form) in your everyday life?
  • How do you embody your spirituality, beliefs, and values in the world?
  • What practices help you notice more beauty and be present to your surroundings?
  • Where do you find the “holy” dwelling on earth?


“The name of this infinite and inexhaustible depth and ground of all being is God. “
—Paul Tillich (1886 – 1965)


“The Buddha reaches down, and with his finger, touches the earth. He says, ‘The earth is my witness.’ He said, ‘Mara, you are not the earth. The earth is right here beneath my finger,’ and the earth is what we’re talking about. Accepting the earth, not owning the earth, not possessing the earth, but the earth just as it is, abused and exploited and despised and rejected and, plowed and mined and shat on and everything else, you know. It’s still the earth, and it is, we owe everything to it.”
—W.S. Merwin


“Nirvana is this moment seen directly. There is nowhere else than here. The only gate is now. The only doorway is your own body and mind. There’s nowhere to go. There’s nothing else to be. There’s no destination. It’s not something to aim for in the afterlife. It’s simply the quality of this moment.”


“The miracle is not to walk on water but on the earth.”
—Thich Nhat Hanh


“Imagine then a dancer who, after long study, prayer and inspiration, has attained such a degree of understanding that his body is simply the luminous manifestation of his soul; whose body dances in accordance with a music heard inwardly, in an expression of something out of another, profounder world. This is the truly creative dancer… speaking in movement out of himself and out of something greater than all selves.”
—Isadora Duncan



Body is something you need in order to stay
on this planet and you only get one.
And no matter which one you get, it will not
be satisfactory. It will not be beautiful
enough, it will not be fast enough, it will
not keep on for days at a time, but will
pull you down into a sleepy swamp and
demand apples and coffee and chocolate cake.

Body is a thing you have to carry
from one day into the next. Always the
same eyebrows over the same eyes in the same
skin when you look in the mirror, and the
same creaky knee when you get up from the
floor and the same wrist under the watchband.
The changes you can make are small and
costly—better to leave it as it is.

Body is a thing that you have to leave
eventually. You know that because you have
seen others do it, others who were once like you,
living inside their pile of bones and
flesh, smiling at you, loving you,
leaning in the doorway, talking to you
for hours and then one day they
are gone. No forwarding address.
Living in the Body by Joyce Sutphen



A Meditation: Ground Yourself: Sit comfortably and close your eyes; focus your attention on the muladhara (root) chakra at the base of your spine; during each inhalation, imagine that you are drawing strength from the ground up into your spine and the rest of your body; during each exhalation, sense your strength increasing. Throughout, try to maintain an awareness of the connection between the base of your body and the ground.
—From 1001 Meditations by Mike George


The key is to be here, fully connected with the moment, paying attention to the details of ordinary life. By taking care of ordinary things—our pots and pans, our clothing, our teeth—we rejoice in them. When we scrub a vegetable or brush our hair, we are expressing appreciation: friendship toward ourselves and toward the living quality that is found in everything. This combination of mindfulness and appreciation connects us fully with reality and brings us joy.
Rejoice in Ordinary Joy by Pema Chodron


Understanding the consequences of not being grounded, it brings us to the importance of it.  To be able to achieve any goal, we need to be fully present. To enjoy our life, at home, at work, and in any activity, we need to be in alignment of mind-body-spirit. When we are grounded we do things with a more conscious awareness and we do things to our best ability. It can be anything from cooking, playing sport, doing homework, writing for an ezine 😉 or even just socialising; we take charge in a masterful way. Being more focussed spiritually in a body, means less effort and struggle, but “going with the flow” with the pulse of life in human form.
—From The Awakening Movement


A philosopher of religion said that if you look at the history of all religions, they almost all begin with one massive mistake. They make a clean split between the sacred and the profane. Then all the emphasis is placed on going to the sacred spaces, creating sacred time and sacred actions, and ninety-eight percent of life then remains “unsacred.” This is at the heart of the problem. This is why so many people have such a hard time encountering the holy. These are not insincere people. They’re people who were told to look only in a very few places for God.  The correct distinction is never between sacred and profane, but only between sacred and desecrated places, people, and things. It is we alone who desecrate God’s one incarnate world by our inability to see truthfully and to show reverence.
—Richard Rohr, Sacramental Universe


Ah, it’s true.
When our ancestors spoke of heaven,
they were speaking of this moment.
When they went on about nirvana
they imagined a time like this.
When they sang of paradise,
it was this morning they imagined.
A time when all the mysteries of life and death
are blended in a community of praise,
when the bones of ancient lovers
are given flesh again in our own bodies,
teachers of long ago speaking of love and truth
more than once in lives so ordinary they are
Blest is our breath, in and out, quiet,
blest is our sitting, our fidgeting, our movement,
blest is our heartbeat echoing
the pounding alleluias of the distant stars,
blest is the silence that is presence,
not absence.
—Mark Belletini