Articles

First, do no harm

Can we any longer afford to ignore our power to harm one another? Or to recoil, helplessly? “Doing no harm” is an active choice, one which perhaps has a higher ethical and social value than any other, as suggested in this extract from Stephanie Dowrick’s latest and most overtly peace-making

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How to save your marriage!

If your marriage or love relationship is worth saving – and many are! – then these steps may help. They will take you towards a renewed awareness of how you can lift your partner’s spirits – and your own – with consistent, trustworthy attitudes and acts of kindness, consideration and

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Profound appreciation

Pioneering psychologist William James is best known for his book, The Varieties of Religious Experience, where he wrote, “The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated.”  Is this true for you? I read that line when I was seeking new inspiration on the perennial theme of

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Sustaining our peace

In this short, encouraging video Stephanie Dowrick speaks about sustaining a sense of peace and inner confidence even in the face of difficult events. Combining practical support and rare inspiration, she draws on the teachings of Sufi master Hazrat Inayat Khan, Deuteronomy (“Choose life!”) and also reflects on the Four

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It’s a beautiful day!

Many years ago I remember listening to a singing group called “It’s a beautiful day”. Even then I had at least some realisation that it’s our inner attitude that lets us experience our days as beautiful and precious: each one of them.  When it’s “just another day”, my outlook and

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Sustaining our compassion

From the Interfaith in Sydney service, 20 March 2011, this is most of a talk given by Stephanie Dowrick on how we can keep our hearts open and sustain our compassion in the face of so many public tragedies. Stephanie’s talk followed the disasters in New Zealand, Japan and elsewhere, and

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Love is…

These beautiful images come from a shared project I created a few years ago with Sydney writer, photographer and “urban farmer” Jessica Perini who not only took the photos (more images follow) but grew the plants and waited – with loving patience – for the “moment” that illustrated our theme

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A very ugly swan

In the face of earthquakes, floods and fire, and the agonizing injustices and repression being played out in Libya and elsewhere as I write this, why would I care about a movie? Well I do, not least because this movie normalizes violence under a veneer of beauty and art. And

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Choose life!

“When do you write? Do you make a time every morning…?” I was asked a couple of nights ago at a wonderful event at Shearer’s Bookshop in Leichhardt, Sydney. (The picture above shows me there with fellow writer Walter Mason.) It was a loaded question and I answered with a

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Peace from the inside out

These words from Zen poet and teacher Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh have been the greatest support to me and countless others for many years. Let’s imagine the world we would live in if each day, several times a day, we paused just long enough to say the following four lines:

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Stella Cornelius: a tribute

(What follows is Quaker and development activist  Jane Sloane’s January 2011 eulogy at the memorial service for peace activist, Peace Prize winner, and conflict resolution writer and teacher, Stella Cornelius, founder of the Conflict Resolution Network and loved by so many. Stella died, still engaged with the activities of peace-making,

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Religious bigotry: a global challenge

There are few expressions of human ignorance and misery worse than religious bigotry. Bigotry of any kind harms those who express it as well as those who are its targets. Religious bigotry, though, generally  comes heavily tainted with self-righteousness. At its worst, it’s sustained by the noxious belief that it

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Readers’ responses to Seeking

The following responses from readers mean much more to me than simple praise and encouragement – as vital as encouragement always is. If you have read Seeking the Sacred – or any of my other books but especially Seeking and In the Company of Rilke – you will know how

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NY Resolutions, 2011

“You will never achieve what you can’t imagine.” And that’s never more true than when it comes to New Year resolutions. These absolutely don’t need to be made before the new year dawns. Yet there is a particular magic in starting the year with a clear sense that it is

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Words from Gandhi

I offer you peace. I offer you love. I offer you friendship. I see your beauty. I hear your need. I feel your feelings. My wisdom flows from the Highest Source. I greet that Source in you. Let us work together for unity and love. These words from the great

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The rhythms of parenting

Most parents think of the birth of their children as an emotional high point in their lives.There is no adventure like it!  But the majority will also say that turning themselves into relaxed, confident parents remains one of the greatest challenges of their adult lives. Where I live in inner-city

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Caring about carers

One of the most challenging roles that any of us can find ourselves in is that of carer.  I am not thinking about professional carers now. They also do a fine job but can go home at the end of a shift. Nor, in this instance, do I mean parents

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At home in Australia

Today we celebrate Australia Day – or do we? For many it’s a last-ditch chance to revel in the lazier pace of the Christmas and New Year holiday period before school begins and work takes off again with a gallop. But can it or should it be something more? After

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The Sufis of Lahore

It’s July 2010. With the speed of a meteorite, the news of the recent suicide bombing at the Data Ganj-Bakhsh Sufi shrine in Lahore, Pakistan came and went. More than forty people were killed, including children. Almost two hundred were injured. The loss of safety at Pakistan’s most important Sufi

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