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Countdown to Christmas: Spiritual Trivia

 

Can you guess the source of these lines of sacred text?

That it may please thee to make wars to cease in all the world; to give to all nations unity, peace and concord; and to bestow freedom upon all peoples,
That it may please thee to visit the lonely; to strengthen all who suffer in mind, body, and spirit; and to comfort with presence those who are failing and infirm,
That it may please thee to forgive our enemies, persecutors and slanderers, and to turn their hearts,

You could be forgiven for thinking they’re from some kind of meditation on loving kindness in the Upanishads or the Tibetan Book of the Dead.

These lines of deep prayer are actually pulled from a very Christian prayer called The Great Litany that is performed in a communal chant. Just like Buddhists.

Acutely Buddhist in its appeal for universal compassion, The Great Litany was performed in procession by thousands of churches around the world to mark the First Sunday of Advent — the last Sunday of November in 2014 — the official beginning of the Christmas season for all of you chocolate fiends with Advent calendars, and Day One of a new church year.

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On suffering: Is it really worth the trouble?

On suffering: Is it really worth the trouble?

Oprah and Lady Gaga may be today’s spiritual role models for self-actualization but our devotion to suffering remains a national faith.

BY JOHN PTACEK – Why did a tsunami flood Japan? Why can’t politicians tell the truth? Why did it have to rain on my wedding day?

If humans really had power, CEOs would be immune to cancer, holy men wouldn’t sin and Michael Jackson would still be alive. But we don’t call the shots.

Reality baffles us.  We question it every day and keep waiting for people to be good, for governments to be just, for life to be fair.

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David Rickey at Land’s End

When you are paralyzed into in-action

How to put the dynamic of hope into action. You have the same DNA as Gandhi, Václav Havel and Goenawan Mohamad

DAVID RICKEY — Hope is a great four-letter word, but it gets lost in the shuffle of our lives if it isn’t bonded with action.

Václav Havel, the first President of the Czech Republic, said ‘Hope is not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something makes sense, regardless of how it turns out’.

It is this certainty that allows — even emboldens us — to take action.

We have all faced survival uncertainty since the Great American Recession of 2008, and that uncertainty — can, and has — paralyzed some of us into in-action.

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Blake Lively in Savages

Spiritual Surf: “Flight” and 5 other titles that are giving addiction a buzz


From Denzel Washington’s contender for an Oscar to the Scientology allegory, The Master, Hollywood’s biggest box office is hooked to addicts

The Master

Joaquin Phoenix plays a sex addict and violent drunk who seeks salvation from a guru who is part-Werner Erhard and part-Ron Hubbard. Director Paul Thomas Anderson (Boogie Nights, Magnolia, There Will Be Blood) screened the film for the world’s most famous Scientologist, Tom Cruise.

Boardwalk Empire

America’s oldest addiction juiced every clan from the Kennedys and the Seagrams to iconic U.S. Treasury Secretary Andrew Mellon, according to HBO’s flagship series.

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ssri and suicide

A mental health manifesto: How to occupy your own mind

. . . before Big Pharma, Madison Avenue, Hollywood Boulevard and Tin Pan Alley occupy it for you

By Michele Ritterman — Our homes and 401 (k)’s aren’t the only territory that we’re losing to a One Percent whose disproportionate control of wealth has provoked grassroots “Occupy” protests across America since September, 2011.

We also appear to be losing our minds. When I began studying psychotherapy in the 1970s the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) for mental disorders was 134 pages long. It listed 182 conditions. The current edition of the DSM now lists over 300 disorders that fill 886 pages.

Have we actually developed more than 100 new mental illnesses in a single generation?

What the heck happened?

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9 Aha! Moments that blow Oprah off the Screen

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To die for

To die for

Will Baby Boomers choose to expire in hospitals and nursing homes? Or will they take matters into their own hands?

BY DAVID RICKEY —  Would you prefer to die on purpose — or with purpose?

Late, great writers like Arthur Koestler (Darkness at Noon), Ernest Hemingway (For Whom the Bell Tolls) and counter-culture figure Hunter S. Thompson (Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas) were larger than life.

Yet they each took their own lives — rather than let the life coded into their respective DNA take its course.

The most timely example: Tony Scott (above, center), a Hollywood producer and director who jumped off an 18-storey L.A. bridge that he’d once scouted as a location for a movie.

The Baby Boomers are the biggest generation in American history, the most vain-glorious generation — and also the most afraid of pain, if Prozac and painkiller prescriptions are any indication.

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The Origin of Species

Spiritual IQ Quiz: Is the ‘genius gene’ good for your health?

From Stephen Hawking to Steve Jobs, big minds have changed your life. The saying goes that theses geniuses are born with a good-luck gene . . . or are they?

SOUL’S CODE — Every parent in America wants their kid to be the next gal or guy who changes the world.

But some of the people who actually did change our lives led extremely painful lives themselves, beyond their controllable lifestyle choices.

So we ask: Would you wish the genius gene upon your kids, or just as well leave that DNA alone?

Click on the radio buttons below to see what the likes of Oprah, Arthur Schopenhauer and Obama share in common — or not:

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When push comes to shove

When push comes to shove

On the butt end of bullying? A spiritual argument against turning the other cheek.

BY JIM BOUCHARD – What if you could look inside the soul of a bully? What would you find?

Conventional wisdom says that the bully is insecure. He finds some sense of power and control in the world by using force to get his way. He’s often the progeny of a bully himself, was raised to bully others or at least knows no other way.

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A non-pharma cure for headaches, allergies and other ills

A non-pharma cure for headaches, allergies and other ills

A diet and digestion expert has developed an agent that doesn’t require a prescription — and promises better results than a pill made by AstraZeneca or GlaxoSmithKline. The new enzyme therapy.

BY ELLEN CUTLER —  Do you remember how you felt as a child — healthy, happy, bursting with energy and full of enthusiasm?  As the years pass, many of us lose our connection with that effervescent spirit.

Our sleep no longer refreshes us, and we become resigned to feeling fatigued, stressed, and/or fuzzy-headed.  Next to depression and allergies, lack of energy is the third-most prevalent ailment among adult Americans, affecting 33 million people.

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