Sunday Service: Practicing the Prayer of Quiet

Saint Teresa of Avila

Week of June 8 – 14, 2014

Despite the coup in Thailand, our Vedanta center in Bangkok is still holding services. Tonight the center holds its monthly satsang. The Thailand Vedanta center also has started publishing a series of articles on practicing Vedanta. We’ll be reprinting them here, because they give a pretty good introduction to 4,000 years of Vedanta thought.

Our Cleveland Vedanta group also is picking up steam. In July, we should be having an important monk from Los Angeles come to speak to our group. Please join us if you’re in the area!

Further, we’ve been adding a lot of videos to the American Vedanta YouTube channel lately. With the emerging popularity of Apple TV, Roku and offerings from Google and Amazon.com, it is now easier than ever to watch spiritually uplifting material on TV through YouTube. So check out our American Vedanta playlist of Vedanta videos to watch, as well as our other suggested videos.

Until next week!

Yours,
Peter Kowalke

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PrayerThis Week’s Spiritual Talk

Practicing the Prayer of Quiet

By Saint Teresa of Avila

For minds that wander it is of great importance not only to have a right belief but to try to learn it by experience, for this is one of the very best ways of concentrating your thoughts.

You know that God is everywhere. This is a great truth, for wherever God is, there is Heaven. You can believe that in any place where our Lord resides, there is fullness of glory.

Recall that Saint Augustine tells us about his seeking God in many places and eventually finding him within himself. A soul that is often distracted needs to understand this truth, for in order to speak to its Eternal Father and to take its delight in Him, it has no need to go to Heaven or to speak in a loud voice. No matter how quietly we speak, He is so near that He will hear us. We do not need wings to search for Him. We only need to find a place where we can be alone and look upon Him present within us.

We don’t need to feel strange in the presence of such a kind Guest. We must talk very humbly to Him, as we should to our father—ask Him for things as we should as a father, tell Him our troubles, beg Him to correct them, and realize that we are not worthy to be called His children.

Do not confuse modesty with God as humility. You would not be humble if God were to do you a favor and you refused to accept it. You would be showing humility by accepting it, being pleased with it, yet realizing how far you are from deserving it. A fine humility it would be if I had the Emperor of Heaven and earth in my house, coming to it to do me a favor, and I were so humble that I would not answer His questions, sit with Him or accept what He gave me, but left Him alone.

Rather than having that kind of humility, speak to Him as with a Father, a Brother, a Lord, and a Spouse. He will teach you what you need to do to speak to Him. Do not be foolish. Ask Him to let you speak to Him. Remember how important it is to understand that the Lord is within us and that we should be there with Him.

(read more)

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Teachings of the Christian MysticsBook of the Month

Teachings of the Christian Mystics

edited by Andrew Harvey

The Christian mystics  remain little known among Vedantins and Christians alike, yet they explore many of the same ideas of Vedanta. This book takes selections from all eras of the Christian tradition, including Francis of Assisi, Julian of Norwich, Teresa of Avila, Thomas Merton and others.

(get the book)

Other books we recommend can be found in our Books section. We also recommend YouTube videos, audio lectures and web sites, among other resources.

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Spiritual Fitness

Do You have a Spiritual Routine?

Vedanta, if not practical, has no other relevancy. The key to practical Vedanta is an individualized spiritual routine.

There are six components of a good spiritual routine.

Swan1. Find a Community. If you have an existing church, temple or mosque, attend regularly. If not, join our Facebook group and see our list of recommended spiritual organizations.

2. Seek Guidance. Find a mentor within your existing spiritual community or contact us for a referral.

3. Attend Spiritual Services Regularly. If you don’t live near an appropriate spiritual community, we offer a weekly spiritual talk delivered by email, Facebook and Twitter. We also host a regular Vedanta Dinner for those who live in the New York City area.

4. Incorporate Individual Study. We keep a list of books and resources for your individual study needs.

5. Take Responsibility for Your Spiritual Life. Read our talk about listening to your own inner compass and contact us when you have a question that your spiritual community isn’t answering adequately.

6. Leverage Rituals Thoughtfully. As an example, read our essay about the power of saying grace.

Our longer talk about spiritual routine can be found here.

Happy Sunday! Peace be unto you. Peace be unto all.


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