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one face

a collection of interfaith

prayers and poems

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The heart can push

the sea and land

Farther away

on either hand;

The soul can split

the sky in two

and let the face of God

shine through.

 

- Edna St. Vincent Millay

  


 

Table of Contents

 Introduction

Every Faith

One Face

Song of Songs

Be One in Me

Original Gravity

Nothing to Forgive

I Dream of a Jerusalem of Peace

Prayer Against Terror

Tree of Life

The Divine Sky

Divine Friend

A Time of Thanksgiving

On This Day of Thanksgiving

Mealtime Blessings

Bless This Meal

What is Love?

The Ways of the Heart

Season of Wonder

The Festivals of Light

In Gratitude

 


 

Introduction

Through the years, I have come to travel an integral path of spirituality. I came to this path through a series of life transitions and transformations. My early religious upbringing left me emotionally wounded and eventually I began to study and explore many of the other world's spiritual traditions. Each new spiritual tradition I encountered seemed to offer me a different view of the Divine that gradually coalesced into a more expansive view of the sacred. Additionally, it seemed as though each tradition was entering my life to give me a specific experiential lesson about the Divine and my relation with it.

Eventually I began to incorporate these various traditions into an eclectic and integral spiritual practice, which is continually evolving. Through many blessings and graces I have found myself walking a single road made up of many converging paths. Ultimately, this integral path brought me back to my religion of origin, Judaism, and I was able to see it in a wholly different light. Now Judaism is part of my integral path and the essence of its teachings forms the core of my practice.

The following writings are a collection of both original and adapted prayers and poems that have come through me as I have sojourned on this journey of Integral Spirituality.

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Every Faith

Every faith

has a different view

of the same Divine Reality;

Every heart

has a different way

of feeling

the One Love;

Every mind

has a different way

of understanding

the One Truth;

And every face

is a different form

of the

One

Divine Face.

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One Face

 

I had a dream. 

The symbols of many faiths

were spinning in a bright blue sky. 

One by one

they attached themselves to each other. 

When they all connected

to one another

they turned transparent. 

They formed a large multifaceted crystalline structure. 

A white light filled the sky

and its rays penetrated the crystal. 

Suddenly a brilliant rainbow

rippled through the crystal

and I saw the image of a face. 

I cannot say if the face was male or female,

young or old,

black or white;

It was a faceless face,

one of pure light.

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Song of Songs

(An adaptation of “The Song of Songs” by Abraham Isaac Kook)

  

There is one who sings 

the song of his soul

discovering in his soul everything.

There is one who sings 

the song of his people

probing the inwardness of their spirit

with the wisdom of love.

There is one who sings 

the song of humanity

drawing deep reflection and vision

from the spring of the human spirit.

There is one who expands even further

until he unites with all existence,

with all creatures, with all worlds,

singing a song with them all.

And there is one who ascends 

with all these songs in unison,

the song of the soul,

the song of the nation,

the song of humanity,

and the song of the cosmos,

resounding together, 

blending in harmony,

circulating the sap of life 

and the holy sound of joy.

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Be One in Me

 Oh face of Death, 

be one in me

Oh eyes of Life, 

be one in me

Oh voice of the Father, 

be one in me

Oh heart of the Mother, 

be one in me

Oh arms of Abraham, 

be one in me

Oh hands of Christ, 

be one in me

Oh fingers of Mohammed, 

be one in me

Oh breath of Krishna, 

be one in me

Oh belly of the Buddha, 

be one in me

Yin Yang of the Tao, 

be one in me

Roots of the Earth, 

be one in me

Waves of the Sea, 

be one in me

Oh Rays of the Sun, 

be one in me

Names of the Eternal,

be One in me.

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Original Gravity

 When I integrate 

the different levels

of my inner and outer life,

I find myself entrained

in a glorious and miraculous

cosmic dance,

in harmony with all that is within

and all that is without,

from the tiniest atom

to the great expanses of the universe,

I am held by a field of original gravity,

a force that feels at once

of ancient origin

and of a continually unfolding newness,

unique and original,

and together all of me

and all of creation is

balanced,

integrated,

complete

and in orbit

around

the planet of being-ness.

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Nothing to Forgive

 

It is easy to forgive

When you know

there is nothing to forgive;

It is easy to love

when you know

Love

is all there is.

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I Dream of a Jerusalem of Peace

 I dream of a Jerusalem of Peace . . .

A city of the world,

Not belonging to any one nation;

A city of God,

Equally governed by the servants of the one God,

Adonai, 

Heavenly Father, 

Allah;

A city of Heaven,

Where the sacredness of life

Is valued above the possession of land.

I dream of a Jerusalem of Peace . . .

I dream of a forgiven city

Where brothers and sisters of the three paths

Put down their swords

And remember their kinship.

I dream of a city of light

Where ancient fear and hatred

Is transformed into love.

I dream of a Holy city

For all humanity

Where the temples of all faiths

Are rebuilt in the name of the

One God of many names.

I dream of a Jerusalem

Of heart,

Of spirit,

Of freedom.

I dream of a Jerusalem of Peace.

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Prayer Against Terror

 Oh Force of Life, 

Seat of Consciousness,

Great Spirit, 

Earth Mother,

Brahman, 

Tao, 

Buddha-Mind,

Adonai, 

Christ-Light, 

Allah,

Light Within All Hearts,

Nameless Source of Being,

We pray to you

In our moment of grief 

and confusion 

and anger

That you may bring

strength to the rescuers,

peace to those souls lost to life,

healing to the wounded,

solace to the grief-stricken,

remorse to the perpetrators,

resolve to the investigators,

wisdom to our leaders,

and justice to the world;

 Take this fear from our hearts

and from the hearts of our children,

Take this hatred and anger and prejudice

out of the soul of all humanity.

Let the light of forgiveness shine

into all the dark corners of our minds and

Let the awareness of our unity fill our being.

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Tree of Life

 O Tree of Life,

It is said that you stood at the center 

of the Garden of Delight,

radiating your beauty and life force to the world.

The Celts listened to the ancient memories 

hidden in your depths.

The Buddha found truth 

beneath your towering reach.

You give us the air with which we breathe

and breathe in the carbon of our sighs;

Your deep roots hold the earth together;

You are a canopy of shade in the heat of summer,

a multicolored canvas of whispering beauty in the fall,

a sculpture of naked truth in the stark winter,

and a blossoming symbol in the reborn spring.

O Tree of Life,

When I was a child I felt your power,

but slowly I lost touch with your truth.

I have taken your air to breathe and eaten your fruit;

I have used your body to build my shelters, 

to write my songs and spread my news.

I have cut you down and ravaged 

your grand forest cathedrals,

and only now have I begun to realize 

that it is myself that I have forgotten

and my own life that I am destroying.

O Tree of Life,

I have been given the gift

of remembering your presence 

and our unbreakable bond.

Though I am filled with the tears of remorse

for the years I have spent reaping 

your blessings without awareness

and abusing the gifts of your great spirit,

I am grateful for the chance to harvest your gifts 

with honor and balance

and save the life that we share.

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The Divine Sky

 Your horizon gives us our dreams,

Your canopy of light 

guides us through our days,

Your blanket of stars 

gently brings us rest,

When we are cold, 

your sun gives us warmth,

When we are dry, 

your clouds give us rain,

You are a home for eagles to fly,

You reflect the vastness of infinity

and you are a constant reminder of change,

yet there is always

LIGHT

In the daylight sun,

In the reflecting moon 

hanging in the dark,

In the flashes of lightning 

amidst the storm,

And in the inspiration that lives

in the endless divine sky

within every heart.

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Divine Friend

 O Divine Friend

You are always with me

When I awaken in the morning

As I walk down the crowded street

Or when I lay my head to sleep.

I see you in this moment

And all the moments past

And those yet to come.

 O Divine Friend

Though we seem to be miles apart

We travel together

As two spirits upon the ark of peace

Sailing stormy seas and calm tranquil oceans

Together

In friend-ship Divine

And when we reach the shore

We will join the Oneness

And forever be

Together

One.

 O Divine Friend

I send you a blessing of light

With each sunrise

I send you peace and serenity

With each night fall

And to you and all our loved ones

I send my love and my friendship Divine.

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A Time of Thanksgiving

 This is a time of Thanksgiving

A time of gratitude for the harvest

of body,

of heart,

of mind

and of spirit.

We give thanks for the sustenance

our bodies receive from

the food of the earth,

We give thanks for the joy

we receive from

the beauty of the earth,

We give thanks for the inspiration

we receive from

the wonders of the earth

And most of all

We give thanks for

the Great Spirit

whose presence

permeates all of the earth.

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On This Day of Thanksgiving

 We are grateful for all of life’s blessings,

those that we are aware of 

and those that we are not.

We are grateful 

for the blessing of life,

that pulses through all of creation,

from the greatest to the smallest,

from the farthest to the nearest.

On this day of Thanksgiving,

we express our gratitude

for all that we have received.

On this day of Thanksgiving,

we remember the kindness 

of our fellow beings

and hold them with honor.

On this day of Thanksgiving,

we pray for healing and forgiveness

for those moments of gratitude

that have been missed along the way.

On this day of Thanksgiving,

we ask for forgiveness 

from the great peoples

of the Native American Nations

that first welcomed us to this land

and hope that their hearts 

will be healed

and their great spirits 

will soar once more.

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Mealtime Blessings

  

A Jewish Blessing

 

Blessed are You, Source of Life, eternal essence of Being,

Who brings forth bread from the earth.

  

A Christian Blessing

 

Bless us, O Eternal One, and these Your gifts,

which we are about to receive from Your endless bounty.

Amen.

  

A Hindu Blessing

 

This ritual is the Source of all Being.

This food is the Source of all Being.

We who offer the food are the Source of all Being.

The fire of hunger is the Source of all Being.

We offer this ritual, this food, our selves, and our hunger

to the Source of all Being, the Creator, the Preserver, the agent of all change,

the source of all energy and the light within and beyond all things.

OM, Shanti, Shanti, Shanti.

  

A Buddhist Blessing

 

As we spread the vessels of the Source of Life,

We pray that those who eat,

that which is eaten,

and the actual eating thereof

shall be universally void of self.

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Bless This Meal

  Bless the Earth 

for nurturing the seed;

Bless the Sun 

for its warmth and light;

Bless the Rain 

for its life giving moisture;

Bless the Air 

for its cleansing breath;

Bless the Insects 

who spread the pollen;

Bless the Animals 

who fertilize the ground;

Bless the Farmers 

who plant and harvest the crops;

Bless the Packagers and the Shippers

for transporting the harvest;

Bless the Store Owners, Clerks and Cashiers

for delivering the harvest into our hands;

Bless the Shoppers and the Cooks

for bringing this meal to our table;

Bless all Living Beings

who are one with us;

May this harvest

Feed all who are hungry

and quench the thirst of all who are thirsty;

May this harvest

Relieve all who are suffering

and bring abundance

to all Living Beings.

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What is Love?

  I have traveled far to ask,

“What is Love?”

A Buddhist Monk once showed me that

Love is a compassionate heart;

A Christian Saint once showed me that

Love is a forgiving heart;

A Muslim Sheik once showed me that

Love is a devoted heart;

A Taoist Sage once showed me that

Love is a heart that accepts all things as they are;

A Jewish Prophet once showed me that

Love is a heart that sees the one within the many;

A Native American Shaman once showed me that

Love is a heart that feels the interconnectedness of all things;

A Hindu Holy Man once showed me that

Love is, when all that is not love ceases to be.

I have traveled far to ask,

“What is Love?”

 And I have seen the many faces of Love,

and I have felt the many ways of Love,

and I have touched the heart of Love itself

and learned that

Love truly is all these things.

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The Ways of the Heart

 May you be inspired by 

the ways of Abraham,

by honoring the differences in each other,

your family, your friends and the stranger,

while recognizing the unity 

that lives within and around all things.

 

May you be inspired by 

the ways of Jesus,

by forgiving every hurt,

looking past all transgressions in your self and others,

and seeing the Divine light within every heart.

 

May you be inspired by 

the ways of Mohammed,

by surrendering your will to a higher purpose,

devoting yourself to something greater

than your individual wants and needs.

 

May you be inspired 

by the ways of Krishna,

by committing every action to the betterment

of self, of others, and for the greater good.

 

May you be inspired by 

the ways of the Buddha,

by opening your heart in compassion for all living beings.

 

May you be inspired by 

the ways of Lao Tzu,

by recognizing the ebb and flow of life,

seeing crisis as opportunity, finding stillness within action,

and discovering the peace of knowing that all things change.

 

May you be inspired by 

the ways of the Native Peoples

and honor all of creation,

by walking with reverence upon the earth.

 

May you be inspired by 

the ways of the Heart,

by following the ways of Honor, Forgiveness, Devotion,

Commitment, Compassion, Acceptance

And Reverence.

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Season of Wonder

 

A Light in Darkness,

A Miracle in our Midst,

A Love in the Heart,

A Joy of the Soul...

 This is the Season of Wonder.

Many Faiths, One Light

Many Hearts, One Love;

Many Moments, One Eternal Gift.

May Your Hearts be Filled with Wonder,

May Your Faith

Be Strengthened and Renewed;

May Your Soul be Bathed in Light;

And May Your Every Moment

be Blessed with Beauty and Joy.

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The Festivals of Light

 The rebirth of 

the life-generating and life-sustaining sun

at the darkest moment of the seasons;

The oil of an ancient temple lamp 

burning beyond its limit;

A shining star in a dark sky 

illuminating the way;

The light of mercy revealed 

through prayer and devotion;

The guiding light of seven principles 

arising from the heart of

the Dark Continent.

 This is the season of The Festivals of Light...

The Winter Solstice,

Chanukah,

Christmas,

Ramadan,

Kwanzaa

In the darkness of this Winter

during these terror filled and challenging times;

May we all find the light in darkness,

faith amidst struggle,

rebirth following change and loss,

and virtue and devotion 

in the face of great challenge.

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In Gratitude

 In gratitude,

In joy,

In silence,

In stillness,

Let us awaken 

to the grace

That fills 

each moment

And the beauty

That fills 

each heart...

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Institute of Transpersonal Psychology, Spiritual Guidance Program

© 2003 Mark Allan Kaplan


 

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