On Community

John McKnight — on community


Sufi Story — you can only learn what you already know

(Every community’s ultimate wisdom lies within itself)


“Revolutions begin when the people defined as a problem say, ‘It’s the people who define us as the problem that are the problem.'” (John McKnight)

“A great question refuses to be answered; so it keeps leading us into deeper connections with each other and into deeper thinking.” (Judith Snow)

“If you are not part of the problem, then you can’t be part of the solution.” (Bill Torbet)


“The question is, ‘what is it that causes cultures to figure out how to live in balance and move into life that is good. If you read Peter Farb’s book “Man’s Rise to Civilization”, he goes through all these different cultures at first contact. And they often figured out very different ways, but one thing in common was this, THE ACCUMULATION OF PRIVATE PROPERTY BEYOND YOUR NEEDS IS CONSIDERED A MENTAL ILLNESS.” (from the movie, I Am)

“Nature is very clear, there is one fundamental law that all of nature obeys that mankind breaks everyday… nothing in nature takes more that it needs. And if something does, it becomes subject to this law and it dies off. An ocean, a rainforest, the human body are all cooperatives. A redwood tree does not take all of the soil’s nutrients, just what it needs to grow. A lion does not kill every gazelle, just one. WE HAVE A TERM FOR SOMETHING IN THE BODY WHEN IT TAKES MORE THAN ITS SHARE. WE CALL IT CANCER.” (from the movie “I am”)

It is a real challenge for a culture that is confronting a cancerous or mentally ill culture. “You can either allow them to destroy you. Or you can run, which many groups did. Or you can become them. The fourth option that many ancient cultures hoped for was that you can heal the people of their mental illness” … or cancer. (from the movie “I Am”)

Quotes on Community and the Power of Conversation

“A community is the mental and spiritual condition of knowing that the place is shared, and that the people who share the place define and limit the possibilities of each other’s lives. It is the knowledge that people have of each other, their concern for each other, their trust in each other, the freedom with which they come and go among themselves.”
Wendell Berry

“A person is oppressed when they are held back, either physically or psychologically, from the goals they aspire to, and the norms of society … oppression is closely linked to devaluation and loss of power.” (Al Condeluci, in “Interdependence”, pg. 16)


”How hard it is for people to live without someone to look down upon — really to look down upon. It is not just that they feel cheated out of someone to hate. It is that they are compelled to look more closely into themseves and what they don’t like in themselves.” (Martin Luther King)

“Our society is not set up to cope very well with people who are weaker or slower. More important, we are not skilled at listening to the wisdom of those whose life patterns are outside of the social norm.” (Jean Vanier, Becoming Human, p. 46)

‎”For me, society must, by definition, be inclusive of the needs and gifts of all its members; how can we lay claim to making an open and friendly society where human rights are respected and fostered when, by the values we teach and foster, we systematically exclude segments of our population?

“I believe that those we most often exclude from the normal life of society, people with disabilities, have profound lessons to teach us. When we do include them, they add richly to our lives and add immensely to our world.” (Jean Vanier, Becoming Human, p. 45)

“I was in California a few years ago, and I had never been to California before. I’m from Iowa and I’d never seen the redwood trees other than in picture books. I was amazed at their height, feeling thankful for the the redwood trees, and thinking how deep their roots must go to hold up a tree so tall. And in meeting for worship that very day, a Friend rose and said something like, ‘You know these redwood trees? You’d think their roots go really deep, but their roots go out really wide. They spread out to each other and entangle with each other, and give each other support and that’s how they stand and grow so tall, and that’s how they weather the storms.’

“That’s what community is about! We do want our own spiritual roots to go deep, but as they grow deep, they can also be growing out and intertwining with others, supporting each other against the wind and the rain and the storms in the Spirit.

“And, as the tree grows up, the roots are still growing out. It’s not one or the other. They grow in both directions at the same time.”

(Deborah Fisch, 2003; as quoted in Practicing Peace: A Devotional Walk Through The Quaker Tradition)

“Safety in a community gets defined by how the most marginal person in the community is treated. We all believe that if people could see into our hearts and know who we really are, we too might be rejected, so we notice how those at the margins are welcomed.” (Emily Sander)

“In true community we will not choose our companions. For our choices are so often limited by self-serving motives. . . .

Instead our companions will be given to us by grace.

Often they will be persons who will upset our settled view of self and the world.

In fact, we might define true community as that place

Where the person you least want to live with lives. . . .”

(Parker Palmer, 1977; as quoted in Practicing Peace: A Devotional Walk Through The Quaker Tradition)

Consumerism is the worship of the god of quantity; advertising is its liturgy. Advertising is schooling in false longing.
John O’Donohue

Eternal Echoes: Celtic Reflections on Our Yearning to Belong.

In this post-modern world the hunger to belong has rarely been more intense, more urgent. With many of the ancient, traditional shelters now in ruins, it is as if society has lost the art of fostering community. Consumerism propels us towards an ever-more lonely and isolated existence – although technology pretends to unite us, more often than not all it delivers are simulated images that distance us from our lives.
John O’Donohoe

“…Individualistic material progress and the desire to gain prestige by coming out on top have taken over from the sense of fellowship, compassion and community. Now people live more or less on their own in a small house, jealously guarding their goods and planning to acquire more, with a notice on the gate that says, ‘Beware of the Dog.”
Jean Vanier (Community and Growth)

“The response to war is to live like brothers and sisters. The response to injustice is to share. The response to despair is a limitless trust and hope. The response to prejudice and hatred is forgiveness. To work for community is to work for humanity. To work for peace is to work for a true political solution; it is to work for the Kingdom of God. It is to work to enable every one to live and taste the secret joys of the human person united to the eternal.”
— Jean Vanier (Community and Growth)

“Can we dream of a world where each person can have a place and reveal their gifts?” (Jean Vanier)

‎”I believe that those we most often exclude from the normal life of society, people with disabilities, have profound lessons to teach us. When we do include them, they add richly to our lives and add immensely to our world.” (Jean Vanier, Becoming Human, p. 45)

“The belief in the inner beauty of each and every human being is at the heart of all true education and at the heart of being human… To reveal someone’s beauty is to reveal their value by giving them time, attention, and tenderness. To love is not just to do something for them but to reveal to them their own uniqueness, to tell them that they are special and worthy of attention. We can express …this revelation through our open and gentle presence, in the way we look at and listen to a person, the way we speak to and care for someone. Gestures can be filled with a respect that reveals to someone their worth, even if that worth is hidden under anger, hatred, or madness.” (Jean Vanier, Becoming Human, pp. 22-23)

‎”The heart of a child is so easily hurt and the hurt becomes a wound around which we build walls of protection. Walls so constructed can only be breached by gentleness.” (Jean Vanier)

“It is only when we stand up, with all our failings and sufferings, and try to support others rather than withdraw into ourselves, that we can fully live the life of community.” (Jean Vanier)

“The weak teach the strong to accept and integrate the weakness and brokenness of their own lives.” (Jean Vanier)
“I am struck by how sharing our weakness and difficulties is more nourishing to others than sharing our qualities and successes.” (Jean Vanier)

“One of the marvelous things about community is that it enables us to welcome and help people in a way we couldn’t as individuals. When we pool our strength and share the work and responsibility, we can welcome many people, even those in deep distress, and perhaps help them find self-confidence and inner healing.”
Jean Vanier (Community and Growth)

“A community is only being created when its members accept that they are not going to achieve great things, that they are not going to be heroes, but simply live each day with new hope, like children, in wonderment as the sun rises and in thanksgiving as it sets. Community is only being created when they have recognized that the greatness of man is to accept his insignificance, his human condition and his earth, and to thank God for having put in a finite body the seeds of eternity which are visible in small and daily gestures of love and forgiveness. The beauty of man is in this fidelity to the wonder of each day.”
Jean Vanier (Community and Growth)

“Community is a sign that love is possible in a materialistic world where people so often either ignore or fight each other. It is a sign that we don’t need a lot of money to be happy–in fact, the opposite.”
Jean Vanier (Community and Growth)

“When people love each other, they are content with very little. When we have light and joy in our hearts, we don’t need material wealth. The most loving communities are often the poorest. If our own life is luxurious and wasteful, we can’t approach poor people. If we love people, we want to identify with them and share with them.”
Jean Vanier (Community and Growth)

“A growing community must integrate three elements: a life of silent prayer, a life of service and above all of listening to the poor, and a community life through which all its members can grow in their own gift.”
Jean Vanier (Community and Growth)

“God comes to us in the midst of human need, and the most pressing needs of our time demand community in response. How can I participate in a fairer distribution of resources unless I live in a community, which makes it possible to consume less? How can I learn accountability unless I live in a community where my acts and their consequences are visible to all? How can I learn to share power unless I live in a community where hierarchy is unnatural? How can I take the risks which right action demands, unless I belong to a community which gives support? How can I learn the sanctity of each life unless I live in a community where we can be persons not roles to one another?

(Parker Palmer, 1977; as quoted in Practicing Peace: A Devotional Walk Through The Quaker Tradition)

‎”Since our earliest ancestors gathered in circles around the warmth of a fire, conversation has been our primary means for discovering what we care about, sharing knowledge, imagining the future, and acting together to both survive and thrive.” (Juanita Brown, The World Cafe)

‎”‘I believe we can change the world if we start listening to one another again.’ I still believe this. I still believe that if we turn to one another, if we begin talking with each other – especially with those we call stranger or enemy – then this world can reverse its darkening direction and change for the good.” (Margaret Wheatley)
“The most important thing in all human relationships is conversation, but people don’t talk anymore, they don’t sit down to talk and listen. They go to the theater, the cinema, watch television, listen to the radio, read books, but they almost never talk. If we want to change the world, we have to go back to a time when warriors would gather around a fire and tell stories.” (Paul Coelho)

‎”The key to creating or transforming community, then, is to see the power in the small but important elements of being with others. The shift we seek needs to be embodied in each invitation we make, each relationship we encounter, and each meeting we attend.” (from Community–the structure of belonging, by Peter Block)

‎”Social fabric is created one room at a time. It is formed from small steps that ask ‘Who do we want in the room?’ and ‘What is the new conversation that we want to occur?'” (from Community–the structure of belonging, by Peter Block)

‎”The essential challenge is to transform the isolation and self-interest within our communities to connectedness and caring for the whole… We begin by shifting our attention from the problems of community to the possibility of community.” (Peter Block, Community: the structure of belonging)

John O’Donohue was an Irish poet and philosopher who lived in a small cottage in the West of Ireland. John appeared in the 2004 Masters Forum. He spoke of many things, including his view on the thrill of being involved in a great conversation.

“When is the last time you had a great conversation? A conversation which wasn’t just two intersecting monologues, which is what passes for conversation in this culture. When have you had a great conversation in which: you overheard yourself saying things you never knew you knew; you heard yourself receiving from somebody words that absolutely found places within you that you had thought you had lost; you and your partner ascended to a different plane; memories of the exchange continued to sing in your mind for weeks afterward?”

Conversation: O’Donohue left us with these questions from what he called a page of lost questions. He said each would lead to a great conversation.

  • Is there someone walking home this evening through the streets of Leningrad that you have never met and never will meet, but whose life had an incredible interest on yours?
  • At the angel bar, what stories does your angel tell about you?
  • Supposin’ you were to take your heart away on your own for a day out, and that you really decided to listen to your heart, what do you think your heart would say to you?
  • If you were in conversation with your heart, and you told it how actually, factually short your life is, what would your heart make you stop from doing right now?
  • If it is true that nothing good is ever truly lost, what would you like to have back?


‎”‘We need to depend on diversity’. . . (this) is a survival skill these days, because there’s no other way to get an accurate picture of any complex problem or system. We need many eyes and ears and hearts engaged in sharing perspectives. How can we create an accurate picture of the whole if we don’t honor the fact that we each see something different because of who we are and where we sit in the system?” (Margaret Wheatley)

“Everybody is half-dead. Everybody avoids everybody, all over the place, in most situations, most all the time. I know; I’m one of those ‘everybodys.’ And, to me, it’s terrible. And so all I’m trying to do, all the time, is just open people up so they…let themselves be open to somebody else. That is all. That’s it.” -Nina Simone

‎”Speak directly from your heart to the heart of your listener, as if passing the flame of a candle.” (Philip Toshio Sudo)

‎”If you’re really listening, if you’re awake to the poignant beauty of the world, your heart breaks regularly. In fact, your heart is made to break; its purpose is to burst open again and again so that it can hold evermore wonders.” (Andrew Harvey)

“Is it possible to become more intentional about creating spaces—in relationship, in community—where our fearful shadows can emerge into the light to be seen for what they are, where the truth and love within us can appear and make a claim on our lives?” (Parker Palmer)

“Neighbors, coworkers, and even family members can live side by side for years without learning much about each other’s lives. As a result, we lose something of great value, for the more we know about another’s story, the harder it is to hate or harm that person.” (Parker Palmer, A Hidden Wholeness, p. 123)

“Because our stories make us vulnerable to being fixed, exploited, dismissed, or ignored, we have learned to tell them guardedly or not at all… Instead of telling our vulnerable stories, we seek safety in abstractions, speaking to each other about our opinions, ideas, and beliefs rather than about our lives.” (Parker Palmer, A Hidden Wholeness, p. 123)

‎”One of the moral diseases we communicate to one another in society comes from huddling together in the pale light of an insufficient answer to a question we are afraid to ask.” (Thomas Merton, No Man is an Island)

‎”There is a fantasy abroad. It goes like this, ‘If we can resolve our conflicts, then someday we shall be able to live together in community.’ Could it be that we have it totally backward? And the the real dream should be: ‘If we can live together in community, then someday we shall be able to resolve our conflicts.'”??? (M. Scott Peck, The Different Drummer, community making and peace)

John O’Donohue quotes

‎”Love is the light in which we see each thing in its true origin, nature, and destiny. If we could look at the world in a loving way, then the world would rise up before us full of invitation, possibility, and depth. The loving eye can even coax pain, hurt, and violence toward transfiguration and renewal.” (John O’Donohue, Anam Cara, p. 65)

‎”The human eye is always selecting what it wants to see and also evading what it does not want to see. The crucial question then is, What criteria do we use to decide what we like to see and to avoid seeing what we do not want to see? Many limited and negative lives issue directly from this narrowness of vision.” (John O’Donohue, Anam Cara, p. 62)

“Love allows understanding to dawn, and understanding is precious. Where you are understood, you are at home. Understanding nourishes belonging. When you really feel understood, you feel free to release yourself into the trust and shelter of the other person’s soul.” — John O’Donohue (Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom)

“One of the tasks of true friendship is to listen compassionately and creatively to the hidden silences. Often secrets are not revealed in words, they lie concealed in the silence between the words or in the depth of what is unsayable between two people.” — John O’Donohue (Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom)

“Every friendship travels at sometime through the black valley of despair. This tests every aspect of your affection. You lose the attraction and the magic. Your sense of each other darkens and your presence is sore. If you can come through this time, it can purify with your love, and falsity and need will fall away. It will bring you onto new ground where affection can grow again.” — John O’Donohue (Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom)

“Your beloved and your friends were once strangers. Somehow at a particular time, they came from the distance toward your life. Their arrival seemed so accidental and contingent. Now your life is unimaginable without them. Similarly, your identity and vision are composed of a certain constellation of ideas and feelings that surfaced from the depths of the distance within you. To lose these now would be to lose yourself.” — John O’Donohue (Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom)

“Real friendship or love is not manufactured or achieved by an act of will or intention. Friendship is always an act of recognition.” — John O’Donohue (Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom)

“If you send out goodness from yourself, or if you share that which is happy or good within you, it will all come back to you multiplied ten thousand times. In the kingdom of love there is no competition; there is no possessiveness or control. The more love you give away, the more love you will have.” — John O’Donohue (Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom)

“Your soul knows the geography of your destiny. Your soul alone has the map of your future, therefore you can trust this indirect, oblique side of yourself. If you do, it will take you where you need to go, but more important it will teach you a kindness of rhythm in your journey.” — John O’Donohue (Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom)

“For Equilibrium, a Blessing:

Like the joy of the sea coming home to shore, May the relief of laughter rinse through your soul.

As the wind loves to call things to dance, May your gravity by lightened by grace.

Like the dignity of moonlight restoring the earth, May your thoughts incline with reverence and respect.

As water takes whatever shape it is in, So free may you be about who you become.

As silence smiles on the other side of what’s said, May your sense of irony bring perspective.

As time remains free of all that it frames, May your mind stay clear of all it names.

May your prayer of listening deepen enough to hear in the depths the laughter of god.”

— John O’Donohue (To Bless the Space Between Us: A Book of Invocations and Blessings)

“We do not need to go out and find love; rather, we need to be still and let love discover us.” — John O’Donohue (Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom)

“Inspiration is always a surprising visitor.” — John O’Donohue (Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom)

“Beauty is the illumination of your soul.” — John O’Donohue (Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom)

“When love awakens in your life, in the night of your heart, it is like the dawn breaking within you. Where before there was anonymity, now there is intimacy; where before there was fear, now there is courage; where before in your life there was awkwardness, now there is a rhythm of grace and gracefulness; where before you used to be jagged, now you are elegant and in rhythm with your self. When love awakens in your life, it is like a rebirth, a new beginning. ” — John O’Donohue (Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom)

“It could be a meeting on the street, or a party or a lecture, or just a simple, banal introduction, then suddenly there is a flash of recognition and the embers of kinship glow. There is an awakening between you, a sense of ancient knowing.” — John O’Donohue (Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom)

“Love allows understanding to dawn, and understanding is precious. Where you are understood, you are at home. Understanding nourishes belonging. When you really feel understood, you feel free to release yourself into the trust and shelter of the other person’s soul.” — John O’Donohue (Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom)

“We do not need to grieve for the dead. Why should we grieve for them? They are now in a place where there is no more shadow, darkness, loneliness, isolation, or pain. They are home.” — John O’Donohue (Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom)

“Your noble friend will not accept pretension but will gently and very firmly confront you with your own blindness. Such friendship is creative and critical; it is willing to negotiate awkward and uneven territories of contradiction and woundedness.” — John O’Donohue (Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom)

“There is the solitude of suffering, when you go through darkness that is lonely, intense, and terrible. Words become powerless to express your pain; what others hear from your words is so distant and different from what you are actually suffering.” — John O’Donohue (Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom)

“No one else has access to the world you carry around within yourself; you are its custodian and entrance. No one else can see the world the way you see it. No one else can feel your life the way you feel it. Thus it is impossible to ever compare two people because each stands on such different ground. When you compare yourself to others, you are inviting envy into your consciousness; it can be a dangerous and destructive guest.” — John O’Donohue (Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom)

“Once the soul awakens, the search begins and you can never go back. From then on, you are inflamed with a special longing that will never again let you linger in the lowlands of complacency and partial fulfillment. The eternal makes you urgent. You are loath to let compromise or the threat of danger hold you back from striving toward the summit of fulfillment.” — John O’Donohue (Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom)

“All the possibilities of your human destiny are asleep in your soul. You are here to realize and honor these possibilities. When love comes in to your life, unrecognized dimensions of your destiny awaken and blossom and grow. Possibility is the secret heart of time.” — John O’Donohue (Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom)

“If you try to avoid or remove the awkward quality, it will pursue you. The only effective way to still its unease is to transfigure it, to let it become something creative and positive that contributes to who you are. Nietzche said that one of the best days in his life was the day when he rebaptized all his negative qualities as his best qualities. Rather than banishing what is at first glimpse unwelcome, you bring it home to unity with your life…..One of your sacred duties is to exercise kindness towrd them. In a sense, you are called to be a loving parent to your delinquent qualiites” — John O’Donohue (Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom)

“It is lovely to meet an old person whose face is deeply lined, a face that has been deeply inhabited, to look in the eyes and find light there.” — John O’Donohue (Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom)

“The heart is the inner face of your life. The human journey strives to make this inner face beautiful. It is here that love gathers within you. Love is absolutely vital for a human life. For love alone can awaken what is divine within you. In love, you grow and come home to your self. When you learn to love and let yourself be loved, you come home to the hearth of your own spirit. You are warm and sheltered.” — John O’Donohue (Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom)

“If you try to view yourself through the lenses that others offer you, all you will see are distortions; your own light and beauty will become blurred, awkward, and ugly. Your sense of inner beauty has to remain a very private thing.” — John O’Donohue (Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom)

“You have traveled too fast over false ground; Now your soul has come to take you back.

Take refuge in your senses, open up To all the small miracles you rushed through.

Become inclined to watch the way of rain When it falls slow and free.

Imitate the habit of twilight, Taking time to open the well of color That fostered the brightness of day.

Draw alongside the silence of stone Until its calmness can claim you.” — John O’Donohue

“The ego is the false self-born out of fear and defensiveness.” — John O’Donohue (Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom)

“Unfinished Poem I would love to live like a river flows, carried by the surprise of its own unfolding.” — John O’Donohue

“So at the end of this day, we give thanks For being betrothed to the unknown.” — John O’Donohue

“All you can ever achieve is a sense of your soul. You gain little glimpses of its light, colors, and contours. You feel the inspiration of its possibilities and the wonder of its mysteries.” — John O’Donohue (Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom)

“When time is reduced to linear progress, it is emptied of presence.” — John O’Donohue (Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom)

“When one flower blooms spring awakens everywhere” — John O’Donohue

“Even though life may have moved wearily and painfully through such a person, they have still managed not to let it corrode their soul. In such a face a lovely luminosity shines out into the world. It casts a tender light that radiates a sense of wholeness and wholesomeness.” — John O’Donohue (Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom)

“You are as young as you feel. If you begin to feel the warmth of your soul, there will be a youthfulness in you that no one will be able to take away from you.” — John O’Donohue (Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom)

“You are like nobody since I love you” -Pablo Neruda

This art of love discloses the special and sacred identity of the other person. Love is the only light that can truly read the secret signature of the other person’s individuality and soul. Love alone is literate in the world of origin; it can decipher identity and destiny” — John O’Donohue (Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom)

“Human skin is porous; the world flows through you. Your senses are large pores that let the world in. By being attuned to the wisdom of your senses, you will never become an exile in your own life, an outsider lost in an external spiritual place that your will and intellect, have constructed.” — John O’Donohue (Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom)

“One of the most beautiful gifts in the world is the gift of encouragement. When someone encourages you, that person helps you over a threshold you might otherwise never have crossed on your own.” — John O’Donohue (Eternal Echoes: Celtic Reflections on Our Yearning to Belong)

“Behind your image, below your words, above your thoughts, the silence of another world waits.” — John O’Donohue (Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom)

“The world rests in the night. Trees, mountains, fields, and faces are released from the prison of shape and the burden of exposure. Each thing creeps back into its own nature within the shelter of the dark. Darkness is the ancient womb. Nighttime is womb- time. Our souls come out to play. The darkness absolves everything; the struggle for identity and impression falls away. We rest in the night.” — John O’Donohue (Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom)

“We do not need to operate according to the idea of a predetermined program for our lives. ” — John O’Donohue (Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom)

“Transience is the force of time that makes a ghost of every experience. There was never a dawn, regardless how beautiful or promising, that did not grow into a noontime. There was never a noon that did not fall into afternoon. There was never an afternoon that did not fade toward evening. There never was a day yet that did not get buried in the graveyard of the night. In this way transience makes a ghost out of everything that happens to us.” — John O’Donohue (Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom)

“May you experience each day as a sacred gift woven around the heart of wonder. ” — John O’Donohue (Eternal Echoes: Celtic Reflections on Our Yearning to Belong)

“The duty of priviledge is absolute intregity” — John O’Donohue

“Truth is paradox.” — John O’Donohue

“When you steal a people’s language, you leave their soul bewildered.” — John O’Donohue

“On its outer surface time is vulnerable to transience. Regardless of its sadness or beauty, each day empties and vanishes. In its deeper heart, time is transfiguration. Time minds possibility and makes sure that nothing is lost or forgotten. That which seems to pass away on the surface of time is in fact transfigured and housed in the tabernacle of memory. ” — John O’Donohue (Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom)

“…the search for meaning is really the search for the lost chord. When the lost chord is discovered by humankind, the discord in the world will be healed and the symphony of the universe will come into complete harmony with itself.” — John O’Donohue (Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom)

“There is a relentless search for the factual and this quest often lacks warmth or reverence. At a certain stage in our life we may wake up to the urgency of life, how short it is. Then the quest for truth becomes the ultimate project. We can often forage for years in the empty fields of self-analysis and self-improvement and sacrifice much of our real substance for specks of cold, lonesome factual truth. The wisdom of the tradition reminds us that if we choose to journey on the path of truth, it then becomes a sacred duty to walk hand in hand with beauty.” — John O’Donohue

“Consumerism is the worship of the god of quantity; advertising is its liturgy. Advertising is schooling in false longing.” — John O’Donohue (Eternal Echoes: Celtic Reflections on Our Yearning to Belong)

“…to gaze into the face of another is to gaze into the depth and entirety of his life.” — John O’Donohue (Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom)

“When you look at some faces, you can see the turbulence of the infinite beginning to gather to the surface. This moment can open in a gaze from a stranger, or in a conversation with someone you know well. Suddenly, without their intending it or being conscious of it, their gaze lasts for only a second. In that slightest interim, something more than the person looks out.” — John O’Donohue (Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom)

“Your soul is the priestess of memory, selecting, sifting, and ultimately gathering your vanishing days toward presence.” — John O’Donohue (Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom)

“The eternal world and the mortal world are not parallel, rather they are fused.” — John O’Donohue (Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom)

“Functionalism is lethal when it is not balanced by a sense of reverence. Without reverence, there is no sense of presence or wonder. ” — John O’Donohue (Eternal Echoes: Celtic Reflections on Our Yearning to Belong)

“…we are custodians of deep and ancient thresholds. In the human face you see that potential and the miracle of undying possibility.” — John O’Donohue (Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom)

“…the only difference between a young person at the height of their exuberance and a very old person who is frail and physically wasted is time.” — John O’Donohue (Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom)

“There is an unseen life that dreams us; it knows our true direction and destiny. We can trust ourselves more than we realize, and we need have no fear of change.” (John O’Donohue)

“If you live the life you love, you will receive shelter and blessings. Sometimes the great famine of blessings in and around us derives from the fact that we are not living the life we love; rather, we are living the life that is expected of us. We have fallen out of rhythm with the secret signature and light of our own nature.”

(John O’Donohue)

Also see:

Communities of Isolation — the biology of loneliness and community

communion and community

Abundant Community

Community: A Matter Of Life And Death?


Where You Stand . . . Depends On Where You Sit

Redefining And Recreating “Home”

Honoring The Soul

View From The Porch

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