Lighting The Spiritual Flame Within
Articles Inspirational articles from Hay House authors
Lighting The Spiritual Flame WithinThe call for compassion in action.
I had the honor once of being at an intimate gathering in Paris with Nelson Mandela. He spoke to us, calmly and humbly, about the 27 years of imprisonment he had endured and of the lessons he had learned. At the end, none of us could say anything. Then someone asked him if he could sum up what he knew now, at this stage of his life (he was in his early 80s at the time). He thought for a long time and then began: “There is a force in the universe—call it God or spirituality or whatever you like—that wants the victory of truth and justice. This force will help you if you are steady, humble, brave, and patient. Never, ever give up, however bad things get.” And then he smiled a smile that had the force of soft lightning.
The Meaning of Life According to the Dalai Lama
In 1989 I was in Oslo to attend the celebrations for the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to His Holiness the Dalai Lama. I shall never forget the joy that radiated everywhere and shone in the faces of even the stodgiest-looking Norwegian officials when that holy, kind man walked up, smiling and waving and bowing, to receive the prize. For all the worldly pomp, everyone knew it was a sacred occasion, and many shed tears of gratitude for the life of the man before them. He has done more than anyone else I know to demonstrate the force of Sacred Activism in the middle of horror and tragedy.
The day before, I had interviewed His Holiness for Elle magazine. At the end of our hour together, spent in his small, bare hotel room, I stood up, plucked up my courage, and asked him, “What is the meaning of life?” His Holiness flung back his head and roared with laughter. Then he grew intensely concentrated and still. “The meaning of life,” he said quietly, leaning forward to touch my forehead with his, “is to embody compassion. Anyone can discover this. When you discover this and live it, you discover your truest nature and share its joy.”
Standing Where Jesus Once Stood
In 2000, on a stormy gray day, I stood on the beach in Galilee where Jesus is said to have appeared to his disciples for the last time. It was a small, pebbly, utterly unremarkable beach, but something in its atmosphere brought me to my knees. Although I have a lover’s quarrel with the churches erected in his name, Jesus has always been the greatest love of my heart. I loved him as a small boy, and I shall love him until the day I die; I pray always that my last thoughts will be of him. It was on this beach that Jesus ate a meal of freshly caught fish with Peter and a group of other disciples. I had my small family Bible with me, and I turned to the last chapter of St. John’s Gospel and read out these words quietly:
So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter,
“Simon son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these?” He
saith unto him, “Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee.”
He saith unto him, “Feed my lambs.”
He saith unto him again the second time, “Simon, son
of Jonas, lovest thou me?” He saith unto him, “Yea, Lord,
thou knowest that I love thee.” He saith unto him, “Feed
He saith unto him the third time, “Simon, son of Jonas,
lovest thou me?” Peter was grieved, because he said unto
him the third time, “Lovest thou me?” And he said unto him, “Lord,
thou knowest all things, thou knowest that I
love thee.” Jesus saith unto him, “Feed my sheep.”
I had known these words since my earliest childhood, but until that day I had never experienced their full force. That day I understood that when the love that moves the sun and stars starts to become real inside you, it compels you to act in whatever way you can to “feed my sheep.” That is how you know that you are starting to become an authentic spiritual being.
All hearts are open to You
All longing is sacred to You
From you no secret is hidden.
Purify, I beg You, the intentions of my Heart
Through the unspeakable gift of Your grace
So I can love you with all I am
And praise you for all You are.
—Sufi Prayer by Andrew Harvey.
For more of my favorite prayers, see my book, Light The Flame.