Wayne Muller

Wayne
Muller
1939
2011

American Minister, Therapist, Community Advocate, Consultant, Public Speaker and Author, Founder of Bread for the Journey, Senior Scholar for the Fetzer Institute

Author Quotes

When we come close to those things that break us down, we touch those things that also break us open. And in that breaking open, we uncover our true nature.

When we live without listening to the timing of things, when we live and work in twenty-four-hour shifts without rest – we are on war time, mobilized for battle. Yes, we are strong and capable people, we can work without stopping, faster and faster, electric lights making artificial day so the whole machine can labor without ceasing. But remember: No living thing lives like this. There are greater rhythms, seasons and hormonal cycles and sunsets and moonrises and great movements of seas and stars. We are part of the creation story, subject to all its laws and rhythms.

Within sorrow is grace. When we come close to those things that break us down, we touch those things that also break us open. And in that breaking open, we uncover our true nature.

Your life is not a problem to be solved but a gift to be opened.

What if the healing of the world utterly depends on the ten-thousand invisible kindnesses we offer simply and quietly throughout the pilgrimage of each human life?

What is at the center of your life? Carefully examine where you spend your attention, your time. Look at your appointment book, your daily schedule…. This is what receives your care and attention--an by definition, your love.

In this light the Sabbath prescription is a loving reminder to take full advantage of a condition that already exists. At rest, our souls are restored. This is the only commandment that begins with the word “remember,” as if it refers to something we already know, but have forgotten. It is good. It is whole. It is beautiful. In our hurry and worry and acquiring and working, we forget. Rest, take delight in the goodness of creation, and remember how good it is.

Just because we are working hard does not mean we are making anything happen.

Like a path through the forest, Sabbath creates a marker for ourselves so, if we are lost, we can find our way back to our center.

Our civilization canonizes desire as the engine that drives our monetary system, which is sad because desire, by definition, is based on dissatisfaction. When you're satisfied, your desires melt away. When you have a nice meal, your desire to eat more disappears. When you have a relationship with someone you love, the desire to run off and meet somebody else naturally falls away. Whenever we're satisfied with what we have, desire dissolves of its own accord. We place desire on the altar of our civilization.

Perhaps the greatest wealth you possess, the most precious, valuable gift you can ever hope to offer any human being, is this one, simple, true thing: You. Your presence. Showing up. Being in the company of another, undistracted, unhurried, with an open heart, gentle hands, and a patient soul. Willing and able to listen, do something or do nothing, willing to be surprised by whatever emerges in the soil of your present, loving company with another human being.

All life has emptiness at its core it is the quiet hollow reed through which the wind of God blows and makes the music that is our life.

Sabbath requires surrender. If we only stop when we are finished with all our work, we will never stop, because our work is never completely done. With every accomplishment there arises a new responsibility... Sabbath dissolves the artificial urgency of our days, because it liberates us from the need to be finished.

All life requires a rhythm of rest.

Some of us have a hard time believing that we are actually able to face our own pain. We have convinced ourselves that our pain is too deep, too frightening, something to avoid at all costs. Yet if we finally allow ourselves to feel the depth of that sadness and gently let it break our hearts, we may come to feel a great freedom, a genuine sense of release and peace, because we have finally stopped running away from ourselves and from the pain that lives within us.

And so we are given a commandment: Remember the Sabbath. Rest is an essential enzyme of life, as necessary as air. Without rest, we cannot sustain the energy needed to have life. We refuse to rest at our peril—and yet in a world where overwork is seen as a professional virtue, many of us feel we can legitimately be stopped only by physical illness or collapse.

The ancient rabbis teach that on the seventh day, God created menuha—tranquility, peace, and repose—rest, in the deeper possible sense of fertile, healing stillness. Until the Sabbath, creation was unfinished. Only after the birth of menuha, only with tranquility and rest, was the circle of creation made full and complete.

Bless strangers quietly, secretly. Offer it to people you notice on the street, in the market, on the bus. "May you be happy. May you be at peace." Feel the blessing move through your body as you offer it. Notice how you both receive some benefit from the blessing. Gently, almost without effort, each and every blessing becomes a Sabbath.

The greatest barrier to own healing is not the pain, sorrow or violence inflicted upon us as children. Our greatest hindrance is our ongoing capacity to judge, to criticize, and to bring tremendous harm to ourselves. If we can harden our heart against ourselves and meet our most tender feelings with anger and condemnation, we simultaneously armor our heart against the possibility of gentleness, love and healing.

Emptiness is the pregnant void out of which all creation springs. But many of us fear emptiness. We prefer to remain...surrounded by things...we imagine are subject to our control.

The more spacious and larger our fundamental nature, the more bearable the pains in living.

Equanimity is the ability to experience the changes in our lives, circumstances, and feelings and still remain calm, centered and unmoved. The image most often used to illustrate the quality of equanimity is that of a mountain. The mountain sits there as the sun shines on it, the rain drenches it, it is covered with snow and struck by lightning. Through it all, through all the changing conditions, the mountain remains unwavering. As we cultivate equanimity within ourselves, we learn to be more like the mountain, finding that place of strength and courage within ourselves that enables us to withstand the slings and arrows of being human without feeling overwhelmed by fear.

The Sabbath isn't a responsibility, it's a gift, and if we don't take that gift, we all suffer.

Even in the middle of a hurricane, the bottom of the sea is calm. As the storm rages and the winds howl, the deep waters sway in gentle rhythm, a light movement of fish and plant life. Below there is no storm.

There is a rhythm in the way day dissolves into night, and night into morning. There is a rhythm as the active growth of spring and summer is quieted by the necessary dormancy of fall and winter. There is a tidal rhythm, a deep, eternal conversation between the land and the great sea.

Author Picture
First Name
Wayne
Last Name
Muller
Birth Date
1939
Death Date
2011
Bio

American Minister, Therapist, Community Advocate, Consultant, Public Speaker and Author, Founder of Bread for the Journey, Senior Scholar for the Fetzer Institute