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Look at the birds in the sky.

How Do You Imagine God?
God in America and USA WEEKEND Magazine are partnering to explore Americans' images of God.

How do you imagine God? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator Ever present, like the sky.

My Beliefs

I believe ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator in practicing present moment awareness. I follow the teachings of Buddha in this regard. I am also highly interested in the teachings of Jesus, particularly The Sermon on the Mount. Together, I believe these contain all I need to live.
My most powerful moment of belief was ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator I've had a lot, but one that comes to mind is when we were at the graveyard service when my little brother died. I suddenly understood in a very powerful, visceral way that he was not "gone." I had recently read "Siddhartha" -- my first voyage into Buddhist thought -- and I think that may be part of the reason. I was 19. Another moment was on the one year anniversary of the death of my father. We were at a cabin in the mountains and I was on the porch, writing in my journal. A butterfly came and sat on the index finger on the hand I was writing with. I connected this back to the day my father was to die -- I was walking in the woods and an erratically flying butterfly had run into me. I had always thought that butterfly was a message that my father was leaving us. When a butterfly returned a year later, I felt it was a message that my dad was in a good place. And, of course, that he was essentially still with me.
My greatest moment of doubt was ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator I honestly don't ever remember doubting. Hope I never do.
My spiritual life means... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator that I am aware of our larger purpose here.
The biggest misconception about my faith/belief system is ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator that it has to do with sitting in certain positions or chanting or that it is out of reach. Buddhism is actually very accessible. The biggest misconception about my Christian side is that Jesus's whole purpose was to die to "save" us. In reality, he modeled Resurrection, and that is the message to consider.
My spiritual role model is ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator Thich Nhat Hanh and Roshi Joan Halifax
The tenet/practice/teaching I appreciate most about my faith is ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator that it provides stability and a way to be in each moment.

My Faith History

As a child I believed ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator that I was good. There were certain aspects of Catholicism I never bought into, even at a very young age.
My spiritual journey has been ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator exciting, eclectic, and some would say eccentric!
I was raised as ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator Roman Catholic
Are your beliefs or practices different from your parents? If so, how and why? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator I feel I moved beyond Catholicism, experiencing many different types of spirituality, yet always connecting it back to my core.

How I Practice My Faith

Where and when do you practice your faith? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator In the present moment. I particularly like to be in nature -- it brings me back -- but I consider my daily movements practice, especially when I am teaching.
How easy or difficult is it to live your faith? Why? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator The only difficulty is forgetting peace in the moment. When I fall into delusion, that is when it is difficult.
In my house, the thing that most represents my faith is ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator My rose quartz mala beads.
The song/book/film that most represents my faith is ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator Book: Being Peace by Thich Nhat Hanh. Song: A Beautiful Day by India.Arie

Religion & the Public Square

What should be the role of religion in politics? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator To bring value and balance. Certainly not the divisiveness that "religious" people often bring.
Should courses about religion be taught in public schools? Why or why not? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator Yes. Young people are hungry for this information. If it were an elective, I think many would take the course.
Should the Bible, Torah, Quran or other religious texts be taught as works of literature in public schools? Why or why not? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator Absolutely, and they are in my classroom.
Is interfaith dialogue important? Why or why not? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator Absolutely. This is our WORK -- to see how we are the same, and how we can work together.
Do you feel comfortable discussing your faith with others? Why/why not? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator Sure, as long as we really discuss. As soon as someone says that there is only one way (their way!), I get turned off.
Do you feel that you have a duty, because of your faith, to put your beliefs into action? What are some of those actions? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator Absolutely. My "action" is my practice to remember my true nature, and that Buddha is everywhere. When I remember this, I treat everyone kinder, don't get into negatives, and smile a lot more!
Are religious beliefs compromised by engaging in politics? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator I don't think they have to be.
Has 9/11 had any impact on your thoughts about religion? Are you more/less interested in learning about other religions? Do you feel more/less comfortable expressing your religious beliefs? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator The main impact has been that I see more clearly how people who profess to be Christians don't follow Jesus's path and message of peace at all. They act like it has no relevance -- when, in fact, it has more relevance than ever. I am sad about the wars and horror that has occurred since that day, and really hope that one day we can do what John Lennon suggested: Give Peace a Chance.

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Published October 11, 2010

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