The Enlightenment: Inspiring Quotes From The Age Of Reason

#truelove #allowing #dating

GPS for the Soul – The Huffington Post
The Enlightenment: Inspiring Quotes From The Age Of Reason
The Enlightenment stands out as one of the periods in human history that profoundly impacted and advanced our understanding of the world we live in. Spanning from the middle of the 17th century through the 18th century, the Enlightenment was a time of dramatic upheaval in the disciplines of science, religion, philosophy and politics.

The voices of the Enlightenment championed science and reason as crucial for the pursuit of just societies. As these quotes from the pioneers of the enlightenment demonstrate, the spiritual, mindful and ethical wisdom that resulted continue to offer exquisite lessons to live by:

Keep Going — We Believe in You
In fall 2003, I bought my husband Brett a card with the following passage from Oliver Wendell Holmes on the cover: “I find that the great thing in this world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving.”

There was no particular occasion for the card — no birthday or anniversary — but with Brett’s health and spirits plummeting, his life and our entire future at stake, the card was intended to be a note of encouragement. Keep going. We believe in you. Our toddler twins and I gave him the card along with a cinnamon roll.

By now I knew that Brett was dying from brain cancer, regardless of his clean MRI scans. After six years of battling his disease with every imaginable combination of surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, gamma knife and tissue transplants, Brett was only now showing real signs of cognitive impairment. He’d had many, many periods of remission and wellness, but something urgent seemed to have shifted for him. He was having trouble remembering the details of his day and what was expected of him at work. I helped him, of course, because back then, “his job was our job.” I understand that work not only gave him a sense of normalcy, but also allowed him to feel husbandly because he was still providing for his family. With the prospect of his disability hovering, and no life insurance to buffer his inevitable death, I also understood that it was in our family’s best interest for him to keep working as long as possible.

Keep Going. We believe in you.

It wasn’t long after we gave Brett this card that everything fell apart. One morning in bed he had a massive seizure that rendered his speech unintelligible. His eyes were wild as he tried to communicate. Mine were equally wild, though I resisted the urge to scream for the sake of my 2-year-olds. Within minutes our neighbor came upstairs to watch the kids while I rode the ambulance with Brett to the hospital. In spite of chemo being delivered direct to his brain through an Ommaya Reservoir, tumors had sprouted in multiple places on his brain and spine. Our options had run out. Hospice was called.

Brett died 10 years ago today, on Feb. 21, 2004 at 4:45 p.m. EST.

We played two songs at his funeral: Amazing Grace and Joni Mitchell’s Both Sides Now. One resonated with grace, the other with life’s uncertainties. Both Sides Now became the catalyst for my book, the metaphor for me to frame the whole of my experience: life and death; health and illness; joy and sadness; surety and vulnerability; past and present.

We believe in you.

I did believe in Brett. I believed in his doctors, our families, our friends, and the life we had built together. The truth is that he kept going with unspeakable grace the duration of his long illness.

His death meant that I would need to find a way to keep going for me and my children. We owed him that, and we owed it to ourselves.

Seeing takes time.

This decade of loss and healing has brought many changes to our family. We left the ghosts of New York City in search of a fresh start in Colorado. Here we found breathing space in the expansive landscape of mountain and sky.

In many ways I felt closer to Brett in Colorado; he’d always dreamed of moving here, and I could feel his gentle spirit all around us. We even placed a mosaic stone with his name on it in our new garden.

Keep going.

And so we did. For me, that meant reaching out to a widower who’d also lost his wife to cancer and was raising two boys on his own. Steve, a popular TV news anchor, was featured in a local magazine as one of the city’s most eligible bachelors. I sent him an email and photo thinking we could be friends.

We fell quickly into a committed relationship and married in July 2008, blending two families torn by loss. It took guts on both our parts to risk love again but not for the reasons you might think: Neither one of us could imagine losing again. Each year, we grow stronger as a couple.

Many people call my story a happy one. I smile and say thank you, but never once do I feel giddy. The past is still with me. The same is true for Steve. Brett and Steve’s first wife, Pam, and the lives and children we created with them, live on. They exist in the slender feet of my son Casey, in Ryan’s blue eyes, in the memory blanket Rebecca sleeps with every night, and in the picture Dylan keeps with him at all times. They exist in the stories we tell to keep memory alive, and in the recipes we prepare to savor all that Brett and Pam meant to us. They exist on birthdays and holidays and milestones like today. Ten years.

Among all the lessons borne from losing my husband to cancer, the one I see clearest is this: The best way to memorialize a loved one is to choose life.

When life feels hard, I tell myself to keep going. I tell my children the same thing.

In memory of Brett, who never lived to see his 40th birthday, keep going.

In memory of all the other families whose lives have been robbed by cancer, keep going.

In honor of all those who fight cancer today, keep going.

We believe in you.

Pope Francis and the Paradox of Faith

A Catholic faith reduced to mere baggage, to a collection of rules and prohibitions, to fragmented devotional practices, to selective and partial adherence to the truths of faith, to occasional participation in some sacraments, to the repetition of doctrinal principles, to bland or nervous moralizing … would not withstand the trials of time.

— Fifth General Conference of The Bishops of Latin America and The Caribbean, 2007

I often think about what seems to me to be a spiritual thirst amongst my contemporaries, myself included. My perspective is as a man born of Eastern European origins and raised an American Jew who holds no religious affiliation.

How might we seek, no less obtain, a faith in forces greater than ourselves in a post-modern world where the commercialization of just about everything, scientism (science as faith), and media and celebrity inundation barrage our thinking and values? Who speaks with authenticity and heart to our needs, including seeing beyond the microcosm of our individual selves to a life of purpose and contribution where we understand humanity as concern for others and can experience a sense of continuity beyond our brief moment on this planet?

Devotion to Judeo-Christian religious rules and practices, established a very long time ago for Christians and far longer for Jews, may have in the past kept the faith and the faithful together but doesn’t seem to be doing very well today. Instead, separation (and alienation) from organized religion or its opposite, a redoubled orthodoxy to a set of ancient pieties, characterize the too limited choices made by so many.

What if institutional doctrine, proffered by any religion, is not sufficient to order our lives, to give us meaning on earth and to satisfy our spiritual hunger? What then might be?
Pope Francis seems to have a pretty good sense of what that is. The new Pope said:

The church with which we should be thinking is the home of all, not a small chapel that can hold only a small group of selected people. We must not reduce the bosom of the universal church to a nest protecting our mediocrity.

The new Pope raised the bar by saying: “The Church’s pastoral ministry cannot be obsessed with the transmission of a disjointed multitude of doctrines to be imposed insistently.” (NYT, 9.20.2013, p. A 1, 10)

His wonderfully alarming message is one of inclusion: It is a message asking us to serve those in need — with empathy, not self-indulgence. It is a call for asking how we can help, not about our asking for help. It is an insistence on justice and for remedying disparities. Pope Francis’ popularity is a good measure of the salience of his message — which so many have been waiting for.

Fortunately, he is not alone. I periodically go to religious services for their moments of quiet and reflection. Too often I leave feeling the faith leader missed an opportunity to reach the congregants and to advance the cause of humanity. But I am also fortunate to know some faith leaders who, like the Pope, dare to show the way.

Take a look at this Yom Kippur sermon by a remarkable rabbi in California, Steven Carr Reuben: It is the 8th video down (titled 2012/5773 Yom Kippur Eve). Its message of forgiveness and the power of love to transform hurt and resentment is all the more powerful because it comes in the form of a personal story about this Rabbi’s wife. Listen to how courage and determination are needed for any of us to do what is right before we run out of time. Yom Kippur (“Yom” means day and “Kippur” means atonement) is the most holy of Jewish holidays and provides Jews a moment to not only ask for God’s mercy but also to be merciful themselves.

Another special moment of faith I witnessed is illustrated by (but was not taped) a Mass celebrated by a Norbertine Abbot, Frère Joel, in a nursing home in the rural mountains of France. Many of the mass attendees were debilitated and hurting, and some were confused from dementia. Also present were nuns, nurses, aides and visitors from the community. What I witnessed was a lesson in compassion — not so much by words but by how inclusion and tenderness can be extended to the most in need. And in so doing realize how the act of giving creates faith.

These examples occurred during Jewish and Catholic worship services. They speak to the spiritual needs that now pervade our globe. Each shows a path to a more modern faith: They exemplify ways of reaching a greater humanity than conventional religious doctrine can offer. Yet if these are indeed roads to achieve a spiritually enriched life they call for more, not less, of us.

A paradox is revealed, and offers grace, when we feel empty and do something of value we feel more full, confident, attached and proud. The paradox is that when we care for others we care for ourselves. The great gift of giving — and a too well-kept secret — is that the giver is so well-served.

Giving, unfortunately, is often characterized as encouraging dependence and passivity. I think that is not actually giving; it is what happens when giving ironically does not meet the needs of the person meant to be served. On the contrary, in fact, dignity and strength emerge when a person is helped to do more for himself, when he or she can take a step towards self-sufficiency and the capacity to give back — to contribute as well.


The Prayer of Saint Francis (the 13th century saint the new pope chose to name himself after) — even if the prayer is likely the creation of an early 20th century French priest — is a poetical rendering of the paradoxical nature of our lives, and the path to faith. Translated from the French, it reads:

Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace;

Where there is hatred, let me sow love;

Where there is injury, pardon;

Where there is error, truth;

Where there is doubt, faith;

Where there is despair, hope;

Where there is darkness, light;

And where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master, Grant that I may not so much seek

To be consoled as to console;

To be understood as to understand;

To be loved as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive;

It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;

And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

Dr. Sederer’s new book for families who have a member with a mental illness is The Family Guide to Mental Health Care (Foreword by Glenn Close).

The opinions expressed here are solely mine as a psychiatrist and public health advocate. I receive no support from any pharmaceutical or device company.

Copyright Dr. Lloyd Sederer

Subliminal hypnosis: sports hypnosis, weight loss hypnosis, mental health hypnosis, and 40 different topics hypnosis at, full catalog photo 2163_zps044fb03b.jpg


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