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PREFACE  (Click here for full document in PDF format)


These twelve new openings/vows/intentions/aspirations
are born of both joy and sorrow.
They express the new love of nature, and concern for the well-being of nature,
that has emerged in the last half century, beginning with writers
such as Rachel Carson, Loren Eisley, and Thomas Berry. 
The same time period has also witnessed the rise
of religious fanaticism around the world, of creeds gone mad,
and, in the sexual abuse of children by clergy,
the tragic betrayal of entire religious communities
by their vow-bound and creed-bound leaders,
calling into question
the entire process of taking vows and reciting creeds.
Propelled by these powerful conflicting currents
of hope and tragedy, we invite you to explore with us
a spirituality of compassion in the eternal present,
in which traditional vows about the future
have been transformed into openings in the present.
(The world-wide collapse of vowed promises
suggests to me that there may even be an unconscious arrogance of ego
in imagining that the person of today can make binding commitments
for the person who will emerge twenty years from now.) 

Our approach is, “open to it today, celebrate it today, practice it today”
rather than “promise it forever”.   
Thus, one way of exploring these openings
is to read them each morning on waking up.
This is the one day we have been given by Mother Universe
in which to increase the total amount of kindness in the world.

We also invite and encourage each person to find the rhythm of affirmation
that expresses their heart's deepest yearning
for communion with the Web of All.

Also, as you explore these openings,
please feel free to re-write them in your own vocabulary,
as often as the spirit moves you.
May they become your lifelong friends.

No person by force of will can force a fruit tree to bear fruit.
But we can water the tree, learn of its needs, 
and provide them, as much as we can.
And in time, the tree will blossom.  So it is, with our own hearts.

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