As we grow spiritually, we discover that we are not as separate as we thought we were.

Separation from God, self, and others is a deep and tragic illusion.

As we grow into deeper connection and union, the things that once brought meaning and happiness to our small self no longer satisfy us.

We tried to create artificial fullness through many kinds of addictive behavior, but still feel empty and nothing, if we are honest.

We need much more nutritious food to feed our Bigger Self.

Mere entertainments, time-fillers, diversions, and distractions will no longer work.

At the more mature stages of life, we are able to allow the painful and the formerly excluded parts to gradually belong within a growing, unified field.

This shows itself as a foundational compassion, especially toward all things different from us and the many beings who “never had a chance.”

If you have forgiven yourself for being imperfect, you can now do it for everybody else, too.

As we grow in wisdom, we realize that everything belongs and everything can be received.

We see that life and death are not opposites.

They do not cancel one another out; neither do goodness and badness.

At the bottom of all reality is always a deep abiding goodness, or what Merton called “the hidden wholeness.”


To intrinsically know that “I BELONG” is foundational to feeling connected to the incomprehensible Mystery, to life, to love, to ALL.

Today, we would like to let you know that you belong.

Today you’re invited to a call and response practice.

As I read this Litany of Longing take a breath each time, feel truly welcomed—all parts of you, especially those that culture has denigrated. After each sentence, respond aloud “I BELONG”


We belong, you belong, I belong.


People on all parts of the continuum of gender identity and expression, including those who are gay, bisexual, heterosexual, transgender, cisgender, queer folks, the sexually active, the celibate, and everyone for whom those labels don’t apply. Response: I belong.


People of African descent, of Asian descent, of European descent, of First Nations descent in this land and abroad, and people of mixed and multiple descents and of all the languages spoken here. Response: I belong.


Bodies with all abilities and challenges. Those living with any chronic medical condition, visible or invisible, mental or physical. Response: I belong.


People who identify as activists and those who don’t. Mystics, believers, seekers of all kinds. People of all ages. Those who support you to be here. Response: I belong.


Your emotions: joy, fear, grief, contentment, disappointment, surprise, and all else that flows through you. Response: I belong.


Your families, genetic and otherwise. Those dear to us who have died. Our ancestors and the future ones. The ancestors who lived in this land, in this place, where these buildings are now . . . we honor you through this work that we are undertaking. Response: I belong.


People who feel broken, lost, struggling; who suffer from self-doubt and self-judgment. Response: I belong.


All beings that inhabit this earth: the two-legged, the four-legged, winged and finned, those that walk, fly, and crawl, above the ground and below, in air and water. Response: I belong.


We belong, you belong, I belong.

Adapted from