A Letter from the Editors
It has been a continuous journey of discovery since we launched Anchor out into the world in May. To hear of the ways in which readers have resonated with the material and gravitated towards the voices and expressions they somehow were longing to receive has been a true privilege.
In the Hindu tradition, karma yoga is understood as the path to realization that is about living out one’s sacred duty (or dharma) through selfless service and action. As our team has envisioned and assembled Anchor and as we have engaged the voices of so many spiritual and social justice leaders, we have developed a deep reverence for the principles of the karma yogi.
A karma yogi seeks alignment or union with God—the ultimate source of inspiration, being, and thought—in order to integrate service and action from a place of pure consciousness. In the creative vocations of inner expression and of teaching, we discover such moments of flow from pure consciousness amidst our more common moments of profound stubbornness and desire to achieve. As editors of Anchor, when we have noticed the ways in which our creation gets stuck in the muck of our preferences, opinions, and judgments of what is good, right, or holy, we have collectively chosen to return to the ultimate source of our inspiration. We trust that our dharma, our sacred duty, our deepest calling will emerge through this lived-out cycle of connection, reflection, and action.
This issue, in particular, delves deeply into this theme of action rooted in places of pure consciousness. We explore with remarkable writers, poets, and artists the idea of sacred-led service as it relates to activists, teachers, social change leaders, ministers, and healers. Chaplain and poet Martha Serpas shares with us her orientation to chaplaincy as poetry and poetry as prayer. The Reverend Steven Bonsey explores the spiritual practices of Sabbath, or sacred rest, that can help sustain social change activists—ideas that are echoed by Dr. Robert J. Wicks and Tina Buck in their tips for expanding resilience. Sister Dang Nghiem shares the story of her career change from doctor to Buddhist nun as well as her reflections on the healing powers of mindful presence. Marco Odiaga reflects on other applications of such mindful presence by exploring Quaker-informed use of silence in high school classrooms. And Susan Bayley, Naj Wikoff, and Edison Ndayambaje demonstrate what sacred-led service looks like in action, taking us to the halls of Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, The Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York, and rural communities in Uganda.
Through all of the words and images that fill the pages that follow, we hope that you are moved more deeply into alignment with your own ultimate source of inspiration, thought, and being so that you may (re)discover the imagination, courage, and action needed to go out and make a difference in the world.
A wonderful combination of mystery and work has unfolded to create these pages. We hope the results help connect us all more completely.
Perry, Nadia, and Elissa