Awakin Readings

Remembering the Sacred

Every week, we post a short reading from various wisdom traditions that points to the sacred. Each excerpt is also accompanied by an audio recording, an illustration and translations. Subscribe Here.

Read Latest (Feb 19, 2024)

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The Practice Before The Practice

Mark Nepo

From the moment we open our eyes, we are meaning-seeking creatures, looking for what matters though we carry what matters deep within us. And more than the hard-earned understandings we arrive at, mor...

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26K reads, 20 comments

There Are Many Voices Beside Ours

Ella Cara Deloria

We [Native Americans] know about silence. We are not afraid of it. In fact, for us, silence is more powerful than words. Our elders were trained in the ways of silence, and they handed over this knowl...

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14K reads, 31 comments

When Winnie The Pooh Was Scared


“Piglet” said Pooh. “Yes,” said Piglet. “I’m scared,” said Pooh. For a moment there was silence. “Would you like to talk about it,” asked Pigle...

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12K reads, 26 comments

An Ode To Imagination

Geneen Marie Haugen

What is unique about human beings? That was the question that followed me. Other philosophers have supposed that our form of consciousness is unique among the animals, or our symbol-making ability. Bu...

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11K reads, 19 comments

The Vessel And The Filter

Rick Rubin

Each of us has a container within. It is constantly being filled with data. It holds the sum total of our thoughts, feelings, dreams, and experiences in the world. Let's call this the vessel. I...

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10K reads, 13 comments


April Rinne

Coddiwomple is one of my all-time favorite words, especially as a metaphor for life. It means to travel purposefully towards an as-yet-unknown destination. Isn't that what we're...

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9K reads, 16 comments

Compulsion To Closure

Joan Tollifson

Somewhere recently, I heard or read the phrase, “compulsion to closure.” I can’t recall how it was used by whoever said it, but it feels like a great description of our human difficu...

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9K reads, 13 comments

A Flame In A Dark Cave

Colin Walsh

It was just another day of that, when it happened. I don’t know why, but the teacher suddenly broke off what he was saying and considered us for a moment. A movement like a camera shutter happen...

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8K reads, 9 comments

The Empty Boat

Chuang Tzu

He who rules men lives in confusion; He who is ruled by men lives in sorrow. Tao therefore desired Neither to influence others Nor to be influenced by them. The way to get clear of confusion And...

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8K reads, 18 comments

What You Are Is Perfect Imperfection


Your less evolved areas have a right to be. They whisper of things past. They whisper of confusion, of unfulfillment and of the pain of the soul separated from its God and the longing for ...

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8K reads, 13 comments

Gratefulness Happens Before Thinking

Brother David Steindl-Rast

My vision of the world? My hope for the future? This topic sounds a bit big. Allow me to start small — say, with crows. They are my special friends. Just as I am writing these lines, one of them...

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8K reads, 24 comments

New Forms Of Religion

Laurence Freeman

However much the great ship of religion may be sinking, we remain spiritual in our needs and aspirations. If we see that religion has a fleet rather than a single battleship, we can see how certain ty...

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7K reads, 15 comments


Lorenz Sell

The dictionary definition of humility is “a modest or low view of one’s own importance.”  This always gave me a sense that humility was somehow related to the estimation of my c...

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7K reads, 11 comments


Awakin Readings started in 1996 as a way to remind ourselves of universal truths. Soon after, it began to be utilized as a discussion topic in weekly Awakin Circles in living rooms around the globe. Different artists and photographers offer a unique image for every reading; an audio recording is offered each week; and many volunteers collaborate to translate it into various languages. Our repository has over a thousand readings.

What is perhaps noteworthy about this effort is that it is entirely volunteer-run, and non-commercial, and has stayed that way for the last 25 years. For the many dozens of volunteer who contribute every week, this website is a labor of love.

We are grateful to Somik Raha, Liz Helgesen, and Rupali Bhuva for their consistent service for more than a decade. This website wouldn't be possible without the pioneering example Dinesh and Harshida Mehta's Awakin Circle of 25 years, and the larger field of ServiceSpace. Thank you.

To get engaged, join our newsletter or join the ServiceSpace community to explore volunteering.

"Compassion is a spontaneous movement of wholeness. It is not a studied decision to help the poor, to be kind to the unfortunate. Compassion has a tremendous momentum that naturally, choicelessly moves us to worthy action. It has the force of intelligence, creativity, and the strength of love. This vast intelligence that orders the cosmos is available to all. The beauty of life, the wonder of living, is that we share creativity, intelligence, and unlimited potential with the rest of the cosmos. To realize that we are not simply physical beings on a material planet, but that we are whole beings, each a miniature cosmos, each related to all of life in intimate, profound ways, should radically transform how we perceive ourselves, our environments, our social problems. Nothing can ever be isolated from wholeness." --Vimala Thakar