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 (Nov 28, 2022)

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Agent Of Illumination

Elizabeth Gilbert

Some years ago, I was stuck on a crosstown bus in New York City during rush hour. Traffic was barely moving. The bus was filled with cold, tired people who were deeply irritated with one another, with...

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16K reads, 17 comments

Fishing Before You Know How To Fish

Courtney Martin

Through the pines and the one maple I hear her. I shouldn’t have gone fishing if I didn’t know how to fish. I shouldn’t have gone fishing if I didn’t know how to fish. ...

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12K reads, 12 comments

Three States Of Water

Natureza Gabriel Kram

Imagine that you’ve never been to Earth. You visit first in winter, where someone introduces you to water. From a glass, they pour it out over your hand. You drink. Remarkable. Imagine that y...

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10K reads, 12 comments

Sweeping My Heart

Zenju Earthlyn Manuel

For me, a dark-skinned person of African descent, cleaning the temple as Zen practice felt inappropriate and uncomfortable when I was at the beginning of my training. When you are an older black woman...

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8K reads, 12 comments

Three Levels Of Happiness

Anushka Fernandopulle

The Buddha talked about three different levels of happiness. The first is happiness that can come from pleasant sense experiences: delicious food, nice weather, pleasant music, or any kind of positive...

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8K reads, 5 comments

Garden Teaches Us To Travel

James Carse

If indifference to nature leads to the machine, the indifference of nature leads to the garden. All culture has the form of gardening: the encouragement of spontaneity in others by way of one's ow...

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8K reads, 7 comments

The Exquisite Risk

Mark Nepo

At any moment, if quiet enough and open enough, we can drop into the fabric of existence in which everything, even pain, has its vivid signature of energy that we call, at different times, truth or be...

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8K reads, 6 comments

The Opponent Relationship Is Not A Contest

Shannon Lee

What is combat, after all, but an intense relationship? Your opponent attempts to block and counter every strike you throw as well as land strikes of his own, which he will do in direct response to th...

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7K reads, 15 comments

Pay Attention To A Sense Of Space

Rob Burbea

Whenever there is any grasping or aversion towards something, indeed whenever any hindrances are present, the mind is, to some degree or other, in a contracted state. It has, so to speak, been sucked ...

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7K reads, 9 comments

Turning Survival Inside Out

Kerri Lake

You know how people will lament when they say, “Time to get back to reality,” or “…yeah, but that’s not how the real world works”? What is the real world? Who sugg...

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7K reads, 8 comments

Opening To Greater Life

Thomas Berry

Tell the [future generations] that something new is happening, a new vision, a new energy, a new sacred story is coming into being in the transition from one era to another. Tell them in the darkne...

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7K reads, 8 comments

Faith Is Different Than Beliefs

Reb Zalman

Where there is faith, there are fewer beliefs. We use beliefs to shore up opinions, rather than a relationship with the cosmos. Faith is what we call the relationship with the cosmos. It's differe...

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6K reads, 21 comments

The Self Is Not A Thing, But A Process

Thomas Metzinger

The body and the mind are constantly changing. Nothing in us is ever really the same from one moment to the next. Yet the self represents a very strong phenomenal experience of sameness, and it’...

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6K reads, 9 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