Wednesday, February 29, 2012


     “Most people don’t get through childhood without having many experiences of being wounded for telling the truth. Along the way, someone told them, ‘You can’t say that,’ or ‘You shouldn’t say that,’ or ‘That wasn’t appropriate.’ As a result, most of us have very deep, underlying conditioning that tells us that being just who we are is not okay. We have been conditioned to believe that there are times when it is okay to be truthful and honest, and there are times when it is not okay to be truthful and honest. Most human beings actually have an imprinting – not only in their minds, but in their bodies and their emotions – that if they are honest, if they are real, something bad is going to happen. Somebody is not going to like it. They fear they won’t be able to control their environment if they tell the truth.
      But telling the truth is an aspect of awakening. It may not seem like it, because it’s very practical and very human. It’s not transcendent. It’s not about pure consciousness. It’s about how pure consciousness manifests as a human being in an undivided way. We must be able to manifest what we realize, and we must also come to grips with and start to notice the very forces within us that keep us from manifesting truthfulness in every situation.”
     Adyashanti. The end of your world. Uncensored straight talk on the nature of enlightenment. Sounds True, Boulder, Colorado, 2010.  

Photo: Michael Wood

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Aiming for truth

     "If our orientation is simply to feel better in each moment, then we’ll continue to delude ourselves, because trying to feel better in the moment is exactly how we delude ourselves. We think our delusions are making us feel better. In order to awaken, we must break out of the paradigm of always seeking to feel better. Of course, we want to feel better; it’s part of the human experience. Everybody wants to feel good. We are hardwired to seek more pleasure and less pain. But there is an even deeper impulse within us ... the impulse to awaken.
      It’s this impulse to awaken that gives us the courage to look at all the ways in which we deceive ourselves. It is an impulse that calls us to take responsibility for our own lives.”
     Adyashanti. The end of your world. Uncensored straight talk on the nature of enlightenment. Sounds True, Boulder, Colorado, 2010.

Photo: Andre Gallant

Monday, February 27, 2012

Heart of the matter

     "Unconditional love goes right through everything, and it's a breakthrough in spiritual life. Do not look for it outside of yourself. The only place to look for it is inside. If it is going to be unconditional love, what's out there doesn't matter."

     "The question is: 'Can I open myself to compassion? Compassion for me is just what the word says: it is 'suffering with.' It is an immediate participation in the suffering of another to such a degree that you forget yourself and your own safety and spontaneously do what's necessary."               Joseph Campbell

       Osbon DK ed. Reflections on the Art of Living. A Joseph Campbell Companion. HarperCollins, NY, 1991.

Photo: Brigitte Lorenz

Sunday, February 26, 2012


"How much suffering and fear, and
How many harmful things are in existence?
If all arises from clinging to the 'I',
What should I do with this great demon?"          Shantideva

      “The only way to eliminate suffering is to actually recognize the experience of a self as a misconception, which we do by proving directly to ourselves that there is no such personal self. We must actually realise this. Once we do, then automatically the misconception of a self and our fixation on that ‘self’ will disappear. 
     Only by directly experiencing selflessness can we end the process of confused projection. This is why the Buddha emphasized meditation on selflessness or egolessness (emptiness). 
     However, to meditate on egolessness, we must undertake a process that begins with a conceptual understanding of egolessness; then, based on that understanding, there can be meditation, and finally realization.”
Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche: Pointing Out the Dharmakaya

A monk on pain and suffering

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Beyond compare

     "if you are on your own path, things are going to come to you. Since it's your own path, and no one has ever been on it before, there's no precedent, so everything that happens is a surprise and is timely."          Joseph Campbell
       Osbon DK ed. Reflections on the Art of Living. A Joseph Campbell Companion. HarperCollins, NY, 1991.

     "The bad news is time flies. The good news is you're the pilot."                                   Michael Althsuler

Photo: Eddie Soloway

Friday, February 24, 2012

"Come together ..."

     “without a global revolution in the sphere of human consciousness, nothing will change for the better in the sphere of being as humans.”                             Vaclav Haval

     “human consciousness is … a vast ocean – an ocean muddied and darkened by the fear, 
anger, greed, and ignorance that cloud our lives. Whatever is dropped into this ocean creates 
waves that ripple out forever, diminishing in size but never completely disappearing. Our task is to drop into this ocean the most helpful gifts of wisdom, awareness, and love that we can. Our little gifts will ripple out through the great ocean of human consciousness forever; they are boundless 
in their effects.”
     Walsh R. Essential spirituality. The 7 central practices to awaken heart and mind. John Wiley & Sons Inc, NY, 1999.

     It’s a fascinating challenge to take 'the high road' when severely stressed. Is this easy? No – 
but as Einstein said, "We cannot solve the problems of today at the level of thinking at which they were first created."

 The Beatles: Come Together         

Thursday, February 23, 2012

On being heard

When Someone Deeply Listens to You

When someone deeply listens to you
it is like holding out a dented cup
you’ve had since childhood
and watching it fill up with
cold, fresh water.
When it balances on top of the brim,
you are understood.
When it overflows and touches your skin,
you are loved.

When someone deeply listens to you
the room where you stay
starts a new life
and the place where you wrote
your first poem
begins to glow in your mind’s eye.
It is as if gold has been discovered!

When someone deeply listens to you
your bare feet are on the earth
and a beloved land that seemed distant
is now at home within you.                                                   John Fox

Photo: tarakanchik

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

One Mind-Body

     “The whole life attitude of a human being appears in his posture, in the relationship of tension and relaxation, and in breathing. Posture, tension and relaxation, and breath can never be exclusively physical factors. They are integral functions of the person manifesting himself analogously on the psychological and spiritual levels. For this reason it is possible to begin the work on the whole (person) with them.” 
       Durckheim KG. "Hara: The Vital Center of Man." Inner Traditions, Rochester VT, 2004.

     “It is only when the mind is open and receptive that learning and seeing and change can occur. In practicing mindfulness you will have to bring your whole being to the process.” 
       Kabat-Zinn J. “Full catastrophe living. Using the wisdom of your body and mind to face stress, pain and illness”. Dell Publishing, NY, 1990.

Photo: Daro31

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


     The Buddhanature in me appreciates and bows to the Buddhanature in you.

     “The Zulu have an elegant phrase for hello and good-bye: Sawu bona – ‘I see you.’”
       Blyth C. “The Art of Conversation. A Guided Tour of a Neglected Pleasure.” Gotham Books, NY, 2009.

     “Be always mindful of what you are doing and thinking. So that you may put the imprint of your immortality on every passing incident of your daily life.”    Abd’l-Khaliq Ghijdewani, 13th century Sufi 
       Walsh R. “Essential spirituality. The 7 central practices to awaken heart and mind.” John Wiley & Sons Inc, NY, 1999.

Photo: Janice Morgan

Monday, February 20, 2012


      "Am I awake to the truth right now, and not only in my mind but in the entirety of my being? Do I actually see that the entire structure of a personal worldview and a personal self is nothing but a dream in universal mind?”         
     Adyashanti. The end of your world. Uncensored straight talk on the nature of enlightenment. Sounds True, Boulder, Colorado, 2010.

Live purely. Be quiet.
Do your work with mastery.
Like the moon, come out
from behind the clouds!

Photo: snorthup

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Towards congruence

     Should I keep steadily working on mindfully embodying my true self - or - sometimes, do I deserve a break? Haven't I earned it?
     Must I continue to eat mindfully - or - sometimes, can't I eat whatever and as much as I feel like? Don't I deserve it?
     If I work hard all year, I deserve a really expensive week at a 5-star, all-inclusive resort on a fabulous tropical island!
     I work hard all week, on Friday nights I just have to get drunk out of my mind to unwind.

     Are not ALL of these examples of a "divided life"? One subpersonality chaffing over another subpersonality's behaviour, within the same person. How can we resolve inner dissonance? Internal family systems (IFS) has an approach that is entirely complementary to mindfulness: 

     As we befriend our core identity, the need to rebel against it weakens. That doesn't mean we're loosing our personality or joie de vivre. It's more like we're fed up with fast food and now require refined, wholesome cuisine.

Parker J. Palmer: “Leading from Within: Reclaim Selfhood in Professional Life” (skip 8 minute intro):

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Barriers crumble, Authenticity arises

     “awakened consciousness moves in particular ways. It does not deny anything. It does not hide; it is not avoiding any part of life. That which we are, that which is fully awake, is also ultimately fully engaged and fearless. It moves the way it moves, out of unconditional love and truthfulness. It is only the fear in the mind – the fear that constructs the illusion of ego – that causes one to recoil from this phase of the spiritual life.”

     Adyashanti. "The end of your world. Uncensored straight talk on the nature of enlightenment." Sounds True, Boulder, Colorado, 2010.

     "This is the ultimate form of creativity – following the lead of the deep soul as we make a life."          Thomas Moore

 Creativity of Non-doing

Friday, February 17, 2012

Ways to Wisdom

     “The word religion has many meanings; in particular it implies a concern with the sacred and supreme values of life. The term spirituality, on the other hand, refers to direct experience of the sacred.

     …I am using the term practice to refer to the discipline of cultivating a crucial capacity of mind, such as wisdom or concentration. Practices are rehearsals of desired qualities, which eventually become spontaneous, natural ways of being.

     Walsh R. “Essential spirituality. The 7 central practices to awaken heart and mind.” John Wiley & Sons Inc, NY, 1999.

Roger Walsh PhD - 2012 interview (19 min)

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Evolutionary sport

     "Lifelong learning" is the buzzword of the day in health care. But to truly participate, we must commit to a never-ending process, instead of the limiting goal of becoming an expert. An expert has been defined, only half in jest, as one who's incapable of learning.

     “Spiritual evolution occurs as the result of removing obstacles and not actually acquiring anything new. Devotion enables surrender of the mind's vanities and cherished illusions so that it progressively becomes more free and more open to the light of Truth.” Dr. David R. Hawkins

     “When I find myself full of fear or desire, I remember that I am dealing with a brain and nervous system that has been hard-wired for millions of years for these emotions. Then I apply one of my favorite mantras, ‘I’m perfectly human.’ When I sit in meditation as a human being rather than as an individual, I feel I am part of a collective effort on the part of our species to right itself, to find a new sanity. As Robert Thurman says of meditation, ‘It’s evolutionary sport.’ In the light of that big perspective, I thank you for being on my team.”             Wes Nisker

Photo: ema-art

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


     "The unexamined life is not worth living."          Socrates

     "And it’s a little baffling to me that Socrates, who represents one of the taproots of higher education, is widely ignored in higher education. ... higher education ought to be helping people to examine their lives as well as the world in which they want to work, about which they want to know. And those two kinds of knowing ought to be connected from the get-go, so that we understand that we can’t separate the knower from the known, or the actor from the world that he or she is acting upon. … Rumi has this wonderful one-liner: ‘If you are here unfaithfully with us you’re causing terrible damage.’ What I think he means by this is unfaithful to your own truth - unfaithful to some ongoing effort to live an examined life. ... the point is, not only to do that inner journeying, that exploration of the inner landscape of our lives, but to connect that with what goes on outside of us."
      Parker J. Palmer An Undivided Life: Seeking Wholeness in Ourselves, Our Work, and Our World” Life/2530.productdetails;jsessionid=1FZoA99VGf9KVaG7fjtv.27

     "Self-cultivation is any sustained practice aimed at one's spiritual evolution."
          Robert Carter

Interview about Self-cultivation with Robert Carter PhD

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

All shall be well ...

     "Nothing can happen to you that is not positive. Even thought it looks and feels at the moment like a negative crisis, it is not. The crisis throws you back, and when you are required to exhibit strength, it comes.

The dark night of the soul
comes just before revelation.

When everything is lost,
and all seems darkness,
then comes the new life
and all that is needed."

 Obson DK ed. Reflections on the Art of Living. A Joseph Campbell Companion. HarperCollins Publishers, 1991.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Growing up

     A couple of years ago, during a break in Ron Epstein's continuing education course "Promoting Mindful Practice in Medical Education", I overheard a group of young female physicians chatting about their children. One comment stuck: "I just hope they don't grow up to be assholes."
     Isn't that our hope for ourselves as well? We've all behaved in less than enlightened ways - many, many times. Yet, enlightened behaviour is always "at hand".

     As the hold of our conditioning on us weakens, and we see reality more and more clearly, we are increasingly more able to direct our thoughts, words and behaviour towards decreasing suffering, and increasing joy - for all.

     “The goal of life is to make your heartbeat match the beat of the universe, to match your nature with Nature.”      Joseph Campbell 

     Listen to Pamela Druckerman, author of "Bringing up bebe. One American mother discovers the wisdom of French parenting"  being interviewed:

"Mamas don't let your babies grow up to be ........"


Sunday, February 12, 2012

Who am I really in all of this?

     “We live in illusion and the appearance of things. There is a reality. We are that reality. When you understand this, you see that you are nothing, and being nothing, you are everything. That is all."     Kalu Rinpoche

"Now something in us knows this. We know our connection with every other being, with life, with the breath of the atmosphere, with the spirit that moves through beings. We know it, but we don’t really trust it.
Part of what makes meditation so extraordinary and so different from almost everything else we do, is that to simply sit is to step outside of our identity, step outside of the busyness, and the roles, because our culture is so caught up in different ways in greed, ambition, fear, judgment, racism, or struggle between people all around us. And as we begin to sit, certainly there’s peace, and a kind of healing, and an opening, but more than that, there just comes space.  
Henry David Thoreau said that ‘the soul grows by subtraction, and not by addition.’ It’s not that you sit to meditate to get something else, but actually it is an opening, a letting go. And as we do open, we see all the possibilities – sinner and sage, flow or struggle, and all the stories that we might tell ourselves about being the victim or the warrior, or the workaholic, or the nurturer, or the great mother, or the lost soul, or the eternal youth – all the kind of archetypes that we play out at different times in our life.
What the invitation of meditation and of the Buddha (the word Buddha means to be awake) offers is a remembering of this space of awareness, of the space of the heart. To listen to all these different stories and tales and fears and desires. Who am I really in all of this?”     Jack Kornfield

Jack Kornfield's dharma talk: "Who are you really?"

Photo: anolphart

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Embracing our difficulties

     "The path to loving-kindness will always entail our gentle attention to the very things that block our way to it."         Ezra Bayda

     Podcast of Ezra Bayda on the 3 phases of practice:

     “We are going to have to come completely out of hiding from anything. … Stop avoiding things. If there is anything that is unresolved in yourself, turn toward it. Face it. Look at it. Stop avoiding it. Stop moving the other way. Stop using a moment of awakening as a means to not deal with something that may be less than awake within you.”
      Adyashanti. The end of your world. Uncensored straight talk on the nature of enlightenment. Sounds True, Boulder, Colorado, 2010.

Photo: fiddlethis

Friday, February 10, 2012

"Do small things with great love"

     "Look to the small things: putting your shoes together, being on time. Don’t wait for the big thing. It’s the small things, all those pieces, that make the whole. There’s no part without the whole, and there’s no whole without the parts. Originally we are one. But in our conditioned, gaining way of thinking, we have it separated, and as a result we will always be dissatisfied. Life always seems to be moving ahead of us, and we always feel as if we are losing. It’s like chasing your own shadow – you can never catch it. So in that way life, or enlightenment, is not sudden. It doesn’t happen suddenly out of nowhere. It’s already happening when you do those small things.”
     Kwong J. No beginning, no end. The intimate heart of Zen. Harmony Books, NY, 2003.

     “All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.”          Martin Luther King, Jr.

Photo: mapeters

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Who am I really?

      “Accepting things as they are is a loss. Being in the moment is a loss. We are losing every moment of our lives. What are we losing? We are losing our self-centeredness, our self-clinging, our ideas, our conditioning. We are also losing our selves to the sound of the crickets, to the sound and feeling of the zendo as we sit, day after day, night after night. And when we know how to do this, to really lose, then we know how to really be alive.”
     Kwong J. No beginning, no end. The intimate heart of Zen. Harmony Books, NY, 2003.

     Jack Kornfield "Who are you really?"


Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Giving Life

     “Dogen defined practice as giving life to your original self. This is not giving life to your deluded self, which we do all the time, but to your original self, your basic goodness, or you could say to your Buddha nature, which each one of us intrinsically possesses whether we realize it or not. This is the word practice. It can be understood in a very oceanic way or in a very shallow way, but still practice is always practice, and its truth is to ignite and reveal your true self within your everyday life.”

     Kwong J. "No beginning, no end. The intimate heart of Zen." Harmony Books, NY, 2003.


Tuesday, February 7, 2012

COMMENTS - How to post them

To post a comment,
1) click "# comments" at the bottom of the post,
2) type your comment

3) select profile (can be anonymous),
4) preview - you have to type in the code provided,
5) click publish.

I'd love to see a lively conversation between intelligent folks, instead of me, me, me ...

Physical Processing

     "When we sit down to meditate, anxiety may arise. Certainly resistance and discouragement will also come up. The practice is to see the thoughts, feel the physical aspects of anxiety, become aware of the breath and environment, and just let it all be there. Whatever our state of mind or body might be, the practice is to really feel what that is; and while staying with the breath and environment, we let it be as it is."

     Bayda E. "Beyond Happiness. The Zen Way to True Contentment." Shambhala, Boston, 2011.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Wisdom everywhere

     A healthy cell in a healthy body is an intriguing model for relating wisely to ourselves, each other, and the rest of the universe. Bruce H. Lipton PhD in "The Wisdom of Your Cells" argues this persuasively.

     In both "Eastern and Western wisdom literatures, self-transcendence, that is, a perspective on others and the world that is not biased by a self-enhancing focus, was identified as a largely universal feature of wisdom.”      Staudinger UM, Gluck J. Psychological wisdom research: commonalities and differences in a growing field. Annu Rev Psychol 2011; 62: 215-41.  

     Bioneers are "inspiring a shift to live on Earth in ways that honor the web of life, each other and future generations."

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Peeling onions

     "Eventually, we all need to be willing to face the deepest, darkest beliefs we have about ourselves. Only in this way can we come to know that they are only beliefs, and not the truth about who we are. By entering into this process willingly, by seeing through the fiction of who we believe ourselves to be, we can connect with our true nature. As Nietzsche put it, 'One must have chaos in oneself to give birth to a dancing star.' Love is the dancing star, the fruit of saying yes, of consciously and willingly facing our fears."            Ezra Bayda

Awake in the World - Tricycle Magazine

Photo: mariomirabile

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Becoming familiar

     "becoming familiar with this formless dimension of who we are makes it possible to open with love to the changing expressions of life within and around us. It allows us to make peace with living and dying, and to live our moments fully."          Tara Brach

Friday, February 3, 2012

Relating to liminality

     Liminality: "a psychological, neurological, or metaphysical subjective state, conscious or unconscious, of being on the 'threshold' of or between two different existential planes" 

     To successfully negotiate each transition, I need to fully engage. My whole self – mind, emotions and body – needs to step with both feet, from my comfort zone, into a new unfamiliar land - and stay to acclimatize. I am thereby transformed - with a more accurate self-image and worldview.  

“Confess your hidden faults.
Approach what you find repulsive.
Help those you think you cannot help.
Anything you are attached to, let it go.
Go to places that scare you.”

     - advice from her teacher to the Tibetan yogini Machik Labdron 

     Chodron P. “The places that scare you. A guide to fearlessness in difficult times.” Shambhala, Boston, 2002.


Photo: Gundoctor