Thursday, April 30, 2015

Things are not always as they seem, nor are they otherwise ...

     "... the six types of phenomena - sights, sounds, smells, tastes, tactile sensations, and mental events ... the six knowables - arise and pass away, a constantly appearing and disappearing display, like a movie or like images passing through a mirror. These 'things' do not endure even for an instant in the present moment; as we turn our head, as our attention shifts, as the light changes and things move, the display is constantly in motion, transforming so completely and continuously that we cannot even point to something that has changed. It is a continual 'presencing,' - a presencing of what we call phenomena."

       John J. Baker. "The Dharma in a Single Drawing" Tricycle, Spring 2015

a riverboat - close-up

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Upside Down

     At some level, every single one of us knows what the mystics, sages and saints have embodied throughout the ages - that all of us, everything, is a manifestation of the great heart of perfect wisdom.

     But there's a mysterious divide between what we know, and what we pretend is true.
     Much of our life is lived in painful pretense - why? - we can choose to live authentically.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Depth of Meaning

     "In the day-to-day trenches of adult life, there is actually no such thing as atheism. There is no such thing as not worshipping. Everybody worships. The only choice we get is what to worship. And an outstanding reason for choosing some sort of God or spiritual-type thing to worship — be it J.C. or Allah, be it Yahweh or the Wiccan mother-goddess or the Four Noble Truths or some intangible set of ethical principles — is that pretty much anything else you worship will eat you alive. If you worship money and things — if they are where you tap real meaning in life — then you will never have enough. Never feel you have enough. It's the truth. Worship your own body and beauty and sexual allure and you will always feel ugly, and when time and age start showing, you will die a million deaths before they finally plant you. On one level, we all know this stuff already — it's been codified as myths, proverbs, clichés, bromides, epigrams, parables: the skeleton of every great story. The trick is keeping the truth up-front in daily consciousness. Worship power — you will feel weak and afraid, and you will need ever more power over others to keep the fear at bay. Worship your intellect, being seen as smart — you will end up feeling stupid, a fraud, always on the verge of being found out. And so on."

       David Foster Wallace "This is Water"


Monday, April 27, 2015

Without Love ...

     "People became like monsters. No one loves anyone anymore. People don't love each other at all, a brother doesn't even love his brother."

       a refugee, explaining why he, his pregnant wife and four young children risked their lives to flee war-torn Syria - CBS 60 Minutes, Sunday April 26, 2015

vigil to honor migrants who died at sea in Sliema, outside Valletta, April 22, 2015 - Darrin Zammit Lupi/Reuters

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Perfectly Human

"Just as a jewel that has been buried in the earth
for a million years is not discolored or harmed,
in the same way your noble heart can be brought out
into the light at any time, and it will glow
as brilliantly as if nothing had ever happened."

Pema Chodron

Sunday, April 19, 2015


"When the soul wishes to experience something,
she throws an image of the experience out before her
and enters into her own image."

Meister Eckhart

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Loving-kindness Prayer

"May all beings be peaceful.
May all beings be happy.
May all beings be safe.
May all beings awaken to the light of their true nature.
May all beings be free."

Monday, April 13, 2015

Acceptance & Insight - Not One, Not Two

     "Do you wish to free yourself of mental and emotional knots
and become one with the Tao? If so, there are two paths available to you:
     The first is the path of acceptance. Affirm everyone and everything. Freely extend your goodwill and virtue in every direction, regardless of circumstances. Embrace all things as part of the Harmonious Oneness, and then you will begin to perceive it.
     The second path is that of denial. Recognize that everything you see and think is a falsehood, an illusion, a veil over the truth. Peel all the veils away, and you will arrive at the Oneness.
     Though the paths are entirely different, they will deliver you to the same place: Spontaneous awareness of the great Oneness. Once you arrive there, remember: it isn't necessary to struggle to maintain unity with it. All you have to do is participate in it."

Hua Hu Ching: The Unknown Teachings of Lao Tzu (Trans. Brian Walker)

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Friendship, Love & Wisdom

"Every friendship travels at some time through the black valley of despair. This tests every aspect of your affection. You lose the attraction and the magic. Your sense of each other darkens and your presence is sore. If you can come through this time, it can purify with your love, and falsity and need will fall away. It will bring you onto new ground where affection can grow again." 


"If you send out goodness from yourself, or if you share that which is happy or good within you, it will all come back to you multiplied ten thousand times. In the kingdom of love there is no competition;
there is no possessiveness or control.
The more love you give away, the more love you will have."

John O'Donaohue
Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom

Friday, April 10, 2015

Heart-Mind Porousness Meditation

     "Mindfully resting in the easy, natural flow of the breath, allow the stream of your experience to be filtered through the focal point of your heart center. If you like, you can gently touch your heart as you begin in a gesture of attuning yourself to allow the stream of ever changing experience to be clearly seen and deeply felt as it flows through the open heart. In this way, each moment and each mindful breath can cultivate and affirm the inseparability of clear presence, embracing the flow of experience, with great compassion."

       Joel & Michelle Levey - adapted from their new book: "Mindfulness, Meditation, and Mind Fitness" Conari Press, 2015.

Gretel and Bess

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Lightening Up

"The ultimate weakness of violence
is that it is a descending spiral,
begetting the very thing that it seeks to destroy ...
Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.
Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that."

Martin Luther King Jr

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Keep Walking - Persevere!

"The distance you can lead other people
is the distance you have traveled yourself.
The distance you place between you and others,
is the distance waiting to be traveled
between your head
and your own heart."
Laroques des Alberes

Friday, April 3, 2015

Buddhist Perspective Regarding Other Religions

     "Buddhists have always believed that the same enlightenment or liberation that is found in Buddhism can also be found in other religions. In other religions these enlightened people are sometimes referred to as mystics. For example, Saint Teresa of Avila who was a Christian or Rumi who was a Moslem or Isaac Luria who was a Kabbalistic Jew are all examples of non-Buddhist enlightened people. Enlightenment is also found in the shamanic tradition of tribal peoples in Africa, Native America and the native cultures of the Pacific Ocean. Since enlightenment can be found by any person who looks within, as a Buddhist I am not so interested in convincing people to become Buddhists. 
      But I am interested that they become Buddhas (enlightened people). One way to become a Buddha is to practice Buddhism. Another way is to participate in the mystical core of whatever religion you now follow ... Christianity, Judaism, Islam and so forth."
      Shinzen Young

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Healing Even When - Especially When? - Meditation Practice Feels "Icky"

     An excerpt of Shinzen Young on processing psychological baggage during meditation:

      “'relaxation pain' (has) two strange characteristics: the more you relax, the worse it gets (at least for a while) and though it doesn't hurt much, it seems to cause a lot of suffering.
      The act of relaxing causes the mesh of ones consciousness to open. You become porous like diaphanous cloth. Psychological 'impurities' (samskaras), deep seated fixating, can now percolate up to the surface in tangible form. Resistance per se is coming up with nothing particular to resist! The actual discomfort (P) in your body may only be at level 2, but your perceived suffering may be at level 100. S = P x R implies that R = S / P. So you must be resisting at level 100/2 = 50. You are experiencing almost pure resistance, pure craving and aversion. In other words you are experiencing pure impurity!
      … try to the best of your ability to accept it. In this way, layer after layer of blockage from the deep unconscious, which would be very difficult to get to directly, percolates up to the surface and gets worked off. Admittedly this is challenging because those very sensations are the tangible manifestation of deep seeded tendencies of non-acceptance. Although it is challenging, it is also quite doable by anyone. Objectively, the suffering associated with this phenomenon is no greater than that associated with a rash or the flu. Anyone can learn to live with those kinds of sensations, but why would anyone want to? What is the payoff? The payoff is that consciousness is being cleansed at a radical level, a level that would perhaps be difficult to reach otherwise. 

      This is the reason that I said to be happy. Trying to contact ones innermost conflicting tendencies directly in the unconscious is very difficult. But when the phenomenon of the 'icky-sticky' sensations arises, the endeavor becomes very simple. All you have to do is pay attention to those sensations, try to accept them and let time pass. Nature will do the rest. 
      The mark of maturity in meditation is that everything becomes a positive feedback loop. The better it feels, the deeper you go! The worse it feels, the deeper you go!”

     Read the rest of "The Icky-Sticky Creepy-Crawly It-Doesn't-Really-Hurt-But-I-Can't-Stand-It Feeling" found under "Articles", then "Meditation Practice"