Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Finding Freedom from Self-talk's Tyranny

     "How do we avoid becoming lost in our own thoughts, projections, beliefs, and opinions? How do we begin to find our way out of this whole matrix of suffering?
     To begin with, we have to make a simple, yet very powerful observation: All thoughts - good thoughts, bad thoughts, lovely thoughts, evil thoughts - occur within something. All thoughts arise and disappear into a vast space. If you watch your mind, you'll see that a thought simply occurs on its own - it arises without any intention on your part. In response to this, we're taught to grab and identify with them. But if we can, just for a moment, relinquish this anxious tendency to grab our thoughts, we begin to notice something very profound: that thoughts arise and play out, spontaneously and on their own, within a vast space; the noisy mind actually occurs within a very, very deep sense of quiet."

       Adyashanti. "Falling into Grace. Insights on the End of Suffering." Sounds True, Boulder, CO, 2011. p9

     Thoughts ... Clouds in the Sky: http://www.johnlovas.com/2013/06/clouds-thoughts-emotions-are.html

Blue Rocks, Nova Scotia, Canada

Monday, June 29, 2015

Bodhisattva Vow

Beings are countless, I vow to free them all;
Delusions are inexhaustible, I vow to put an end to them;
Dharma gates are infinite, I vow to enter them;
The Awakened Way is unsurpassable, I vow to embody it.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Direct Perception

The hearing that is only in the ears is one thing.
The hearing of the understanding is another.
But the hearing of the spirit is not limited to any one faculty, to the ear, or to the mind.
Hence it demands the emptiness of all the faculties. And when the faculties are empty,
then the whole being listens. There is then a direct grasp of what is right there before you
that can never be heard with the ear or understood with the mind.

Chuang Tzu

Saturday, June 27, 2015

The Way is perfect

If you wish to know the truth,
then hold to no opinions for or against anything.
To set up what you like against what you dislike
is the disease of the mind.

When the fundamental nature of things is not recognized
the mind’s essential peace is disturbed to no avail.
The Way is perfect as vast space is perfect,
where nothing is lacking and nothing is in excess.

                                                                                                                    Seng Ts'an

Public Gardens, Halifax, NS

Friday, June 26, 2015

Unconditional Love Nurtures Wisdom

     I don't think we intend to do anything irrational or inappropriate. No matter how abhorrently we behave, it seems the best or only option - if only to us - at the time. Afterwards, when we start to see our misbehavior more objectively, regret sets in. Still we tend to rationalize, deny, blame others etc - the old ego clings to life till the bitter end. 

     Most of us hope to evolve into better human beings as we age, behaving progressively more wisely. This process would be SO much easier if we were nurtured, by ourselves & others, with unconditional acceptance & love along the way. 

     Unfortunately, denial, cover-up, harsh judgment, & various forms of vengeance remain the most common responses to misbehavior. These primitive reactions propagate further uncivilized behavior.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Great Clear Sky with Clouds Passing By

How can the divine Oneness be seen?
In beautiful forms, breathtaking wonders,
awe-inspiring miracles?
The Tao is not obliged
to present itself in this way.

If you are willing to be lived by it,
you will see it everywhere,
even in the most ordinary things. 

Lao Tzu

There is only love.
All else, repeating stories exhausting themselves.

Rashani Rea

Public Gardens, Halifax, NS

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Nurturing, Caring, Thriving

"The eyes of the future are looking back at us
and they are praying for us to see beyond our own time.
They are kneeling with hands clasped that we might act with restraint,
that we might leave room for the life that is destined to come.
To protect what is wild is to protect what is gentle.
Perhaps the wilderness we fear is the pause between our own heartbeats,
the silent space that says we live only by grace.
Wilderness lives by this same grace.
Wild mercy is in our hands."

Terry Tempest Williams. "Refuge: An Unnatural History of Family and Place." Vintage, 1992.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Suffering - WHEN Fully Processed ...

     “Suffering led the Buddha to enlightenment, and it may cause us, against our will, to grow in compassion, awareness, and possibly eventually peace. In Buddhism monks recite daily the Five Remembrances, which are: I will lose my youth, my health, my dear ones and everything I hold dear, and finally lose life itself, by the very nature of my being human. These are bitter reminders that the only thing that continues is the consequences of our action. The fact that all the things we hold dear and love are transient does not mean that we should love them less but … love them even more. Suffering, the Buddha said, if it does not diminish love, will transport you to the farther shore.”

        Huston Smith, Jeffery Paine. “Tales of Wonder. Adventures Chasing the Divine. An Autobiography.” HarperOne, NY, 2009.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Multiphonic Chanting ...

     "Multiphonic chanting" is the term Huston Smith coined for Tibetan monks' ability to sing three chords simultaneously. 

     “What those lamas did, however, has a significance that goes beyond singing. They took from the outskirts of awareness overtones ordinarily too faint to be heard and made them conscious. This is what worship is intended to do: move the sacred – in this case, sacred sound – from the periphery to the center. I asked one lama, ‘What’s it like to sing like that?’ He answered that at first it was quite ordinary, what anyone experiences when singing. Then, as the resonant chords take on a life of their own, it felt as though not he but a deity was creating the music and he was just riding the waves of it. As the chanting climaxed, in that crescendo all distinction between lama, deity, and chords collapsed and all sound was holy sound.”

       Huston Smith, Jeffery Paine. “Tales of Wonder. Adventures Chasing the Divine. An Autobiography.” HarperOne, NY, 2009.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Seeking Truth over the Illusion of Security

     “Let nothing come between you and the light.        Henry David Thoreau

     ... each person must free himself from prison – the prison of being a limited, corporeal, dying self.

     ... mystics don’t want to read religious wisdom; they want to be it."

       Huston Smith, Jeffery Paine. “Tales of Wonder. Adventures Chasing the Divine. An Autobiography.” HarperOne, NY, 2009.

Tuscan Rain

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Between the Conscious and the Unconscious ...

"Between the conscious and the unconscious, the mind has put up a swing:
all earth creatures, even the supernovas, sway between these two trees,
and it never winds down.

Angels, animals, humans, insects by the million, also the wheeling sun and moon;
ages go by, and it goes on.

Everything is swinging: heaven, earth, water, fire,
and the secret one slowly growing a body.
Kabir saw that for fifteen seconds, and it made him a servant for life."

Kabir                                                          www.poetry-chaikhana.com

     “discussion of altered states of consciousness has been reduced to inaccurate homilies by both religious fundamentalists and the advocates of Scientism. … at least some of what we do and who we are is fundamentally and irreducibly anomalous, inexplicable, uncanny.”  
       Dana Sawyer “Huston Smith: Wisdomkeeper. Living the World’s Religions. The Authorized Biography of a 21st Century Spiritual Giant.” Fons Vitae, Louisville, KY, 2014.

     Role of Mysticism: http://www.johnlovas.com/2015/05/nature-or-nurture.html

Public Gardens, Halifax, NS

Monday, June 15, 2015

Speculations re Consciousness After Death of the Body

     "... after oscillating back and forth between enjoying the sunset and enjoying Huston-Smith-enjoying-the-susnset, I expect that the uncompromised sunset will become ever more absorbing. The branch of narrowed awareness upon which I rested will sever and fall away. The bird will be set free." 

       Smith H, Paine J. “Tales of Wonder - Adventures Chasing the Divine. An autobiography.” HarperOne, NY, 2009.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

'Something Else'

     “Under our neurotic frets … everyone is already enlightened. Everyone is, underneath, at heart, innately a Buddha. ‘If everybody’s a Buddha,’ I have heard people object, though, ‘why is there so much suffering and misery and war and torture.’ It’s undeniable: people suffer, and unjustly. Yet from the heart of the combat zone we sometimes get reports of something else
     A former student of mine was caring for his gravely ill wife day and night, until he was so exhausted that he did not know if he was coming or going. Then, in a grocery store of all places, under the neon glare, he had the uncanny sensation that everything would be all right – indeed, that it already was. The child fiddling with the cereal boxes, a pregnant woman choosing between toothpaste brands, the carts in the aisles, the light and the air – all were exactly as they should be.”

        Smith H, Paine J. “Tales of Wonder - Adventures Chasing the Divine. An autobiography.” HarperOne, NY, 2009. 

     "All shall be well ..." : http://www.johnlovas.com/2012/04/and-all-manner-of-things-shall-be-well.html

Friday, June 12, 2015


     “When we believe our thoughts, we obstruct the heart’s message of oneness. The mind blocks the heart through the words of separation.”

       Smith R. "Stepping out of self-deception. The Buddha's liberating teaching of no-self." Shambhala, Boston, 2010.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015


"Sometimes I go about with pity for myself
and all the while Great Winds
are carrying me across the sky."

Ojibeway Quote

"Wonderful the Presence
One sees in the present.
Oh wonder-struck am I to see
Wonder on wonder."

the Adi Granth (the sacred book of Sikhism)

“Let nothing come between you and the light.”

Henry David Thoreau 

Huston Smith, Jeffery Paine. “Tales of Wonder. Adventures Chasing the Divine. 
An Autobiography.” HarperOne, NY, 2009.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Huston Smith - Connoisseur

     A connoisseur is a person of informed and discriminating taste. Perhaps the ultimate connoisseur is one knows how to, and does actually live, a deeply meaningful, joyful life.

     “I am not a religious scholar. What I do is try to show people how they can get something of value personally from religion, which is why I concentrate on its positive side. How you might label me is ‘religious communicator.’ ”
       Huston Smith, Jeffery Paine. “Tales of Wonder. Adventures Chasing the Divine. An Autobiography.” HarperOne, NY, 2009.

     "What is the meaning of life? Why are we here? Is there a God? Can there be authentic mystical experience? Are Hindus and Buddhists correct that we can attain a state of enlightenment? Can psychedelic drugs give us a glimpse of it? Does religion have a viable place in the modern world? Is there a common core of values and insights among the world's religions?
     Huston Smith spent his career in a search for answers to these and other questions.

     'Huston Smith is an outstanding authority on the world's religions, not only because of his far reaching knowledge of their teachings and scriptures, but also because he has put so many of them into practice, and, as we say in Tibetan Buddhism, discovered their real taste.' Tenzin Gyatso, His Holiness the Dalai Lama

     'Few intellectuals had more of an impact on the comparative study of religion in the twentieth century than Huston Smith. Here, at last, we have a sympathetic but open-eyed biography of the historical figure by a first-rate writer. The result is a page-turning plunge into matters of ultimate significance.' Jeffrey J. Kripal, Chair of the Department of Religious Studies, Rice University"

       Dana Sawyer “Huston Smith: Wisdomkeeper. Living the World’s Religions. The Authorized Biography of a 21st Century Spiritual Giant.” Fons Vitae, Louisville, KY, 2014. - an exceptionally worthwhile read - "a page-turning plunge into matters of ultimate significance."


Monday, June 8, 2015

Perennial Philosophy

     “The perennial philosophy states that the omega experience (not the description, but the actual experience of union with the Divine) is identical in all the mystical branches of all the world’s religions. This has implications for how we should live our lives, which Aldous Huxley succinctly laid out in his Minimum Working Hypothesis:
           · That there is a Godhead, Divine Ground of Being, or Brahman that our reality depends upon for its existence.
           · That this Ground both transcends the world and is imminent as the world.
           · That it is possible for human beings to love, know and, virtually, to become actually identical with the Divine Ground.
           · That to achieve this unitive knowledge is the ultimate end and purpose of human existence.
           · That there is a Way or Dharma that must be obeyed if people are to achieve their final end, and this Way is a way of peace, love, humility and compassion.”

       Dana Sawyer “Huston Smith: Wisdomkeeper. Living the World’s Religions. The Authorized Biography of a 21st Century Spiritual Giant.” Fons Vitae, 2014. 

    More on the 'Perennial Philosophy' : http://www.johnlovas.com/2022/04/basics-of-waking-up.html


Saturday, June 6, 2015

Depth, Beauty, Joy

     “Just as the spirit is at the centre of each of us, so the spirit is also at the centre of everything else within this creation. The spirit is always at the centre. When we live our life with other spirit-centred beings in this creation, our relationship to the Creator is from spirit to spirit. Our role as human beings is to preserve that relationship, to maintain the spiritual order and structure of the world…. Indigenous psychology and Indigenous culture can only be fully and properly understood from within this belief: that spirit is the central and primary energy, cause, and motivator of life.  
     … Mother Earth was created as the most beautiful place Creator could imagine. It was there that Creator could see the evidence of his own thoughts, ‘the most beautiful thoughts,’ reflected back to him. … earth is not a place ‘where we are sent to learn lessons of life, or to be tested, or to suffer’; instead, our essential duty is to experience the beauty that sprang from Creator’s thoughts, and to reflect back that beauty back to him. ‘The human being was designed in order that the spirit would be able to experience this life in all of its depth, in all of its beauty, with all of its joy.’”

       Traditional Anishinaabe Creation Story, by Elder James Dumont, 2006 Inaugural Newbury Lecture, University of Sudbury

       Rupert Ross. "Indigenous Healing. Exploring Traditional Paths." Penguin, Toronto, 2014.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Sense-of-Self & Way of Being in the World

     "indigenous people ... 'may find [western psychiatry's & psychology's] relentless focus on self ... alien, disquieting, undesirable or unnecessary.** Rather, a general Aboriginal self is one of an “embedded, enfolded socio-centric self” … Native mind is therefore a mind-in-relational activity, a mind-in-community.’

     All things work together in an interdependent fashion, forming an interconnected web of wholeness. Though each part is a recognizable unit, it only has meaning when in relationship to the whole.”                     James Dumont & Carol Hopkins

       Rupert Ross. "Indigenous Healing. Exploring Traditional Paths." Penguin, Toronto, 2014. 

     ** see also: Laurence J. Kirmayer. "Psychotherapy and the Cultural Concept of the Person." Transcult Psychiatry 2007; 44: 232-57.      DOI: 10.1177/1363461506070794

Searching for Truffles at the Domain de Bramarel, France

Thursday, June 4, 2015


     "In ancient times, various holistic sciences were developed by highly evolved beings to enable their own evolution and that of others. These subtle arts were created through the linking of individual minds with the universal mind. They are still taught by traditional teachers to those who display virtue and desire to assist others. The student who seeks out and studies these teachings furthers the evolution of mankind as well as her own spiritual unfolding. The student who ignores them hinders the development of all beings."

       Lau Tzu, Inner Chapters, Hua Hu Ching, #54                          www.wisdomatwork.com

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Today's Universities & Humbolt's 19th Century Ideas

     “Metaphysical views, ... had not been retired from the curricula of universities because they had somehow been proven false but because Humbolt’s scientific model had been over-applied to all human concerns, including those of philosophy and the humanities. Looking through the lens of science, Humbolt could see no legitimacy or necessity for metaphysical theories; however, Huston believed this was confusing ‘an absence of evidence for an evidence of absence.’ … like looking at the world through blue sunglasses and denying the existence of the color yellow on the grounds that it couldn’t be seen through them.

     [Humbolt’s continuing hold on universities] appears to serve logical sensibilities admirably, but onto transcendence, the sacred, the meaning of life and humanity’s potentials it opens no vistas.
     Who [today is] working with students whose sensibilities and concerns lie in these directions? Are we to say that these concerns are unimportant? Spawned by neuroses? Intangible to the life of the mind?” 

       Dana Sawyer “Huston Smith: Wisdomkeeper. Living the World’s Religions. The Authorized Biography of a 21st Century Spiritual Giant.” Fons Vitae, Louisville, KY, 2014.

Poppies of France

Monday, June 1, 2015

Mystical Experiences

     Mystical experiences “need not and should not contradict scientific facts, but when mystics experience the Ground, the One, the Universal Self, Godhead, they have transcended the Cartesian duality of subject and object that takes place in the physical world. Their experiences are therefore neither subjective nor objective in the traditional sense – since the ‘Cartesian Split’ has no relevance to that which lies beyond time and space, and so no relevance to the experience of That.

Universal core of common characteristics of mystical experience:          
          1. A sense of everything in the cosmos as interconnected.
          2. An apprehension of the One – described variously as life, or consciousness or a living Presence.

          3. A sense of objectivity or profound reality.
          4. A feeling of blessedness, joy, happiness, satisfaction.
          5. A feeling that what is apprehended is holy, or sacred, or divine.
          6. Paradoxicality of experience.
          7. Ineffability, or the sense that what is happening cannot be described with words.
          8. Transiency of the experience.
          9. Persistent positive changes in attitude and behavior."
        Dana Sawyer “Huston Smith: Wisdomkeeper. Living the World’s Religions. The Authorized Biography of a 21st Century Spiritual Giant.” Fons Vitae, Louisville, KY, 2014

North Street, Halifax, NS