Friday, December 30, 2016


"A human being is part of the whole, called by us 'universe,' a part limited in time and space.
We experiences ourselves, our thoughts and feelings, as something separate from the rest - a kind of optical delusion of consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us.
Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in all of its beauty.
The true value of a human being
is determined primarily by the measure and the sense
in which s/he has attained liberation
from the (separate) self....
We shall require a substantially new manner of thinking
if humanity is to survive."

Albert Einstein

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

the Backward Step ...

     "Learn the backward step that turns your light inward to illuminate your self. 
     Body and mind of themselves will drop away, and your original face will be manifest. 
     Coming, going, the waterbirds don't leave a trace, don't follow a path. 
     No waves, no wind, the empty boat is flooded with moonlight.
     Enlightenment is like the moon reflected on the water. 
     The moon does not get wet, nor is the water broken. 
     Although its light is wide and great, the moon is reflected even in a puddle an inch wide. 
     The whole moon and the entire sky are reflected in one dewdrop on the grass."  


Monday, December 26, 2016

WHO is Suffering?

"Titles" by Leonard Cohen
I had the title Poet
and maybe I was one
for a while
Also the title Singer
was kindly accorded me
even though
I could barely carry a tune
For many years
I was known as a Monk
I shaved my head and wore robes
and got up very early
I hated everyone
but I acted generously
and no one found me out
My reputation
as a Ladies' Man was a joke
It caused me to laugh bitterly
through the ten thousand nights
I spent alone
From a third-storey window
above the Parc du Portugal
I've watched the snow
come down all day
As usual
there's no one here
There never is
the inner conversation
is cancelled
by the white noise of winter
"I am neither the mind,
The intellect,
nor the silent voice within..."
is also cancelled
and now Gentle Reader
in what name
in whose name
do you come
to idle with me
in these luxurious
and dwindling realms of Aimless Privacy?

Friday, December 23, 2016

Be a Light

"Be a lamp, or a lifeboat, or a ladder.
Help someone's soul heal. 
                                  Walk out of your house like a shepherd."                               


I have just three things to teach:
Simplicity, Patience, Compassion.
These three are your greatest treasures.
Simple in actions and thoughts,
you return to the source of being.
Patient with both friends and enemies,
you accord with the way things are.
Compassionate toward yourself, you reconcile all beings in the world.    

Tao te Ching (trans. Stephen Mitchell)

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Opening Up to Life

     Be still, be quiet, and pay attention. This practice sets up the conditions for revelation. What you have been longing for reveals itself, and you know that it has been there the whole time. 
     This practice is simple, but it’s so easy to get distracted by all the busyness of our lives and of our minds. Stopping and being still doesn’t always seem possible. 
     So we might decide that it’s a good idea to go somewhere and sit still with a bunch of other people. Silent, teacher-led meditation retreats are available in many places these days, and if you have ever attended one, you already know how powerful and challenging they can be. And you know how they can contribute to your own realization of the brilliant offerings of the world.
     Melissa Myozen Blacker

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Power of Non-separation

     For many reasons, we as a society have lost our connection to, or perhaps only forgotten, our own depth, and therefore feel little or no deep connection to our own life, others' lives, and the life of the universe. We've forgotten the essence of vitality, wonder, mystery. We're scrounging for crumbs under our own table on which a mighty feast is spread.

"One of our people in the Native community said
the difference between white people and Indians is
that Indian people know they are oppressed but don't feel powerless.
White people don't feel oppressed, but feel powerless.
Deconstruct that disempowerment.
Part of the mythology that they've been teaching you is that you have no power.
Power is not brute force and money; power is in your spirit. Power is in your soul.
It is what your ancestors, your old people gave you.
Power is in the earth; it is in your relationship to the earth."            
Winona LaDuke

We were born before the wind
Also younger than the sun
Ere the bonnie boat was won
As we sailed into the mystic

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Leaning Into Reality - All of It

     Fear of change is universal. At some level we all realize that everything is constantly changing, quickly, unpredictably and essentially uncontrollably. That is truly terrifying!
     Constant change (anicca), including aging, sickness & death, is so frightening that most of us simply can't face it, and thus suppress the whole idea, distracting ourselves with anything & everything: shopping, multitasking, compulsive texting, overeating, substance abuse, gambling, sex, workaholism, cults, ... 
     There are innumerable dysfunctional support groups for the many who cannot face existential realities. Why dysfunctional? Because trying to avoid reality doesn't work & only makes it harder when life hits you between the eyes to wake you up.

     “I’ve had to learn to lean into all I don’t understand, accepting that I am changed by what I hear. In all, it’s been an exciting journey, one that’s made me more alive.”
      Mark Nepo. “Seven Thousand Ways to Listen. Staying Close to What is Sacred.” Free Press, NY, 2012.

      Life "asks us to ('lean into') look at, listen to, develop curiosity towards, take responsibility for our own suffering. When we don’t, we blame others or external factors (project, externalize), and suffering becomes endless. Meditation is a way of really settling into the moment, and sustaining long, long stretches of awareness so we can know and understand ourselves, and see where delusions arise.”      Ajahn Viradhammo

Friday, December 9, 2016

Less Noise, More Meaning Please

     Identification with, and radical allegiance to a caveman leader or any cult-like group are attempts at instantly manufacturing a noisy ego, by those lacking self-esteem. Such allegiances are fear-based, so the ensuing rationalizations are funny.
     “People ... would rather believe in some other reality, even if it is only an illusion, so long as it makes them feel bigger.” Suzy Kassem 

     "The more you listen, the more you will hear. The more you hear, the more and more deeply you will understand, and the more wisdom, harmony, and balance you will bring to your life and world. As you practice mindfulness it is inevitable that you will encounter many aspects of your life and your world that are unsettling or challenging to face or embrace. It takes courage to create and sustain your mindful practice, but staying with it gives you the strength, compassion, and courage to cope with whatever life throws your way. Imagine how different our lives and world would be if we and others were to learn to listen more deeply to ourselves, each other, and the world around us!"
        Joel Levey, Michelle Levey. "Mindfulness, Meditation, and Mind Fitness." Conari Press, 2015.

     Though referring to creativity in visual arts, Keith Haring may just as well have been describing religion / spirituality:

     "When it is working, you completely go into another place, you're tapping into things that are totally universal, completely beyond your ego and your own self. That's what it's all about."  

Mob Mentality at a Soccer Match