November 30, 2004

Clear Mind

This morning our little corner of the world was wrapped in a dark gray cloak. This grayness eventually will lift. Even on cloudy mornings like this, gentle visible signs of spirit are everywhere… I relish becoming mindful and acknowledging these signs. Example: the light filtering through the last of the brilliant golden leaves outside my window, the family of deer prancing along the busy avenue this morning, the sounds of the kids on the playground, and the twinkle in a friend’s eye. A knowing glance, a soft smile, heartfelt conversation, an honest delight in each day; these are small and outward signs of the graceful presence I hold within. Sometimes, however, my own graceful presence is clouded over by dark thinking.

My spiritual friend amusingly notices when I let my thinking cloud my clear mind. We laugh together about this. Inspired by a Buddhist quote, I have learned that my clear mind is like the morning cloudiness that lifts to reveal the beautiful blue beyond that is always there… Or the full moon in the sky. Sometimes clouds come and cover it, but the moon is always behind them. When the clouds lift the moon shines brightly. I am learning not to worry about clear mind: it is always there. When cloudy thinking comes, behind it is clear mind. When cloudy thinking goes, there is my clear mind. Thinking comes and goes, comes and goes. I am becoming less attached to the coming or the going. It happens. I’m glad to have a spiritual friend to remind me.

November 25, 2004

Everyday Sacred

The more I dwell in the Light, I notice everyday to be sacred. My reaction has increasingly been to experience a feeling of gratitude that overflows within me. I recognize that every day, every breeze, flower, raindrop, each part of myself and in each of my relationships – God is present.

Today in my kitchen, this sacred presence is so very evident. It swirls in the air with delightful fragrance of traditional cooking, its warmth radiates with the sunlight through the steamy windows. But most of all, this sacredness fills my heart with an awareness of abundance to which I feel fully awake.

Dear friends and family are gathering in my small kitchen today; we will sit side by side amidst this swirling sacred energy and share this abundance. Sensing this sacred energy, and becoming fully present to it, I again feel a gratitude that springs from a deep well within me. This Thanksgiving gratitude overflows to my every day, for I witness every day to be sacred, just as this one is.

November 20, 2004

Tree of Awe

You must have shadow and light source both
Listen, and lay your head under the tree of awe.


This is not a day for asking questions,
not a day on any calendar.
This day is conscious of itself.
This day is a lover, bread, and gentleness,
more manifest than saying can say.


November 15, 2004

Spirit is Here

Her shoulder was next to mine. Eleanor is 82, a sturdy, quiet woman. A naturalist, Eleanor loves birds, and birdsongs. She has gone far distances to record the songs of many birds. Her demeanor reminds me of a bird: small, quiet, watchful, not wanting to be in anyone’s way.

Usually Eleanor just sits quietly during Quaker Meeting. Today however, she spoke. Her voice gravely, and quiet, she asked, “What is Spirit, anyway?”

As Quakers, we try to speak simply, and from experience – given that’s all we truly can know. After quiet moments of reflection, I softly offer this response to Eleanor:

"Spirit is in the birdsong, in the breeze, in the illuminated autumn leaves. Spirit is in our breath, in the beat of our heart. Spirit is in our center – that calm place of peaceful understanding. Spirit is the quiet voice we hear.Spirit is in the rain, and the reflection of the moon in the rain. Spirit is the warmth radiating from a friend’s eye. Spirit is in joy, in sorrow, in exuberance and exhaustion."

"Spirit is here with us now."

I feel Eleanor’s shoulder next to mine. I hear her sigh a Knowing sort of sigh. “Oh.... ” I look, and see the warmth in a Friend’s eye. A tender smile, a feeling of Friendship between us.

Spirit is here, now.

November 14, 2004

Not Two

Spiritual Friendship is like these water drops - each friend separate, reflecting light from one another, gracefully traveling along the same path, made from one great source. As we enter the water, the one vast ocean, our differences dissolve. Merging, we interact, creating ripples and movement, but are one with the great sea.

As separate drops we are unique personalities and expression; as merged drops we share spiritually on a deep level where we are not-two - our true nature is as one.

Spiritual Friendship is a rich blessing.
With deep gratitude to my Friend.

Posted by Hello

November 12, 2004

Ephemeral Musings

Trees glowing in autumn splendor, the delicate umbers radiant in the foggy dawn are exquisitely beautiful. Occasional trees or group of leaves seem to be absolutely illuminated with a Graceful Presence. This beauty stirred a memory: I remember lying on my back underneath a tree, looking at the sky and dazzling sunlight through the leaves. A delightful, ephemeral, perhaps mundane, historical moment. But then, gradually, something in the focus of my vision would change, and the leaves and sky and light lost dimension, and all became one, leaves moving up and sky moving in. The leaves were illuminated and a part of the sunlight and sky, and I, absorbed, would forget myself…no longer the viewer. Timeless. Then I would feel the moist grass under my back, and my focus shifted and time again existed and the fleeting moment would be gone. Illuminated leaves coming into existence and passing out again. This was a moment existing in time, in the historical dimension, however it seems that there are so many ephemeral moments in our lives, such as this one, in which we touch or glimpse the vertical axis. It is evocative to conjure them up again.

Another moment that just flashed before me was a memory of looking at my newborn’s face, doing that mimicking sort of dance that parents and their newborn babies do… and then looking deeper, I forgot who I was looking at and began to sense that I was looking at myself because something in my baby’s face, her eyes, seems so familiar it was as though it was me, or someone I have always known… Ephemeral, fleeting, magical moment, yet one that seems to not be of time but rather be of the ultimate dimension. These moments do not happen because of any desire, they are not born of intention. These seem to be flashes on the vertical axis; of a timeless Presence.

November 6, 2004

Empty Beach

Walking on the empty beach, barefoot, I stride the juncture of the sand and the water - sometimes I am walking in the water, sometimes on the sand. Ever moving back and forth - in the water and then not. But my feet remain wet. And while on the sand, the memory of the ocean water and the feel of the waves lingers. In the water, I feel my toes grip the sand. Walking, I forget. Am I on the sand or in the water? Actually, I have never left the sand. I have never left the water. They are both right here. Right under and over and through me. I am immersed in both.

Walking on the empty beach, I am aware of a vastness I cannot fully comprehend. Vast sky, vast ocean, and vast grains of sand. I am small, barely significant, nothing. My heart overflows. I am so in love with this earth and sky, ocean and stars, and the astonishing Presence that permeates all. It is as if my love for these surroundings is the impulse that makes it so...makes the water so cold, makes the sky and ocean so blue, makes the breeze so fresh. Right here is the moving juncture of the historical and ultimate axis. Right here. Where ever I am. Where ever you are.

The seagulls take flight.

November 3, 2004

Like an Embryo

Little by little, wean yourself.

This is the gist of what I have to say.

From an embryo, whose nourishment comes in the blood,
move to an infant drinking milk,
to a child on solid food,
to a searcher after wisdom,
to a hunter of more invisible game.

Think how it is to have a conversation with an embryo.
You might say, “The world outside is vast and intricate.
There are wheat fields and mountain passes, and orchards in bloom.

At night there are millions of galaxies, and in sunlight
the beauty of friends dancing at a wedding.”

You ask the embryo why he, or she, stays cooped up
in the dark with eyes closed.

Listen to the answer.

There is no “other world.”
I only know what I’ve experienced.
You must be hallucinating.

Jelaluddin Rumi