December 30, 2006

Gollum and Compassion

Meredith: A friend has been going through a very difficult time. As I listened and tried to be helpful, a tide of my own darkness welled up within me. As I looked at my friend, eye to eye, and as I listened deeply, I recognized that this pain, grief, sorrow, shame and self loathing my friend was sharing is inside of me, too. As I touched this angst, it felt as though I was tapping into a hidden corner of my own being that I rarely have the courage to recognize. It wasn't until I really felt this, and looked carefully at the ugly contents that I began to really understand my friend. It seems that in these sad and deep tributaries within ourselves we will find common ground that is fertile for compassion.
"Compassion is not a relationship between the healer and the wounded. It's a relationship between equals. Only when we know our own darkness well can we be present with the darkness of others. Compassion becomes real when we recognize our shared humanity."
--Pema Chodron

Friend: This darkness within us, it is a character like Tolkien's Gollum, and it appears to be universal in all human beings. We each have a different version, but it is a darkness that is part of our shared humanity. It does provide a common ground that allows for us to feel tenderness, connection, kindness and compassion.

Meredith: These dark images make me feel sooo sad, it is nearly unbearable to keep thinking about it for very long. And yet it feels so real and authentic, like "Yes, Gollum is finally out in the open, this terrible ugly secret I have been harboring. Now you know the truth of me."

Friend: Yes this is the stuff of which Gollum is made. Acknowledging our own darkness is excruciating, and yet...and yet... we must bear this woundedness, hold our sorrow, fear and confusion within an open heart. Holding these feelings, bearing them, allowing them to be and then to go of their own accord, however raw, exposed and vulnerable gives birth to warmth and compassion. I have indulged, much more often I have repressed, and both of these ways lead to further suffering. But to allow, to accept, to hold and bear with an open heart is sooooo hard, yet it is the way I have discovered to any real peace. And yes, this is a brand new discovery. My Gollum carries the key that brings light into the darkness, the light and warmth of consciousness which dispels shadow. As excruciatingly difficult as it is, as hard as it is to hold, allowing my Gollum to be - because it is, I genuinely feel wretched and unlovable in my darkest corners, I feel sorrow and fear and confusion - is paradoxically the key to healing my suffering.

I asked the universe for the power to heal suffering, and the universe showed me compassion. Compassion was the universe's response to my request for the power to heal the suffering of myself and others.

Pema Chodron also says this over and over, compassion is a key to healing suffering of self and other. And Sylvia Boorstein says it, too; "I think it's the awareness of the vulnerability to sorrow that human beings share that keeps me kind." Warmth and love and kindness come out of being present with our own darkness, our own vulnerability, suffering, sorrow, fear and confusion. It is this awareness of our shared vulnerability to pain that generates our love and warmth for ourselves and others. It is what heals and soothes suffering.

Meredith: Right. I, too, am finding that only when I am conscious of my own woundedness and suffering, conscious of my own darkness, can I be present with the woundedness and darkness of others. This "being present with" is compassion, and it is compassion that soothes and heals suffering.

December 27, 2006

A Walk

Often on Christmas morning, my family takes a walk. Although this December we have had very rainy and dark winter days here in Oregon, I have memories of unseasonable warm and sunny Christmas mornings in which we have gone out walking. Regardless of the weather, we walk with uplifted spirits and joyfulness in our hearts. Within us, something circulates about which we do not usually give words to. Rilke finds these words in this poem, reminding me of the ephemeral quality I sense moving through each of us.

A Walk

My eyes already touch the sunny hill,
going far ahead of the road I have begun.
So we are grasped by what we cannot grasp;
it has its inner light, even from a distance----

and changes us, even if we do not reach it,
into something else, which, hardly sensing it, we already are;
a gesture waves us on, answering our own wave...
but what we feel is the wind in our faces.

-Ranier Maria Rilke

December 19, 2006

To Love Another

For one human being to love another: that is perhaps the most difficult of all our tasks, the ultimate, the last test and proof, the work for which all other work is but preparation. For this reason young people, who are beginners in everything, cannot yet know love: they have to learn it. With their whole being, with all their forces, gathered close about their lonely timid, upward-beating heart, they must learn to love. But learning-time is always a long, secluded time, and, so loving, for a long while ahead and far on into life, is—solitude, intensified and deepened loneness for him who loves. Love is at first not anything that means merging, giving over, and uniting with another (for what would a union be of something unclarified and unfinished, still subordinate—?), it is a high inducement to the individual to ripen, to become something in himself, to become world, to become world for himself for another’s sake, it is great exacting claim upon him, something that chooses him out and calls him to vast things.

letter seven in Letters to a Young Poet

December 15, 2006

What Do You See?

Robert Genn, author of The Painter's Keys, is traveling and visited Musee de L'Orangerie in Paris where the Claude Monet waterlily paintings are on display. He shared this experience:

I've been in these two rooms for so long that my stomach is concerned. A guard has already determined that I'm planning a heist. I'm sure she has alerted her supervisors. And then there's a man who has been in here almost as long as I. He moves from bench to bench. He has a round, friendly face and an honest smile. I find relief in pretending we have met. We talk in hushed, religious tones. He is M. LeClerc, an actuary from Poitiers, in Paris for four days. He thinks I'm an American. I tell him I'm from Canada. "What do you see here?" I ask him.

"I know nothing about art," he tells me, "But every time I come to Paris I enter these rooms. The collection was closed for some six years and Paris was very dull. These are sublime things. They are beyond words or expressions. They cannot be categorized or listed. In winter they take you to spring. They bring my boyhood and my home. Maybe God is in these things. What do I see? I see sadness and I see beauty. What else do we need? What else do we have?" His face is flushed, his eyes moist. "But then, who am I to say?" he asks. "I know nothing about art. Do you have such experiences in Canada?"

December 8, 2006

My Life, My Soul

Ten years ago.....
I turned my face for a moment
and it became my life.

Sometimes I go about pitying myself,
and all along
my soul is being blown by great winds across the sky.

—Ojibway saying

December 6, 2006


Robert Genn, author of the newsletter, The Painter’s Keys recently wrote about Obos, a Japanese term for a pile of rocks, often only three, one on top of another. He writes, “The obos merely says, "I was here." Being an unusual configuration, it is obviously from the hand of man. Further, if it is knocked down or desecrated, it is easily rebuilt. There can be one at the bottom of the garden or in a private corner of a public park."

"Obos is a destination, a sanctuary, a shrine and a focal point that reminds us that we work with our hands. We are builders and what we build is sacred. Obos may appear inconsequential and be unnoticed by a casual passersby. It's a private tribute to something higher, something we might be striving for but find difficult to attain. Approach obos with a relaxed, curious mind. It can help with answers to questions not consciously asked. Obos gives pause, a contemplative thought or a new direction, a respite from clutter, a rededication to our struggle and an affirmation of the value of our personal effort. Obos is the carrier of a golden secret. Obos is like art itself. "

Photo by Joanna McKasy

December 4, 2006

Limitless Whole

The true person is
not like anyone in particular;
but like the deep blue color
of the limitless sky,
it is everyone,
everywhere in the world.

Dogen (1200-1253)

I am reminded of both the limitless Whole in harmony with the someone in particular. Heaven and earth, sky and clouds, this wonderful manifestation of the many in the one, of emptiness as form.

So much of our daily living has been dominated soley by the conditioned, that most of us are unconscious of our true nature as "not anyone in particular" but like the sky, everyone and everything, everywhere in the world.


December 1, 2006

Miracles of Each Moment

The above artwork is by Kazuaki Tanahashi, author of Brush Mind. In his book, Kazuaki writes,
"There is no need to imagine before you paint. Painting brings forth imagination."
No special conditions are needed to write, paint, or begin a creative endeavor. Though it feels risky, we can have confidence in the life-giving capacity of risk. One brush stroke leads to another, one word leads to another, one note on a song sheet calls forth the next. All we have to do is begin. Our willingness to risk brings the moment, ourselves and our work to life in a way that did not exist just moments before.

November 30, 2006

This is The Hour

We have been telling the people that this is the Eleventh Hour.

Now you must go back and tell the people that this is The Hour.

And there are things to be considered. Where are you living? What are you doing? What are your relationships? Are you in the right relation? Where is your water? Know your garden.

It is time to speak your truth: Create your community. Be good to each other.

And do not look outside yourself for the leader: This could be a good time!

There is a river flowing now very fast. It is so great and swift that there are those who will be afraid. They will try to hold onto the shore. They will feel they are being torn apart and they will suffer greatly.

Know the river has its destination.

The elders say we must let go of the shore, and push off into the river, keep our eyes open, and our head above the water.

See who is in there and celebrate. At this time in history, we are to take nothing personally. Least of all ourselves. For the moment that we do, our spiritual growth and journey comes to a halt.

The time of the lone wolf is over. Gather yourselves! Banish the word struggle from your attitude and your vocabulary. All that you do now must be done in a sacred manner... and in celebration.

We are the ones we've been waiting for...

The Great River - The Elders, Hopi Nation, Oraibi, Arizona

November 29, 2006

Broken Gong

Like a broken gong
Be still, be silent.
Know the stillness of freedom
Where there is no more striving.

- Buddha in the Dhammapada

It is touching that this awakened one used the brokenness of the gong to illustrate the stillness of absolute freedom. Such brilliance. At once it acknowledges the sad aspect of this human existence, so filled with brokenness: broken hearts, broken bodies, broken intellects and mental capacities, broken personalities and emotions, broken selves, and then leaps courageously and confidently to the joy of freedom found in silence and stillness, where there is no more striving. This is the sad/joyful heart that is awake.


November 27, 2006

Ancient Sound

"When I paint what you know, I bore you.

When I paint what I know, I bore me.

So I paint what I don't know."

Paul Klee

November 24, 2006

Gateway of Awe

The hidden stitch of light sewn into the fabric of all of life is part of who and what we are.

This teaching of the universality of creative sparks implies that whether we are answering the telephone, changing the baby, riding the subway, or writing a poem, we are in touch with the creative source of life itself. Everything we encounter provides the same opportunity for us to meet the creative source: the play of early morning sunlight on our eyelids, the smooth cloth of the pillowcase beneath our cheek, the cutting of carrots and celery. But we must remember that being in touch with the creative is not just a matter of what we come upon as we move though our day. It is right here, the teaching says, in ourselves. When we learn to see with the eyes of the creative itself, every moment is an opportunity for new expression. We are always standing at a gateway of awe.
~Peter Levine

November 23, 2006


For roses blooming on Thanksgiving

November 20, 2006

Silent Language

Silence is the language of God. All else is poor translation. In order to hear that language, we must learn to be still and to rest in God.

~Thomas Merton

Hear Me Calling

On the night when you cross the street
from your shop and your house
to the cemetery,
you'll hear me calling you from inside
the open grave, and you'll realize
how we've always been together.
I am the clear consciousness-core
of your being, the same in
ecstasy as in self-hating fatigue.
That night, when you escape the fear of snakebite
and all irritation with the ants, you'll hear
my familiar voice, see the candle being lit,
smell the incense, the surprised meal fixed
by the lover inside all your other lovers.
This heart-tumult is my signal
to you igniting in the tomb.
So don't fuss with the shroud
and the graveyard road dust.
Those get ripped open and washed away
in the music of our finally meeting.
And don't look for me in a human shape.
I am inside your looking. No room
for form with love this strong.
Beat the drum and let the poets speak.
This is the day of purification for those who
are already mature and initiated into what love is.
No need to wait until we die!
There's more to want here than money
and being famous and bites of roasted meat.
Now, what shall we call this new sort of gazing-house
that has opened in our town where people sit
quietly and pour out their glancing
like light, like answering?


November 18, 2006


Jack pines... are not lumber trees [and they] won't win many beauty contests, either. But to me this valiant old tree, solitary on its own rock point, is as beautiful as a living thing can be... In the calligraphy of its shape against the sky is written strength of character and perseverance, survival of wind, drought, cold, heat, disease... In its silence it speaks of wholeness...and integrity that comes from being what you are.

Douglas Wood, Fawn Island

November 16, 2006

Sonada Monastery

"Make of yourself a light,"
I used to hear
from Buddha's long-lost lips
each day as I woke before dawn
in this mountain hermitage.
The five-peaked jeweled mountain
towers over the Darjeeling horizon
as I start a fire for tea
and prepare my morning prayers.

Kalu Rinpoche, 1973
Painting: Monty & Cookie

November 15, 2006

Hidden Names

I was speaking with a rabbi friend some time ago about what mystical Judaism calls the hidden names of God. In this tradition it is said that the name of the Divine cannot truly be known. Oneness, the Divine Plenty, the Infinite, the Nameless One – these and many other names have been offered for what cannot be named. I told my friend that I loved that we try to say what can’t be said and hear what can’t be heard. It’s a good sign – a sign that in our species creativity is well and alive.

“But,” I said, “I am sometimes daunted by such grand names. I prefer a simpler name, one that rolls off the tongue. One I can say on a train.”

When my friend heard this he looked at me with great excitement. The love he feels for the world filled his eyes.

“But didn’t you know?” he said. “It’s the secret of secrets, the joy of joys: One of the hidden names is Yes! And another is Now!"

~Peter Levitt

November 13, 2006

The Ancient Masters

didn't try to educate the people,
but kindly taught them to not-know.

When they think that they know the answers,
people are difficult to guide.
When they know that they don't know,
people can find their own way.

The Tao Te Ching, 65
Stephen Mitchell

November 11, 2006

The Sacred Breath

The seasons have changed - burrr! As we move deeper into autumn, merging toward winter, I have been curling up near the woodstove with a good book in the evenings, enjoying warmth and candlelight near the sweet presence of my Beloved and my pets. These are simple moments, bathed in sacredness.

On Saturdays, I become a 'weekend warrior' with my studies. Most weekends this past month I have been to trainings and to school in Portland, which is three hours from my home. This weekend, it feels so good to just be home. One recent weekend I was away for a five-day silent meditation retreat. It was, in a word, a blissful experience. To have the luxury to take five days from the busy-ness of my life was so refreshing to my soul. I really was able to calm, quiet, and touch that within me that begs to be listened to.

One of the things the meditation teacher Frank Ostaseski offered was an instruction on listening deeply to our bodies. What is our body telling us? He had us tune in to what ever was most present in our awareness in this moment - an ache in the knee, a burning in the throat, a sensation of tears in the eyes, an itch, etc. And then, we watched the sensations move through us, changing from this moment to the next. This is the way truth is revealed, he said. It was amazing the depth of experience that just this noticing was able to offer. We touched not only the feeling in our bodies, but the sadness that rose up with it, or the longing, the gratitude, or warmth and love - all these qualities that just seemed to emerge clearly in these moments of listening in silence. Whenever this felt destabilizing, or passed on naturally, without manipulating, we returned our focus to our own breath.

Of our breath my teacher said, "We touch the sacred with each breath. With each breath, we just keep dipping into the sacred." I thought that was so beautiful! My teacher reminded us that breath animates all of life - and this is surely a sacred quality. He reminded us of the scriptures in Genesis, which all begin with the word. God spoke, “Let there be light,” and there was light… and God said, “Let there be an expanse between the waters…” and there was...." My teacher said, this was true until it came to man. “God formed man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living being.” So, he said, “Breath is the vehicle to return to God. This is the ground of all being. Breath is the vehicle that takes us beyond thought, form, and into direct experience. The breath takes us beyond words, beyond our ideas, into our deepest, truest nature."

This teaching has been settling within me, quieting me, joining me - when I am mindful, with God's presence right here, right now, with each and every breath.

~With gratitude to Frank Ostaseski

November 10, 2006

Langston Speaks of Rivers

I've known rivers:
I've known rivers ancient as the world and older than the
flow of human blood in human veins.

My soul has grown deep like the rivers.

I bathed in the Euphrates when dawns were young.
I built my hut near the Congo and it lulled me to sleep.
I looked upon the Nile and raised the pyramids above it.
I heard the singing of the Mississippi when Abe Lincoln
went down to New Orleans, and I've seen its muddy bosom
turn all golden in the sunset.

I've known rivers:
Ancient, dusky rivers.

My soul has grown deep like the rivers.

~Langston Hughes

The picture above is of the Columbia River from Astoria, Oregon, where I grew up. When I read this poem by Langston Hughes many years ago, it touched something within me.

I, too, have known rivers - ancient and dusky rivers.

My native ancestors in Alaska fished on the Bering Sea and on inlets off the Aleutian chain. My father went to sea as a teenager, and later worked on the Columbia River as a bar pilot. My brother was a commercial fisherman and is now a tugboat operator on this river.

Every morning when I woke as a child I turned to the window to check the weather on the Columbia. I remember clearly the sound of foghorns when visibility was low, and the sounds of ships sounding their horns, signaling for pilots. I remember the fishy fragrance of river water, especially when our dogs would come back from swimming in the river. I remember riding the ferry across the Columbia, and later, watching the big bridge being built. I remember going to work with my dad, and can clearly imagine the sounds of water lapping, and the smell of cigar smoke in the cabin of the pilot boat. I remember people - friends and family - who died on the Columbia River. The memory of scattering my dad's ashes from the pilot boat on the Columbia River sand bar a few years ago is still very vivid.

I now live near a smaller river, the Umpqua, that ambles through the county near my home. I love my daily drive along the Umpqua, and I love standing on its shores, skipping stones, inhaling the fragrance, and watching the waters flow. With my family I have loved hiking alongside rivers, and swimming, fishing, and rafting in the waters.

Today I am mesmerized by the reflections of autumn trees on the Umpqua river, and by sunlight sparkling on its jade colored current in the late afternoon.

My connection to rivers is primordial - older than the flow of blood in my human veins.
My soul, too, has grown deep like the rivers.

November 9, 2006

Pouring Light

pours light
into every cup,
quenching darkness.

The proudly pious
stuff their cups with parchment
and critique the taste of ink

while God pours light

and the trees lift their limbs
without worry of redemption,
every blossom a chalice.

Hafiz, seduce those withered souls
with words that wet their parched lips

as light
pours like rain
into every empty cup
set adrift on the Infinite Ocean.

~ Hafiz ~

November 8, 2006

Where do we find Buddha?

Sentient beings are primarily all Buddhas:
It is like ice and water,
Apart from water no ice can exist;
Outside sentient beings, where do we find the Buddhas?
Not knowing how near the Truth is,
People seek it far away, what a pity!
- Hakuin (1685–1768)

November 7, 2006

On the Move

One of my friends, Trev Diesel, has moved his blog, The Sound of Diesel Musing, to a new web address:

Tea Time

The iris pond has flowered
Before the old temple;
I sell tea this evening
By the water's edge.
It is steeped in the cups
With the moon and stars;
Drink and wake forever
From your worldly sleep.

Baisao 1675-1763


Tea Tasting

I like to sip sweet tea

a mix of peppermint and licorice –

amber gold and smooth as silk.

I have a silk shirt that feels like

that tea tastes.

It sits on my shoulders like a warm breeze.

That tea tasts like Ramana's soft eyes

like Buddha's serene face.

People go looking far and wide

for the Buddha's enlightenment

but I just sip my tea

and my tea swallows me.

The Buddha breaks into a grin

and Ramana winks one eye

like my grandfather did

when he knew that I knew

what he knew.

I like green tea too.

Strong and bitter

like the taste of grass.

Like tasting sure defeat –

the kind that you can

taste on the tip of your tongue

the kind that can change

your life on a dime


With each bitter sip

Manjushri's sword

cuts the mind to pieces

cuts it awake

and cuts awakeness

into emptiness.

People come here

and listen to my dharma words

when all I really want to do

is sell them a little tea.



Wakefully, we drink tea
sipping from simple cups
holding the moon
and galaxies of stars.

We sip this priceless tea
smiling as a Buddha

freely warming ourselves
of life and of love.


November 6, 2006

Through Your Eyes

~Another nugget from Adyashanti:

Being your true self, being your true nature, is different than experiencing it with thought. Realize that you are the mystery, and that you can’t really look at the mystery because you are only capable of looking from the mystery. There is a very awake, alive, and loving mystery, and that’s what is seeing though your eyes at this moment. That’s what is hearing through your ears at this moment. Instead of trying to figure it all out, which is impossible, I suggest you ask, “What’s ultimately behind this set of eyes?” Turn around to see what is looking. Encounter pure mystery, which is pure spirit, and wake up to what you are.

November 5, 2006

November 4, 2006

Thyme on her Hands

she was eighty six

when she turned to dance

some say it was dementia

yet to see her in the garden
moving above the fall crocus
grace among the late roses
swaying with the cool wind

to see her smile
light as the white fingered
clouds of autumn

you found the way in
lightly through a bed of thyme
speckled with delicate petals
remembering her graceful turning


So beautiful, imagining this Being, on an autumn afternoon. The sun is coming through her white hair, reminiscing soft clouds, as she is turning through the late summer roses. I detect the fragrance of lemon thyme on her hands. ~M

November 3, 2006

Draw Closer into the Dance of Life

Recently Isaiah shared this:
"Our life and death are the same thing. When we realize this fact we have no fear of death anymore, and we have no actual difficulty in our life."
In this realization we can become more humane and compassionate rather than less and draw closer into the dance of life. We can become free to embrace our human element, while at the same time be the witness too. As we witness, we also rest in the words of Maharshi:

"The realized person weeps with the weeping,
laughs with the laughing,
plays with the playful,
sings with those who sing,
keeping time with the song...
What does he lose?"

Thank you, dear friend. You are a tremendous inspiration to many.

November 2, 2006

What We Need Is Here

The Wild Geese

Horseback on Sunday morning,
harvest over, we taste persimmon
and wild grape, sharp sweet
of summer's end. In time's maze
over the fall fields, we name names
that went west from here, names
that rest on graves. We open
a persimmon seed to find the tree
that stands in promise,
pale, in the seed's marrow.
Geese appear high over us,
pass, and the sky closes. Abandon,
as in love or sleep, holds
them to their way, clear,
in the ancient faith: what we need
is here. And we pray, not
for new earth or heaven, but to be
quiet in heart, and in eye
clear. What we need is here.

~ Wendell Berry

November 1, 2006

Mr. Duffy

I love this line by James Joyce from one of his short stories in Dubliners:
Mr. Duffy lived a short distance from his body.
This made me laugh when I heard it recently. Then I realized that sometimes I have lived a short distance from my body, too, and I felt sad about that. Sometimes I am just disconnected, and I don't realize it. My head spins off in rational thought, or I may become immersed in an emotion that envelops me, separating me from my cognitive reason and my bodily sensations.

In meditation recently, I began to grok that I am able to listen, and inhabit my whole body when I stabilize my attention. This involves turning the lens of attention to my experience in this moment, and then to concentric circles of my moment-to-moment experience, without pushing any of it away. In this, when listening deeply and fully, I begin to discern a unique and full expression of who I am.

I can listen from my head - and find clarity and discernment. I can listen from my heart, and delve into a full range of emotions that arise within me, including my inherent warmth, love, and compassion. And also, I can listen from my body. Here I am able to really feel my chest and my gut, to detect tension in my shoulder, or a restriction in my throat. Further, I am able to (sometimes only subtly) detect a 'felt sense', and tune into my intuition. My awareness of the truth of this moment deepens when I am listening carefully to my body. It is with this fullness that I sense the openness of Presence.

I know that my ego alone can never fully know the forces of my unfolding - I have to listen to and with my whole being. When listening fully, a larger guidance emerges, a kind of complete intelligence that is inherent within me. This is available in the context of my very ordinary life. As I learn to discern this guidance, which is always already available, it naturally helps me in my functioning, in a very connected, integrated manner.

October 31, 2006


This morning I woke to a very dense fog, thick and pervasive, hanging low in the trees. And then I noticed something else... along the river steam was rising to meet the fog. Fog and steam... really they are the same thing - water vapor, rising, falling, meeting, blending. There is something very beautiful in this.

This is how we meet today - with love: pervasive, rising and meeting one another in openness.

October 30, 2006


Another aspect of openness is intimacy. The quickest access to Truth, and also to beauty, is when you are totally intimate with all of experience, the inner and the outer... When you are being intimate with the whole of experience, the divided mind has to let go of whatever its project is at the moment. In this intimacy, one becomes very open and discovers vastness. Whether the qualities of the experience are unpleasant or beautiful, as soon as you are intimate with the whole of experience, there is openness.


October 29, 2006

Tender Place

Today my prayer consisted in simply going to my heart and re-membering all the folks I've stored there. It is not cold storage. It is a quite warm and tender place.

-- Sr. Macrina Wiederkehr, OSB Tree Full of Angels

October 27, 2006

In Synch

The experience of vivid synchronicity operating in one's life is often joyful. You feel the deep relatedness you have with existence. Sometimes this can be a bit startling, and make us want to run for cover into the familiar, predictable world of ego-fixation where we are most often oblivious to the brightness of synchronicity. Sometimes synchronicity is downright unpleasant, but this does not mean it is absent of good information; does not mean that existence is giving us a bad time. On the contrary, it is love in a package that may be unpleasant but which nonetheless wakes us up. In these cases usually it is we who do not want that particular information because it does not line up with our wants, ideas or belief.
"A man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest."


October 26, 2006

The Water Drop

A while back, Aki wrote of letting go, as a drop, slipping from the moist leaf hanging over the pond at sunrise…the point of no return… Such a vivid image - I could feel it. I could feel the slipperiness, the wet shininess of the leaf, the gleaming of the morning sun, the warmth, the movement… It reminded me of the droplets in the story Shunryu Suzuki Roshi wrote about in his book, Zen Mind Beginner Mind. Suzuki Roshi visited the 1,340-foot waterfall in Yosemite. In telling this story of the waterfall, Suzuki Roshi demonstrated his teaching of non-separation, and his capacity for compassion in the metaphor of the water drop:
"…the water comes down like a curtain thrown from the top of the mountain. It does not seem to come down swiftly, as you might expect; it seems to come down very slowly because of the distance. And the water does not come down as one stream, but is separated into many tiny streams. From a distance it looks like a curtain. And I thought it must be very difficult for each drop of water to come down from the top of such a high mountain. It takes time, you know, a long time, for the water finally to reach the bottom of the waterfall. And it seems to me, that our human life may be like this. We have many difficult experiences in our life. But at the same time, I thought, the water was not originally separated, but was one whole river. Only when it is separated does it have some difficulty in falling. …after we are separated by birth from this oneness, as the water falling form the waterfall is separated by the wind and rocks, then we have feeling. You have difficulty because you have feeling, you attach to the feeling you have without knowing just how this kind of feeling is created. When you do not realize that you are one with the river, or one with the universe, you have fear. Whether it is separated into drops or not, water is water. Our life and death are the same thing. When we realize this fact we have no fear of death anymore, and we have no actual difficulty in our life."

October 25, 2006


With my folding fan
I measured the peony --
as it demanded

So many breezes
wander through my summer room:
but never enough

Before this autumn wind
even the shadows of mountains
shudder and tremble

I know everything
about the old householder,
even his shiver


October 24, 2006

My Eyes So Soft

Don't surrender your loneliness so quickly
let it cut more deep.
Let it ferment and season you
as few human or even divine ingredients can
Something missing in my heart tonight
has made my eyes so soft
my voice so tender
my need of god
absolutely clear.


October 23, 2006

Impulse of Dismissal

To one who sees with pure eyes,
from you comes silence -
not the hot air of the pundit and scholar;
not the yadda-yadda of professors
and students endlessly debating
points of long-dead scripture.

Out of your mouth -
the mouth of Jesus
comes the freshness and purity
from which scripture may be written.

You may embrace your regal heritage
or dismiss this with smile or frown,
shuffling some papers or ...,
but let us look lovingly and deeply
into the impulse of dismissal,
from where it comes, and where it leads;
from inherent abundance
to obsessive rehabilitation and substantiation of the self
with its impoverishment and pauperistic pseudo-humility.
Let us draw useful distinctions
between arrogance and unconditioned confidence,
between conceit and the vast, natural
wisdom of the cosmic mirror -
wisdom and warmth that is not acquired,
never acquired, but which we are.

Unless you take the Via Reggia,
claim your royal inheritance, your inherent abundance -
whole, with nothing left out, whole -
how can you give the clear mirror
in which the beautiful ones fall in love with themselves?
If you do not hold up the mirror of groundlessness
as it has been held for you, how will they polish their souls
and kindle remembering in others?

Tommy said,
"To serve as a light for others to see requires that we hold up a mirror to the awakened self…"
Shine on you crazy diamond

Meredith: Amazing you should mention this today, as I have been reflecting on a branch of this same tree. The impulse of dismissal, as I am thinking about it, is an impulse of evasion of the experience of God. This is the topic of resistance – a retreat or hesitancy to open oneself to the light that is shining for us.

There is a link here to intention – that when we articulate our longing, and when our longing appears to come into view, sometimes we react with fear, or resistance, a feeling of being swallowed whole or something like that.

"God gently lures us into intimacy and unexpectedly explodes us into mystery." ~Janet Ruffing

This may cause our opening to close up again - perhaps only briefly, perhaps for a longer time. We affectively distance ourselves from the open door. This mystery is felt to be simply too much until our capacity expands and our tolerance increases. I don't see this as arrogance or obsessive substantiation of self – but rather simply a retreat born of our natural inclinations.

A dear author, Gerald May, wrote,
"The human mind is an endless source of inventiveness when it comes to avoiding the implications of the spiritual experience."
Resistance is quite likely an unconscious response that is part of all normal growth in which a person avoids some issue, some experience, or some insight by a form of avoiding behavior. We willingly stop intimate connections; we turn our heads and eyes and hearts away from communion when it feels like just too much. This response to intimacy is mirrored in our early relationships with 'other'. This is a dynamic of fear of and flight from intimacy. Likely this is an unconscious fear. When it emerges, we see ourselves or see in another a retreating from closeness that was right at hand. This is an important, perhaps pivotal point of process in awakening.

To be with a friend at this time, to open our hearts, to listen, be with, and gently inquire, to nudge another to further open rather than retreat is the gift of spiritual friendship. This is midwifery, yes? This is holding the mirror.

October 22, 2006

Meditation on Mirrors

Give the beautiful ones mirrors of groundlessness.
Looking in such a mirror they begin to re-member;
with it they polish their souls.

When an empty mirror is held up to ego-fixation,
an alchemical melting occurs. Polishing:

a wheat grain sprouts, grows, is ground in the mill,
baked, crushed again between teeth, and digested
to become a persons deepest understanding.

With this understanding a person falls in love
with themselves; unconditioned love blossoms.
With this blossoming, they become a mirror
of groundlessness.

By offering this mirror to another
they kindle re-membering in the other.

(Inspired by Childhood Friends by Rumi

October 18, 2006

Silence of Listening

In the silence

of listening,

you can know yourself

in everyone,

the unseen

singing softly

to itself and to you.

Rachel Naomi Remen

October 16, 2006

The Dash

The Dash is a beautiful short movie with some simple truths to ponder.

This is like a sweet love letter. When something like this touches us, we are moved. We have a temporary glimpse of unconditioned love, of joy without an opposite, of freshness, tenderness, intimacy and authenticity. For a moment we are present and emotion fills us; a tear may fall. But after the passing tears, the real challenge is to live this now, moment to moment for as long as this dash lasts; to hear the message that this human life is but a brief candle and we have the opportunity to love, radically and unconventionally, to take great risks with love and tenderness and generosity, to make a non-rational leap into genuineness, at the risk of appearing foolish.

I recall a scene in Brother Sun Sister Moon, a beautiful movie where a young St. Francis is standing in the village square among a gathering of all the citizens and elders of Assisi, and he realizes all-at-once the meaning of "The Dash," at which point he sheds his clothing and walks out of the village gate - his nakedness matching the beauty and innocence of the open Tuscan countryside. In order to experience and live the truth he had realized, he had to shed all of the conditioning of church and state, all of the coverings that obscured the unconditioned love bursting from his heart. We are no different from young Francis, and our challenge is exactly the same today, now, as it was in Assisi during his day. Are we willing to live this love, or will The Dash be just another pretty experience on our memory shelf.?

This little jewel reminds me of living love, living it as fully as possible while we still have this beautiful earth in our arms.


October 13, 2006


Twenty years ago I met a man from Montana who watched the news on television and read the newspapers because he said that doing so awakened his heart of compassion. Although not particularly interested in the news itself, he found these two forms of media rich sources for cultivating his growing sense of care for and connection to people, animals, landmasses, oceans, forests, and countries all over the planet. He went on to say that he would sit down in his living room, watch or read about some atrocity occurring in some part of the world, and feel his pain, his impulse to turn away, and, in turn, his sense of connection with all of these beings.

Heal Thy Self: Lessons on Mindfulness in Medicine
by Saki Santorelli

October 12, 2006

Dancing with the Divine

There are those who have dared
to dance with the divine

their poetry and words
are merely pointers

symbols and sounds
inspired by silence

each word a sutra
longing to be cradled
in the holiness of your heart

savor each one slowly
that you may truly taste
its sweet nectar

for yourself
from yourself

for the divine
is waiting patiently within you
to be asked to dance

The Dance, art by Rassouli
Poem: Dancing with the Divine

October 10, 2006

The Gift

Childhood Friends

You may have heard, it's the custom for kings
to let warriors stand on the left, the side of the heart,
and courage. On the right they put the chancellor,
and various secretaries, because the practice
of bookkeeping and writing usually belongs
to the right hand. In the center,
the Sufis,
because in meditation they become mirrors.
The king can look at their faces
and see his original state.

Give the beautiful ones mirrors,
and let them fall in love with themselves.

That way they polish their souls
and kindle remembering in others.

A close childhood friend once came to visit Joseph.
They had shared the secrets that children tell each other
when they're lying on their pillows at night
before they go to sleep. These two
were completely truthful
with each other.

The friend asked, "What was it like when you realized
your brothers were jealous and what they planned to do?"

"I felt like a lion with a chain around its neck.
Not degraded by the chain, and not complaining,
but just waiting for my power to be recognized."

"How about down in the well, and in prison?
How was it then?"
"Like the moon when it's geting
smaller, yet knowing the fullness to come.
Like a seed pearl ground in the mortar for medicine,
that knows it will now be the light in a human eye.

Like a wheat grain that breaks open in the ground,
then grows, then gets harvested, then crushed in the mill
for flour, then baked, then crushed again between teeth
to become a person's deepest understanding.
Lost in love, like the songs the planters sing
the night after they sow the seed."
There is no end to any of this.

Back to something else the good man
and Joseph talked about.
"Ah my friend, what have you
brought me? You know a traveler should not arrive
empty handed at the door of a friend like me.
That's going to the grinding stone without your wheat.

God will ask at the resurrection, 'Did you bring me
a present? Did you forget? Did you think
you wouldn't see me?'"
Joseph kept teasing,
"Let's have it. I want my gift!"

The guest began, "You can't imagine how I've looked
for something for you. Nothing seemed appropriate.
You don't take gold down into a gold mine,
or a drop of water to the sea of Oman!
Everything I thought of was like bringing cumin seed
to Kirmanshah where cumin comes from.

You have all seeds in your barn. You even have my love
and my soul, so I can't even bring those.

I've brought you a mirror. Look at yourself,
and remember me."
He took the mirror out from his robe
where he was hiding it.
What is the mirror of being?
Non-being. Always bring a mirror of non-existence
as a gift. Any other present is foolish.

Let the poor man look deep into generosity.
Let bread see a hungry man.
Let kindling behold a spark from the flint.

An empty mirror and your worst destructive habits,
when they are held up to each other,
that's when the real making begins.
That's what art and crafting are.

A tailor needs a torn garment to practice his expertise.
The trunks of trees must be cut and cut again
so they can be used for fine carpentry.

You doctor must have a broken leg to doctor.
Your defects are the ways that glory gets manifested.
Whoever sees clearly what's diseased in himself
begins to gallop on the way.


"Give the beautiful ones mirrors, and let them fall in love with themselves...and kindle remembering in others..." Always bring a mirror of non-existence as a gift."

With this gift of your "non-existence," your radiant formless consciousness, your groundlessness that is nonetheless awake, in this mirror the other sees their Being. But you realize they will first see what is covering this Being, what is diseased in themselves. With what they see in your mirror of emptiness, hear in your mirror of deep listening, experience in your mirror of witnessing consciousness, they begin "to gallop on the way." Unconditioned love emerges in the mirror and this love has an infinite capacity to envelop and hold any measure of disease. As the mirror increasingly reflects their Being they "fall in love with themselves," and then begin to sense their non-being, their own silent, still, vast and empty consciousness within. They realize that they now are this mirror of non-existence, and they bring this mirror as a gift to others. With this radiant gift beyond price, they "kindle remembering in others."

October 5, 2006


The moon is most happy
When it is full.

And the sun always looks
Like a perfectly minted gold coin

That was just Polished
And placed in flight
By God's playful Kiss.

And so many varieties of fruit
Hang plump and round

From branches that seem like a Sculptor's hands.

I see the beautiful curve of a pregnant belly
Shaped by a soul within,

And the Earth itself,
And the planets and the Spheres –

I have gotten the hint:

There is something about circles
The Beloved likes.

Within the Circle of a Perfect One

There is an Infinite Community
Of Light.


Circles translated by Daniel Ladinsky
Art by Nat Krate

October 1, 2006

Keepin' Busy

After awakening, it is necessary to always observe and examine yourself. When errant thoughts suddenly arise, do not go along with them at all; reduce them, until you reach the point of non-contrivance, which alone is the ultimate end. This is the ox-herding practice carried on by all illuminates after their enlightenment. Even though there is subsequent cultivation, they have already realized sudden enlightenment.
Master Chinul (1158-1210)

This is like Adya saying, "Cut the root first, then prune the branches; wake up first, then work on your stuff."

Although one has realized their true nature, there is still "subsequent cultivation." There is much to clean up, refine, and learn to articulate and express with ever-increasing elegance and grace.


I often hear the following words in casual conversations, "Keepin busy? Oh yeah, I'm keepin busy." It's like a mantra, the importance of keeping busy; almost like a matter of life and death. It is said by retired folks as well as non-retired. Much of this is about being occupied and preoccupied. These are considered good things, and seems to me much of the time to involve an active resistance to exposure to groundlessness.

Occupation, an occupied or preoccupied state of mind, thinking, planning etc, seems to substantiate and confirm that we "are." Occupied, we feel we exist. Groundlessness is the absence of occupation, and something one might be exposed to in meditation.

Way back when I was exposed involuntarily to groundlessness during a time of despair, I felt crushed and terrified, as if I were dying. Only much later did I realize the freedom of a cloudless sky in groundlessness. While lost and drowning in existential terror I was advised to keep busy, keep occupied. I followed that advice and eventually my fear began to subside as I did all I could to avoid the excruciating suffering I experienced with exposure to groundlessness. While exposed I was sensitive, naked, raw, and vulnerable. I occupied my "self" intensely to avoid the pain and thicken my skin - kind of like building a better suit of armor to protect and defend my self. Over the years I used this suit of armor to avoid any further exposure to groundlessness, and to regain composure and appear functional during times of crisis or a challenge to the integrity of my "self."

Rehabilitating and strengthening my self-identity has been facilitated by keeping occupied. There seems to be a symbiosis here between occupation and ego-fixation. It fends off the encroachment of existential anxiety. It protects the integrity of self-identity with a constant stream of thoughts, plans, hopes and dreams, ideas and memories which can serve as a kind of functional fog preventing a clear picture of the ego-fixation process at work. So the process remains underground, unconscious, and the illusion remains intact. But if groundless is given any opening, if it is allowed to be, then existential anxiety often comes in as the self-identity feels its insubstantiality. Waking up from the dream of self-identity necessarily involves a letting go into this insubstantiality with its initial attendant anxiety.

While we are suffering, we use occupation to avoid looking at the root cause of suffering. Being aware and unoccupied, even for a brief period, can be a meditation that exposes us to groundlessness, primordial emptiness, and formlessness. This exposure can unconceal ego-fixation and cut it at the root, allowing our true nature to emerge.

If ego-fixation and its story in time are the source of our meaning in life then it takes on an enormous significance, and becomes something we would not like to let go of. If our reward and fulfillment in life are perceived to come from self-identity and its story, then it would appear to be something we would want to hold onto tightly. This may account for the desire for awakening on the one hand and the persistent clinging to self-identity that prevents it on the other hand. Realizing the root cause of this mechanism of suffering, bringing it into the light of conscious awareness, allows for the possibility of it being dropped instantly in the now.

Cutting the root of suffering, exposing the process of ego-fixation, opens the way to realizing our true nature. With this realization that you are not the personality, relegates it to the role of functional servant, not who you are. Then we can work with much greater effectiveness on our "stuff" - the pain, wounds, trauma, the dysfunction and dis-ease of personality, in the historical /psychological dimension. Much, but not all, of this is found to clear up on its own with awakening. After awakening there remains the work/play of integrating and articulating the expression of wakefulness in our humanity.

Keepin’ busy... smiling,


September 28, 2006

I Pick up a Hitchhiker

After a few miles he tells me
that my car has no engine.
I pull over and we both get out
and look under the hood.
He’s right.
We don’t say anymore about it
all the way to California.

~Jay Leeming

September 26, 2006

Where I Disappeared

In After the Ecstasy, the Laundry, Jack Kornfield writes,

As we awaken, we discover that we are not limited by who we think we are. All the stories we tell ourselves - the judgments, the problems, the whole identity of the small sense of self, "the body of fear" - can be released in a moment, and a timeless sense of grace and liberation can open up for us.
St John of the Cross, in A Cloud of Unknowing, spoke of this when he wrote that to awaken we must “be willing to tread for a long time as a blind man in darkness.” Further, he wrote that we must “die to (ourselves), and lose the radical self-centered awareness of our being, for it is our own self that stands in the way of God.”

Jack shares a story of how a Sufi master describes this frightening loss of identity:
As I looked at all I had held to be me, the separate individual, it began to unravel. At first there was an openness and emptiness, but with it came a rush of fear, a struggling to exist, some kind of terror. I felt that I was letting go of everything – my whole sense of self had given way. One day during this I was sitting in a window seat on an airplane, and it felt like I was falling out of the window, and the terror came in big waves, irrational and very strong. I felt just like an animal falling in space. Only later when I learned to let go into it, to let myself fall, did it open up into a cloudless sky where I disappeared.

Akilesh: In the passage the individual is faced with groundlessness. What he or she describes closely matches my own experience. This existential terror went on more or less continuously with varying degrees of intensity for over 20 years. Over that time I gradually came to realize what was happening, and "only later when I learned to let go into it, to let myself fall, did it open up into a cloudless sky where I disappeared."

Most people have had many, many glimpses of groundlessness. Most often it is experienced as negative, although there are as many that are positive. When groundlessness is encountered people often feel some degree of existential terror or anxiety, fear or distress of some kind, and most often try to fill it with stuff - distractions, entertainment, preoccupations, work, relationship, adventure, substance use, toys, etc. - to provide a sense of solidity, groundedness, to shore up or secure the sense of self-identity which has been shaken. But there are a few individuals who go into that emptiness, explore it, imbibe it, "learn to let go into it," and come out with art and poetry, beauty and meditation.

Here it is again but with a Tibetan twist:
Look into the sphere of birthless mind!
Let dawn the enjoyment of ceaseless play!
When free of hope and fear, that's the result.
Why speak of birth and death?
Come to the natural, unmodified state!
- Milarepa

It is said in so many ways by so many lovers over the ages. All of them have a different twist, a different language for the ineffable, for groundlessness, emptiness. In the above passage Milarepa calls it the "birthless mind." How wonderful! Jesus calls it "God the Father" or "the kingdom of Heaven." All of our brothers and sisters over the ages have gone into it, Lao Tzu, Kabir, Rumi, Hafiz, Buddha, St. John of the Cross, and contemporaries like John Tarrant, Adya, Eckart, Trungpa, Osho and many others. Milarepa says "come to the natural, unmodified state!" - the unconditioned. The Sufi above calls it "the cloudless sky." Milarepa says that when we let go into it, when we allow and release from hope and fear, the result is a blissful dawning of ceaseless play; an enjoyment already, always and everywhere. With our fidelity we presence this everywhere, in our light and easy moments as well as when we are dealing with difficult or challenging circumstances.

September 25, 2006


In the woods I came on an old friend
and I asked him a question
and he said, "Wait."

Fish were rising in the deep stream
but his line was not stirring
but I waited.
It was a question about the sun

about my two eyes
my ears my mouth
my heart the earth with its four seasons
my feet where I was standing
where I was going

it slipped through my hands

as though it were water
into the river
it flowed under the trees
it sank under hills far away
and was gone without me
then where I stood night fell

I no longer knew what to ask
I could tell that his line had no hook
I understood that I was to stay and
eat with him

~ W.S. Merwin ~

September 21, 2006

Nothing at All

Meredith: In Emptiness Dancing, Adya speaks about the question "Who am I" or "What am I" without any script or role, without the story about who you are and what you are, releasing the script of what you think your life is about. He says something I often tell myself, that the roles and scripts we tell about ourselves are not who we truly are. Awakening is a radical change in identity, says Adya. He talks about disarming ourselves from our experience, our narrative, and ask instead, "What am I without my story?" He goes on to say that if you find someone else, underneath the story, this is likely just another script, such as "I am an enlightened one." The answer at the bottom of the pile is "I don't know" and to be without a script is to be totally disarmed. So anything we think about what awake is, or what enlightenment is, is yet another script.

This is the feeling of sky, of groundlessness, of evaporation into nothingness. This is the mystery of our own Being. Look at the layers we shed to find this, and then, find that this is nothing at all.

Akilesh: And...and...and... when you let go and let go and shed and let go of all of these stories and fall into open sky of groundlessness, and realize the mystery of your own Being, finding this ... this emptiness that is nonetheless so full and luminous... sharing naturally and spontaneously happens! It happens naturally from this groundlessness which is very much luminous and warm, light and unconditionally loving.

September 20, 2006

Play Me

One single breath from you
and the balloon that was my heart
expanded to bursting.
Then all the songs
of my deepest hearts yearning
spilled forth……
flowed into rivers and streams
populating the landscape
with flowers……..
with birds and beasts of rare beauty.

Upon the banks
sat Lovers feasting
and dancing on dreams
and shared visions……
of their hearts most ideal imaginings.

And the water of your Love
washed me so clean and clear
washed my eyes free
so they could see truly
then all was only a sea within me
sparkling with the light
of diamonds upon the water.

As you call my name
I am left to fall on my knees
and weep with thanksgiving…..
to receive the gift of your Omnipotent Love.

I now surrender to you
all that I am…..
Every label I ever thought of
and assigned to me……
it has all been washed away
in the flood of your magnificent Love……

I am left to Open and breathe and receive
Only that I may share this Love with all………

Beloved this body is yours now
use this mind, these hands, these ears, these feet
Steer my life anywhere it pleases you…….
use this sea….. where my heart used to be
to write these words
as you will…..

I am now, only your flute
play me.

Poem by Katherine estelle eveningstar
Art by Mostly Glass

September 19, 2006

The Mind of Absolute Trust

In the world of things as they are,
there is no self, no non-self.
If you want to describe its essence,
the best you can say is “Not-two.”

In this “Not-two” nothing is separate,
and nothing in the world is excluded.
The enlightened of all times and places
have entered into this truth.

In it there is no gain or loss;
one instant is ten thousand years.
There is no here, no there;
infinity is right before your eyes.

The tiny is as large as the vast
when objective boundaries have vanished;
the vast is as small as the tiny
when you don't have external limits.

Being is an aspect of non-being;
non-being is no different from being.
Until you understand this truth,
you won't see anything clearly.

One is all; all are one.
When you realize this,
what reason for holiness or wisdom?
The mind of absolute trust

is beyond all thought, all striving,
is perfectly at peace, for in it
there is no yesterday, no today,
no tomorrow.



Seng-ts'an lived in the late sixth century, was the third patriarch of Zen in China. There are many legends about him. According to one, Seng-ts'an was suffering from leprosy when he met the second patriarch Hui-k'o, who encountered him with the words, “You're suffering from leprosy; what could you want from me?” Seng-ts'an is supposed to have replied, “Even if my body is sick, the heart-mind of a sick person is no different from your heart-mind.” This convinced Hui-k'o of the spiritual capacity of Seng-ts'an; he accepted him as a student and later confirmed him as his dharma successor.

September 10, 2006

Awake Silence

All that is necessary to awaken to yourself
as the radiant emptiness of spirit
is to stop seeking something
more or better or different,
and turn your attention inward
to the awake silence that you are.

~ Adyashanti

September 9, 2006

Co-Creation with Intention

Meredith: What do you think about engaging in a co-creative process with divine order? Do you think we might be able, with intention, to transmute the love-energy of awakening to others?

We are always collaborating with Intention; co- creating with the Divine. Perhaps awareness prevents some from seeing this fully, but we are all locked into a beautifully mystical, sacred pact: Who will find whom first- we are both hider and seeker.

Yes, we can share our bliss and it is transferable. Each of us is an artist co- creating our work of Intention; everything is beautiful when our eyes are open in this way.

September 8, 2006


Softy a voice whispers in the midst of the quiet Heart...

Do not come with the intention to create...

Surrender.... and watch

as creation plays it's symphony

through you...

Kathleen, Ineffible Bliss


Meredith: I love this inspiration that rises from a quiet heart. Recently, though, I have been wondering about tapping into the energy of creation, wondering, can we be co-creators? For example, can we transmute loving energy to inspire wakefulness in others? Actually, you are doing this here, with your beautiful blog. What is the potential of this energy moving through our fingertips? Can we direct it?

Kathleen: Meredith.... thank you for you loving support... and well as far as I can tell "we" are already creators... with the best of intentions of course..., but I find that all of that comes from mind... and surrender, well surrender is just Heart... more and more and more... and getting out of the way so to speak, seems to make a lot more room for Love to come through... and it already knows what to do with itself... LOVE! :)

September 6, 2006

Compassionate Listening

The Compassionate Listening Project, a non-profit organization based outside of Seattle, Washington, promotes and teaches powerful listening skills of peacemaking, helpful for families, communities, job sites, and for social change work locally and globally. These skills employ speaking and listening from the heart, even in the heat of conflict. The Compassionate Listening Project is dedicated to empowering individuals to heal polarization and build bridges between people, communities and nations in conflict.

Gene Knudson-Hoffmn and others from Quaker, Buddhist, and Jewish backgrounds founded the Compassionate Listening Project based upon a belief that compassionate listening is a key to transforming the world. Committed to world peace, this project has sent teams to try to understand the most isolated and conflicted figures worldwide. They visited Mu’ammar Qaddafi in Libya, listened to all sides of the warring parties in Central American revolutions, given their ear to the most challenging factions in Asia and the Middle East. In Alaska, compassionate listening brought two sides of the whaling controversy together for deep listening. Their belief is that through compassionate listening to the sorrows and predicaments of others, these conflicts will change.

"Compassionate Listening is a process rather than a product. It is healing precisely because it does not pretend to 'have the answers.' Rather, it engages the participants in processes that have each side seeing the humanity of the other, even when they disagree." Rabbi David Zaslow, Ashland Oregon

The Tao calls this “listening with the heart so that we can find the Way.” Compassionate listening embraces our own struggles as well as our neighbor's. It is possible that deep listening is a vehicle to awaken our heart’s amazing capacity to hold all that is human, even what we previously may have considered incomprehensible. A sobering appreciation for others emerges with the realization that we are all That.

September 5, 2006


And all shall be well,
and all manner of thing
shall be well.

~Juian of Norwich

August 31, 2006

A Mind Like Water

Develop a mind that is vast like the water,
where experiences both pleasant and
unpleasant can appear and disappear
without conflict, struggle, or harm.
Rest in a mind like water.


August 21, 2006

For Isaiah and Friends

This is a picture of Manzanita beach, taken from the banks of Neakahnie Mountain on the northern Oregon coastline. This is where I spent summers as a child. It is so beautiful here, where sand and water and sky meet, where birds and children play. There is a soul of place here, on this beach, where four generations of my family have walked, collected, surfed, picnicked, and enjoyed bonfires at night. We love to share this with friends. Come, be our guest!

August 17, 2006


This morning, on the beach, I noticed the morning sun on the waters, the salty air, the song of the waves, and the sands, which have shifted, since my last walk there. Each morning these sands are changed, never the same, one morning to the next. But the sands, the song of the waves, the ebb and flow of the tide, and salt of the air, are dynamic and ever- present here in this is the landscape of the water's edge. I love to walk that line, of the water's edge, where wet sand meets dry, and watch the blurring of one into the other. Each morning I note the shifts; my eyes are keen to observe what the sea has offered. There are beautiful patterns in the sand, sprinkled with small treasures from the sea. There is a refreshment happening with each tide, a coming in and a going out, like an in breath, and an outbreath. Overhead, in a constantly changing sky, gulls soar, with sounds that are greeting this day, too.

There is love here: can you feel it, hear it, smell it? Love is moving over and within this landscape, reverberating, penetrating, so available, freely offered, and unstoppable.

Wet, sandy, and salty this morning,

July 8, 2006


Do you sense wholeness in Being, just feeling Presence, like a lover, near and within? I do. This fullness is so lovely. I have a stong desire to share this sensation, to offer it up it again and again. Yet often my imagination is spotty, and all I can seem to do is pull fragments from nowhere. These small bits are mottled, like sunlight through the trees, of no substance, fleeting. Still, these fragments are what I have, momentarily floating through my fingertips, and I love to share them.

A few days ago on this blog, an anonymous responder wrote that holding presence is fraudulent, just like the water drop in the graphic I posted on the Simple Meditation - recreated and false. I scrapped the comment, but it has been lingering in my psyche. I asked Aki what he thought about it, and he responded:

“Spiritual imagination is lovely and delightful and sorely needed in this world, which is often degraded by the relentless striving and suffering of ego-fixation. With love we bring beauty to life - in poetry, photographs, painting, or prose. We are love and the expressions of love are many and varied. No one can stand in judgment of authentic expression, but the mind will try. It will comment and critique, praise and blame. This is what mind does.

Pulling fragments from nowhere is inspired - without the commentary of the mind; it is fresh and beautiful, like mottled sunlight. The best we have in this human life is "of no substance, fleeting."

Expressions of love are flowing, always flowing. We try to share this flowing presence as best we can, and it always falls short. The finger pointing at the moon is not the moon. But what are we to do? We have to point! We want to share this flowing presence, and however inadequate our sharing, however misunderstood, we still share our love and our joy. There will always be those who see only the static, the frozen drop and miss what it is pointing at - the flowing river. Words and pictures are after all only snapshots, and language falls short of describing the dynamic quality of presence. You see a photo and you see what it is pointing at. Another looks at the photo and they see only a frozen image, fraudulent, the same fraudulence and frustration they experience about themselves, living as a self-identity. They miss it again and again. They are telling you about them, about where they are living from.

Your life is an expression of genuineness and generosity. Holding, not holding - these words mean nothing to authentic presence. I realize who you are. I am not confused by your fingers pointing, always pointing at the moon, at presence, at love. You are living presence, living presence, so alive..."

Thank you, my dear Friend.