January 1, 2017

The Place Where You Are Now

by Hafiz

This place where you are right now
God circled on a map for you.
Wherever your eyes and arms and heart can move
Against the earth and the sky,
The Beloved has bowed there—
Our Beloved has bowed there knowing
You were coming.
I could tell you a priceless secret about
Your real worth, dear pilgrim,
But any unkindness to yourself,
Any confusion about others,
Will keep one
From accepting the grace, the love,
The sublime freedom
Divine knowledge always offers to you.
Never mind, Hafiz, about
The great requirements this path demands
Of the wayfarers,
For your soul is too full of wine tonight
To withhold the wondrous Truth from this world.
But because I am so clever and generous,
I have already clearly woven a resplendent lock
Of his tresses
As a remarkable truth and gift
In this poem for you.
Translated by Daniel Ladinsky, in the book, The Subject Tonight Is Love: 60 Wild and Sweet Poems of Hafiz

April 20, 2015

For Presence

Awaken to the mystery of being here
and enter the quiet immensity of your own presence.

Have joy and peace in the temple of your senses.

Receive encouragement when new frontiers beckon.

Respond to the call of your gift and the courage to
follow its path.

Let the flame of anger free you of all falsity.

May warmth of heart keep your presence aflame.

May anxiety never linger about you.

May your outer dignity mirror an inner dignity of

Take time to celebrate the quiet miracles that seek
no attention.

Be consoled in the secret symmetry of your soul.

May you experience each day as a sacred gift woven
around the heart of wonder.

~ John O'Donohue ~

(To Bless the Space Between Us)

September 23, 2014

The Secret

Even if you consume 
as many books as the sands of the Ganges
If you want the secret of Buddhism, here it is:
Everything is in the Heart.


August 17, 2014

Our Birth

Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting:
The soul that rises with us, our life’s star,
Hath had elsewhere its setting,
And cometh from afar;
Not in entire forgetfulness,
And not in utter nakedness,
But trailing clouds of glory do we come

William Wordsworth,
from “Ode: Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood”


That day I saw beneath dark clouds
the passing light over the water
and I heard the voice of the world speak out,
I knew then, as I had before
life is no passing memory of what has been
nor the remaining pages in a great book
waiting to be read.
It is the opening of eyes long closed.
It is the vision of far off things
seen for the silence they hold.
It is the heart after years
of secret conversing
speaking out loud in the clean air.
It is Moses in the desert
fallen to his knees before the lit bush.
It is the man throwing away his shoes
as if to enter heaven
and finding himself astonished,
opened at last,
fallen in love with solid ground.

— David Whyte

November 8, 2013

The Blessing of the Old Woman, the Tulip, and the Dog

To be blessed
said the old woman
is to live and work
so hard
God’s love
washes right through you
like milk through a cow
To be blessed
said the dark red tulip
is to knock their eyes out
with the slug of lust
implied by
your up-ended skirt
To be blessed
said the dog
is to have a pinch
of God
inside you
and all the other dogs
can smell it

By Alicia Suskin Ostriker

September 1, 2013

The Perfection of All

Shared joy with you here at the Nameless Cafe.  Enjoying the hint of Autumn, the still sunny days, the fullness of Summer's backside... 

Quote I read this morning: “Enlightenment is the realization of completeness. It’s the seeing of God equally in all, seeing the perfection of all, the completeness of all, and therefore the nonseparation of all. Dare you see it?” ~ Adyashanti

This completeness graces our lives. 

August 19, 2013

Our Job

“Our job is to love people. When it hurts. When it’s awkward. When it’s uncool and embarrassing. Our job is to stand together, to carry the burdens of one another and to meet each other in our questions.” -- Jamie Tworkowski

July 14, 2013

Limiting Who you Are?

A teacher once asked me a profound question: "Why do you limit who you are?"

It is possible that your idea of truth, whether theist or atheist, is like a handle that you are hanging onto as your answer to the big questions in life?

What if you were willing to be open, and gave up depending on your books of faith, or your ability to reason in a rational - "give me some proof" sense.

What if you just allowed the truth of the present moment to penetrate you.

What do you think you might find?

June 7, 2013

Deep Love is Flowing

Moving deeply in love, we might notice a sense of incompleteness, that something is missing. Love flows. The paradox is while it's flowing it's always in the now. It's a process, not a state. We can't grasp and hold it. It emerges from our being, flowing like fragrance floats on a warm summer's day; just out of the blue, unsusceptible to manipulation of any kind. It is never complete, always flowing but with no purpose, no goal. It just is. It's insubstantiality is what gives it it's sweetness.

Deep love is flowing, always passing like a river. It has both joy and heartbreak in it. That's what gives it depth and richness. It is like a real rose as opposed to a plastic one. We can make a plastic rose but no one can make a real rose, nor can anyone keep one in a static state. A rose is an uncontainable miracle, a process that cannot be held on to. It moves on despite our efforts to hold it in place, keep it as it is, keep the tender petals from withering and returning to the source. When we return to the source, when we dissolve in the presence of the rose, we don't know who we are and we don't know what this miracle is filling the view. When we dissolve in the presence of love, we don't know what this bliss is filling our heart.

In the presence of a flower we realize our own fleeting nature as form -- just a few hours dancing in the breeze, in the sunlight, releasing our fragrance, our song. We can learn from the rose, opening its petals with a primordial courage, not trying to hold them closed out of fear of what may come after blossoming, not anxious about an imaginary future. The rose embodies wisdom. When it's time to fall, it falls willingly, with an exquisite grace and nobility. In full flower, dancing in the sun, we share its happiness. When it falls, we're sad. Through this being, we're shown our own impermanence and the impermanence of love. It's a process. We want to hold onto the peak, thinking that this fragrant blossom is the ultimate, and we cling, trying to hold on to the moment: the light, the dazzling beauty, the lovely dance, the sweet fragrance in the air. We want to preserve the moment, perhaps capture this flower in a block of clear plastic. But what we end up with is a dead, preserved flower.

Let the flowers in life flow. Celebrate these blossoms when they emerge and when they fall. They are showering on us now. Do not hold on to them and more will come. Holding on, they dry up anyway; the aliveness, the freshness dries up. Reading Meredith's passage we can feel the river of love, the flowing to ever higher peaks of love. Releasing our love brings these higher peaks. And the process is endless, never complete. Our living, our love is always incomplete and imperfect. Just like the rose in the garden, yes? Allowing love to move and flow has it go on and on. Love is inherent in who we are already.

When we find ourselves in the presence of this love, this divine fragrance Meredith is pointing at, we can remember the space. We can allow ourselves to move in the direction of that fragrance, to move in the vicinity of that sweet music. The music of love is playing softly, subtly, right at this moment. It is just covered over with a lot of noise. Letting that extraneous noise subside, we hear the sweet music of love in the air all around us.


April 24, 2013

The Compassion of Kwan Yin

This past week our country was in mourning for the people in Boston where a tragic bombing incident occurred.  I was uplifted by this poem revealing the compassion of Kwan Yin.

Yin (also spelled Kwan Yin or Quan Yin and known as Kuan Shih Yin), is known as the Goddess of Compassion & Healing. She is one of the most popular deities in all of Asia. Her name in Chinese roughly translates as "The One who Hears the Cries of the World". She is the most beloved and revered of the Chinese dieties. Kuan Yin is the Divine Mother we all long for: merciful, tender, compassionate, loving, protecting, caring, healing, and wise. She quietly comes to the aid of her children everywhere. Her mantra is 'Om Mani Padme Hum.' (that is, 'Hail the Jewel -or pearl- in the Lotus.') 

Kuan Yin’s Prayer for the Abuser

To those who withhold refuge,
I cradle you in safety at the core of my Being.
To those that cause a child to cry out,
I grant you the freedom to express your own choked agony. 

To those that inflict terror,
I remind you that you shine with the purity of a thousand suns.
To those who would confine, suppress, or deny,
I offer the limitless expanse of the sky.
To those who need to cut, slash, or burn,
I remind you of the invincibility of Spring.
To those who cling and grasp,
I promise more abundance than you could ever hold onto. 

To those who vent their rage on small children,
I return to you your deepest innocence.
To those who must frighten into submission,
I hold you in the bosom of your original mother.
To those who cause agony to others,
I give the gift of free flowing tears.
To those that deny another's right to be,
I remind you that the angels sang in celebration of you on the day of your birth.
To those who see only division and separateness,
I remind you that a part is born only by bisecting a whole. 

For those who have forgotten the tender mercy of a mother's embrace,
I send a gentle breeze to caress your brow.
To those who still feel somehow incomplete,
I offer the perfect sanctity of this very moment.

February 26, 2013

A Journey of One Inch

A Spiritual Journey

And the world cannot be discovered by a journey of miles,

no matter how long,

but only by a spiritual journey,

a journey of one inch,

very arduous and humbling and joyful,

by which we arrive at the ground at our feet,

and learn to be at home.

~ Wendell Berry ~

December 18, 2012

Metta Prayer

May you be at ease
May you be peaceful
May you be happy
May you be safe
May you awaken to the light of your true nature
May you be free.

November 8, 2012

Deeper Way

Walking, I am listening to a
deeper way. Suddenly all my
ancestors are behind me.
Be still, they say. Watch
and listen. You are the result
of the love of thousands.

Linda Hogan (b. 1947)
Native American writer

September 2, 2012

10,000 Things

We asked for a table in the sun at the Nameless.  "Good morning, my dearest." The morning is oh-so-lovely with a whisper breeze, warm sun on our shoulders, and a hint of autumn in the air. I love mornings like this one. Especially when I'm with you, a dear friend smiling at me from across the table, sunbeams in his hair.

I was thinking more about intimacy. I think there is more yet to explore here. Especially there is more when we consider that line by Dogen that says "to study the self is to lose or forget the self. And to lose or forget the self is to become awakened by, or intimate with, the 10,000 things." The 10,000 things is Zen short-hand for all things, all phenomena. Nothing is left out.

How can we be intimate with 10,000 things? Among its definitions, intimacy" is a state of "complete intermixture, fusion, thoroughly interconnected, interrelated, interwoven" and of having "depth of detailed knowledge and understanding and broadness of information from, or as if from, long association, near contact, or thorough study
and observation." One teacher says that to forget the wall we place between ourselves and life is to see our complete interbeing with all things, and this direct seeing can only happen through the constant inquiry into all that arises -- all "10,000 things" -- and not walling off those aspects of our life we do not prefer.

I'm also reminded of a simple teaching my elderly Swiss friend passed along to me. She said when mediating in the garden, for example, invite the garden to come to you.  How sweet is that? Do you think it's possible to invite the red-tail, and cedar bark, and the effortless cloud to come to us? What would it mean? Would we grok it when it arrived?  And can we also invite the bereft and furious client or the child who angrily throws a toy at our face, to "come closer, I want to know you."

Loving you, a glowing sunbeam in the 10,000 things,

December 4, 2011

For Presence

Awaken to the mystery of being here
and enter the quiet immensity of your own presence.
Have joy and peace in the temple of your senses.
Receive encouragement when new frontiers beckon.
Respond to the call of your gift and the courage to
follow its path.
Let the flame of anger free you of all falsity.
May warmth of heart keep your presence aflame.
May anxiety never linger about you.
May your outer dignity mirror an inner dignity of
Take time to celebrate the quiet miracles that seek
no attention.
Be consoled in the secret symmetry of your soul.
May you experience each day as a sacred gift woven
around the heart of wonder.
~ John O'Donohue ~
(To Bless the Space Between Us)

October 23, 2011

Signs of Life

Serenity reflections.

August 23, 2011

The Friend on the Journey

I have been preparing for a pilgrimage these past weeks of summer. In September I am going on the The Camino de Santiago de Compostela, also known as The Way of St James, which is a collection of old pilgrimage routes which cover all Europe.  I shall be going only on the final leg of the trail which begins in Sarria Spain and ends in Santiago de Compostela. I am really looking forward to walking this spiritual path. As I have been preparing by walking ever longer distances, I often note some friend along my way. This day it was this black bird on the rock beside the river. I see this Graceful Presence here, watching me, and I know I am not alone, and I also sense I am keenly held in the manner of all things. 

July 30, 2011

The Power of Spirit

Author and lecturer Paula D'Arcy spent time each week with Morrie (of Tuesdays with Morrie) in his final year when he knew he was dying. They had many wonderful conversations, deepening inquiry and communion between them. At one point Morrie asked Paula to tell him anything she knew about the power of Christ. Paula responded thus:

"I didn't know, but I told him that I suspected: that the Spirit hidden deep within us recognizes truths our minds do not consciously know. And in spite of the barriers and limitations we impose, in spite of our fears and our refusals, in spite of our determination to limit Spirit to certain names or beliefs... there is nevertheless a level of awareness within us that exceeds all names and definitions.  And this awareness responds from a knowledge the mind does not possess."

Later, reflecting on this conversation D'Arcy writes, "More than anything else, Morrie and I were sharing what it means to be a human being, just as he'd requested. We were exploring meaning. We were asking: What does it mean to be alive? Is this human nature our only nature? Is something else trying to emerge? What will we do with the life we were given? How will we live? What limits are we willing to push? How much are we willing to see?"

From Sacred Threshold: Crossing the Inner Barrier to a Deeper Love by Paula D'Arcy

I love these questions Paula and Morrie were asking. I love the question Morrie asks Paula, and I love the answer Paula gave Morrie about the power of Christ Spirit within us. Can you feel the loving communion here - deeper than deep?

July 26, 2011


I love this photo a friend took of her niece. To me it portrays  so many contrasts - hard and soft, young an old, living and dying, earth and body.  And most especially, I see Graceful Presence here. 

What do you see?

July 23, 2011

What's Possible?

Before you can do something that you’ve never done before, 
you have to imagine it’s possible. 
Jean Shinoda Bolen

July 22, 2011

July 18, 2011


My room at the Ralston White Retreat Center - where I attended a retreat and kept noble silence for four days. It was deeply quieting.  My World Tuesday

July 17, 2011


Enough. These few words are enough. 
If not these words, this breath.
If not this breath, this sitting here.

This opening to the life
we have refused
again and again
until now.
Until now

David Whyte, Where Many Rivers Meet

July 14, 2011

Self Love

My teacher said, "To be real is some measure of self love. A wholesome wanting - to know ourselves as we are - is an essential element that supports our spiritual practice. Love is essential to this practice."

As I have been sitting in meditation this past week, I began to notice the feeling of preciousness of coming home to myself. On the cushion my thoughts go wandering, and I have learned to call myself gently back, back to the core of my being where my heartbeat is steady and my breathing is rhythmic. I began (at my teacher's advising) to feel this as coming home to my self, and finding a refuge here, within me. Then, I began to sense that something much larger than me was actually welcoming me home again, with open arms and a graceful holding. Every time my thoughts would wander, I would begin to realize it and come home again, always being welcomed in a profound way. Deep feelings of tenderness welled within me.

July 12, 2011

My World

Beauty emanating from the lichen on rocks during a hike in the Umpqua National Forest, Oregon. Graceful Presence is here, in this, too.

July 11, 2011

Mindfulness and Inquiry

The past week I enjoyed five days of silence and listening by attending a Mindfulness and Inquiry Retreat with a favorite teacher, Frank Ostaseski. Today, in the return to my "normal life", I am mindful of the teaching to "feel the flow of experience." Moment to moment, I am observing more than usual what is in the field my awareness - especially what my mind is thinking, what emotions I am noticing, and what my body telling me. In this field of awareness, where "the me disappears" I seem to feel more aware of myself than before. At the same time, I sense that this awareness of me comes not from my small self but rather from a larger Presence within or through me. It is as though by simply feeling the flow of experience, my Being is a kind of vehicle for the sacred.

This simple teaching touches me deeply - through it I sense the truth of my self freshly.

July 4, 2011

Canticle of Love

"Somewhere in our history religion became synonymous with God.

Religion is a longing for something, but it is not the thing itself. The thing itself does not need religion. In fact, religion may be the great barrier, because it is so rule-bound and convincing, so driven by ego ("Our" God is the true God).

Spirit, the thing itself, needs nothing to define it.

It cannot be described; it cannot be owned.

It can only be experienced in its wild passion and its love.

It can be encountered, not studied.

The mind cannot grasp it, though it will forever try.

That which we long for has the character of a single relationship, with infinite forms.

All longing is spirit longing for itself.

Spirit may appear as a child, a starlit night, new love, music, art, terror, tragedy, beauty...

It comes disguised. "

Paula D'Arcy in A set of New Eyes

May 20, 2011

blessing the boats

may the tide
that is entering even now
the lip of our understanding
carry you out
beyond the face of fear
may you kiss
the wind then turn from it
certain that it will
love your back may you
open your eyes to water
water waving forever
and may you in your innocence
sail through this to that

Lucille Clifton