Saturday, December 31, 2011

Thursday, December 29, 2011

How Much Did We Own?


When a close one dies,
those of us left behind
may feel we have lost them.

But how much of them
did we own to begin with?

The real loss occurs
as our memories fade
and we forget even
the sound of their voice.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Winning?


Striving to win.
Is that always a good thing?

Pushing hard to advance.
Is that always the best way forward?

Surrendering to the pursuit of success.
Is that how you want to spend your life?

Monday, December 26, 2011

New Vista


When I am tired and weak
and lost along my spiritual way,
I slow down and watch my feet,
step by step by step.

The path continues before me,
carrying me along.

When I look up again,
the vista always takes my breath away.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Holy, Holy, Holy


Holiness grows out of the ground of failure
more often than out of the ground of faith.

Sainthood is not something earned
but rather something found in living.

Reverence is bestowed not by godliness
but by rediscovering the awe of children.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Life Everlasting?


If we last forever
after we die,
is our perspective
forever limited
to the narrow keyhole
of our earthly life?

And if we enter
into a vast room
of all knowing
upon our death,
what happens
to that narrow soul
we were in life?

To give up who I am
to enter into all there is
seems an easy choice.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Between Root and Branch


Roots seek water.
Branches seek light.

Between heaven and earth,
every tree finds what it needs.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Small Packages


Every twig carries forests inside.
Every pebble carries mountains inside.
Every raindrop carries oceans inside.
Every soul carries Tao inside.

Monday, December 19, 2011

The Hardest Danger to Overcome


When someone hurts us,
it's natural to build a wall.

When we feel threatened,
it's natural to raise our defenses.

When enemies mass on the horizon,
it's natural to stockpile weapons.

But the hardest danger to overcome
is our own fear of suffering.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Three Guests


First is the guest
you invite into your home.

Second is the guest
you invite into your heart.

Third is the guest
you invite into your pain.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Which?


Which is older,
an acorn or an oak?

Which is deeper,
an eye or an ocean?

Which is harder,
a child or a parent?

Which is wiser,
a question or an answer?

Friday, December 16, 2011

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Pain of Not Forgiving


When a hurt is deep and old,
the wound seems new at every touch.

When apologies are long in coming,
the wait seems a waste of time.

But the deepest and longest injury
is always the pain of not forgiving.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Only One


How many trees crowd
the landscapes of the universe?

How many birds fill the air
with their singing on distant planets?

How many women nurse
their infants throughout the galaxy?

How many minds imagine
their earth is the only one?

Monday, December 12, 2011

Strength and Weakness


Strength is relative.
What is strong in one place
becomes weakness in another.

To embrace both
strength and weakness
is a step toward wholeness.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Acceptance from Acceptance


When I accept others as they are
and not as I would have them to be,
I set the stage for my own acceptance.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Four Gifts


The gift of patience
comes with waiting attached.

The gift of mercy
comes with injustice attached.

The gift of compassion
comes with suffering attached.

The gift of wisdom
comes with ignorance attached.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Painful Gratitude


When I learn to be grateful
even in the middle of suffering,
I discover there are things
I can only learn through pain.

But it's still hard to be grateful
for the suffering of a loved one.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

True Well-Being


We all have an obligation to seek
the well-being of our individual lives,
but to increase our own well-being
at the expense of others is impossible.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Back to Life


A return to life
doesn't always require
a death beforehand.

Sometimes, we don't
realize we've died
until we come back.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Every Green Leaf


Every green leaf
carries autumn inside.

Every storm cloud
hides a brilliant sky.

Every answer
begs another question.

Every death
makes room for new life.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Friday, December 2, 2011

Closing Doors to Forgiveness


When I apologize,
I open a door.

When I fail to apologize,
the door remains closed.

A closed door doesn't make
forgiveness impossible.

It just keeps it
on the other side.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Perspectives


Walled in or walled out.
Which brings peace of mind?

Old map or new compass.
Which shows the true way?

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Different Roads Home


Walk one road and
end up at one place.

Walk a different road and
end up at a different place.

And yet, do we not arrive
back home in the end?

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Illusion


What is inside us
and what is outside us
do not seem to be the same.

Another illusion.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Intersections


Peace and war intersect
at the crossing of difficulty and ease.

Ignorance and wisdom intersect
at the crossing of blindness and sight.

Joy and suffering intersect
at the crossing of heaven and earth.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Seven Gifts


Amity amid conflict.
Grace amid strife.
Patience amid loss.
Serenity amid chaos.
Insight amid suffering.
Generosity amid poverty.
Compassion amid fear.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Storm


Lightning splits the sky in two
like a yardstick striking a desk.

Thunder tumbles across the city
like children sent out to play.

Runoff courses through gutters
like rumors across a schoolyard.

Child's play in the hands of the Divine.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Hunger Makes Me Grateful


Hunger makes me grateful
for the food on my plate.

Thirst makes me grateful
for the drink in my cup.

Illness makes me grateful
for every breath I take.

Loneliness makes me grateful
for every friend I meet.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Nature of Patience


Patience is like water.
It flows past frustrations
like a river around stones.

True patience has no end.
It can level a mountain
of pain and disappointment.

It wells up from the spring
that nourishes us all and
keeps us steady in this moment.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

You Can Keep Him


Why would a loving God
bring us into this life
without our permission
and expect us to be perfect,
then cast us into eternal hell
after we die if we fail
to live up to His demands?

Doesn't sound very loving to me.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Saturated


A branch floats along a river.
Water soaks into the fibers,
and the wood sinks to the bottom.

Does the branch become the river
because it's saturated with water?

Does the water become a branch
because it saturates the wood?

Does Tao stop being Tao
just because it saturates us?

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Answers and Questions


Which matters more?
The answer to a question,
or the question itself?

Which lasts longer?
The satisfaction of an answer,
or the fascination of a question?

Which rings truer?
The clearest answer,
or the simplest question?

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Seek and Find


When I seek, I find.

What I find is not
always what I seek.

What I seek
is not important.

What I find
is not important.

What matters
is the seeking.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Only the New Lasts


We set a stone to mark
the passing of a loved one
and hope it will last forever.

But even stones
are not permanent.
The old passes away
to make room for the new.

This is the only permanence
the universe offers.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Among Trees


Be present among trees,
and trees will be present in you.

Be mindful among flowers,
and flowers will be mindful of you.

Be aware of birds singing,
and birds will sing your whole life.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Resting Tao, Working Tao


Nothing I do for myself
brings greater comfort
than resting in the Tao.

Nothing I do for others
brings greater pleasure
than working in the Tao.

Monday, November 14, 2011

None


No mystery
is deeper
than Tao.

No question
is broader
than God.

No doubt
is longer
than Compassion.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Limit of Imagination


What is the limit of imagination?
What is the border of thought?
What is the boundary of the unknown?

Only the imagination can imagine
a limit to the imagination.

Only thought can think out
the borders of thought.

Only the unknown can know
the boundaries of the unknown.

Saturday, November 12, 2011