Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Who Am I?

Do I spend my life discovering who I am? Or do I spend my life creating who I am?

Monday, June 29, 2009

How Do You Know Yourself?

How is it that you know yourself? By thinking? By memory? By meditation?

By being still. By being present. By listening for the current of the Divine that flows through us all.

Sunday, June 28, 2009


Open the door to the world beyond yourself, and you will see yourself reflected in its many surfaces.

When you look below the surface, you realize you have been there all along -- and all the universe with you.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Not to Be One

Each star shines its own light. Each holly berry has never been seen before. Each snowflake, of course, is unique. Each cell in our bodies is one of a kind.

Is every electron also different? Every neutrino, every meson, every quark? How far does this uniqueness extend?

What if the universe is simply God's exploration of what it is not to be One?

Friday, June 26, 2009

The Gift of Gratitude

To feel grateful for what you have is itself a gift to be thankful for. Gratitude is its own reward.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Being Still

Stand still and calm the heart.
Sit still and calm the mind.
Lie still and calm the spirit.

Learning to be patient when
you are not patient is hard.
Learning to be patient when
you are patient is easier.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Fearless Now

One of the great frustrations of being alive is that we can only know so much. When we try to cure ourselves of this by learning more, we only add to the list of things we'll never know. The more we know, the more we know we don't know.

Ignorance creates fear.

When we lose ourselves in the boundless Tao, we can let go of both learning and ignorance, and live in the fearless now.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

When You Look

When you look,
the tulip will bloom.

When you listen,
thunder will rattle the windows.

When you taste,
the ocean will turn salty.

When you sniff,
the wind will smell like rain.

When you touch,
marble will turn cool.

The universe is waiting
for you to pay attention.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Jesus as Son of God?

Did Jesus see himself as the Son of God?

Probably not.

More likely, he discovered within himself the Eternal Tao that cannot be named and tried to carry the message that we are all vessels of the Divine.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Jesus as Messiah?

Did Jesus see himself as the Messiah, the Savior of the world?

Probably not.

More likely, he saw the corruption and injustice of the religious leaders of his day and decided to confront them.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Tao Time

Clocks are a human innovation. They are a way to capture time and put it to use. By using time, we're able to accomplish things both great and small.

The Tao is timeless. When we are in the Way, clocks become unnecessary. The entire universe unfolds right on cue.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Walking Through the Tao

My spiritual journey isn't measured in miles. It isn't measured in hours or days or months. It really isn't measured by any calculation.

So is it really a journey? If so, where am I traveling from? Where am I now? Where am I heading?

It is like walking through the Tao. It cannot be done.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Shifting Borders

One candle can light a dark room. It covers every object with shadows and light. Some surfaces lit; some surfaces dark.

What gives shape to everything, though, is not the light or the dark, but rather the shifting border between the two.

This is where depth begins.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Help's Closet

Help wears many different clothes. It looks like a bag lady sometimes. At other times, it looks like a golden calf or a new job or a friend or a mate.

This is why the right kind of help is always in fashion.

But what is the right kind of help? The help that improves both helper and helped.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Twice Half Full

A glass half full is really twice half full. Half full of water. Half full of air. Both halves together fill the emptiness of the glass to overflowing.

When the water and air are poured out, the glass still remains full -- full of its own emptiness. Where is the lack in that?

A vastness of potential.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Look and Listen

Looking is easy.
Seeing is harder.

Listening is simple.
Hearing, not so much.

There can be no seeing without looking.
There can be no hearing without listening.

Those who have eyes, look.
Those who have ears, listen.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Science and Spirituality

I can understand the battles between science and religion. They come from different points of view, and they have different goals.

To deny scientific discoveries because they conflict with a narrow reading of one sacred text or another is to place limits on our understanding of the Divine -- and ourselves.

To separate science from the spiritual, however, is also a sad turn of events.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Tight Quarters

Tolerance is the acceptance of the fact that we do not control the people around us. We have a right to be who we are -- but so does everyone else. Tolerance is a willingness to accept others as they are and to seek mutual benefit in our encounters with them.

Tolerance will become more and more important among us as there become more and more of us. The tighter the quarters, the more tolerant we'll become.

Tolerance makes love easier, but love makes tolerance possible.

Friday, June 12, 2009

To Be Aware Is Easy

To be aware is easy. All we have to do is remind ourselves to be aware.

When we reflect on what we discover through awareness, we are exploring the terrain of our inner continent.

As we discover who we are, we discover we are so much more than we ever imagined we could be.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Every Red Is Different

Red flowers are red, but a tulip is not a poppy, and a poppy is not a rose. Red tulips and red poppies and red roses are still red flowers, though, so in some ways they're alike and in other ways they're not.

Every instance of red is unique -- whether flower, bird, blood, or stone. Why would we expect our spiritual paths to be anything but one of a kind, too?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Faith Is a Choice

Faith is a choice.

Each of us makes our own decisions about what we believe is true and what we believe is not true.

We base our actions on what we believe is true. When we change what we choose to believe is true, we change the foundations of our behavior.

Faith, then, is the source of everything from scientific breakthroughs to suicide bombings.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

A Stretched Mind

When a professor pointed out to me that the story of creation in Genesis is actually two different stories and that their descriptions don't match, I realized I had to change the way I saw the Bible. I realized it wasn't the literal Word of God I'd been raised to believe it was.

Once you learn something, you can't unlearn it.

As Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., says, "Man's mind, stretched by a new idea, never goes back to its original dimensions."

Monday, June 8, 2009

Balancing Act

When we see only our separateness, we sink into fear and self-preservation. We come to believe we must protect ourselves, so we build walls and fences and weapons. We fight. We go to war.

When we see only our oneness, we surrender the unique experiences of our separateness. We dissolve into the lives of others. We fail to explore ourselves, and in the process we never discover who we are.

When we seek a balance between our separateness and our oneness, we are respecting the gift of unique perspective we came into the world with. We also are respecting that which we arise from and to which we will return.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Five Spices

Help somebody.

Be grateful.

Pay attention.

Be intentional.

Care as much as you can.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Deciding What Is True

How much of what we believe about God is based on what we read in the Bible, and how much is based on our own personal experiences?

In other words, how much faith do we choose to place in things external and how much in things internal?

If the Bible tells us something that runs perpendicular to our own encounters with the Divine, how do we choose which path to follow? Do we trust the writings of those who have gone before, or do we trust the answers we receive when we ask for wisdom and insight?

How do we choose what to believe is true?

Friday, June 5, 2009

From Activity to Action

Sadiq Alam has posted an interesting entry on the difference between action and activity. It's in the first part of his 1 June 2009 post.

Action arises out of a natural response to a given situation. Activity, on the other hand, arises out of restlessness.

To requote Osho from Sadiq's post:

"Action comes out of a silent mind -- it is the most beautiful thing in the world. Activity comes out of a restless mind. Action is moment to moment, spontaneous; activity is loaded with the past."

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Paying Attention

One of the greatest things we can do for other human beings is give them our attention -- that "looking-them-in-the-eyes-and-really-listening" kind of attention. When we give others our attention, we're telling them they matter.

Everybody wants to matter. Everybody.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Why Have Churches?

Churches are best for bringing together people on similar spiritual paths so they can compare notes and gain insights from one another and help each other along their separate ways.

Churches are also good for reminding us we are all spiritual beings -- whether we take the time to contemplate ourselves as such or not.

Churches are repositories of the spiritual paths of long-dead travelers. Their stories offer us insights into our own individual journeys. Insights, not road maps.

Churches can be great at organizing people's talents, energy, and compassion to bring about positive changes in the world around them. This organizing potential is a double-edged sword, though. There is, after all, power in numbers, and power corrupts even the best among us.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Spiritual Paths

We each have our own spiritual path. Mine is mine. Yours is yours.

No matter what it is, though, we each have one -- and it can take us many places. Or no place at all. For some of us, our spiritual path leads no farther than the inside of our own front door.

As I've probably already said, mine took me from Christian fundamentalism to Christian Taoism in a little over half a century. I can understand why people end up as Christian fundamentalists. I also know all too well why others feel they have to escape from it.

No spiritual path is perfect, but every spiritual path is right for someone.

Monday, June 1, 2009

All, At Once

It took me a long time to figure out that eternity is not unending time. It is the absence of time, the eternal now.

All, at once.

The passage of time is such a seductive thing, though. It's no wonder we get lost in it.