Sunday, August 30, 2009

Watching a Cardinal

I saw a male cardinal sunlit on a fence outside my kitchen window this morning while I was washing dishes. I had to stop and watch him because the sunlight made him so red.

He dropped down to the ground and pecked at the dirt -- again, a brilliant red bird in a spotlight of sun.

Then back on top of the fence, this time his head the only red in sunlight. The rest of him was wine red in shadows.

I don't know how long I watched him flit from fence to dirt to fence again. It seemed a long time.

I'm writing all of this here as a present to you. As you picture it in your mind, it becomes your experience, too. Even the brilliant red. Especially the brilliant red.

This is one of the ways we grow beyond ourselves.

Your turn.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Cast a Stone

Cast a stone into a well.
Cast a penny into a well.
Cast a dollar into a well.

Does the well know the difference?
Or care?

Friday, August 28, 2009

Going Tribal

Why do we need an adversary?
Is it to make us stronger through the struggle?

Why must we clump together in divisions?
Is it to teach us we must depend on one another?

Why must we break apart into tribes?
Is it to keep our world small enough to handle?

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Start and Start Again

Moment by moment we die.
Moment by moment we live.
In every moment we are
both dying and living.
Every moment is
a coming to life again.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

My True Path

What is my true path?

Do I hack it through the forest of my life,
or do I follow it through the trees?

Or do I sit still
and give up paths altogether?

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Why Small Things Matter

Large follows small.

What we do in a small way,
we will do in a large way.

Another reason to pay
attention to small things.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Threads of Thinking

Symbols, language, math -- these are the threads we think with.

They are the woven fabric of our consciousness. We use them to filter and make sense of the relentless data pouring through our eyes and ears and nose and mouth and skin.

Some things cannot be clothed in words or numbers. They are invisible to our conscious mind.

When we silence the symbols and still the mind, what is invisible will appear.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Acts of God

Lightning strikes from ground and sky.
Tornadoes turn houses into missiles.
Hurricanes recast the boundaries of oceans.
Silence empties a space for the Divine.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Even When Being

Be still even when being still.
Be silent even when being silent.
Be calm even when being calm.

Sink into every moment
as if it were quicksand
even when it is quicksand.

Be present even when being present.

Friday, August 21, 2009

First Dependence

We are a communal species. We need to be able to depend on one another as we travel the arc of our individual lives.

In this journey, it is best to depend first on ourselves before we depend on others.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Six Questions

What is the sound of your reflection in a mirror?
What is the taste of your own voice?
What is the scent of your innermost thought?
What is the touch of your fingerprint left on a table?
What is the sight of your quietest breath?
What is the truth of your own experience?

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A Hard Mystery

When I can let go of the worries in the pit of my stomach, on that day I can let go of the Tao.

When I can let the fears of my life flow out of me like water, on that day I can let the Tao flow away, too.

Until that day, though, the only way I know to let go of my worries and fears is to be aware of being in the Tao.

How can something so simple and easy seem so hard at times?

A mystery.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Learning to Laugh

Learning to laugh at yourself can be dangerous because it can cause your face to crack open.

Once they start, the cracks can grow and grow until the entire shell breaks away in pieces, and there you are. The you you thought you had lost, but had only misplaced.

It's like finding your favorite toy packed away in a box.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Talking to the Divine

Can I talk to the Divine?
Of course.

Will it listen?
Of course.

Will it respond?
Of course.

Will I know this?
Only if I am willing to know.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

When Justice Rolls Down

When justice rolls down like a river,
the valley floods to the mountaintops.

When justice rolls down like a river,
we see how much less we give than we take.

When justice rolls down like a river,
we discover our own need for mercy.

When justice rolls down like a river,
we learn a new reason to forgive.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Letting Go

Righteousness does not make us moral.
Morality does not make us pure.
Purity does not make us acceptable.
Acceptance does not make us whole.

We become whole when we let go of acceptance.
We become acceptable when we let go of purity.
We become pure when we let go of morality.
We become moral when we let go of righteousness.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Open Curtains

Light flows in when
curtains are open at noon.

Light flows out when
curtains are open at night.

It is as if your house is breathing.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Smallest Voice

Great rivers drain the land,
and storms distill into oceans.

Forests drip with birds,
and cities swim in sound.

Two friends talk across a fence,
and boundaries become solid.

The smallest voice whispers,
and everyone cups an ear.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Looking Down the Well

When the well is empty,
it pays to dig deeper.

When the well is full,
it pays to fill barrels.

When the well is silent,
it pays to bend an ear.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Waking Up

To wake up grateful is enough
to bring light for the whole day.

To wake up hopeful is enough
to open the shutters of the sky.

To wake up curious is more
than enough to fill up a lifetime.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Solid Floor

Nothing is as solid as faith when it is the only thing you have left to stand on.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Breathing on My Own

Only I can breathe my own breath.
Only I can hear my own blood in my ears.
Only I can step in my own footprints.
Only I can live in fear inside my own skin.

When I let go of breathing and blood,
I let go of the fear of their absence.
When I let go of footprints and skin,
I let go of the fear of being alone.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Seeing the Real Moon

One night as the moon is passing across the night sky, it loses its flat-coin appearance, and we suddenly see it for what it is.

A massive sphere of rock and dust orbiting hundreds of thousands of miles away in black space.

Suddenly, we can see the distance between us.

The vastness shrinks us to dust, and we discover the universe inside us.

Friday, August 7, 2009

When Do I Not Have Time?

Do I have time for this moment?
Do I have time for this task at hand?

When do I not have time for this moment?
When do I not have time for this task at hand?

Thursday, August 6, 2009

The Perfect Illusion

Maybe perfection is an illusion.

How can anything be perfect
when everything is different?

How can anyone be perfect
when everyone is one of a kind?

How can one moment be perfect
when every moment is unique?

If perfection exists, how can it be
anything but what already is?

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Watching Each Moment

When we watch the clock,
the clock lives our lives for us.
When we worry about the calendar,
the calendar lives our future for us.

When we watch each moment
arise when its moment comes,
the Tao is living our lives,
and we are living the Tao.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Left or Right?

Inside the gate or outside the gate.
Which is more useful?

In the sunlight or in the shade.
Which is more natural?

In the valley or on the peak.
Which is more vigorous?

Open hand or closed hand.
Which is more wise?

Monday, August 3, 2009

Writing and Telling

Writing out our journeys is useful. Telling our stories is as natural as rain.

When we pass along to others what we've experienced and learned, our experiences and lessons become theirs, too. Their world enlarges.

To write and tell also helps us understand our own journey more deeply.

No two journeys are the same. We can only pass along our own stories. This is why everyone should have stories to tell.

Don't forget to read and listen.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Something About Yourself

Remember something about yourself you'd forgotten, and you will duck your head.

Discover something about yourself you hadn't known before, and you will be startled.

Recognize something about yourself you hadn't seen before, and you will be flattered.

Decide something about yourself you've never decided before, and you will be grateful.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Community Project

When I am one, I know myself one way. When we are more than one, we begin to know ourselves in more than one way.

Learning ourselves is our life's work. Learning who we are also means learning who we are not.

Communities help us do this by showing us different points of view of who we are.

Wherever two or more are gathered together, a community is born.

We are all community projects.