Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Do I have to like my neighbor? No.
Do I have to love my neighbor? Yes.
How can that be?
To like your neighbor is to enjoy your time with her.
To love your neighbor is to recognize her as another part of the wholeness we all are -- regardless of whether you like her or can't stand her.
Monday, September 28, 2009
Hard and soft.
Slow and fast.
Easy and difficult.
Tall and short.
Wide and deep.
Long and brief.
Wet and dry.
Loud and quiet.
Light and dark.
Cold and hot.
Straight and bent.
Hard and harder.
Soft and softer.
Slow and slower.
Fast and faster.
Easy and easier.
Difficult and more difficult.
Tall and taller.
Short and shorter.
Wide and wider.
Deep and deeper.
Long and longer.
Brief and briefer.
Wet and wetter.
Dry and drier.
Loud and louder.
Quiet and quieter.
Light and lighter.
Dark and darker.
Cold and colder.
Hot and hotter.
Straight and straighter.
Bent and more bent.
We define each other as we define ourselves.
Sunday, September 27, 2009
To be aware and mindful and present in the moment is difficult to carry off as the seconds of my life turn into minutes and then hours and then decades.
When I can collect a moment here or there and immerse myself in it as if sinking into a soothing bath after a long day, that is almost enough to make up for all of the moments I missed.
Saturday, September 26, 2009
Try not to mistake fear for laziness.
Try not to mistake shyness for arrogance.
Try not to mistake modesty for ignorance.
Try not to mistake humility for weakness.
Try not to mistake compassion for innocence.
Friday, September 25, 2009
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
When I listen with my ears, I hear voices and music and birds and screams and shouts.
When I listen with my mind, I hear words and ideas and abstractions.
When I listen with my head, I hear the noise of trade and commerce.
When I listen with my fear, I hear every whisper and sift every nuance.
When I listen with my heart, I hear the pleas of those who cannot help themselves.
When I listen with my spirit, I hear every pain, every laugh, every scream, every joy.
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
The future is a bird you release every morning.
It flies away, and you wonder if you will see it again.
The past is a wilderness you have already crossed.
You look back at it from peak after peak after peak.
The present is the path rising up to meet your shoes.
And you, watching every step.
Monday, September 21, 2009
How much does it cost to be courteous?
How much does it cost to be polite?
How much does it cost to try to listen?
How much does it cost to try to understand?
How much does it cost to be kind?
How much does it cost to be friendly?
How much does it cost to be nice?
How much does it cost not to do these things?
Sunday, September 20, 2009
A man was following a stray dog down the street one morning when a friend saw him and called out.
"What are you doing?" the friend asked.
"I'm following this stray dog," the man answered.
"Why?" the friend called.
"It is my job today."
"To follow a stray dog?" the friend asked.
"No, to see where he is going."
Saturday, September 19, 2009
Year after year, schools fill up with children.
Year after year, they sprout like fields of new flowers.
Year after year, new faces appear at every desk, fresh and young and curious.
Year after year, they show up to carry forward our hope for a future we will not see.
Friday, September 18, 2009
Believing I am not good enough is not the same as believing I am not acceptable.
When I believe I am not good enough, I am listening to judgments from within.
When I believe I am not acceptable, I am listening to judgments from without.
When I learn to believe I am good enough, I am listening to the way things really are.
Thursday, September 17, 2009
Trumpets and shouts go before parades.
Trumpets and shouts announce celebrations.
Trumpets and shouts raise alarms.
Trumpets and shouts usher in rebellions.
Something to be wary of.
Something to pay attention to.
And all powered by human breath.
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
There is so much to take in, to sift through, to contemplate, to appreciate in every passing hour that I have to stop every now and then and let my mind catch up.
Sometimes, I just have to go in a room by myself and sit in my favorite chair and close my eyes and be quiet. Just breathe. Just be still and breathe. Slow. Still. Silent.
In that silence, I let go of taking in and sifting through and contemplating and appreciating. I sit still, instead, and just watch for the Divine at play.
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Which footstep is my next step?
Which footstep is not my next step?
Which footstep heads in a difficult direction?
Which footstep leads in a straight line?
Once again, act on what you know.
Wait for what you don't know.
Monday, September 14, 2009
Sunlight reflects off the surface of a long river, and yet the river never claims to be the sun.
Clouds drift across the face of a calm lake, and yet the lake never claims to be the sky.
Gusts rattle the leaves of autumn trees, and yet the forest never claims to be the wind.
The Tao shines on a spiritual path, and yet the path never claims to be divine.
Sunday, September 13, 2009
Because time is relative, as Einstein showed, how can we really know what a day is?
How can we really know what an hour is, a minute, a second?
We can turn to clocks and calendars and star charts for objective answers, but they can't tell us what a year is in relation to our lives.
Not when every moment is different.
Saturday, September 12, 2009
Scissors cut fabric and paper and flower stems.
Knives cut rope and carrots and animal hides.
Scalpels cut skin and sinews and clamped veins.
Sharp words cut deepest. Best not to play with them.
Friday, September 11, 2009
When every book has been written, and
every song has been sung, and
every path has been walked, and
every meal has been cooked, and
every season has come to an end, and
every star has burned out,
the universe will begin again.
Thursday, September 10, 2009
To find clear water when you are thirsty feels so good.
To find a dry cave in the middle of a downpour feels so good.
To find a cold lake when you are baking in sunlight feels so good.
To find a hot fire when you are trapped in a snowstorm feels so good.
Wet, dry, cold, hot -- all end at the same place. Just at different times.
Another reason to be patient.
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
Rain falls staccato on a flooded storm drain.
Runoff rushes down the curb like wind along a ski run.
Pools disappear into the pores of beige naked ground.
Iron clouds dry out and turn aluminum gray.
And once again, we find ourselves between storms.
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
Monday, September 7, 2009
What is the value of having an enemy?
How does an enemy help us know who we are?
What can an enemy teach us that no one else can?
Who gets to decide who our enemy is?
When does an enemy stop being an enemy?
Who gets to decide that?
Sunday, September 6, 2009
Love your neighbor.
Love our neighbor.
Love the neighbor.
Love my neighbor.
Love a neighbor.
Love an enemy.
Love my enemy.
Love the enemy.
Love our enemy.
Love your enemy.
It's all the same thing, isn't it?
Saturday, September 5, 2009
Friday, September 4, 2009
What does it mean to be wise?
To know how to improvise a map.
What does it mean to be clever?
To know how to turn an advantage.
What does it mean to be destroyed?
To know how to lose faith in oneself.
What does it mean to be saved?
To know how to live without fear.
Thursday, September 3, 2009
The experience of being alive is so seductive that it overwhelms the mystery of being alive -- the sense of ourselves as being separate from everything else.
On one hand, we are separate. On the other, we are not.
On one hand, we are unique. On the other, there is no we. There is no I.
To be, or not to be. That is the first question of being alive.
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
I don't know what to call it. All I know is that I came from it. I move and breathe and have my very being in it. I'll return to it when I die.
I'm good with that.
Is it God? Is it the Tao? Is it Allah? Is it Gaia? Is it Sex, Drugs, and Rock and Roll?
No box is big enough.
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
Opinions help us make decisions.
Decisions help us take action.
Taking action helps us move.
But move toward what?
We move toward peace and justice when our actions are guided by compassion.
We act in confidence when our decisions are grounded in wisdom.
We make better choices when our opinions are based on direct experience.