Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Liking My Neighbor

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

Defining Each Other

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

Collecting Moments

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.

Almost enough.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Try Not to Mistake

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

What We Wear

We wear coats to protect our bodies.
We wear shoes to protect our feet.
We wear hats to protect our heads.
We wear gloves to protect our hands.
We wear blinders to protect our hearts.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Three Awarenesses

The first awareness is to clear out spaces for the divine.

The second awareness is to accept the unchangeable.

The third awareness is to discover we are all divine.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

What I Hear

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

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?

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

Following a Stray Dog

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

Years and Years of Children

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

Listening to Judgments

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

Trumpets and shouts go before parades.
Trumpets and shouts announce celebrations.
Trumpets and shouts raise alarms.
Trumpets and shouts usher in rebellions.

Something exciting.
Something new.
Something to be wary of.
Something to pay attention to.

And all powered by human breath.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Divine at Play

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?

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

No Claims

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

What Is a Moment?

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

Sharp Objects

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 Everything Has Been Done

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

Feels So Good

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

Between Storms

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


Silence isn't really silent.
It contains the noise of the mind.

Darkness isn't really dark.
It is lit from within by courage.

Emptiness isn't really empty.
It's filled to the brim with what isn't.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Questioning Enemies

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

Neighbors and Enemies

Love your neighbor.
Love our neighbor.
Love the neighbor.
Love my neighbor.
Love a neighbor.
Love neighbors.
Love enemies.
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

The Path Before You

Your path will find you. It will lay footprints under your feet.

Pay attention to what comes before you and take the next step.

Friday, September 4, 2009

What Does It Mean

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 Mystery of Being Alive

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

God in a Box

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.