Tuesday, August 31, 2010

When I Ask

When I ask, I receive. When I seek, I find. When I knock, the door will be opened for me.

But what if I don't ask?

Then I'll never know I've already received everything I need.

What if I don't seek?

Then I'll never find the way to my true self.

What if I don't knock?

Then I'll never realize that the only barriers in front of me are the ones in my head.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Tao in Plain View

The Tao is in plain view at every moment. The trouble is that we so seldom look.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Animal Skins and Language

We are animal skins
around brains with language.

We've learned to give names
to those things that save us.
Empathy. Mercy. Compassion.

But our fur and stereoscopic vision
keep us bound to this earth, this sky,
this name, this life.

Our best hope is to turn our instincts
toward a hunt for the divine.

Saturday, August 28, 2010


Water thunders over
the cut-rock lip of a higher bluff.
Mist rises from the pool below.

All of this is slowly wearing away
under the weight and pendulum of time.

But what is time?
Just a sliver of eternity.

What is eternity?
The absence of time.

Friday, August 27, 2010

When Noise Becomes Music

When noise
becomes music,
is it because our taste
has become vulgar?

Or is it because
we have learned
to seek beauty in the
ten thousand things?

Thursday, August 26, 2010

What to Say

What does a cloud have to say
to the surface of a lake
to see itself reflected there?

What does a maple leaf have to say
to the wind to ride it to the ground?

What does one have to say
to the Tao to live a life within it?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Third Generation

Among the generations, it falls to the second generation to pass on to the third generation all of the things the second generation has found to be beneficial in one way or another.

The first generation's job is to help the third generation understand how to make use of the things the second generation is passing down to it.

The third generation has the largest task -- to set off into the future with nothing but these provisions from the past and its own imagination.

We all start in the third generation.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

If One Must Be Perfect

If one must be perfect
to be spiritual,
then no one will be spiritual,
and that is impossible.

If one must be pure
to be aware of the divine,
then no one will be aware of the divine,
and that has never happened.

If one must be holy
to encompass the sacred,
then no one will contain the great mystery,
and that is hysterical.

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Well of Salvation

Salvation seems
to call to us
from outside,
but in truth,
it wells up
from inside.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Hearing, Seeing, Going

When I listen to traffic,
I hear a river.

When I watch rush hour,
I see birds in flight.

When I hurry across town,
I keep my feet on the ground.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

If I Show Up

If I show up,
the well will be full
of clear water.

If I show up,
the market will be full
of ideas.

If I show up,
the mystery will continue
its unfolding.

If I show up,
the answers will flow
like questions.

If I show up,
all pain will slowly ebb

Friday, August 20, 2010

Seven Steps

How do I find the path
when I've lost my way?

Seven steps.

The first is to look down at my feet
to see where they are taking me.

The second is to look above
to see whether I am inside or out.

The third is to look left and right
to see who is traveling with me.

The fourth is to look behind
to see what I remember of the way I came.

The fifth is to look ahead
to see how far my vision carries.

The sixth is to look inside
for the compass that guides me.

The seventh is to choose
either to turn back,
stop and wait,
or make a new path.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Silence Has Its Own Life

Silence has its own life.
Emptiness is its home.
Wisdom is its companion.
I am its student.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Tribal Boundaries

We are tribal. In fact, we inhabit many tribes -- a shifting landscape of tribes -- across our lifetime. This is all as it is and as it should be.

The problems come at the borders between tribal areas. Who marks them? How are they delineated? How are they determined? Who decides their exact path?

Regardless of who lays the line, the closer one lives to a border, the more tolerant of others one must become.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Three Sparrows

A sparrow lands on a thin branch
that bends until it drops a leaf.

Tension builds in the thighs of a cat
as it watches a sparrow on the ground.

Seeds and nest straw litter the landscape,
and still you'd think there wasn't enough.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Friend or Enemy?

What does it mean to lose a friend if the friend behaves more like an adversary? Am I not really losing an enemy, instead?

Sunday, August 15, 2010

What Is Sacred?

What is sacred?
What is holy?
What is divine?

If my answer
is that nothing is,
is it because I have
learned that no word
can describe it?

Or is it because I have
not yet chosen to wade
out into deeper waters?

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Hide and Seek

The deepest waters of a lake
betray the beds of older streams.

Clouds unmask rising wet air
and the direction of storms.

Forests are laced with natural
paths of predators and prey.

Mountains sit on top
of shifting plates and melted rock.

Silence hollows out an empty space
for the voice of the divine.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Four Limits of Happiness.

Happiness has four limits.

The first is the letter of the law.
The second is the face of time.
The third is restless silence.
The fourth is a length of breath.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Map of My Mind

The map of my mind does not show all of the highways, the streets, the points of interest -- even cities and towns -- contained inside my head.

There are vast stretches of my mental landscape I've never seen -- rivers and oceans and forests I've never heard or smelled. How do I map these?

One step at a time.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Boxes of the Divine

We are boxes of the Divine.
We come into life empty
and are filled day by day
with experiences.

When we die,
we realize
how much more
we could have held.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


Do you know how many times
your heart beats in a day?

Do you know how many
blood cells ferry oxygen
to every living, burning
cell of your body?

Do you know how many hairs
are on your own head
(bald, shaved, or otherwise)?

Why should I know these things?
Isn't it enough that
my heart still beats,
my blood still flows, and
my hair is less and less a worry?

Monday, August 9, 2010

Five Observations

Water never runs uphill
without a reason.

Winds may sweep across an ocean,
but they cannot sweep it away.

Earth packs tighter
with every step we take,
but the ground is never so hard
that it can't be opened
for another grave.

Fire is heat and light,
the two things we need
to survive a primitive night.

There are times when silence becomes
a blanket of mercy and forgiveness.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Making My Personal History

I make my own personal history every day. What I eat. What I wear. Who I see. What I say. What I don't say. Who I lust after. Who I adore. What I hear unexpectedly.

Once I've recorded a day into my mental history book, I can go back to it whenever I choose through memory.

But I can only live it once.

The living of it is what I'm here to do. The remembering of it is a diversion -- pleasant though it may be.

It isn't the personal history I make. It's the making of the personal history.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

The Light We See

The light we see with our eyes is the light of the universe.
The light we see with our mind is the light of time.
The light we see with our heart is the light of wisdom.
The light we see with our fear is the light of separateness.
The light we see with our patience is the light of stillness.
The light we see with our spirit is the source of all light.

Friday, August 6, 2010

We All Share

We all share what we have.

If we don't share willingly,
we'll share in the suffering
we cause by not sharing.

But we will not see this.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

If I Feed Five Thousand

If I feed five thousand, how will you know it really happened after the crowd has dispersed and the baskets of leftovers have been carted away?

If I walk on water, how will you know I really did it once the sole witnesses can no longer be questioned?

If I raise the dead, how will you know for sure after the raised have all died a second death and returned to silence?

No matter what I do or don't do, how will you know the reports are accurate and true?

You won't. Beyond a certain point, you can't. The past becomes too deep to fathom.

But the past isn't where we live, and this moment will tell us what we need to know -- if we listen with a willingness to believe.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


As I go about my life,
there are no footprints
laid out on the floor
to follow every morning.

The only footprints I see
are the ones I make,
and they're all behind me.

The only way forward
is to take the next step.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


What harbors true joy?
What instructs true wisdom?
What wages true peace?

Monday, August 2, 2010

No Limits

There are
no limits,
no borders,
no boundaries,
no edges
in your
spiritual life.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Bedazzled and Bewildered

Why am I so often transfixed by light?
The way it filters through trees in the late afternoon.
The way it vibrates off the nervous skin of a lake.
The way it washes out everything at noon in the summer.
The way it flinches and twists at the top of a candlewick.
The way it plays across the ground under bare branches.
The way it bends around corners at night like neon.

Here is what I have learned so far:
outer light bedazzles; inner light bewilders.