Come meander with me on the pathless path of the Heart
in these anecdotal,
sometimes inspiring, sometimes personal meanderings of the Heart's opening in the every-day-ness of life...

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

The Prison of Certainty - John O'Donohue

When we domesticate our minds and hearts, we reduce our lives.
We disinherit ourselves as children of the universe.  Almost
without knowing it, we slip inside ready-made roles and
routines which then set the frames of our possibilities.  We
acquire sets of convictions in relation to politics, religion and
work. We parrot these back and forth to each other, as if they
 were absolute insights.  Yet for the most part these frames of
belief function as self-constructed barriers, fragile cliches pulled
around our lives to keep out the mystery.  The game of society
helps us to forget the unknown...  The control and ordering of
society is amazing: we comply so totally with its unwritten
rules.  In a city at morning, you see the lines of traffic and the
rows of faces all on their way to work.  We show up.  We
behave ourselves.  We obey fashion and taste.

We have a deadening desire to reduce the mystery...
We bind our lives up in solid chains of forced connections
that block and fixate us.  This silences the voices within us
that are always urging us to change and become free.  Our
sense of uncertainty and our need for security nail our world
down.  We confine mystery within the prison of routine and
repetition.  Your response to the invitation at the edge of your
life becomes reduced to a series of automatic reflexes.  We
live so much of our one life with the same automatic blindness
of adaptation.  After a while, unknown to you, a wall has
grown between you and the native forces of your experiences.
You go through life only half aware...  This subtle conditioning
becomes so effortless that you are only half present in your life.

[But] Everywhere around us mystery never sleeps.  The same
deep nature is within us.  Each person is an incredibly
sophisticated, subtle, and open-ended work of art.  We live at
the heart of our own intimacy, yet we are strangers to its endless
nature.  Each of us needs to travel inwards from the surface
constraints and visit the wild places within us and answer the
question:  Who are you?  Who are you behind your role?  Who
are you behind your words?  Who are you when you are alone
with yourself?  Who are you before you slip back safely behind
the mask and the name by which you are known during the day?

If you can awaken the eternal beauty and light of your soul
you will break through the prison of certainty
and bring light wherever you go.

John O'Donohue
From: Eternal Echoes 

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Death and Rebirth - Matt Licata

In each moment the sacred process of death and rebirth is playing
out within us.  With each breath, something in us is dying: some
aspect of who we think we are, or what we're doing here, the death
of an old dream, or an idea about how it was all going to turn out.

In the face of this dissolution, the question isn't so much how can
we be reborn, but will we participate in death fully, and with an
open heart, paving the way for new forms to emerge, trusting that
rebirth will take place according to a timeline originating far away
in the stars.

In times of transition, our tendency is to rush to rebirth, back into
the known, in an urgent attempt to cure, maintain, or heal that
which is dying, that which longs for transformation [within us.]
It is so natural to resist falling apart in our need to put it all back
together.  But it is only from the core of the womb of death - a
death tended to consciously - that rebirth can come into being.

The invitation, which we can at times hear clearly, during the dark
of night, in the slowness and the depths, as we move in and out of
states of sleep and dream, is to not abandon death...  To not short
circuit the intelligence that death is, and to remember that rebirth
is not possible without dissolution.

Allow death some time to unfold, to share its poetry and its
fragrances, which are not partial, but of a light that is whole.
In those times in our lives, when things are being rearranged
and reorganized inside and around us, we can attune to what
is truly being asked, to allow the forms of love safe passage to
continue their journey.  And equally allow them to dissolve...
Give them permission to dance and play and participate fully
in the sacred return...

Thursday, January 24, 2019

A Passing Show - Etty Hillesum

Understand that all outer appearances are a passing show...

People sometimes say: "you must try to make the best of things."
I find this such a feeble thing to say.
Everywhere things are both good and very bad at the same time.
The two are in balance, everywhere and always.  I never have
the feeling that I have got to make the best of things.
Everything is fine just as it is.
Every situation, however miserable, is complete in itself
and contains the good as well as the bad...
Things come and go in a deeper rhythm, and people must
learn to listen...

Etty Hillesum
Jewish Mystic of the Holocaust
From: Letters from Westerbork
Aug 1943

Etty died in Auschwitz Nov. 30, 1943
at the age of 29


"All shall be well, and all shall be well,
and every kind of thing shall be well."

Julian of Norwich
Christian Mystic

Monday, January 21, 2019

Trajectory of Life - Richard Wehrman

He was surprised
to see the gray clouds,
for the sunrise was clear
with blue sky, and he
assumed, as he always had,
that the sky moved
as the sun moved, east
to west, yet here the clouds
came, traveling west to
east, and he thought of
the trajectory he imagined
his life took, of birth
to death, infancy to old age,
and he wondered if he
had missed something,
if the winds moved
differently than he supposed,
if death also traveled
toward life, if there were
more currents than he
could imagine; and if
imagining itself, setting
a distinct course, one he
planned in advance, kept
him from seeing, if he
were at this moment
actually growing younger,
at the same time he grew
older; if he was in fact
moving in ways he could
barely sense, into another
life, into other worlds.

Richard Wehrman
From: Being Here
original title: Traveling

Friday, January 18, 2019

Vulnerability - Rumi and Wilber

I was going to tell you my story...
but waves of pain drowned my voice.
I tried to utter a word but my thoughts
became fragile and shattered like glass.
Even the largest ship can capsize
in the stormy sea...
let alone my feeble boat,
which shattered to pieces leaving me nothing
but a strip of wood to hold on to.
Small and helpless, rising to heaven
on one wave of love and falling with the next.
I don't even know if I am or I am not.
When I think I am, I find myself worthless,
when I think I am not, I find my value.
Like my thoughts, I die and rise again each day...
at last I surrender...



Authentic spirituality is revolutionary.
It does not legitimate the world,
it breaks the world;
it does not console the world,
it shatters it.  And it does not render
the self content, it renders it undone.

Ken Wilber

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

You Think You Have Time - Gunaratana

We usually do not look into what is really there in front of us.
We see life through a screen of thoughts and concepts, and we
mistake those mental objects for reality.  We get so caught up in
this endless thought-stream that reality flows by unnoticed. We
spend our time engrossed in activity, caught up in an eternal flight
from pain and unpleasantness.  We spend our energies trying to make
ourselves better, trying to bury our fears.  We are endlessly seeking
 security.   Meanwhile, the world of real experience flows by
untouched and unnoticed...

Henepola Gunaratana
Buddhist Monk

Sunday, January 13, 2019

An Infinite Number of New Beginnings - Jeff Foster

In your attempt to be an 'adult',
you lose touch with your inner child.
In your rush to b the 'expert',
you disconnect from the amateur you,
the inner lover, innocent and wild.

In your quest for security,
your run from insecurity,
bury your anxiety, crush your doubts,
until one day they explode all over the place,
and make a mess of your nice, 'ordered' life.

Don't confuse the role you play
with who you truly are.
Don't confuse the adaptation with the actor,
the changing weather with the vastness of sky.

Your true identity lies in Presence...
And wonder.
And creativity.
And an infinite number of new beginnings.

Each moment.
Each canvas.
Each Now.


Jupiter, Venus, Moon - June 2015

Friday, January 11, 2019

Profound Not-Knowing - Jeff Foster

One of my favorite things to do is to sit with my elderly father 
who has Alzheimers.  It's a beautiful thing to just sit in a place
of profound not-knowing with him, a place where I do not
know what to say or do.  I sit, without expectation, without
trying to 'fix' him, or manipulate his experience in any way.
I just listen, without trying to make things better in the moment,
without playing the role of  'the one who knows'.
I am simply available to him.
I don't need to 'know' anything in this place...

And here, I notice a deep and profound acceptance of any wave
of frustration or sadness that appears in the ocean of experience.

And this seems to be what true relationship is at its very core -
meeting, really meeting in the moment, without hope, without
a future, without expectation, without a story.  Coming face
to face with - yourself. 

Nisargadatta Maharaj says:

"What remains is the great sadness of compassion"

It is not cold detachment and neo-Advaita
world-rejection, but the intimacy of the most unspeakable kind.

Excerpt from The Beauty We Love

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Journey of Return - Dorothy Hunt

When the Beloved wants to take you Home,
extend your hand to His welcoming
even though your body may be trembling
and your mind may want to flee;
even though those around you grieve,
and you yourself have mourned, even before they,
the changing form of your body.
Tears are not the final truth
though they will come and go
like stars that need a dark sky to be seen.
Death is not a failure of a mind
that is not strong enough,
or positive enough, or pure enough.
Those who hold such views are simply
masking fear with ideas of being in control.
We are being lived...
...anguish, fear or deepest grief
cannot alter Who you really are.
The beautiful Spirit that extended ItSelf
in space and time, and called ItSelf by your name,
is simply ready to return, unencumbered by a body,
to Its vast and spacious Unborn Self,
that kisses you at birth,
and holds your hand in death,
and never for a moment
forgets you are ItSelf.
The mind imagines you are leaving,
but where could you truly go?
You are Life ItSelf...
Unceasingly flowing,
moment to moment unfolding Yourself.
A body is born; a body dies; but you do not.
Deep within your heart, you know this Truth.
Rest there.  Rest in the knowing that
opens your heart to all that IS,
that loves ItSelf in all that comes,
and returns to ItSelf in all that goes.

Dorothy Hunt
Zen Buddhist Teacher


Personal Note - My 90 year old mother has started her
"Journey of Return."  She collapsed at home on Dec. 23rd
and spent the next week in the hospital where they discovered
she has stomach cancer.  She chose not to pursue treatment, and
is now at home on Hospice Care.  She really doesn't understand
what is happening, as she has already forgotten what happened to
her in December.  She is "transitioning", as they call it; seeing
people where there are none, seeing paintings on walls that aren't
there.  She has begun to grieve the loss of the functioning of her
body, but we don't think she knows "she" is dying.  But she is also
still very lucid, just exhausted physically; as are her children who
now care for her 24/7.  Three very different personalities brought
together in time in a family dynamic that is difficult... 
We don't know when "The Beloved" will take her.
It could be weeks or months according to those who "know"
about the process of death.  I will have to say that this experience
has made me question any *ideas* of an underlying "spirituality" -
as it does not appear in my present experience.  Maybe we just
create lofty ideas of "spirituality" to comfort the mind.  The
practical fact is that my mother will die, dissipate, even if her
Consciousness continues or is absorbed into the Greater
Consciousness, etc...   It is the process of death
itself that is exhausting as the body slowly declines... 
It appears to be an "event", an "experience" that is happening,
like birth, whether we are able to
understand the mystery of it or not...

Friday, January 4, 2019

Arguing With Life - Jeff Foster

What is the point of arguing with life as it is?

The ego replies, "Yeah, but if I stop resisting the way things are,
change will never happen, things will stay the same, 
or get worse..."

You see, the ego does not  understand the ancient mysteries of
change and healing. It truly believes - in relationships, in career,
in life decisions, in global matters - that peace can only come
through war, that real change can only happen through hating
where we are and desperately wanting to be somewhere else.

Here is the paradox of change.  When we tire of the internal
violence, when we are no longer at war with the way things are,
when we no longer argue with the present scene in the movie
of our lives, we come to rest.  And then, from a place of rest,
new vistas open up, hitherto unexplored possibilities reveal
themselves.  New connections are made, new solutions emerge.
From a place of equanimity and acceptance, things that
seemed certain are now not so certain, blocks are no longer
blocks, old futures begin to collapse and new futures become
possible.  Energies that seemed intolerable a moment ago are
now allowed in, allowed to move, to express and release their
creativity and healing power.  Because our eyes are open, new
details are apparent in the present scene, details that we had
become blind to, in our rush to "a better future."

From a place of peace, we can more easily take the next step.
And sometimes the nest step means taking no step at all,
but falling deeply in love with where we are.
  This is NOT
the same as giving up.  This is not passivity or toleration of the
'negative.'  This is not the same as abandoning all hope of a
better future.  There is no abandonment here.  This is not
stagnation.  This is not weakness.  This is true courage.  The
willingness to slow down, be present, drink in all the richness -
the joy and the sorrow, the doubt and the creativity - of the
present scene.

The movie has not been written yet; it writes itself as we go
along.  And in resisting the present scene, you are actually
resisting the entire movie.  Resistance can only breed

Sometimes the point of arguing with life, is to get you to
a point where you are tired of arguing with life.  And then
you sink deeply into the present moment, resting in its
embrace, trusting the way of things, accepting your own
imperfections.  And then everything seems possible, and
everything feels alive as you feel alive, and fearless, and
real change can come.

Perhaps slowly, perhaps in a great tidal wave.  But you no
longer push for it.  You are letting it happen. You are
aligned at last, no longer part of the problem, but already
an expression of the solution.

Sometimes you need to stop trying to change the moment,
for the moment to change...  all by itself.

Everything you think is wrong with you, is actually right.
Spiritual enlightenment is already here, shining through
the simplicity of this moment, exactly as it is.

The divine perfection you've been seeking is actually contained
in the midst of your tender vulnerability and imperfections.
There is precious alchemical medicine hidden inside your pain,
and your deepest longings, aches, doubts, grief and heartache
are portals to joy and healing.