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...

Friday, May 31, 2024

Your Story's Value - Janet Conner

There are many spiritual traditions which teach that you must
dissolve your personal story; drop the story, in order to attain
"enlightenment", "awakening."  While I understand the need
not to become entangled in the content of our personal stories,
as I have done several times over the past couple of years, :)
there is still value in our stories...



Your story is you healer.  In every story is conflict,
and within the conflict is the chance for change.  The story
is what happened; it is what is.  The value is in what the story
is telling you.  It's your guidance from Spirit, who wants to
bring you to a new place.....  Listen beyond the details of the
story you are telling yourself, for the core identity, and deeper
needs.  You can even ask:  What is the deeper need here?  If
you journal you can write your story in all its fullness and as
you do, begin to listen to hear yourself.  And as you hear yourself,
you begin to discern the needs hidden behind the details of your
story.  And behind those needs, you begin to hear the sound of
your Essence, your Core, your Soul.  This kind of listening
reaches far beyond the physical act of hearing to a spiritual act of
perceiving the essence within the words.

Gene Knudsen Hoffman says:  I am not talking about listening
with the human ear.  I am talking about perceiving what's hidden
and obscure.  We must listen with our spiritual ear, the one inside....
We must literally suspend our beliefs and listen to learn whether
what we hear expands or diminishes our sense of Truth.

Brian and Lisa Burman say: The challenge is when people are
so embedded in the character in the story [and the content of
the story] that they don't connect that they are the container for the
whole thing.  Within you is everything.  Your job is to connect with
that innate wisdom
 so you can have a deep connection with the
heart of what really happened, and move on.

Listen to your sorrows, joys, fears, frustrations....
To listen deeply you must open your innermost spiritual ear.
Listen beyond the story to the story behind the story...
Listen for what motivates you, what inspires you, what
frightens you, what stops you in your tracks.  Listen for what
keeps happening over and over again - the patterns...
You will learn much about yourself...

Janet Conner
Brian and Lisa Burman
Gene Knudsen Hoffman

excerpts from the book: Writing Down Your Soul
by Janet Conner


Your story has value.
it can reflect back to you something you need to see,
or know about a situation, or yourself, if you listen,
observe, and find what's beneath the story you
keep telling yourself...



Photo - taken by my brother at Plum Island, MA


Wednesday, May 29, 2024

The "Real Journey"? - a meandering...

It may be that when we no longer know what to do
we have come to our real work,
and that when we no longer know which way to go
we have come to our real journey.

Wendell Berry

I find myself facing major life changes these days, in my 70's,
living with the questions, waiting for the way to become clear.
Watching the mysterious signposts along the way.  It's not a
crossroads exactly, nor a threshold.  It's more like limbo: all
questions, few clues, no answers.  With a timing all its own.

Berry's quote is a reminder for me in this busy-ness, work-identified
realm we live in - living under pressure to "produce", to get things
done, to "fix" yourself, physically, spiritually, psychologically,
that it takes courage to not have answers, to just slow down, to
set out on an inner journey I cannot see...

In my elder years perspectives have changed, the body has less
stamina and endurance to live the way the world lives: the hurried,
cacophony of living.  And so a "new journey" has begun, both
spiritually and physically - a slower paced interior journey -
and not necessarily meditation, but just more silence and solitude
and inner listening, when I can.  Maybe this *is* the "real journey" 
that Berry speaks of.  I'll let you know :)


I was journaling about this "shift" I seem to be going through
when the Inner Voice whispered:

"It's all a story" -

"You're a story within the 'Greater Story' of Existence."

I somehow felt relieved to hear this - and the recognition
that I am (my life is) only a story - as if I hadn't heard this before,
in different, more "spiritualized" words :)

Life is like a novel, the main story is your entire life,
with different chapters in it - different stories,
within a larger Story - a larger Reality.

The Inner Voice went on to say: Most people think they are in
control of their lives.  They don't realize they're just living a
story.  And the story doesn't dissolve until we die.  We are all
living the stories of our lives within a bigger context.  We are
all unique stories/expressions of the "Greater Story of Existence."
Which doesn't mean that we aren't "real", but like the wave of
the Ocean, we are each a unique expression of a greater Reality.
(And I like to think of it as a Cosmic Ocean - we are waves,
vibrations of a Cosmic Ocean that we can't see.  We are infinite
beings living a story.)

It kinda took the air out of the "self-importance" balloon; nothing
special, just a story, like everyone else, a blip in the ocean of
eternity...  It was like a burden had been lifted...  I could just
relax, internally, with no more striving after "enlightenment", or
perfection, or identifying with the "I Am"...  The story of "me" dies 
with us at death, unless "the story" is written down somewhere,
in a time bound obituary: a story of my life story...

Sigh - such relief to know I'm only a story...

BTW - if this perspective changes I'll be sure to 
write about it :) LOLOL


Photo - Mystic Meandering


Monday, May 27, 2024

Non-continuity - J. Krishnamurti

Photo - vincent guth on unsplash

Questioner: The fact that death stares everybody in the face,
yet its mystery is never solved.  Must it always be so?

Krishnamurti:  Why is there fear of death?
There is fear of death as long as there is desire for continuity
[of the] character, the name, and so on.  Fear comes into being
when this continuity is threatened through death.  So, there is
fear of death as long as there is the desire for continuity.

Death, the state of non-continuity, the state of rebirth, is the
unknown.  Death is the unknown.  So death remains a mystery.

Immortality is not the continuation of "me." [the character]
The me is of time.  So there is no relationship between the me
and that which is immortal, timeless.  That which is immeasurable
and timeless cannot be caught in the net of time [and
therefore never dies - and we are that timeless energy]

J. Kirshnamurti
excerpt from a talk in Bombay March 1948
[Brackets mine]

with thanks to The Beauty We Love

Photo -Vincent Guth


For all the innocents who have passed in humankind's never ending
propensity toward war...




Saturday, May 25, 2024

Perspective, Perception & Interpretation - Ted Chiang

The physical universe was a language with a perfectly ambiguous 
grammar.  Every physical event was an utterance that could be
parsed in two entirely different ways, one causal and the other
teleological, both valid, neither one disqualified no matter how
much context was available.

It's like the famous optical illusion, the drawing of either an
elegant young woman, face turned away from the viewer, or
a wart-nosed crone, chin tucked down on  her chest.  There is
no "correct" interpretation; both are equally valid.
But you can't see them both at the same time.

Ted Chiang
Stories of Your Life and Others

with thanks to Whiskey River
for photo too :)


We each have unique stories, perspectives, perceptions,
 and frameworks of interpretation of Reality.
 I celebrate our diversity - our unique waves/expressions on
the Greater Ocean of Being...



Thursday, May 23, 2024

Within This Body - Tulsi Sahib and Ivan Granger


Within this body
breathes the secret essence.
Within this body
beats the heart of the Vedas.
Within this body
shines the Universe,
so saints say,
Hermits, ascetics, celibates --
all are lost
seeking Him
in endless guises.
Seers and sages perfectly parrot
the scriptures and holy books,
blinded by knowledge.
Their pilgrimage,
and fasting
and striving
but delude.
Despite their perfect practice,
they discover no destination.
Only the saints
who know the body's heart
have attained the Ultimate,OTulsi.
Realize this, and you've found your freedom
(while teachers trapped in tradition
know only the mirage
in the mirror.)

Tulsi Sahib
English version by Ivan Granger


Commentary by Ivan Granger

This poem really cuts right through the delusion of
fundamentalism on the one hand - and being overly
enamored with the spiritual practices and rituals, on
the other -

This is not to say that one should not study sacred texts or
that we should ignore the value of spiritual practices.  The
problem is that it's easy to forget what their true purpose is.
Sacred writing, sacred striving, they are signposts that remind
us to turn inward and discover the true heart that shines with
the light of the universe.

If we just memorize words or pray in the mountains, even if
we do it perfectly, we are idolizing the trappings of
spirituality, without understanding, without making the real
journey.  This is one of the reasons why there us so much
anger among fundamentalists in all traditions - they push
to fit into an externalized idea of what it means to be perfect,
yet they are not transformed, and they secretly know it.

Unable to face the pain of that failure, they externalize it, and
blame the imperfections of the world around them for holding
them back.  That pain becomes anger at the outer world, and
that anger is reflexively attributed to God.  Then that angry
God is imagined to punish by withholding heaven from the
individual until the whole world rigidly falls into order.
The more desperate these individuals become for release 
from spiritual pain, the more violently they try to enforce
their vision upon society in the hopes that they will finally
appease God and find freedom.

So sad, when all that is necessary is to slip through that pain,
let go of self-importance, and discover the immense joy
quietly glowing deep within.  No one and nothing else
holds us back.

More important is to yield and open and finally settle
into the secret shining heart [essence] that awaits discovery...


...Okay, Ivan will now step down from his soapbox. 
Have a wonderful weekend, and remember to take some
sweet quiet time to settle within.

Ivan Granger
Poetry  Chaikhana


Photo - Mystic Meandering

Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Opposites - Chuang Tzu

When we look at things in the light of Tao,
Nothing is best, nothing is worst.
Each thing, seen in it own light,
Stands out in its own way.
It can seem to be "better"
Than what is compared with it
On its own terms
But seen in terms of the whole,
No one thing stands out as "better."


He who wants to have right without wrong,
Order without disorder,
Does not understand the principles
Of heaven and earth.
He does not know how
Things hang together.
Can a man cling only to heaven
And know nothing of earth?
They are correlative: to know one
is to know the other.
To refuse one
Is to refuse both.
Can a man cling to the positive
Without any negative
In contrast to which it is seen
To be positive?
If he claims to do so
He is a rogue or a madman...


Chuang Tzu
translation by Thomas Merton

with thanks to The Beauty We Love


Photo - Mystic Meandering


Saturday, May 18, 2024

Solitude - the furnace of transformation

Solitude is the furnace of transformation.
Without solitude
we remain victims of our society
and continue to be
entangled in the illusions
of the false self...

Henri Nouwen


The great omission in American life is solitude;
not loneliness,
for there is an alienation
that thrives most in the midst of crowds,
but [it is] that zone of time and space,
free from outside pressures,
which is the incubator
of the spirit.

Maya Mannes


Awareness of the Divine Essence as our
innermost [Being] requires silence...
It is turning toward what lies hidden within -
to the internal - the all-embracing totality
of Divine Being.
It is the way of meditation,
the way of inner silence before Spirit.

Remaining quiet before Spirit is a prayer of silence,
through which we listen to that which secretly speaks
to us in the inner room of the heart.

What is hidden deep in our innermost being
lies in silence and stillness,
and in the silence of the deep
springs the eternal, inexhaustible, original
source of all being.

Where words fall silent,
the everlasting begins...

Wolfgang Kopp
From: Free Yourself Of Everything


Spiritual joys come from solitude.
A little while in your room
will prove more valuable than anything else
that could ever be given...

To be one with the truth for just a moment
is worth more than the world and life itself...



Personal Note:

I am not suggesting that we all live a cloistered life of 
solitude and silence!  We're not all meant for that.  I don't
think I could even do that as much as I need solitude and silence.
As I have discovered, solitude is not always the "answer."
But it is  about going deeper within,
listening and hearing the deeper Voice within,
and responding to the inner movement of That.
We can be in solitude while cleaning or creating, or in nature.
And sometimes that inner Voice speaks to us through the voice
of others, as these quotes here did for me.
I merely wish to point out that part of the angst and entropy
we are experiencing personally and in the world is due to
a lack of spending time in solitude and silence,
becoming aware of and getting to know our deeper,
mostly unknown, Core Being.



There is no effort that we can make to still ourselves.
True stillness comes naturally from moments of solitude
where we allow our minds to settle.  Just as water seeks
its own level, the mind will gravitate toward the holy.
Muddy water will become clear if allowed to stand
undisturbed, and so too will the mind become clear
if it is allowed to be still.

Deng Ming-Dao, 365 Tao, Daily Meditations


Photos - Mystic Meandering

Friday, May 17, 2024

The Unsolved - Rainer Maria Rilke

Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart
and try to love the questions themselves, like locked
rooms and like books that are now written in a very
foreign tongue.  Do not now seek the answers,
which cannot be given because you would not be
able to live them.
  And the point is, to live
everything.  Live the questions now.  Perhaps
you will then gradually, without noticing it,
live along some distant day into the answer.

Rainer Maria Rilke
from: Letter to a Young Poet


Photo - Mystic Meandering 

Wednesday, May 15, 2024

The Tao of Water - Rod MacIver

The highest motive in life is to be like water.
it fights nothing or no one.
It flows from and back to its source
and in the flowing smooths and wears
away all resistance.

Taoist Proverb


In paddling wild rivers, I learned that the power of the river
is immense, and our power insignificant.
The Tao tells us that the energies of the universe, driven by
the forces of yin and yang, are greater than we are.  And
much like the positive and negative energies of electricity,
without both, without the light and the dark, female and male,
neither could exist.  To survive long term as a species, we
must accommodate ourselves to those energy flows rather
than fight them.

In paddling a rapid, we seek to move with its flow, rather than
against it, to execute our strokes at points of maximum impact,
and to not use a hard stroke when a light stroke will do.  And
sometimes, when the water moves faster than we can think, to
execute our strokes with intuition.

Chang-tzu, a fourth century sage, wrote of an old man who
somehow survived a swim in a huge rapid.  Upon asking the
man how he survived, the man responded:

Plunging into the whirl, I come out of the swirl.  I accommodate
myself to the water,
 not the water to me.  And so I am able to
deal with it after this fashion....

I was born upon the land...and accommodated myself to dry land. 
That was my original condition.  Growing up with water, I
accommodate myself to the water.

Rod MacIver
Artist and Writer


The settling of the mind, letting go of the turmoil,
is akin to the settling of muddy water.

645 BC


Do you have the patience to wait
till your mud settles and the water is clear?
Can you remain unmoving
till the right action arises by itself?

Tao Te Ching
Stephen Mitchell Translation


When confronted with rocks,
water seeks a way around.

Water gives way to obstacles
with deceptive humility,
for no power can prevent it
flowing its destined course
to the sea.

Tao Cheng of Nan Yeo
11th century Taoist Scholar


with thanks to Heron Dance


Photo Art - Mystic Meandering
 -Vortex Art


Monday, May 13, 2024

Cosmic Light Show :)

It's the Cosmos that moves me,
taking my breath away,
making my heart skip...

It's all a play of Cosmic Light!


These wonderful displays of the Northern Lights
on May 10 were taken by my brother with his
iphone just north of Boston, Mass.

Just lovely!

I love the soft purple haze...


Saturday, May 11, 2024

The Inner Sanctuary - Mirabai Starr

There is a secret place.
A radiant sanctuary...

This magnificent refuge is inside you.


Shatter the darkness that shrouds the doorway.

Be bold.  Be humble.

Put away the incense and forget the incantation
they taught you.  Ask no permission from the

Slip away...

Close your eyes and follow your breath
to the still place that leads to the invisible path
that leads you home.


Softly, the One you love is calling...


At first you will only hear traces of his [her] Voice.
Love letters he [she] drops for you in hiding places -
in the sun dipping down below the horizon,
in the nameless sorrow that fills your heart when you
wake in the night and remember that the world has gone
to war and you are powerless to break up the fight.

Let the idle chatter between friends drop down to
what matters.


his [her] Voice will come closer.
A whisper you're almost sure is meant for you
fading in and out of the cacophony of thoughts
clearer in the silent space between them.


Be brave and walk through the country of your own
wild heart.
Be gentle and know that you know nothing.

Be still...


Keep walking...

Crossing the moat between this world and that...

This is The Beloved reclining in the innermost chamber,
waiting for you...

The Beloved has chosen for his [her] dwelling place
the core of your own being because that is the single
most beautiful place in all creation.

Enter the center of your Soul...

Excerpts from the Introduction to:
The Interior Castle
by St. Teresa of Avila
translation by Mirabai Starr


Vortex Art - Mystic Meandering


Thursday, May 9, 2024

The Journey of Divine Descent - a meandering...

I need to open to a different journey now,
to a Deeper Reality within...

It is a journey of Divine Descent into the deepest interiors of Myself,
into the interiority of the Soul, or Essence of Who I am...

It's a spiraling down, not into darkness necessarily, but to a
 Deeper Reality of Being, at least that's how it feels, although
 I'm sure I will encounter darkness along the way - I already have.
But it's not about going into the darkness, unless encountered:
The shadowlands of 
old traumas, old wounds, etc.,
even what are considered the 
dark emotions. 
 But in some ways it's a descent into the 
interior light - the Illumination of the Soul from within.

It's not an ascendant path, like I've been on, or a transcendent
"higher" path, but a descendant journey to the Interior Core of
Myself, my Essence, my Being - the unknown...

The key is just to let it happen.

All I can say is YES!

Mystic Meandering
May 2, 2024


Vortex Art


Tuesday, May 7, 2024

The Interior Voyage - Charles Wright

Photo Art - Johannes Plenio on Unsplash

We've all led raucous [noisy, chaotic] lives,
some of them inside, some of them out.
But only the poem you leave behind is what's important.
Everyone knows this:
The voyage into the interior is all that matters.
Whatever your ride...

Charles Wright

with thanks to Whiskey River


Photo Art - Johannes Plenio


Sunday, May 5, 2024

Befriending Ourselves - Matt Licata

At some point along the way, each of us will be asked
to revision the ideas that have accompanied us to this
moment in our lives.  Although at times the call arrives
quietly and slowly, as a whisper guiding us into new
territory, for many it comes as an unexpected visitor,
erupting in the night as we find ourselves in transition,
confused, angry, heartbroken, uncertain, or depressed.
However it arrives, it is a reminder that even our most
sacred identities and beliefs tend to become encrusted
over time, worn-out symbols of a living reality no longer
so alive.  Somehow what was clear only days or even
moments ago lost its meaning and is no longer able to
accompany us into the next phase.


To see our pain, confusion and struggle as an intelligent
communication from the deepest parts of ourselves is a
radical approach... To suffer consciously is an ancient,
sacred art lost in our time, replaced by a well-intentioned
solar self-help industry designed to take us out of the 
darkness and complexity and into consistent joy, flow,
happiness, and bliss...


True healing is not a state in which we become liberated from
feeling, but freer and flexible to experience more fully the
deeper, more complex, and more nuanced dimensions of the
psyche... to touch the fullness of what it means to have taken
birth here....in the universal human experience.


This exploration [of befriending ourselves] is not oriented in
transcending our vulnerability - fleeing into a state of power,
untouchability, and control - or safely hiding in some protected
spiritual cocoon where we've risen above it all.  It is not taking
refuge in spiritual concepts.  It is in knowing that in any moment
life will reorganize and rearrange all our constructed spiritual
identities and fantasies...


We will never feel fully alive through embracing only those
feelings, images, and parts of ourselves that our families,
societies and [religious] authorities claim are worthy and
valid, but only through the courage required to embrace the
entire display, to befriend it all, and to transform the raw
material of our lives into the luminous expression of
wisdom and love in all its forms...

Excerpts from the Introduction to his book:
A Healing Space:
Befriending Ourselves in Difficult Times


Photo - from the Internet


Friday, May 3, 2024

"Homecoming" - Mirabai Starr

I don't know about you, but I have grown weary of the 
endless quest to uncover and slay the host of inner demons
who have been messing up my plans for enlightenment,
which I have imagined as some pure land of perfect
equanimity in which I hover over my worldly concerns
like a cartoon yogi, forever free from narcissism and other
embarrassing inclinations, reliably dispensing compassion
to the vulnerable....to anyone who comes into proximity
with my purified and perfected (no)self [image]...


But the "homecoming" is probably not what we thought it
would be when we signed up for the "enlightenment track."
We have been conditioned by our spiritual communities -
whether traditional religious institutions or alternative
practice spaces - to conquer certain feeling states in favor
of some idealized realm where we are unmoved by these
"lower vibrations", free to claim our birthright of peace,
love, and bliss...


What if, instead of rushing to our meditation cushion or
asana practice....ready to vanquish the ego once and for all,
we take our ego into our arms and lean close and hear the
wisdom at the core of its insistent lament?


The ancient alchemists did not view the base material [ego]
as merely something to be transcended or gotten rid of, but
as the "substance of the gods."  What if we were to love
reality however it is appearing in this moment, with its
heartbreak, our sadness, our confusion, our depression, or
[rage], our shame?  Rather than muscle our way through
spiritual disciplines and therapeutic interventions, we fall
in love with our brokenness at last and welcome the orphaned
parts of ourselves home.

Mirabai Starr
Contemporary Mystic
Writer, Author

Excerpts from the Forward
in Matt Licata's book:

A Healing Space:
Befriending Ourselves in Difficult Times


Photo from the Internet


Wednesday, May 1, 2024

A Non-Path Path :) - a meandering...

I am feeling the need to settle deeper into the interior, and 
rediscover a sense of the inner Truth of Myself; not by following
a particular external path - but by intuitively listening to the 
Inner Voice; by spending time in Quietude, and "The Silence"
(which I crave, but so easily avoid by getting distracted on
non-essential things.).

"The Quest" - for me then - is to discover the Deeper Reality of
Myself.  I have forgotten how to be ME!  In a sense, what I was
"designed" for; one could say my Soul's "calling"...   Some call it
the Self (or Higher Self), but I get hung up on those words, because
the big "S" Self is not another self hidden somewhere inside us with
a big S on it that we have to "become"/discover.  But it's the discovery
of, a remembering of, having a felt sense of, the authentic, natural
self, beyond mind, beyond religion, beyond "spirituality."  Who are
 we really?   What is the "Deeper Reality"? I thought maybe I knew, 
but I haven't really met Her - yet...  Hopefully I will find the Deep
Quiet of the Heart, and the Illuminating Light of the Soul.

The path of "Enlightenment"/"Awakening"/"Self-Realization",
particularly what is popularly known as "Non-Duality, wasn't
IT for me, with its attraction to the mind and its abstractions and
mind games. It is just another construct, a belief system.  I found
out that the "Emperor has no clothes!  And I'd rather not describe
Truth by a negative - with no-me, no-self, no other, no world - as
Truth  is all inclusive - including duality, me, self, other, humanity,
and the world.

Even if one follows a "spiritual path" (which can be any path), life
will not suddenly become easy or flowing with bliss, although there
may be little epiphanies and "awakenings" here and there. We won't
necessarily lose our personality with its quirks, and become an
emotionless automaton. We won't lose our conditioning, or our 
neuroses.  Our thoughts will not stop, neither will our surface
struggles, or our pain, or our stories.  Walking "a path" doesn't even
guarantee that we will actually *see* life differently, or suddenly
find our "purpose" - as if there is only one.  But no one tells you
this about "the path."  It has to be a self-discovery, even if we have
a "Teacher", a "Path", or use a "Teaching" to help point the way.
It is different for everyone, of course.  I'm only reflecting on my
own experience here...

Years of seeking, realization, recognition, and then forgetting, and
then seeking again, then remembering, and then forgetting again, etc.,
brought me to the realization that discovering (or rediscovering) the
Essence of who I am is, for me, through awareness of and deep
intimacy with "The Silence" within; through continually coming
back to "The Silence of Source" - the space of Stillness, and
innate Wisdom - which of course is wherever we are at the 
moment, not off in the distance somewhere.  It's not a place.
"The path" doesn't *go* anywhere.  There is no reward at the end.
It's an inner pathless path...  And that's my "path" - again :)
rediscovering the inner Silent Truth of Myself, directly;
experiencing the underlying Rhythm of Existence Itself, and
within that the Truth of Myself...

Mystic Meandering
April 2024

Wanderer, your footsteps are the road,
and nothing more;
Wanderer, there is no road.
The road is made by walking...

By walking one makes the road,
and upon glancing behind
one sees the path that will
never be trod again...

Wanderer, there is no road -
only wakes upon the sea..."

Antonio Machado


Empty yourself of everything.
Let the mind rest in peace.
The ten thousand things rise and fall
while the [inner] self watches their return.
They grow and flourish and then
return to the source.
Returning to the source is stillness,
which is the way of nature...

Returning is the motion of the Tao.

Lao Tzu


Photo - Mystic Meandering
taken at the Denver Botanical Gardens