Saturday, December 08, 2007

Doctor WHO?

Doctor Buddha, of course...
Buddhism is neither pessimistic nor optimistic. If anything at all, it is realistic, for it takes a realistic view of life and of the world. It looks at things objectively. It does not falsely lull you into living in a fool's paradise, nor does it frighten and agonize you with all kinds of imaginary fears and sins. It tells you exactly and objectively what you are and what the world around you is, and shows you the way to perfect freedom, peace, tranquility and happiness. One physician may gravely exaggerate an illness and give up hope altogether. Another may ignorantly declare that there is no illness and that no treatment is necessary, thus deceiving the patient with false consolation. You may call the first one pessimistic and the second optimistic. Both are equally dangerous. But a third physician diagnoses the symptoms correctly, understands the cause and the nature of the illness, sees clearly that it can be cured and courageously administers a course of treatment, thus saving his patient. The Buddha is like the last physician. He is the wise and scientific doctor for the ills of the world.
- Walpola Rahula, What the Buddha Taught from Everyday Mind, a Tricycle book edited by Jean Smith

Friday, November 30, 2007

What seeds are resting in the desert of your mind?

How is it that harmful results follow from harmful actions? It is by the force of an imprint placed on our mind that the potential to experience future suffering comes about. For example, a person who commits murder plants a very strong negative impression on his or her own mind and that impression, or seed, carries with it the potential to place that mind in a state of extreme misery. Unless the impression of that non-virtuous action is purified this latent seed will remain implanted in the mind, its power dormant but unimpaired. When the appropriate circumstances are eventually met, the potential power of this impression will be activated and the seed will ripen as an experience of intense suffering. . . . The situation is analogous to that of an arid piece of ground into which seeds were placed a long time ago. As long as these seeds are not destroyed somehow, they will retain their potential to grow. Should the ground be watered sufficiently these long-forgotten seeds will suddenly sprout forth. In a similar fashion our karmic actions plant their seeds in the field of our consciousness and when we encounter the proper conditions these seeds will sprout and bear their karmic fruit.
- Geshe Kelsang Gyatso, Meaningful to Behold from Everyday Mind, a Tricycle book edited by Jean Smith

Thursday, November 22, 2007

I am what I think. (and you can too!)

In a well-known phrase, the Buddha said, Hatred can never cease by
hatred. Hatred can only cease by love. This is an eternal law. We can
begin to transcend the cycle of aversion when we can stop seeing
ourselves personally as agents of revenge. Ultimately, all beings are
the owners of their own karma. If someone has caused harm, they will
suffer. If we have caused harm, we will suffer. As the Buddha said in
the Dhammapada:

We are what we think.
All that we are arises with our thoughts.
With our thoughts we make the world.
Speak or act with an impure mind
and trouble will follow you
as the wheel follows the ox that draws the cart...
Speak or act with a pure mind
and happiness will follow you
as your shadow, unshakable.

Happiness and unhappiness depend on our actions.

--Sharon Salzberg, Lovingkindness
from Everyday Mind, edited by Jean Smith, a Tricycle book

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Does this work for you?

Begin the Development of Taking With Yourself

You cannot do anything with others that you have not done in the first
place with yourself. you can hurt others if you have hurt yourself,
you will be a pain in the neck to others if you are a pain in the neck
to yourself, you can be a blessing to others only if you are a
blessing to yourself.
Rather than starting by taking the whole misery of the world and
absorbing it into your heart, start with your own misery. Don't go
into the deep sea so fast; learn swimming in shallow water... You can
say to yourself "Yes, I am taking the misery of the whole world" - but
what do you know of the misery of the whole world? You have not
experienced even your own misery.

We go on avoiding our own misery. If you feel miserable, you put on
the radio or the TV and you become engaged. You start reading the
newspaper so that you can forget your misery, or you go to the movies,
or you go to your woman or your man...just somehow to keep yourself
away from yourself, so that you need not look at how much it hurts

First, you have to begin with yourself. If you are feeling miserable,
let it become a meditation. Sit silently, close the doors. First feel
the misery with as much intensity as possible. Feel the hurt. Somebody
has insulted you: now, the best way to avoid the hurt is to go and
insult him, so that you become occupied with him. This is not
If somebody has insulted you, feel thankful to him that he has given
you the opportunity to feel a deep wound...Just close the room, sit
silently, with no anger for the person but with total awareness of the
feeling that is arising in you - the hurt feeling that you have been
rejected, that you have been insulted. And then you will be surprised
that not only is this man there: all the people who have ever insulted
you will start moving in your memory... Stop all occupation, because
that too is a subtle drug. Just be silent, utterly alone. Don't even
pray, because that again is a drug, you are becoming occupied, you
start talking to God, you start praying, you escape from yourself.

Atisha is saying: just be yourself. Whatsoever the pain of it and
whatsoever the suffering of it, just let it be so. First experience it
in its total intensity. It will be difficult, it will be
heart-rending: you may start crying like a child, you may start
rolling on the ground in deep pain, your body may go through
contortions. You may suddenly become aware that the pain is not only
in the heart, it is all over the body - that it is aching all over,
that it is painful all over, that the body is nothing but pain.

If you can experience it - this is of tremendous importance - then
start absorbing it...Absorb it, drink it, accept it, welcome it, feel
grateful to it. It may take a few days for you to be able to digest
it, but the day it happens, you have stumbled upon a door which will
take you really far away. A new journey has started in your life, you
are moving into a new kind of being - because immediately, the moment
you accept the pain with no rejection anywhere, its energy and its
quality changes. It is no longer pain.

In fact one is simply surprised, one cannot believe it, it is so
incredible. One cannot believe that suffering can be transformed into
ecstasy, that pain can become joy.
Whenever anything is total it transforms into its opposite. This is a
great secret to be remembered...You will not believe it when it
happens the first time, that your own suffering absorbed willingly,
welcomingly, becomes a great blessing. The same energy that becomes
hate becomes love, the same energy that becomes pain becomes pleasure,
the same energy that becomes suffering becomes bliss.
Ride on the incoming breath and your small heart is bigger than the
whole universe, if you know what miracles it can do... Then let
blessings go riding on the outgoing breath to all the nooks and
corners of existence.

Atisha says: This is compassion. Compassion is to become a
transforming force in existence - transforming the ugly into the
beautiful, kissing the frog and transforming it into a prince,
transforming darkness into light. To become such a medium of
transformation is compassion.

From The Book of Wisdom : Discourses on Atisha`s
Seven Points of Mind Training, by Osho
Used by kind permission of Osho Foundation International


Nonviolence belongs to a continuum from the personal to the global,
and from the global to the personal. One of the most significant
Buddhist interpretations of nonviolence concerns the application of
this ideal to daily life. Nonviolence is not some exalted regimen that
can be practiced only by a monk or a master; it also pertains to the
way one interacts with a child, vacuums a carpet, or waits in line.
Besides the more obvious forms of violence, whenever we separate
ourselves from a given situation (for example, through
inattentiveness, negative judgments, or impatience), we kill something
valuable. However subtle it may be, such violence actually leaves
victims in its wake: people, things, one's own composure, the moment
itself. According to the Buddhist reckoning, these small-scale
incidences of violence accumulate relentlessly, are multiplied on a
social level, and become a source of the large-scale violence that can
sweep down upon us so suddenly. One need not wait until war is
declared and bullets are flying to work for peace, Buddhism teaches. A
more constant and equally urgent battle must be waged each day against
the forces of one's own anger, carelessness and self-absorption.

--Kenneth Kraft, Inner Peace, World Peace
from Everyday Mind, edited by Jean Smith, a Tricycle book

Monday, November 19, 2007

Near Enemies

The near enemies are qualities that arise in the mind and masquerade
as genuine spiritual realization, when in fact they are only an
imitation, serving to separate us from true feeling rather than
connecting us to it . . .

The near enemy of loving-kindness is attachment. At first, attachment
may feel like love, but as it grows it becomes more clearly the
opposite, characterized by clinging, controlling and fear.

The near enemy of compassion is pity, and this also separates us. Pity
feels sorry for that poor person over here, as if he were somehow
different from us . . .

The near enemy of sympathetic joy (the joy in the happiness of others)
is comparison, which looks to see if we have more of, the same as, or
less than another . . .

The near enemy of equanimity is indifference. True equanimity is
balance in the midst of experience, whereas indifference is withdrawal
and not caring, based on fear.

If we do not recognize and understand the near enemies, they will
deaden our spiritual practice. The compartments they make cannot
shield us for long from the pain and unpredictability of life, but
they will surely stifle the joy and open connectedness of true

--Jack Kornfield, in A Path with Heart
from Everyday Mind, edited by Jean Smith, a Tricycle book

Friday, November 09, 2007

The Emperor Has NO Clothes!!!

It has always been the prerogative of children and half-wits to point
out that the emperor has no clothes. But the half-wit remains a
half-wit, and the emperor remains an emperor.

- Neil Gaiman

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Analysis Paralysis?

A . . . great distraction at times are so-called "running commentary" thoughts such as, "Now I am not thinking of anything," "Things are going very well now," "This is dreadful; my mind just won't stay still" and the like . . . . All such thoughts should simply be noted as "Thinking," and, as Huang Po says, just "dropped like a piece of rotten wood." "Dropped," notice, not thrown down. A piece of rotten wood is not doing anything to irritate you, but is just of no use, so there is no point in hanging on to it. . . . Nor is there any need to try to retrace the links in a chain of associated thoughts, nor to try to ascertain what it was that first started the chain. Any such impulse should itself be noted simply as "Thinking," and the mind should revert to the breathing. However badly things have just been going, one should take up again at the only place one can--where one is--and go on from there.
- - Bhikkhu Mangalo, The Practice of Recollection

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Toddler Mind,,,

"Discipline" is a difficult word for most of us. It conjures up images of somebody standing over you with a stick, telling you that you're wrong. But self-discipline is different. It's the skill of seeing through the hollow shouting of your own impulses and piercing their secret. They have no power over you. It's all a show, a deception. Your urges scream and bluster at you; they cajole; they coax; they threaten; but they really carry no stick at all. You give in out of habit. You give in because you never really bother to look beyond the threat. It is all empty back there. There is only one way to learn this lesson, though. The words on this page won't do it. But look within and watch the stuff coming up-restlessness, anxiety, impatience, pain-just watch it come up and don't get involved. Much to your surprise, it will simply go away. It rises, it passes away. As simple as that. There is another word for self-discipline. It is patience.
- Henepola Gunaratana, Mindfulness in Plain English

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Don't share your grumbly mind space. OK????

Talking disparagingly about a third person is inviting the listener to share your grumbly mind space.
--Sylvia Boorstein

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Where's Glurg when you need him?

Where is Glurg? Does anybody know?

We last saw Glurg sitting quietly by a river in the Mango forest. Peaceful, forlorn, whistfully mourning lost love, gleefully soaking up the mango juice, softly whimpering, thriving on the warmth of new love, and quietly meditating. Yes, Glurg was having a party of attitudes in his brain. Not exactly a roller coaster... More of a mini-putt.

The ideas and feelings start off moving in some direction, bounce off a wall, get distracted by some quirky hump in the landscape, tumble through a pipe in the darkness, and end up 270 degrees in the other direction and a level down.

And nothing changes. Glurg is there. Thoughts bouncing and bumbling on the artificial turf of the mind.

On a good day, Glurg watches the bouncing just as if it were perky colored balls on the mini-putt course. On a bad day... Glurg gets stuck in the tunnel of darkness not knowhing why he is rolling downhill and curving unexpectedly.

Stuck. That's the epitome of the darkness. Locked onto the careening balls and bouncing around wildly, forgetting to manage the trajectories of the mind. Mindlessly rolling and surprised by every bounce and bump in the turf.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

People We'd Rather Avoid...

Metta (lovingkindness) is to be extended towards all beings and all manifestations, yet most of our difficulties lie with people. It is much easier to love birds, dogs, cats, and trees than it is to love people. Trees and animals don't answer back, but people do, so this is where our training commences. . . .
Sometimes people find they don't feel anything while practicing metta meditation. That is nothing to worry about; thoughts aimed often enough in the right direction eventually produce the feelings. All our sense contacts produce feelings. Thoughts are the sixth sense, and even if we are only thinking metta, eventually the feeling will arise. It is one means of helping us to gain this heart quality, but certainly not the only one.
In our daily activities all of us are confronted with other people and often with those whom we would rather avoid. These are our challenges, lessons and tests. If we consider them in that manner we won't be so irritated by these experiences. . . . When we realize that such a confrontation is exactly what we need at that moment in order to overcome resistance and negativity and substitute metta for those emotions, then we will be grateful for the opportunity.
- Ayya Khema, When the Iron Eagle Flies From Everyday Mind, edited by Jean Smith, a Tricycle book

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

What I learned today

Juggling clubs do not dent the ceiling.
or the floor.
When you juggle clubs, you should do it outside.
and not under a low awning.
Just because you can jugglie ONE club, does not mean you can juggle TWO. or more.
Toxic situations give a wonderful opportunity to develop patience, and compassion.
until you can implement Plan B. or Plan C.
Sometimes Plan B is very slow, and that gives you a chance to develop patience.
Happy endings are not all they're made out to be.
Happy middles are the best of all.
You can't really be a superhero without a cape.
and lycra.
A bicycle is 'mans best friend'. Dogs die. Bikes are forever.
If you're kind to someone, you'll feel happier inside. all day.
even if they didn't deserve it.
You can't have too many flutes.
or juggling balls.
or patience.
especially with yourself.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Garbage in, Roses out...

Looking Deeply
Garbage can smell terrible, especially rotting organic matter. But it can also become rich compost for fertilizing the garden. The fragrant rose and the stinking garbage are two sides of the same existence. Without one, the other cannot be. Everything is in transformation. The rose that wilts after six days will become a part of the garbage. After six months the garbage is transformed into a rose. When we speak of impermanence, we understand that everything is in transformation. This becomes that, and that becomes this. Looking deeply, we can contemplate one thing and see everything else in it. We are not disturbed by change when we see the interconnectedness and continuity of all things. It is not that the life of any individual is permanent, but that life itself continues.
-Thich Nhat Hanh, in Present Moment, Wonderful Moment

Sunday, September 02, 2007

The First Step...

The first step... is to cut off the chain of associated concepts and words that flood the mind, holding it with recollection on the present, on what is. Thus, in a famous verse, the Buddha used to say,
Don't chase after the past,
Don't seek the future,
The past is gone
The future hasn't come
But see clearly on the spot
That object which is now
While finding and living in
A still, unmoving state of mind
- Bhikkhu Mangalo, The Practice of Recollection From Everyday Mind, a Tricycle book edited by Jean Smith

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Validation from the Glueless

This just in, from a creative colleague of mine...
I've had my fingers in something creative ever since I was tall enough
to peek up over the top of a table---and for just about that long, I've
been bombarded by messages about how worthless those pursuits are to
the people around me. My family still thinks everything I do is a waste
of time.

As many of you know, I'm quite successful as a creative type.
Successful, despite being told by my nearest and dearest what a shame
it is I didn't do something more substantial with my life. My secret? I
don't listen to all that noise. I listen to my heart. If I like it, and
it makes me happy, it's a good thing. If I don't like it, I figure out
how to fix it, and it's still a good thing.

I never, ever listen to anyone else's opinion of my artwork. I don't
make it for them. I make it for me. If they don't get it, that's their
shortcoming, not mine. A simple "I'm sorry you don't understand it" is
usually all the reply that's necessary---and generally all they'll get
from me. I don't feel the need to justify my joy.

Don't look for validation from The Glueless. You are your own
validation. Make things, and be happy.

Go Make Something -
Ten Two Studios -

Monday, August 20, 2007

What are you carrying?

Tanzan and Ekido were once traveling together down a muddy road. A heavy rain was still falling. Coming around a bend, they met a lovely girl in a silk kimono and sash, unable to cross the intersection. "Come on, girl," said Tanzan at once. Lifting her in his arms, he carried her over the mud. Ekido did not speak again until that night when they reached a lodging temple. Then he no longer could restrain himself. "We monks don't go near females," he told Tanzan, "especially not young and lovely ones. It is dangerous. Why did you do that?" "I left the girl there," said Tanzan. "Are you still carrying her?"
-- Paul Reps, in Zen Flesh, Zen Bones

Thursday, August 09, 2007

When the flood comes....

Even if your house is flooded or burnt to the ground, whatever the danger that threatens it, let it concern only the house. If there's a flood, don't let it flood your mind. If there's a fire, don't let it burn your heart, let it be merely the house, that which is external to you, that is flooded and burned. Allow the mind to let go of its attachments. The time is ripe.
--Ajahn Chah

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Special Combo: Faith AND Wisdom!

The Buddha compared faith to a blind giant who meets up with a very sharp-eyed cripple, called wisdom. The blind giant, called faith, says to the sharp-eyed cripple, "I am very strong, but I can't see; you are very weak, but you have sharp eyes. Come and ride on my shoulders. Together we will go far." The Buddha never supported blind faith, but a balance between heart and mind, between wisdom and faith. The two together will go far. The saying that blind faith can move mountains unfortunately omits the fact that, being blind, faith doesn't know which mountain needs moving. That's where wisdom is essential, which means that a thorough understanding of the teaching is crucial.
   --Ayya Khema

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Glurg, Glurg. GLURG!

Glurg, Glurg, Glurg

In the long days of wandering without direction, Glurg found himself.

Yes. Glurg was there in the sticky, dripping mango juice. He was there in the loneliness of the afternoon heat. He was there in the crowded forest. He was there in the silence of the full moon and in the babbling of the brook. It was all Glurg. He was home.

"All who wander are not lost."

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Positive Thoughts

Positive actions are difficult and infrequent. It is hard to have positive thoughts when our minds are influenced by emotions and confused by adverse circumstances. Negative thoughts arise by themselves, and it is rare that we do a positive action whose motivation, execution, and conclusion are perfectly pure. If our stock of hard-won positive actions is rendered powerless in an instant of anger, the loss is immeasurably more serious than that of some more abundant resource.
--The Dalai Lama

Saturday, June 16, 2007


Whether people are beautiful and friendly or unattractive and disruptive, ultimately they are human beings, just like oneself. Like oneself, they want happiness and do not want suffering. Furthermore, their right to overcome suffering and be happy is equal to one's own. ...When you recognize that all beings are equal in both their desire for happiness and their right to obtain it, you automatically feel empathy and closeness for them.

Through accustoming your mind to this sense of universal altruism, you develop a feeling of responsibility for others: the wish to help them actively overcome their problems. Nor is this wish selective; it applies equally to all.
- The Dalai Lama, Compassion for the Individual

Monday, June 11, 2007

It is EASY!

There is a simple way to become a buddha: When you refrain from unwholesome action, are not attached to birth and death, and are compassionate toward all sentient beings, respectful to seniors and kind to juniors, not excluding or desiring anything, with no designing thoughts or worries, you will be called a buddha. Do not seek anything else.
--Zen Master Dogen, Moon in a Dewdrop, edited by Kazuaki Tanahashi

Saturday, May 05, 2007

The Transfer Station

The Transfer Station


Today I went to the Transfer Station. Lovingly known as the 'dump' or 'swap stop'. I was there to transfer...... Leaving stuff that I am not using with the hope that someone would gleefully grab it up and put it to use. Continuing the cycle of energy that has been stuck (oh so long) in my basement.


Yes, moving is giving me a great time to transfer that stuck energy.  Most of my furniture went to Acton Household Goods Recycling Ministry. ( Families rebuilding after domestic violence or other crisis may have a dining room table, or living room chair, or a bookcase that came from me. It will be one nice thing in their hard world. The interesting thing is how it changes me. Giving all this stuff away to people who want and need it creates an inner well of good energy. I feel happy thinking about that table in someone's home. Maybe one small semblance of normalcy in a ragged life. I smile.


This is in sharp contrast to my emotional response to the many treasures I have in my storage locker. Heavy feelings emerge with the thought of all that stuff. Useful, wonderful, dormant. That's no way to live, is it?


At the Transfer Station, I've left boxes of crafts, sporting goods, exercise things, furniture. And it disappears. I sometimes go back with a second load and much of the first load has been picked up already. It has a home. With someone who wants it. I feel good about that.


One day, I took a big box of candle making supplies:  wax, wicks, molds, book, the whole nine yards.  A woman walked by and I said "It's candle making supplies." She said "OH! I was going to make candles with my daughter!". I replied "Well, there you go. It's just about everything you need to get started."  She took the box and walked away delighted. And I walked away delighted too. I recalled making candles with my daughter, and knew that this pleasure would transfer along into another life. It was like Christmas! That wonderful experience of just giving... no expectation, no keeping track, no response needed... just giving and relishing the fact that joy has been shared.


And, while I think of it, isn't Life just a huge Transfer Station? All the time, we're transferrinig. Exchanging cells, germs, energy, and attitudes with everyone we intersect. Usually unaware and mindless transfers:   a moan or groan, a smile.  Sometimes we're only too aware of the exchange:  shouting, swearing, gesturing, and traffic accidents. But, I'd guess most of our transfers are mindless and lost in the static of life. But they still get picked up. Each transfer has an effect. Somebody picks up the burden of your moaning. Maybe your smile lightened someone's day. And the residue stays with us... Sharing the smile creates more 'smiliness' inside. Sharing the moan... well, it's 'moaney' and tiring, and kind of heavy. Isn't it?


With each transfer we make a difference. We can choose what goods we share and exchange:  tables, chairs, smiles, respect, tolerance, patience. And in the process of giving that stuff away, we find that we feel better, lighter, happier. It's a very peculiar math.... Giving things away you are left with so much more.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

A Shoe On The Side Of The Road

A Shoe On The Side Of The Road

When I drive, I always notice stray shoes. Shoes on the side of the road. Shoes hanging from overhead wires. Shoes hanging from trees. Stray shoes that usually rest alone in some solitary, forgotten spot.

And I wonder when I see a shoe on the side of the road... Whose shoe was that? Do they know it's there? Did they feel sad when they discovered it missing? Or did they throw it out the window in a fit or anger? Maybe the person they were with had a rage and threw it out the window. Maybe it was on top of the car, and fell off when the car went over a bump. Where is its partner? Still in the car? Maybe the partner was lost long ago and that's why this shoe was discarded... All these questions pop up. Story lines evolve. One stray shoe stimulates all this mental activity.

Sometimes I think about the shoe's life.

It's a sad story when I think someone angrily threw the shoe out the car window, and their friend had to get home with only one shoe. They probably had been drinking, or drugged, and just out of control.

It's a funny story when I imagine the shoe came to life and ran away because it was tired of being walked on all the time. There on the side of the road, a life of leisure, no more smelly feet, no more stepping in ... A metaphor for life, on days when I feel walked on, and just want to escape to a roadside oblivion.

Then there is the drama. There was a big fight. Maybe Bob slugged Harry. And Harry took Bob's shoe. And filled the shoe with stinky slime. And Bob made a nasty face. And he didn't want the shoe anymore. So Bob got in the car, and LEFT the shoe. Right there at the side of the road. He left Harry there WITH the shoe and drove away. Harry was pissed. He, luckily had his cell phone and called his friend Zim-Bob, who dame to pick him up. They drove off to Payless Shoe Store and got Harry some cheap shoes. Then they had a pizza.

And of course, there is the Shoe of Enlightened Communication. After an extensive dialog about a wide range of emotionally sensitive topics, the shoe fell off Glurg's foot, and Glurg, being as enlightened as s/he was, didn't even notice, but continued on in a spiritual quest for Enlightenment, which resulted in the loss of the second shoe (no longer needed in the elevated realm), which is most likely now resting on the side of an Interstellar Highway.

So. You think "It's just a shoe". Think again. It's a universe in that shoe! The whole of life. All the drama, comedy, pain and suffering, and ultimately... Enlightenment... All held in that one shoe sitting on the side of the road. That shoe that most people drive past every day without even noticing.


Monday, April 30, 2007

The First Principle

"You talked about the first principle again, but I still don't know what it is," I said to Suzuki. "I dont know," he said, "is the first principle."
      --Shunru Suzuki

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Glurg. Continued...

Remember Glurg? The calm one by the river? OM?

Yeah. Glurg got a little bored and decided to get up and move around a bit. He gathered a rucksack full of mangos and began his mindful journey into the Forest of Confusion.

Yes, Glurg was confused. And he didn't even know it. That is how confused Glurg was. In the Forest of Confusion, it is hard to tell exactly where you are. The paths twist and climb and cross each other in three (or more) dimensions. Time and space are minimal constraints, as the paths diverge into various Realms of Consciousness, sometimes erupting in a totally OTHER consiousness. And hence, the Confusion.

With a capital C.

Glurg had vowed "No more initial caps in my life. No more Confusion. No more Guilt. No more Love. No more Relationships!!!" Glurg was full of exclamation marks!!!!

Yet here was the Forest of Confusion, loaded with initial caps and fuzzy logic. And Glurg was in it. With no clear way out.

Glurg wandered deliberately and mindfully, with NO clue where the path led. And reminisced on the wonderful freedom of it all. As he ate his mango, the juice ran down his chin and dripped on his toe, and he Laughed. With initial caps. Profound Zen Laughter.

And Glurg slurped his mango as he walked along the path through Consciousness and pondered the Meaning of Life wondering what would happen next.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007


Holding onto anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned. - Buddha

Saturday, February 10, 2007

A Metaphor for MIND...

Recently, I was watching the buzz of activity in my mind. Thoughts racing around, chasing each other. Crashing. Oooofff. Slam.

Yeah. They're crashing around like a bunch of hockey players. Then, one of the players goes out of the rink. Into the penalty box? (or the hospital?) Vanished. Just like the thoughts in my mind... vanished... what was I thinking about?

So my mind is like a bunch of hockey players crashing around.

No. Wait a minute. My mind isn't the hockey players... My mind is the rink. Yeah. Sure. It's the rink. It contains the wild, crashing hockey players, but it is NOT them.

The rink. But the rink is in the building. My mind must be the building. It's bigger than the rink. It contains the rink, and the crashing hockey player thoughts, but it's much bigger! Yeah. It's the building.

Hold it. Hold it just one minute! The building is in the town... (my mind is the town) on the planet... in the solar system... in the universe... Yes. My mind is the town... the planet... the universe... And just like the universe, which is incomprehensibly large (with or without boundaries), the mind (consciousness) is incomprehensibly large (with or without boundaries?). And now, those crashing thoughts seem like tiny hockey players in a small rink in a huge universe of consciousness.

Like any good hockey mom, the mind watches the action, moderately pleased, sometimes a bit ruffled, knowing that, in good time, the Zamboni machine will slide through and smooth everything over.

Glurg Does Nothing

Glurg continued walking through the forest. He had no idea where he was going, and had no plans, no agenda, no action items, and no Blackberry beeping at him. He just wandered. When hungry, he ate some mangoes. Occasionally, a coconut fell out of the sky and clonked him on the head. He didn't obsess about the coconuts. He barely gave them any thought. Once he even caught the coconut, cracked it open, and enjoyed a refreshing drink.

Without a Strategic Plan, Glurg was reduced to simply making the best of every moment. He observed the little forest creatures. He studied the rocks at the base of the tree. He noticed some tiny flowers growing in the shade of the mango trees. Yes, he sat on a large stone, and he waited. Like his literary friend, Siddhartha, Glurg had learned to wait. He had few other skills, so waiting, walking, and eating occupied most of his day. And observing.

He sat long, and waited patiently, observing. And nothing more happened. He did nothing. No elaborate plot developments. He just waited in the midst of the universe, and let it wash over him. He began to hear the sound of OM coming from the stones.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Thought for Today

 Overcome the angry by non-anger;
 overcome the wicked by goodness;
 overcome the miser by generosity;
 overcome the liar by truth.


Thursday, January 25, 2007

Einstein says...

"There are moments when one feels free from one's own identification with human limitations and inadequacies. At such moments one imagines that one stands on some spot of a small planet, gazing in amazement at the cold yet profoundly moving beauty of the eternal, the unfathomable; life and death flow into one, and there is neither evolution nor destiny; only Being."
          - Albert Einstein

Tuesday, January 16, 2007


"When we learn to give thanks, we are learning to
concentrate not on the bad things, but on the good things."
-Amy Vanderbilt

-- I can overcome anything no matter what it is
-- I have the power to put things in the right perspective
-- I live with tremendous peace of mind
-- I accept all that happens to me with grace and calm
-- I am a clear thinker
-- People look to me for guidance and inspiration

Monday, January 15, 2007

What's so good about a bad meditation session?

What's so good about a bad meditation session?

I am now getting a concept. As a novice, practicing meditation, my mind wanders hither and yon... Sometimes I don't even notice until it's way down some path. Then I pull it back gently. Nanoseconds later, it's off again recalling a conversation. Gently I return to my breath. Before I can even finish one inhalation, zoom, it's off on some argument, or anticipating a problem. Gently, I bring attention back to the breath.

I used to think this wasn't a very successful meditation. My ability to keep focus is so tiny. Disappointing. Now, I'm beginning to see it differently. Every time I GENTLY bring myself back to my breathing... each of those experiences IS the practice. Learning to be gentle with myself when I go off course. Learning to bring myself back without criticism, judgment, condemnation. Just coming back. You're ok. It's just fine. Breathe. And doing this again and again, patiently and gently. Like you would guide a toddler who keeps wandering around in the Boston Common... Gently and with kindness.

If I can practice gently redirecting myself 100 times in one sitting, I am learning to guide myself gently. Learning to notice what I'm doing, and adjust, without judgment. And if I can do that 100 times in a sitting, maybe I can learn to do that once or twice in a day.... when I make a mistake, forget something, don't quite meet my objectives, respond harshly. Just notice. And gently redirect, without criticism. Breathe.

So, I'm discovering that the imperfect meditation really is the best training. Because what I'm practicing, and learning, is to be gentle, kind, and observant. To be that way with myself, and hopefully I can be that way with the world.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Thought for today...

But if you do not find an intelligent companion, a wise and well-behaved person going the same way as yourself, then go on your way alone, like a king abandoning a conquered kingdom, or like a great elephant in the deep forest.
                                                      - Buddha

Monday, January 08, 2007

... a bushel of brains

"A handful of patience is worth more than a bushel of
      -Dutch Proverb

Saturday, January 06, 2007

What's in your Wallet? ... What's in your MIND??!!

We are daily advised to think about "what's in your wallet?" Do you have the right card? With the best benefits? lowest interest? many details to think about, because in our modern society, "what's in your wallet" is really important.

So, recently, my train of thought jumped the track and began to ask "What's in your MIND?" Do we pay any attention to what we cram in there? After listening to the Wicked soundtrack on the way to work, I would be "Dancing Through Life" all day. The music infused my mind, and infused my day. Somedays, I "Couldn't be happier". The melodies saturated me, affected my mood, and my response to the various challenges that came to me.

I began to consciously choose what song would play before I arrived at school. I realized that last song would color my whole day. I made a point of hearing "Defying Gravity", "Dancing Through Life", "Thank Goodness", or "Changed for the Better". I chose the one that seemed to offer the energy I needed. And, "Who can say if I've been changed for the better... but I have been changed for good."

Now, I have (as you loyal readers know) switched over to Bliss. I deliberately "Come Into The Light" before arriving at school. It is grounding, and as the melody plays through my mind during the day, it also washes over the conflicts and tensions that come my way.

But, what's in YOUR mind? I watch our world, and see that so much of what we're immersing ourselves in (as a culture) is lust without respect, violence without compassion, anger expressed through physical and verbal aggression. There are a LOT of contemporary lyrics that are essentially a verbal assault. And, if that's the last thing a kid hears before going into school, it's no wonder the response to tension begins with F...k and proceeds with obscenities and violence.

Yes, I am convinced that we can retrain our minds in phenomenal ways. As I experiment with Buddhist practices, I find that I have learned to respond with compassion to situations that once aroused rage. Not always, but I'm just a beginner. I am also convinced that our music, and media, are constantly training our minds.

My question is "Are you training your mind for the qualities you want?" Are you creating peace and confidence and compassion through your immersion in music and media with that tone? Or, are you creating violence, anger, and aggression by saturating yourself with lyrics and images that lead you that way?

What's in YOUR mind? If it's not giving you the best results, doesn't have the best success, doesn't help you navigate through life's challenges, consider switching to a new channel, a new card with some better benefits for you.

We should all give our minds AT LEAST as much attention as we give to our wallets.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Bliss Edges out Wicked

OK, folks. Here is the big story. Bliss Edges out Wicked! Yes, for several months, the soundtrack from Wicked has provided my daily theme song. "Just for this moment..." and some days "What is this feeling?", several weeks of "Defying Gravity" and "Dancing Through Life". Then, just as "I Couldn't Be Happier", I was saturated with "Loathing. un-a-dul-ter-ated loathing" only to realize that "This weird quirk I've tried To suppress or hide Is a talent that could Help me meet the Wizard"!

Yes, I could go on and on, and at great volume with harmony about the inspiration, and energizing lyrics of Wicked. Sandy and I sing 'Defying Gravity' as a high-volume duet on route 2 west most evenings after I pick her up from school. It is scary how well we sing! Actually, we can do a memorable job with several of the songs!

And, by the way, Wicked does have a point: Elphaba got a bum rap. She was labeled! Can't wait to see the show, as the music, and the book, really twist your mind around the question of what is good? what is wicked? when does one become the other? Many stories have two sides, and Oz is among them...

So, in comes Bliss. Quietly, melodically, taking over share of mind with "Come into the Light", and "Om Shanti", and who can resist "A Hundred Thousand Angels"?

So, Bliss has taken over the auto airwaves, saturating my soul with light, warmth, and the awareness of the hundred thousand angels that do surround me constantly. Penetrating calm (but not sleepiness).

Sorry, but Bliss is not available to everyone. Seems the English have cornered the market for Bliss. can help you out if you want to fill your car with A Hundred Thousand Angels.

Surround yourself with Bliss... Then, you won't feel Wicked... (Still, I do enjoy Defying Gravity when I'm Dancing Through Life, just for this moment).

Monday, January 01, 2007

Our emotions...

It is important to recognize the power of our emotions--and to take responsibility for them by creating a light and positive atmosphere around ourselves. This attitude of joy that we create helps alleviate states of hopelessness, loneliness, and despair. Our relationships with others thus naturally improve, and little by little the whole of society becomes more positive and balanced.
                      - Tarthang Tulku