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“The Journey”- A Poem for Beginning a New Year by Mary Oliver

Mary Oliver is a poet I often turn to for comfort, inspiration, and insight. This poem, “The Journey,” just might be my favorite.  For some time now, I’ve read it every year on New Year’s Day. It speaks of great beginnings—of quiet revolution!—of starting the great journey we all have to begin some day, if […]

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A Buddhist Meditation on the “Emptiness” of Christmas

Although my wife and I don’t formally celebrate Christmas in terms of traditional Christian beliefs, we both love this season and the many good associations we have with this time of the year. Some of this is carry-over, no doubt, from our Christian upbringing, but looking past the outward forms of celebration, I think there’s […]

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Meditation is About Our Whole Life, not Just the Inner Workings of the Mind

In this essay, I want to look into how we can broaden and deepen our understanding of meditation, so that it encompasses more of our life and isn’t just something we do “on the cushion.”  I’ve found the meditation instruction of J. Krishnamurti especially helpful in gaining this broader view, and so I share some […]

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Life Isn’t Just Suffering-but Clinging Always Is

Here is another great teaching from Thanissaro Bhikkhu.  I have to admit that in my pre-dharma days, I too had the impression that Buddhism was “negative” or “pessimistic.”  Looking into Buddhism for myself and breaking free of the dogmatic beliefs of my religious upbringing, I found the way of the Buddha to be the happiest […]

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Song and Message for those Alone or Bereft on Thanksgiving

As I do every year, I offer this song, “By Way of Sorrow,” to all those who may be alone this Thanksgiving, without family and friends—or maybe even without hope. Please don’t give up! There is a way “home.” The first step may be hope and trust in our own innate capacity to change, to […]

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Metta-the Healing Power of Visualizing and Radiating Love Toward Others

Here is a unique teaching on metta, or loving-kindness meditation, by Acharya Buddharakkhita from “Mettá: The Philosophy and Practice of Universal Love.” In this teaching, Buddharakkhita focuses specifically on how to use visualization and thought-radiation to embrace others in universal love and goodwill. This teaching presents the classic sequence of beginning with loving oneself, and […]

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D. H. Lawrence-Song of a Man Who Has Come Through

Song of a Man Who Has Come Through by D.H. Lawrence Not I, not I, but the wind that blows through me! A fine wind is blowing the new direction of Time. If only I let it bear me, carry me, if only it carry me! If only I am sensitive, subtle, oh, delicate, a […]

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Krishnamurti-Fear of Death is Really Fear of Life

Death & Life J. Krishnamurti You cannot be frightened of the unknown because you do not know what the unknown is and so there is nothing to be afraid of. Death is a word, and it is the word, the image, that creates fear. So can you look at death without the image of death? […]

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Kahlil Gibran-A Tear and a Smile

A Tear and a Smile By Khalil Gibran I would not exchange the sorrows of my heart For the joys of the multitude. And I would not have the tears that sadness makes To flow from my every part turn into laughter. I would that my life remain a tear and a smile. A tear […]

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The Truth of Silent Illumination

Silently and serenely one forgets all words; Clearly and vividly That appears… When one realizes it, it is vast and without limit; It is Essence, it is pure awareness. Singularly reflecting in this bright awareness, Full of wonder in this pure reflection… Infinite wonder permeates this serenity; In this Illumination all intentional efforts vanish. Silence […]

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For the Sake of Strangers-Poem and Music

For the Sake of Strangers by Dorianne Laux No matter what the grief, its weight, we are obliged to carry it. We rise and gather momentum, the dull strength that pushes us through crowds. And then the young boy gives me directions so avidly. A woman holds the glass door open, waits patiently for my […]

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Poem-Mary Oliver-The Hermit Crab

The Hermit Crab Mary Oliver Once I looked inside … the darkness ……of a shell folded like a pastry ………and there was a fancy face— or almost a face— …it turned away ……and frisked up its brawny forearms ………so quickly against the light …and my looking in ……I scarcely had time to see it, ………gleaming […]

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A Buddhist Mantra based on the Prayer of St. Francis

Here is a mantra I often work with during the day. It’s an adaptation I made of the much-loved Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi. (St. Francis is my favorite Christian saint, among other things, because of his love of animals, and especially birds!  See: The Compassion of the Swans) In Buddhism, working with a […]

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Krishnamurti on Nonviolence

J. Krishnamurti is a spiritual teacher that I often return to and wrestle with!  Here are some past posts on him: Krishnamurti-An Uncompromising Teacher Krishnamurti-Freedom from the Known Krishnamurti Talks About Nature I always come away the better for my encounters with this remarkable teacher, and I always learn new and skillful ways to look […]

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A Blessing-Beyond the Face of Fear-Poem and Music

blessing the boats (at St. Mary’s) may the tide that is entering even now the lip of our understanding carry you out beyond the face of fear may you kiss the wind then turn from it certain that it will love your back      may you open your eyes to water water waving forever […]

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