Monday, December 31, 2007

bloom vividly

If you want ot survive a dry place, if you want to go shamelessly green in the middle of nowhere, you must emulate alfalfa. If you want to bloom vividly, you must learn to put down a taproot that plunges to phenomenal depths in search of sustenance.

Debra Marquart in The Horizontal World: Growing Up In the Middle of Nowhere: A Memoir

Saturday, December 29, 2007


There were lots of reasons, I guessed, to raise a white flag and surrender interest in the material world. Aside from the well-trod pleasures of the quotidian--holidays at the beach, dance parties--you could still feel a greater need for something else entirely. You could feel a hunger and emptiness. You could be tormented by unanswered questions. Modern life leaves many people feeling insignificant and a bit lost. If you were living a spiritual life--and believed you were helping to end suffering--that could make you feel quite potent. And while secular life has a tendency to lose its shimmer--how many dance parties, or holidays at the beach?--spiritual life is infused with supernatural events. From a spiritual perspective, the world can always seem new and wondrous, the way it felt to us as children.

Martha Sherrill in The Buddha from Brooklyn: A Tale of Spiritual Seduction

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

going home

Perhaps its true that, as Thomas Wolfe wrote: "You can't go home again." Mostly because, as in Wolfe's case, after you write about the place you're from, people are waiting at the city gates with pitchforks and burning torches the next time you try to visit.

But another reason you can't go home again is that the shape you made upon leaving does not match your shape upon return...

Debra Marquart in The Horizontal World: Growing Up In the Middle of Nowhere: A Memoir

Sunday, December 23, 2007


Clutter accumulates when energy stagnates, and likewise, energy stagnates when clutter accumulates.

Karen Kingston in Clear Your Clutter With Feng Shui (p 11)

Karen attributes stuck energy to two causes in addition to clutter: physical grime and predecessor energy.

Western science clearly recognizes clutter and dirt as contributors to dysfunction. In healing facilities (hospitals, recovery centers, and mental health institutions) the first treatment is providing a clean and uncluttered environment. It is a small step to accepting that dirt and disorder could cause our vitality to be depleted.

Predecessor energy may be more difficult cause for the western mind to consider, but we can at least suspend our disbelief and consider the possibility.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

active solitude - merton

Comments from Howard Griffin on Thomas Merton's view of solitude:

Actually, solitude for him was a realization, even kind of a creation as well as a liberation of active forces within him. As a mere condition solitude could be passive, inert, and basically unreal: a kind of coma. To avoid this condition he had to work actively at solitude.

Thus, the need for discipline, for techniques of integration that keep body and soul together, harmonizing their powers to bring them into one deep resonance oriented to the root of being

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

sutta - enough

For a long time, monks [practitioners, anyone],
you have experienced suffering, anguish, and disaster,
and swelled the cemetery.

It is enough to become disenchanted with all formations
enough to become dispassionate toward them,
enough to be liberated by them.

SN 15.1; II 178

Read a similar sutta on line - SN 15.3: Assu Sutta

Link to online dharma resources in on the website at

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

the mist

As the mist leaves no scar
On the dark green hill
So my body leaves no scar
On you, nor ever will

When wind and hawk encounter
What remains to keep?
So you and I encounter
Then turn then fall asleep

As many nights endure
Without a moon or star
So will we endure
When one is gone and far

Blue Alert

Monday, December 17, 2007

clearing clutter (mind and body)

Things not dealt with in your home reflect issues not dealt with in your life, and they are a constant drain on your energy. There are the niggly repairs, such as fixing the broken drawer, mending the broken appliance, repairing the tap that keeps dripping, and the bigger jobs, such as redecorating the house, servicing the central heating, or taming the jungle that has become your garden. The larger the scale, the more these things impinge on your ability to get on with your life.

Buttons that need sewing on, phone calls you need to make, relationships you need to move on from, and many different forms of loose ends in your life will hinder your progress if you do not deal with them. Your subconscious mind will suppress these things nicely for you if you ask it to, but it takes a lot of energy to do so. You will be amazed at how your vitality levels soar if you complete all your unfinished business.

Karen Kingston in Clear Your Clutter With Feng Shui

Sunday, December 16, 2007

rest in silence

What binds me has been slain,
...what surrounds me has been destroyed, desire has been brought to an end,
...ignorance has died.

I ...was set loose ...(from) the chain of forgetfulness which exists in time. From this hour on... I will receive rest i[n] silence.

Borrowed from Magdelene Community
A Reading from the Gospel of Mary (trans. Karen King)

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

nothing is as substantial as it seems

A primary theme in Being Prayer-Transforming Consciousness is that nothing is as substantial as it seems. We fuel a dynamic spiritual unfolding when we reach a realization of the insubstantiality of what we believe to be true, when we see that both our doubts and certainties need to be challenged.

Understanding insubstantialtiy does not mean that things do not exist at all. Instead it invites us to a looser perception, an awareness that we are each conditioned by our life experiences. This conditioning contributes to our uniqueness but also limits our view and colors all of our perceptions. We can learn to widen our perceptions and open to what is most real, to vitality, energy, enthusiasm, and joy.

Monday, December 10, 2007

news from the greater sangha

I am just back from a training program at Spirit Rock. We worked intensely for five days, exploring possibilities for unfoldment of the dharma in the West.

These interactive sessions were led by several Spirit Rock Teachers (James Barez, Eugene Cash, Jack Kornfield, Thanissara) but also two representatives each from Mahayana and Vajrayana traditions.

One of the lead teachers referred to the week as a contemporary "mini-council." Buddhist Councils are rare but critical turning points in the unfolding thread of the dharma.