Tuesday, December 28, 2010


Fanaticism consists in redoubling your effort when you have forgotten your aim.
~ George Santayana

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


Receive with simplicity everything that happens to you.

~ Rashi, in The Gilgul, or the Wandering Soul, by Aizik-Meyer Dik

Monday, December 20, 2010

Rx for Holiday Blues

1. De-commercialize your holidays
2. Keep your sugar intake low
3. Get outside and exercise
4. Stop trying to control your family members
5. Write a few personal holiday cards
6. Do something for others--not just your own family
7. Reflect on your good fortune
8. Focus on the present

The Mystery

El misterio apacigua mis ojos, no los ciega

The mystery brings peace to my eyes, not blindness

~ Antonio Porchia

The Tao Emerges Flavorless

look -- you won't see it

listen -- you won't hear it

use it -- you will never use it up

~ Tao te ching 35
translated by Addiss and Lombardo

Friday, December 17, 2010

A Little Practice

Better to practice a little than to talk a lot.

~ Muso Soseki (1275-1351)

Saturday, December 11, 2010


by William Stafford

It is the ocean at home.

It is easy, but it has deep rules.

It is a liquid fact apparently random
but riveted together by all the necessities
enforced by the universe.

A shadow moves from its place on a rock
and hidden dramas adjust their feet
for the newest step in the oldest dance.

Something grim tickles its way
forward, staring from under mother of pearl.

Minnows play to confuse the sun —
they belong to a plot that only
the deepest toes in the sand can explain.

Every color has a place and a secret reason.

When the next wave comes, all the others
forget what their mission was.

Over in China some child is waiting
for all the connected promises in the water
that your next step will begin.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Straying & Returning

We have a natural, inherent, indestructible ability to know what arises and to respond appropriately to whatever happens internally or externally. The practice of cultivating awareness and compassion relies on this natural ability. Despite this natural simplicity, or perhaps because of it, there are several ways of straying from the essence and path of awareness. The moment we recognize how we've strayed, and trust our natural abilities, we've already returned.

Straying from the essence
Trying to make meditation a certain way. Having a little experience or insight of impermanence or emptiness, and then clinging to that experience. Or gaining a little conceptual understanding and believing the idea is the same as the experience.

Straying from the path
Anticipating the results of practice. Not seeing or trusting that what is needed is the path of awareness itself, we hope for some result in the future.

Straying from the remedy
Not trusting that experiencing whatever arises is the remedy, we try to "fix" what we experience.  Whenever "disturbing" thoughts or emotions arise, we try to fix them or overcome them so that we can get back to meditating. 

Straying into generalization
Dropping out of awareness by conceptualizing. We might start to use the idea "everything is empty" as a way of dismissing what arises. Or we start to believe that thinking about resting in awareness is the same as resting in awareness. 

Click here for more on the ways we stray from practice.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


by William Stafford

Our slow breath goes out and returns
while the world looms more and more
itself, as dawn at first hasn't arrived,
then has. Our breath makes it happen.
All day it calls forth, minute by minute,
whatever was hiding in the little square
that gradually fills in on the calendar.
At night again we let the world by itself
coast through those hours our breath
quietly monitors, heartbeat, heartbeat.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Watch Your Feet

It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.

~ Bilbo Baggins