Friday, December 31, 2004

The Dance

There is a sacred sequence of life.
An eternal rhythm. A dance of circles.

Planets perpetually spin around their orbits....
Night breaks into day, which falls into night, as the day arrives again...
Life is born, lives, dies, and is reborn into new forms - endlessly...
Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall...

-and yet-

We don't live accordingly. What is modern man's greatest triumph? What is the sickness or our age? With what three words do we proclaim to the world as our trophy of worth?

"I'm so busy."
As a culture that values overwork, striving, driving, pushing, out-of-balance-ness, we assume that being busy means you're somebody. We search for the deepest meaning of Who We Are not in the eternal Present where the beginningless, endless, ever-present Witness resides, but rather in some imagined future date of "betterness." Therefore, we must strive to get there - no matter the havoc it wreaks upon our bodies, our families, our world. And as Brother David Steindl-Rast teaches us, the Chinese pictograph for "busy" is made up of two characters: heart and killing.

remember the sabbath

Work hard while you're at work. But work no more than you need to. Find the sacred rhythm of rest. Don't fill your downtime with tv, computers, and other things that continue to assault you. Turn them off. Remember Gandhi's words on the madness of modern man: "There is more to life than merely increasing its speed."

In that rest, savor. Savor a cup of tea in silence. Talk a walk in the quiet woods. Play on the floor with a child. Cook an equisite meal and eat it alone or with family or friends. Breathe. Nap. Paint. Meditate. Do nothing.

Take nothing for granted. Bring full mindfulness into whatever you're doing so that you're completely "there."

This does not produce laziness. There is no need to feel guilty. Upon fully realizing the rhythm of rest, your work becomes more meaningful and you find mindfulness and strength to apply to your tasks. And yet even while working, find "rest moments." Stop. Breathe 3 deep breaths. Then continue.

Find the sacred rhythm. Rather, tune in to the sacred rhythm, for it is all around and within you. Business, stress, and exhaustion are not medals of your worth - indeed they choke your ability to simply "be."

Yes, tune in to the sacred rhythm. And Dance.

[Most of today's entry was inspired by the book "Sabbath" by Wayne Muller - a very beautiful and important book. Pick one up, you'll be blessed by it.]

Wednesday, December 29, 2004


I just heard this on the news regarding Sunday's Tsunami:

The monetary donation provided by the US Government to the relief in Asia is roughly equal to the cost of 5 HOURS of the War in Iraq.

I am sickened, embarrassed and appalled that the richest country in the world cannot show more mercy than that. Don't wait on your leadership to make a significant effort. Click here to share life giving resources to those on the razor-edge of survival.

Peace...Peace...Peace and love and healing to all who were affected by this horrendous catastrophe.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

A Radical Shift

I was reading the Beatitudes yesterday and it hit me how radical these teachings are. We've all heard them and thought: "Gee, well that was a nice thing to say. Yup, that sure would be a good way to live."

What would it be like, however, if we took them seriously? In a world that is defined by "Survival of the Fittest" - In a culture that places admiration upon those who strive and drive (no matter the cost!) to succeed - herein lies the radical nature of a teaching that heralds the quiet, peaceful, merciful, and compassionate ones:

Jesus opened His mouth and began to teach them, saying-
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Big City Plans

So the city of Indianapolis has agreed to an $800 million deal to build a new stadium for the Colts (and other groups) downtown. (Story here)

I realize that I am an idealist. But I cannot help but get sick to my stomach about the misuse of wealth in our country. Yes, the richest 1% of the population now owns as much wealth as the bottom 95% of all Americans combined. And the wealthiest 1% of the population also consumes as much as the bottom 44% combined.

What would it be like for a city to assign $800 million dollars to poverty relief? To feed families? To help the single mom who works 2 shifts a day at minimum wage just so her family can eat and have a place to live?

Justice? Mercy? Nah... Joe CEO needs another boat.

Meanwhile that single mom reads this morning's headlines and grabs her bus ticket as she heads off to work.

Monday, December 20, 2004

A Nice Reminder from the fine folks at Adbusters

If you're unfamiliar with the folks at Adbusters, check them out here. Awesome stuff.

Holiday Melodies

"Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat,
please do put a penny in the old man's hat,
if you haven't got a penny, a half-penny will do,
if you haven't got a half-penny, then God bless you!"

Ah, the immortal words of Miss Piggy on Trev's all-time favorite classic Christmas album:

John Denver and the Muppets - "A Christmas Together"

Do yourself a favor and go find it. It's a beaut, Clark, it's a beaut...

Sunday, December 19, 2004

If we are indeed ONE...

A Challenge to myself during this holiday season:

If we are indeed ONE,
If there is no separation between us,
If "the perception that divides {us from each other} is a lie,"
If there is no YOU or I, but only US,
If the Light of God is within all that IS...

...then I shall make it my goal to make these truths reality for those who feel separated and isolated during this time. The holidays are a joy for many but utter despair for many others.

Oh, what amazing opportunities to gently shatter the false perceptions of separateness. Really being with people - getting in contact with those who feel like outcasts - sharing a listening ear with those who are suffering - helping meet the needs of the least fortunate - becoming a physical manifestation of love ----- these are the hammers that break down these false walls of perception.

If we are indeed ONE...
...may I help the world to know it.
...may you help the world to know it.
...may we help the world to KNOW it.

Friday, December 17, 2004

Light, Darkness, & the Big Picture

The following is a comment from yesterday's entry from blogger Jon. It was so profound and beautiful, I wanted to bring it right out here onto the main page.

When God said "let there be light," the projector switched on, and the movie started playing. We call this show "Creation" or "the Universe." It's a 4-D holo-film playing in the theater of space and time, with an infinitude of characters, and a script of unbelievable complexity.

Instead of suspended disbelief like what we use when we're in a theater so we can take part in the show identifying with the characters and the drama, we've gotten it so backwards, that we can only know our reality as Children of God a few hours at a time, and it's hard for many of us to keep even that when we leave the church parking lot!

So here we are, imagining ourselves as having come from our parents, instead of God (Ps. 100), imagining that we were born in this set, imagining that we will die. These bodies will, but we cannot be harmed. Yet, our bodies feel pain, our minds encounter suffering and misery, and there is no shortage of people who are causing more pain, suffering and misery.

If there is One only, and through the miracle of Creation there are also many wills, there are also two directions, the away-from-God, less loving, dimmer directions, and the towards-God, more loving, brighter direction.

Think in 2-D for a moment. Two characters are actually different areas on the screen, one shines with light, another is dark. The darker one's deeds are, the less of Christ's light there is. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness does not comprehend it or overpower it. The darkness is NOTHING! Only light hits the screen of God's Fiat! (Let there be!)

So there is darkness in this film. And drama. Tragedy. Horror.

If there were no darkness and contrast, the screen would be blazing white, and no story could unfold. If there were no conflict, there would be no story, and no resolution, no redemption, no happy ending. If a roller coaster has only ups but no downs, there is no ride, no scream, no laughter.

God is light, and in such, there is no darkness. There is no story, there is only God. As Paul said, there is no male or female, no American nor Iraqi, no oppressed nor free. There is no time--a day is as a thousand years and vice versa. There is only Now. There is no going or coming, no there or everywhere, but only Here.

So this play of light and dark in Creation is not bad, but... we identify with our characters so completely! We believe this world is the sum of our existence, or we act as if we do even if we say we do not. We do whatever it takes to get pleasure and avoid pain, and in many cases, trample on others to do so. We hurt others willfully, we molest, rape, murder, torture, extort, exploit, insult, and make war.

And so, the play of light and dark becomes the Struggle of Good vs. Evil. "Good" characters react to "bad" characters and often, their own actions have consequences that are equally bad or worse, as the bad guys counter-react. And the beat goes on.

Almost everything considered problem today was once viewed as a solution to something earlier. There is a way out. It's remembering who you really are. The world is God's soundstage. The "you" you thought you were was a character, a constantly changing pattern of light and dark on the screen. (And only the light is real). In waking up to this, the illusion of our character, our birth, race, personal story, feelings, nation, and so forth is blown away. It's dying to self, and being alive to Christ. It's being born of the Spirit. It's "putting off the old man and putting on the new man." It's enlightenment, or fana, or Self-realization.

And then, you find you still have a body, still have a mind and feelings, and you still experience the story and the sets and the conflicts. But you know what you are! And in so knowing, you can act without reacting, without conditioning. You can see that the bad guys are nothing but light, as you are, although there's less of it there. You know that no one, is different from you in kind, only in awareness of truth.

Your heart breaks with compassion for all of those who don't know who they are, who their Father truly is. You can do whatever seems necessary or appropriate. Sometimes that might be with gentle or loving actions. Sometimes it might be acting with force to protect another character. Sometimes it might be by picking up a cross. You act because you love the world and so, as God's child, you go to it, not to condemn it, but to save it. And everything will be driven by one goal only... helping people know who they really are, to be transformed by the saving knowledge of God's light.

Thursday, December 16, 2004


In a comment from yesterday's blog, blogger Dan posed the following questions:

Is God in the child molestations? Is God in the Iraq War? Is God in George Bush?

The key to answering this question lies in the last few lines from yesterday's post:

& We're going to keep coming to know one another more & more free of being identified with any veils

So is God in the child molester? Absolutely. Within that man or woman is an eternal presence which has never been created, will never die, and whose essence is undiffentiated love and joy. However, for all of us what happens is that instead of indentifying ourselves with that part of us, many of us identify ourselves with our bodies, our minds, our drama. This is living in ignorance and is the cause of all kinds of troubles, violence, and evils. If this body and mind is all we've got, then we'll do anything to fight for it, please it, and make sure it survives. This is certainly the case for the child molester who is doing unmentionable destruction because he has not identified himself with the Presence that gave rise to his body, sustains his every breath, and will exist after his feeble existence ceases to be.

The goal, then, is to "know one another more and more free of being identified with any veils." When we see someone, do we immediately label them with some temporal label or do we see them as the Light of God? True, their flame may currently be covered by a bushel basket, but beneath the self-imposed covering they still radiate the glory of God. Do we see the world that way? When we observe wheat blowing in the wind, do we just see twigs swaying in the breeze or do we see it as a manifestation of God in many forms in the world. Can we hear the sound of God that is beneath the racket? The presence that is behind the Cosmos?

This does not excuse the behavior that is born out of ignorance nor relieve our responsibility to prevent or ease suffering when we see it. Do I believe justice will be served in one way or another and that ignorance and evil will and must be dealt with? You bet. But it is a shift of consciousness that chooses FIRST to see God behind, beneath, above, within and without all that IS.

YOUR TURN: Fellow Bloggers, feel free to give your response to the questions posed above. I look forward to hearing your responses.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Excerpt from "Be Here Now"

At this moment if you set the alarm to get up at 3:47 this morning and when the alarm rings and you get up and turn it off and say: what time is it? You'd say:

NOW where am I? HERE!

Then go back to sleep
Get up at 9:00 Tomorrow. Where am I??

Here! What time is it? NOW!
Try 4:32 three weeks from next Thurs.
It is _ There's no getting away from it-
That's the way it is
that's the

You finally figure out that it's only the clock that's going around... It's doing its thing but you - you're sitting


There is nowhere to go and There is nothing to do

& We're going to keep coming
to know one another
more & more free of being identified with any veils
less identified with their veils
as you find the light in you, you begin to see the
light in everyone else
as you find God in yourself there is God everywhere

Excerpt from the book Be Here Now by Ram Dass

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Creation Spirituality: The Balanced Path

Through all my explorations and investigations in spirituality and world religions, perhaps the "Way" that has most resonated with me is the path of Creation Spirituality.

Why? One word: Balance.

Creation Spirituality, a term coined by priest and theologian Matthew Fox, is really a new way of catagorization of various traditions. It is indeed a Way of balance. The reason that I have struggled with certain "ways" in the past is because they have seemed incomplete and one-sided. (If you want to read a primer on Creation Spirituality... pick up "Original Blessing" by Fox)

Creation Spirituality is a way of looking at and living the spiritual life through FOUR PATHS. They are as follows:

VIA POSITIVA - Celebration, Joy, Wonder, Play, Gratitude, Curiosity, the Human Body, God in Creation, Ecstacy, Love...
VIA NEGATIVA - Meditation, Silence, Mysticsm, Letting Go, Emptying, Living through suffering, Centerdness, Solitude, Grief...
VIA CREATIVA - The Arts, Expression, Creativity, New Life, Beauty, Passion, Talents, being Co-Creators with God...
VIA TRANSFORMATIVA - Compassion, Justice, Healing, Peace, Service, Moral Outrage, Unity in Diversity, Ecology...

Indeed! Why can it ALL not be a part of the spiritual life? Can you not find Spirit in both emptying meditation AND in a playful dance? Is God not in both a beautiful painting and in the Void that is beyond all forms?

Saturday, December 11, 2004


There is nothing to say.

You are already what you are searching for. Stop searching and striving.

Dissolve the past. Stop anticipating the future. And all you have is NOW.

That's all you ever have.

And it is bliss.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

An Old Story

There is an old Hebrew story of a Rabbi taking a stroll at night. Lost in his thoughts, questioning his life's call and not paying much attention, he takes the left fork instead of the right fork and finds himself on some sort of military base.

Suddenly a voice booms out from nowhere: "Who are you? What are you doing here?"

The Rabbi is startled. "What?" he inquires.

A soldier appears from behind a bunker. "Who are you and what are you doing here?" he shouts back.

The Rabbi ponders for a moment and finally says "How much do you get paid for your work?"

"Four shekles a day."

The Rabbi responds: "I'll pay you twice that amount if you come to my house and ask me those same two questions every morning."

Responses to Responses

I'd like to stay on this topic one more time before I move on. Thank you to each of you who commented on my previous post. Your insights have been the words of God to me and to each person viewing this site. Blessings and Namaste to each of you.

Let me take a moment and make a few comments based upon each of your responses.

MEREDITH... I think you understand the heart of where I was coming from. Many teachers, like the one you mentioned (Akilesh), ask us to seek acceptance of the way things are. Doing otherwise means we have internal resistance to WHAT IS, and that is what many of the eastern texts and philosophies are trying to get us to overcome. This is the heart of my quandary, but perhaps it can be reconciled for as Akilesh also said as he concluded, once you get beyond your self and attachments you will "as a immensely helpful to others."

DARRELL...Thank you for the reminder of the work of Thich Nhat Hanh. He is indeed an example of one who seeks the nonattachment reached through mystical reality and yet is full of compassion and action. And as you said: "The link between detachment and activism is certainly a paradox!" Yes, Yes, and Yes!

ALLISON...I love your comment that once you know about suffering, you cannot forget it, and there is a definite feeling of responsibility in that. And you have perhaps summed up nonattachment in a very real way when you say it means that "you are motivated and pulled solely by love, and you are not concerned with impressing others by your actions, but you trust that God will take the seed that you have sown, and put it to good use." You're not only NOT "way off base" - you're right on top of it!

DAVE... Your comment "If our motivation is love then we are not focused on the results so much as the doing an expression of love" resonates well with the quote from Allison above. And you made me chuckle when you so graciously reminded us that Christianity was originally Eastern Thought! As an example, Jesus is indeed one who has gone beyond and experienced Unity Consciousness (and therefore must have "accepted What Is") and yet his sole mission was that of the Bodhisattva - enlightened yet living to ease others' pain.

ISAIAH...I hope you all can hear what Isaiah has said here: "Why are we encouraged to act without attachment, expectation, and concern? I believe it is because to act in any other manner is to act from a selfish viewpoint of ego, which is not our true nature. Ego attaches itself unrealistically, expects certain results, and when the results do not come about, must go through a process known as suffering. " Excellent, Isaiah. I also realize that my passage from the Gita did not suggest that the world will always have suffering (it was a bad selection to make my point, by the by) but there are many teachers and scriptures that will say just that (though I'm not saying that I agree with them). Thank you also for for the reminder that "All mankind's suffering is brought about through the thought process."

JON... You have said so much here that I find myself blissfully whirling. Your comments themselves WERE the love that you spoke of. Thank you for again directing us away from egoic mind and back to The Witness. Om Mani Padme Hum...


What are words? Sometimes I struggle with philosophies, debates, and discussions about the spiritual life, because they are only symbols that can point us to reality ... and they are not - in themselves - what we are seeking. It is indeed easy to get stuck simply TALKING and not living or practicing or experiencing.

And so my hope for you is that in some way through reading these posts, the truth that is already inside of you has RISEN UP and that your heart centers have bursted open with a divine love for all that IS. As your peers and fellow beacons of Light have shared with you through this conversation, act in this world not from a place of pride, unrealistic expectations, or with a belief that YOU are the one acting. Know that it is God acting through you - nay, AS you - to ease the suffering you experience in the world. Live it. Know it. Take no man's words for it, for until you experience it you are falling short of your divine inheritance. If we are indeed all One, how can we not act when we see suffering around us? And through the struggle that is often required to bring about change in the world and in ourselves, "may the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, guard your hearts and your minds" completely and forever.

"Love people. Feed people. Serve people. Remember God." (Neem Karoli Baba - 'Maharaji)

"Be the change you wish to see in the world." (Gandhi)

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Social Justice, Karma Yoga, and Expectation

Here's my recent spiritual quandary.

Over and over again in ancient texts from the East, we are encouraged to act without attatchment, without expectation, and without being concerned about the results (or fruits) of our actions. Take this text as an example:

"He who does the task dictated by duty, caring nothing for the fruit of the action, He is a yogi...Nobody can practice the yoga of action (Karma Yoga) who is anxious about his future, or the results of his actions." (Bhagavad-Gita)

The basis of such says that the world will always have suffering, and so we are to act simply because we are full of love, not because we are expecting some sort of outcome.

I find this a paradox of sorts, because I then find myself asking: what would have happened had the Civil Rights movement acted without determination, resilience, or expectations of results? Or women fighting for the right to vote? Or those pushing the abolishment of slavery? What if they would've have "acted" - done their duty - and then said: "Well, we've given it a valiant effort, and yet our actions have not gotten us our desired outcome. But that is ok, because we are to act without any expectation of what will come out in the end."

So, in particular, I'm suppose I'm wondering what this philosophy of acting without expectations or attatchments means in the arena of Social Justice (and how determination can co-exist with the concept of 'not expecting a certain result'). To answer that question myself, the following bullet-points are as far as I can get:

Non-attatchment and the cessation of expectation means...

  • You no longer WORRY or have ANXIETY about the results.
  • In the end you realize that somehow in this web of existence everything eventually works out for the good despite our personal efforts (Or does it? Are we co-creators with God, or not?)
  • When you act without attatchment, you're acting not for selfish purposes (such as praise from others or for good feelings of accomplishment and righteousness) but rather from a TOTALLY unselfish and non-egocentric vantage that says: I am simply a conduit of God to ease suffering and promote justice in the world. I suppose that in such a scenario, there is still a place for determination???
  • Or is this a philosophy that needs challenged? Is this a place where East Meets West yields greater results and completes the total picture: East provides the Mysticism, West provides the Social Justice.

I'm looking for some feedback and wisdom here. Anyone is certainly invited to respond, but I'm specifically looking for responses from those of you who are familiar with Eastern Philosophies (Jon, Meredith, Isaiah, Jaxun, etc.)

The Supreme Virtue

Can you coax your mind from its wandering
and keep to the original oneness?
Can you let your body become
supple as a newborn child's?
Can you cleanse your inner visioin
until you see nothing but the light?
Can you love people and lead them
without imposing your will?
Can you deal with the most vital matters
by letting events take their course?
Can you step back from your own mind
and thus understand all things?

Giving birth and nourishing,
having without possessing,
acting with no expectations,
leading and not trying to control:
this is the supreme virtue.

(Tao te Ching #10, translation by Stephen Mitchell)

Friday, December 03, 2004

Groove Is in the Heart

Thought I'd share some of my music with you today. I am still working on a semi-professional cd, but the following tracks are Demo Tracks I've had for a couple years. Pay no mind to the quality and "goof-ups"... I was playing all the instruments and doing all vocals myself (except for bass on Parachute and When I Die) so therefore errors were bound to occur. (All files are .mp3)

  • Parachute (Acoustic) - Seems to be everyone's favorite... A Phish-esque ditty with a catchy chorus.
  • Even Still - My wife really dislikes this song, but for some reason I still dig it. For those of you who know classical music, there's a brief melodious reference to "Pictures at an Exhibition" after the first chorus.
  • When I Die (Acoustic) - Jazzy tune. The chorus is directly uplifted (but slightly reworded) from the pen of the Sufi poet Rumi - "When I die I shall soar with the angels/And when I die to the angels/what I shall become/You cannot imagine."
  • Been Thinking About A Solution - definitely the most sloppy of the recordings. This song's redeemable quality is the instrumental bridge (interlude) about 2/3 of the way through.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

By his grace, By his grace

Just a few short days ago I spoke of The Witness and how it is the true reality beyond the "melodrama" of life.

And yet I've been STUCK in mine for the past few days.

Then, once again I am drawn up out of dispair and illusion. This time it was through the words of a Blogger named Isaiah. His poem When Shiva Dances helped me to open up to the reality beyond my current funk. Thank you, Isaiah.

And now just a little bit of inspiration:

"I go to the Imperishable Treaure:
by his grace, by his grace, by his grace.
I go to the Spirit of life:
by his grace, by his grace, by his grace.
I go to the Spirit of the earth:
by his grace, by his grace, by his grace.
I go to the Spirit of the air:
by his grace, by his grace, by his grace.
I go to the Spirit of the heavens:
by his grace, by his grace, by his grace."

Chandogya Upanishad 3.15.3

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Baby-O, now born

If you're not a regular viewer of my daughter's Blog, swing by and check out her most recent photos. She's such an angel.

The title of this blog is a reference to a poem by Diane DiPrima. Before Kalli was born I painted a canvas for her wall using that poem. Here it is:

"Song for Baby-O, Unborn"

when you beark thru
you'll find
a poet here
not quite what one would choose.

I won't promise
you'll never go hungry
or that you won't be sad
on this gutted

But I can show you
enough to love
to break your heart

Shortest Yoga Joke Ever

A yogi walks into a pizza parlor and says, "Make me one with everything."