Wednesday, December 27, 2006 the meantime...

I'm not really back from my "blogging break" yet, but I found this and wanted to share it. Majorly impressive... especially the "keyboard solo" (2/3 of the way through).

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Happy Holidays

As I'm sure it is with you, this is a season of visits, traveling, etc. I won't be doing much blogging until probably after the new year, so until then... Merry Christmas and/or Happy Holidays to all of you. I'm happy to count all of you (my online community/sangha) as friends!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Christmas Music

Celeste asked what our Top 5 favorite holiday songs are. Here we go:

5.) "It Came Upon a Midnight Clear" (good imagery)

4.) "I Saw Three Ships" (Sting version)

3.) "Christmas Time is Here" (Guaraldi)

2.) Anything from the "John Denver and the Muppets" Christmas album

and #1.) "Sleigh Ride" (especially the Squirrel Nut Zippers or Bela Fleck and the Flecktones versions)

On a related note, I picked up the new 42-track Christmas album(s) from Sufjan Stevens entitled "Songs from Christmas Sing-Along." It's a mix of traditional and original Christmas music in that ever-so quirky, banjo-strummin' Sufjan style. Check it out here.

Thursday, December 14, 2006


This is an interesting article about whether MUSIC is helpful -or- distracting in a Yoga class. As usual, I can definitely see both sides (though I tend to lean on the pro-music side personally).

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

The Blood of Eden (Peter Gabriel)

I caught sight of my reflection
I caught it in the window
I saw the darkness in my heart
I saw the signs of my undoing
They had been there from the start
And the darkness still has work to do
The knotted chords untying
Theyre heated and theyre holy
Oh theyre sitting there on high
So secure with everything theyre buying

In the blood of eden
Lie the woman and the man
With the man in the woman
And the woman in the man
In the blood of eden
Lie the woman and the man
We wanted the union
Oh the union of the woman
The woman and the man

My grip is surely slipping
I think Ive lost my hold
Yes, I think Ive lost my hold
I cannot get insurance anymore
They dont take credit, only gold
Is that a dagger or a crucifix I see
You hold so tightly in your hand
And all the while the distance grows between you and me
I do not understand

At my request, you take me in
In that tenderness, I am floating away
No certainty, nothing to rely on
Holding still for a moment
What a moment this is
Oh for a moment of forgetting, a moment of bliss

I can hear the distant thunder
Of a million unheard souls
Of a million unheard souls
Watch each one reach for creature comfort
For the filling of their holes

In the blood of eden
Lie the woman and the man
With the man in the woman
And the woman in the man
In the blood of eden
Lie the woman and the man
We wanted the union
Oh the union of the woman
The woman and the man

Tuesday, December 12, 2006


I've been wanting to make this graphic for a few weeks now - so I just threw it together. Anyone have a guess what this is? (I'm such a dork.)

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

New Brews

I realize that most of you could care less about this, but these posts are mainly for my own sake (so I can remember what I've tried and enjoyed). Over the past few weeks, I've tried...

1.) Ayinger Ur-Weisse - A German Dunkel Weizen, which are known for their clove and banana flavors. This beer in particular is known for tasting like Banana Bread, which it did, and was actually quite excellent. In fact, I'd rate this in my Top 3 favorites so far on my premium beer quest. A little pricy at almost $6 a bottle, but worth every penny.

2.) Mackeson Triple XXX Stout (Milk Stout) - In the same vein as Young's Chocolate Stout, but found it to be less chocolate than Young's and more of a mocha latte flavor. Very, very good.

3.) Tucher Urfränkisch Dunkel - Another Dunkel, which I had later in the evening the same night as the Ayinger. Not a bad beer at all, but found it to be mediocre after the Ur-Weisse. I'll have to try this again on its own sometime.

4.) Thirsty Dog Siberian Night Imperial Stout - A dark-as-night, can't-see-any-light-through-it-at-all stout from Ohio's Thirsty Dog. A slightly bitter, roasted coffee flavor with a pretty high ABV. Good stuff when looking to go heavy.

5.) Black Angus Oatmeal Stout - My favorite brew at the Lafayette Brewing Company (the town where I live). Gotta love and support the local micro-breweries.

6.) I also had some brand of Mocha Stout around the campfire with Tommy a few weeks ago... can't remember the exact name. Care to help out, Tom?

starving jesus

a very short film about "letting go" (By: Blaine)

Get this video and more at

Friday, December 01, 2006

Old Man Winter

The Midwest is getting pounded right now... but somehow my area of Indiana has been bypassed. I've heard some places in Illinois have 11 inches of snow on top of a sheet of ice. How are you Chicagoans and Iowans doing out there?

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Ken Wilber interviews Brother Wayne Teasdale

From IntegralNaked: If, as historian Arnold Toynbee put it, the introduction of Buddhism into the West "may well prove to be the most important event of the 20th century," we might also argue that the re-discovery of the contemplative roots of Christianity will be equally important. And as we enter the 21st century, it stands to reason that the recognition of a common mystical ground between Buddhism, Christianity, and the other World Religions will be the most important event of all.

In this clip, Brother Wayne Teasdale and Ken Wilber discuss the revelation of your Ultimate Identity as God, and the relationship of this "Supreme Identity" to your everyday life.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Friends on the Go

As I mentioned before, Tommy (from the blog Isaiah Knows Nothing) , is having major difficulties with his Google/Blogger account (much like I did). While he waits on the Service guys to work out the problems, he has moved to WordPress. Find his new blog here and give some love:

Sunday, November 26, 2006

You suck!

How does that post title make you feel?

I spent some time reading this morning from Eckhart Tolle's "A New Earth" and this snippet in particular stood out:

"The ego is always on guard against any kind of perceived diminishment. Automatic ego-repair mechanisms come into effect to restore the mental form of 'me.' When someone blames or criticizes me, that to the ego is a diminishment of self, and it will immediately attempt to repair its diminished sense of self through self-justification, defense or blaming. Whether the other person is right or not is irrelevant to the ego. It is much more interested in self-preservation than in the truth..."

He then goes on to say that a powerful exercise is to do nothing when you feel diminished, deeply feel the burn (so to speak) and then realize that nothing, in fact, has been diminished:

"When you are seemingly diminished in some way and remain in absolute nonreaction, not just externally but also internally, you realize that nothing real has been diminished, that through becoming 'less,' you become more."

This sort of practice is central to Gandhi's satyagraha (non-resistance), Jesus' "turning the other cheek," and buddha's anatta (no-self). It's certainly not the way most people usually operate (myself included), but its something to experiment with and see if, in fact, it does lead to a more peaceful and insightful life.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

What American Accent Do You Have?

What American accent do you have?
Your Result: The Midland

"You have a Midland accent" is just another way of saying "you don't have an accent." You probably are from the Midland (Pennsylvania, southern Ohio, southern Indiana, southern Illinois, and Missouri) but then for all we know you could be from Florida or Charleston or one of those big southern cities like Atlanta or Dallas. You have a good voice for TV and radio.

The West
North Central
The South
The Inland North
The Northeast
What American accent do you have?
Take More Quizzes

Thursday, November 23, 2006

T&T in GA

I had the pleasure of connecting again with blogger-turned-real-life friend Tommy (from Isaiah Knows Nothing) for an evening of enlightened conversation in Savannah, GA. Each time we visit the in-laws down here, our two families try to get together to hang out. This time sans spouses, Tommy and I went back to Anonymous Tattoo to get my tattoo touched up and then hit a downtown restaurant for some Savannah Brewing Company Ghost Ale and interesting southern food (a mussels soup, fried green tomatoes, and black-eyed pea cakes). I always enjoy our conversations, which seem to contain at least an ounce more depth than most.

On a related note, Tommy's blogger account is all messed up... so for those of you who frequent his site, please be patient while support tries to figure out what happened.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Beer Advocate (and a couple mini-reviews)

After trying a few new beers the other night (see below), I jumped online to see if I could find anyone's reviews. I found this really great site: the Beer Advocate. It's a great site for rating beers and reading up on beer styles, basics and much more. Be sure to check it.

Anyway, the other night, BIL and I (brother-in-law, that is) headed to Chumleys in downtown Lafayette. We tried...

1.) Young's Double Chocolate Stout - Wow, beer and chocolate in one creamy mouthful! Could life get any better? I really, really enjoyed this. Now if I could only find someone locally that carries it in take-home packaging (See BA's reviews by clicking here).

2.) EKU 28, which, in its brewing process, is dropped to below the freezing level of water and some of the ice is then extracted ... making it an 11% ABV beer which is a bit syrup-y and majorly intense - although quite tasty and "warming." BIL said it was like the Nyquil of beers. Definately one that you sip on over a period of time instead of glugging through. (See BA's reviews by clicking here).

Saturday, November 18, 2006

I'm back... and gone!

I'm back! Thanks to Google's support staff, I was able to regain access to

Sorry to have you all update your links again, but it really saves me from having to repost 400 old posts at the new location. So, yes, I'm returning to this site... for good (no more

I'm also leaving on Sunday the 19th for vacation in South Carolina and will be gone until the 27th. I may blog while there, but am not sure. I may just kick back and relax... what a concept!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Dialogue from "I (Heart) Huckabees"

Did you get it?

Yeah, you stop thinking

Yes. It's fantastic.

It's like I'm here, but I'm not...

So, I'm not here. It-It's just...

I... I... I don't know. Do it one more time.

It's like I'm a rock or a dish of mold.

I'm whatever else is around. So I'm free to just exist.

This is the answer. We just have to be this all day, every day.

That's the answer.


Do it again. Do it again.


Careful, my young students... you cannot stay in this state all day.

Why not?
- Yeah, why not?

It is inevitable that you are drawn back into human drama.

Desire, suffering... everything that exists in this imperfect world.

- Shit.
- So we get drawn back into human drama...

and how important we think that is.

Then we do crazy stuff. We have to go back to the ball...

so we can get the freedom of being like a... like a dish of mold.

Yes. And then back to the drama, the suffering.

- It's kind of a crappy deal.
- C'est exactement Ca.

An absurd theatrical we must play out, back and forth... from pure being to human suffering.

But isn't the drama and suffering less if we do the ball thing every day?

Don't call it "the ball thing." Call it "pure being."

Doesn't the pure being, ball thing make the day-to-day suffering easier?

- Yeah.
- Or, it doesn't.

You're wrong. We're gonna do this every day.

-We'll show you. It'll make it easier.
- I'll prove it to you

Human drama is inevitable. Suffering cannot be diminished. You cannot escape, Tommy.

You'll see. Existence is a cruel joke.. that entices in a form of desire.

- Absurd theater of desire.
- I know, buddy, it hurts. It's painful.

- Wait here.
- Where you goin'

To meditate on desire and suffering.

Can I come?


Wednesday, November 15, 2006


I'm typing on a keyboard which was inspected by a woman at the Dell factory, who gave birth to three children, one of which is currently taking a shower with water that has been obtained from the soil that plays home to millions of earthworms, one of which makes its way to the surface, is snacked on by a bird on a dewy morning, who, stuffed to the gills (so to speak), will fly home to rest in a tree, only to migrate north next summer to Lafayette, Indiana, and, while eating more worms on the road one day, is smacked by a 1987 Buick, thereby ending its life and decomposing into the soil, feeding the tree that, upon it being winter again, will let loose its brown leaves, slowly drifting to the ground, encouraging a little girl named Kalliopi to ask her dad to rake the leaves into a pile for her to play in, which he does, right after sending an email by typing on a keyboard which was inspected...

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

I'm a gadget freak!

In order to get organized and to combine a phone and PDA into one unit, I've been considering a Smartphone. And after EXTENSIVE (I mean LOTS of time) researching which one would be right for ME (yes, everyone has their own opinions and insights), I believe I've decided on...

Sprint's PPC-6700 features "a spacious QWERTY keyboard, three forms of wireless (EV-DO, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth), and Windows Mobile 5." It's a little "blocky," but its many features outweigh it's shape limitations (besides, I never carry my phone in my pocket anyway). And all of this is with a data plan that's only $15 a month added onto my voice plan ... compare that to Verizon/Cingular's $40 a month!

Ya, that's right... email and web on the go... and even when I can't get a signal, I can tap into a WiFi for highspeed access. Rock!

Friday, November 10, 2006

Attention Writers

This came across my email yesterday and I thought I'd pass it along to all of you. It's from Integral Institute - which is based around Ken Wilber's work. I challenge you guys to submit something - whether that be an article or even an old blog post that you rework into a short piece. Think about it!

The Integralist is the first-ever print magazine from Integral Institute scheduled to launch in early 2007. It is dedicated to exploring the leading edge of thought, analysis, spirituality, and more. The magazine will feature detailed articles and reviews covering a wide variety of topics, such as the following:
  • Politics
  • Religion
  • Current Events
  • Psychology
  • Medicine
  • Spirituality
  • Literature
  • Art
  • Sustainability
  • Business
  • Leadership
  • Book and Music Reviews
We are currently seeking integrally-informed writers and artists to submit their work, in articles as long as 1,500 words, for consideration by December 8, 2006. The Integralist is a professional magazine and will pay contributors between $250 and $500 a submission on average.

The Integralist will only consider the most well-written ideas and analyses. The challenge is to bring the insights of Integral theory to bear on the living world around us, helping us to better recognize, analyze, and ultimately solve many of the conflicts and miscommunications in the world today.

If you would like to learn more about what we are looking for, and how to submit your own work, please go to


Keith Martin-Smith
The Integralist

Thursday, November 09, 2006

"I'll be there."

I have never actually watched the classic movie "Grapes of Wrath," but our Pastor showed this clip at church on Sunday morning and the mystical dialog is just amazing.

Ma: How am I gonna know about ya, Tommy? They could kill ya and I'd never know. They could hurt ya. How am I gonna know?

Tom: Maybe it's like Casey says: A fellow ain't got a soul of his own, just little piece of a big soul, the one big soul that belongs to everybody, then -

Ma: Then what, Tom?

Tom: Then it don't matter. I'll be all around in the dark. I'll be everywhere, wherever you can look. Wherever there's a fight so hungry people can eat, I'll be there. Wherever there's a cop beatin' up a guy, I'll be there. I'll be in the way guys yell when they're mad. I'll be in the way kids laugh when they're hungry and they know supper's ready and where people are eatin' the stuff they raise and livin' in the houses they build. I'll be there, too.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Jumbled Etceteras from the Life of a Diesel

1.) Check out this post on my wife's blog. Sweet!

2.) I saw-a the Borat movie on Mondays. Is varry nice! High fiive!

3.) I'm halfway through Eckhart Tolle's A New Earth.

4.) The Indianapolis Colts are kicking ass this year.

5.) My meditation practice has bit the dust for the time being. I'm staying up too late and enjoying sleeping in.

6.) (In slightly older news) The city that I live in put out a local artists Sampler CD and featured one of my tracks.

7.) My kid is way cute.

Friday, November 03, 2006


Props to my good friend (and fellow blogger) Kevin for his first major article in the Carroll County Comet. He was recently hired as a staff writer and is off to a great start. See the article here.

You da man! Great work!

Resist Not Thy Pissiness

Yesterday I was grumpy. There was no reason for my mood - well, no reason that I could name. Maybe it was a Male PMS, I don't know. I was short, things were annoying me, I was (in Amy's words) a "grump ass."

Most of the time, we resist our moods and make them worse. If we're mad, we feel bad about being mad and it makes us more mad. If we're sad, we don't feel like we should be sad, so it makes us more unhappy.

But yesterday I just rode the wave. I was pissy and I knew it (clap your hands). After an aggressive 30-minute run and a night's sleep, I feel much better - actually quite well, thank you.

It is resistance to the present moment that creates most of the difficulties in your life. However, acceptance does not mean that you cannot take action to rectify the situation you are in. What is important is to drop resistance so that you let the moment be, and that any action arises from deeper awareness rather than from resistance. The vast majority of pain in a person's life comes from resistance to what is. (E. Tolle)

Now, granted - if my pissiness had extended over time or was the underlying emotion beneath some negativity - I should probably have "rectified the situation" (and not be a crappy person to be around). But for the short spell, it was here, accepted, and now - gone!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

November Shuffle

Beethoven said, "Music is the mediator between the spiritual and the sensual life."

Here are the first 10 random songs to come up on my iPod this morning:

  1. "Lace Up Your Shoes," Trevor Hall
  2. "Little Wing," Sting
  3. "Character Zero," Phish
  4. "The Longest Time," Billy Joel
  5. "A Saucerful of Secrets," Pink Floyd
  6. "The Beauty of Gray," Live
  7. "50 Ways to Leave Your Lover," Paul Simon
  8. "New Slang," The Shins
  9. "The Warmth," Incubus
  10. "Changes," David Bowie

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

I (heart) Halloween

I've come to a realization this year: I think Halloween is my favorite Holiday.

Now, I know that's not true for most people, but:

  1. I love all the ghost and monster specials on TV
  2. Dressing up in a costume, ringing someone's doorbell and getting candy ... how freaking cool is THAT?
  3. I think it's extremely healthy and balanced that our culture has a day which celebrates the "Shadow" side of life
  4. A good scare can be a lot of fun
  5. My daughter in her Elmo costume is way cute
  6. I'm looking forward to seeing all the little ghosts and ghouls ringing my doorbell tonight

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Friday, October 27, 2006

"We're just two lost souls..."

After three whole hours of practice (total, for a 6 song 'concert'), with a group of guys that have never played these songs before (hence the sheet music), I present two songs from our quickly-thrown-together Pink Floyd performance. Sadly, the guy filming did not record "Shine On You Crazy Diamond," which was without a doubt the best one of the night. Oh well, here's a sampling. Don't be too hard on us... (and sorry about the poor lighting)

"Wish You Were Here"

"Hey You" ... damn high notes :-)

Thursday, October 26, 2006


Yesterday my child fell off of mama and daddy's bed while sleeping... which is like a 3-4 foot drop. Apparently, she had her fingers in her mouth because she now has a deep bite mark on her middle finger.

It was very hard watching her go through the pain. To comfort herself, she wanted to pop those fingers back in her mouth but there was an annoying band-aid in the way. Of course our hearts were breaking because we wanted to do what we could to take the pain away.

Much later after the fiasco was over and my mind was free to go elsewhere, it hit me: What if I widened my circle so wide that anyone's suffering broke my heart that much (or even half that much)?

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Ask and you shall receive...

A few of you requested that I post some video from our little "Pink Floyd Tribute" concert the other night.

Well, ok.

But you'll have to wait a few days. (I should be getting a DVD from the guy who recorded it in the mail within the week.)

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Stickiness and an Empty Cup

There is a couple I know that are having martial difficulties. One of them believes it to be a "spiritual issue" (i.e. Satan is attacking the other spouse) and doesn't seem to be interested in resolving things until this other person is "right with God."

It's going to be extremely hard for them to get anywhere because the problem that is being painted as a "spiritual issue" is in fact a relational issue.

I guess I'm just seeing (in general, in the world) that religion is sticky and it can really get us "stuck." It also has the ability to justify our behavior. If you say "God is telling me to do this" (even though it's not the most loving, accepting, and open action), how is someone supposed to disagree with you? When we're convinced that we are right... that our actions are justified by God...we become suicide bombers and stubborn asses.

Religion - spirituality - at its best can be about stripping us of what we think and want - as well as liberating us from our preconceived notions and conditioned responses. It has the potential to make us more open and more widely accepting... not more rigid and closed. My hope is that as we all grow spiritually, we are able to say (as my buddy Tommy puts it): "I know nothing."

To slightly tweak a classic story: A young religious type went to visit a famous spiritual teacher. While the master quietly served tea, the young man talked about his own opinions of life and of God. The master poured the visitor's cup to the brim, and then kept pouring. The man watched the overflowing cup until he could no longer restrain himself. "It's overfull! No more will go in!" he blurted. "You are like this cup," the master replied, "How will you be open to what God is really like unless you first empty your cup."

Thursday, October 19, 2006

The Truth is (indeed) Stranger than Fiction

Here are a couple of today's headlines from the front page of a respectable Indianapolis TV news station:

  • Boy Allegedly Kills Twin in Spat Over Gum
  • Dog Saves Owner, Dies Trying to Save Cat
  • 5 Killed in Bangladesh by Wild Elephants
  • Town Lets "Turkey Testical Festival" Keep Name

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Trev Floyd

Our friends have an annual Fall Bonfire party and this weekend is the weekend. Most of the people who go to this party are musicians and someone came up with the idea this past week that since we're all Pink Floyd fans (a couple of whom I went to that concert with a few weeks ago), we should "cram" this week, learn two PF songs and perform them for everyone on Saturday night.

So, I guess I'm doing lead vocals, back-up guitar (no lead) and some keyboards on "HEY YOU" and "SHINE ON YOU CRAZY DIAMOND."

Should be a fun time... especially singing the last verse of "Hey You," if you know what I mean (non-falsetto, high C).

Tuesday, October 17, 2006


When we love a person, we accept him or her exactly as is: the lovely with the unlovely, the strong with the fearful, the true mixed in with the facade, and of course, the only way we can do it is by accepting ourselves that way.

[Fred Rogers]

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Update and Responses


Yesterday, Tommy/Isaiah commented: "This is cute and all...but where's the stuff you write that makes my brain flip?!?"

It's true. I haven't been very deep lately. In fact, I'm mainly on survival mode - keeping up with various goings-on. My spiritual practice has fallen by the way-side and I'm excited to get it back on track - however - I've learned that there are CYCLES in life. The cycles are natural and ok and it's fine to have some down-time from things that are normally vigorous and vice-versa. Perhaps the deepest question arising out of all of this is: "Is anything ever wrong? Or are things just are what they are?"

I have ordered a couple of new books including Eckhart Tolle's "A New Earth" (which I know a lot of you have read) and a really interesting workbook called "The Cup of Our Life: A Guide for Spiritual Growth."


1.) Celeste - glad your husband enjoyed Hardcore Zen!
2.) Jax - melt into the Diesel. ;-)
3.) Jon - I found Catherine Doherty from a friend that lent me the Poustinia book. It's a must read, especially for the Frimster!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Wonder Showzen

If you get MTV2, you may have stumbled across "Wonder Showzen." It's a half-hour program that's put together like a children's show (something in the vein of Sesame Street) but the content is quite possibly the most offensive stuff I've ever seen on TV. It's major cognitive dissonance, that's for sure.

I'd be lying if I didn't say I got hooked on this show about a year ago. There were many times I have laughed until I wet myself and a other times I cringed at the unbelievably inappropriate profanity. Here are a couple of the "tamer" funny bits:

...and now for a more inappropriate clip (but certainly funny in a dark, dark way)...

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Concert Going

This past week a friend called and said he had an extra ticket for the Roger Waters concert outside Indianapolis. For those who may be unaware, Roger is one of the lead singers, founding members and main writers of Pink Floyd. What a great freakin' show... it was honestly a concert experience unlike any other I've been to. Who writes songs like that anymore? I could barely listen to the radio today because everything that came on sounded like poorly composed drivel.

Here was the amazing set list:

FIRST HALF: In The Flesh, Mother, Set The Controls For the Heart Of The Sun, Shine On You Crazy Diamond, Have A Cigar, Wish You Were Here, Southampton Dock, The Fletcher Memorial Home, Perfect Sense parts 1 and 2, Leaving Beirut, Sheep.

SECOND HALF: Dark Side of the Moon - the entire album, uninterrupted from start to finish.

ENCORE: The Happiest Days Of Our Lives, Another Brick In The Wall (Pt 2), Vera, Bring the Boys back Home, Comfortably Numb.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Thoughts from a Christian Mystic

As I continue to read more from Catherine Doherty, I find myself continually blown away by what she has to say. In particular, I love how universally resonating her message is; how, stripped of its Christian phraseology, it actually sounds like it could belong to any tradition's mystical experience:

ONE: "When you enter the poustinia (inner desert) you enter the orbit of God. You hold on to his coat. A thousand hands try to pull his coat out of your hands. You are free to give in to the temptation, to flee from the poustinia, or to resist. It's because of this freedom that a poustinik has no rules. There is nothing to guide yourself by except what is within. This is where discernment comes in. Among the variety of things that people want you to do , you have to discern from your heart what to do. Your life ought to be a life of service to the community. There is only one thing you do not do: satisfy your own ego."

TWO: "Christianity moves into 'nothingness' and finds God. There comes a moment in this movement toward nothingness which seems to be a moment of nonexistence. It appears idiotic, positively idiotic to say such a thing. But it's true. It's a moment when you are nonexistent as far as being a person is concerned. Everything has disappeared. You are not even cognizant that 'you are.' You are only cognizant of darkness. Whether you are in depths or heights is unimportant; you are not even cognizant of that. But there is a moment of nonexistence out of which you come. And when you come out, prayer begins."

...and finally...

THREE: "The desert is an altar on which moment by moment you bring the offering of yourself. For self-will is the obstacle that eternaly stands between me and God. We decide that we are going to do such and such a thing. God comes along and says, 'No, do this.' It's a matter of doing what he wants us to do, not because we are afraid of him, or afraid of dying, but because we are in love with him, and because we enter the poustinia to really do his will and not ours. The poustinia is there to form that attitude in you. The poustinik must finally come to understand that he has to become as empty as God became for him."

[all selections from Catherine de Hueck Doherty's book POUSTINIA]

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Happy (Late) Birthday...

Happy (late) Birthday to my awesome wife who turned 27 on Monday. Swing over to her blog and give her a virtual pat on the butt...

... or just say "Happy Birthday."

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

A Song of Peace

The band led this song Sunday at church... the lyrics are great:

This is my song, oh God of all nations,
A song of peace for lands afar and mine.
This is my home, my country where my heart is,
Here are my hopes, my dreams, my holy shrine,
But other hearts in other lands are beating,
With hopes and dreams as true and high as mine

My country's skies are bluer than the ocean,
And sunlight beams on clover leaf and pine.
But the other lands have sunlight too, and clover,
And skies are everywhere as blue as mine.
O hear my song, thou God of all nations,
a song of peace for other lands and mine.

Friday, September 22, 2006

One more, comin' at ya...

Since I already varied off the "spiritual" topic this week, lets just go all the way. My buddy sent this to me today and I laughed my arse off. Of course, it's mainly because I am a huge old-school Nintendo fan and because "Kung Fu" was the first game I ever had.


Yay - there is now compatability between Blogger and Blogger Beta... which means you can now comment on my blog and I on yours.

Now if I only had something interesting to write about this week.

And since I don't have anything, here's Weird Al's newest parody of the rap song "Ridin' Dirty" by Chamillionaire - titled (what else?) "White and Nerdy."

So... there's that.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Daddy's Little Cheerleader

See a couple more by clicking here.

(Note: You can only leave Anonymous comments for now. See why.)

Friday, September 15, 2006

Movie Suggestion

Amy and I just finished watching "Match Point" (which, despite the title and the first few minutes of the movie, actually has very little to do about Tennis).

I had no idea what the story was or what I was getting in to... but as the credits rolled, I had a chuckle and made the comment that that was one of the best movies I've seen in some time.

Yes, the story was enticing, but it was the subtleties that made this a good film. I wish to say no more about the plot so as not to spoil it for the rest of you - but do yourself a favor and pick it up at the movie store...

...and then let me know what you think.

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Thursday, September 14, 2006


A few of us bloggers (Andrew and Julie in particular) have been discussing ways to still find our home in our native Christianity, while not feeling trapped in exclusive language and also having the freedom to have unorthodox experiences and conversations. If the many religions, paths, and traditions are like wells that lead to the mighty underground river, we can either choose to make many and varied shallow wells or follow one or two very deeply.

I know I've mentioned this before, but this is one site that ya'll may want to check out: The Center for Progressive Christianity.

Also, I was reading a little Catherine Doherty this morning with my coffee and thought I'd share:

"When I say 'God begins to speak,' I mean that the mind is purified, the heart is at peace, and out of the depths of both come forth the gifts or the fruits of the Holy Spirit. Quietly, imperceptibly, out of this overshadowing of the Holy Spirit comes a word, a thought, a sentence, as the case may be. Someone might say, 'All this sounds very mystical.' There is a difference between what the East means by mystical and what the West means. I think the East would call normal many things that the West might term mystical. If you are in the poustinia (internal "desert" or solitude) and God knocks on your door and speaks to you, that doesn't sound mystical to me; it sounds quite normal."

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Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Reflections from the Zen Center

As I posted Friday, I took my first trip to the Indianapolis Zen Center on Saturday for their Introduction course.

The center is an old two-story house with the first floor being mainly an entrance, a kitchen and the meditation "hall." The upstairs has living quarters and meeting rooms - and of course, a Zen cat. (This picture is not the Indy Zen Center)

Attending this class was only one other participant and we were led by two dharma teachers-in-training: Crysta and John. The first few hours were spent upstairs on couches, where we were presented with the history and philosophy of Zen - from Gautama/Shakyamuni all the way to the present. This portion wasn't all that helpful to me since I'm a bookhound and already had an understanding of what they were presenting. What was helpful was the explaination of their tradition - which is the Kwan Um School of Zen, a Korean lineage brought to the US by Zen Master Seung Sahn. It is therefore neither the Soto nor Rinzai schools that one so readily reads about in Zen texts - particularly those by Alan Watts.

We had a light lunch prepared by one of the teachers, then spent the second half of the class in the meditation hall where we learned the practice ritual such as how and when to bow, how to participate in the liturgy and proper meditation procedures and postures. This, of course, was very helpful for now I feel comfortable joining them for practice during the week without feeling like a fish out of water.

All in all it was a good afternoon, although I'll be able to reflect more when I am actually able to attend one of their weekly practice times.

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Friday, September 08, 2006

Beginner's Mind

I'm making my first trip down to the Indianapolis Zen Center tomorrow for their "Introduction" course. Expect a full report in a couple of days.

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Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Is that on purpose?

Ok, so he's probably getting dogged a lot for this, but why does John Mayer's new single "Waiting on the World to Change" sound A LOT like "Sexual Healing" (or some other really familiar song)?

Don't get me wrong, I'm a fan of his songwriting (for the most part), but please tell me there's a story behind this...

(Note: You can only leave Anonymous comments for now. See why.)

Well Damnit

Well damnit. I thought I'd "get a leg up" and upgrade to the new version of Blogger - which is in its testing/beta version - only to find out that it's still totally incompatible with the old version.

Which means I can't leave comments on your blogs and you can't leave comments on mine. (Although I think you can leave "Anonymous" comments)

And I can't switch back to the "old version." So much for eagerness.

Until they fix this blunder, feel free to email me at

Also in the meantime, if you log on to my page and it looks funny it's because I'm currently screwing w/ the new template format.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006


Being sick - even having a cold - and then coming out of my illness makes me appreciate the state of HEALTH. Being whole and well allows so much more freedom and peace of mind. Some dis-ease is natural and there's nothing I can (or should) do about it, but it does make me wonder why I ever intentionally do things (or ingest things) that pollute my natural well-being.

Friday, September 01, 2006

She's TWO!

My little girl is two today! Happy Birthday Kalli! To quote Stevie Wonder: "Isn't she lovely?"

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

"Coming to Terms"

"The techniques of meditation practice are not designed to reduce active thoughts at all. They provide a way of coming to terms with everything that goes on inside. Once we have accepted what goes on in our mind as neither good nor bad, but just flashes of thoughts, we have come to terms with it."[Chogyam Trungpa, from "The Sanity We are Born With"]

Most of us think as meditation as a way of ceasing mental noise, of stopping the flow of mental chatter. And in some traditions it does seem to be presented that way (The Yoga Sutra, for instance). But I find another method much more appropriate, and that is simply watching what happens - no matter what it is. When I am able to do that, with compassion and forgiveness and acceptance, and begin to see thoughts as temporal and fleeting, then it is less likely that I will believe the internal voices or be dragged away in this or that direction. Then there is a peaceful Ground that is not swept about by the duality of up and down, pleasure and pain, good days and bad days.

In a related note, our church's pastor had a great message on Sunday that more-or-less speaks to this same topic. Click here to listen to the mp3 of: "Centered: Finding Rest in God's Dwelling Place."

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

First Steps

I'm in the first steps of pursuing further education and met with an advisor last week about enrolling in the "Certification in Spiritual Formation" program of the United Methodist Church through Garrett Thological Seminary. I'm pretty excited about it.

The required core courses are (1) United Methodist Studies, (2) Teaching for Biblical Faith, (3) Spiritual Disciplines for Personal and Parish Renewal, (4) Spiritual Direction and (5) Practicum in Spiritual Direction.

I particularly like the description for the Spiritual Direction course: "Focusing on attentiveness to God, listening skills, psychological awareness, personal spiritual disciplines, historical background, and ethical issues for fostering this supportive relationship of spiritual guidance. Includes readings in Christian classics, experiencing the practice of spiritual companionship, and training in ways of offering spiritual guidance in congregations."


Friday, August 25, 2006

If you haven't yet read...

..."The Gods Drink Whiskey: Stumbling Toward Enlightment in the Land of the Tattered Buddha," you may want to pick it up.

It is a interesting blend of a book. On the back where it lists the book's genre, it says TRAVEL/BUDDHISM. And how accurate! That's exactly what it is: mix one part travel adventure, one part cultural study, and one part buddhist philosophy/theory and out pops a book that is a little diluted on all three fronts, but is nonetheless thought-provoking and enjoyable.

The author is Stephen Asma, a young professor from Chicago, who travels to Cambodia to teach buddhism in a local university and experience Theravada Buddhism firsthand. His purpose in the book, among other things, is to kill all our notions of some magical and exotic enlightened land and to clarify real buddhism from hippie / New Age / California buddhism - which bears little resemblence to the native kind.

It's a great page turner... fun to read, (mostly) deep in theory, and both profound and profane. Consider picking up a copy!

Thursday, August 24, 2006

I'm back.......

Work has picked up a bit and I really haven't felt like "computing" in my evening hours, so I'm sorry to have abandoned ya'll for a couple of weeks. Instead of posting today, I'm going to cruise all your sites and leave some comments.

Check back tomorrow for a cool book recommendation/review.


Thursday, August 10, 2006


Julie asked for a transcript of the radio show I mentioned yesterday... here are some excerpts:

It's much simpler than this person is trying to make it in the world of duality... There are two places from which we live: one is from center, and the other is from egocentric, karmic conditioning. The world of egocentric, karmic conditioning is the world of duality, that's the world in which we have right and wrong and good and bad and us and them and up and down and its the world that almost everybody is living in all the time. That world of duality is contained within what we talk about as center.

When we are centered, when we are present, when we are living in a non-separate reality, there is absolutely no desire to cause harm. Now, that is not the same as "we are able to control life."

I'm very attentive to what's there, AND I cannot control (that which is out of my control). I can be as aware, and as present, and as attentive as I can be; I can do the very best that I can do, and I have no control over life.

So, where does morality comes from? Morality comes from presence. And understanding that there is no "self and other," that nothing can happen to "you" that doesn't happen to "me," that we are one. And that understanding - not as an intelluctual understanding - not as a theory - but experientially, knowing that, causes us to want to - as the classic traditional way of saying it in Buddhism - "to cease from evil, to do only good, and to do good for others."

Selfishness, a willingness to be harmful, taking what is not rightfully ours, all of that lives in the realm of egocentric karmic conditioning.

Michael: So the morality comes from being present?

Yes. And it's not even morality at that point, it's simply oneness; interconnectedness.

Michael: And in that place there's no room for all the dualities.

No. The dualities exist, but it's not something that we need to "figure out" or understand. It's true that light doesn't happen without darkness. If we view that in the world of duality, then they are opposites. When we step back and see that from center, we realize they are one. They're simply two ends of a continuum. They're not separate. You can't have one without the other... it's just not a problem (laughs). Life and death all happen within life.

All of this that we're talking about, all of it is experiential. Intellectual understanding is fine if it inspires us to have the experience. But an intellectual understanding without the experience is absolutely useless. It's like being really hungry, and having an intellectual understanding that eating food is going to take care of that hunger. The only thing that's going to take care of that hunger is eating the food.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

One Last Re-Visit (Why Be Good?)

A few weeks ago we had a discussion on this blog entitled "Why Be Good?" about the topic of morality. Right before we began that discussion, I emailed my original question to the radio show "Open Air with Cheri Huber."

She answered it on last week's show.

Click here and listen to Segment 2 of that evening's show (the link opens Windows Media Player) and to skip forward to 13:04 to hear the quesiton and answer.

Of course she's right - even as I was hearing it being read, I cringed because once I heard it out loud, I realized that it was way too intellectual of a question. She gave a great response, by the way. If you're interested in such matters, be sure to give it a listen.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

The Superfriends "do" Office Space

Ever see Office Space? You might like this.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

A Challenge to "Big Productions"

As part of the Worship Team at our church, I'm constantly planning and working on the services for Sundays. The funny thing is how big of a "production" it's all become ("contemporary" worship, anyway). Today I got my "Technologies for Worship" magazine with page after page of articles on lighting and sound with complimentary glossy ads showing "Worship Leaders" proudly singing with their new Sure In-Ear Monitor system.

While glancing through the magazine, I was reminded of a chapter in a book called "Sabbath" by Wayne Muller (one of my favorite books). Here are a few excerpts:

  • Liturgical ritual is meant to be repeated. We are not supposed to do it right the first time, and then be done with it. This year's Easter does not have to be new and improved, more dramatic and moving than last year's. The perfection is in the repetition, the sheer ordinariness, the intimate familiarity of a place known because we have visited it again and again, in so many different moments...
  • This is not about progress, it is about circles, cycles, and seasons, and the way time moves, and things we must remember, because with ever-faster turnings of the wheel it can become easier to forget...
  • When liturgy is ensnared by progress, all these quiet, mystical qualities are replaced by responsibility and obligation. I have been part of so many little churches paralyzed by the assumption that we must make this year's Christmas pageant better, more dramatic, more impressive, more spectacular than the last. I have seen parents, children, and youth ministers frantic, desperate, frusterated, and overwhelmed as they try to make the "perfect" representation of an event that was, at its origins, quiet, unassuming, unpredictable, sloppy, and invisible.

Friday, July 28, 2006


This was in today's paper, unbeknownst to me:

Items worthy of your calendar or PDA for Monday and beyond.

Diverse rock and power pop

Monday: Trev Diesel and Waltz for Venus will team up once again for a night of original rock ‘n’ roll in downtown Lafayette. Diesel has had a great rookie year in the singer-songwriter circuit. His debut disc, The Parachute, shows off Diesel’s diverse sound. Fans of Ben Harper and Jack Johnson will not be disappointed. Waltz for Venus has streamlined its lineup as the power pop group is down to only two original members in frontman Jay Brooks and the enigmatic drummer D. Llama. New bassist Scott Rottler and guitarist Bartek Michael are recent additions to the band.

  • When: 9 p.m. to midnight Monday
  • Where: Sgt. Preston’s, 6 N. Second St.
  • How much: Free
  • Wednesday, July 26, 2006

    Tagged (See what you started Amy!!!!!)

    OK already! :-) Like, 3 people have tagged me! Here's the guidelines for when I tag you at the bottom of this entry:

    The first player of this game starts with "5 weird things/habits about yourself". In the end you need to choose 5 people to be tagged and list their names. The people who get tagged need to write a blog about their 5 weird things/habits, as well as state this rule clearly, then tag 5 more victims. Don't forget to leave your victim a comment that says "you're tagged!" in their comments and tell them to read your blog.

    1. Breakfast Cereal is one of my favorite foods, ever - especially GrapeNuts.
    2. I don't like to use the "stalls" in public bathrooms if anyone else is present. The urinals are fine. I dunno, guess I've got "poop" issues.
    3. I dislike the taste of most things that are "white and creamy" - mayo, salad dressings, etc. (although I'm getting much better and can now eat and enjoy Cream Cheese, Yogurt and Sour Cream - which I couldn't do five years ago).
    4. I think Grad School in some sort of Contemplative Spiritual Practices arena (say, at Naropa Institute or Chicago Theological Seminary) would be awesome.
    5. I have a set, unconscious, habitual pattern of drying off my body (with a towel) after a shower. It always goes hair, face, left arm, right arm, shoulders, back, left leg, crotchal region, right leg, around the waist and tuck - all with a very efficient (and quick!) ballet-like fluidity. Oh yeah.

    I choose to tag:
    Josh, David, Kevin, Jay & Dan

    Tuesday, July 25, 2006


    Just a quick (second) post for the day to say that I appreciate all of your recent comments and I intend on answering those and visiting your sites within the next day or two to get all caught up... Trev's been a busy sk8rboi...

    Pop Culture RANT

    I know I'm constantly speaking of accepting people for who they are and saying "everything is ok" the way it is...

    ...and that's still the Truth...

    ...but I just feel like ranting a bit. So bear with me, huh?

    My wife sometimes watches the show "What NOT to Wear" on TLC and if you haven't seen it, the premise is that a group of people nominate one of their friends for the show that they think makes poor fashion decisions. Then, the two hosts of the show completely surprise this "fashion disaster" out-of-the-blue and tell them that all of his/her friends think they need a new wardrobe.

    You should seriously see the pain and betrayal in most of these people's faces. Now, granted, at the end of the show they're usually very happy with their new $5,000 wardrobe... but in the meantime, the 2 hosts go through each of that person's outfits one by one and makes fun of them, all the while belittling the person. On yesterdays show the girl was told repeatedly (to her face) that her clothing choices made her look like a dumb bimbo and "trashy."

    I guess what gets me is the arrogance of the hosts - who think they know what looks good and will humiliate anyone that isn't up to their code of dress (they remind me of those kids in high school whose only way to fit in is to get in one of those "lets make fun of everyone else" cliques). I usually spend the entire episode shouting cusswords at the "pompous a$ *#$@s" who think they're better than everyone else.

    I'm sure the hosts and the show creators have good intentions, but their methods are really an injustice and about the most cruel thing I've seen on TV.

    So... maybe it should be renamed "What NOT to Watch?" ;)

    (whew, I feel better now)

    Wednesday, July 19, 2006


    Voltaire said, "God is a circle whose center is everywhere and circumference nowhere."

    What does that mean to you (if anything)?

    Tuesday, July 18, 2006

    A Little Levity

    Considering the weightyness (is that a word?) of last week's posts, here's a little internet levity for you.

    I give you...

    Animator vs. Animation

    (be sure to click the PLAY button, it's kindof confusing!!!)

    (no, really, check this out, it's very creative and cool and gets better as it goes)

    Saturday, July 15, 2006

    If blood will flow when flesh and steel are one
    Drying in the colour of the evening sun
    Tomorrow's rain will wash the stains away
    But something in our minds will always stay

    Perhaps this final act was meant
    To clinch a lifetime's argument
    That nothing comes from violence and nothing ever could
    For all those born beneath an angry star
    Lest we forget how fragile we are

    On and on the rain will fall
    Like tears from a star, like tears from a star
    On and on the rain will say
    How fragile we are, how fragile we are

    On and on the rain will fall
    Like tears from a star, like tears from a star
    On and on the rain will say
    How fragile we are, how fragile we are
    How fragile we are, how fragile we are

    ["Fragile," Sting]

    Thursday, July 13, 2006

    Why Be Good? (FINAL POST!)

    I've decided to forego doing five separate posts on "Why Be Good?" and sum up the last two in this final entry.

    I believe this conversation has been more than useful, if nothing else but to be a mirror for us to see ourselves. And after meditating on these things for weeks now, I'm starting to realize that the very first question itself can be questioned.

    You see, when I ask "Why be good?," I am seeking motivation to continue doing what I consider "good" - because I feel like I am supposed to. Because I believe that behaving properly gets me somewhere (assures me love, acceptance, approval). Because I haven't yet figured out what life means without attaining something or doing things.

    "Do not confuse (goodness) with compassionate. A compassionate person may be what we call (good), but compassion does not try to be (good). (Goodness) comes from conditioning. Compassion comes from the Heart and our shared connectedness."
    [Cheri Huber]

    What if there's nothing to do? What if there's nothing wrong with who I am and how I behave? What if you and I are totally accepted and loved and alive and perfect exactly as we are without labeling certain behaviors and attitudes as good and certain behaviors and attitudes as bad. That thought was not bad. It was just a thought. This action is not good. It is just an action. What if nothing is accomplished? What if we don't save or change the world?

    "We label behaviors good and then continue to do them in order to support self-hate. Perhaps doing in order to be good is what keeps you from realizing that you are already good...We label behaviors bad and then continue to do them in order to support self-hate. Believing that what you do determines who you are could be the real reason for continuing the behaviors."
    [Cheri Huber]

    I realize that a few of you touched on this in your comments - especially Miss Julie who called the question as her opening statement. Trying to behave in a certain way stems from an embedded belief that we should be other than what we are. If, however, after time spent in meditation or spiritual practice, one realizes that "the universe is One, and acting in accordance with Harmony (being kind, compassionate, helping others) brings a peace that can't be found through other avenues" then behaving in that manner will only be the natural mode of operation. If not, it's no sweat off the universe's back.

    "Do or do not. There is no try."

    Hey Trev, it's not necessary to continue trying so damn hard. There's no real need to create universal treatises on good and evil or attempt to justify your (and others) behavior. This is and always will be just this. And it is beyond perfect. As the old saying goes, "God is on his throne and all is right with the world."

    "You are perfect just as you are."
    [Suzuki Roshi]

    Wednesday, July 12, 2006

    Why Be Good? (Post 3 of 5)

    What a wonderful group of comments yesterday! Here's Jon (from The Wild Things of God) and his take on this subject.

    I asked my teacher a while back, with tears coursing down my cheeks, "why is good better than evil?" He said, gently, "who's to say it is?" NOT the answer I wanted to hear! But he loved me enough to tell me the truth.

    Whenever considering spirituality, there's always the two points of view to consider: the Unknowable, Ultimate, Absolute, Unmanifested, Godhead, Brahman on one hand, and the intimate, present, relational, manifest, "Son", Atman on the other. Creator and creation.

    God as Creator knows no-thing, is no-thing, God as creation knows everything by being everything. And one thing all creation informs him about is pain. So in Buddhism, the "moral imperative" isn't so much that at all, but a practical directive to eliminate dukkha. All creation experiences dukkha, anicca, and anatman, and all creation says "this sucks." So the Son is about redemption, love, honesty, and recognizing that the same Self is in all bodies and minds, regardless of which little one your locus of experience is associated with.

    Yet on the other hand, there is the Absolute, from which all things come. The Old Testament is very honest in talking about evil coming from God as well as good--on almost every page. What happens, happens ultimately through God. This is monstrous when God is viewed as a "person.": Why did the six million Jews die?

    But the Absolute is Nothing. Everything comes from Something, and that Something is Nothing. This is even more difficult to talk about.

    From encountering this no-thing, even in the safe, veiled, temporary vehicle called meditation, we can see that no-thing is no conflict, no harm, no ill, well, nothing at all. It is peace, because peace is natural in no-thing.

    So the Absolute perspective, has a foundation of Good... but it is absolutely (pun!) not the Good of good and evil, but simply that fact that evil can only occur where there is care, differentiated selves to have self-interest, and desires and fears.

    But God doesn't have care. (Once my teacher startled me by saying, "God doesn't care if you believe in Him or not!")

    I'd say there's also the individual aspect. If I am not free to rape, murder and destroy, then I am not free to love, heal and build. We are born free, then become conditioned through morality (most of us, anyway, thank God!). But then even morality becomes a shackle as well, and our love is less free giving than conditioned response. Our freedom needs to be felt anew, realized anew, though it does not *need* to have all aspects acted out!

    Neither Paul nor Jesus comprised this teaching. Paul said simply, ALL things are permissible, not all are beneficial. Jesus routinely challenged the edges of the system. I love the story about the fish and the coin. When the collectors of the Temple tax came, he asked his disciples if kings tax their kids or others. Others, they said. Jesus answered, then their own kids are exempt, implying that none of them owed the tax.

    He paid the tax, but didn't take a coin out of the group's treasury, but out of fish's mouth!

    The paradoxes cannot be resolved: it's just the way it is. And "bad" guys and situations are needed for the "good" to work against and work through. When you see that, it becomes easier to love your enemy. All are necessary. The game is no fun without challenge. You want a rollercoaster to make you scream as well as laugh.

    Why Be Good? (Post 2 of 5)

    To continue yesterday's post, here is my own response to the question. It is certainly a work-in-progress and as I've said before, I'm not trying to convince anyone of anything or make a universal statement - this is the conclusion that I have made... yours will be totally different.

    The first thing that has struck me as odd is the word should. I find that to be absolutely the wrong word. No one says I should be "good." Believing there are "shoulds" heaps on unnecessary guilt when I break my own good/bad rules and stems from an ignorant starting point.

    If all my bullet-points were true, then it's quite alright for one to be a total bastard. That, too, is a manifestation of Spirit and HAS to exist in order for everything else to exist. Can you have a coin without a "tails" side? That doesn't mean that there shouldn't be stern punishment for the "evil-doers" (in order to allow all to live in a civilized society), but rather they are allowed to be who they are (internally). Wow, how Ken Wilber was THAT!

    That being said, there are way more than enough "unconscious" people who lean toward the dark side without those who are conscious choosing that path.

    It's not about should. It's about choice.

    Knowing that the universe is full of every type of person, every form of manifestation, every side of duality, at least SOME of us must choose (are called or chosen or fated?) to represent the white/light/good side. Just as there are Hitlers, there have to be Zen monks - and everything inbetween on both sides. This doesn't mean that the Light Team should, or even will win each battle, just that the teams are balanced.

    If I feel a pull toward the Jedi side, then may I go for it! I am a manifestation of the Positive and Light side of the polarity. That has to exist too! With all of my might, I can give, serve, love, teach, BE, radiate, paint, see, sit, fight for the white side...

    And, if there is indeed One Self, even if "I" in this place, in this life, choose to fully play for the Light team, I am not imbalanced, as there are other aspects of mySelf in the Universe that balance me out. It's the same reason one should not be covetous, but rather happy, at the fortune of someone else - that's yourSelf!

    At the end of the day, I am realizing that what used to be a focus on morality is being replaced by a focus on compassion. Compassion for no other reason than ... easing pain and suffering (your own and others). On her radio show a few weeks ago, Zen teacher Cheri Huber said that compassion is acting to “free people from suffering. Not to fix them, not to change them, not to judge them, not to criticize them, not to beat them, not to believe they should be different, but just to save them from all that suffering they're feeling.” Does your own suffering and the suffering of others break your heart? Do you think misery "sucks?" Then be a kind and gentle person! Don't beat yourself up when you don't fully make that happen, but at the same time, enjoy the possibilties of compassionate awareness.

    And as far as refraining from the "bad" things, it just comes naturally when you realize that the universal prohibitions - such as the Ten Commandments and the Buddhist Precepts, that say don't lie, don't steal, etc. - are just guidelines to keep you present and centered and from feeling like a separate self. Remember we (and others) are not punished
    for our "sin," but by our sin. But hey, if you or I choose to "be bad," to wallow in suffering, then that's our prerogative.

    As for me, I'm finding that peace comes when I act not out of conditioning, but out of a compassionate centeredness - and from that, there is no good/bad, right/wrong - just the opportunity in THAT moment to act in the most appropriate way.

    Tuesday, July 11, 2006

    Why Be Good? (Post 1 of 5)

    Over the next 5 days, I have outlined a series of posts that I wish to share about the basis for morality. Todays post is is a question that I emailed blogger friend, Jon. Then, over the next 4 days, I will post will post his response, my response to myself, as well as a few book excerpts. Here we go.

    TREV'S EMAIL TO JON (Edited)

    What is the basis for morality?


    • is truly (as Jon described it) the projection of light contrasted with darkness upon the screen of The Self (which I believe and experience it to be)...
    • ...light cannot be known apart from darkness and vice versa...
    • ...good and evil are terms that we apply to certain things and situations, when in actuality things just ARE WHAT THEY ARE...
    • ...pain and suffering can be great teachers...
    • ...there will always be good and evil, rich and poor, light and darkness - for ever and ever - because duality is the reason the ONE became the ten-thousand things (all "perfect," all the time is BORING!)...
    • ...samsara is nirvana (we're not looking for a perfectly light, totally "good" - and drab - heaven in the future); or to put it another way: the entire way to heaven is heaven...
    Then why should an individual choose to be moral - or in other words: "not create evil, practice good, and actualize good for others (Zen's Three Pure Precepts)?" Wouldn't a life that deliberately ignores, suppresses or rejects certain attitudes, things and behaviors as EVIL - and therefore abstains from them - be turning their backs on both the beauty of duality and the very basis upon which multiplicity exists?

    Would striving to be "good" and "do good things" not be a one-sided, unbalanced way to live?
    Of course I am exaggerating a bit, because from the root of my being, I will always choose to give my crust of bread to the hungry man and wish no harm on anyone... but I am exaggerating to make a point and for discussion purposes.

    (Stay tuned for tomorrow's post: My response to my own question. Then Thursday I will post Jon's response.)

    Thursday, July 06, 2006

    Wednesday, July 05, 2006

    Great Radio Show

    If you're the podcasting/internet-radio type, I invite you to check out this show I just discovered called "Open Air with Cheri Huber."

    Cheri is the founder of the Mountain View Zen Center in Mountain View, California, and the Zen Monastery Practice Center in Murphys, California, and teaches in both communities.

    The show is great because it basically consists of Cheri and Michael answering listeners phone calls and emails, and takes awareness practice out of theory and into the realm of real people dealing with it in real life.

    Check it.

    Radio show page (Listen here!)

    Zen Monastery Peace Center

    OR, just type Cheri Huber into the iTunes podcasting search and you can podcast the show.