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Monday, October 21 2013






       Classic romantic lore locates love “out there” in the lovability of what we love.  Love, from this perspective, is a positive judgment about someone or something – a judgment that tends to change as what’s out there alternates between more and less pleasing.  Implicit in this approach is the presumption that we can only love what we find lovable.  Our job, then, is to search the world for just the right love object – the one.


       In a recent lecture, “Love is Inside - Go Find It”, Michael Simpson asserts that love is an internal matter.  It has nothing to do with the desirability of an object and everything to do with the capacity to keep our hearts open and our energy flowing – a capacity we can all develop. 


       From this perspective, love is not a judgment.  It’s the simple act of opening our hearts as we engage with life.  Simpson claims that we can open our hearts at any moment, that we never have to shut down, that the only limits on our ability to love are self-imposed, and that there is nothing, inside us or outside us, that we cannot be present to with a soft heart.  There is nothing we cannot love.


       When caught up in the dominant paradigm of locating love “out there”, we tend to treat ourselves and others as objects.  We work hard to make ourselves lovable, so that love will come our way.  And we work hard to get our partners to become more lovable, so it will be easier for us to feel our love.  Frankly, all that hard work never produces lasting love.  The love we seek remains outside our grasp. 


       The shift to locating love internally is a movement toward taking sole responsibility for our love and our love-ability – not unlike the healthy way we take responsibility for our own happiness, self-esteem, serenity, sense of belonging and feeling of abundance.  It’s our job to keep our hearts open, no one else’s.  As social psychologists tell us, if two people are responsible for a job, it’s a lot less likely to get done than if one person is.


       Heart opening is hard work.   It takes wakeful awareness and persistent practice.  However, in contrast to the romantic approach, this hard work pays off.  We discover, inside ourselves, the vitality we’ve been seeking.  It’s always there – our love nature – our love-ability.



Posted by: AT 08:49 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Wednesday, October 09 2013


Focused Spaciousness


       Richard Moss, a mentor to me and many others, teaches Focused Spaciousness, an approach to meditation and centering that invites us to be keenly aware of our sensory experience – exquisitely focused – and, at the same time, to be fully present to the vast expanse of inner spaciousness. 


       Holding both simultaneously takes some practice – practice well-worth the effort, practice that draws us toward fullness of life at the center of being.


       On his website, Richard has posted two short video clips (The Art of Centering, Parts 1 & 2) demonstrating his approach.  I invite you to view them and, while you're at it, to browse his website:   


       Click on the link above and then on "Blog" to open the videos and other postings from Richard. 



Posted by: AT 09:47 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Tuesday, October 01 2013



Spiritual Nutrition


       Questions arrive – questions related to how I feed myself and my important relationships.  From a biological perspective, I know the foods we eat have a profound effect on health and vitality.


       Similarly, I wonder, how is my spirit affected by what I feed it?   The electronic and paper-based media I consume?  The thoughts I entertain and interior dramas I enact?  The places my mind habitually goes when there's a break in the action?  Does this diet nourish me?


       In my spiritual diet, is there a good balance of stimulation and quiet, connection and solitude, doing and not doing?


       How do I feed my important relationships?  Do I starve them through lack of attention and affection?  Is my relational economy booming or in recession? 


       Do I harm love – maybe even kill it – by the thoughts I harbor or the stories I tell myself about the other or about our relationship?  Is my relational diet contaminated by the toxins of criticism, contempt, defensiveness and stone-heartedness?


       How do I feed my heart so it stays soft, supple, spacious – and, therefore, vital?  How do I energize connections within me and with others?  How do I nurture fullness of life?


       Questions rumble.


       I observe.  I listen.  I know.


       I choose.



Posted by: AT 10:49 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email

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