Tuesday, December 21 2021
Companions on the Journey
We do not travel alone
While we may feel separate
We never are
Companions in physical form
People, critters, trees
Inform and inspire us
Holding our hands
Healing our hearts
Helping us hope.
Companions in spirit
Surround us and soothe us
Cheering us, guiding us
Illuminating the path
When times are dark
And eyesight is dim.
The Divine Companion
Accepting us always
In every cell
In every sinew
With every step
With every breath.
We do not travel alone.
Thank you so much for your companionship on the journey.
I intend to spend more time writing and sharing in 2022.
May the season bring you deep peace and every joy!
Friday, May 28 2021
A Thought Experiment
Most people I know, including me, carry old stories of unworthiness – powerful works of fiction that cause much suffering.
Messages of criticism, inevitable in the socialization process, crystalize into a sense of unworthiness that goes in and out of the foreground of our experience – and almost always lurks somewhere in the background, ready to pounce.
We spend so much of our lives trying to resolve the question of worth. We bargain: if we can only evolve, if we can only overcome our flaws, if we can only be good enough – maybe that painful question will go away.
In my experience, self-improvement as a strategy to defeat an unworthiness story seldom works. The very unworthiness we hope to defeat is embedded in the strategy. These stories are stubborn – reminiscent of the hanging judge who has no interest in changing his pre-formed conclusions.
So, here’s a thought experiment.
What if the worthiness question is absurd and irrelevant? What if it’s the wrong question? What if that question has already been answered – definitively? What if we are beautiful beings, unique expressions of the divine, worthy of love and respect – born beautiful, beautiful now, forever beautiful.
The relevant question is not: Am I worthy? The relevant question is: What does my heart/soul deeply desire and, in light of that desire, what do I want to do right now with this precious moment?
In this experiment, there is nothing to prove, no image to manage, no hoops to hop through. We are trustworthy and free – free to unfold as we truly are.
And what if, as we operate this way, we make it so?
Sunday, February 14 2021
I spent a couple hours this afternoon hiking in the woods – all bundled up for the -5 degree temperature (not counting wind chill). At these temps in the north country, the snow gets crispy, the sky is deep-blue clear, and sun shines gently fierce. The beautiful contrast of pristine snow and various shades of brown bark - along with the metronome-like crunch, crunch, crunch, crunch of my cleated boots - lulled me into a meditative state.
Deciding to stay present in this beauty, I focused on what was real in the moment – the sights and sounds and my frosty face. I soon realized that, for me, there was something else – something very real - happening moment-by-moment. In this reality, I am intimately connected to earth and sky and trees. There is an energy flow among us. As I consciously opened to that flow, I could feel the energy below, above and around me. Breathing in and out, I invited the energy to gather in my heart and radiate outward.
I call this energy, Love – the conscious, intelligent, creative energy field of the universe permeating all being - the source and essence of all that is – including each of us. It sustains us, heals us, and grows us.
When I breathe in Love, my heart expands. When I exhale Love - sending it forth to individuals and to all beings - my heart expands even more. Participating in this flow contributes to an expanding universe of Love. It also creates a personal sense of abundance and a booming relational economy. In the mathematics of Love, at this level of freely receiving and radiating, there are no negative numbers - only expanding hearts and synergetic enrichment.
On this day our culture devotes to love, let’s celebrate, let’s practice, let’s enjoy Love’s magical, mysterious mathematics.
Friday, December 25 2020
The Christmas Journey
As I see it, we’re here on this planet to learn from the experience of separation and to find our way back to the real-ization of oneness. This is both an individual and collective journey – one that begins in individual hearts and is embraced by the collective consciousness when a critical number of individual hearts are opened.
Christmas invites us to give birth to Christ Consciousness - not as an abstract concept, but as a physical reality, a body memory, a knowing that is deep in our bones and deep in our hearts. With his physical birth, Jesus began his journey to real-ize oneness for himself and to teach us to do likewise.
As we celebrate Christmas, let’s renew our commitment to the journey – a daily, moment-by-moment re-membering. As each of us re-members oneness and the interconnection of all, we contribute to a shift in collective consciousness so badly needed in this polarized world.
We’re here to learn from separation, not get stuck in it.
Have a beautiful, wonderful Christmas!
Thursday, November 26 2020
What a year! A worldwide pandemic. Fires and hurricanes raging in record numbers. A painfully polarized nation. Suffering and loss abound! All around us, there is so much grief, fear, outrage, mistrust and despair. So much turmoil. So much heartbreak.
What do we do with our hearts on a day dedicated to gratitude? For many of us, the losses are so overpowering and discouraging that it may be hard to muster much in the way of giving thanks.
And yet, opening our hearts in gratitude is just what this day asks of us. It is harder this year. So we need to dig deeper and look closer. We need to open our hearts even wider to see the bountiful – the love and heroism around us, the gifts of family, friends and all our relations, the gifts of shelter, health care and nourishment for body mind and spirit, the gifts of critters, trees, flowers and the awesome beauty of Mother Earth. When we look more deeply, we see that, along with our grief, we are graced.
We don’t need to rid ourselves of grief in order to be grateful. Gratitude can accompany grief. Our hearts are big enough for both.
This challenging year invites us to soften and stretch our hearts, to release this center of love from its protections and confinement, to make room for all that we feel and experience, to make room for each other and see how deeply we are connected to everyone and everything.
In spaciousness of heart, gratitude flourishes!
Happy making room. Happy thanks-giving!
P.S. I apologize for my unannounced sabbatical. Your gentle encouragement of this writing has partnered with an inner prompting - nudging me back to the keyboard. I’m grateful.
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!
Friday, April 10 2020
Good Friday Musings
For many years, Good Friday has been for me a day of fasting, meditation and reflection. Often that has meant spending a good part of the day with Jesus.
On this Good Friday, I reflect on what is, for me, the central theme of Jesus’ teaching: We are all part of one Consciousness, the essence of which is Love. This Universal Consciousness – God - is our origin and our destination.
Our destination is not out there somewhere. It is not separate from us. Jesus says the Kingdom of God is within. Within each of us there is a quiet spaciousness at the center of being, where individual consciousness meets Cosmic Consciousness, where love meets Love, where human meets Divine.
So, how do we access this spacious center of being?
Meditation practice helps us travel toward inner spaciousness. We set our intention to enter the deep quiet. We soften and relax. We let go of effort. As a mercy to ourselves, we gently disengage from busy mind, with its worries, rehearsals and judgments. We follow the outbreath toward stillness – gently inviting ourselves back to breath, again and again, gently and persistently re-orienting toward stillness.
There is no need to struggle or search. This practice is a matter of allowing and trusting. We simply let go and let ourselves be guided down a natural pathway to the deep quiet at the center of being. It’s our home. It’s our nature to spend time there. We know the way.
It’s so peaceful there - so nourishing and restorative. When we plant ourselves in fertile emptiness, even for a moment, we grow.
With practice, this natural pathway becomes a highway. The quiet inner spaciousness becomes ever more familiar, ever more expansive – connecting us ever more deeply to True Self and All That Is.
On this Good Friday, as I soften and surrender in ever-deepening trust, I sense God guiding me to God. I feel Love leading me to Love - Love, the extravagant Wellspring of Mercy and Compassion that, with permission, flows freely within and among all beings.
Thank you, Jesus. It is a good Friday.
Monday, March 30 2020
I awoke one morning last week with the thought that the Corona virus is a mirror for humanity. Its devastating spread mirrors humanity’s devastating approach to this planet we inhabit.
Mirrors invite us to take a look at ourselves – hopefully an honest look. I can square my shoulders and tighten my tummy as I face myself in the mirror – and may likely come away with the false reassurance that I’m looking good and don’t need to make changes. Or I can stand sideways, relax the belly and see what is. That honest perspective, painful as it is, invites me to re-consider how I approach the body I inhabit.
COVID mirroring, painful as it is, invites us to consider how we approach the planet we inhabit – its atmosphere, its waters, its land and soil, its forests and ecosystems – as well as how we approach all beings, with whom we share this planet.
Corona virus sickens and kills its hosts. We humans are doing the same to the earth – our host. Corona produces a fever. We humans are producing a planetary fever - global warming.
The COVID mirror can show us beautiful things about ourselves – our heroism and heart. It invites us to see our interdependence with all fellow inhabitants and with earth herself. In this web of connection, we are a global community. Whatever affects one, affects all. COVID invites us to see this fundamental truth and to embrace our need to work together – in healthy harmony - as a global community.
We are not alone and we are not separate. We are family. We have a mother - and billions of siblings and countless cousins.
Let’s honestly peer
In COVID’S mirror.
Look not with fear.
Move toward revere.
Sunday, March 01 2020
Awakening to Interconnectedness
In Pocketful of Miracles, Joan Borysenko, one of my favorite teachers, offers an inspiring message and a short meditation for each day of the year. In the entry for February 21, she ties together themes of interconnectedness, beginner’s mind, mindfulness in the present moment, and opening to the flow of Love.
“A man who had a near-death experience following a heart attack returned to his body, and the first thing he saw in the hospital room was a rose. He experienced seeing a rose as for the first time, realizing that he was intimately connected to that flower. Now, when he walks through the forest, he feels as though he is one with the trees. He has realized directly his participation in the web of life. The secret of happiness, he says, is twofold: to realize that all things are interconnected, and to send love along those connections.”
Awakening to interconnectedness invites presence and awe in the moment-by-moment flow of Love, where all is one.
Thursday, February 13 2020
With Valentine’s Day approaching, I’d like to share some conclusions I’ve reached after years of pondering the mysteries of Love.
· Love is a field of energy that inhabits every atom and every space in the universe. It’s a flow of energy within and between us. As evolving humans, our job is to surrender, moment by moment, to Love’s flow of receiving and radiating. Releasing resistance, we step into the river of life and are carried in its current.
· Love is universal and unconditional – a quality of being within each of us. It makes no judgment about the worthiness of who or what we love. No external person or circumstance controls Love’s flow within us.
· Love-consciousness emerges in the quiet spaciousness of presence-in-now. Softening to that inner spaciousness connects us, experientially, to the flow of Love.
· Love is the most powerful healing force in the universe. When we flow with Love, wholeness happens. When we bring Love into any situation, things improve. Collectively, with enough of us radiating Love, we can heal our planet.
· Every human experience can be transformed by Love - and transmuted into Love. For example, if I’m worried about my children, I can hold my fearful self in the healing presence of Love – a transforming experience that allows me to replace the negative energy I was radiating and transmute worry into Love. Better for my kids. Better for me.
· At the level of soul, we are completely in Love with all beings and all that is. A verb and a noun, Love is what we do and who we are.
· Romantic love - imperfect as it is in its conditionality, angst and emphasis on the beauty/goodness/value of the beloved – is one of the ways life guides us toward our authentic Love Nature. Life humbles, deepens and seasons us - like sandpaper, gradually wearing away all that is not Love.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
Monday, January 06 2020
According to tradition, January 6, the Feast of the Epiphany, marks the day the Magi found Jesus. In common parlance, an epiphany is a new insight - a shift in how we perceive things.
In the spirit of the season, and after some hesitation, I’ve decided to share two personal epiphanies I’ve experienced. As in the Magi story, these epiphanies have connected me more deeply to Jesus and to Christ Consciousness.
While my connection with the person of Jesus was strong during my eight years of preparation for Catholic priesthood, that sense of connection gradually faded after I left the seminary. I studied psychology, served in Vietnam, studied even more psychology and then immersed myself in the practice of psychotherapy. Though still spiritually orientated, I moved away from what I perceived as an overly self-sacrificial ethos at the center of the Christian message. I explored eastern and indigenous spirituality – and the mystics of various traditions.
About 20 years ago, I met Master Chunyi Lin and began the study of Spring Forest QiGong, a powerful approach for healing oneself and others. In Spring Forest practices, we are invited to identify a personal master, whom we call upon for help and guidance at the beginning of any healing encounter. Chunyi would suggest possible masters – like Jesus or Buddha – but I usually just reached out to universal energy. The idea of a master didn’t resonate with me.
In 2003, I participated in an advanced QiGong retreat, which involved extended meditations. During one 2-hour meditation, Master Lin moved among us, offering each of us a healing. I was lying on the floor, with my eyes closed, in the midst of a quiet, peaceful meditation, when I felt his touch, brief and gentle, on my right cheekbone. Instantly – almost like an explosion - the face of Jesus appeared in my imagination, just inches in front of my face. Immediately, I knew: There’s my master.
Since then, when I’m having a difficult time in a session with a client or any time I’m doing healing work, I call upon Master Jesus for help. I make a little quiet space, and help arrives.
The irony of a Chinese Taoist facilitating my re-connection with Jesus still makes me smile.
The second epiphany occurred two or three years later. I was with my spiritual growth group in a two-hour journeying meditation. With powerful drum rhythms reverberating in the room, we were sprawled on blankets around a large candle, like spokes of a wheel - heads at the center, feet out on the periphery.
Halfway through the meditation, out of the blue, I said to myself: “I’d like to see the face of Jesus again.” Instantly, just like before, a face appeared, inches from me. This time it was my face! My laughing, jubilant face!
Shock was immediately replaced by a fierce clarity. In one intuitive grasp, I knew: This is not about me. It’s about all of us. In some fundamental way, we all are what Jesus is. We all are God's offspring, human/divine beings, temporary and eternal, inseparable from God/Allness – just like Jesus.
I have come to view this epiphany as an experience of Christ Consciousness – a deep awareness of our divine nature and oneness with the universe, a truth we share. Jesus, I believe, claimed this truth for all of us, not just for himself.
Since that experience, whenever I speak or write about the Divine Within and similar subjects, a powerful sense of peace comes over me – even as I struggle to find words for this mystery. And even though a young part of me sometimes worries he’ll be judged a heretic - or a lunatic.
Over a lifetime, most of us experience a number of epiphanies, paradigm shifts that transform us – in ways big and not so big. Sometimes, the full impact is immediate. Sometimes, effects unfold gradually.
Epiphanies gift us and grace us. They arise – unexpected and unbidden – from the quiet spaciousness inside us, sometimes triggered by external encounters. We don’t control how or when they arrive.
We simply open our eyes, open our hearts and make room in the inn.