Thursday, May 26, 2005

Thomas Merton

In Silence

Be still.
Listen to the stones of the wall.
Be silent, they try
to speak your


to the living walls.

Who are you?
are you? Whose
silence are you?

Who (be quiet)
are you (as these stones
are quiet). Do not
think of what you are
still less of
what you may one day be.

be what you are (but who?)
be the unthinkable one
you do not know.

O be still, while
you are still alive,
and all things live around you

speaking (I do not hear)
to your own being,
speaking by the unknown
that is in you and in themselves.

“I will try, like them
to be my own silence:
and this is difficult. The whole
world is secretly on fire. The stones
burn, even the stones they burn me.
How can a man be still or
listen to all things burning?
How can he dare to sit with them
when all their silence is on fire?”

Thomas Merton

Thanks to Meredith for introducing me to Merton's Silence.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

No Death, No Fear

"Experiencing the bliss of God, you see that there is no such thing as time, and know you shall never die. Everyday I enjoy that consciousness."
Paramahansa Yogananda

I’m curious to know how you see death and what lies beyond this plane when we are no longer present in physical form. I’m of the firm belief that how you see death determines how you live your life.

Thich Nhat Hanh wrote a wonderful book entitled No Death, No Fear which is a must read for those seeking a deeper understanding to life. I know little, personally, about death and tragedy. I've lived a rather charmed life. I know that this will change and that I will become more familiar with death as I grow older. I know that nothing is certain but change.

How do you see death? Are we who know little of death and dying naive when it comes to this subject? I know of what I believe- but what of all that I don't know and haven't experienced yet?

Monday, May 16, 2005

Being Here

Where am I
when not here-
but in everything, everything, everything,
that is singing sweetly,
'be here'...

Sleeping In The Forest

Sleeping In The Forest
from Mary Oliver, New and Selected Poems Vol.1

I thought the earth
remembered me, she
took me back tenderly, arranging
her dark skirts, her pockets
full of lichens and seeds. I slept
as never before, a stone
on the river bed, nothing
between me and the white fire of the stars
but my thoughts, and they floated
light as moths among the branches
of the perfect trees. All night
I heard the small kingdoms breathing
around me, the insects, and the birds
who do their work in the darkness. All night
I rose and fell, as if in water, grappling
with a luminous doom. By morning
I had vanished at least a dozen times
into something better.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005


Darrell Grizzle writes at his inspiring digital home of eclectic thoughts, Blog of the Greatful Bear about a warbler bird who had hatched her eggs in a nest on his porch and has since moved on and how one tiny bird didn’t survive. Darrell then elaborates on how animals in distress can move us to see a larger picture and ends with a beautiful poem entitled “Whose Eye is on the Sparrow.”

This brings to mind a story and a powerful dream from a few years ago that taught me a life lesson I will never forget. We had just moved into a new home and soon after discovered a nest in the newspaper compartment of our mail box. We soon discovered bluebirds flying in and out adding bits and pieces to the nest and then one day, tiny eggs in the nest. I told my then 8 year old son how we were fortunate that the bluebirds had chosen our yard in which to nest and that it most surely meant good luck and happiness to us for our future in our new home.

For days we watched the nest and were careful when picking up the mail. We didn't want to surprise them because it would startled them and they would suddenly fly away. One day, we checked the progress of the eggs and discovered that four tiny baby bluebirds were now crowding the nest. My son was fascinated over this and we continued to check their progress over the course of the next week, very careful not to upset the cozy family.

Then one day I arrived home from work, gathered the mail and checked the status of the growing birds. There were no parents. I thought nothing of this until the next morning I checked and again, no parents. I looked around to see if they were close by in the trees and saw no bluebirds. The afternoon arrived and upon checking the mail- there were no parents tending to the nest and it seemed to me that the baby birds were chirping awfully loud in their hunger and loneliness.

What were we to do? How were the baby birds to survive with no parents to take care of them? I thought they would surely die if they didn’t come back to tend to the nest. So I began to plan of how we could intervene to take care of and feed the baby birds, how we would move them to a cage and feed them water through a tiny eye dropper and crushed worms and insects with tweezers. I asked for advice from the veterinary, asked online, and received ample information on how to adopt the birds and raise them until they were old enough to fly away.

This would be another lesson to teach my son on how we are to take care of those left in our care. I really wasn’t too sure if we would actually succeed in the care and raising of such delicate creatures, but we were ready to take on the responsibility the next morning. The birds stayed on my mind all evening and as I went to bed I couldn’t get them out of my thoughts. What would I say to my son if they were to not survive? Why did I have to say it was good luck to have the nest in our yard- if they died did that mean we would have bad luck? Why did this have to happen to us- why did the birds pick our yard?

That night I dreamed I was walking on a dirt road and suddenly, I was swarmed by bluebirds hovering above me. There were hundreds of bluebirds flying all about. I began waving my hands above my head to try and send them away but they kept coming. In their beaks were tiny slips of paper and I could somehow see that on each slip there was written a problem or concern that I had.

I woke the next morning exhausted from dreaming and from a fitful nights sleep. Why had the birds reminded me of all that was wrong in my world and of my many problems? Walking to the mailbox to check our birds I half expected them to be dead from lack of food and water… and that would release me from my worries. Suddenly, two blue streaks flew out of the mailbox almost scaring me half to death. It was the startled parent bluebirds, alive and nurturing their babies after all.

That instant I stopped and surmised how my thinking had created a problem with all its needless worries. Just because I couldn’t see the parents keeping watch over their young- I assumed that they were abandoned and left for dead. In an instant what I though to be misfortune became a life lesson: everything is in divine order whether we can see the order or not. There was never a thing for me to worry about after all.

This led to me reanalyze my previous night’s dream and to the epiphany that the blue birds were actually coming to take away my problems and concerns, to remind me that I really have nothing to worry about because
Everything is always in divine order.

One day, not long after the dream and discovery that the birds were indeed in good care, my son came running into the house shouting that the birds were gone. We walked out and checked the mailbox; indeed, they were gone, but I knew that they had simply outgrown the nest and that all of them had flown off together. I told my son that it was time for the babies to leave the nest and fly away- that there was nothing to worry about. He looked me in the eye and said, “blue birds bring good luck, don’t they dad?” I could only reply, “yes they do, son…yes they do.”

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Blissed Off

The world is waiting on each individual to awaken and simply be that person we are intended to be. This is it- this is all we are here for.

What is yours to do? What is your bliss?

JOSEPH CAMPBELL: If you follow your bliss, you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living. Wherever you are -- if you are following your bliss, you are enjoying that refreshment, that life within you, all the time.

BILL MOYERS: Do you ever have the sense of... being helped by hidden hands?

JOSEPH CAMPBELL: All the time. It is miraculous. I even have a superstition that has grown on me as a result of invisible hands coming all the time - namely, that if you do follow your bliss you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living. When you can see that, you begin to meet people who are in your field of bliss, and they open doors to you. I say, follow your bliss and don't be afraid, and doors will open where you didn't know they were going to be.

Now, I came to this idea of bliss because in Sanskrit, which is the great spiritual language of the world, there are three terms that represent the brink, the jumping-off place to the ocean of transcendence: sat-chit-ananda. The word "Sat" means being. "Chit" means consciousness. "Ananda" means bliss or rapture. I thought, "I don't know whether my consciousness is proper consciousness or not; I don't know whether what I know of my being is my proper being or not; but I do know where my rapture is. So let me hang on to rapture, and that will bring me both my consciousness and my being." I think it worked.

The Joseph Campbell Foundation

Monday, May 09, 2005


What am I doing with these words-
painting the dharma
like a lush foreign landscape
to be captured and conveyed
before seasons ending when
words will fail me and
the green garden fades?

In truth, I am not needed
nor does the way become more clear
because of me.
I am made more clearly, unfading,

from the way.
The dharma, unspoken, evergreen,

takes care of itself.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Peace In Our Lifetime

I only recently discovered Unity's stand on war and conflict and believe it to be one of the most well written, thoughtful, and peace-filled stands ever taken by a religious or spiritual community.

Joint Statement for Peace
Unity and the Association of Unity Churches

"Unity stands for peace in the presence of conflict; for love in the presence of hatred; for forgiveness in the presence of injury. Unity honors the many names for God, the many paths to God, the many ways to worship God; for there is only one power and presence of God and that God loves each one of us equally. It is therefore the position of The International Association of Unity Churches and Unity to urge all nations, their leaders, and their people to turn to God by whatever the name for guidance during these challenging times and pursue peace, not war, for this is what honors the God of all our faith traditions. Unity stands for peace in our lifetime."


I'm glad I lost my way
because here I am now,
where I would not have been
had I followed direction,
and the wind blows the signpost about
which way was I to go?

My meandering has purpose,
and even though there is
straightness in the going,
I squint my eyes and imagine the road
snaking back on itself,
lapping and loving the path it takes.

I don't know a hiker who likes
to walk an even path all the time,
there has to be hills, streams, rocks
and the element of losing one's self along the way-
...and the ending up exactly where you planned,

well, what could be a more disturbing thought
than that?

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Indelibly one with the One

Om also Aum

For Hindus, Buddhists, and Sikhs, a mystic word or mantra. Om is regarded as the syllable of the supreme Reality. It is often found at the beginning of prayers, mantras, and scriptures as a word of invocation and adoration.

In Hinduism its three Sanskrit phonemes (transliterated a, u, and m) symbolize the triad of Brahma the creator, Vishnu the preserver, and Shiva the destroyer, or the three levels of consciousness: waking, dreaming, and deep sleep. In Buddhism it is often understood as symbolizing the true empty character of reality, as that truth has been communicated by various historical Buddhas, celestial Buddhas, and, directly, by the true character of reality itself. For Sikhs, it is the most direct and concise divine Name.

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