Monday, August 12, 2019

no hesitation

Oh Nityananda
Like water flowing from a calm and iridescent pool
Your blessing knows no hesitation
It simply finds it's way
inviting me into my own heart
Each movement 
Becomes a joy in realizing how wrong I can be
Where once I saw things as difficult
I'm learning to see them as grace
Where once I yearned for understanding
I'm beginning to see that understanding is but a stepping stone
For so long I thought that you were at one with all things
But now I see that all things are one with you 

Monday, August 5, 2019

i don't know how to title this...

There was an old rabbi, beloved by all who knew him for his compassion, kindness and wisdom. He had a newly married son who was having difficulties with his wife. And she with him. So the rabbi asked them to separately come and talk with him.

At the appointed hour, the son appeared at the door. “Come in, come in, my dear son, light of my eye, joy of my heart, fruit of my fruit-of-the-looms. Come in and tell your father what troubles you so.”

It's that new wife of mine, father. I just don't understand her.”

What is it you find so difficult to understand, my son.”

The son started listing off the behaviours and attitudes of his wife that irritated him. “Papa, she takes up the whole bed at night. She lets the kids get away with murder. She doesn't shave her legs or armpits. She always cheers for the Raptors when they play the Blue Jays. She ruffles the covers when she farts. She picks her teeth. She never misses an episode of Duck Call Dynasty. She loves Justin Trudeau. She loves Justin Beiber, I mean, Justin Beiber?" The list goes on and on. "Now she wants to move back with her mother. What have I done?! What can I do?! Am I not right to be upset?"

"Yes, you are right, my son. Please, send in your bride. And perhaps a bracing cup of decaf would do you some good."

The young man leaves and before long the rabbi's daughter-in-law enters, looking equally agitated and forlorn. “Ah, precious moon in the firmament, dearest pear in the orchard, you look so sad. Tell me please, what is wrong."

Please forgive me, father-in-law, I mean no disrespect. But that son of yours, that husband of mine, is driving me mad. He never picks up after himself. He lets the kids get away with murder. He always votes Conservative. He always cheers for the Leafs over the Habs. He picks his teeth. He doesn't shave his ears. He only listens to Mott the Hoople. I mean, Mott the Hoople? Why, I can't even fart in bed without him whining and complaining! The whole thing makes me want to go visit my mother.” Again, the litany continues. “What can I do, father-in-law. I am so confused. Am I right or am I wrong?!"

"Beloved balm to my heart and eyes. You are right. Please go rest, and perhaps something chewy will help a smile to return to your face.”

After she trudges out the door, the old man sighs, gives a barely visible shake of his head, and looks at his thumbs. Just then his wife comes in, fuming even more than the son or daughter-in-law. She positions herself right in from of him, firmly sets her feet and places her clinched fists decidedly on her hips. “My beloved wife, the primrose penumbra of my predawn hours. Most fragrant and delicate petal in my life garden. Wassup?”

I'll tell you wassup, mister,” she exclaims. “First our son comes in and complains about his wife. And you say he's right. Then his wife comes in and complains about her husband. And you say she's right. Husband! They can't both be right!”

He gazes deeply into her eyes, sighs once again, and says, “Dearest of the dearest, song of all songs, life of my love. You are right!”


My humanity is bound up in yours...
Desmond Tutu

Imperfections are not inadequacies; they are reminders that we're all in this together. 
Brene Brown

Look again at that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "superstar," every "supreme leader," every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there--on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.
The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds.
Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.
The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand.
It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known.
Carl Sagan

If one does not understand a person, one tends to regard hin as a fool. 
Carl Jung

How do you understand people so easily, someone asked. The feeling of not being understood is known to me, I replied.

We're all just walking each other home
Ram Dass

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

oh break my heart

oh break my heart

please let the touching be hand to hand
eye to eye
heart to heart
please let a thousand tender starlight gatherings
pour back and forth
back and forth.

and if this coursing love
so enthused with whelming spirit
burns these bygone boundaries to a lone and single ash
please burn to a lone a single ash
and if these warm and reckless tears shed from this core of being
flood these waiting fertile wastelands with raw and utter meeting
please flood beyond all recognition
so that all that is left is You

oh whatever whoever abides as life infusing and interconnective tissue and majesty
so beautifully beyond and yet within
let me love only You
I don't even know what this means
it doesn't fit somehow in my brain
but when this impulse dawns
something incandesces
in a radiantly sweeping sky

Saturday, July 27, 2019


are all we are
just bubbling masses
of innuendo 
often untold half-truths 
projected outwardly 
in a subconsciously manifesting 
private reality 
interconnected with others 
the world 
therefore influenced by 
influencing perception 
meaning making?

please don’t take all this too seriously 
take it just seriously enough
meaning with 
at the same time 
a big beautiful and beatific smile 
on your totally unique 
absolutely priceless likeness… 

or perhaps it would be better said,
on your totally unique
absolutely priceless loveness...

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

humility and gratitude

While waiting to pick my wife up at the ferry I found myself in a very pleasant discussion with a young Muslim man from Tanzania.  One of the many highlights of our conversation was his observation of how a lot of people might feel gratitude for when things are going well, but not many feel much gratitude for when things are very challenging.

Lately I've found myself with in the midst (and mists) of several very challenging situations for which I can be grateful. :-)  I think back to this conversation and his, what might be referred to as,  'call to prayer.'  Somehow my heart is touched again by what we shared so extemporaneously, and perhaps more importantly, by how being thankful for difficult times offers something of great value.  This value might be difficult to articulate or describe, at least by me, other than to say that there is a movement within that leads me to a place where I want to go, whether I realize it or not. (How vague is that?!!) Perhaps my experience can be described as a warmthknowing, a whispering without words of immanent and organic meaning.  Ahhhh, how words get in the way.

I've been thinking a lot about the quality of humility.  What is it?  Where can it be found?  When I think of this man and what he said, well...

Friday, July 19, 2019

in memory of Dr. Rina Sircar

I could talk about Rina Sircar for pages and pages in this blog.  I met Rina, a Buddhist nun from Myanmar, my first quarter in grad school and have studied with her ever since.  I say, "studied with her" even though she died around a year ago.  She and her teachings stay with me.  But her teachings went far beyond the exchange or words, ideas, or concepts and, as such, these teachings were preverbal, prethought, and therefore spoke in a way that were part of mutuality of participation that was experientially awakening even though I didn't fully appreciate what was going on the at the time.  I'm going to try to capture this form of Rina's influence on me in three reflections.

Rina not only loved me unconditionally but loved me in exactly the way I needed to be loved in order that I might heal and grow.  As such, her love for me evolved as I changed.  And I changed in relationship with how her love penetrated the wounds and strengths that lie waiting in my heart for her tender energetic touch of light.  This love was like a quietly flowing stream washing away the unhelpful sediments of my heart, no matter how lose or compacted those sediments were, revealing slowly but surely what might be considered to be truer values within.

When at meditation retreats offered by Rina, one of the things I did was to assist her from her room to the meditation hall, up and down some stairs, sometimes in the dark, before and after each session.  I feel that I learned more about Buddhism from this simple proximity and physical touch than from any book I read or talk I heard about Buddhism from other teachers.  It was a warmly unspoken transmission, tangibly conveyed, that emanated simply from her being.

I often anticipated her 'going to the other side,' wondering how I would respond to not having her in my life in a physical way.  I wondered how hard I would grieve, how long it would take, what form the sadness would assume. When she died, I felt again the literal gentle lightness of her presence and my heart felt nothing but a radiant gratitude, completely free of any sadness, and though the radiance might have faded, the gratitude continues to beat a even, vibrant, and resonant rhythm.

Everything decent thing I have done professionally as a psychotherapist, spiritual care practitioner, or educator was touched in some significant way by Rina.  Is this hyperbole?  Absolutely not.  How I listened and spoke, what I said, the silences, all sprang from seeds that she planted in this heart and mind.

Rina, wherever you are, thank you so much for all that you have given me.

Monday, July 15, 2019


Oh, Nityananda
indefinable source and object of all seeking
please let this body
this mind
this heart
be always and all ways
an arati flame for your ever unfolding puja

there is thunder and rain
lightning revealing your form in the formless
please allow your formlessness to give shape
to every thought
every word
every deed

somehow, hoping, isn't this already so?

ignite this vision
awaken this knowing
nourish this wonderment
Arati flame
let there always be remembering

there is gypsy music just within hearing
Beneath, Through, In
the rain
the flashes and the thunder
singing in an indistinguishable tongue
wild and whirling 
compelling in 
the immediacy of devotion 
a part of every moment
affirming every instant