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

Wednesday, July 10, 2019


I wonder
What did I do to deserve your love
You answer in the simplest way
By continuing to envelop me in the spacious positivity of you all seeing heart 

I wonder 
Then how can it be any other way

I wonder
Perhaps it’s not that you choose to love
It is because love is who you are

And I wonder
If sometime long ago
When given the choice 
The choice you made was love

Who is this being who goes by the name of Nityananda 

Monday, July 8, 2019


from within the intensities of its very own constrictions
this bodymind cries out,
Let go!
Let go!

I can't!
I can't!

I guess I'll have to let go of letting go...

It's kinda funny really...

Starting from where I'm at.

Saturday, July 6, 2019

on feeling close to the earth

Lately I've been thinking a lot about humility, praying to understand and live this state of heartmind more fully.  I wonder if this emerging inclination stems from feelings of contraction that I am becoming increasingly aware of within.  Anyway, in what seemed at the time as related to my prayers, I happened to do some forgiveness meditation. A suffusing warmth, like laying on my back in an open field, close to the earth and blanketed by a softly lighted sun, whelmed over me and I knew in a way uninvolved with any logical or cerebrial context that this was for me a very open doorway to humility.

Here is a version of forgiveness meditation as taught by Dr. Rina Sircar (who said countless times that this meditation unblocked and untied the knots of the heart.)

     May I be forgiven for all my imperfections and all my wrong doings of thought, speech,
     and action.  Whatever I have done intentionally or unintentionally to hurt or offend another,
     may I be forgiven for that.

     I freely forgive all those who knowingly or unknowingly have caused so much pain, isolation
     or separation.

     May all beings be forgiven for all of their imperfections and wrongdoings.  Whatever any
     being has done, willingly or unwillingly, to hurt or offend another, may they be forgiven for

Saturday, June 22, 2019


Breathe mindfully for a minute or two. 

Now contemplate how so many people in your life, family or friends or whoever who influenced who you are.  who helped you and, yes, hurt you.

And contemplate all the experiences that formed you through joy and love and also perhaps heartache or physical pain

And all the institutions that shaped how you think about the world whether they be school or political party or religion or absence of religion or club or association or whatever.

And consider how these people and experiences and institutions made you wondrously and uniquely who you are, with many gifts and probably a handful of foibles, and how who you have become all kind of makes sense because of these people, experiences, and institutes. 

And now contemplate how the person sitting next to you and across from you and those sitting all around you each have their own collection of life long influences, some probably similar to you, some probably quite different, and no doubt to varying measure filled with joy and love and heartache and pain that influence how they see the world that is also unique to them and makes sense regarding who they have become.

And  consider that given each person’s uniqueness we all share greatly in terms of commonalities of having been influenced and shaped and having experienced joy and love and heartache and pain. 

Friday, May 31, 2019

a few days at Birken monastery - in gratitude

Haiku to...

Deepest silences
Within them a raven calls
Drawing deeper still

How like sala bells