Sunday, September 23, 2018


I was sitting out on my veranda and thoughts of the practice of lovingkindness and forgiveness meditations and of prayer came my way. I was thinking of how the power of these practices at least in part exists in the ongoing connection with something greater than ourselves.  It’s not so much that our meditations or prayers get answered in the forms that we feel are most appropriate, even if our preferred answers might have to yield to a higher wisdom.  It is in that ongoingly intentional and energetic connection which when engaged in in a certain way is at the same time humbling and empowering; that each of us and each member or constituent part of creation, perhaps small in a relative way, are in that small way sharing in a spontaneous, interrelated, and ever-unfolding universe that is truly magnificent. 

photo series - revelation

Wednesday, September 12, 2018


I feel like I'm experiencing some sort of inner revolution.  I've recently retired from work with the exception of a one day a week private psychotherapy practice.  And I've moved to a new town.  And because of these changes there is a new sense of freedom, of space, in each day and in my head and my heart.

With this new sense of freedom and space comes a confusion.  How do I find harmony with life as it is and at the same time practice some sort of lovingkindness and compassion for those and that which are part of my daily life? What is this need to fix - myself and others?  Is it healthy? or simply another expression of my ego, a seeking of security and control by feeling I know what's best for the environment, my fellow human beings, my wife, my self?

It seems the more I question these things, the more I am drawn into the heart.  Or at least I hope so.

As part of my new life I walk to a nearby stream and practice t'ai chi and meditate for a bit.  It is such a lovely place. Without fail, I find great quietude there.  Mother Nature is so kind.  When I first started going I found myself often engaged in two mental activities: wanting to place little Buddhas here and there to bring some sort of spiritual energy to the place and also wanting to see the local wildlife so I could take pictures of them.  Deer.  Owls or other 'interesting' birds (what distinguishes an 'interesting' bird from one not so 'interesting is a curious distinction in and of itself.)  I wanted to leave an imprint of my presence and beliefs and also to be in a sense rewarded by having some sort of meaningful contact with the local fauna.  Then something happened.  I realized that Mother Nature was getting along just fine spiritually and otherwise without me (imagine that!), humming along rather nicely before I arrived, no doubt after I was gone and regardless of any of my efforts to fix or modify or improve her.  I was simply wanting to impose my ego on the place.  When I release these inclinations, a very peaceful sense of harmony emerged within me.  (This is not to say that Mother Nature couldn't use some support in terms of the constant barrage of pollution, global climate change etc.)

While I am in this beautiful place of nature, down by the stream in the quiet of the trees, I now find myself exploring what is my own true nature.  Instead of trying to be something, there are times when  in this newfound sense of harmony that is directly related to being in nature, I just let what feels like organic natural tendencies come to the surface of my own inner pool.  It's quite lovely to find feelings of anuncontrived and immediate sense of simple gratitude or appreciation or love for these surroundings.  To find the intuitive ear and silent voice of the heart that is waiting within.

The deer wanders the paths leaving little notice of its passage.  The stream follows it's viscerally natural course. The bird with full throat sings its song.

Like the deer, may we wander.  Like the stream, may we follow.   Like the birds, may we sing.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

sweet territory
     For Angeles Arrien

always here
near the slow flowing stream in the woods
the silence waits for me to listen

in this stillness
the more i quietly attend
the more is quietly revealed

the sublime is listening too
listening to this silence
as this silence

heartmind gathers

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Sunday, April 2, 2017

on worthiness or not

It's interesting how much we deny our organic inheritance, thinking we are not worthy.  As a dear friend would say, "You (me, all of us) are the best. You're just not better than anybody else." It's all so close, this worthiness. Right in front of our eyes and hovering just within the confines of our hearts, but we are blind to it, even refuse to see it. Kicked out of the Garden of Eden by our knowledge of good and evil, we stumble back home, losing and regaining our way, each of us along our own all to often convoluted paths (but not really convoluted, not really, they all get us there and we pick up important token and totems along the way) . That there is something within us that keeps searching is amazing and beautiful in and of itself, a self fulfilling prophecy that is quietly and lovingly relentless, though it's terms of realization can indeed bring out a lot of sweat before the sweetness. 

strip tease buddhism or pepto-bismol buddhism, whichever you prefer...

Last Wednesday was "Pink Shirt Day," 24 hours set aside in the actually very cool effort to raise awareness about the harmfulness of bullying.  At work, there was a concerted involvement in promoting this event, including the opportunity to donate and also order a pink t-shirt that could be worn on Pink Shirt Day.

Frankly, I've never seen myself in pink.  It's not my favorite colour, except for on roses, and believe me, I'm no rose. Thorny maybe.  Thankfully they didn't have any t-shirts my size, so I conveniently ordered one for my wife, who also doesn't wear pink much either, but she wasn't there so I kindly used her as a way to be involved (an easy way out at her expense, actually) and save my own sense of masculinity.  Oh the tangled webs we weave. But please, not in pink!

Well, to my surprise, last Tuesday the Human Resources person turned up with a pink t-shirt my size.  There is no escape sometimes from the things that stretch us into new worlds.  It fit great, and it has the shape of a heart all across the chest that is made up of words in a sort of sky blue scattered throughout the form of the heart.  The list of words include care, understanding, value, smile, respect, generosity, patience, compassion, thoughtfulness, etc. There's a bunch of them, an entire bouquet as it were, all very good.

So…  I realized that I had to wear the shirt on Wednesday.  But I was only going to wear it as an undershirt, covering it with a green checked affair that is pretty funky but which I really like and which gets a lot of compliments.  The green and pink actually looked good together, and besides, I was going to offer meditation instruction at the Emily Carr University of Art and Design.  (thought the colours might get me a little street cred with the students.)

As I started my little dharma talk, I got up and warned the students that I was going to do a strip tease.  Just a little, "GP rated" attempt.  So I started to unbutton the crosshatched shirt to reveal the dreaded pinkness of my undershirt with all those wonderful words in blue in the shape of a heart.

I realized, isn't this the spiritiual path?  To remove, however timidly or begrudgingly or hopefully or enthusiastically (sometimes seemingly all at the same time) the criss-crosses of our thoughts, however green and funky and cool, but perhaps more often not so green, not so funky, not so cool?  To acknowledge our hearts, the colours of our vulnerability, the care, compassion, respect, smile, compassion, thoughtfulness, etc that can lie so often buried?

Don't tell anybody, but I'm wearing that pink t-shirt right now!  Under a sweater, but still...