“If you want to identify me, ask me not where I live, or what I like to eat, or how I comb my hair, but ask me what I am living for, in detail, ask me what I think is keeping me from living fully for the thing I want to live for.” Thomas Merton
Queensland goes to the polls next weekend. Leading up to the election we find out politicians behaving badly even when they know their job is to try and impress us. My thoughts concerning the responsibility to vote and a laundry list of what I want from our politicians is not just about Queensland or Australia. It is about every election, everywhere and I think it is time we started to wade through the maze of garbage that politics has become and be very clear about what we want. Continue reading
“There can be immense benefit in seeking places of solitude and stillness, removing ourselves for periods of time from the bustle of the world. If we bring our aversion to the world with us to these sacred places, we also bring the bustle. If we learn to enter into sacred spaces with the intention to be awake and listen fully, they deepen and enrich us. We learn powerful lessons of letting go, of stillness and sensitivity. We learn the lessons of freedom that are offered in the meandering thought, the fleeting sensation, in the heart of sorrow and joy. We learn to live in harmony with what is, to discover the spaces between thoughts and the stillness between sounds. We explore the profound stillness that embraces the gaps between the events and the events themselves.
We discover how vast and encompassing our hearts can be, and that wisdom has no end. The freedom of not resting upon anything, not being defined by anything, not wanting or missing anything, not being captive anywhere. Stillness and awareness are the nature of the mind unobstructed by grasping. Compassion is born of the understanding of emptiness. Within this world of arising and passing forms of life in all its shapes and bodies, there is nothing separate from ourselves. In listening deeply to the world, understanding the causes of suffering and the way to its end, no other response is possible but compassion. Aware but still, we are awakened by the “ten thousand things.”
Discovering these sacred spaces of stillness, we are encouraged to approach life in a sacred way. Great moments of illumination do not only belong to the recluses of this world, but are found in the hearts of ordinary people, extraordinary in their capacity to be awakened by their life. A couple raising and nurturing a profoundly disabled child, speak of it as a spiritual journey. The sleepless nights, the constant care, the surrender of personal freedom teaches them new depth of kindness, patience and generosity. A young Tibetan nun thanks her torturer for awakening her to new depths of faith, compassion, and forgiveness. A teacher speaks of approaching her day as an opportunity to awaken just one child to new possibilities. A former athlete, debilitated by chronic fatigue, tells of the discovery of trust, humility, and kindness, amid his helplessness. The essence of all spiritual teaching encourages us to turn toward our life and discover a freedom that leans upon nothing and embraces everything.” Christina Feldman
My grandfather got really pissed at the Biffster once because he wasn’t being manly enough to please his old world sensibilities. Mostly he was terrified that the Biff might be “queer.” I mean there were so many clues to justify his concern, like the fact that Biff wasn’t hitching up his jeans, scratching himself or strutting while both horking and spitting. My grandfather was a keen observer of all things life. He didn’t just leap to his conclusions, he defied all gravity and flew across Grand Canyons of expanse to reach them. He was a gifted gifted athlete! Continue reading
“I have no right to call myself one who knows. I was one who seeks, and I still am, but I no longer seek in the stars or in books; I’m beginning to hear the teachings of my blood pulsing within me. My story isn’t pleasant, it’s not sweet and harmonious like the invented stories; it tastes of folly and bewilderment, of madness and dream, like the life of all people who no longer want to lie to themselves.” Hermann Hesse
The most successful people in life are not those who have important positions, a thousand social media “likes” or more money than God. They are the people who changed the lives of the people they met. They are the people whose names are etched in other’s hearts for the seemingly small acts of kindness and service offered. Our capacity for love opens us to compassion and our compassion spurs us the action. That action builds the web that holds us all in together. Continue reading
You can bully a child but you cannot bully me nor the millions of other thinking caring adults who recognize the damage you are doing to that child as abuse. Tell whatever stories to yourself that you have to in order to go to sleep at night but I will never be silenced. Keep telling your lies to the people who will listen and nod but even they are talking to everyone behind your back and condemning what you are doing. When we make choices to live our lives in reprehensible ways you have to be prepared to live with your own reflection when someone holds up the mirror. Your anger at everyone else is sadly misplaced because they are not the problem for speaking out against it, YOU are the problem for having committed these acts. I hope that people might find the grace to extend to you when your actions are condemned, that you have never afforded anyone else. Continue reading
“Once one commits to telling the truth, one begins to notice how unusual it is to meet someone who shares this commitment. Honest people are a refuge: You know they mean what they say; you know they will not say one thing to your face and another behind your back; you know they will tell you when they think you have failed—and for this reason their praise cannot be mistaken for mere flattery.
Honesty is a gift we can give to others. It is also a source of power and an engine of simplicity. Knowing that we will attempt to tell the truth, whatever the circumstances, leaves us with little to prepare for. We can simply be ourselves.” Sam Harris