Showing posts from August, 2012

We See Things As We Are

We do not see things as they are... We see them as we are... So teaches the Talmud - the oral tradition of Jewish teaching - encompassing centuries of instruction and commentaries from thousands of learned Rabbis. The teachings of Talmud are holy - and they are vested with the utmost authority... "We do not see things as they are. We see them as we are." Thus also wrote - Anaïs Nin... The Buddha taught something similar - all existence is conditioned... I am reminded of this as dear and educated friends - on both sides of the political spectrum direct their invectives on the opposing side - each camp claiming to be the purveyor of truth. And while I may have my own personal sympathies and leanings - the truth is - no one side or party can truly stake a claim to offering all the solutions to our problems - or to being the champion of truth - or the only way to salvation... We are all human beings... We have the same needs and wants and desires - it does not matter if w

A Life Lived Through Books

We live our lives in many ways... Sometimes we live our lives through what we choose to read. Or, what we choose to read, is lived through us... I think of this, as I show a pest control agent down to my basement. My eyes catch the rows upon rows of volumes relegated to a space at the bottom of my staircase because at one point shelves on other floors overflowed beyond their maximum capacity... My hands lovingly run through so many volumes - each one exemplifying a different epoch or area of interest in my life... So many volumes of theological studies - spiritual treatises spanning centuries - and quite esoteric works populate these shelves. I pick one up, and look at its contents, reviewing underlined passages - fascinated by what once held my interest captive - noting how my additional years enable me to extract even more wisdom from their learned pages... A life is lived in written words: ones we read - or ones we pen... I have a bookshelf of writings - journals and poetry -

A Dog Named Spirit

There once was a dog named Spirit. Or at least I think there was. This is something I have been wanting to write about for a long time, and I dedicate it to all dog lovers everywhere... On my walk this sunny afternoon, I recalled how a few short years ago, in the crucible of a great depression - I encountered a beautiful small white dog, who made an incredible impression on my life... He approached the fence demarcating his yard from the walking path as I passed his home, and he gracefully placed his paw strategically on the fence, and then he bared his side, waiting for me to scratch him. I obliged his desire - and continued to do so every time I saw him afterward, even though I have never had a dog of my own. He never made a noise - never barked - and was the friendliest little guy I ever encountered. Somehow, on some level, we connected very deeply, and I looked forward to coming round the bend to the boundary of his yard and our inevitable encounters... For several years, he wa

The Art of Listening

Listening is an art. But it is a practice as well... To listen is not an easy thing to do... Most people never really listen... Consider the times you have ordered things to eat - and your order arrives not being what you intended... Consider the act of multitasking. Certainly one is not mindful or fully present when consciousness is being spliced apart and diced like vegetables in a salad... Listening is a skill... It is an art - AND a practice... I know - because I am not always the best listener... It is something I am working harder at embodying... There are times I am angry when someone does not listen. In those moments I sometimes raise my voice and try to talk over them. I am irritated because it means I are not only not being heard - but I am not being seen either... Listening is an art... Sometimes we have to navigate very carefully around conversations - dancing in and out at appropriate times... There are other times when we simply must listen - and do nothing else

What I Learned on My Summer Vacation

I return from a week away, exploring different areas of Quebec, and this is what I learned on my summer vacation... Out of necessity, and also by choice - I manage to "unplug" for most of my summer vacation... I have no internet access for most of my time away - and really - I do not miss it... I do not miss updating, or mindlessly checking to see what has been posted... I do not miss the hundreds of pieces of junk email I seem to receive over the course of the day - the countless solicitations - the products I could not possibly resist or live without - and the legion of "friends" I never met and cannot possibly ignore - or the long lost relatives I never heard of, or the millions of dollars they wish to endow me with... I am surprised at all the things I do not miss... And then, I remember life as it once was, in another time, and another era, that was so much more slower than this one... Life slows down to a crawl... I spend hours in a cafe - by myself, an

The Meaning of Life

The summer begins to wane, and I have spent it - more busy than I had originally anticipated or expected - but at the same time, it has afforded me space for deep reflection... This morning I read the following quote, which touched me profoundly. I asked myself - how true is this for me? "The meaning of life, is to give life meaning." ~ Ken Hudgins If I review the events in my life and that of many others thus far this year - and indeed - if I review the course of my life in general, I would have to say this is true - in every conceivable way... There are times, I have sought the meaning of life elsewhere - in the thoughts and prose - and the teaching of others - valuing the nuggets of wisdom contained therein, more than those that are born of my own internal musings. But as I wrote to a friend today, the days of endless study with others, is essentially over for me - at least for now. Instead, I will drawn upon the vast wealth of insights, knowledge, and intuition th