Primitive religion is not believed, it is danced!

Arthur Darby Nock

Earth's crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God;
And only he who sees takes off his shoes;
The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries.

Elizabeth Browning

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Me, me, me

“The main condition for the achievement of love is the overcoming of one's narcissism. The narcissistic orientation is one in which one experiences as real only that which exists within oneself, while the phenomena in the outside world have no reality in themselves, but are experienced only from the viewpoint of their being useful or dangerous to one. The opposite pole to narcissism is objectivity; it is the faculty to see other people and things as they are, objectively, and to be able to separate this objective picture from a picture which is formed by one's desires and fears.”
                              Erich Fromm, The Art of Loving

I have wondered why
of late

religions, most of them
but particularly the one that has been my own
have been so unappealing
perhaps even, to a degree repelling

Thinking about it I have decided that it is because religions are
A bit, if not more, selfish

Perhaps a better word is immature

Everything is about power, and comfort and affluence
Believe and be blessed
Believe and be protected
Believe and be safe (from hell, or whatever other torments can be constructed)

Me, me, me

Worse, me, not you.

There are levels to this depravity
God will take care of me, and you (not so bad)
God will take care of me, and I don’t care about you (ugh)
God will take care of me, and if you are my perceived enemy, punish you
God will take care of me, and if I have decided you are not “in”, not only exclude you, but destroy you.

Perhaps this analysis seems harsh,
But it is not a new thought, we see it in the Bible, it is all over the Old Testament
In those passages some people love to haunt

But it is not Christianity
At least not mature faith
Mature faith is about service, and sacrifice,
And working hard so that no one is left behind
No one is excluded

It is about seeing others
It is about giving
Letting go
Reaching out

It is about loving, not the self
but the person in front of you
no matter who they are

mature spirituality is not easy
and I like Paul, will admit
that I am not there
will probably never get there

but like Paul I will press on

meanwhile I will be sorrowful
over those false shepherds who feed the American church
infant formula

and I will ache over
that one who would be King

but is totally unable to achieve even the semblance of love 

Monday, October 30, 2017

Small things

“So the small things came into their own: small acts of helping others, if one could; small ways of making one's own life better: acts of love, acts of tea, acts of laughter. Clever people might laugh at such simplicity, but, she asked herself, what was their own solution?”
                                            Alexander McCall Smith, The Good Husband of Zebra Drive

Let the small things come into their own
The gentle words
The smiles

The hugs of acceptance and compassion
The silence of presence

Let the small things come into their own
The wood cut and stacked
The casserole offered on the altar of empathy

Let the small things come into their own
As we transform our anger and our hatred

ordinary acts of love

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Going Home

“My soul is from elsewhere, I'm sure of that, and I intend to end up there.”
― Jalaluddin Rumi

Many wise sages have said it
We are not our own

we come from some place
or something
or someone

and we are on a tortuous path

I like to think of it as “going home”
but here’s the thing

we can lose our way
as we become attached to so many things

success, money, power, pleasure
and we forget where home lies

which is why Jesus said we have to die to live

I am not Buddhist, and do not claim to understand it deeply
But it too seems to talk about being, then not-being, then being again

We exist only for a moment, and then that self dies, and is reborn into the person we are the next moment.

I think there is something in all of this
In all this dying, or letting go
In the act of constantly letting go of everything we are
So that we might become everything we might be

I see my role in life as that of letting heaven happen inside me
And making heaven happen around me

I do that best when I have a sense of where I am heading
When I am consciously walking toward that which is Love
When I live toward my values

For “my soul is from elsewhere, I'm sure of that, and I intend to end up there.”

Friday, October 27, 2017


“Compassion is a verb.”
               Thich Nhat Hanh

each day
each hour
each moment

we chose our paths

we choose our direction
we set our compass point

if we say we value compassion
then what does it mean
in this moment
to life toward that value?

What can I do
Right now
to walk down my value path

toward kindness and reconciliation?

yes, there are many things littering the path
fear, prejudice, anger, contempt, hurt

but what does it mean to step carefully through
the mess of thoughts and feelings
to let them go, and move toward

for me
this day
the challenge is this

to have compassion for people who do not have compassion
I suppose this is where I turn to Compassion (God)

And ask for help!

Thursday, October 26, 2017

engaging joy

He who binds to himself a joy
Does the winged life destroy
He who kisses the joy as it flies
Lives in eternity’s sunrise
                             William Blake

It comes to us
Almost intangible at times

Call it what you will

There it is
And we grasp and grab
Seeking to hug the moment
The feeling
The person
To ourselves

Ah we are such fools!
What if the disciples at Pentecost
When the wind of the Spirit had roared
Had rushed to shut the windows
Seeking to capture
To own
To control

Stale air

I do not know
I fear, how to let the joy fly

it is there in a lingering look
a touch
a smile

let it simply arrive

and be 

Wednesday, October 25, 2017


“Maybe the journey isn’t so much about becoming anything.
Maybe it’s about un-becoming everything that isn’t really you,
so you can be who you were meant to be in the first place.”
                                                           Paul Coelho

Jesus once said that we have to die in order to be born
an odd statement that

you would think that we have to be born in order to die

but our journeys prove the point
for we are not free to become who we truly are
to reflect our divine heritage

unless we first die to our ego
die to the ways others have chosen to define us
die to our greed, our hate
our fear

die to our essential selfishness

as I face a world that seems increasingly evil
as I watch my country become a horror
as it lives under the influence of extreme selfishness

my ability to die to my own “stuff’
is increasingly challenged

I want to, and sometimes do
Go over the edge, into dark places

But I must remember that life is always
Dying and being born
Ending and beginning

Every moment what was passes away
And newness becomes possible

Every moment the self dies
And then

A new beginning
So in the pale light of a winter morn
As I walk through fresh fallen snow
And marvel at the purity

It will die
And be born


Monday, October 23, 2017

it is enough

“To do the useful thing, to say the courageous thing,
to contemplate the beautiful thing: that is enough for one man's life.”
               T.S. Eliot, The Use of Poetry and the Use of Criticism

when the road behind stretches long
and the road ahead is short

one cannot help but wonder
about enough

have I done enough?
loved enough
served enough
said enough
accomplished enough

what makes a life anyway
Jesus tells us that we are to make heaven happen

What does that even mean?
I can think of many ways of grading my life

Money earned
Titles obtained
Degrees awarded
Good behaviors
Bad behaviors (oh oh)
People loved
People who love me back (hmmm)

It’s a trap
This thinking that we can measure our lives
On a scale from 1 to 10

Its really not that difficult
Have you done something useful?
Useful is useful
Almost everyone can be (and is) useful
And the person who stocks the shelves in my local store
Is just as useful as a member of congress (perhaps more so)

Have you said something courageous?
This can be so many things!
It can be “I love you”
It can be “I am hurting”
It can be, “I’m sorry, but I think that is wrong”

Courageous can be confrontation,
But it can also be openness

Finally it means one takes the time
To stop, to breathe, to be in the moment, and to
contemplate the beautiful thing”

Ah so easy
A mothers love is a beautiful thing
The mountain on a sunny morning
Fresh now
Autum colors

All beautiful

Compassion is beautiful, judgement is not
Love is beautiful, hate is not

We can sort it out
And set our minds on “beautiful things”
Refusing to wallow in
Unprecedential tweets
Refusing to focus on the hate on Facebook

We can go for a walk
Look at the mountain
Listen to the owl

These simple things are enough for one’s life

I’ve done enough
I’ve done enough

So have you

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Finding Peace

It walked among the clouds today
The air was crisp,
The mountain nestled in its duvet of clouds
A few snowflakes dusted my coat

And Finn, the dog, was happy
So many sticks
So many smells

It was a time of peace

And yet my mind was not a peace
My heart was not calm
My soul was rended

every day I wake up to things that profoundly disturb me
I am tired of attacks on healthcare
An unbridled lust for power that will excuse any behavior
I am assaulted by the waves of hate that emanate
By white supremacists
And gunmen coldly killing from high places

I am tired of those who call good evil and evil good

I do not understand
The shaming of the poor
The neglect of the vulnerable

And so, I am not at peace

the other night a person, whom I value greatly
asked me, “Are you angry every day”

and my answer was “yes”
angry, and sad

And I do not quite know what to do with that
Is it OK to be angry
And when does the anger turn dangerous and destructive

I have chose to live according to the teachings of Jesus
Not the teachings of the white evangelical church, which I believe has lost its way
(or it could not embrace Trump, who is the anti-thesis of Jesus)
But the teachings of Jesus

What does that mean, in terms of how I respond to the things I see going on around me.
Jesus got angry, I think
He got angry at those who thought they owned God, and acted accordingly
He got angry, I suspect, at those who put money and power over people

But I believe that the anger of Jesus was qualitatively different from my own
Perhaps because Jesus’ anger was more fully in the context of love.
Perhaps because the anger was less about him, and more about those abused and broken
And more about the Sacred than the secular

A year ago I posted something by Thich Nhat Hanh.  That quote is relevant to my ponderings today.

“Someone asked me, “Aren’t you worried about the state of the world?” I allowed myself to breathe and then I said, “What is most important is not to allow your anxiety about what happens in the world to fill your heart. If your heart is filled with anxiety, you will get sick, and you will not be able to help.”

It is not OK, I think to ignore the state of the world
It is not OK not to be profoundly impacted when the person with the most power, belittles others
And acts like a bully
It is not OK not to care, when healthcare is taken away from the “least of these”

But, whatever response one has, must, if we take Thich Nhat Hanh, and Jesus, seriously, come out of a heart that is not dominated by anxiety, anger, hate, or fear.

It appears to me that the only solution there is
To the dilemma of how to live in a world that is going the wrong direction,
Is to fill one’s heart with the things that come from the Sacred

If one’s heart is full enough of love, hope, joy, peace, gratitude, generosity, acceptance, forgiveness, compassion, if it is full enough of Sacred, then there will be little room for hate, fear, anger, greed, and that all-consuming lust for power.

Which means
That as I walk in the snow, with happy dog bouncing around me
My mind should be stayed on
The snow flake falling, the dog dancing,
On the feel of the morning air, and the smell of the firs

And I should not be muttering to myself, about “many things”

It is not that I will not be angry
I was angry yesterday
I am angry today
And I will probably be angry tomorrow

But my hope is that my anger will be transformed
By Sacred Presence
And love

And that instead of becoming like that which I resist
Destructive, and small
Tearing others down

My anger will be transformed by grace
Into listening
And gentleness
So that I can overcome evil, not with evil

But with good

Friday, October 20, 2017

Be Kind

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle.”

We all have our inner battles
Sometimes we might well
Have cease fire with ourselves

But rarely an armistice

The war wages between what we want
What we need
Where we think we are
Who we think we are

But sometimes
As we settle into the quietness
And step away from the brain

We can watch the flow of thoughts
And not fuse
With all that which would assail us

And in that moment
Remember who we are

Sacred child

And then become
Sacred child

Thursday, October 19, 2017

The Simple Path

“The Simple Path
Silence is Prayer
Prayer is Faith
Faith is Love
Love is Service
The Fruit of Service is Peace”
                              Mother Teresa

in the cold darkness of early winter
the world is strangely quiet

there is no wind
no song of the owl
serenading the night

the is only stillness
and in the still
wishful thinking
which finds its way heavenward
and become a sort of prayer

hoping for
nay believing
in the stillness
in the great silence
which contain all the power of Sacred love

and in the frigid blackness
warm comes to the soul
and the heart rises

and one walks
not toward an abyss
but toward the noisy world
where there
are things

to do 

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Dangerous and Noble Thngs

“I want to think again of dangerous and noble things.
I want to be light and frolicsome.
I want to be improbable beautiful and afraid of nothing,
as though I had wings.”
               Mary Oliver, Owls and Other Fantasies: Poems and Essays

there are time my mind whispers
and times when it shouts

there are times when paying attention to my thoughts
is like trying to watch 100 TVs all set to different channels

perhaps I need to step away from my brain
and merely accept what I am feeling
and notice what I am thinking
and let me go

dropping everything
except one dangerous or noble thing

letting go of that which weighs me down
so that I can once again be light
and hopeful
and creative

so I can once again


Tuesday, October 17, 2017

God's Salvation

God’s salvation is the reordering of a society addicted to fear
Into a society empowered by love     Tripp Hudgins

This God thing
Is not about fire insurance
Or being “blessed”

It is not a matter of getting earthly power
Or earthly wealth

It is not about using Sacred text
To use and abuse others

It is not about ritual

It is about
About seeing the other in front of you
Forgiving the one who hurt you
Letting go of your own fears

Being open
And kind
And compassionate

It is about walking the walk
With one who took his love all the way to the cross
Who gave up ego
Even life

So that love would live

Sunday, October 15, 2017

talk of love

Admit something.
Everyone you see, you say to them "Love me."

Of course you do not do this out loud:
Someone would call the cops.

Still, though, think about this,
This great pull in us to connect.

Why not become the one
Who lives with a full moon in each eye
That is always saying,

With that sweet moon

What every other eye in this world
Is dying to

We all have a need be loved
To feel loved
To experience touch

To know that someone cares that we are there
And cares that we are gone

We seek to “hear” of love in so many way
And so we smile and talk
We accomplish
And strive

And yet perhaps the way to
Stumble upon that which we seek
Is not to say (silently of course)
In the depth of our soul, “Love me”

To each person we meet….
“I love you”

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

No escape

Resist your temptation to lie
By speaking of separation from God,
We might have to medicate

In the ocean
A lot goes on beneath your eyes.

They have clinics there too
For the insane
Who persist in saying things like:
"I am independent from the

God is not always around
Pressing against
My body."

From: 'The Gift'
Translated by Daniel Ladinsky

There are times we think
That we are all alone

We stumbling through a day, a week
A month, a year
A life

Thinking that we are connected to no one

We do not have a love
Perhaps not even friends
And we walk alone

But we are never alone
All around us
In the sky the earth
In the sun the moon
In the breeze
Is Sacred
All through us
In our mind, with its incessant crazy chatter
In our heart, sometimes aching and wounded
In our soul, in that deep place
Where we are
Who we really are

Is Sacred

God is touching
God is embracing us

Every moment
We cannot


Monday, October 9, 2017

If love is shattered

I cannot think that the Beloved Friend,
Who made the world so fair, should choose
to rent ....
this lovely curtain of .... the night and day, ...
Nor break ....unless some day
He means .... to mend. "
- Omar Khayyam ( from: Rubaiyyat )

how can we not believe
when we see the sunrise sunset
the colors
bright and muted

orange and green
shadow and brilliance

how can we not believe
as we listen to the birds sing
and the music of the water

that the Sacred is anything but Love
or that the sacred rends

if the fabric of creation
is torn
if love is shattered

that is on us
with our fear and greed
our ego needs for power

and how can we not believe
that as we do our worst
the Sacred seeks what is best
and works within each heart
and soul
to repair and heal

that we might then
as well
repair and heal

that which we have broken and wounded

Saturday, October 7, 2017

thoughts about contempt

" Do not view ... anyone with contempt,
for the friends of God .... are often hidden. "
               Makhdoon Ashraf Jahangir Semnani

I often say
That as Sacred Children,
We must emulate our Sacred heritage

We must love
As the Beloved loves
Unconditionally, completely, forever

I truly believe
That we are all Sacred Children
And that the Sacred seed is hidden in each of us
Sometimes well hidden, but still there

And so I believe
It is not best to view another with hatred, contempt, disrespect

But I cannot live it out
I truly cannot

I cannot help but view with disrespect a President who uses division as tool of manipulation
I cannot help but have contempt for those who would cut services to the needy
To hand a tax cut to the rich

I cannot find much room in my heart and soul and mind
For compassion and forgiveness for a man who sits in a room
36 stories up, and kills 58 people

I know I should try to understand
To feel his pain
The abyss into which he had fallen

But I can’t

So I will pray for him, his family
I will pray for those who were killed, and those who loved them
I will pray for Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell
And pray for Trump
And pray for America, that it will wake up to its culture of violence
And its need for gun control

And I will pray that
We can all seek understanding and respect

And I will pray most earnestly
For myself

Friday, October 6, 2017

a little rain

It rained last night
A rare gift in a very dry summer

Everything is fresh
And new
The air is clean, the leaves gleam
The dust is settled
The grass is showing signs of life

In moments like this
Awash with freshness
That powerful images of renewal
Make total sense

So often Sacred Presence is symbolized by
Springs of living water
Streams in the desert
Foot washing

The Sacred drenching us with presence and love
Cooling, enlivening
Cleaning, refreshing

Think of it how you will

This morning I walked
I started knee deep in dust and destruction
A small human being with a lot of power
Had just trashed a lot of valuable human beings with no power
(Think Puerto Rico)

Proving how destructive spiritual, emotional, and relational smallness can be

I was burning
(OK I still am, but its better)

But as I walked I was reminded
That after the drought, the rains usually come
After the heat, the coolness
Brown turns to green
And even that destroyed by fire or wind,
Or even human careless, can become restored.

I believe in the Sacred
I believe in the power of love
But I now know, more than ever before
That unless people of faith, people with big souls
Let the Sacred move within them, and then from them

Unless we start getting involved in countering what is coming
Out of greed, and hate and smallness
Our world will become more of a living hell than it is right now

O Sacred one
Pour out your power in these days
For the small have gained the seats of power
And all those things you hate, greed, selfishness, cruelty, brutality, racism
Are being promoted

We need a little rain
We need a lot of rain

To wash away that which would smother and destroy

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Deep Things

There are no words for the deepest things. Words become feeble when mystery visits and prayer moves into silence. In post-modern culture the ceaseless din of chatter has killed our acquaintance with silence. Consequently, we are stressed and anxious. Silence is a fascinating presence. Silence is shy; it is patient and never draws attention to itself. Without the presence of silence, no word could ever be said or heard. Our thoughts constantly call up new words. We become so taken with words that we barely notice the silence, but the silence is always there. The best words are born in the fecund silence that minds the mystery.
                                                                                      John O'Donohue

in that moment
between darkness and dawn
when the sun merely hints at its presence

there is a profundity
one is assailed by the silence
and finds relief in the owls
who suddenly decide
to sing a love song

in that moment you can hear yourself breathe
hear the crunch of your feet on the earth
feel your heart beat

feel your feelings
and experience the roar of your brain
as it fills the silence with people

and hear the roar subside,as you
take a deep breath
and feel the coolness of the fall
flow through you

and let everything go
except that one sliver of light
that one clarion call
that one feeling

of love
and let the face of your beloved


Monday, October 2, 2017

Love is bigger

“Hope is not about proving anything. It's about choosing to believe this one thing, that love is bigger than any grim, bleak shit anyone can throw at us.”
                                            Anne Lamott, Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith

Many of us believe some simple truths ( at least we see them as truths)
That there is something bigger than us
From whom we all come
And that something is love

Unconditional, unending, unreserved love

And that as Sacred Children
Who carry a part of this powerful reality,
Whom some call God
Within us

We all have a piece of the Sacred
A sacred seed
That from within that deepest part of ourselves
Moves, breathes, shapes, empowers
And shapes who we are

We can deny this presence
We can shut it down, silence it, entrap it
But it is there

And when we give it room to move
It wins
It is bigger and strong than anything the world can throw at us
Bigger than hate, greed, a lust for power, racism,
Even bigger than Donald Trump’s ego

I believe that as we seriously try to live out this love
This unconditional, unending, unreserved love
We change the space around us

We make it softer
More forgiving

We move from greed to generosity
From exclusion to acceptance
From cursing to blessing

Of course this is not an easy way
A few people have managed it
A few

Ghanhi perhaps
Nelson Mandela
Martin Luther King Jr
Dag Hammarskjold

Frankly we find this life of love puzzling
We deem it foolish and weak
But we know its power
Which is why we so often seek to silence and destroy those lives that live

For this imperative to love calls everything we prize in our competitive
Winner take all world

Into question.

And sometimes as we face the lies of Trump
And the ugly theocracy of Moore
And the judgmental shaming mentality of the rich
We question our sanity

This belief that love is indeed
Stronger than all else

And it is usually more hope
Than certainty
That moves us forward
Down that path trod by
Martin, and Dag, and Mahatma
And yes
Some guy named Jesus

But if we lose this hope
We lose everything
All those forces and values that are not love

Love wins, only if we accept it
Grab it
And most of all live it

In spite of