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

Wednesday, June 27, 2018


“I believe that what we become depends on what our fathers teach us at odd moments, when they aren't trying to teach us. We are formed by little scraps of wisdom.”
                                              Umberto Eco, Foucault's Pendulum

Thank you dad, for the little pieces of wisdom
Dropped along the way

Thank you for teaching me
That laughter is infectious
That it is OK to be silly (Corn and Pop Corn)
That it is important to care
That you need to pay attention to how you are impacting others
That you respect women, for they are equal to men (at the very least)
The importance of faith
The need for accountability
The value of faithfulness
The importance of loving your children, and doing things with them

Thank you for teaching me
How to attach a fly to a lead
How to appreciate the desert
About the beauty of a sunrise
The right way to take care of a yard
How to thread pipe
All the odd, but practical things that go with owning a house

Thank you for showing me
How to offer compassion
How to forgive
How to relax into joy

Thank you for pushing me
Expecting much of me
Guiding me
Supporting me

But most of all
Thank you
Loving me!

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

all that remains

“Love is
The funeral pyre
Where I have laid my living body.

All the false notions of myself
That once caused fear, pain,

Have turned to ash
As I neared God.

What has risen
From the tangled web of thought and sinew
Now shines with jubilation
Through the eyes of angels
And screams from the guts of Infinite existence Itself.

Love is the funeral pyre
Where the heart must lay
Its body.”
― Hafiz, The Gift

Love what is Sacred
Love each other
Love yourself

Love the earth
Love the children
Love the aged

Just love!

We are called to lose ourselves in love
To be consumed by the fire of the One who is Love

Love changes us
It changes the way we see, everything
We realize that all creation is permeated with God
We have angel eyes

Paul tried to explain it this way
“now see no one from a human point of view”

Do you realize how big that is?
We don’t see people with the same eyes

We look at a person and we don’t see, poor
We don’t see, addict
We don’t see, immigrant
We don’t see, gay, or lesbian or transgender
We don’t we black, or brown
We don’t see male or female
We don’t see conservative or liberal
We see

A child of God.  Valuable, precious, loved, accepted

Child of God
Child of God
Child of God

In the fire of the Sacred
All false notions turn to ash
Fear, hate, prejudice, greed, the lust for power


And all that remains is love

Monday, June 25, 2018


“You are a little soul carrying about a corpse, as Epictetus used to say.”
― Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

What is real?

Oh I know
We are deeply in love with the concrete

And oft we can see nothing else
What is in front of us, that we can touch, see, smell

We are obsessed with our bodies
And what they wear
What we put in them
How they smell
How they feel
How they look

We grab hold of concrete things our cars, our homes
We grab hold of titles
And roles

Like drowning people grab hold of
Whatever floats
Whatever is there!

We are like Finn the dog
Who obsessed with his ChuckIt! Ultra Ball
Sees nothing else
But that streak of orange and blue
As it bounces down the road

But what is real
Or rather what is the most real about us

It is our soul
It is our psyche
The divine breath
That makes us who we are
Sacred Children

Teilhard de Chardin had it right
We are not human beings having a spiritual experience.
We are spiritual beings having a human experience

So why do we spend so little time on our souls
Why do we spend so little time nurture what is most real about us?

If I am honest, even I, as a person who is supposed to be
All about the spiritual, spends way too little time on my soul

Mind you!
The Sacred does not need a lot of help
But the Sacred does need watchfulness

And yes time

And the soul needs to be nurture
So that it may be strong
Strong enough
To carry this corpse around


Sunday, June 24, 2018


“The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane.”
                                              Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

It strikes me
As I walk the dirt roads
In this charmed valley 4000 feet up
And miles from anywhere

that we humans are pretty clueless, dare I say insane?

people struggling with addiction have a pretty simple definition of insane
“Insanity is continuing to do what you are doing, and expecting a different result”

I think the majority of people fall into that destructive loop
Doubling down on dysfunction
Making it worse and worse

We can see from history that responding to violence with violence
Begets more violence
But we still promote violence (war) as a solution to problems

We can see from the research that more guns equal more death
And that people in houses with guns are more likely to die of a gunshot
Than are people in houses without guns (kept for safety)
But we continue to insist that guns keep us safe

We have profound evidence that our climate is changing
and that much of the change is caused by humans
yet many (for reasons that make no sense) continue to insist it can’t be true

We have millions who following the lead
Of the one who would be king, think
Neglecting the poor
Pampering the rich
Imprisoning kids
Oppressing minorities
Will somehow make for a great America

Even though history has shown that the downfall of every great nation
Has its genesis in injustice, inequity, and oppression

It almost seems as if the “majority” is the ranks of the insane
The normal are not detectably sane
It seems we may be addicted to the worst parts of ourselves

Yet we all go around playing “sane”
Smiling and saying we are “fine”

(Fucked up, insecure, neurotic and emotional)

How do we find sanity in insane places?

How do we keep from being sucked into the vortex
How we keep from being spun about by the gyre
As it whirls, ever widening until the “center cannot hold” (Yeats)
And our hearts, our lives, our world explodes?

Perhaps the only escape is inward
Down into the deep regions of our being
Where we are who we truly are
And where sacred dwells

Unnoticed, neglected,
Lurking in the dark
Waiting for us to return

Perhaps sanity is only found when
We become intimate, bound together closely in love
With ourselves
And become intimate, as intimate as with a lover
With the Sacred

Perhaps in that intimacy
Sanity is to be found

And perhaps in finding a fragile sanity
In this insane place we call the world
We can find our voices
Our hearts
Our compassion
Our generosity

Perhaps then we can spit into the wind
Shout into the chaos
And insanely believe

Along with Buddha, and Jesus, and Gandhi,
And Martin Luther King Jr
Crazy people all,

We can make a difference

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Ethics, are not out of date

“If it is not right do not do it; if it is not true do not say it.”
                                              Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

Some would say
We live in a post fact, post truth world

Some would say we live in a post moral world
A place without ethics

Perhaps the world is what we make it
If one holds fast to the truth
If one intends to do right
Does one not create, at least within their own soul

A place where truth and goodness still live?
Do they not create a space around them
Where those things are present?

There no doubt that space will be assailed, daily
There is no doubt that many, including Trump, choose not to live
With truth and goodness

But can I for all my ranting
Change one word, on policy, one behavior of DJT?

But I can change my words, my values, my behaviors

Jesus often said strange things
The kingdom of God is near
The kingdom of God is in you

Quite a word, Kingdom. 
The Greek word used here is basileus, and traditionally it has been translated as “kingdom” 
John S Spong, an Episcopalian Bishop and author
suggests that a more accurate rendering is the word realm. 

As he writes, “A kingdom is a place.  A realm is more of an experience. 
A realm could be an experience of new levels of consciousness, the ability to see beyond the limits of physical vision.” 

So the Realm of God is that space,
that place,
that dimension,
where the Sacred is experienced. 
Where God is present. 
Where the influence of God is felt,
in which the power of God dominates.” 

I may live in world that is post fact
Post truth
Post compassion
Post justice
Post equity

But it is a very real truth
That at some level
To some degree
I have the power to connect with my Sacred DNA

I have the ability to fuse with the Sacred within
And create a space where God dominates
Where truth, and love

To use Biblical imagery
I can be salt, light, yeast
I can change the space around me

I can
You can
We can

Friday, June 22, 2018


abnormality or impairment in the function of a specified bodily organ or system.
deviation from the norms of social behavior in a way regarded as bad.

We all know dysfunction
It comes in so many forms

Our bodies get dysfunctional
So do our minds
Our relationships get dysfunctional
So too it seems our morals
Our behaviors
Perhaps even our minds

And dysfunction is contagious
Gabor Mate suggests that much of what we suffer
By way of mental illness and addiction is due to dysfunctional environments
Messed up families

We see it in others
And we see it in ourselves
How patterns form, and are passed down
From generation to generation

Even the ancients understood this
In the Old Testament we find the claim that
“the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children,
to the third and the fourth generation”. (Exodus 34:6-7 = Deuteronomy 5:8-10)

Of course the author suggests this is the act of a retributive God
But we know, it is simply the way it works
We pass on our worst stuff

A girl or boy growing up in an abusive family
Will fall into the pattern, becoming either abused or abusive

Scattered kids (think ADHD) come from scattered households with scattered parents

Who knew?
That there was such a thing as “trickle down dysfunction”

But now we see it more than ever

We see dysfunctional behaviors
Hate, fear mongering, greed, bullying, name calling
Self centeredness, cruelty

Trickling down from those in power
To all of the rest of us
Infecting us
Tainting us
Making us dysfunctional

We see it everywhere
Hate, fear mongering, greed, bullying, name calling
Self centeredness, cruelty


And it is not just “them”
It is “us”

We are being driven
By trickle down dysfunction
Into being our worst selves

Sometimes I look at what I have written
And I am appalled
And many times I end up recanting
Delete, delete, delete

But often the damage is already done

What is the antidote to this illness of the soul?
What pulls us out of the swamp, and puts our feet on solid grown
How do we find our better selves

It you believe in prayer, maybe you need to pray
For love, compassion, patience, kindness, self control
For those things the Bible calls the ‘fruits of the Spirit”  (Galatians 5, look it up)

Or perhaps if you are so inclined
It would help to meditate
To find that quiet center

A walk in nature might help
Or a cup of chamomile tea

Maybe you just need to sit snuggled next to someone you love
And watch the sun go down

Trickle-down economics is a tragic myth
Trickle-down dysfunction is a tragic reality

It is time for us to say, “this stops here”
It is time for us to say, “this stops with me”
It is time

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Cruelty is cheap

Cruelty is cheap, easy, and rampant.
It’s also chicken-shit
               Brene Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection, p.52

Cruelty is cheap
It is easy
And it abounds

Even in my chicken coop
Where Cicely, Goldie, and Gwendolyn
Systematically beat up on Gertie

I have no idea

Just as I have no idea why a person, sitting in the White House
Would find it necessary to pursue policies that are cruel
Tweet things that are cruel

Or why people cheer when our country
Tries to act like a global bully
A tiresome act

What is it about us that causes us to beat up on other
More vulnerable people

We shame the poor
We demonize people who happened to be wired different in terms of sexual preference
We judge those who are addicted

All without even thinking

Frankly my dears
Its chicken-shit

Because where cruelty lives, other things die
Like compassion

Oh sure, it feels good for the moment
This gathering together of like souls to beat up on others
We feel big, and powerful
There is indeed a certain satisfaction
And our egos swell

We are the special ones
We are the ones with power
We whites, we “christians”, we Americans, we the wealthy

But it reveals a poverty of soul that is frightening
And what is even more frightening is how,
As we seek to combat cruelty,
We are willing to become cruel ourselves.

We become what we disdain
We become what we resist

We are such strange creatures,
We human beings

I do not have the answers
I do not have them for myself, or you
But this I know

We cannot go into cruelty
If we do
It will not matter if the stock market soars
Or the GNP rises
Or our military is the “greatest”
It will not even matter that we are safer

For cruelty, and all that comes with it
Destroys human beings
And all humans are

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

you are not alone

“Maybe that’s enlightenment enough: to know that there is no final resting place of the mind; no moment of smug clarity. Perhaps wisdom...is realizing how small I am, and unwise, and how far I have yet to go. -Anthony Bourdain”

There is perhaps
No end to the journey
In this event we call life

There is a journey to be sure
There is a compass point toward which we can move
One faltering step at a time

But there is not point
At which we will ever be able to say

I am there!

If I head west, there is always a west
I am never done, heading west
I may hit barriers, and I may find places where the way is difficult
Even places where the way seems blocked
But there is always more “west”

What is your west?
For me it is love
For me it is being of service to others
Being kind
Making positive difference in this world

I will never be done with those things
There is always love needed, and love to be given
There are always things that need to be done

There are times when it seems too
As if that ocean, or maintain in front of me blocks my way
As if the hate is too great, the tasks to immense

But still I must follow my compass point, and do what I care about
Even if I can only take one step, on tiny step this day

So my question, each morning, is this
What one things can I do today that will make someone know they are loved
(by God, and others)
What one thing can I do today, to make a difference in this world

It may be something small
Not saying something one Facebook
Or saying something on Facebook
A visit to a lonely person
A phone call of encouragement
A smile
A blog post
A word of praise and hope

What one thing can I do to day
That will take me down the path to love and service?

Where does your path take you
Realize that road stretches on forever, even into eternity
Keep walking
One step at a time

Left foot, right food, left foot breath
And if necessary?
Let someone help you along the way

You are not alone

Anthony Bourdain, rest in peace

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Thanks Dad

“I believe that what we become depends on what our fathers teach us at odd moments, when they aren't trying to teach us. We are formed by little scraps of wisdom.”
                                              Umberto Eco, Foucault's Pendulum

Thank you dad, for the little pieces of wisdom
Dropped along the way

Thank you for teaching me
That laughter is infectious
That it is OK to be silly (Corn and Pop Corn)
That it is important to care
That you need to pay attention to how you are impacting others
That you respect women, for they are equal to men (at the very least)
The importance of faith
The need for accountability
The value of faithfulness
The importance of loving your children, and doing things with them

Thank you for teaching me
How to attach a fly to a lead
How to appreciate the desert
About the beauty of a sunrise
The right way to take care of a yard
How to thread pipe
All the odd, but practical things that go with owning a house

Thank you for showing me
How to offer compassion
How to forgive
How to relax into joy

Thank you for pushing me
Expecting much of me
Guiding me
Supporting me

But most of all
Thank you
Loving me!

Saturday, June 16, 2018

make it personal

“If you want to make a difference, the next time you see someone being cruel to another human being, take it personally. Take it personally because it is personal!”
― Brené Brown, I Thought It Was Just Me: Women Reclaiming Power and Courage in a Culture of Shame

Where does cruelty come from?
Why do we feel a need to diminish and minimize others?

What is it that makes is pretend the immigrant child is a threat?
And the poor person is lazy?
And the addicted person is a moral misfit?
And the mentally ill person is weak?

Can we not see that each child is our child?
That the person struggling to feed his or her children is our neighbor?
That the person wandering in the realm of hungry ghosts (Mate) is our friend?
That the person whose mind is bullying them is our brother, our sister?

We are all children of God
Bound together
No matter what our color
Our creed
Our nation
Our status

We are bound together
Like it, or not
We are all part of the fabric that is the Sacred

How can we stand by, and rationalize in our heads
How can we stand by and without passion or empathy and calmly discuss
Laws, and politics, and economic theories
While people starve, and live in boxes
While children lie on tarps on concrete floors, separated from their parents?

What happens to those children in those warehouse is personal!
What happens to that person struggling with addiction, is personal!
There is no place for dispassionate logic,
No place for disengagement.

That is our parent,
Our brother or sister,
Our child.

The cruelty we see should shred the fabric of our being
Until we cry out in pain
Until we respond
With compassion,
With caring
With outrage
With words
With actions

We should take what is happening personally
Because it is

Friday, June 15, 2018

Bad Priorities

" Go running through the streets
... creating Divine chaos,
Go running through the world
...giving LOVE, giving LOVE. "

What a time
So much hate (me too)
So much anger (me too)
So much graft and greed
So much lust for power
So much abuse of power
So many people sitting back watching it happen

The environment destroyed
Minorities oppressed
Civil rights erode
Protections for workers erode
Protections for consumers removed.
The poor shame
The elderly abandoned
The mentally ill untreated
The addicted thrown away

All for what?

And we are OK with this?

Ah for some divine chaos
To confuse the smug
To afflict the comfortable
(and comfort the afflicted)

As some divine chaos to bring down
Those who in their pride and greed use and abuse

But here is the point
The sticking point

Divine chaos looks like love
Now let’s wrap our minds and hearts
Around that

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Judging, Accepting

Until we can received with an open heart,
We are never really giving with an open heart
When we attach judgment to receiving help, we knowingly
Or unknowingly attach judgment to giving help
                                                            Brene Brown

What is wrong with us?
Why is there so little compassion and generosity?
Why are we so eager to judge and condemn

We seem to have a terminal condition
We seem so eager to shame

We shame people of color (those lazy blacks)
We shame the poor (lazy moochers)
We shame addicts (they choose to use)
We are experts in shame

And we make generosity conditional
Insisting on merit
We create a whole world of throw away people

Where does this come from?

I remember growing up, being taught that one should always be the strong one
The one with the answers
The one who is in a position of giving help
The one who is OK

Or perhaps FINE

But we all know what FINE means don’t we
Fucked up, Insecure, Needy and Emotional (or Egotistical)

Perhaps this need to be OK in the eyes of the world
The care taker, the answer person, the one who has it together
Is really nothing more than a way of hiding what we know
To be painfully true

That we are just as messed up and needy as everyone else
Perhaps, it is a form of denial

The reality is
That we all need help
We all need compassion, love, forgiveness

And the degree to which we can accept it for ourselves
May determine the degree to which we can offer such things
To others

Jung and Nouwen talk in their work
About the “wounded healer”

They suggest that we address the brokenness of the world
And of those around us

Most effectively through our own brokenness
Through our own hurt and failure

What this suggests to me is that he answer to the pain of the world
Comes from people who are willing to receive and give
And give and receive

That living this life is always a matter of being healed
And being a healer
Being generous, and learning to accept generosity
Being kind, and accepting kinds

Give and receive, receive and give

I regret at times, the difficulty I have receiving, for it closes me off to so much goodness
And it makes it harder for me to let my own goodness out

I hurt for those people in power
Who grasp wealth and power and shame the poor
For I know how powerless and poor they really are

You can see it in their faces
As they stand behind the microphones
You can see it in the masks they wear
And the tweets they send

Perhaps it is time to change the way we think
Perhaps this Oh so America need to be in power, to be right
To be “on top” to be “number one”
Is not healthy

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Go with God

It was a beautiful day
The mountains soared snow capped
The grass, luxurious after furious rains
Lilacs bloomed
And perfumed the air
The sun warmed us, the wind cooled us

Friends gathered
And talked of those things friends talk about
Families, and crops
Class reunions and graduations

We gathered on the side of a hill
An urn of ashes before us
Death in the midst of life

But no

For this moment was not about death but about life
A dear friend was gone
Her question mark of a body stilled
Her mind, confused with dementia, calm

But  she was a child of God
Child of God
Child of God

As we are reminded by John in his first letter
“Behold what love God has lavished on us, that we should be called the children of God, and we are!!”

We are children of God.  And to me that means some very important things
It means that we come from God
It means that as we walk through life, we walk with God
And it means that when we depart this life, we return to God

So death was not present in that moment
On the hill
In the cemetery

Nor was it present a hour later
When a frail body struggled to breathe
And failure

We lay him on the ground
Friends and strangers, and urged him to live
We pounded his chest, and sought to give him air

But his heart did not beat, and his chest did not rise

I held his head gently, staring into open eyes
Fixed and sightless
I held his head to establish an airway, that would not come
I held his head so he would know he was not alone
And whispered the only words I could think of

You are loved
You are loved
You are loved

Child of God
Child of God
Child of God

Go with God
And be not afraid

Monday, June 11, 2018

what is now

“I have always, essentially, been waiting. Waiting to become something else, waiting to be that person I always thought I was on the verge of becoming, waiting for that life I thought I would have. In my head, I was always one step away. In high school, I was biding my time until I could become the college version of myself, the one my mind could see so clearly. In college, the post-college “adult” person was always looming in front of me, smarter, stronger, more organized. Then the married person, then the person I’d become when we have kids. For twenty years, literally, I have waited to become the thin version of myself, because that’s when life will really begin….
And through all that waiting, here I am. My life is passing, day by day, and I am waiting for it to start. I am waiting for that time, that person, that event when my life will finally begin….
But this is what I’m finding, in glimpses and flashes: this is it. This is it, in the best possible way. That thing I’m waiting for, that adventure, that move-score-worthy experience unfolding gracefully. This is it. Normal, daily life ticking by on our streets and sidewalks, in our houses and apartments, in our beds and at our dinner tables, in our dreams and prayers and fights and secrets – this pedestrian life is the most precious thing any of use will ever experience.”
                                                                            Shauna Niequist, Cold Tangerines

What are you waiting for?
Trump to implement his vision of America
Trump to collapse, to fall?
The Stock market to soar
The Stock market to collapse

What are you waiting for?

Or perhaps more altruistic things
The Kingdom of God?

The thing is, waiting is a way of denying
Denying the moment
Denying the person, the gift, the beauty
Right in front of you

We get so busy looking we do not see
So busy straining into the future that we are alienated from “now”

We keep chasing the person we think we want to be
And never accept or affirm the person that is
The beautiful disaster
That we are in this moment

I will never be perfect!
I know, it is a shock to me too

I will not do every class well
I will not be liked by everyone who knows me
I will not be deemed handsome or sexy by all
There will be days I alienate people
When I fail

I cannot wait to become
Because I already am
This is me
This is what you get

Yes I can work to grow, to improve
I can work to be the best I can be

But I can only work out that salvation in this moment

The challenge for this day
Is to be, in the moment
To rejoice, in the moment
To see, in the moment, the beauty around me

There is a sun out there
A mountain out there
There are trees, and birds
And cows and calves

The world is stuffed with God
Stuffed with beauty
I tis time to quite waiting for what is next
And to grab hold of
And savor

Sunday, June 10, 2018

we are all humans

“We were all humans until race disconnected us, religion separated us, politics divided us and wealth classified us.”
                                                                            Pravinee Hurbungs

He’s a human
She’s a human
Wouldn’t you like to be a human too?

It is amazing how often we dehumanize each other
How often we make each other ciphers, zeros,
And how often we rob people of their basic humanity

As we smother them with adjectives and invectives

We allow so many things to marginalize and minimize others

We can make anything an occasion for denigration
I’m in, you’re out
I’m good, you’re bad
I’m blessed, you’re curse

On and on it goes

But in the end there is only this
We are spiritual beings
All bound to the same Spiritual reality
All therefor bound to each other

We may wear different skins
Different clothes
We may use different words
And thing about things in different ways
We may be have’s and have not’s

There may be many things that push as apart
One from the other

But in that separation we deny our essential nature
Which is to be bound together
As the parts of a body

Which is to be connected, all to the same branch

The connecting tissue is spirit/spiritual
The connecting tissue is love

It is what is sacred that makes us human
Homo divinus  (Eckhart Tolle and others)

It what is sacred that draws us back together
Homo Novus  (Osho, Zorba the Buddha Discourses)

It is my intention
(we will see how it goes)
To remember my own humanity
And to remember yours

Thursday, June 7, 2018

There is love to be done

“Run my dear, from anything that may not strengthen your precious budding wings.
Run like hell my dear, from anyone likely to put a sharp knife into the sacred,
tender vision of your beautiful heart.”

There are many thing that can destroy us
Many things that do not support life

We sink our roots deeply
Into what does not nourish

16 years ago I planted three sets of clump birches
One set was planted in imported top soil
The other in one of the few spots with some soil
And the other, into the sandy gravel that covers the space I call home

One set is intact, three beautiful trees, clumped together, soaring 30 feet into the air
Of one set only one remains, finally beginning to flourish, but still small
And one set is dead

It took those trees 12 years to die, a slow death
No amount of nourishment, no number of fertilizer spikes could save them

For their roots were sunk in poverty

Let’s hear it for good soil!
For those people who make us flourish
For those thoughts that expand our soul
For those activities that exercise our physical and spiritual hearts

Let’s hear it for generosity, compassion, forgiveness, acceptance, and love

And let us be aware of that soil that does not feed us
But instead, robs us of nutriments
Slowly, secretly erodes our soul

Sometimes looking, at first
As if it will support life

Watch out for those who would promise us that which is not food
And slowly starve us to death morally and spiritually

Watch out for the gravelly soil of lies, and hate
Prejudice and greed
Misused power
Underused love

It is almost invisible
This wasting away
But the signs are there
When we are angrier than we should be
When we can listen to lies, and justify them
When we can look upon in justice, and rationalize it
When we can see that people are being left behind,
Without food, clothing, shelter, healthcare

And because we ourselves are not affected , just walk away

The signs are there

Help us, O Sacred One
To sink our roots deep into the good soil
Help us to find the wellspring of living water

Help us to flourish
Blessing our little hearts
And make them less small

There is love to be done
There are people who need to rest
In the shade of our compassion and caring

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

winning and sinning

“Conquer the angry one by not getting angry; conquer the wicked by goodness; conquer the stingy by generosity, and the liar by speaking the truth.
[Verse 223]” ― Gautama Buddha, The Dhammapada

Do not over come evil with evil, but overcome evil with good.
Paul the Apostle

But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you.  If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

It is not as though I can do it
But there is a higher path for us to take

We tend to repay in kind

Anger for anger
Hate for hate
Cruel act with cruel act

Whatever it is that causes us dis-ease
We believe the solution is to jump in with both feet
Right into the middle of the swamp

If I am surrounded by greed the only solution is for me to become greedy myself
To hug to myself all the resources I can
After all, if I don’t, those who will
Will win

Ah, there is that word
Sounds a lot like Sin

And there is probably a reason

Logic tells us this is indeed how it should work
We should respond to power with more power
We should overcome

And if people get hurt?
Well, they should have thought about that in the first place

But then along comes Jesus, and (I suspect) his friends Buddha and Paul
(there’s a joke in there someplace, Jesus and Buddha and Paul walk into a bar)

And tell us we have it all wrong
They tell us that answers which involve placing ourselves “over
Are really not what it takes

To change the world
To make it safe
That such responses do not the “Kingdom of God” make

What kinds of strategies work in the Kingdom (in the place where Sacred “rules”)?

Genuine sorrow for the wounds of others
A willingness to stand alongside the poor, and hungry, and homeless
An ability to include those others would reject
And the strength to be excluded oneself, for the sake of love

It is time, my friends to stop winning
It is time to say “no” to cruel people in high places
No matter what they promise us
No matter, at some level, what benefits the create
(for those benefits will come at a terrible cost to our souls, as individuals and as a nation)

It is time to stop winning
Because it looks way to much like sinning

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

self-absorption kills

“Self-absorption in all its forms kills empathy, let alone compassion. When we focus on ourselves, our world contracts as our problems and preoccupations loom large. But when we focus on others, our world expands. Our own problems drift to the periphery of the mind and so seem smaller, and we increase our capacity for connection - or compassionate action.”
                Daniel Goleman, Social Intelligence

We all want safety
Its OK
We all want comfort, even affluence
We all want influence and power
Not a problem


Unless what we want causes our world to contract
To narrow down until we cannot see past ourselves
And cannot see past this moment, this place

And then our natural desires become unnatural

There comes a point
Where we become willing to do all manner of evil
Just to get what we want

Our desire for wealth becomes so strong,
And our focus so narrow
That we forget

We forget the earth
We forget other people
We forget the poor, the ill, the elderly

The stock market soars!
Trump is God!

But in our selfishness
The cost exacted for that success is terrible.
The poor are neglected
The earth is abused

We have sold our souls for short term gain
And we have created long term pain
We have pushed out way down the path to
Whatever sordid goal we have created

But have pushed some aside,
Used others
And simply trodden on others

How long will we accept this essential selfishness
Sold to us by those for whom money is more important than people

How long?
How long>
How long?

O Lord, how long shall the wicked,
how long shall the wicked exult?
They pour out their arrogant words; all the evildoers boast.
They crush your people, O Lord, and afflict your heritage.
They kill the widow and the stranger, they murder the orphan,
and they say, “The Lord does not see  (Psalm 94)

Since the beginning
It has been clear, that we must all get where we are going

The way of the Sacred is not a way where the strong enjoy their strength
And neglect “the little ones” (children) and “the least of these”  (the vulnerable)

Privilege is an opportunity for service
Not an opportunity for abuse

“You shall not wrong or oppress a resident alien,
for you were aliens in the land of Egypt.
You shall not abuse any widow or orphan...
If you do abuse them, when they cry out to me, I will surely heed their cry” (Ex 22:21-23).

Children, especially immigrant children
The poor
The LGBTQI community
Those suffering from mental illness
The elderly
The addicted

These little ones have a special place in the heart of God
And if we succeed
In becoming rich
In creating radical safety
In becoming the most powerful nation on the earth

But narrow our focus down
And kill our empathy
And erode our compassion
And abandon them…..

We lose

Monday, June 4, 2018

What money can't buy

“Top 15 Things Money Can’t Buy
Time. Happiness. Inner Peace. Integrity. Love. Character. Manners. Health. Respect. Morals. Trust. Patience. Class. Common sense. Dignity.”
                              Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart

For the love of God!
My old Irish foreman on the JJ ranch use to say

For the love of God slow down
For the love of God speed up
For the love of God check the oil in the tractor
For the love of God

Not bad advice actually
To do what we do for the love of God
In order to live in harmony with Sacred

We have a lot of other options
We can do what we do for love of power

What could go wrong!?

Other than abuse and misuse
Bullying and coercion

We can do what we do for the love of money
Ah yes,
The American way

Nothing is more important than wealth!!!

If the stock market is doing well
Who cares if war looms, the President lies and lies and lies
Who cares if the poor are abandoned,
and minorities are treated with injustice?

The reality money is at the root of most of our dis-ease
Aided by our love of power, which has synergistic relationship with money
Put them together
And it’s a perfect storm

And everything in the storms past is destroyed
The losses are profound
Inner Peace.
Common sense.

Money can’t buy love or anything else
But love can bring us into the realm of the Sacred
Love can bind us together
Love can help restore all we have lost

That is why Jesus said two things are important
Love of God
And love of other

Oh, and maybe a third love too!
A healthy (not narcissistic) love of self

So live lives of compassion, joy and hope
Lives of kindness and generosity
Lives of forgiveness

For God’s sake

Sunday, June 3, 2018

see God

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When a Dog Runs Up (by Hafiz)

Start seeing everything as God, but keep
it a secret.

Become like the man and woman who are
awestruck and nourished

listening to a golden nightingale sing
in a beautiful foreign language while God,
invisible to most, nests upon its tongue.

Hafiz, who can tell in this world that
when a dog runs up to you wagging its
ecstatic tail, you lean over and whisper in
its ear,

“Beloved, I am so glad you are happy to
see me! Beloved, I am so glad, so very glad
you have come!”

Start seeing God in everything
In everything

See God in the obvious places
In the mountains that soar
In sunrise an sunset

In flowers breaking through the ground
And reaching gloriously to the sky

In the grace of horses
And the lavish love of dogs
In the beautiful arrogance of cats

See it in the deer bounding over the fence
And in the grass, luxuriant after the rain

See it in beautiful babies
And homely babies
All babies are God
Incarnation now

See God in the saints
In the loving and the kind
In the volunteers
In the rescuers

See God in the generous and
The forgiving

But see the Sacred too in the places where it darkly hides
In humans, for example
Who are not saints, but perhaps, sinners

The addicted
Abusive ones

See God in the bullies
In the corrupt
In the man lying in the ally, wet with his own urine
In the woman emaciated by meth

See God in the hurricane and the tornado
In the flood and
In the parched earth of the drought

Much of the time we will gently whisper the news in the quiet of our hearts
God is here, God is here

And there are times we will
Catch a saint or sinner unawares
And whisper

I am so very glad you are here
I am so very glad you are you
I am so very glad