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Boats Against the Tide

It never stops being wondrous and strange. Your brain can be boiling, your heart breaking, your fate like being wrapped and locked in chains. And then you sit down, give up thinking and straining and striving, just being with the breath and the sensation of sitting there—and you discover who we were truly meant to…

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Being Here Together

“My guru told me ‘Be like Gandhi,’” Ram Dass told me during an interview that took place about a decade ago.  “Gandhi said, ‘My life is my message.’” The words came haltingly, short phrases followed by long pauses.  The former Dr. Richard Alpert, the once eloquent spiritual seeker and psychedelic rebel, sat in a wheelchair,…

Gandhi 3.0 in Ahmedabad, India

A Shared World

“Therefore, Ananda, Be Islands unto yourselves, refuges unto yourselves. . . .” As he lay dying, the Buddha gave this advice to his beloved cousin and disciple Ananda. I thought of it as I stood in a security line in the Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi, just after a male security guard gestured…

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Flash Flood Sutra

The practice of mindfulness meditation is so simple: coming back to the sensation of being in the present moment, coming back to the breath, letting go of what carries us away. Why yoke the Noble Eight-fold Path to this wordless and elegant vehicle? Well, you don’t have to. And yet…but still…it turns out that the…

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Be a Lighthouse

“Lighthouses don’t go running all over an island looking for boats to save; they just stand there shining.” Anne Lamott I knew there wouldn’t be many people at our sangha last Sunday. I heard from at least seven of our regular company that they wouldn’t be there. As for the rest, there was the cold,…

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Being Still

The good news is my voice is back. The bad news is my voice is back. As I reported last week, I have been without a voice of late, just whisper, sometimes soft, sometimes rasping. I had my hair cut last week and the din of the hair dryers and music and conversation was too…