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Solstice Meditation

Last Sunday in our circle, we spoke more about the power of stillness. Solstice is approaching, the longest and darkest day of the year in this hemisphere, a natural time for stillness and reflection. Yet this is such a busy, anxious time for most of us. Even when we do manage to peel ourselves away…

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What Can Happen When We’re Still

The Freedom Tower was the last place I wanted to go.  For me, years of words and posturing and war had stolen over the place. As my young friend and I walked towards it, I secretly feared that we would get caught in a negative force field that would keep us from anything real. And…

Advent Candle

Advent 2014

Sunday was the first day of Advent.  It is a dark time, but also charged with the sense that something new is coming, something that is outside the archives of memories contained by the brain’s default network.  Ordinarily, we live in a daze of projection, a haze of memory–new events trigger old emotions.  Christmas lights…

Thanksgiving Meditation

The model for our modern Thanksgiving was a celebration that happened in 1621, at the Plymouth Plantation in Massachusetts. The Wampanoag Native Americans helped the pilgrims cultivate the land and fish, saving them from starvation. Giving and gratitude was a way of life for Native Americans, not just a special celebration of safe passage. Their generosity was not just kindness but initiation. They were inducting the mostly English settlers in a new way to be on this Earth—participating in every aspect of life as if it is sacred. Their pipe ceremony was a form of prayer like the pilgrim’s Lord’s…

Courtesy of Wikimedia

One Day This Will Happen

One day this will happen to you: life will surprise you. Life will show you that you have been dreaming, and it will wake you. We each have countless examples. Here is one of mine. Once many years ago, I took my young daughter on a meditation retreat led by Thich Nhat Hanh—a retreat that…

Sunrise, courtesy Wikimedia

The Power of Giving Up

“When you can’t go up, down, or sideways, then practice really begins,” said the revered meditation master Ajahn Chah. Life is challenging. Sometimes the demands on us are so great that we go into commando mode. We plot and plan and mentally rehearse the operations to be executed, the trips from here to there and…