From Awareness

Elliott Erwitt, "New York City," 1958

The Quiet Superpower

I love walking in the city, flowing along in a great river of humanity. But under ordinary circumstances I flow along in my own bubble of thought. Most of us live in this contradiction most of the time. We yearn to be part of a larger life, out there in a place where anything can…

Ivan Aivazovsky, Between the Waves, 1898

On Being Nobody…and No One

How deeply we fear being nobody. One way to think of the ego is as a defense against pain, particularly the pain of being no one. It shores us up, reminding us that we are somebody. We update our internal resumes and narratives constantly. We seek new skills and go on self-improvement regimes of all…

Oda Krohg, "By the Oslofjord," 1886 (Detail)

Be Straw

Once a poor miller was summoned to meet with a king. The summons itself must have filled him with terror. Evolutionary biologists tell us that we fear public speaking and other ways of being on the spot because we are all wired to link survival with acceptance by the tribe. And this king was the…

Let it Be

When I find myself in times of trouble, Mother Mary comes to me. Speaking words of wisdom, let it be. And in my hour of darkness she is standing right in front of me. Speaking words of wisdom, let it be. Paul McCartney wrote this famous song about his own mother Mary, who died when…

Holy Week

This is Holy Week, a good time to reflect on what it can mean to be part of a greater wholeness. It is also Passover, celebrating liberation from bondage. Strange as it may sound, being still is also a way of coming to a new wholeness, a way of feasting on your life, realizing that…

George Inness, The Home of the Heron, oil on canvas, 30 by 45 inches, The Art Institute of Chicago, Edward B. Butler Collection, 1893

Giving Thanks

“Today we have gathered and see that the cycles of life continue.” Adapted from the Mohawk, this Thanksgiving greeting to the world offers thanks to the People, to Mother Earth and all her plants and herbs and creatures, to the Sun, the Moon, the Stars, the Waters, the Four Winds, and the Teachers. In the…

Share the Light

The Buddha had no plans to teach after he became enlightened. Isn’t that interesting? He planned to abide peacefully and at ease. Undoubtedly he beyond pleasant when someone happened to cross paths with him. But he had no plans to try to convey the great shift that had taken place inside him. And who could…

The Golden Ticket

One day recently, a Buddhist monk stopped me on the street in Manhattan, offering me peace for the rest of my life. But I was late so I shook my head no and hurried on. I had no time for peace. The monk persisted. He followed me, repeating “Lifetime peace. Lifetime peace.” He smiled broadly…

Everything and Nothing

“Love says ‘I am everything.’ Wisdom says ‘I am nothing.‘ Between the two, my life flows,” taught the great spiritual teacher Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj.  How can this be? Spoiler alert: flow is key. Science and reason and our own subjective experience tell us we are limited. Yet we don’t always feel limited. In the face…