Tagged Awareness

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…

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…

Coming in Peace, 2017

Why not start the New Year granting ourselves the blessing of being forgiven—free of any trace of the wounds and limitations we are all trailing due to what we been through and what we did and left undone? This may feel counter-intuitive, given all that has happened in 2016. But forgiveness, like gratitude, is a…

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…

Determination

“If we could surrender to Earth’s intelligence, we would rise up rooted, like trees.” –Rainer Maria Rilke   One day recently I woke up with no voice, just a breathy whisper. This is challenging under ordinary circumstances but on this particular day it felt like catastrophe. I was scheduled to teach mindfulness meditation and give…

Odilon Redon, "Flower Clouds," 1903

Soft

The root meaning of heal is whole. Illness and mishap and even great tragedy can lead us eventually from the pain of isolation to a greater wholeness. There is such a powerful tendency in our spiritual aspiration to climb up out of the mess of our lives. But what if awakening involved sinking down instead…

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…

Impermanence

“In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life. It goes on,” writes Robert Frost In three words I can sum up the aim of mindfulness meditation. Being with change. “See that sign for the David Barton Gym?” asked the woman walking ahead of me on Sixth Avenue in Manhattan. “What a…