Tagged be an island

Wisdom from Martin, 2018

The Zen master Thich Nhat Hahn taught people to take good care of their anger, not to push it away but to hold it with kindness, as we would a wounded child. This is a pretty good description of the practice of mindfulness: we offer ourselves the gift of nonjudgmental awareness. This is awareness is…

Alphonse Osbert (1857-1939), "Silence of the Water," 1895

Be an Island

“Therefore, Ananda, be islands unto yourselves, refuges unto yourselves….” As he lay dying, the Buddha gave this advice to his beloved disciple Ananda. Death reveals the true value and meaning of life, which can be summed up in two words: it passes. Life goes on with us or without us. When the Buddha spoke of…

There Must Be More

There must be more to me than this. Have you ever thought this? It’s a little moment of awakening rather than an ordinary thought—a clearing in the clouds, a a distant memory, a knowing that there is more. More to life. More to me. This realization can feel like hitting bottom. It can arise in…

A Net That Catches Us

On Sunday, I showed up to teach mindfulness meditation with no voice, or almost no voice. When I opened my mouth to speak a rasping, breathy whisper came out and sometimes (when I really felt moved and enthusiastic) there was a layer of squeaking and gasping. In the acoustics of my own head, I sounded…

Life Preserver

I dreamed I was being carried along by life like a leaf on a stream.  In the dream I was wearing the royal blue dress I wore at my daughter’s wedding in England last November, which seemed strange because moments before I was holding my daughter’s tiny hand as we walked down steep brownstone steps in Brooklyn.  As I floated by someone standing on the shore told me my hair looked good and that was nice but hardly enough to make a life. Here’s the kicker:  I woke up realizing that I hadn’t been dreaming and that I actually am—that…

Exterminating Angel

One dark and stormy night, taking advantage of the enforced intimacy that comes when a hurricane knocks the power out and trees are down in the roads and all you can do is huddle near the wood stove, I asked the young man who is now my son-in-law what he learned from his study of theoretical physics.  I mean what about string theory and the 11th dimension and what not might be applied to everyday life. I immediately regretted this blurt, fearing that it might come across as a bluntly American/ New Yorky kind of challenge–whaddyagonnado wit all dis stuff?…