Be an Island: Exercise #1

“Be islands unto yourselves, refuges unto yourselves….” As he lay dying, the Buddha gave this advice to his beloved disciple Ananda, who was imploring his great teacher for guidance for himself and for his fellow monks. Some versions of this teaching use the word lamp. The word diipa means both island and lamp, Island isContinue reading “Be an Island: Exercise #1”

Angry Ghosts

One night when my mother was a little girl growing up in the panhandle of western Nebraska, she was driving with her father when she saw, far off in the plains, a cross burning in the middle of a circle of Klu Klux Klansmen. The sight filled her with terror. Her parents came from DenmarkContinue reading “Angry Ghosts”

On Being Nobody…and No One

Notice how it feels to do nothing. Set aside a certain period of time to shift your attention to the experience of being present–not meditating in a formal way but noticing the gaps between thought. Our deepest insights often come when we are not doing, including thinking in a focused way, but just being. Ultimately,Continue reading “On Being Nobody…and No One”

Holy Week

This is Holy Week in the Christian calendar. It is also Passover, the Jewish holiday celebrating liberation from captivity. When we allow ourselves to sit down and be still, turning the attention to sensation and feeling, we escape from the captivity of our thinking. And this is Easter weekend, beginning with Good Friday. When we allowContinue reading “Holy Week”

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 theContinue reading “Giving Thanks”

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 couldContinue reading “Share the Light”