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Keith V. Johnson, "Day glow art from interior of The Electric Circus, 19-25 St. Marks Place NYC, 2002 (Wikipedia)

Allowing Change to Happen

For a time during my high school years, I tried to make a psychedelic sanctum of my bedroom, declaring it a separate place from the rest of the house. I asked my father to bolt a three-foot ultraviolet black light to the ceiling. He did this to make me happy, and understanding that while it…

Protest Sutra

Last night at New York Insight, we practiced Meditation 101, in the midst of a great protest.   We took our seats, spines straight, feet planted firmly on the ground, affirming our right to take up space in the world in the midst of chants and shouts and the sound of more and more news and…

Being Here Together

“My guru told me ‘Be like Gandhi,’” Ram Dass told me during an interview that took place about a decade ago.  “Gandhi said, ‘My life is my message.’” The words came haltingly, short phrases followed by long pauses.  The former Dr. Richard Alpert, the once eloquent spiritual seeker and psychedelic rebel, sat in a wheelchair,…

Being Still

The good news is my voice is back. The bad news is my voice is back. As I reported last week, I have been without a voice of late, just whisper, sometimes soft, sometimes rasping. I had my hair cut last week and the din of the hair dryers and music and conversation was too…

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…

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…