Tagged Grace

Pickpocket Sutra

  Last time, I wrote about practice as a way of return, of recollection, of remembering—coming down out of our thoughts and memories and dreams to experience of being in a living, breathing body here and now.   I wrote about how this movement of return can feel like a last resort, something we turn to…

From “I” to “We”

“‘Each one, on his own, wouldn’t be able to do it,’” said a policeman whose job it was to guard some 7 million people bathing in the icy Ganges last February, 2013.  “‘They give each other strength.’”  Can being with others–even in conditions of dense crowding and pollution–actually be good for our bodies, hearts, and…

In the Chapter Room

photo by wallyg “The solitary life, being silent, clears away the smoke-screen of words that man has laid down between his mind and things,” writes Thomas Merton in Thoughts in Solitude.  “In solitude we remain face to face with the naked being of things. And yet we find that the nakedness of reality which we have feared, is neither a matter of terror nor for shame. It is clothed in the friendly communion of silence, and this silence is related to love. The world our words have attempted to classify, to control and even to despise (because they could not…

Car Crash Sutra

The accident happened at the worst possible moment, yet even as it happened I realized there is probably never a good moment a good moment for a car accident. I was driving home through the rain, thinking about how much I have to do before I leave for my daughter’s college graduation this week.  I was thinking about what a difficult week it has been and that I just might triumph over it when the crash  came.  I was driving through an intersection, almost home, when an elderly man turned left and smashed into me, demolishing the front of my…

Playing At Meditation

“Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart. Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens,” wrote Carl Jung. To look into the heart means to remember how we perceived and felt about the world when we were children.  On this first day of spring, it seems especially fitting to remember that.  In the course of my last silent retreat, it became clear to me that right effort towards awakening is like blooming–a gentle movement of allowing ourselves to open up and be exactly as we are.  It is a movement of stilling the pool  of…

Retreating and Advancing

Several times a year, I go on silent meditation retreats.   I go to practice solitude in the company of others— withdrawing from the world of striving for a time, mindfully receiving what is given and trusting that more will be given without always leaning forward, grasping for more.  “Sati,” the Pali word for mindfulness means to remember.  I go on retreat to remember there is more to life than I think. Yet for the first few days, I think, think, think, and in the most shallow and superficial way.  Should I wear my purple sweater or the fleece thing?  I…