A Formal Feeling Comes

“After great pain, a formal feeling comes,” writes Emily Dickinson.  “The Nerves sit ceremonious, like Tombs.” After a great shock or loss or change, a stillness comes. We sit still and receive life without leaning forward to grasp at it or commenting on it—think of the way a king or queen receives visitors. We haveContinue reading “A Formal Feeling Comes”

The Sunlight of Awareness

“The poverty of being unwanted, unloved and uncared for is the greatest poverty, “ taught Mother Teresa.  “Loneliness is the most terrible poverty.” Every year in Japan, the ancestors are remembered and hungry ghosts are fed in a ritual called Oban.  I once experienced a Western Soto Zen version of this practice, including among theContinue reading “The Sunlight of Awareness”

Refiner’s Fire

Hearts can change.  Given enough time and the right conditions, even the most battle-hardened heart can learn to take off the armor, stop contracting into a fist, dare to be soft and exposed.  This process of opening can take a long, long time–a big piece of lifetime or even many lifetimes according to the Buddhists.Continue reading “Refiner’s Fire”