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Islands in the Stream

“Therefore, Ananda, be islands unto yourselves, refuges unto yourselves….” As he lay dying, the Buddha gave this advice to his beloved disciple Ananda. Most of us are so, so tired of being islands right now, isolated from others, watching video streams. Yet when the Buddha spoke of being an island he didn’t mean being cut […]

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PAUSE AS PRACTICE

Life is difficult. Even in the best of circumstances, before a pandemic shut down much of the world, the pressures were great. Sometimes the demands were so great, my friends and I would switch into warrior mode. Like Navy Seals, we plotted and planned and pictured, mentally rehearsing the operations to be executed, how to […]

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The Practice of Not Knowing

  At times, I wish I had more funny things to say to buoy spirits. But this particular time doesn’t lend itself to humor. Nor is it a time for self-improvement. It’s a time of collective sorrow and grief and fear, a time for sheltering in place (those of us who can) and waiting for […]

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Small Good Things

“After great pain, a formal feeling comes,” writes Emily Dickinson.  “The Nerves sit ceremonious, like Tombs.” After a great shock, a stillness comes. We may be very busy outside, but inside we are still. The world we knew has been blasted away. And even as we go about our days, we are in a state […]

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Looking Down the Road

“In the middle of the journey of our life I found myself in a dark wood where the straight way was lost.” –Dante In the middle of a journey across the country I found myself stranded in a broken-down VW van on an empty highway in the Midwest. Just recently I told this story to […]

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A Light in the Darkness

The dark season is here in the Northern Hemisphere. And maybe it is dark for you in multiple ways. You may fear the future. It can be a comfort and a guide to remember that all beings, including the Buddha, faced the darkness of the unknown. After many years and lifetimes of effort, after leaving […]