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A Day With Ram Dass

“My guru told me ‘Be like Gandhi,’” Ram Dass told me once during an interview.  “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, hunting for words, often coming up […]

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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 […]

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Thanksgiving as a Practice

“Today we have gathered and see that the cycles of life continue.” The Mohawk Thanksgiving greeting to the world is an extraordinary act of consciousness. They gathered (and still gather) together to notice and honor the living world around them. They offer thanks to the People, to Mother Earth and all her plants and herbs […]

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Halloween as a Practice

At a certain point, the summer of our innocence passes. The bright hope that spiritual practice might be a way for us to bypass suffering vanishes. The bliss we might have felt at the beginning gives way to the realization that the more we practice, the more we feel not just joy but also the […]

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The Beauty of Being All There

One day in downtown Manhattan, I walked behind a man who laughed, block after block. There would be little lulls when the laughter would glide into happy sighs but then a fresh gale of laughter would kick in, sometimes coupled with jogging and even skipping. At first, this public display of wild happiness delighted the […]

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What Are You?

Soon after he attained enlightenment, the Buddha went walking. He was probably wild to stretch his legs because he was sitting under his tree for forty days, according to legend (some scholars believe this not a literal number but an ancient expression for “a very long time”—forty days in the desert, at sea, under the […]