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Goodbye

I didn’t meditate as usual this morning. Solomon died suddenly and tragically (perhaps from an illness or an internal condition). So very sad.
I rode the waves of grief and trauma and just let them come. I did my best to not attach to the emotions but acknowledged them. I diligently tried not to create stories along the way, but I am not sure I was successful. I struggled with feeling responsible somehow, and guilty for not being able to help him in his distress. I felt helpless in the face of his anguish … and mine.
I sat with him for an hour or more – probably 2. I think he went into a deep shock and was slowly slipping away. I thought I heard faint purring and sporadic shallow respiration. At one point I could hear a faint heartbeat, but after a while even that went away. I was just heartsick.
I sought to PAUSE and feel what was happening in my body. At one point I had a major sugar-crash and grabbed for glucose-tab. At another check-in with my body, I wondered why I didn’t feel …
Recent posts

Taking a Stand: Right Speech

“Thus, more than an ethical principle, devotion to truthful speech is a matter of taking our stand on reality rather than illusion, on the truth grasped by wisdom rather than the fantasies woven by desire.”
Bhikkhu Bodhi’s perspective is from that of a monk. When I read his words, I am reminded that he is a renunciant. He has chosen to live without many of the comforts, desires, and pleasures that those of us non-renunciants enjoy. But he does have one thing that many of us do not – undistracted vision. The above profundity that flows from his observation, most certainly, is a nugget worth further exploration.
He also has the luxury of speaking the truth. I know that may sound strange, but for those of us living out in the fray of society, we don’t often have the space or privilege to speak the truth. For example, have you ever answered the cashier’s scripted inquiry by stating the truth: “no, I actually didn’t find everything I was looking for.” I have responded in this way, and my e…

The Gap

I'll see you in the gap.

That place between our out-breath and our in.

That pause between what is said and what is understood,
between one thought and the next.

Between the night and the dawn,
and between the last rays of sunshine and the gathering dusk.

The gap lies between the solid platform of obligation
and the moving train of what-if.

It is the space between sleeping and waking,
and the transition between what is expected and the exceptional.

The gap is that terrain between what we believe and what we are afraid to say,
and that moment when our life flashes before our eyes.

The gap is silent.
Lao Tzu said that in silence there is strength,
and who can argue?
For it is in the silence of the gap 
that human potential eternally resides.

Push a little farther into the gap.
Breathe in, breathe out, and notice the pause.
There it is, the silent, pregnant gap.
Close your eyes and know that it is real and alive,
full of promise and empty of judgement.
It embodies the potential of grow…

A Confession and a Promise

I am ashamed to say that I am responsible, at least in part, for the mess our country is now in.

Yes, it is true that I am not in politics, nor do I have a weighty voice of authority. But I still have to take some of the responsibility for where we find ourselves. I am sure we could, without reservation, call the present political situation a dumpster fire.

My family was and is blue - forever blue. And so was I until I entered religious life. As a Christian, and then as a Messianic Jew, I was compelled to vote red. Why, you ask? Because Family Values. Because conservatism. Because all my friends did. I am ashamed to say that I voted red usually, but I didn't always vote red, I did vote for Obama's second term...but I didn't tell anyone. Still, those red votes gave place and validity to some of the politicians that are in office presently.

I am chagrined to think that I was pushed along with the peer tide of religious conservatism. I have always hated peer pressure, but su…

I'm not so sure about that.

The title of this post is a phrase I have said often, usually as a reply to praise. I say it because it is true - I am not so sure about whatever praise is being given. I am doubtful of its validity. Not that the person is trying to mislead me, but that I just have my doubts that it is really true. Because I know me, and I know my failings. Further, I have been close to people who have expressed appreciation and care, but then caused hurt with mis-perceptions, gossip, and slander. Those experiences have cast a long shadow of doubt upon my abilities and on the perceptions of others.

I believe we all have doubts, some more than others. Doubts about ourselves, our relationships, our beliefs, and our security and safety. Everything is forever in flux, so how can we not have doubts that what we understand and rely upon today will not be upended tomorrow? But, in our current societal environment, we need to exhibit confidence in our own abilities and understanding to succeed. Those who are …

Why Study Religion?

A former professor of mine sent out an all-call to alumni asking the question - why study religion? It makes me a little uncomfortable because this is how the demise of the Classics department began, with a simple question. I can hardly think about eliminating Classics as a department (since it was a favorite subject matter and a minor of mine), but I truly cannot even fathom Pacific Lutheran University not having a Religion department. Unthinkable.

So, why study religion?

I am in a graduate program in Mindfulness Studies. While it is understood as a secular endeavor, there is no way to untangle the practice of mindfulness from its Buddhist roots and wisdom. I wasn’t aware of it, but I was continuing my undergraduate studies in religion with my choice of post-graduate study. But this time instead of the ancient religions of Sumer, Egypt, the Levant, and Europe, I am studying the religions of the ancient Far East.

Religion has shaped my life, both personally and academically. And it ha…

Inviting the Bell

This morning I took a few minutes to listen to everyone's favorite teacher, Thich Nhat Hanh. It was a fascinating teaching about 'inviting' the sound of the bell, sometimes called a singing bowl.

Bells grab our attention, and are quite common in spiritual practices the world over. When we were in Greece, we stayed across the street from a beautiful Orthodox church. Anyone who is familiar with this religious practice is well aware of the many times throughout the day that those bells ring out, calling the faithful to pray, remember, and even come to acknowledge those enshrined in iconography. Some bells are recorded, but some are still rung by the attendants of the particular church. I never tired of them. In the Catholic tradition, not only are bells still rung from some of the churches, but also during Mass to announce special moments. In Judaism, it is not so much bells, but horns. The shofar is a distinct sound and acts like a bell to call, gather, and focus on the div…