Life is What Happens …

“Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.”
– John Lennon

The ego doesn’t like the idea that we have limited control over the way things unfold in our lives.  We construct ideas and beliefs, build the safest possible homes, load up with insurance for everything, all designed to protect us from the uncertainties of life.  We plan – and want to feel secure.  Safe.  We search for all the right buffers to shield us from life’s storms.  We want guarantees of permanence and stability from our jobs, friends and family.  The notion of welcoming the unknown, of expecting the unexpected is the opposite of what our egos want.  Yet this is where the true freedom is. Continue reading “Life is What Happens …”

How to Disarm Your Inner Critic

If you believe your inner critic when it is attacking you with its caustic commentary, you will feel inadequate, unattractive, unworthy, lazy, stupid and foolish, to name a few things.  The inner critic is the voice within that berates you for straying from your diet or exercise routine, shames you for getting a B+ instead of an A on a school assignment and demeans you for saying the ‘wrong thing’ to your cousin at a family dinner.  Who you are and what you do is never good enough.  You can never measure up.  Identifying with this part of you is one of the primary contributors to low self esteem and unworthiness. Continue reading “How to Disarm Your Inner Critic”

A Soul-Centered Life

When you place Soul at the center of your life………

You are happier.  No longer grasping for happiness ‘out there’ you feel full – and whole.  You still have preferences, of course.  You’d love a great job with excellent benefits, good health rather than illness and well-being for your family and friends.  But your preferences are not demands anymore.  Your happiness is not dependent on having all your desires satisfied .  You are anchored in the joy of your true nature.   Continue reading “A Soul-Centered Life”

Finding the Missing Peace

What are the gifts of silence?  How will you benefit if you take time to abide in stillness?  Why do we avoid silence?  How can we integrate quiet reflection into our busy daily lives?

In silence, when we unhook from the chattering mind, we gain access to the source of our Being, the underlying spaciousness that is beyond thought, beyond the conditioned self.  We discover a deep inner peace that, we realize, is always there and has always been there.  It is not changing and never has changed. The more we turn inward for fulfillment and a sense of security, the happier we are.  Continue reading “Finding the Missing Peace”

Soul at Breakfast, Soul at Work

How do we bridge spirituality and daily life?  All too often, we separate our spiritual life from our worldly life, for example, we meditate in the morning, then go to work and forget that soul is as present on the freeway and in the workplace as it was in the solitude of our meditation space.  We go to spiritual events and sacred places: dharma talks, church or synagogue services, silent retreats, pilgrimages to holy sites – all of which are wonderful, of course.  When we’re there we’re often calm, mindful and open-hearted, seeing the best in ourselves and others, absorbing the profound wisdom of the ages.  Often, though, we return home and fail to see our family members as the spiritual teachers they are or the marketplace as fertile ground for awareness and spiritual practice.  How, then, do we awaken to the sacred in everyday life? Continue reading “Soul at Breakfast, Soul at Work”

The Shadow on The Spiritual Path – Part One

When I first began exploring my spirituality in the 70’s there was very little information available about the shadow side of spiritual work. Most of what I was exposed to were the promises and benefits of the spiritual journey: expanded consciousness, openness to love, light, wisdom and beauty, freedom from many of the limitations of the human condition. I would become liberated, enlightened, and forever at peace if I was persistent and diligent, if I chanted and meditated enough, immersed myself in teachings and traditions, and engaged with spiritual teachers. Much of that focus for me and others was rich and growthful. Many of us accessed our transcendent nature, often for the first time, and unearthed potentials we never dreamed possible. But there were, and are, pitfalls and challenges on the spiritual path. I think that the more we understand what we may encounter in ourselves and others, the easier the journey can be. Continue reading “The Shadow on The Spiritual Path – Part One”

The Shadow on The Spiritual Path – Part Two

On the spiritual journey we discover that we are more than our minds, bodies, and feelings. We open to the transcendent dimension of our nature and, in so doing, our identities expand beyond our limited conditioning. We open to rich qualities of Being: wisdom, love, peace, vastness – core attributes of our essential nature. New worlds of possibility become available to us. We become more trusting, compassionate, grateful, happy, intuitive, and creative. We experience our connectedness with all of life, recognizing Spirit in everything and everyone. We come to see all of life as sacred. Continue reading “The Shadow on The Spiritual Path – Part Two”

Diving Deep

Obsessive thinking can be a defense against feeling. When, for example, you receive upsetting news, rather than feeling the fear or, perhaps, anger that is being stirred in you, you may quickly jump into your head. You start spinning stories, trying to figure out what to do or you start worrying, imagining catastrophic outcomes. Often, what’s beneath the ceaseless mental activity are feelings that need to be acknowledged and felt, allowed to move through your body-mind.

Over-identifying with thoughts obscures feeling and also keeps us from connecting with the intuitive dimension of Being. Continue reading “Diving Deep”

The Gift of Sadie

One of my granddaughters, Sadie, has Down syndrome. She is one of the greatest joys of my life, and I deeply cherish her. It is as if we have a little Buddha in our family.

Sadie doesn’t live out of her head like we do. She doesn’t strategize, manipulate, worry about the future, or ruminate about the past. She has no guile. She doesn’t analyze her feelings or restrain her expressions of joy and love. She does cry and get angry, and it’s always clear why she’s upset. She is wildly exuberant about the smallest things, and loves to laugh. My daughter Heidi calls Sadie her anti-depressant. Continue reading “The Gift of Sadie”