Monday, November 20, 2017

I Know You Meant Well...

That’s what someone said to me recently after I had offered some advice that turned out to be not very helpful. At the time I offered it, I was quite sure it was very helpful, confident that I knew exactly what the person I was giving it to needed to do.

But much to my surprise (why should this still surprise me?!), I didn’t know as much as I thought. And I certainly did not know what was best for the person I was attempting to influence.

How did I stumble into this illusion of omniscience yet again? Perhaps it had something to do with the fact that the person I was advising was one of my kids. And to make this clear, all of my kids are adults, old enough to chart their own course, old enough for me to know better than to step over the healthy boundary between parent and adult child.

While I’m moderately skilled at being a good listener and not trying to “fix” the issues that friends and other family members share with me, apparently with my kids, I need a few more practice sessions.

So thank you, my dear adult child, for being gentle and loving in reminding me to step back.

You know not their paths
It is not yours to know
Yours is to have faith
Only that

Friday, November 17, 2017

Creek Thunder

The creek thunders
With fresh vigor
After summer's drought
Belly bursting banks
Laughing full of autumn rain

Thursday, November 9, 2017

The One in My Hand

You’ve probably figured out by now that I am a martial arts nerd. I love the art of combat. Considering that my favorite TV shows are Vikings and Game of Thrones, I suspect that in a former life, I was some sort of thug warrior...with a dragon.

Although not that skilled myself, I like hanging out with folks who are. One day, while engaged in lively conversation comparing various weapons, I asked one of my teachers what his favorite weapon was. Without hesitation he answered, “the one in my hand.” 


What an excellent martial arts lesson. Think Jackie Chan picking up a mop or a shovel or a pool cue and kicking some you know what. We might not always have our nunchuku tucked in our back pocket, or our sword hanging from our belt when the bad guys attack.

But more than that, what a brilliant life lesson. Whatever situation we are faced with, it’s no use wasting time wishing that circumstances were different. It is what it is, right then in the present moment. It is up to us to use what we have.

If, for example, I want to be happy, what good does it do me to think about some ideal situation? I’ll be happy when I’m on vacation, when I get a job, when I retire, when I have kids, when my kids move out, when I have a certain amount of money, when I have even more money, and so forth.

Or I want to awaken, and I know that if I meditate a particular way, read a certain number of books, attend the right workshops, attach myself to the best teacher, and chant my mantra, then surely I will achieve enlightenment someday and live in bliss forevermore. No, I will spend my life chasing illusion.

My teacher’s answer reminds me that all I have in my hand is now, this moment. It’s my favorite.

One who knows enough is enough will always have enough. ~Tao Te Ching

Monday, November 6, 2017

Tao Te Ching – Chapter 35

Music and fine food
Cause passing guests to stop

This timeless little chapter could have been written today instead of 2500 years ago. It is a reminder that what is of true and lasting value is often overlooked in the hubbub of a world seeking ever more loud and glittering distraction. A cultural mantra of “more, more, more” leaves us feeling less and less content.

Always searching for greater sensory stimulation obscures the subtle and natural rhythm and beauty of Tao.

It is without taste
Look – it cannot be seen
Listen – it cannot be heard

It is found not out there, but in here, in the silence of our souls. Recently I looked with a fresh eye at the area around my meditation cushion. It was cluttered with inspiring things to read, prayer beads, wisdom cards, essential oils, and more. By the time I went through all my preparation to meditate, I was already done and ready to move on with my day.

So I put everything away. Just a cushion on the floor. Just sit. Simple.

And amazingly, I found that it was enough.

Use it; it will never be depleted