Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Tao Te Ching – Chapter 67

I have three treasures
Which I hold closely and cherish
First is compassion
Second is simplicity
Third is humility
Compassion generates courage
Simplicity allows generosity
Humility creates enduring potential

This chapter reminds me of Matthew 6:21. “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Compassion, simplicity, humility, all bring us into harmony and alignment with our true nature, with others, with our environment.

What are your treasures? What values to you hold closely and cherish? In what way do these values manifest in your life?

When I asked my eight year old grandson before his basketball game what was most important, I wasn’t sure how he would answer. I was delighted when he said, “Have fun. Do your best. Be nice.”

This chapter cautions us that the qualities that manifest, like generosity for example, come from the treasure. The quality, to be genuine, is naturally expressed, not forced. Indeed, the chapter goes on to caution us:

When compassion is rejected, yet courage is contrived
When simplicity is missing, yet generosity is pretended
When one abandons humility, and insists on being first
Death follows

This doesn’t mean a literal, physical death. It means that being false in any way drains our life force and empties our soul of its intrinsic strength. Conversely, when we are aligned with our true nature, the power of the universe flows through us and out into the world. Effortlessly. Beautifully. Perfectly.

The chapter ends with the observation that of the three treasures, compassion is the most essential. Like the Bible says about faith, hope, and love, “the greatest of these is love.”

My religion is kindness. ~The Dalai Lama

Friday, February 21, 2020

I Walk in Beauty

I walk in beauty
Butterflies dance before me
Rainbows shimmer in my wake
My footprints fill with crystal water and flashing fish
As flowers blossom under fingertips
Beauty breathes me
     guides me
          creates me
I shine like the sun

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Weaponized Enlightenment

I’ve always loved this story:

As Buddha was walking down the road, someone approached from the other direction. This person was awed by the radiance shining from Buddha. 

Excuse me, but are you a god?


Are you a king?


Are you a wizard?


Well, then what are you?

I am awake.

That story has always inspired me. When I think about what I want most in the world, what I value and practice and aspire to, it is this state of being awake – fully present and aware, deeply experiencing and directly engaged with life in this moment.

I thought of this story recently when someone used the term “woke” in its current popular usage related to politics and social issues.

I was curious to hear this term used in a way. It seemed to me that it was being used to distinguish groups of people who take specific positions on political or social issues. The line is drawn between those who are woke and those who are not, with woke being the more desirable or the more derided, depending on who is using it.

Let me be clear that I am not commenting on the politics or cultural origins of this term. What I am commenting on is its use as a judgment or assessment of division, a means of attack, similar to the way we have weaponized other terms, like American or immigrant. And of course, the old standbys of race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, and more.

Awakening does not divide; it unifies. It does not judge; it accepts. It does not demand; it radiates. It does not fear; it embraces. May we all, like Buddha, be woke.

But all the time our warmth and brilliance are right here. This is who we really are. We are one blink of an eye away from being fully awake. ~Pema Chodron

Your own Self-Realization is the greatest service you can render the world. ~Ramana Maharshi

Friday, February 7, 2020

My Poem Is Silence

A poem a day
I don't know how
Words crafted by design
I cannot
No words come today
And so today
My poem is silence