Tuesday, July 31, 2007


Elizabeth Thompson sent me the following:

An optimist is a person who sees a green light everywhere, while the pessimist sees only the red stoplight. The truly wise person is colorblind.

-- Albert Schweitzer

Monday, July 30, 2007

Monday meditative picture blogging

Photo art by Cynthia Burgess

Patience and equanimity

Even a happy life cannot be without a measure of darkness, and the word happy would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness. It is far better to take things as they come along with patience and equanimity.

-- Carl Jung

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Thought for the day

I've always liked this:

DO or DO NOT. There is no TRY.


Friday, July 27, 2007

Friday cat blogging!

Photo by Cynthia Burgess

Interfaith meditation

I found an article entitled "ARKANSAS: Diocese building broad retreat ministry" that interested me very much. Take a look:
The Episcopal Diocese of Arkansas has begun a capital campaign to support House of Prayer, a new ministry of the diocese and St. Margaret's Episcopal Church, Little Rock.

ministry is meant to provide a silent refuge for prayer and meditation to persons from all faith traditions as well as those with no church experience.

It also has the potential to unite the ecumenical community, according to Arkansas Bishop Larry Benfield.

Information about the House of Prayer capital campaign was mailed to all Episcopalians in Arkansas in May and is also available on the
House of Prayer website.
It's very encouraging to learn of another diocese trying to do something similar to what St. John's Center is doing.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

True wisdom

Here's something I just found that's by that wonderful author, "Anonymous"!
Mile by mile, life's a trial.
Yard by yard, it's not so hard.
Inch by inch, it's a cinch.
Take it one day at a time. Heck, take it one moment at a time.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

"Thank you"

Here's something I found yesterday:

There are all sorts of books which describe how to meditate and what formulas to pronounce during these meditations. I do not deny that they are beautiful, useful, and effective. But there are two words which are never mentioned, words which for me are the most powerful of all, words which clarify, which harmonize, and which heal, and these words are "thank you".

-- Omraam Mikhael Aivanhov

Actually, I would not say that those words are "never" mentioned. But I agree that they are infrequently mentioned and that it would do us good to employ them often.

Wednesday cat blogging

Harriet Finlay

Sorry folks! I just can't wait until Friday to show you the newest member of my family who was adopted yesterday. Harriet was abandonned with her six little kittens and taken in by the Humane Society of Tulsa. She was on display at Woodland Central Animal Hospital where I take my dog every day for day care. I knew when the kittens were old enough that they would be easily adopted but I also knew that it would be hard to find a home for the mother. She has tugged at my heartstrings for weeks now.

Harriet is being isolated in the guest room while the other cats get used to her scent and sounds. She is very sociable and wants very much to join the others. But this needs to go slowly!

It's hard to get a picture of Harriet because she won't be still but you can be sure I'll try. More on Friday!

Monday, July 23, 2007

Meditating for peace

Here's a moving story about interfaith meditation. The headline is "Catholic, other religious leaders, laity try silence when peace talks fail":
ANURADHAPURA, Sri Lanka... Amid the barely audible hum of the air conditioners, more than 100 people – half of them local religious leaders, the other half lay guests – meditated on peace for six hours a day for five days, July 3-7.

Intense extended meditation was the cornerstone of the "Peace Building and Reconciliation" workshop run by Centre for Peace Building and Reconciliation (CPBR), which says meditation is common to all religions. So the Buddhists, Catholics, Hindus, Muslims and Protestants all sat in silence and meditated.

The organizers used silence to stress the urgent need for peace in a country plagued by decades of civil war between Tamil separatists and the Sinhalese-led government. They chose a conference room overlooking a large reservoir built by a long dead king that is renowned for its calm serenity.

To Sri Lankan Buddhists, ancient Anuradhapura is sacred because that is where bhavana (meditation) was introduced to Sri Lanka about 2,200 years ago.

Many locals and foreign tourists quietly watched the meditating people from corridors, an unusual sight in a tourist resort more attuned to entertainment.

Besides daily meditation, the participants also discussed the war and its vicious cycle of hatred and violence, and contemplated how to bring peace. An important meditation focused on love and compassion.
Perhaps it is too much to hope for that we all worship together but certainly we can keep silence together. How sad that it takes a civil war to make such a practice possible.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Awareness meditation

Here's an interesting meditation instruction from an article called "Meditation in a Busy Life":
Awareness meditation: This is simply the process of becoming consciously aware of your actions, your body, or your surroundings. This is an easy way to reduce stress, bring quiet or stillness to your mind, and bring calm understanding to almost any situation. It can also be done anywhere, anytime for a few seconds or for much longer periods. The technique is to simply notice what is happening. I like to use this when I need to relax or slow down, or when I start feeling worried or uptight about something. The point is to calm the mind and allow you to consciously decide where to put your attention rather than allowing your untamed thoughts to keep running the show.

* If you choose action awareness, focus your attention on exactly what you’re doing and how you experience it. If you are walking, become aware of how the sidewalk looks and how it feels when you put your foot down to take a step. Become aware of the temperature of the air surrounding you and the sounds in your environment. If you are eating, become aware of how your food looks, tastes and smells. Try to become aware of how your body feels as you eat. If you are washing dishes, become aware of how you hold the sponge and what the water feels like running across your hands.

* If you choose body awareness, try the process of feeling the energy flowing in your body. Can you feel the energy in your hands? There is life pulsing through your hands so there is definitely energy there! How about feeling energy in your legs or your shoulders? Can you locate any tension in your body and bring awareness to it? Notice how it feels.

* If you choose awareness of your surroundings, notice where you are, what you see, what it sounds like, what the temperature is, and whether there is silence that you can find between the sounds.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

A wonderful description of meditation

This is from the website of the Samye Ling Tibetan Centre and Monastery in Scotland where I have spent some time. (Wonderful place!)
Meditation is the art of finding peace and happiness within by using simple methods of calming and stabilising our minds. Modern life can be stressful and busy. Most of the time we are carried along by the force of emotions, habits and conditioning to the point where we end up feeling nothing but tired and stressed by our everyday lives. Cultivating the practice of meditation can change this. Meditation can help bring about a natural sense of peace and well-being that can extend to every aspect of our lives. People who meditate regularly tend to sleep better, handle the ups and downs of daily life with more clarity and ease and relate to others with more compassion and warmth.

At the heart of it, meditation is simply the practice of paying attention to what we are doing while we are doing it, whatever this may be.
That's very consistent with my favorite definition of meditation which is "knowing what's happening while it's happening, no matter what it is."

Friday, July 20, 2007

Friday cat blogging!

Henry (hiding in closet)
Photo by Ellie Finlay

Trying to be "good"

Cynthia called this to my attention and I really like it:

You do not become good by trying to be good, but by finding the goodness that is already within you, and allowing that goodness to emerge. But it can only emerge if something fundamental changes in your state of consciousness.

--From A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle

Thursday, July 19, 2007


I found a little article today called "5 Tips for Developing a Good Meditation Practice". Here's a little excerpt:
Meditation should be a pleasant and welcome experience, once you get into a routine, you may find your mind hankering for those moments of peace. But if you feel uncomfortable committing to 15-20 minute sessions, allow yourself the freedom to practice regularly and briefly. It's better to invest 5-10 minutes every day in meditation, that to sporadically enter into 30 minute meditation marathons. Remember the benefits of regularity, and focus on developing a self-healing habit that's easy for you to maintain.
Also, just because you miss a day doesn't mean you have to throw in the towel. Once a great musician was asked the secret of his success. He replied, "Whenever I get off track, I get back on." That really is the secret. Whenever you get off track in your meditative practice, just get back on!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

A daunting observation

As you sow, so shall you reap:

This world is a mountain, in which your works are echoed back to you.

-- Jelaluddin Rumi

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Make friends with the inner dragons

I'm amazed at how many people believe that by condemning themselves they can somehow do better. It actually doesn't work that way:

Perhaps all the dragons in our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us act, just once, with beauty and courage. Perhaps everything that frightens us is, in its deepest essence, something helpless that wants our love.

-- Rainer Maria Rilke

Monday, July 16, 2007

How very true

So many gods, so many creeds,
So many paths that wind and wind,
While just the art of being kind
Is all the sad world needs.

-- Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Saturday, July 14, 2007


For some reason I decided to do a web search on the word, "thoughtfulness" a few minutes ago. In doing so, I found a website - a blog really - that related the following story:

I remember reading a story by Duras about a young English pilot who was shot down during WWII in a small town in France. The war was days from being over and this bold young 20 year old pilot was launching his attacks on the German troops wherever he could find them. One night his plane was shot down and landed atop a tree in a French village. He was nearly dead and the people of the village had no means to rescue him. So they gathered around the tree with torches and what musical instruments they had. All night long they sang to him and prayed for him and kept him company until his spirt left this world. The next day they managed to free his body from the wreckage. He was only a boy of 20, they didn’t even know his name. But they carried his body to one of their homes, cleaned it and washed it and wrapped it. They buried him by the church and every day they put flowers on his grave. For years and years. When Duras visited the village in the 1970s they were still putting flowers on the grave of this young, unknown, brave British pilot and they spoke of him with tender affection and admiration as if he belonged to them.
The posting is entitled "Sober Thoughtfulness" and it's by the writer, Kathleen Valentine.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Friday cat blogging!

Photo by Ellie Finlay

Past errors and present contacts

So far as past errors are concerned, forget them and start afresh, as if it were your first day in this body; but so far as your present contacts are concerned, be kind to them, as if it were your last day in this body.

-- Paul Brunton

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Very good advice on thoughts

Here's how to handle thoughts arising in meditation:

Whatever thoughts and emotions arise in meditation, allow them to rise and settle, like the waves in the ocean. Whatever you find yourself thinking, let that thought rise and settle, without any constraint. Don't grasp at it, feed it, or indulge it, don't cling to it, and don't try to solidify it. Neither follow thoughts nor invite them; be like the ocean looking at its own waves, or the sky gazing down on the clouds that pass across it.

-- Sogyal Rinpoche

When we care what others think

Kay Huculak sent me the following:

What others think of us would be of little moment did it not, when known, so deeply tinge what we think of ourselves.

- Paul Valery

That is certainly so very true. If we are bothered by someone else's opinion of us, it certainly is worthwhile to look within and see what that is about.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007


I just read an article about Judy Collins and in it she quotes the following:
Disasters may well change us deeply, but they will pass. We must keep our deepest convictions and remember our goals. Whether we remain ash or become the phoenix is up to us.
All she says is that it's from a Zen 365-day meditation book. She doesn't mention the author's name.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Great quote

"Life and death are only temporary, but freedom goes on forever."
-- Last line of the movie Crazy in Alabama

Monday, July 09, 2007

Running away

But just remember the old saying: "Wherever you go, there you are!"

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Pray and meditate for the healing of the earth

There is a movement afoot called "Fire the Grid" to try to get people to meditate in any way they please - according to their own belief systems - for the healing of the earth on Tuesday, July 17th at 11:11 Universal Time which will be 6:11 a.m. here in Oklahoma. The Center will be open at 6:00 a.m. for anyone who is willing to join me for this meditation.

Please go to the Fire the Grid website to read how this movement came about. It is a very, very moving story.

By the way, you don't have to believe in Shelley's interpretation of her experience in order to participate in the July 17th meditation. Obviously, something extraordinary happened to her. Feel free to interpret that according to your own world view and belief system.

You might like to watch this video in addition to visiting the website:

Part 2:

Now for Part 3:

Part 4:

You can find parts 5-8 at the source.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Let go or get dragged!

Here's something very wonderful by Lama Surya Das:
A friend of mine named Eva, who manages a Buddhist retreat center in the mountains of Switzerland, has a yellow sticky hanging above her mouse pad as a reminder. It says: “Let go or get dragged.” That about sums it up for me.

I have been thinking a lot lately about acceptance, and how it actually changes things. For example: have you ever noticed how hard it is to change your mate, while a little more acceptance goes a long way towards transforming your relationship? Ultimately, I can change myself; that is about as far as it goes, although the ripple effect definitely filters further outwards. In a deeper sense, transforming myself transforms the world.
Incessant craving and greed knows no end, like drinking salt water in a misguided attempt to alleviate thirst. Cultivating contentment and gratitude helps us appreciate what is given rather than focusing on what may be missing or imagined.

Radical acceptance implies unconditional friendliness, the kind of openness and love that allows us to meet life as it is; which never throws anyone out of our hearts, even if we don’t like what they may think, say or do.
So let us let go of our "incessant craving" that things be other than they are. This does not mean that we are to go passive in the face of wrongdoing, injustice, or disaster. It means that before we can do anything in a skillful way, we must first accept that things are as they are.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Friday cat blogging!

Photo by Ellie Finlay

The only prayer

It's a well known saying but it bears repeating:

If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough.

-- Meister Eckhart

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Compassion and emotional maturity

Compassion is the ultimate and most meaningful embodiment of emotional maturity. It is through compassion that a person achieves the highest peak and deepest reach in his or her search for self-fulfillment.

--Arthur Jersild

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

American meditation: Finding liberty within

Today I found a web page describing what the authors call "American meditation". This couple writing together sees a connection between the politics of tyranny and the personal tyranny of stress and worry. Take a look:

In March, 1775, a group of patriots convened at St. John's Church in Richmond, Virginia. At that convention a thirty-nine year old man rose to his feet to deliver one of the most inspiring speeches in world history. Although he spoke about the desire to be free from the tyranny and oppression of the British Crown, Patrick Henry’s words could very well apply to the stressful, complicated and uncertain nature of modern American life and our own personal desire for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. “They tell us that we are weak, unable to cope. But when shall we be stronger? Will it be the next week or the next year? Shall we gather strength by irresolution and inaction---by lying supinely on our backs hugging the delusive phantom of hope---until our enemies shall have bound us hand and foot? Sir, we are not weak---if we make a proper use of those means which the God of Nature has placed in our power.”

Names and forms have changed dramatically since Patrick Henry’s “Give me liberty or give me death” speech, but most human beings are no less plagued today by the painful stress of daily life, the desire for freedom from worry and the endless search for happiness. In addition to our own personal duties and responsibilities, the world around us presents many challenging uncertainties. With apologies to Thomas Paine, “These (too) are the times that try men’s souls.”

With history as our guide, it’s easy to conclude that the desire to end pain, misery and bondage is universal and timeless. How to fulfill that desire---in the midst of every circumstance and relationship---is the essence of American Meditation.

Concerning such provocative questions, Henry David Thoreau offers some helpful insight. “I went to the woods,” Thoreau explains, “because I wished to live life deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.” Unlike Thoreau, American Meditation does not require that we “go to the woods . . . to front the essential facts of life.” True freedom and happiness can only be experienced from within our own constellation of relationships. Toward that goal, life itself is the greatest of all teachers---if we can develop an ear to hear and an eye to see.

American Meditation provides the framework to experience the peace of mind and happiness we seek. Unlike the physical sciences which investigate the laws of the external universe, American Meditation is a tool for knowing our internal landscape, the nature of our consciousness. The sages teach that we are citizens of two worlds---the outer world of names and forms and the inner world of thoughts, desires and emotions. To be free, we must learn to act skillfully according to our objective knowledge of both worlds.

"American meditation" turns out to be classical meditation from an interfaith point of view. Certainly we would do well today to ponder what it is in our lives that oppresses, that keeps us in bondage, and be willing to do whatever it takes to live in liberty.

Happy Fourth of July, everyone!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007


This is truly the most inspiring thing I have ever seen. Just watch it - please:

Monday, July 02, 2007

The beauty of life

An aspiration worth cultivating:

The beauty of life is, while we cannot undo what is done, we can see it, understand it, learn from it and change. So that every new moment is spent not in regret, guilt, fear or anger, but in wisdom, understanding and love.

-- Jennifer Edwards

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Eagle meditation

Here's an interesting meditation I found today:
Eagle is a bird that views from the top. Its vision is amazingly sharp. In the same way, this meditation is practiced with open eyes to develop your physical and mental vision. Therefore it has been called Eagle Meditation.

With eyes open, ask yourself which all objects of red color are present around you?

On opening your eyes in the morning, while going to the washbasin, on the way see which red-colored objects are present. Search for at least 5 red objects around you.

Make a resolution every day to see different colors. Green the second day, blue the third day, orange some other day, and so on.

In this way, you will start knowing about the objects in your home. We have stopped seeing our home and the objects present there. With this meditation, we increase our power of observation. There are many things we have actually stopped seeing. But with this meditation, you will be surprised that you start seeing again. It may happen then when you decide upon pink color, then you don't easily get objects of this color. If you take violet, then you won't be able to see violet objects very easily. But if you want to see those colors, then you will have to see your whole house very carefully and meticulously.

After about after 12 days, all colours would have been exhausted. This is when your observation is truly put to test. There are many colors. Take different shades of a color such as light blue, dark blue, etc. and continue practicing this meditation.
This strikes me as a very effective exercise for cultivating observer consciousness.