Tuesday, June 30, 2009

A little meditation joke!

Ha! This is kind of groan-worthy and cute at the same time:

My sole literary ambition is to write one good novel, then retire to my hut in the desert, assume the lotus position, compose my mind and senses, and sink into meditation, contemplating my novel.

-- Edward Abbey

Sunday, June 28, 2009

A great moment

Ah. From one of my favorite spiritual writers (of blessed memory):

It is a great moment when you break out of the prison of negative self-criticism and develop a sense of the inner adventure of the soul.

John O'Donohue in Eternal Echoes

It is a great moment, indeed. I wish it for all of you. Deeply. Earnestly.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Going within

Another reason for learning to meditate:

People try to get away from it all—to the country, to the beach, to the mountains. You always wish you could too. Which is idiotic: you can get away from it anytime you like. By going within.

Nowhere you can go is more peaceful—more free of interruptions—than your own soul. Especially if you have other things to rely on. An instant’s recollection and there it is: complete tranquility. And by tranquility I mean a kind of harmony.

--Marcus Aurelius

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Somthing about perseverence

Here's a quotation that was probably not meant to be a poem but works as one nevertheless:
Never Give Up
by Tenzin Gyatso

Never give up
No matter what is going on
Never give up
Develop the heart
Too much energy in your country is spent
developing the mind instead of the heart
Develop the heart,
Be compassionate
Not just to your friends but to everyone,
be compassionate
Work for peace in your heart and in the world
Work for peace, and I say again
Never give up
No matter what is happening
No matter what is going on around you
Never give up.
Tenzin Gyatso is, of course, the 14th Dalai Lama.

I don't think he means that we should cling to something that is not working or that we ought never to extricate ourselves from a situation that is clearly unhealthy. I think he is saying that we must never give up on using whatever happens in our lives as material -- both for our own spiritual growth and also for the sake of cultivating compassion, lovingkindness and empathy.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Something to cheer us up

Texas Bluebonnet

Paul Rogers sent me one of those forwarded trivia emails and it happened to be about Texas. I really enjoyed it and I thought I'd share with you the part that truly gave me a little lift:

Need to be cheered up?

Happy, Texas 79042
Pep, Texas 79353
Smiley, Texas 78159
Paradise, Texas 76073
Rainbow, Texas 76077
Sweet Home, Texas 77987
Comfort, Texas 78013
Friendship, Texas 76530

Wouldn't it be lovely to be able to say that your home town is Friendship?

And here's another one that fun:
Earth, Texas 79031
I can just hear the conversation now.

"So, where're you from?"
"Oh, I'm from Earth."

Yeah, right. :-)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Tranquility assistance

I recommend that you watch this full screen. (Click the rectangular button that's the second one in from the right.)

Then use the video (both sound and visual aspects) as your meditative support for the five minutes that it runs.


Monday, June 22, 2009

Something about true efficacy

A friend sent me the text of a speech today that contained the following quotation:

The violets in the mountains have broken the rocks.

-- Tennessee Williams

How wonderful! How encouraging! I will carry this with me as a mantra.

It's also about biding one's time, isn't it?


Sunday, June 21, 2009

The Daffodil Principle

Krena White, one of the Center's board members, sent me this a couple of weeks ago and I just got around to watching it today. I'm so glad I did.

Our little Center is facing a quite a challenge due to the impending loss of my Diocesan job. This, right here, is what we need to remember:

Thank you, Krena!!!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Sweet - in a very nice sort of way!

Paul Rogers sent me this today and I thought I'd pass it on to all of you:

Thanks, Paul!!

Working skillfully with toxic thoughts

I've been a great admirer of Sandra Ingerman for many years now. This morning Beliefnet has published a little article called "10 Ways to Transform Toxic Thoughts ". These are taken from Ingerman's book, How to Heal Toxic Thoughts: Simple Tools for Personal Transformation . Here are two of the suggestions:
Breathe Through Your Heart

Breathing is one of the simplest ways to transform energy. This is an exercise you can do throughout your day: Place your hands on your heart and feel your heart moving as you breathe. This is calming, and feeds the energy of love, peace, and harmony in the world.

Look in a Mirror

Before reacting to a challenging situation, try emoting as you watch your reflection in a mirror. No one wants to see himself or herself acting out in a toxic way. You may feel silly, but don't let this stop you. Taking ourselves too seriously is one of the causes of negative thoughts.
Do click through and read the rest of them. Each one strikes me as really very powerful.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Wonderful encouragement!

My wonderful assistant and dear friend, Cynthia, handed me the above card the other day. Inside was a note in which she assured me that all would be well and that one day soon my face would look like the lady's face you see here!

Isn't that a hoot? I truly laughed out loud!

Monday, June 15, 2009

A current challenge I'm facing

Dear Readers,

Here's an email I sent out to a number of friends and family members last Friday:

Dear friends and loved ones,

This morning I received a certified letter from the bishop of Oklahoma informing me that, for financial reasons, my position with the diocese is being eliminated and that my employment will be discontinued effective December 31, 2009.

I had already begun the process of petitioning for early retirement and was hoping to qualify for medical retirement. That effort now seems to have been preempted unless there is some legal loophole I don't know about.

I'm confident that I can raise enough money to live on through my work at the Center (St. John's Center for Spiritual Formation here in Tulsa). My big concern, of course, is health care coverage. The law gives me 18 months of extended group coverage if I pay what it costs my previous employer. As of today that cost is $611 a month. After that I am essentially uninsurable privately because of my medical history. I will need to come up with some plan to provide medical coverage for myself until I'm eligible for Medicare when I'm 65. (I turn 60 next month, by the way.)

Well, that's the news, folks! Do keep me in your thoughts and prayers and if anybody has any ideas regarding my predicament, I'll be glad to hear them!

Every blessing to you all,

Of course, there's more to this story. The "official" reason the Diocese is giving has to do with budgetary concerns. However the reality is that the new bishop has disliked me from the get go -- for reasons that continue to escape me. It's all very sad.

I will probably say more about this later. For now, this will have to do.

PS: I'm so glad I have Bernice, my new dog!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Our effect on the world

It is entirely possible that the following passage constitutes the most powerful and meaningful statement this man has ever made:

Remember, we are all affecting the world every moment, whether we mean to or not. Our actions and states of mind matter, because we're so deeply interconnected with one another. Working on our own consciousness is the most important thing that we are doing at any moment, and being love is the supreme creative act.

~Ram Dass

Friday, June 12, 2009

Beautiful Mystery

This is an excerpt from a longer poem that I just found today:

In the heart of eternal
loneliness, in the midst
of fear, in the labyrinth
of finding "the way",
I've come to know
that there is no answer
and this has to be a
beautiful mystery.
Everything changes,
everything has changed,
everything will change.

-- Hydeh Aubon

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Wednesday life form blogging

Just some helpful stuff

I'd like to recommend a page called "52 Tips for Happiness and Productivity". Here are a few of them:
22. Enjoy the journey. Goals are important, but not at the expense of happiness now. It’s important to maintain a balance between going where you want to go, and being happy as you go there. It’s easy to forget that, so be sure to remind yourself of this little, but important, tip as you make your journey.

26. Enjoy the simple pleasures. You can find these everywhere. Food (I love berries!), sunsets, sand between your toes, fresh-cut grass, playing with your child, a good book and a warm bed, dancing in the rain, your favorite music. You could probably make a list of 20 simple pleasures right now, things you enjoy that you could find every day. Sprinkle those little pleasures throughout your day. It makes the journey much more enjoyable.

39. Don’t compare yourself to others. This is hard to do, but it can be a great way to accept who you are and what you have. Whenever you find yourself comparing yourself to a co-worker, a friend, or someone famous (those models on magazines with amazing abs), stop. And realize that you are different, with different strengths. Take a minute to appreciate all the good things about yourself, and to be grateful for all the blessings in your life.

47. Learn to deal with detractors. We all face detractors in our lives. They are the naysayers who, even if they are well-intentioned, will make us feel unworthy, or that you cannot achieve a goal. They will tease or be negative. In order to achieve your goals, you need to learn how to deal with these detractors and overcome this common obstacle. Read
these tips for some ideas.
Go on over to the Zen Habits website for the rest if you like!

The price of truth

Oh my. This is so good and so true:

Beware the flowery trappings because in order to possess them or benefit from them, you must cease your journey, stay in the dream. Ultimately, they're just a distraction from the tricky business of waking up. Breaking free of delusion takes everything you have. The price of truth is everything, Everything. That's the rule and it's inviolable.

-- Tao

The "dream", of course, is very seductive. And it's hard to be willing to give everything in order to get free from delusion. Many (perhaps most) are not willing.

Let us all train ourselves to learn to be willing, to be willing to be willing!

Monday, June 08, 2009

Something about thoughts

Ha! I kinda like this:

We find it hard to believe that other people's thoughts are as silly as our own, but they probably are.

-- James Harvey Robinson

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Sunday art blogging

Artist: John William Waterhouse

Something to ponder

Oh my. This is so good:

When we fall on the ground it hurts us, but we also need to rely on the ground to get back up.

- Kathleen McDonald from How to Meditate

McDonald's book has been around for quite a while now and it is one of the very best books on meditation I've ever come across. Highly recommended!

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Why don't we?

What I wonder is why don't we?

And what do we teach our children? We teach them that two and two make four, and that Paris is the capital of France. When will we also teach them what they are?
Found here.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Emotional awareness

Meditation teaches us this - if we let it:

In the last decade or so, science has discovered a tremendous amount about the role emotions play in our lives. Researchers have found that even more than IQ, your emotional awareness and abilities to handle feelings will determine your success and happiness in all walks of life, including family relationships.

- John Gottman

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Something about time

Think about this one for a while; really think about it:

I have realized that the past and future are real illusions, that they exist in the present, which is what there is and all there is.

-- Alan Watts

Don't give up too soon, now.

Monday, June 01, 2009


One of my favorite poets said this:

Perhaps the truth depends on a walk around the lake.

-- Wallace Stevens