Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Going Home

Going Home

It must have been a pretty scary thing for Adam and Eve to be cast out of the Garden of Eden. In the garden they had everything they needed – they didn’t even know there was such a thing as “need.” Or want, either. What is there to want when everything possible is present?

This is not even about physical stuff so much. Genesis lets us know that in the Garden of Eden there were fruit-bearing trees everywhere, animals to talk with and so forth. But the biggest deal was that the Garden itself supplied everything on all levels. It was the womb of humanity.

The expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden can be seen as an analogy for the human birth experience. After this God says, “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return” (Gen. 3:19).

Sounds like a great welcome into earthly life, right? Get to work, and bust your ass until you die . . . which you definitely will.

The child within us replicates the trauma of Adam and Eve, finding itself suddenly in an environment where it feels vulnerable and has to do things to survive – or at least thinks it does. That is the message of this world, after all. The world is tyrant and we are its slaves, existing for one reason only – to benefit its continuation as a penal colony.

Many metaphors for this dilemma are contained in classic children’s stories and fairy tales. Consider “The Wizard of Oz.” Finding herself in a strange land with strange inhabitants, Dorothy sets off on a journey to the Emerald City, initiating a quest to find the powerful authority figure that will know what to do about her life. The Wizard of Oz will tell her how to go home.

The authority figure looks big, but is in fact no more powerful than Dorothy. She is forced to realize this by solving her own problems with the wicked witch. But the big lesson comes at the end - learning she can fulfill her own dream.

Dorothy discovers that she ALWAYS had the power to return home (represented by her ruby slippers) – and just didn’t know it.

The story about the world being a prison and veil of tears is true – until we realize it isn’t. And the story that we are cast out of Eden and can't find our way back is true – until we realize it isn’t.

The power to go back home is with us now and has always been. What quests and trials are necessary to discover this?

That is the question each person has to answer on their own.

Monday, March 30, 2009



My intent in the past weekend was to release and let go of stuff – emotional stuff or whatever. That process started out feeling pretty good and quickly turned messy.

It wasn’t long before I was wondering thoughts I had wondered many times before – if I’ve totally lost my mind, my bearings, lost everything that matters or ever mattered, am hopeless and without the remotest possibility of having a peaceful life of truth and reality.

Somehow there was at least enough insight to inquire whether all the misery floating by was in fact the release and letting go I’d said I wanted and was up for.

But the answer wasn’t a resounding yes – more like, maybe but who knows?

Today I opened the Tao Te Ching at random and settled on Chapter 36:

If you want to shrink something you must first allow it to expand.
If you want to get rid of something you must first allow it to flourish.
This is called the subtle perception of the way things are.

When so much has been held back for so long, it seems like letting go is a forever proposition.

Where’s the end? When do the tears stop, when does the sense of falling cease?

Oh well.

Letting that stuff expand and flourish, letting it know it can come live in the house and not have to stay in the cellar – maybe that IS the way to shrink it all down to its right size.

Maybe then we can all abide together in peace, truth and reality.

Sunday, March 29, 2009



After the series of blogs on preparing beans, some interest was expressed in learning how to make sprouts in one’s own kitchen.

This is very wholesome and healthy activity but I like it anyway, so will gladly share my method of growing sprouts at home.

The first question to answer is: what kind of sprouts do you want to eat? Most any kind of seed that develops into an edible plant is a possibility, but some work much better than others. Grains and beans are good choices as they grow quickly and easily.

I have tried quite a few but my favorite is plain old alfalfa. From start to finish you can have edible sprouts from those seeds in three to five days. They taste delicious plain or sprinkled onto other food, such as a bean dish.

Alfalfa seeds are tiny, about the size of a pin head as is evident from the above photo (in the background are other homemade concoctions – tincture of Hawthorn berries in red wine, red cabbage sour kraut and kim-che).

To begin the process, take two tablespoons and put into a small bowl. Cover them with water and allow to stand overnight.

The seeds will eagerly soak up the water, which initiates their quest into the light of day.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Nothing To Do

Nothing To Do

For three nights in a row an odd dream recurs, in which I am purchasing electrical extension cords from a grocery store. These are very special cords with protective fuses built in as a safety device - high tech and expensive. But when I get the cords back home, they don’t WORK! I feel very distressed and dismayed about this.

So this morning I woke up with that dream going on again. “Good grief,” I thought. “Three nights the same dream? It must be a message!”

The mind was nearly hyperventilating with excitement. “Here’s what the dream could mean – I’m trying to connect things in my life and trying to make sure I am safe and protected in the process, and none of it is working!”

But before my wonderful analysis was even fully articulated a great “yawn” arose from some deeper place inside. “Give it a rest,” this place says, “You don’t know what you’re talking about. Never have, actually.”

Oh well. By then various activities that need to be accomplished this Saturday morning have come to mind. I should get up and get started, I think.

But the place inside has other priorities. “Can you feel that?” it asks.

I notice a distinctly comfortable sensation in my body. The body does NOT want to move. It is releasing, letting go. The body says there is nothing to do this Saturday morning. There is only NOW, and that DOESN’T need doing.

“You know all that uncertainty in your life? All those problems you can’t seem to solve?” the place asks, a bit tongue in cheek.

I sure DO remember them! Whoa – thanks for reminding me!

But before I can get too involved with reminiscing, the place continues: “Well, here’s what to do with that uncertainty,” it says. And I feel the body releasing more, relaxing and letting go in earnest, as though waves of heat were radiating from it.

I begin to get the message after all. Trying to connect everything is futile.

Just . . . let it go.

After a while something happens and I find myself in the shower. For the first time ever, apparently.

It is amazing to notice how wet skin tingles against cold air. And how the soles of the feet connect with whatever is beneath them – like antennas reaching down toward mother earth for energy, not merely stilts to stand on.

After the shower I look in the mirror and notice two very sad eyes staring back. I gather courage – not much of a public speaker, really – and manage a few words.

“No plans for today,” I say. “Whatever we need, that’s what we’ll do. Just be together and be together. It’s OK. After all, we’ve already had some insights today, right? And they were . . .”

But none of those amazing thoughts come to mind. They seem to have vanished into the vast nothingness from which they came.

Suddenly the face in the mirror wreathes in smiles. The eyes twinkle merrily at this delightful predicament.

It is a pleasant sight. “Boy, I’d like to see THAT more often!” I say.

And maybe I will.

Friday, March 27, 2009

I Am Here

I Am Here

Each movement becomes a meditation
The weight of the arms swinging,
The caress of the earth against the sole of the foot
A walking romance and love song
While the eyes drink in the passing panorama.
Each breath equals a lifetime – born in weakness, rising in strength
Cascading again to quiet rest
The lungs never tiring of their endless quest for fire
This body is a monument, a portent
A vast presence in the moment of now
It could not be otherwise
For I am here

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Mortality Consciousness

Mortality Consciousness

In one of his recent YouTube videos on sexuality, Michael Brown speaks of a death wish which he calls mortality consciousness. “Most human beings can’t wait for death,” he says. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fxRdX7PBFMI&feature=related)

The concept of death for these people represents (it is hoped) the end of suffering, of having to do and experience unpleasant things.

It is an odd conflict that human beings face, because obviously there is also an innate and natural movement toward survival, in all its dimensions. It is safe to assume that no plant or animal also experiences such mortality consciousness.

From a “spiritual” point of view we can say that it is not the death of the person, but rather the false persona, the ego, that limited and imperfect sense of self, that is desired. A human being senses, however dimly, that this entity is not the truth of who he or she is, and wants it to get out of the way.

For the majority of human kind throughout history however, such a maneuver has not been feasible or possible. The world has been “too much with” them, to quote the poet.

Therefore, death as we commonly think of it has been the only practical escape from the tiny, imperfect, loathsome world of their awareness.

In these present times, we believe this is changing, and that death is becoming more integrated as a transitional state of experience. Perhaps it could even be considered an initiation into a life with greater depth - one that is not based on the ego/world. This is not death of the body, but death of what has kept the body in a state of “separation” from the totality of the human being.

Gangaji speaks of this process as a “surrender.” The term might sound soft and comfortable, but its application is not. In Freedom & Resolve she writes, “True surrender is the most ruthless act of a lifetime. It is the willingness to die to all hope of pleasure – all pleasure.”

Gangaji’s words jive with a passage from the Bible that usually seems quite enigmatic:

“The kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force” (Mat. 11:12).

Perhaps ruthless surrender IS taking heaven by force; perhaps it is volunteering to die . . . but to mortality consciousness itself.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Solar Wind

The Solar Wind

It feels like sunshine, a radiant warmth that makes one’s flesh tingle. And not the outer skin only, but within to the emotions and deep feelings as well. It pushes into the subtle realms of the psyche and rushes like a tide against the frontiers of thought.

One senses it has always been present – subtle and yielding yet destined to dissolve and penetrate everything in its path – like water. It is a restorative, a healer, realigning the fine characteristics of human beingness to their proper orientation and quality.

The ego is combed over and brushed luxuriously within the streaming waves of solar wind. It is not destroyed but rather illuminated and set right, fitted into its natural place within the whole.

The body rejoices in this supernal warmth, in the caress of cosmic radiant embrace. It has longed for its true lover, and aged itself in the seemingly hopeless search for an intimacy that does not diminish.

Even the mind, that last stalwart holdout for the realm of personality, that self-ordained protector of what is inherently limited and finite, recognizes the banner of its savior and releases its grip upon the reigns of control.

Secretly it is glad to be relieved of a responsibility beyond its ability.

The solar wind bathes them all, rinses in its unimaginable power the naked reality of personhood, making of the incarnate being both infinitely more, and infinitely less, than it had been.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009



One very kind commenter recently wrote:

“You bring us TRUTH in the UNPRETENTIOUS language of EVERYDAY.”

The fact is, I am floundering as much as anyone and don’t seem to know much about truth. Sometimes I feel there are no words to say at all.

Still, I struggle to present my own experience and process as history moves toward the year 2012 and the end of the Mayan calendar.

An important friend said I am inconsistent. Her gift is a very intense mirror experience – one usually resulting in days or weeks of subsequent reflection on my part.

There is truth in this, of course. One need only review these blog entries to see someone who is rough cut, unstable, insubstantial, confused and often desperate, feeling hopeless one day and optimistic another.

In response, I thought: “Yes, here is another of my innumerable deficiencies. So what can I do to become consistent?”

It was typical – the focus on what is wrong, the never-ending effort, the vain and hopeless battle to make it right or at least better.

A person naturally wants to be great, an inspiration, a champion, someone shiny and perfectly formed like a jewel, reflecting the light of life and being all around to others.

Then this morning I read from Chapter 39 in the Tao Te Ching:

The Master views the parts with compassion,
because he understands the whole.
His constant practice is humility.
He doesn’t glitter like a jewel
but lets himself be shaped by the Tao,
as rugged and common as stone.

These words tugged at my heart. Yes, this is how I feel – as rugged and common as stone. No smooth faceted edges reflecting brilliance, nothing special at all. Totally rough and inconsistent.

And I realized – not in defiance or self-justification – this is just it, exactly how it is.

And I guess . . . it is OK.

Monday, March 23, 2009



This morning has seemed like an episode from “The Wizard of Oz.” Not the inspiring moment of singing Somewhere Over the Rainbow (which I heard repeatedly over the weekend, coincidentally), but the scary one of being sucked up into a black whirlwind.

Or maybe it was sucked down. There is a dream I had many times as a child, always the same. In this dream I (as some point of awareness) would be floating in the air.

Suddenly I would begin to fall, plummet to the earth below and plunge into it. The descent would continue until I was deeply buried, trapped in a smothering, dark realm that I didn’t know how to negotiate or escape from.

Was this a metaphor for birth? Or becoming an ego? Whatever, it is not hard to recognize its perpetual influence in my outward life, the incessant movement of avoidance from that fearful black hole.

This movement of avoidance surely culminated in the “personality” of me, an arena in which to conceive of this world in more favorable terms – though that conception was so fragile it required constant maintenance.

Today, for whatever reason, the remembrance of this scary place came to the surface again. I could sense the child that is still trembling with shock and amazement, wordlessly asking why it was brought into such a hateful existence.

I could also well understand why it sought at least some measure of solace from those painful feelings, however ultimately ineffective, in an ego world of thought.

That black twister is still just as frightening as ever, just as dark and threatening with its sense of disaster and death. It truly makes the stomach cringe and writhe.

But now I want to stop fleeing from it. I need to stay there in that circle of fear and not run away. I need to be with that poor kid who is so miserable.

Will something wonderful happen? Will the twister stop twisting and bright light stream down from heaven?

I don’t know.

I just want to stop running away from the things that scare me.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

A Time for Danger

A Time for Danger

Chapter 29 of the Tao Te Ching sounds like it came out of the Bible's Book of Eccliastes:

There is a time for being ahead,
a time for being behind;
A time for being in motion,
a time for being at rest;
a time for being vigorous,
a time for being exhausted;
a time for being safe,
a time for being in danger.

Probably most people could accept the premises of these verses pretty well, except the last two. We have the idea that there is NO good time for being in danger, and that if this is our present experience it needs to be changed as quickly as possible.

Danger is threatening and disturbing, something to be avoided if possible - unless it involves voluntary risk taking as in sports or investing.

Still, even in these arenas we typically hope that the potential risk does not turn into actual injury.

But if we examine the major turning points in our lives, the times in which the greatest growth or real development occurred, we might discover that danger, whether real or perceived, was behind them.

Those occasions place our sense of reality, of who we are and what life is, on the chopping block and deliver us into the hands of a death experience. It is probably true that death in some form is an ongoing constant leading from the flat plain of "safety" to the painful but beneficial stripping away of personal illusion and false belief.

Perhaps ultimately there is nothing BUT danger...and also nothing but safety within that danger.

But until this is true in one's own awareness, the experiences of apparent danger culminating in the death of something near and dear to our hearts surely must continue.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

What Shouldn't Be

What Shouldn't Be

A friend introduced me to the writings of Byron Katie recently. At first "The Work," as Katie calls it, seemed too mental in its orientation for my tastes. But then I read "A Thousand Names for Joy" and began to understand what suffering she has gone through. When she describes discovering her "religion" had been that her children should pick up their socks, I could really relate to this.

So I have adapted her approach to my own life in a certain way. When situations are hard or when circumstances threaten (or succeed) in plummeting me into despair and self-destruction, I ask a question.


How do I know this [difficult thing] should not be happening? How do I know for absolute sure that it SHOULD NOT be happening?

Answer: I don't.

Usually the mind takes trips around the idea that if I had not done "X" or I HAD done "Y" things would be different. But how do I know for absolute sure that I should not have done "X" or should have done "Y"? After all, the choices I did make were based on what I felt was the best thing at the time.


How do I feel when I think this thing should not be happening?

Answer: Very bad. Guilty. Victimized. Wrong.


How would I feel if I did NOT think this thing should not be happening?

Answer: Accepting. At peace. Grateful to God and the Universe.

Fourth: turn it around.

Assume that this thing, whatever it is, SHOULD be happening.

Response: I feel aided to face life's challenges with more patience and trust. I sense that God/Love is present, and even though this doesn't mean the situation is suddenly easy, effortless or solved, it does change how I feel about it.

Friday, March 20, 2009

The Enfolding NIght

The Enfolding Night

Being an engineer, there are times in the professional realm where the rubber hits the road - harder. The last several days have been long and intense since I am the designer of electrical controls for a special new machine.

This machine has not existed before and it will manufacture a product that has not existed before. The great thing about this product is that it already has an eager, paying customer. In these difficult economic times that is especially good news. Consequently there is a sense of urgency about getting the machine online and functioning.

When it comes to technical matters I am typically conscientious and careful. The control strategy involving multiple computer types, interfaces, motion control, heating control, and operator interface, was mocked up on my desk.

All programming and documentation was complete before a single wire was connected to a component on the factory floor. So, when everything WAS connected together on the factory floor . . . it worked.

After such an intense week of industrial effort, I arrived back yesterday evening to the place where I live to an unexpected experience.

A joyful noise was coming from the sky. I looked up and Canadian geese flying low overhead in their typical “V” formation. They sounded so happy to be doing what they were doing, going where they were going.

“Honk, honk! Honk, honk!” Their voices rang out like music. I was enthralled just listening and watching.

The sky filled with great molten grey clouds that cascaded like mountains upward as dusk subdued the atmosphere and invited me closer.

In a way, nothing was happening, but I couldn’t leave. This “nothing” that was right in front and all around was all I wanted.

Finally I went in to the apartment, made a martini, and brought it out again.

Sitting on the concrete porch and gazing up in wonder, I abandoned myself to the enfolding night of life.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

No Fear

No Fear

When useful insights come, seemingly out of my own creativity, there is a sense of satisfaction and amazement about it. I feel glad and fortunate to have something to say.

But often this doesn’t happen. Sometimes there are insights that seem too shocking or disturbing or personal to express.

I look for refuge then, in the words of antiquity, in the timeless wisdom from which so many have drawn hope through the centuries.

Today the Tao Te Ching says,

“Whoever can see through all fear will always be safe.”

These present times are especially difficult and may have a particular timeliness, but they not unprecedented or unique. Pick up any history book or Holy Scripture and it is obvious that suffering – both catastrophic and indigenous – has been a fact of earthly life since records have been kept.

People have sought safety in many ways. This striving for security is behind the drive for worldly success, for money and possessions. Yet they never know when any or all of it may suddenly disappear.

There is a constant fear in the unexamined or unenlightened life, a looking for safety in a realm that is inherently changeable, mutable and impermanent. And yet were we “intended” to live in fear?

The holy words say no. There are 148 verses in the Bible that say FEAR NOT, from the Old to the New Testaments. The one I like best is from Luke 12:32:

“Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”

Zen Master Seng-ts’an said,

The great Way is not difficult
if you don’t cling to good and bad.
Let go of your preferences:
and everything will be perfectly clear

If there is no good or bad in one’s life, if all is acceptable as a gift and teaching, what is there to fear?

Friday, March 13, 2009

Day Six Feedback

Day Six Feedback

Exactly four months ago on November 13, 2008, “Day Six” of the Mayan Galactic Underworld began. “Countdown to 2012” noted this historic event with its kickoff blog entry, repeated below for reference.

Carl Johan Calleman set forth his notions concerning what this period we are presently living through would be all about in his book The Mayan Calendar and the Transformation of Consciousness. He describes its salient characteristics as:

“Renaissance of advanced unifying synthesis: tense coexistence of East and West and between new spirituality and the remnants of the global materialistic power.”

Since we are – as of today – one third of the way into Day Six, it could be interesting to ask a question: are there any indications in our personal lives or in world events whether this renaissance of advanced unifying synthesis and tense coexistence of East and West and between new spirituality and the remnants of the global materialistic power . . . is in fact occurring?

One possibility is the election of Barack Obama as president of the United States. So much about this development is unique in the history of our nation and of these times. As a man Obama does seem to be the result of a unifying synthesis. And as a functionary he seems oriented toward bringing unifying synthesis into manifestation. Others may disagree of course, and politics per se is certainly not the point of the question.

I would like to invite any motivated readers to offer their views on this subject.

What do you see in your own experience or in the global community that either substantiates or refutes Calleman’s Day Six themes? All comments will be welcome.

Day Six of the Mayan Galactic Underworld Begins
(First blog entry of Countdown to 2012)

Thursday November 13, 2008 marked the beginning of “Day Six” of the Mayan Galactic Underworld according to Carl Johan Calleman, author of “The Mayan Calendar and the Transformation of Consciousness.” The Galactic Underworld spans a nine year period between January 5, 1999 and October 28, 2011. Calleman’s calculations differ by some months from other scholars of the Mayan Calendar, who have put the conclusion of the Mayan Long Count at December 21, 2012.

Regardless of who is be right on that point, the verdict will be clear to everyone in not many years. A lot of other prophetic literature is also pointing to this same time period, so there is widespread agreement that major changes, both personal and collective, are going to be put in place at that time.

In fact this is already occurring. Night Five of the Galactic Underworld concluded on November 12, 2008, having begun on November 19 of the previous year. “The Mayan Calendar” was published in 2004, yet Calleman wrote about the forthcoming (for him) Fifth Night as follows: “Deep crisis for global materialistic culture; destructive reaction; ‘Armageddon.’”

A deep crisis for global materialistic culture? To say the least! According to CNN, nearly one million American homes have been lost to foreclosure since the housing crisis hit in August 2007. “October marks the 34th consecutive month where U.S. foreclosure activity has increased compared to the prior year” (James J. Saccacio, chief financial officer of RealtyTrac).

85,000 homes were lost to foreclosure in October alone. At the same time, jobless claims in the United States are currently the highest they’ve been since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. The Department of Labor reported 516,000 initial filings for the week ending November 8, and the labor market continues to deteriorate.

Last week GM’s stock sank below $3.00 per share for the first time since 1943, and the company is seeking assistance from the government. Most companies are not “important” enough to warrant governmental attention and so simply go bankrupt. Retail sales in October suffered the worst monthly drop on record. The ever expanding crisis has taken the Dow down 40% from its high, the S&P 500 is off 42% and Nasdaq 46%. These are staggering numbers that represent an incredible annihilation of wealth.

World leaders are meeting frantically to try to staunch the economic hemorrhaging, but they are operating from a mentality that is fundamentally flawed. The fact is, people don’t NEED all the new cars with fancy new gizmos that Detroit wants to build. They don’t need the vast majority of consumer objects that are hyped upon them relentlessly, to which generations have become slavishly addicted. At the end of their lives it will not matter if they bought a new car in 2008.

But, as stated earlier, Night Five of the Galactic Underworld has just ended and Day Six is just beginning. What does Calleman expect to occur in Day Six? “Renaissance of advanced unifying synthesis: tense coexistence of East and West and between new spirituality and the remnants of the global materialistic power.” This sounds promising, but not necessarily easy or painless.

So we’ll see how it goes and what Day Six brings for us all to experience and grow through. At the end of our lives it won’t matter if we bought a new car in 2008 or 2009. But what WILL matter? That is the question we all need to ask ourselves.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Dead Stick Walking

Dead Stick Walking

My Vietnamese Walking Sticks have gotten larger and larger - they are now about six inches long. Such quiet, humble creatures are a joy to be around. They will sit unmoving in the palm of one's hand for hours.

If you touch one of their extended legs to your nose, the insect will gently pull back, but allow you to do it again and again - permit you to tickle yourself at its expense.

I finally named the two of them Bob and Not Bob, as this way I could easily tell them apart. If one was not Bob, then it had to be Not Bob.

Today Bob, or maybe Not Bob, is looking rather low. He is not up to his perky old self that could be motionless for days.

Matter of fact he is actually lying down on the coconut fiber terrain in which his delectable blackberry leaves are planted.

I touched him and he responded a bit, so maybe this is sleep mode for Vietnamese Walking Sticks. Maybe after months of moving a couple inches they have to rest.

Or maybe Bob/Not Bob is getting ready to bite the dust and kick the bucket. Both of which would be highly motivated actions for these statuesque creatures.

If so then I am grateful for the opportunity to have shared some moments together. I feel enriched by the life expressed by these insects, so insignificant in terms of human endeavor, but nevertheless consequential within the infinite capacity of the universe.

How grand to be part of the procession of life and death in its vast, stately march throughout eternity. Whatever our stature in terms of consciousness and significance, we are in many ways all one and inseparable.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Moral Truth

Moral Truth

There was a time when I had exalted opinions about my moral rectitude. “I haven’t done this [terrible thing], I haven’t engaged in that [sinful activity].”

Or if I HAD done it or engaged in it, there were justifications that made my case exceptional and therefore acceptable, etc.

Those inflated concepts of self-worth and escalated valuations of moral stature were very agreeable for the ego to reside in. But it was like being a soap bubble – or balloon – floating in air, drifting in the sky, filled with its own hot air and vulnerable to the random pin prick of reality.

Life in its wisdom eventually pops the balloons and soap bubbles. Then a very different experience emerges, based on the realm of the heart.

The heart hates arrogance and craves humility. It seeks out every point by which its actual state can be clearly seen, without distortion and false appreciation. It looks to standards beyond man’s control or manipulation, such as the Ten Commandments, in order to evaluate it’s true condition.


“You have stolen,” says the heart, dispassionately and compassionately.


“You have committed adultery,” the heart notes again.


“You have coveted your neighbor’s goods.”

With each revelation the heart shudders in pain and relief. It wants to know that every possible sin has been committed. It wants to lay itself flat in the road, down in the dust. It wants to have no pretensions of superiority over God or man.

The heart longs to be low.


“Well," the heart muses, "if you didn’t do this physically it wasn’t for want of trying. A man’s throat was in your hands and you were squeezing. If intentions were the measure (and they are) you are a murderer.”

Some of these broken commandments hurt worse than others - to touch them is to nearly die of pain.

But that excruciating agony – electric and uncomfortable - is what the heart seeks. It wants to feel, past any shadow of doubt, that it has nowhere to go but lower, lower, and lower.

It wants to find that Lowliness which is beyond all human lowliness, the Humility which is one with ultimate Greatness . . .

. . . in which it can finally rest.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Clock in to the Dream

Clock in to the Dream

There it was, a green metal box on the wall with a real-time clock. “Bing!” it would chime with each passing minute. There was a slot at the bottom for time cards to go in and get punched, and a sign on it that read “You will not be counted until you punch in.”

So I stood there, time card in hand, strangely hesitant. Other people cut in front of me, impatient with my delay. They zipped their cards through the slot and the metal box punched them with an ominous sounding “clunk!”

As soon as these people had punched in, intense emotions were visible on their faces.

Fear, anxiety, dread, anger, resentment and more – all these took hold immediately.

Above the time clock in bold letters was written:


I sighed and backed away. Somehow I just couldn’t do it.

To one side was another, smaller time clock. For me alone.

I knew that this was the clock of my personal dream, and also knew well what would happen if I punched in there.

My day would be filled to the brim with self-loathing, regret, blame, guilt, despair, frustrating memories from the past and fearful projections about the future.

I shook my head at both of them. No!

On this one day at least, I will not clock in to the dreams.

Monday, March 9, 2009

A Good Day to Die

A Good Day to Die

One of the great lines from the Movie “Little Big Man” was spoken by actual native American Chief Dan George:

“It is a good day to die.”

These words definitely had comic overtones, especially when the chief lay outside out on a hill expecting his spirit to depart – which it refused to do. Still, the message of non-attachment - both to the world and to one’s own life - was profound.

For most modern people, there is NO good day to die. Death is considered an interruption and intrusion into the realm of reality they try to maintain – a realm whose primary characteristics are comfort and control.

But what if death is misunderstood? What if it is a great beneficiary? What if it is “the end of illusion,” as Eckhart Tolle says? What if it is waking up to truth?

Current global developments, as well as prophetic literature from many cultures, suggest that the world is presently moving toward its death, and that the process is both natural and necessary.

The world's death will be perceived in terms of disaster and dissolution by those resistant to the experience. There is likely to be an increase of drama and difficulty everywhere, especially in the years leading up to the Mayan Calendar end in 2012.

The dysfunctional “world as we knew it” is slated by scriptures, those in ink and those in stone, to end. This may well result in scenes of calamity, but something quite different is also slated to emerge at the end – something brilliant, indestructible and incorruptible.

The Bible calls the world to come “The New Jerusalem,” a heavenly city populated by angelic beings. These are the people who have been purified through experiencing the Great Tribulation - those who have learned to embrace "death" voluntarily, to let go of themselves as they were and be remade into an image that cannot die.

So, for this present world with its murders, its rapes, its thefts, its hating and hoarding; its insanity and arrogance – it is a very good day to die.

Let us . . . let it go.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Eating Seeds

Eating Seeds

After simmering merrily for around eight hours, the bean and grain mix has transformed itself into a brothy stew whose fragrance hangs invitingly in there air. Usually at this point I transfer the beans to a stove-top pot to keep the simmer strong when new items are added to it.

Now it needs some vegetables to make the meal complete. For tonight’s particular stew I am adding two potatoes, a white onion, a garlic, a tomato (all whole), and some fresh rosemary from my garden.

These are scrubbed and rinsed fervently, then sliced into large pieces and dumped into the broth. Soon after the pot returns to a boil it is ready to eat. The longer the ingredients simmer the more subdued and soft they will become.

Personally, I have a couple errands so head out the door for an hour. When I come back the bean stew is complete and delicious – far better than anything prepared by assembly-line chefs who don’t know their customers. Who knows what kinds of thoughts and emotions go into those foods?

Spoon the stew into a dish, add a few fresh sprouts (also made in my kitchen) and enjoy! This pot will provide dinner for four or five days, and taste good every single time.

It is a beautiful meal that goes down easy.

It will cheer and nourish body, heart and spirit, and leave the mind with a sense of satisfied self-sufficiency.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Turn Up the Heat

Turn Up the Heat

An oven turns on, as it were. It must be set to low, for I can hardly feel it. But the slow, steady warmth is noticeable in the chest, and the radiance emanates to the extremities. Skin tingles, the hands feel energetically “full.”

What is this? I sense it is something quite other than thought – in fact, it pushes at the borders of thought. It smothers the mental action into inactivity. I want to abide in this warmth, so I do. How can I not? It is there of its own accord.

A thought bursts like fireworks across the mindscape: “I have never yet known who I am!”

Following this unrequested announcement, I smile and shake my head. These thoughts, they are characters! Why should I believe such a statement is really true? Maybe it is, maybe not. Maybe I HAVE known who I am!

But anyway, what difference does it make? The concept is just another detour, another distraction.

All KINDS of concepts about what is happening, what has happened, and what might happen, are eager to flood into my awareness and start pontificating. I can feel them, urgently striving for potential attention like race horses bustling at the starting gate.

I have already followed their enticing but ultimately barren paths many times before – their deadening ways that are nevertheless so alluring. They are sirens, those thoughts! They will captivate you to death!

But the warmth I feel, this seems like it could be an antidote to their distracting sedations. It feels like the mama capable of putting those rambunctious, undisciplined, immature thought babies to bed.

Chapter 59 of the Tao Te Ching reads:

The mark of a moderate man is freedom from his own ideas.

Yes, THERE is liberty above all liberties – to be free of the mad mentality that leads to one’s own inner desert of chaos and confusion. The ego that wants to take credit for everything, good or bad, as though the universe were under its control.

Stop trying to control. Let go of fixed plans and concepts, and the world will govern itself.

So the world has an oven too, according to the Tao. Like the earth, the solar system, the galaxy, and indeed the universe, which spin through their immense seasons harmoniously without the meddling influence of human egotism to throw them out of balance.

Soon - let us hope - the world will indeed . . . govern itself.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Cooking Seeds

Cooking Seeds

The process of deciding which beans and other seeds to combine can be fun. I like to try something different every time, and am usually pleased with the result. Beans are rich in protein, and combining them brings more to the table nutritionally. Bean seeds contain legume protein. Grain seeds contain a different type of protein called gluten.

In this particular recipe I have added one grain: spelt. Along with it are mung beans, adzuki beans, black beans, kidney beans, flor de mayo beans, and soybeans. Soy is interesting in that it contains all the essential amino acids for humans.

The ingredients are chosen the night before and submerged beneath water for at least six hours. Absorbing the water plumps the beans up. It awakens them from seed lethargy, vitalizes them and prepares them to absorb heat later.

This process also allows dirt and contaminants to be released from the exterior of the shells. The next morning, the water they were soaking in will probably be a little cloudy. Pour that out and rinse the bean mix in a colander.

Then put your seeds into whatever you plan to cook them in. For me what works is a Crock Pot, because they need to simmer for hours. I can turn it on at 5 AM and come back at 6 PM and know they will not have boiled away into charcoal and sludge.

At this point I fill the Crock Pot half way with water and add a teaspoon of salt. The purpose of the salt is not to season the beans with saltiness, but to keep in their flavor. If you cook vegetables in water with no salt, they will taste flat.

This is NOT because they aren’t salty. Adding salt later will not make them taste better, because the problem is that their essential flavors have leached out into the water.

The juices within vegetables or beans have a higher density or specific gravity (can’t recall the specific chemical term right now) than the plain water in which they are immersed. The heat of cooking weakens the cell membranes and allows a flow from the higher level within the plant to the lower level of the surrounding water. So the good stuff in the plant - flavor, vitamins, etc. - goes out into the cooking water.

To keep this from happening, we add salt to the water while they are cooking. This raises the density or specific gravity of the water. Ideally, we want the level in the water to be about the same as in what we are cooking. This way more of the vital juices stay within the plant membrane, keeping in its nutrients and flavor.

If you are going to be present with the seeds, then you can put them in a pot on a stove top. Make sure the pot has a good lid. Bring them carefully to a boil and then turn the heat down to the minimum needed to maintain a slow boil – a simmer.

An interesting fact about cooking is that it takes a lot of energy to bring water to boil, but once boiling temperature is reached it requires considerably less energy to maintain it. People unaware of this typically keep the flame high and thus boil the water away.

The lid must remain on while the beans absorb heat, as we want to lose as little steam and water as possible. This also makes it possible to maintain the boil with low energy consumption.

So now the beans are cooking. Nothing to do for awhile but consider what else you want to put in the pot later!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Preparing Seeds

Preparing Seeds

The tools of the trade for making a great meal out of seeds are pretty simple. A big pot of simmering water is a must, but beans need to cook for a good long while to brew the flavors well. Unless you can mind the pot carefully so as not to let it over-boil or under-boil, a Crock Pot is a very handy thing.

That’s what I use, turning it on before work in the morning and letting it go all day long – eight hours at least. When I return, the building is filled with the wondrous fragrance of heavenly beans, swimming in their juices and ready for the next step.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

The first thing to do is decide which kinds of beans you want to eat. Personally, I like a combination of maybe six to eight. The deeper and darker the colors, the better. Usually I put in some pink and white beans, maybe navy beans too, but definitely there must be a majority of dark ones like black beans, red beans and pinto beans.

These are where the richest colors and flavors come from. I like to use a ¼ cup measuring spoon and dip into whatever jar suits my fancy. Each spoonful goes into a bowl and is covered with water – about twice as much water as the level of the beans. This happens the evening before, by the way. The beans soak up water all night long so they can relax and attend to being cooked the next day.

I’m sure you can appreciate how stressful it would be to know you were being cooked in a withered and dry state. (OK, I'm using a little metaphorical fun here for present day happenings - joke!)

No salt is added yet, because it would interfere with the absorption of the water by the beans. Just ask anyone who boils peanuts along the side of the road in Georgia. Putting in salt too soon will prevent the water from reaching the peanuts through the peanut shell.

The time will soon come for salt, and then if it is accidentally omitted you will have flat, tasteless, flavorless beans. This is NOT because they lack saltiness, however. Yes, that sounds paradoxical, but it will be explained later.

After the beans are sitting serenely in the water you can contemplate them with a joyful spirit, rejoicing both in the beauty of these delightful seeds, and in the gracious meal soon to be yours.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Centered in the Tao

Centered in the Tao

Around 2500 years ago Lao-tzu wrote:

The great Way is easy,
yet people prefer the side paths.
Be aware when things are out of balance.
Stay centered within the Tao.

When rich speculators prosper
while farmers lose their land;
when government officials spend money
on weapons instead of cures;
when the upper class is extravagant and irresponsible
while the poor have nowhere to turn –
all this is robbery and chaos.
It is not in keeping with the Tao.

Clearly, the “little” way of unconsciousness is at its zenith now. Before, perhaps a region or a nation could be impoverished by those in power not “in keeping with the Tao.”

Now the entire world is suffering from robbery and chaos.

Before waking to these words this morning, I had a dream. And the dream was like a foreshadowing of the Tao Te Ching reading.

In my dream I saw chaos. Things were swirling around, out of control, beyond human power to settle. Yet, still people strove against the tide of uncertainty, desperate to wrest their own order out of the confusion.

And a voice spoke to me, as it were, saying, “Resist not. Accept your part in this. Embrace all that comes to you with peace of heart. This is the only path to freedom.”

Be aware when things are out of balance. Stay centered in the Tao.

“Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night, nor for the arrow that flieth by day, nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness, nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday. A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand, but it shall not come near thee” (Psalm 91:5-7).

Stay centered in the Tao.