Saturday, December 31, 2005

A nEw YeAr Is BoRn
a NeW yEaR iS bOrN
Empty Cradle Songs
By Chase Twichell

I think about the rooms
in which my parents slept
as children, what hung
on the walls. In my Mom's room,
angels with watering cans
sprinkled the green and blooming
earth and all its creatures,
still there at night
under the see-in-the-dark stars.
Angel rain fell on her infant fear
of the furnace-clank,
her breath pumped from small
moist bellows into the night
air of the room in which she slept
right up to the wedding,
the getaway.

Dad's room was erased when he
went off to school at fourteen.
By Christmas it was a guest room.
New wax, new blinds.
He remembers the gray-green
lawns of the interior,
many clocks ticking,
but not his room.
Not a trace of it,
though he remembers his toys.
There's a picture of him
with a little wheelbarrow,
probably two years old,
wailing, making baby fists,
yet picked up by no one,
not even whoever's standing
ten feet away from him
snapping the shot.
on education...

"Education is the ability to listen to almost anything without losing your temper or your self-confidence." — Robert Frost
on learning...

"It's what you learn after you know it all that counts." — John Wooden, Hall of Fame Basketball Coach

Friday, December 30, 2005

...the wanderer...
winter's hush...

Winter, in the eleventh month
Snow falls thick and fast.
A thousand mountains, one color.
People of the world passing this way are few.
Dense grass conceals the door.
All night in silence, a few woodchips burn slowly
As I read the poems of the ancients.


"The Second Patriarch Hui-k’o stood in the snow, cut off his arm, and awakened. The Sixth Patriarch heard someone recite the Diamond Sutra phrase “arouse the mind without placing it anywhere,” and he awakened. Ling-yun saw a peach blossom and awakened. Hsiang-yen heard a tile fragment strike bamboo, and he awakened. Lin-chi was given sixty blows by Huang-po, and he awakened. Tung-shan noticed his own reflection when he was crossing a river, and he awakened. In each case, these men met the Master." -- Daito

Thursday, December 29, 2005

allow the light to shine through you
Glouchester Cathedral
Photo Credit: Joseph Kaye
our experience...

"We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience." --Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
could this be true?

"It's a kind of spiritual snobbery that makes people think they can be happy without money." --Albert Camus
without joy, where are we?

"Man cannot live without joy; therefore when he is deprived of true spiritual joys it is necessary that he become addicted to carnal pleasures." --Saint Thomas Aquinas

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

things are getting pretty bad out there...
should i use a hoover or a dyson?

Q: Why did it take the Buddha forever to vacuum his sofa?
A: Because he didn't have any attachments.
yogi's first trip to the dentist...

"Did you hear about the yogi who was having a filling put in a tooth. When the dentist asked him if he wanted novocaine. The yogi said "No. I can transcend dental medication."
meditation jokes...

"Meditation - You have the right to remain silent."

"Don't just do something, sit there."

"Life is hard. It's breathe, breathe, breathe, all the time."

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

live consciously...

"Wisdom is not a question of learning facts with the mind; it can only be acquired through perfection of living." --N. Sri Ram
in your dreams
Photo Credit:
can you imagine when love first arose?

In the beginning Love arose,
which was the primal germ cell of the mind.
The Seers, searching in their hearts with wisdom,
discovered the connection of Being in Nonbeing.

A crosswise line cut Being from Nonbeing.
What was described above it, what below?
Bearers of seed there were and mighty forces
thrust from below and forward move above.

-Rig Veda, from "Teachings of the Hindu Mystics

(And thanks to Dan Shimp for reminding me of this one some time ago.)

"Life is both pleasure and pain, is it not? ... But why should we cling to pleasure and avoid pain? Why not merely live with both? ...If you cling to pleasure what happens? You get attached, do you not?" --Jiddu Krishnamurti

Monday, December 26, 2005

Winter Sunrise
Photo Credit: Agriculture Dept., CSU, Stanislaw
create some space for truth...

"To teach is to create a space in which obedience to truth is practiced." --Abba Felix
try your beliefs...

"Believe nothing merely because you have been told it... Do not believe what your teacher tells you merely out of respect for the teacher. But whatsoever, after due examination and analysis, you find to be kind, conducive to the good, the benefit, the welfare of all beings - that doctrine believe and cling to and take it as your guide." --Buddhist Aphorism

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Merry Christmas!

My only wish for the world on this Christmas morning is for peace and an end of suffering to all sentient beings.

Memories from the 1950s
Stone & Thomas Dept. Store
Wheeling, WV
Photo Credit: Wheeling Heritage

Christmas Tree, Sterling-Lindner-Davis, Cleveland, 1960
Photo Credit: Cleveland Press Photo Collection

Christmas, 1955
Higbee's Department Store, Cleveland
Photo Credit: Cleveland Press Photo Collection

Saturday, December 24, 2005

parceling out our compasssion...

"...everbody thinks that compassion is important, and everyone has compassion. True enough, but the Buddha gave uncommon quintessential instructions when he taught the methods for cultivating compassion, and the differences are extraordinarily important.

Generally, everyone feels compassion, but the compassion is flawed. In what way? We measure it out. For instance, some feel compassion for human beings but not for animals and other types of sentient beings. Others feel compassion for animals and some other types of sentient beings but not for humans. Others, who feel compassion for human beings, feel compassion for the human beings of their own country but not for the human beings of other countries. Then, some feel compassion for their friends but not for anyone else. Thus, it seems that we draw a line somewhere. We feel compassion for those on one side of the line but not for those on the other side of the line. We feel compassion for one group but not for another. That is where our compassion is flawed. What did the Buddha say about that? It is not necessary to draw that line. Nor is it suitable. Everyone wants compassion, and we can extend our compassion to everyone."

-- From Lectures on Kamalashila's 'Stages of Meditation in the Middle Way School' by Kenchen Thrangu Rinpoche, translated by Jules B. Levinson, published by Snow Lion Publications
the natue of mind is pure...

"Our teacher, Sakyamuni Buddha, is one among the thousand Buddhas of this aeon. These Buddhas were not Buddhas from the beginning, but were once sentient beings like ourselves. How they came to be Buddhas is this.

Of body and mind, mind is predominant, for body and speech are under the influence of the mind. Afflictions such as desire do not contaminate the nature of the mind, for the nature of the mind is pure, uncontaminated by any taint. Afflictions are peripheral factors of a mind, and through gradually transforming all types of defects, such as these afflictions, the adventitious taints can be completely removed. This state of complete purification is Buddhahood; therefore, Buddhists do not assert that there is any Buddha who has been enlightened from the beginning."

-- From The Buddhism of Tibet: The Dalai Lama translated and edited by Jeffrey Hopkins, published by Snow Lion Publications

Friday, December 23, 2005

Cleveland's Public Square, 1912
Photo Credit: U.S. Library of Congress

Cleveland's Luna Park, 1905
Photo Credit: U.S. Library of Congress
he who pens the past...

"Imagination plays too important a role in the writing of history, and what is imagination but the projection of the author's personality." --Pieter Geyl
history's myth...

"To know the truth of history is to realize its ultimate myth and its inevitable ambiguity." --Roy P. Basler
on history and poetry...

"Historical sense and poetic sense should not, in the end, be contradictory, for if poetry is the little myth we make, history is the big myth we live, and in our living, constantly remake." --Robert Penn Warren

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Holiday Cookies
Photo Credit: Stan Sholik
what our mind dwells upon...

"If the Mind dwells upon the spiritual things, then it follows that it becomes what it has dwelt upon, what it has lived upon, what it has made itself a portion of. But if the Mind dwells upon self-indulgences, self-aggrandizement, self-exaltation, selfishness in any of its forms, in any of its variations, then it has set itself at variance to that First Cause: and we have that entered in as from the beginning, that of making will--through the Mind--at variance to Creative Forces before it has come into the movements of matter that we know as physical, material." --Edgar Cayce
seek inner harmony...

"To be wise is to live in an inner harmony that eventually overcomes all outer discords." --N. Sri Ram

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

ice slivers cling
to upstretched branches
--reaching for hope
into a sky forever--
beyond where we can see.
in patience there is peace...

"Your world needs to manifest the spiritual aspects of love, and the first of these is patience. In order to help you lift your love on to a higher plane, the things you desire are withheld for a time that you may learn to wait in patience and in peace, for truly in patience there is peace." --Ramadahn
'tis the season...

"Be kind and merciful. Let no one ever come to you without coming away better and happier. Be the living expression of God's kindness." -- Mother Teresa
living in the moment...

“Treat each moment like a newborn baby. Behold its beauty and mystery. Hold it, without clinging. Pull it next to your chest and let it feel your heart beat. Kiss it tenderly and smile upon what life has brought. Trust your power to love the moment and the Divine will show itself to you.” –Don Iannone

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Look out your window,
Open your eyes
--so you can see
what beautiful awaits you
on a moon-lit winter night.
the choice to love...

"Love is a choice you make from moment to moment." --Barbara De Angelis
the death of love...

"Love never dies a natural death. It dies because we don't know how to replenish its source. It dies of blindness and errors and betrayals. It dies of illness and wounds; it dies of weariness, of witherings, of tarnishings." --Anais Nin
first love...

"How on earth are you ever going to explain in terms of chemistry and physics so important a biological phenomenon as first love?" --Albert Einstein

Monday, December 19, 2005

ice crystals
Photo Credit:
what's really important?

"Living with the immediacy of death helps you sort out your priorities in life. It helps you to live a less trivial life." --Sogyal Rinpoche
what is self?

"The Self usually begins as a random stream of sensory material -- sounds, images, tactile sensations, scents, flavors, stimulate the nervous system and, through a series of neurochemical processes affect the brain forming first impressions an the brain tissue. The key aspect of it is its randomness, every one is exposed to a different mosaic of impressions and everyone's nervous system react to them differently due to infinite variations of the genetic material regulating functioning of each person's nervous system.

So these first random impressions constitute the mosaic-like core of one Self, one's core-identity, the first filter/screen controlling the precursors of mental (neurocognitive) functioning.

So, at it's foundation the self is not other that the external world imposing itself (IMPRINTING itself) on the brain, colonizing the innocent tissue by organizing it to respond with internal images, sounds, voices, etc.

In the second stage, there is the process of connecting that internal mosaic imprinted on the brain to others in the world. Child's survival in the give and take of social world depends on successful development means to interact with others. The main means is language which serves as the primary vehicle of articulating the self in the world and for the world. Without it the growing individual becomes a deviant labeled retarded, asocial , psychologically sick etc.

And we are not approaching it on the level of psychology of cognition, perception, representation or the inner workings of the psychoanalytic conscious/unconscious."

Source: (Website on Buddhist Psychology and other things)

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Photo Credit: Paul Klee Collection
clear the dust from your mirror...

“The Body is like the sacred Bodhi Tree,
From dust ever keep it free,
The mind... a reflecting mirror,
Let not dust be its cover.”
wish to learn a little sanskrit?

Visit the Digital Library and Museum of Buddhist Studies

motivation in buddhist psychology...

"Perhaps the most logical starting point is the theory of motivation. What drives people in their behaviors? What motivates human action? The unenlightened person's behavior, it is said, is governed and driven bytanha, or craving, which, as noted in a previous paragraph, is given as thecause of "suffering" or "unsatisfactoriness" in the Second Noble Truth. Tanha is classified into three basic forms: kama tanha (craving for sensory gratification); bhava tanha (craving for survival or continued existence);and vibhava tanha (craving for annihilation)" Source: Silva Padmal, Current Psychology, 1990

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Remembrance of a Garden
Photo Credit: Paul Klee Collection
waiting for the full moon mind...

"Clear mind is like the full moon in the sky. Sometimes clouds come and cover it, but the moon is always behind them. Clouds go away, then the moon shines brightly. So don't worry about clear mind: it is always there. When thinking comes, behind it is clear mind. When thinking goes, there is only clear mind. Thinking comes and goes, comes and goes, You must not be attached to the coming or the going." —Zen Master Seung Sahn
the inevitable...

"A flower falls, even though we love it; and a weed grows, even though we do not love it." —Dogen

Friday, December 16, 2005

one from gentle-man jack...

Had to pass this one along. Click here and read for yourself at jackzen
we need this as winter falls upon us
with her cold white coat...

Photo Credit: Sights by Elizabeth
understanding the continuum...

"There is no well-defined boundary between honesty and dishonesty. The frontiers of one blend with the outside limits of the other, and he who attempts to tread this dangerous ground may be sometimes in one domain and sometimes in the other." ~O. Henry, Rolling Stones, 1912
also consider...

"A truth that's told with bad intent beats all the lies you can invent." ~William Blake
on honesty...

"A half truth is a whole lie." ~Yiddish Proverb

Thursday, December 15, 2005

change the world, change the heart...

"To put the world right in order, we must first put the nation in order; to put the nation in order, we must first put the family in order; to put the family in order, we must first cultivate our personal life; to put our personal life in order, we must first set our hearts right."

Source: Confucius

One man's life--
but a single drop of water.
One man's dream--
but a solitary blink of a distant star.
On man's time--
but a fleeting moment
in an endless Universe.
i beg thee, tell me where to find truth...

"It is in the everyday and the commonplace that we learn patience, acceptance, and contentment." - Richard J. Foster
what do we really know?

"A child said, What is the grass? fetching it to me with full hands; How could I answer the child?. . . .I do not know what it is any more than he." - Walt Whitman

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

things look different?

Conscious Living has a new look, and who knows, maybe you are seeing life with new eyes.
Autumn Begins in Martins Ferry, Ohio
By James Wright

In the Shreve High football stadium,
I think of Polacks nursing long beers in Tiltonsville,
And gray faces of Negroes in the blast furnace at Benwood,
And the ruptured night watchman of Wheeling Steel,
Dreaming of heroes.

All the proud fathers are ashamed to go home.
Their women cluck like starved pullets,
Dying for love.

Their sons grow suicidally beautiful
At the beginning of October,
And gallop terribly against each other's bodies.
before we despair, remember...

"Although the world is full of suffering, it is full also of the overcoming of it." -- Helen Keller
sit with this...

"Emptiness is in fact form when we forget the self. There's nothing in the universe *other* than ourself. Nothing to compare, name, or identify. When it's the only thing there is, how can we talk about it?" --Taizan Maezumi
from the meditation cushion: is life really a journey?

We're accustomed to thinking of life as a journey, but is it really?

Ok, life is a "trip." I'll grant you that.

Where do we "really" go in life? Have you really gone any where during your life? No, please don't tell me about your latest vacation to Italy.

Do we really go any where? You are where you have always been. Following me? No, please don't follow me because I'm not going any where.

What if we simply gave up the idea that life is a journey and just accepted there is no where to go except where we have always been?

Granted, this notion could put lots of "travel agents" out of business. But were they ever really in business?

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Blessed be the Christmas tree--the symbol of eternal life. Here is a photo of Mary and Don's tree right after it was decorated on December 11, 2005. Not surprisingly, the kittens (Daisy, Karma, and Lily) love the tree. This is their first.
Count your heart's reasons...

"The heart has its reasons which reason knows not of."

- Pascal
Tuesday Thought: The Early Days of Love

No time of life is so beautiful as the early days of love, when with every meeting, every glance, one fetches something new home to rejoice over.

- Soren Kierkegaard

Monday, December 12, 2005

How true...

"I know nothing except the fact of my ignorance".


PS: Knowing that you don't know and cannot really know is wisdom
Monday Thought: Remember

"Every primeval withdrawal from the battle of life, merely because it involves stress and strain which we think is too much for us, fails to fulfil the object with which we have entered that battle."

--N. Sri Ram,

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Expect enchantment in your life, but allow it to surprise you.

Accept the lessons it teaches.

The outer world only reflects the inner world. Computer viruses, flat tires, misplaced Blackberries, buying new furniture for your house, finding just the right Christmas--each a lesson in paying attention to what is.

Sunday Thought: Walk the Medicine Wheel

Four Elements Medicine Wheel Prayer

Source: care2

O Great Spirit of the East,
radiance of the rising Sun,
spirit of new beginnings
O Grandfather Fire,
great nuclear fire of the Sun.
From you comes life-energy,
vital spark, power to see far,
and to envision with boldness;
with you we can purify the senses,
our hearts and our minds.
We pray that we may be aligned with you,
so that your energies may flow through us,
and be expressed by us,
for the good of this planet Earth,
and all living beings upon it.

O Great Spirit of the South,
protector of the fruitful land,
and of all green and growing things,
the noble trees and grasses.
Grandmother Earth, Soul of Nature,
great power of the receptive,
of nurturance and endurance,
of bringing forth and growing,
flowers of the field,
fruits of the garden.
We pray that we may be aligned with you,
so that your powers may flow through us,
and be expressed by us,
for the good of this planet Earth,
and all living beings upon it.

O Great Spirit of the West,
spirit of the great waters,
of rain and rivers, lakes and springs;
O Grandmother Ocean,
deepest matrix, womb of all life.
With you comes the dissolving
of boundaries and holdings,
the power to taste and to feel,
to cleanse and to heal.
Great blissful darkness of peace.
WE pray that we may be aligned with you,
so that your powers may flow through us,
and be expressed by us,
for the good of this planet Earth,
and all living beings upon it.

O Great Spirit of the North,
invisible spirits of the air,
and of the fresh, cool winds;
O vast and boundless Grandfather Sky,
your living breath animates all life.
From you comes clarity and strength,
and the power to hear inner sounds,
to seep out old patterns,
and bring challenge and change.
The ecstasy of movement and the dance.
We pray that we may be aligned with you,
so that your powers may flow through us,
and be expressed by us,
for the good of this planet Earth,
and all living beings upon it.


"Mysticism is usually defined in dictionaries and encyclopedias as a spiritual discipline used to make contact with the divine. While this definition is frequently correct, there have been many people who have had mystical experiences without following a special discipline. Conversely, many people have followed a set of spiritual practices carefully and for a prolonged period but have never contacted the divine. The mystical event is a personal experience during which one feels as though one has been touched by some higher or greater truth or power. This may occur inside or outside of a religious setting, within or outside a religious tradition."

"The most beautiful and profound emotion we can experience is the sensation of the mystical." Source: Albert Einstein

Oneness Commitment

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Things looking up...
Photo Credit: Paul Downey Blog
Saturday Thought: What Do i Know?

"I know nothing except the fact of my ignorance".


In the beginning Love arose,
which was the primal germ cell of the mind.
The Seers, searching in their hearts with wisdom,
discovered the connection of Being in Nonbeing.

A crosswise line cut Being from Nonbeing.
What was described above it, what below?
Bearers of seed there were and mighty forces
thrust from below and forward move above.

-Rig Veda, Teachings of a Hindu Mystic

Friday, December 09, 2005

Carlos Castaneda's Don Juan's Teachings

Transcend the self-importance in your life. Learn to be a warrior.

On Carlos Castaneda.
My heart takes flight...
Friday Thought: Follow the Meditative Path

"These two paths, the light and the dark, are said to be eternal, lending some to liberation and others to rebirth. Once you have known these two paths, Arjuna, you can never be deluded again. Attain this knowledge through perseverance in yoga. There is merit in studying the scriptures, in selfless service, austerity, and giving, but the practice of meditation carries you beyond all these to the supreme abode of the highest Lord."

- Bhagavad Gita 8:26-28
One to ponder...

"Among the blind, the squint rules."

--Hindu proverb

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Prairie Grass
Photo Credit: alice.bowe
One for the road...

"The mind, the Buddha, living creatures - these are not three different things."

—Avatamasaka Sutra
Makes you want to laugh...

"Since everything is but an apparition, having nothing to do with good or bad, acceptance or rejection, one may well burst out in laughter."

Thursday Thought: How We Live

"Thus we see that the all-important thing is not killing or giving life, drinking or not drinking, living in the town or the country, being lucky or unlucky, winning or losing. It is how we win, how we lose, how we live or die; finally, how we choose. We walk, and our religion is shown (even to the dullest and most insensitive person), in how we walk. Living in this world means choosing, and the way we choose to walk is infallibly and perfectly expressed in the walk itself."

—R. H. Blyth

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Winter in the distance, and yet
not so far away.
On Enlightenment...

"Anything that is created must sooner or later die. Enlightenment is permanent because we have not produced it; we have merely discovered it."

--Chogyam Trungpa
Wednesday Thought: Our Religion?

"My religion is to live and die without regret."

One to ponder...

"If you live the sacred and despise the ordinary, you are still bobbing in the ocean of delusion."

--Zen Master Lin-Chi

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Winter sun
Photo Credit: AAA Themes
One to ponder...

"The religion of the future will be a cosmic religion. It should transcend personal God and avoid dogma and theology. Covering both the natural and the spiritual, it should be based on a religious sense arising from the experience of all things natural and spiritual as a meaningful unity. Buddhism answers this description...If there is any religion that could cope with modern scientific needs, it would be Buddhism."

--Albert Einstein
Tuesday Thought: We All Need Teachers

All know the Way, but few actually walk it.

If you don't find a teacher soon, you'll live this life in vain. It's true, you have the buddha-nature. But without the help of a teacher you'll never know it. Only one person in a million becomes enlightened without a teacher's help.

If, though, by the conjunction of conditions, someone understands what the Buddha meant, that person doesn't need a teacher. Such a person has a natural awareness superior to anything taught. But unless you're so blessed, study hard, and by means of instruction you'll understand


Monday, December 05, 2005

Monday Thought: Our Nonsense

"Just as the highest and the lowest notes are equally inaudible, so perhaps, is the greatest sense and the greatest nonsense equally unintelligible."

--Allan Watts
Winter Berries and Signs of What Is
Photo Credit:

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Imagine Waking Up to This Winter Wonderland

Sunday Thought: Make the Case for Change

"The most damaging phrase in the language is: 'It's always been done that way.'

--Grace Murray Hopper
One to remember...

"Following the course of least resistance makes for crooked rivers and crooked men."

--Lanny Henninger

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Let the Light Shine Through Your Sorrow
Photo Credit:
Gene Myers' Home Page

So much of life is about remembering--
who we are
what we stand for, and
why we're here.
Don't forget--
to let your light shine through.
On despair...

"Action is the antidote to despair."
--Joan Baez

"But what we call our despair is often only the painful eagerness of unfed hope."
--George Eliot

"It becomes no man to nurse despair, but, in the teeth of clenched antagonisms, to follow up the worthiest till he die."
--Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Candle on the Window Sill
Photo Credit: Trek Lens

Through the eye of the candle
my world regained focus.
Cloaked in new-found hope
dripping tears of joy
something inside me--
shifted, and turned upward.
I saw all--
that I ever wanted to know
in the flickering eye of the candle
on the window sill.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Enter with good tidings and thanksgiving.
Friday Thought: What We Think and Say

"All that we are is the result of what we have thought. If a man speaks or acts with an evil thought, pain follows him. If a man speaks or acts with a pure thought, happiness follows him, like a shadow that never leaves him."

On leadership...

"I must follow the people. Am I not their leader?"

~ Benjamin Disraeli

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Imagine you are seated before this blazing fire. Hear the embers crackle. Smell the sweet smoke. Watch as the flames dance to the night breeze that drifts across the forest where you are encamped.

Photo Credit: Stockholm Skamsen
Thursday Thought: The Real Tie That Binds

"The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each other's life."

--Richard Bach
One to ponder...

"It is human to think wisely and act in an absurd fashion."

--Anatole France
Remember Who You Are
By Cathy Bolton
on Conversations with God, Disc 2
Windham Hill Collection, 1998.

Click here to remind yourself you are really are.
Friends' Blogs