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Just a picture for you.
If this flower can bloom
after months sitting still
in its vase of stones
and waiting water,
then so can you.
So can I.

The soul is full of surprises.
Don’t you know
without thinking
we open out from unknowing
into fragrant possibility?
A river with a blossom
that floats suddenly
across an empty sky.

This sky.


For Carmen

En los árboles del huerto
hay un ruiseñor;
canta de noche y de día,
canta a la luna y al sol.
Ronco de cantar:
al huerto vendrá la niña
y una rosa cortará.
Entre las negras encinas,
hay una fuente de piedra,
y un cantarillo de barro
que nunca se llena.
Por el encinar,
con la blanca luna,
ella volverá.

Out in the garden
a nightingale sings
night and day in the treetops,
in moonlight, in sunlight.
He sings himself out:
the girl will come to the garden
and pick a rose.
Among the dark oaks
there’s a stone spring
and a little earthen jug
that never fills up.
Through the oak grove,
by white moonlight,
she will return.

~Antonio Machado~


This is my son…sixteen years in the past. It seems like only a moment ago that he was running naked on a Molokai beach. Today, he’s grown, has a car, works at Starbucks, will start college in the fall. He hangs with his friends most of the time now, has a cool MySpace site, likes nice clothes and takes pleasure in catching planes to warmer places. Only yesterday I heard his squeal as he ran down the sand to the water, and ran back up the sand chased by the incoming waves.

This is just a celebration, if only through dim recollection, of that feeling of the child, delighting skin on skin in the total freedom and magic of the world.



The middle way is wide open, but it’s tough going, because it goes against the grain of an ancient neurotic pattern that we all share. When we feel lonely, when we feel hopeless, what we want to do is move to the right or the left. We don’t want to sit and feel what we feel. We don’t want to go through the detox. Yet the middle way encourages us to do just that. It encourages us to awaken the bravery that exists in everyone without exception, including you and me.

…Usually we regard loneliness as an enemy. Heartache is not something we choose to invite in. It’s restless and pregnant and hot with the desire to escape and find something or someone to keep us company. When we can rest in the middle, we begin to have a nonthreatening relationship with loneliness, a relaxing and cooling loneliness that completely turns our usual fearful patterns upside down.

~Pema Chödrön~


Q: What is the Buddha?

A: Your Mind is the Buddha. The Buddha is Mind. Mind and Buddha are indivisible. Therefore it is written: “That which is Mind is the Buddha; if it is other than Mind, it is certainly other than Buddha.”

Q: At the moment of Enlightenment, where is the Buddha?

A: Where does your question proceed? Whence does your consciousness arise? When speech is silenced, all movement stilled, every sight and sound vanished–THEN is the Buddha’s work of deliverance truly going forward! Then, where will you seek the Buddha? You cannot place a head upon your head, or lips upon your lips; rather, you should just refrain from every kind of dualistic distinction. Hills are hills. Water is water. Monks are monks. Laymen are laymen. But these mountains, these rivers, the whole world itself, together with sun, moon and stars–not one of them exists outside your minds! The vast chiliocosm exists only within you, so where else can the various categories of phenomena possibly be found? Outside Mind, there is nothing.



My mother said don’t go near anyplace other children have drowned;
my father said death wasn’t the worst thing: it was waking up crippled
from falling to the rocks below, a broken back or head injury but alive,
knowing forever from your permanent bed you’d done it to yourself.

But don’t you think you have to find out on your own? Don’t you think
it’s essential to crawl down the sharp walls where one misstep hurtles you
into unthinkable pain? Don’t you think – and this isn’t a prank — that unless
you flirt with the river of sorrow happiness will never find its way?

So I wandered down through a broken, bony forest to the edge of the canyon,
and I looked straight down into the dark waters, became addicted to the view
at the edge. It would be so easy, I thought, to drift over the falls of air and through
the hidden portal to those dirty little shallows where they’d finally find my body.

I sat quietly looking into its face, the smell of damp stone rising
entwined with the soft gurgle of the winding flow and the wet transience
of impersonal traces. Yes, here is my suffering now: I could not escape
the dungeons of my self-belittlement and the same sad repetitive ends.

Until one day I slipped, came so close to the flowers of the funeral home
that my body lost all feeling in anticipation of the cut, the nothingness,
and I scrambled upward as if startled by the unseen snake on a ledge,
as if eye-level I’d barked at it, my own destruction; saw it whole and coming.

Scared me enough, I guess, to live. I stopped looking down there, letting that
slippery thing dominate. Let it slither through on its own. I’d seen it now
and jumped aside, saw how new the mountains were ahead, felt the way the sun
crosses entire valleys in a day and how any river, even sorrow, is only a part.




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March 2007