Saturday, April 26, 2008


It is one of life’s great paradoxes that becoming aware of our spiritual nature is as important as breath itself; yet there is nothing easy about a spiritual practice. In fact, it is possibly the most difficult discipline known to man. And why is that? Partly because, unlike piano lessons and weight-lifting, the results are often subtle and private rather than open and obvious. And, most importantly, because while worldly disciplines enhance our ego image, a spiritual inquiry leads -oh no!- to the ego’s gradual disappearance.

None of us, at the start of our work, greet that fact with much joy. Think for a moment how you feel about waking up at dawn for a meeting at the office – and now you know how most of us sleeping angels feel about being prodded Awake.

And yet, sooner or later, many of us come to realize that the investigation into our spiritual nature is not only vital, but urgent. After all, the Truth is True: we ARE spirit, we ARE angels – and to point our minds in line with Truth is our only door to freedom. A grasshopper can pretend to be a daffodil for as long as it wants, but it cannot grow petals or live a happy life standing still in the grass. Equally, we can go about pretending we are small, weak, vulnerable creatures – but it will never become true. Because, in fact, we are something else, something much more: we are Spirit.

We are the fingers of God.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Moving Towards Peace

You’ve heard it before, many times. We see through a lens darkly.

None of us come to our spiritual search by accident. Most of us are pulled by pain, during those repellent, rock hard times when there is simply nowhere else to go but inside.

Impelling us forward is a question. We want to know is if there really is an abiding Friend hidden behind the appearances of lack, struggle, conflict and pain. Is Something there? Or am I deluded?

So we proceed, dragging our ego’s desire to be separate and special along with us. When, bit by bit, we discover that Oneness by definition cannot recognize a “separate and special” status, we balk. We balk, but still we must face the fact that we want both Peace and Separation simultaneously. To discover the two are eternally incompatible is a indisputably hard moment. Our path becomes jagged, and we find ourselves dragging our feet in one moment, surrendering to prayer in another. As many of you know, this juggling of our mind states can go on for what appears to be a very long time.

Then, to our great amazement, we suddenly make the deepest discovery of all: the fact that the Peace Within is larger and more luminous than all the world around us. It is at this point that our ego barriers start tumbling down, and we begin to dance with happiness.

And of course, since Peace has been within us forever, that dance can begin for us now. In this very moment. When else could it possibly happen?

Tuesday, April 8, 2008


So many of the deepest treasures in this world are hidden.

The big, splashy, overt kind we already know about. Warm spring rain whispering across your face as you walk through the woods. The scrunch & rub of fresh grass under your toes. Rolling in the snow, safely protected by scarf bundlings and mittenery. Hearing Mozart. Hearing Sinatra. Hearing the voice of an old friend you've been missing for months. A great, taut, well-written movie. Good hot tea. Good hot coffee. Sitting with friends near a fireplace blazing with life. Reading a great book. A discreet taste of gourmet chocolate. A child laughing. You laughing. Anyone laughing.

These are our obvious treasures.

To get to the secret ones, you have to move very carefully and quietly, preferably with your shoes off. You must be looking without haste, without greed, without anxiety. You must have made at least a primitive alliance with meditation. Then, as the poets say, the world can unfold itself at your feet.

The tick of a clock on your shelf can start sounding like the heartbeat of God.

Washing a cup can become art: watching its stains slide away with the soap is as thrilling as a stab of lightning. Everything: floors, ceiling, windows, furniture, seem to shift gently into benign objects which are here to help.

Listening grows multi-dimensional. Someone brags, and you can hear the pleading underneath the boast; it moves you to enormous tenderness. Another giggles, and you can hear each note of laughter fly through the air like birds on holiday.

New hints, new clues appear in unexpected places. Exit signs on the subway read like messages about oneness. A pet, always your delight, is now even more: your teacher. You open the kitchen cupboard and withdraw a can of food; instantly you understand how the can and the peas within it are related. Small revelations, perhaps, but thunderous in their impact.

This network of insights occurs because you are in a state of extreme openness, one in which your eye can see far deeper into each object than it normally does, and your mind now floods you with new awareness about the nature of life. Some call it the voice of the Self.

It's an extraordinary discovery, really: finding the exquisite intelligence that lies within our own mind, waiting for permission to emerge. In the beginning, it's hard to fathom that magic can occur from withdrawing attention from the outside world, because we are so used to seeking outside ourselves for drama and movement and color. But hard to fathom or not, the fact is that the universe within us is far, far larger and richer than the universe without.

And becoming still is what opens the door.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Life Review

So here we are, sitting at one of Heaven's coolest delis, enjoying a latte and grilled cheese. We're busy exchanging earth stories, which from this vantage point seem almost like --well, black comedy.

“Can you believe how stupid I was to spend ten years in love with alcohol?” I say.

My friend grins. “You call that stupid?” he says. “I spent 20 years thinking it was cool to avoid commitment.”

“I remember being absolutely convinced I was worthless.” I add, shaking my head.

“Me, I thought I was deprived,” replied my friend, “even after I was making a half a million a year.”

We’re both weak from laughter. “I thought I was just a body.” I remember.

“Oh, me, too,” chuckles my friend. “Who the hell didn’t?”

We pause for a moment. “Well, there were a few who knew better,” I murmur.

“Sure, but I thought they were idiots.”

“And then it turned out..” I reply.

“That the idiots were us.” We both sink into laughter.

“Well,” I continue, “if I knew then what I know now, I wouldn’t have sleepwalked through my whole life.”

My friend nods ruefully. “Right,” he agreed, “we’d have discovered the secret of material life.”

We both nod.

“Which is,” he concluded, “the chance to taste God through a human straw.”