Sunday, May 31, 2015

Tribal, Cosmic, Mythic

"An Enchanted Universe"
- At the Desert Retreat House- 

Yesterday I was listening to a TV program about ancient civilizations and I cringed at a reference to the people who lived back then as "primitive people." In some ways I think our contemporary age of advanced technology may well be more primitive, less "spiritually" advanced, than those ancestors who lived so many centuries ago.

I am reminded of something author and priest Richard Rohr once said about the spiritual awareness of ancient peoples:

Before 800 BC, the thinking on the whole planet, no matter what the continent,
was invariably tribal, cosmic, mythic.
Simply by watching the sky, birds and trees, the seasons, darkness and light,
people knew they belonged.
They lived in an inherently enchanted universe where everything belonged,
including themselves. 

Over the course of history, as civilizations developed, supposedly advanced peoples and nations became more and more autonomous. Instead of defining themselves as belonging to the tribe, people developed a stronger sense of separated selves- egos that needed to be fed, gratified and protected. The natural world became more and more distant and removed from everyday life- a world of nature was now a natural resource to be used for human advantage.  

But more than anything else, as people advanced in knowledge and the age of science and reason dawned on the human race, we began to fool ourselves into thinking that we could figure it all out-define, explain and control this mysterious world of our human existence. 

As I see it, so-called primitive people were perhaps closer to grasping the truth than those of us living in in our advanced civilization.   Interestingly enough, the more scientifically advanced we become, the more we discover that those "primitive people" may indeed have had it right all along.

The most advanced human genome research of our own day has discovered that, genetically speaking, regardless of tribe or race or national origin, human beings essentially share the same genes- we are indeed one tribe- those ancient ones had it right all along. 

Furthermore, there are many scientists of our own day who have concluded that the entire planet earth essentially functions as one interconnected organism,  any changes in any one part ultimately affecting changes in every other interrelated and interconnected other parts

I think of something the famed environmentalist John Muir once wrote some years back:

When we try to pick out anything by itself we find
it is attached by a thousand invisible chords that cannot be broken, 
attached to everything in the universe.

As for being able to "figure it all out" - today's most sophisticated scientists, quantum physicists, cosmologists and neurobiologists have essentially concluded that the vast majority of this world in which we live is a great mystery- perhaps 5% of it can be scientifically explained and analyzed - all the rest is "dark energy." 

We may do well to pay attention once again to the spiritual lesson of our "primitive" ancient  ancestors. Since we all belong to the cosmos, we will surely self destruct if any one of us tries to define himself or herself as separated from or superior to anything or anyone else. The goal of the spiritual life is to come to a point where we experience our mutual belonging to one another and to the world of nature. 

As I see it, the ancient worldview of our so-called primitive ancestors may well go a long-way in helping all of us in this sophisticated civilization to re-imagine what and who "God" is all about. "God" - not some super human person above the fray of existence, but an unknowable,  uncontrollable energy abiding in and through everything that is. We long for this connection - we long for "God." 

Perhaps "God" is those thousands of invisible chords that cannot be broken,  connecting everything in the universe together. 















Friday, May 29, 2015

Eyes on the Path

"Here I am"
"my meditation garden"

All week long we have been away from our desert home visiting our son and daughter-in-law and meeting our new grandson. Throughout our visit I have realized how far away my life is from those days when we were having children and raising babies. It is such a daunting task to start a family, so many questions about how to properly care for the child, what to do to prepare for his future. It's exhausting and demanding. 

This morning I realized that if my son and his wife spent all their time thinking about the years that lay ahead of them and all they had yet to do to raise their firstborn child, they would become overwhelmed by the burden of it all. This morning I offered a little piece of "fatherly-grandfatherly" advice: breathe deeply and take life as it comes, just simply focus on the present one step at a time, and all will be well. 

In fact, their new baby may be offering them a great lesson about life, a lesson any single one of us can learn. Babies have no plans for the future, they don't focus on memories of days gone by, they simply live in the present.  If you look at their eyes, babies are always focusing on the moment, always embracing the now, learning from all the wonderful surprises each new moment of life is offering them.

What a great lesson for us all.

At this "graduation" time of year I have been listening to little excerpts from various commencement speeches given to college graduates throughout the country; and as I see it, almost all of these speeches offer some real bad advice - often telling students to "look toward the future, keep your eyes on the prize; and make the world into what you want it to be."

From my experience, whenever you focus on the future with the goal of fashioning the world according to your own agenda you will inevitably be on a slippery slope, on the road to failure and disappointment. 

I say, instead,  keep your eyes off the prize and on the path. 

I think of the many hikes we have taken in the desert where we live. If I even begin to think about the destination, how many miles yet to be traveled, how difficult and arduous the terrain ahead may be or how hot the temperatures may get, I get so discouraged that I want to stop and turn back. So I have to take my eyes off the prize and focus on the path, embracing the moment as it is revealed to me.

When I do that, only then do I notice the beauty along the way, cacti in bloom, a cooling palm tree where I can sit and rest, a desert squirrel or roadrunner scampering in the bush alongside me. 

As he was nearing the end of his days, the renowned monk and mystic, Thomas Merton, tapped into the wisdom he had gleaned throughout his life and observed:

Over the years, the one thing that has grown most noticeably 
in my spiritual life is 
the grip the 'present' has on me - 
the reality of now - the unreality of all the rest.

Such great wisdom--

There is no past, those days are over;  and when the future comes it is "now," so there is no future. The past and future aren't real and yet so many people spend most of their precious time living in that unreality, thinking about what they might have been or keeping their eyes on the prize so they can fashion a future according to what they want it to be.

The only reality is the present. Somehow when we are newborn babies we understand this wisdom and then as we get older we gradually forget it.  

As I get older I want to open my heart to the present once again allowing it to have a grip on me - my eyes off the prize and my eyes on the path.














Thursday, May 28, 2015

The Beautiful Struggle

"Flowers and the Thorns"
- At the Desert Retreat House -

I was a college professor for many years of my career- teaching courses in Interpersonal Communication. Every semester I would spend a class discussing the first few sentences of the "then-popular" book, The Road Less Traveled, by the Psychiatrist, M. Scott Peck: 

Life is difficult.
This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths.
It is a great truth because once we really see the truth we transcend it.
Once we know that life is difficult - once we truly understand and accept it -
then life is no longer difficult.
Because once it is accepted, the fact that life is difficult no longer matters.

I always had to "brace myself" when I would teach that class on the difficulty of life.  I  usually wouldn't get through the first few words of this quote before unleashing an uproar among my students. 

Some would get angry, others distraught, most would reject the claim that the difficulty of life is a great truth: "What do you mean, life is difficult? It's not supposed to be that way, that's why we are here in school studying, so we can get a degree and go out into the world, get good jobs, have a family, cute babies, a nice house and a snazzy car, go on vacations -happily ever after." 

And yet, I knew that, while these students may not have yet come to realize it, that great truth about the essential difficulty of life would eventually set in, no matter how hard they might work, how much money they might make, whatever their social status might be. 

No one of us is immune from the messiness of our imperfect lives as human beings. At one time or other, everyone silently weeps over their failures, each of us gets a taste of bitter disappointment. The everyday routine of going to work and raising a family is tedious, complicated, demanding and often quite boring.  No one's life ever proceeds exactly according to how they may have planned it.

Life is difficult - this is a great truth.

But I think it's also true that once you accept the difficulty of life, you do indeed transcend it because while difficult,  our lives as human beings are also stunningly beautiful. We are such fragile creatures, so easily hurt and yet at the same time so resilient.  Even in the midst of the pain, confusion and disappointments we are able to reach out in hope, find healing,  offer and accept forgiveness and act with kindness and compassion.

Yesterday, we were having lunch in a busy restaurant in the heart of our nation's capitol  (we are away from our desert home traveling for the week).  I looked out the window and saw the masses of humanity busily passing by- men and women in tailored business suits, moms with babies in strollers, homeless people asking for spare change, kids on skateboards, an old man in a wheelchair, rich and poor, smiling and frowning, some walking with fast determination and others with aimless abandon. And I had this sudden flash of empathy with it all - each and every one of us all thrown together into this glorious mess we call "life" - such a beautiful struggle.

I am reminded of a line from one of my all-time favorite songs by the poet-musician, K.D. Laing:  

Love is simple
I worship this tenacity
And the beautiful struggle we're in
Love will not elude us

I guess this is the reason why I can accept the truth of the "difficulty of life" and transcend  it - because love is tenacious.  We are always being held in the grip of a "Love" that will never elude us, never let us go. Love is a Universal energy that flow in everything that is; and so come what may, Love abides 

"God" is "Love." I worship this tenacity!







Wednesday, May 27, 2015

RE-LISTEN: Deep Listening


RE-POST: This week, as I am traveling, I am posting one of my podcasts from March, called "Deep Listening" I think we can all afford to take a few minutes and listen to what is around us.

This is where such profound wisdom can be found.






Every Tuesday I bring you a new meditation or talk via my studio in the desert.  A podcast to take with you on the road and in your week when you need a little time away. Desert Wisdom broadcasts weekly and is available on iTunesStitcher, and always at my webspace, DesertPaul.com

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Tuesday, May 26, 2015

The Discipline of a Stable Mind

"An Open Heart"
- in my meditation garden -

I am away from my desert home this week. We are here in Washington DC to meet our newborn grandson. This morning I had a conversation with my son and daughter-in-law about the joys and struggles of parenthood. As new first-time parents they have lots of questions,  and introducing a new baby into a household is always a stressful time. 

My conversation this morning also got me to thinking about anxiety. I would expect that new parents would experience some degree of stress, it goes with the territory. But I think stress is a condition that has become endemic in today's culture.  In fact, I put the word "stress" into a "Google" search engine and it came up with over 1 million results.

People today experience stress before a big exam, or when finances are tight or when the project is due at work, but they also experience stress when they are on vacation, taking a walk on the beach or sitting in church. Stress seems to be a byproduct of our fast-paced, overly ambitious, frenetic lifestyle. There is aways something to worry about - anxiety seems to be an ever-abiding companion of life in the 21st century.

Buddhists use the term "monkey mind" to describe anxiety, restlessness and being easily distracted. Like a monkey who can't ever sit still, quickly and chaotically jumping from place to place without ever stopping to take a pause, people who are constantly restless and anxious have a "monkey mind." It seems to me that "monkey-mind" may be a national epidemic nowadays.  

A "monkey mind" is aways filled with constant ideas- plots, plans and strategies about how to control each moment of everyday living. When you have a "monkey mind" emotions like fear, anger, doubt despair and obsessive attachment pull you chaotically from place to place without ever allowing you  time to stop and pause. A "monkey mind" is with you when you are at work and even on vacation or when you take a walk or sit in church.

Actually there is only one way to "tame the beast" of the "monkey mind" - you have to practice the discipline of "equanimity," learn how to foster and cultivate a "stable mind." 

The Benedictine nun,  Macrina Wiederkehr, provides this wonderful definition of the meaning of "equanimity:"

The dictionary will probably tell you that equanimity means
calm composure.
But there is a far better definition:
Equanimity is the stability of mind
that allows us to be present with an open heart
to everything that comes our way,
no matter how wonderful or how difficult.

It seems to me that this practice of equanimity may indeed be a necessary virtue for walking a spiritual path in today's high-strees and overly anxious culture. 

Life simply happens, each moment comes to us and "it is what it is." 

I practice the stability of mind when I can clear away all the clutter of all my ideas, my ambitions and strategies for controlling everything that comes my way.

I practice the discipline of equanimity when I allow myself to sit in the midst of the chaos of life with a heart that is open to whatever comes my way,  no matter how wonderful,  no matter how difficult. 

I practice the stability of mind when I realize that, for the most part, I can control very little if anything in life, I can only embrace it for what it is.  

I am reminded of something Jesus taught his disciples. Now more than ever his words seem to be filled  great wisdom:

So do not worry saying, 
'What shall we eat or what shall we drink or what shall we wear?'
But seek first the Presence of God.
Therefore do not worry about tomorrow. for tomorrow will worry about itself. 
Each day has enough trouble of its own.

























Monday, May 25, 2015

A Song of Peace

"Memorial Day"

On this Memorial Day I happen to be in our nation's capitol, here to visit out son and daughter-in-law and to meet out first grandchild. As I write my blog this morning I am literally sitting just a few moments away from the national mall, immersed in an ocean of shrines and monuments honoring those who sacrificed their lives in our nation's wars - World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Arlington National Cemetery is just a short distance away. 

Being here in this environment on Memorial Day has made me very reflective. 

On the one hand I am very grateful  for those men and women who sacrificed their lives for the welfare of the common good - without their willingness to lay down their lives, I may not be sitting here today. 

On the other hand, I am always cautious not to let national holidays like this become occasions to glory war and violence. On a day like today many citizens might be prone to categorize the world into good and bad, right and wrong, and to think that everyone who lives inside our borders are always the good guys with the white hats and that "foreigners " out there are the bad guys in those other camps. 

As I see it there is evil and darkness in every nation and in every land. There are tyrants and terrorists in all corners of every culture and likewise there are also people of good will and gentle spirit in all the nations of our tiny little planet earth

Today, as I sit in the shadow of the national monuments to the fallen heroes of my own country and honor their lives and sacrifices, I also celebrate the eternal truth that all the people of every land all belong to one another, all intimately interconnected as one tribe. 

Today as I sit here steps away from the graves of those who died in my nation's wars, I also remember all people in every land who aspire to peace and do their best to embrace a life of compassion.  

There is one particular hymn that seems so appropriate for a day like today- it is not necessarily a Christian hymn and in fact is a song that could be sung by any person of goodwill anywhere today whether or not they are American citizens, by believers and non-believers alike.  

As I look out toward the direction of the national mall, I think I may even hear the sounds of a marching band getting ready for the big "Memorial Day" parade today,  and in my heart I sing the words to this hymn:

This is my song, O God of all the nations,
a song of peace for lands afar and mine;
this is my home, the country where my heart is;
here are my hopes, my dreams, my holy shrine;
but other hearts in other lands are beating
with hopes and dreams as true and high as mine.

My country's skies are bluer than the ocean,
and sunlight beams on cloverleaf and pine;
but other lands have sunlight too, and clover,
and skies are everywhere as blue as mine:
O hear my song. thou God of all the nations,
a song of peace for their land and for mine. 




Sunday, May 24, 2015

Always at the Feast

"Beauty in the Wilderness"

On this day Christians throughout the world celebrate the "Feast of Pentecost," the day when, after his life on earth, the spirit of the living Christ came upon the gathered-together disciples to be with them until the end of time. 

According to the Pentecost story in the Christian scriptures, unsure of what to do next because Jesus was no longer with them, the apostles huddle together in a room and are suddenly surprised by an overwhelming sense of Christ's presence among them. A power of intense love represented by burning tongues of flame resting over the heads of each of the disciples,  empowering them to go out into the world and continue the work Jesus had first begun.

Like each and every one of the biblical stories (of any tradition) if we only think of this Pentecost story as a long-ago event happening to a select group of chosen people, the story will have little impact on most any of us in our life nowadays.  But I don't see this story as a distant historical narrative. 

For me the Pentecost narrative is far more iconic of the spiritual journey, not only the journey for Christians, but the journey of any who walk on a spiritual path.   

Christians often think of Pentecost as a time when the Holy Spirit "descended" upon the disciples (and ultimately upon the whole church);  but I don't quite care for the image of "God's Spirit" descending - it implies that "God" is some sort of heavenly being separated from us, living up there and out there,  "coming down" to us here on earth.

I think instead that Pentecost is a day to celebrate "enlightenment," awareness of a Presence that was and is already intimately here. The story of Pentecost is a story about gathered-together disciples who become aware that God (the Holy Spirit) is powerfully in their midst, a burning power of love intimately at the core of their being. 

So it is for all of us, divine Presence, the force of Love that energizes the entire universe, is always among us, not outside us but intimately at our core, more intimate to us than we are to ourselves, separated from us by a thin veil of awareness.

Sometimes that veil gets really thin, and for a time it may even fall away - that's when flames of enlightenment rest over our heads.

Poet and author, John O'Donohue puts it this way:

Sometimes the urgency of our hunger blinds us to the fact that
we are already at the feast.
To accept this can change everything; we are always home, never exiled.
Although our minds constantly insist on seeing walls of separation,
in reality most of the walls are mere veils.
In every moment, everywhere,
we are not even inches away from divine presence.

Whether you are a Christian or not, the "Feast of  Pentecost" is an opportunity for all of us to heighten our awareness of the truth that we are already at the feast - already living and moving in the energy of a higher power, the universal energy of Love flowing in and through everything that is.  

Today inspires me to think of a line from something once written by the Sufi poet, Rumi:

Love is here. 
It is the blood in my veins.
Its fire has flooded the nerves of my body.















Saturday, May 23, 2015

Gentle Souls

"All is Calm"

A few days ago, after reading one of my blog articles, someone online told me she thought I was a “gentle soul.” What surprised me most was how much of an impact that simple little comment had on me. For one thing, I don’t actually think anyone had ever referred to me in that way before.  People have complimented me on how smart I am, or how organized, or sometimes how visionary-but no one has ever said I was gentle, and I really liked what she had to say.  

It made me realize that this is exactly what I hope to be as I continue to walk on my journey of faith. I want to be a “gentle soul.” I wonder, in fact, if this is perhaps the highest compliment and the greatest encouragement any one of us can ever give to one another as we walk our Way together- to tell each other we are gentle souls.

That word "gentle" is rarely used nowadays and when it is used it often refers to someone who is “soft" or "weak" -  a gentle person is a pushover, a meek little doormat that others walk over and tread on.  I’ve been doing some thinking about what constitutes gentleness on the spiritual journey, and I don’t at all think that a gentle person is weak - a gentle person is nobody’s doormat in life.

In fact I did a little research yesterday and I even asked a few people what it means to be a gentle soul—I was pleasantly surprised by some of the responses:

A gentle soul holds no malice toward others.
A gentle soul is sensitive to the needs of others.
A gentle soul promotes the welfare of others.

When I think about it, it’s kind of hard to find gentle souls nowadays. There is so much malicious language, so much enmity poured out against others in twitter feeds, in Google comments, in the vicious political rhetoric of the day where everyone seems to be on one side or anther and everybody on the other side is the enemy.  

We live in a fairly self-centered, narcissistic society of instant gratification where an individual’s personal needs take a far greater priority to the needs of others,  especially those others who haven’t earned their rightful place in society – gentle souls who are sensitive to the needs of others seem to be at a premium nowadays.

My guess is that most people believe that power over others is the ability to crush another who is weaker. I think perhaps the opposite is true. The gentle soul is the one who is truly powerful.

While Jesus is often quoted as saying, The meek shall inherit the earth. I think a better translation of this teaching is:

The gentle shall inherit the earth.

I find great wisdom in these words.

Gentle souls change the world - people who hold no malice toward others, those who are sensitive to the needs of others, have an enormous amount of power to make the world a significantly better place – far more than those who have the power to step on or crush others along the path of life.

Mohatma Ghandi, the great social prophet who almost single handedly changed the culture of his day with his gentle spirit and words of peace once said:

With gentleness you can shake the world.

Gentle souls aren’t soft and weak but rather they are potent and powerful forces of love, shining points of light in the midst of darkness.

So I am honored to have been called a “gentle soul.”  The fact that someone called me this makes me feel that I may indeed be making some progress on the spiritual path.


Listen to my podcast:"Desert Wisdom"
desertpaul.com



Friday, May 22, 2015

Teach us the Way

"Great Mystery"
- Daybreak at the Desert Retreat House -

If you read the Christian Gospels, you will find many stories about various people who come to Jesus with questions they want answered. Sometimes these questions are asked in order to trap Jesus, attempts to discredit or incriminate him; but more often then not the questions asked are legitimate attempts to find something about the meaning of life - “Lord teach us the way,” teach us how to live happy lives, teach us how to find God. Show us the Way when we find that we are lost in life, teach us deeper wisdom, a more profound truth.

Interestingly enough, Jesus never gave clear-cut “answers” to any of these ultimate questions.  Instead, he would often tell a little story or a parable, at other times he’d simply say, “come and hang out with me for a while- walk with me along the path, and we will find the Way together.  Some people would get mad at him for his apparent obscurity. Why can’t he be clear? Why does he keep talking in riddles?

As I think about it, none of the teachers of the great wisdom traditions ever gave “answers” to their students who asked, “Teach us the Way?”  

I am a big fan of the use of Koans (little riddles that essentially have no solutions). Koans were often used by the ancient Zen masters whose aim it was to teach their students that there is only one answer to the big questions about life:  “There are no answers.”

The master would ask a student; “What is the sound of one hand clapping?” This would elicit a variety of thoughtful responses, none of which could ever be correct because our rational thought processes can’t answer a question like that.

And so it is on the Way to “enlightenment,” there are no clear-cut answers, only one question after another, and the shared “experience” of the deeper truth as it emerges by walking the Way together.

There is another Zen story that I like very much:

A student asked the teacher, ‘What is the true Way?’
The teacher answered, ‘The everyday way is the true way.’
To which the student replied, ‘Can I study it?’
The teacher sat quietly and then responded,
‘The more you study it the further you will be from the Way.’

Now confused, the student asked the master,
‘But if I don’t study it, how can I know it?’
And the master answered,
‘The Way does not belong to things seen, nor to things unseen.
It does not belong to things known, not to things unknown.
Do not seek it, study it, or name it.
To find yourself on the Way, open yourself wide as the sky.

To this very day people continue asking those same age-old questions about a “Way” through the wilderness of life. They continue to come to Jesus or to the Buddha, they seek out their various scriptures, go to their churches or their temples. They try to pin down their teachers and their gurus:  “show us the way” – give us clear doctrine, teach us those 5 steps to successful meditation, the 7 ways to build a vibrant church, the 10 secrets of spiritual happiness…but the answers to all these questions still remain the same: There are no answers.

When it comes to the ultimate questions, life is a mystery to be experienced, not a riddle to be solved.

So, hand-in-hand, we walk the Way together - open as wide as the sky. 



Listen to my podcast:"Desert Wisdom"

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Parallel Paths

"A Mysterious Wilderness"
- Outside the Desert Retreat House -

Our old air-conditioning system finally broke down and since we are about to enter our “triple-digit” temperature season out here in the desert,  we will have to install a new one. Yesterday I spent the better part of the afternoon talking with a young man who was helping us to design our new system. Our meeting was supposed to take about an hour but instead it lasted well over three hours because, instead of just talking about how to keep the house cool in the hot summer months, we spent most of our time talking about faith, religion and spirituality.

I learned that this young man (in his early 30’s) had grown up in the Catholic Church,  and in fact, he had spent several years in a seminary studying for the priesthood.  Nowadays, if asked what religion he belongs to?  He answers, “none.”

He went on to tell me that he hasn’t exactly rejected religion,  but that he came to a point in his life where the church became far too restrictive and confining for him - somehow he felt that a pursuit of the truth is bigger and broader than what he was able to find inside the doors of the church. 

So now, this very bright and well-read young man has expanded the scope of his spiritual quest to include Buddhist literature and the wisdom of other spiritual traditions.

My three-hour conversation yesterday was very encouraging. My guess is that a lot of traditional religious believers (especially those in leadership roles) might do well to pay some close attention to people like the fellow I spoke with yesterday. I think he may well represent a growing group of young “millennials” who have turned away from traditional institutional religion in pursuit of a greater wisdom. Instead of abandoning their religion, they may, in fact be the ones who help religion find its way again.

There are some who say that the pursuit of many different religious paths dilutes and distorts the path you are on, making you less committed to it. I think perhaps the opposite may be true.

When I examine the life of people like the renowned Christian monk and mystic, Thomas Merton, I find someone firmly rooted in the Christian faith, clearly a follower of Jesus and yet also deeply informed by Buddhist teachings and principles. Merton’s many writings demonstrate how his deeply-rooted Christianity was profoundly enriched and enhanced by his connection to Buddhism and his ongoing relationship with a community of Buddhist monks.

But none of this is at all surprising to me. When I look at the life and teachings of Jesus and compare it to the Buddha, it becomes crystal-clear that they walked parallel paths - not exactly the same path, but they were certainly walking in the same direction.

A few years back I read a book by Christian theologian, Paul Knitter: Without Buddha I Could not be a Christian. The book had a serious impact on my thinking, opening up  doors of realization to me. I could pursue the wisdom of the Buddha while still remaining a faithful follower of Jesus.

In his book,  Knitter says this about the Buddha  (an insight based on the Buddha’s first sermon):

He saw, not only with his mind but with his whole being,
just how the world and human existence in it worked,
how everything was in a constant process of interconnected movement,
how suffering is caused when humans greedily try to break the interconnections
and hold onto things just for themselves,
how suffering can be stopped through letting go not just of selfishness
but of the very self
in compassion for all beings.


When I read this poignant description of the Buddha and his wisdom I think to myself, “this exact same thing can be said of Christ and his teachings.”  In fact, when I walk down this “Buddha path” on the way to wisdom, I find profound insight into what Jesus constantly taught, pointing his followers in the direction of the “way” of compassion.   

I think it may be true that without the Buddha I could not be a Christian.

A Zen saying comes to mind:

There are many paths up the Mountain,
but the view of the moon from the top is the same.




Listen to my podcast:"Desert Wisdom"