who am i

a while back, i spent 2 entire days [48 hours] in a “who am i” exercise. about a hundred people at the pendle hill retreat center led by a spiritually advanced guy that lived in california in the desert. for 16 hours a day, we sat in groups of 2. one person would speak “who am i” for 15 minutes then the partner would speak “who am i” for 15 minutes. every half hour we changed partners. if you thought you got the answer, you would get a moment alone with the group leader to check your answer. at night we all slept on the floor in sleeping bags. at the end of 2 days, the group leader announced that not one of us “got it”. he never told us what answers were acceptable.
the answer he wanted was “i am spirit; i am the breath of god”.
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healing suffering and depression

the conventional wisdom for healing suffering and depression is talking therapy and antidepressant drugs. but thich nhat hahn says that by compassionate deep looking, we can ease the pain of another.

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rivers of living water

this is a snippet of a dialog between jesus and peter
jesus: peter, do you love me?
peter: yadda yadda yadda
jesus: feed my sheep
jesus: peter, do you love me?
peter: yadda yadda yadda
jesus: feed my sheep
jesus: peter, do you love me?
peter: yadda yadda yadda
jesus: feed my sheep

so what is this “feed my sheep”?

i know a lot of people that love jesus, and they all think “feed my sheep” means you say the gospel in words… or quote scripture at them.
if you don’t know about “out of your belly shall flow rivers of living water” you should find out.. the living water that flows from you is the Lord Himself. it flows from you to friends and neighbors. it is the water of life. flowing living water is the ability to heal suffering and bring joy and happiness to the person you love.

here’s another culture’s understanding of living water.
in this snippet, another word for living water is love.

<—Four Aspects of Love

The first aspect is loving-kindness or benevolence.  The desire and ability to bring joy and happiness to the person you love. to be able to give happiness and joy, you must practice deep looking directed toward the person you love.

Understanding is the essence of love. If you cannot understand, you cannot love. If a husband does not understand his wife’s deepest troubles, her deepest aspirations, and her suffering, he will not be able to love her in the right way. Without understanding, love is an impossible thing. Love is a true thing if it is made from understanding.

The second element of true love is compassion. This is not only the desire to ease the pain of another person, but the ability to do so. You must practice deep looking in order to gain a good understanding of the nature of the suffering in order to be able to help them. Knowledge and understanding are always at the root of the practice. The practice of understanding is the practice of meditation. To meditate is to look deeply into the heart of things.

The third element of true love is joy. If there is no joy in love, it is not true love.

The fourth element is freedom. When you love, you bring freedom to the person you love.  You must love in such a way that the person you love feels free, not only outside but also inside.—>

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an enlightenment story

here’s a place for silent retreats!

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stop my heart

when i lived in reading, my family doctor gave me an ekg for no other reason than “we need some baseline[billable] numbers..”. i had been waiting 45 minutes in an empty waiting room and had plenty of time to find my still center.
so the nurse strapped me in and while i was watching the little black pen line bumps, i thought “i wonder if. i can still stop my heart”? and i went flatline for about 20 seconds.. the nurse bumped me when she saw it and brought me back to this reality. she said “humph!! something wrong with the machine!” and she ripped out the flatline paper trail and threw it away.

when i was twenty something, i lived at kripalu ashram for three years. we practiced raja yoga and meditated 4 hours a day, two hours in the morning and two hours in the evening, sometime i was able to step aside from myself and watch me. once, i saw my breathing stop. my heart stop. and my brainwaves slow to once every six seconds. i don’t do that anymore.. i think.

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emanuel swedenborg

i’ve known about emanuel swedenborg for a long time, but i just lately started reading him. i was fascinated with his stories about love and marriage.

then i woke up with a start one morning with the realization that his stories are all fantasy.
his writings seem to be dictated to him by an angel ‘friend’.
i erased all his writings i had downloaded.

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diamond heart

thich nhat hanh teaches both the heart sutra and the diamond sutra.

the heart sutra teaches that beyond this reality there are no physical objects.
the diamond sutra teaches that beyond this reality there is no teaching, no words, no ideas, and no morality.

nice ideas, but you have to be there to experience them.
and i think the buddhists use way too many words to explain stuff.

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lao tzu on teaching without words

The sage manages affairs without action (wu-wei), and imparts teaching without speech. Ten thousand things arise and he does not initiate them, they come to be and he claims no possession of them. He works without holding on, accomplishes without claiming merit. Because he does not claim merit, his merit does not go away.

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mary alice

mary alice is one of my hero[ine]s
she was passing through reading pa as a young mennonite missionary to central america and she found a need for teaching english as a second language to the latino community. so she bought a house in reading in a neighborhood swarming with drug dealers, prostitutes, and gunfire.
she stayed for years.
i met her just before she retired.
she said – the drug dealers and prostitutes are gone and the birds came back.


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the law of attraction

the law of attraction is seductive and compelling.
it’s the same health and wealth gospel that grows megachurches.
and who wouldn’t want good health, lots of money, and an awesome love life?

but the law of attraction is all about ME, ME, and don’t forget ME!
it’s backwards from walk in love.
divine love is all about YOUR wellbeing.
and a side effect of divine love is joy and peace.

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