The spiritual life does not remove us from the world but leads us deeper into it. – Henri J. M. Nouwen
I admittedly struggle in my life’s work as a global educator. The systemic issues of poverty, suffering and inhumane labor practices at times shackle my heart and mind with an unbending futility.
I must constantly move into some form of mental reconciliation, referring to Jesus’ instruction to be in the world but not of it. None of us see, hear or experience the entirety of infinite intelligence at play, what some would call our infinite karmic blueprint. We only see what’s in front of us through our limited physical vision. I falter when responding from "in the world" perspective without partnering with what Ram Dass termed "keeping your heart open in hell". Faith makes the suffering bearable; action helps the sufferer.
The cultivation of a compassionate heart requires it to be both broken and operational. It’s like the monk who is...
Northeast of Bodhgaya, India is a terrain of rocky hills and brush populated by slums. Situated inside one of these hills is the Praghbodhi Cave, the place where Siddhartha Guatama was believed to have lived for 7 years among ascetics who fervently believed that poverty was the pathway to enlightenment. Here he subsisted on little, becoming emaciated and ill before departing that way of thinking and traveling towards the Bodhi Tree, his eventual experience of enlightenment.
If you time it correctly, arriving in the predawn hour, you can actually enter and spend alone time in the tiny candlelit rock chamber before the daily masses of Buddhist pilgrims arrive for worship in the monastery that now surround it.
I’ve been captivated by the energy of the small cave on my visits there. I’ve often wondered what happened within the heart and mind of Siddhartha on the day he determined, “Enough.”
What motivated him to end his allegiance to this chosen path of...
…the time between one occurrence and another
…the period of time between now and when something is supposed to happen.
Recently, when meditating on this common phrase, it occurred to me that how we are “in the meantime” quite possibly is the most telling barometer of one’s state of spiritual maturity.
Between the “substance of things hoped for” phase and having the tangible experience of that thing, were we cool and assured or did we break a sweat in the heat of worry and concern over our hopes and dreams not happening? Were we flexible and curious in the ways and means our dream would arrive or did we micro manage and try to control every part of the timeline.
If you're like me, every 'in the meantime' brings about the opportunity to reexamine what we say we believe in.
What we do in the meantime counts for everything that defines our life. By the word do I mean the way we think, speak and behave.
This span of time...
Those who experience the unity of life see their own self in all beings and all beings in their own self. – Buddha
Imagine an endless net where in each knot of the infinite mass of intersecting squares, a jewel is sewn. Each pristine jewel reflects all the other jewels in the net, the same method produced when two-way mirrors are placed opposite each other and reflect an image ad infinitum.
In Buddhist teachings this net is referred to as The Net of Indra. Each jewel represents an individual life form, atom, cell or unit of consciousness. Every jewel is intimately connected with all the others and a change in one jewel means a change, however slight, in all the others.
Stephen Mitchell, in his book The Enlightened Mind, wrote: “The Net of Indra is a profound metaphor for the structure of reality.” It reveals what physicists agree to be a powerful illustration of our universe and what Science of Mind often refers to as the interconnectedness of all things. It...