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Showing posts from September, 2011

An Alpine Stream of Consciousness (Part 3 of 3)

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I’m awakened from slumber by the sound of footsteps heading up the trail outside. I listen after them for a time, but the rushing alpine stream has already washed away all traces with its omnipresent roar. Perhaps I’m merely imagining things. More likely, though, I’m not. Someone – or even a whole group of stealthy trekkers, for that matter – is likely making their way up to Belford in the predawn darkness in order to make it to the summit and back down before any storms have a chance to develop. I unzip my tent door and peer outside. Daylight has broken – somewhere on the other side of Oxford, anyway. I can tell by the way it lights up the bottom of the cloud cover billowing and rolling over the summit ridge of Mount Missouri. It’s still way too dark, however, for me to make out any sign of movement along the switchbacks zigzagging with staircase-like regularity up the shoulder of MountBelford.




I puff a few more breaths into my pillow and pull myself into a seated position atop it. …

May Their Compassion Embrace Us - A Tribute to Ginny Morgan

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I feel compelled to interrupt the flow of my Alpine Stream of Consciousness series in order to pay homage to a woman whose Dharma teaching has had a profound impact on me for over four years now. I just learned that Ginny Morgan passed away on Tuesday, August 30th after living with cancer for longer than I have known her. Readers of this blog will know that, despite my being a Soto Zen practitioner, I’ve tried to recognize wisdom wherever it is to be found – be it amongst the various branches of Buddhism, the Abrahamic religions, Native American Spirituality, Yoga, Tai Chi, etc. In that regard, Ginny and I are kindred spirits.


Ginny was a teacher in the Insight Meditation tradition. She lived a couple of hours away in Columbia, Missouri, and so I only ever saw her when I was attending one of the meditation retreats that she was leading. During those retreats her Dharma talks often took on a free form sort of character – not without structure, mind you, but nevertheless shaped by the …

An Alpine Stream of Consciousness (Part 2 of 3)

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Hello everyone. I apologize for the delay in finishing this post. It ended up being a little bit more involved than I’d first anticipated; and that was before I became obsessive about its editing! Yes, it’s long; and, yes, it’s long in coming. But I do hope you enjoy it and find it to be a meaningful read. I've change the names of the individuals involved in order to protect their privacy
An Alpine Stream of Consciousness (Part 2 of 3)
I wake up when I wake up and without even leaving my bed I fold the pillows over onto themselves in order to fashion them into a passable meditation seat. It’s difficult to keep from thinking about the mountains as I sit, but eventually I do – allowing the overall ‘felt sense’ of my anticipation to come to the fore. In time, though, this too subsides and I settle into simply paying attention to the many sounds and sensations and wispy clouds of cognition as they arise and pass away.

After showering I pack away my cotton attire of the previous day. “Co…