Showing posts from December, 2011

Loving Again (For The Very First Time)

“Well, this will just make room in your life for someone better to come along.” Those words closed around my heart like a fist. Better? Better than the woman I love? Better than my wife? Yes, I felt deeply hurt, and, yes, I felt more incredibly betrayed than I think I could possibly feel, but a love that’s real is not blown away by such winds of circumstance, is it? What did “better” even mean, anyway? Do we have some mental checklist of criteria, both conscious and unconscious, the satisfactory completion of which signifies love – with more checked boxes corresponding to a “better” love, and “best” corresponding to some theoretically perfect love in which all possible criteria are checked? If that were so then love would merely reside in the mundane realm of convenient transactions: I love you as long as your actions please me. I love you as long as you give me what I desire. I love you as long as you continue to fulfill my needs. If that is the true nature of love, I pondered, then…

The Three Conceits (and My Own Subtle Arrogance)

When we’re young and healthy and happy, and flush with the enjoyment of our vigor and our physical and mental prowess, it might be hard to recognize the merits of spiritual practice. Such is the purview of the old and weak, the timid and the sick, and those who for some strange reason choose to focus on the negative aspects of life when the golden ring of youthful pleasure is theirs for the grasping; or so we might think, anyway. The Samiddhi Sutta touches on this issue, among others. It tells of how one of the Buddha’s followers, the youthful Samiddhi, was bathing in a hot spring one morning before going out to beg for his daily meal. A beautiful deva appeared and hovered in the air before him. They bantered for a time in verse, and then she descended and spoke:
You are young, bhikkhu, to have left the world, black-haired, with the bloom of youth. In your youthful prime you do not enjoy the pleasures of the senses. Get your fill, bhikkhu, of human pleasures. Don't reject the pre…

The Bardo Realm of Grief

Back in my post entitled Dependent Origination - Past Life and the Twelvefold Chain (Part 3 of 5), I stated that “if you are inclined to think of ‘past life’ in terms of reincarnation [as opposed to previous moment of existence], you cannot find a more profoundly beautiful description of the process of its unfolding than in The Tibetan Book of the Dead.” My reason for considering it so beautiful is primarily related to my thinking that it is an incredibly just system in that “[the] process results in the individual actually choosing a subsequent birth that is perfectly tuned to the spiritual progress that they have yet to make – a birth that is commensurate with the nature of their attachment, aversion, and delusion.” In other words, there is no harsh and judging God and there is no eternal damnation. There is always an opportunity for redemption depending upon how we conduct ourselves in subsequent lives and what effort we put forth toward purifying our karma.

The process of choosin…

Love, Grief, and the Four Kinds of Horses

Wow, it’s hard to believe that almost a year has passed since I first started this blog! It has me feeling just a little bit reflective. Perhaps I should begin by letting you all know what an incredible experience this has been for me. The opportunity to touch people on a deep level all over the world, from perhaps fifty countries or more, (I haven’t actually counted them all) is one for which I am very grateful and humbled. I’d also like to thank you all for following, reading, commenting on, pondering, and sharing these posts. I really, really, deeply appreciate it.

When I first began contemplating the writing of this blog I was just beginning to feel once again the lightness of being that is so easily taken for granted when our lives are proceeding in so-called ‘normal’ fashion. Up until then I’d been navigating a “Bardo realm” of grief after the dissolution of my marriage. You know, really deep grief is something I would not wish on my worst enemy (not that I have any) and yet, a…

Absolute Freedom

Zen student to teacher: "I come seeking liberation."
Zen teacher to student: "Who has enslaved you? Show me your chains!" +

I’d departed from Shoshoni that morning with 100 miles of ‘rattlesnake country’ to ride through before arriving in Casper, Wyoming – my evening destination. I pedaled slowly, knowing full well that the afternoon would bring the hottest weather that I’d ridden in all year, and my longest ride in many, many a year. And on top of all of that I was tired. I was tired before I’d even begun, still recovering as I was from the sinus infection that had laid me low back in the Tetons, and the long ride from Cody to Thermopolis and then up through the Wind River Canyon – back in time and smack dab into the center of a raging thunderstorm. (See Desire, Aspiration, and Doing What We Can.) But none of that was of any consequence anymore, for there was nothing left to do but ride. Now, it might seem as though having nothing left to do would epitomize an utte…