Friday, November 28, 2014


A mirror naturally reflects whatever is put in front of it, such that the two are indistinguishable.

A pristine lake naturally reflects the world around it.

Our cities are natural reflections of the people living there.

Our homes natural reflections of our family and values.

Our world is a natural reflection of our mind and mental states.

Your world is a reflection of your mind.

What does your mind look like?

Tuesday, November 25, 2014


You have an opportunity available to you.

It may not always appear to be the case.  You may look around and wait for others to go first.  You may think that your situation is too hard, too unique. 

But that is the thing about privilege, when you have it you should take advantage of it and advocate for those who don't have it.

You have the privilege of being able to be generous and kind.  You have the privilege to treat others with respect and honesty.  You have the privilege to do the right thing, to be a good person.

You have the privilege of being able to help others- Don't waste it.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Where do I start?

Integrating your practice can be hard. 

You try to be generous, patient and kind.
You try to sit with resistance and discomfort.
You try to dance with anger, attachment and ignorance, to not get swept away by their momentum.
You try to look deeply, to make connections and draw out implications.

You try to do those things, but where do you start?

We start with our family and loved ones.  We start with our friends, our sangha and our community.  We start in our workplace and in our home.

Then, as we cut through our own confusion, we stop fighting with our families.
Then, as we cut through our own negative emotions, we stop struggling at work.
Then, as we loosen our attachment  to me and mine, our community expands and is more peaceful.
Then, as we realize how much wealth we really have- a wealth of confidence, joy and a good heart-
then we can truly share our generosity, love and kindness.

And we continue our practice.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014


All that study, yet it doesn't fit together.
All that information, but no sure way to act.
All those years of dedication, but still the struggle to find balance.

The ability to make connections is vital to your practice.  Study broad and deep, but distill the essence to bring it all together.  Expand and elaborate, then summarize the key point.

When you understand the essence, everything else makes sense.  You see the relationship and the bigger picture.  You see the next step, the possibility.

Without the essence, you're all head.
With the essence, you're all heart.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Turning pessimism into practice.

We all have moments of doubts and uncertainty.  It is easy to be pessimistic today with the decline in community and social values, rampant political and religious misconduct, along with our materialistic culture that emphasizes name, fame and fortune.  We could use pessimism to further isolate ourselves, to protect ourselves from vulnerability and to build up higher and higher walls of insulation.

Or we could bring our pessimism into our practice.

"I can't do this."  Why not?  Let's look deeper.  Is it because you might fail or because you literally don't have the skills to do this?  Is it possible but simply requires too much work that you cannot take up right now?  What is it that you are getting stuck on?

"This isn't going to work."  Maybe that is true.  Maybe you are doing something that has never been done before and this might not work.  That would be okay.  Actually, that would be great.  You would be pushing the envelope, testing your limits.  If it has already worked for someone else, but you don't think it is going to work for you, why? 

"I need a break." Okay, rest.  But are you resting so you can stop, so you can turn around and go home?  Are you resting because you are physically tired or is your mind picking limits for you? 

Pessimism really gives us a chance to examine ourselves, to examine our limits and our fear.  It can provide us with insight and understanding, while still entertaining doubt and uncertainty. 

It is okay to have doubt and uncertainty, but use it for examination.  Use it for insight on your path.

Friday, November 14, 2014


Our natural state is one of peace, joy and contentment.  It is a state of natural rest and clarity.

What prevents us from abiding in our natural state?


Afflictions can come in the form of physical discomfort and illness, emotional turmoil and mental neurosis.  They arise in a mind preoccupied with the past and future.  A mind that is chasing and grasping is fertile ground for the afflictions.  Our innate selfishness is a deep root from which the afflictions continually grow.

In an effort to regain our natural state, we attempt to soothe the afflictions.  How?

Money. Entertainment. Alcohol. Food. Power. Vacation. All sorts of remedies really.

But do any of these really work or are they themselves driven by neurosis and selfishness?

Your practice should soothe the afflictions.  It should cut through discursive thought, weaken grasping and fixation, and reduce selfishness even if only by a sliver. 

We teach children to soothe themselves at a very young age, but we seem to have lost this skill with age.  Time to regain the practice.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Focus on your practice.

I think we all want to live purposeful lives.  We want our lives to have meaning and be of value.  We want to share our gifts with the world and to benefit others, but how do we do that?

For most of us our gifts are not readily apparent, and if they are we often don't know how to share them.  We often don't know how to coordinate our work, relationships, our families.  We may find ourselves making either/or decisions- family or career, push ahead or give up, succeed or fail.

How do we bring all of this onto the path?

Focus on your practice.

When you focus on your practice, your relationships benefit and are included in your practice.
When you focus on your practice, your work benefits and is included in your practice.
When you focus on your practice, your family benefits and is included in your practice.
When you focus on your practice, your problems and stress are included in your practice and become catalysts of your path.

Clarify your practice, and your practice clarifies you.
Experience value in your practice, and you experience your own value.
Discover the meaning of your practice, and discover your own meaning.

So what is your practice?

Do not take this question lightly.  Find it, clarify it, and everything else falls into place.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

When information is not enough.

We live in an age of information.  It is right at the tip of our fingers, but what do we do with it?

How do we apply it to our situation?  When do we know if it is working?

There is a certain comfort that comes with knowing where to go to get the right answer, but how do you apply that knowledge in a new context?  How does it apply to your context?  How do the facts actually benefit you? 

Information was once held by the powerful to establish hierarchy and maintain the status quo.  Now information is freely available and yet we often still feel powerless.  Why?

Knowledge and experience are two different things.  It is like reading and planning for a trip to a distant city versus actually going there.  You need to make the journey to make the knowledge real, to make it your own.  Having never stepped a foot in the direction of that which you read about, how can you proclaim to know the subtlety of its experience.

You must walk the path

Monday, November 3, 2014

What is your vessel?

When you wake each morning and rise from bed, what vessel do you use to move forward through your day?

Is it profit or gain.  Conquest and power.  Do you set your sights on simply making it through? 

What carries you through the good moments and the bad?  What allows you to bear witness to the extraordinary and painful?  What allows you to enjoy your meal and drink deeply, while also allowing you to sit with hunger and thirst?

Does the nature of your vessel give rise to love and kindness or do these need to be fabricated on their own?  Does your vessel allow for generosity and patience or are those extraneous virtues that only arise through effort?  Is your vessel a source of insight and wisdom? 

Take impermanence as your vessel

It will carry you across beautiful waters and rough seas.
It will bring enjoyment to your meals and quell the hollows of your hunger.
It naturally gives rise to kindness and compassion,
and is the source of unending insight and wisdom.

Take impermanence as your vessel and use it to live a life of kindness and generosity.  Use it to fulfill your own aims and the aims of others. 

Use it, because it will not last.