Wednesday, July 04, 2012


Patriotism is a thing difficult to put into words. It is neither precisely an emotion nor an opinion, nor a mandate, but a state of mind—a reflection of our own personal sense of worth, and respect for our roots. Love of country plays a part, but it’s not merely love. Neither is it pride, although pride too is one of the ingredients.

Patriotism is a commitment to what is best inside us all. And it’s a recognition of that wondrous common essence in our greater surroundings—our school, team, city, state, our immediate society—often ultimately delineated by our ethnic roots and borders . . . but not always.

Indeed, these border lines are so fluid . . . And we do not pay allegiance as much as we resonate with a shared spirit.

We all feel an undeniable bond with the land where we were born. And yet, if we leave it for another, we grow to feel a similar bond, often of a more complex nature. Both are forms of patriotism—the first, involuntary, by birth, the second by choice.

Neither is less worthy than the other.

But one is earned.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Iced Tea: Meditation Puzzle

Imagine a delicious glass of summer iced tea.

Take a long cool sip. Listen to the ice crackle and clink.

Is the glass part full or part empty?

Take another sip.

And now?

Friday, June 15, 2012

Sun, Moon, and Starry Sky

Early summer evenings, when the first stars come out, the warm glow of sunset still stains the rim of the western sky.

Sometimes, the moon is also visible, a pale white slice, while the sun tarries.

Just think—all the celestial lights are present at the same time!

These are moments of wonder—see them and remember.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

June Gloom

What a strange thing it is to wake up to a milk-white overcast June morning! The sun is hidden by a thick cotton blanket of clouds, and the air is vapor-filled and hazy with a concentration of blooming scent.

The world is somnolent and cool, in a temporary reprieve from the normal heat and radiance.

But the sensation of illusion is strong. Because the sun can break through the clouds at any moment . . .

What a soft thoughtful time.

In this illusory gloom, like a night-blooming flower, let your imagination bloom in a riot of color.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

May Day!

In the old days, May 1st was considered the coming of spring, and celebrated as a new beginning.

At one point, it even became an official distress call, spoken three times to request help.

In more modern times, it evolved to become the international day of the working people.

Whether the first day of May is Beltane, Samhain, Walpurgis Night, Labor Day, International Workers Day, Lei Day, Loyalty Day, Roodmas, or a bank holiday; whether it involves a carnival, marching in parades, the crowning of the Queen of May and circle dancing round the Maypole, be sure to remember that this day is extraordinary!

What is your May Day like?

Sunday, April 15, 2012

The Fern and the Cactus

The cactus thrives in the desert while the fern thrives in the wetland.

The fool will try to plant them in the same flowerbox.

The florist will sigh and add a wall divider and proper soil to both sides.

The grandparent will move the flowerbox halfway out of the sun.

The child will turn it around properly so that the fern is in the shade, and not the cactus.

The moral of the story?

Kids are smart.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

A Boomerang

A boomerang returns back to the person who throws it.

But first, while moving in a circle, it hits its target.

So does gossip.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Your True Name

Most of us have nicknames—annoying, endearing, embarrassing.

But what about your true name?

It is not necessarily your given name. But it is the one to which you are most eager to respond when called.

Ever wonder why?

Your true name has the secret power to call you.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Save the World

It does not take a great supernatural heroine or magical hero to save the world.

We all save it every day, and we all destroy it -- in our own small ways -- by every choice we make and every tiniest action resulting from that choice.

The next time you feel useless and impotent, remember what you are in fact doing in this very moment. And then observe your tiny, seemingly meaningless acts and choices coalesce and cascade together into a powerful positive whole.

The world -- if it could -- will thank you for it.

And if it does not... well, a true heroine or hero does not require it.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Life and Story

The difference between real life and a story is that life has significance, while a story must have meaning.

The former is not always apparent, while the latter always has to be, before the end.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Monday, March 12, 2012

Not So Random

Luck is not as random as you think.

Before that lottery ticket won the jackpot, someone had to buy it.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Wise Marriage

Wisdom is nothing more than the marriage of intelligence and compassion.

And, as with all good unions, it takes much experience and time to reach its widest potential.

Have you introduced your intellect to your compassion yet? Be careful; lately, intellect has taken to eating in front of the TV and compassion has taken in too many cats.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Pleasure: The Wind

Close your eyes and turn your face into the wind.

Feel it sweep along your skin in an invisible ocean of exultation.

Suddenly, you know you are alive.

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Woman: Meditation Puzzle

A woman is human.

She is not better, wiser, stronger, more intelligent, more creative, or more responsible than a man.

Likewise, she is never less.

Equality is a given.

A woman is human.

Friday, March 02, 2012

Act of Creation

One of the strangest things is the act of creation.

You are faced with a blank slate—a page, a canvas, a block of stone or wood, a silent musical instrument.

You then look inside yourself. You pull and tug and squeeze and fish around for slippery raw shapeless things that swim like fish made of cloud vapor and fill you with living clamor. You latch onto something. And you bring it forth out of your head like Zeus giving birth to Athena.

And as it comes out, it takes shape and tangible form.

It drips on the canvas, and slides through your pen, it springs forth and resonates into the musical strings, and slips along the edge of the sculptor’s tool onto the surface of the wood or marble.

You have given it cohesion. You have brought forth something ordered and beautiful out of nothing.

You have glimpsed the divine.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Quantum Ghost

Today is an ephemeral ghost . . .

A strange amazing day that comes only once every four years. For the rest of the time it does not “exist.”

In mundane terms, it marks a “leap” in time, when the calendar is adjusted to make up for extra seconds accumulated over the preceding three years due to the rotation of the earth. A day of temporal tune up!

But this day holds another secret—it contains one of those truly rare moments of delightful transience and light uncertainty that only exist on the razor edge of things, along a buzzing plane of quantum probability . . .

A day of unlocked potential.

Will you or won’t you? Should you or shouldn’t you?

Use this day to do something daring, extraordinary and unlike yourself. Take a chance and shape a different pattern in your personal cloud of probability!

Friday, February 24, 2012


Incidentally, the world is magical.

Magic is simply what’s off our human scale . . . at the moment.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Secret Ignorance

It’s a fact—everyone is ignorant in some way or another.

Ignorance is our deepest secret.

And it is one of the scariest things out there, because those of us who are most ignorant are also the ones who often don’t know it or don’t want to admit it.

Here is a quick test:

If you have never changed your mind about some fundamental tenet of your belief, if you have never questioned the basics, and if you have no wish to do so, then you are likely ignorant.

Before it is too late, go out there and find someone who, in your opinion, believes, assumes, or considers certain things very strongly and very differently from you, and just have a basic honest conversation.

It will do both of you good.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Wisdom and Beauty

Why is wisdom so fair? Why is beauty so wise?

Because all else is temporary, while beauty and wisdom are the only real and constant aspects of truth that can be perceived by human means.

And I don’t mean the kind of surface beauty that fades with age, or the sort of shallow wisdom that gets lost in platitudes.

True beauty grips your gut and squeezes your lungs, and makes you see with utmost clarity exactly what is before you.

True wisdom then steps in, to interpret, illuminate, and form a life-altering insight.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


Love—not dim and blind but so far-seeing that it can glimpse around corners, around bends and twists and illusion; instead of overlooking faults love sees through them to the secret inside.

from “The Story of Love” by Vera Nazarian

Monday, February 13, 2012

Personal Justice

You cannot be fair to others without first being fair to yourself.

Know that a well-honed sense of justice is a measure of personal experience, and all experience is a measure of self.

Know that the highest expression of justice is mercy.

Thus, as the supreme judge in your own court, you must have compassion for yourself.

Otherwise, cede your gavel.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Use Your Relief

Relief is a great feeling.

It’s the emotional and physical reward we receive from our bodies upon alleviation of pain, pressure and struggle. A time to bask in the lack of the negative.

And yet, think about it—relief is really the status quo, a negation of the suffering, a nothing in itself. It is the way things were before the pressure and struggle began.

So, is it a step back? A regression?

Or is it an opportunity to regroup, start over, and move in a different direction?

Use your moment of relief well.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Karma Smackdown

Karma has been a pop culture term for ages. But really, what the heck is it?

Karma is not an inviolate engine of cosmic punishment. Rather, it is a neutral sequence of acts, results, and consequences.

Receiving misfortune does not necessarily indicate that one has committed evil. But it is a sufficient indicator of something else.

And that something else can be anything, as long as it is a logical consequence of what has come before.

Consider: if you fall into a well, you are not a bad person who deserves to suffer—you are merely someone who took a wrong step. Or someone who had one drink too many. Or got a head rush due to poor circulation. Or forgot to wear your glasses. Or—

The reasons are plentiful, and all plausible. But the chain of cause and effect goes way, way back into the deepest hoariest recesses of your personal past.

So never rule out retribution. But never expect it.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Destiny and Free Will

Believe it or not, the notions of free will and destiny are not mutually exclusive.

Predestination is the universal framework of limits (based on natural physical laws) placed upon us.

Free will is our infinite ability to make choices within that framework.

Because the universal scale is so great—and most of it constitutes an undiscovered frontier—our choices are only limited by our knowledge, our abilities, and out imagination.

To put it simply, the world is such a huge playground sandbox that we will never run out of sand or reach the faraway safety fence of destiny.

So go out there and play!

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

A Metaphor

On this material plane, each living being is like a street lantern lamp with a dirty lampshade.

The inside flame burns evenly and is of the same quality as all the rest—hence all of us are equal in the absolute sense, the essence, in the quality of our energy.

However, some of the lamps are “turned down” and having less light in them, burn fainter, (the beings have a less defined individuality, are less in tune with the universal All which is the same as the Will)—hence all of us are unequal in a relative sense, some of us being more aware (human beings), and others being less aware (animal beings), with small wills and small flames.

The lampshades of all are stained with the clutter of the material reality or the physical world.

As a result, it is difficult for the light of each lamp to shine through to the outside and it is also difficult to see what is on the other side of the lampshade that represents the external world (a great thick muddy ocean of fog), and hence to “feel” a connection with the other lantern lamps (other beings).

The lampshade is the physical body immersed in the ocean of the material world, and the limiting host of senses that it comes with.

The dirt of the lampshade results from the cluttering bulk of life experience accumulated without a specific goal or purpose.

The dirtier the lampshade, the less connection each soul has to the rest of the universe—and this includes its sense of connection to other beings, its sense of dual presence in the material world and the metaphysical world, and the thin connection line to the wick of fuel or the flow of electricity that resides beyond the material plane and is the universal energy.

To remain “lit” each lantern lamp must tap into the universal Source of energy.

If the link is weak, depression and-or illness sets in.

If the link is strong, life persists.

This metaphor to me best illustrates the universe.