Living Forward

Coloma ghost town, Montana (from my recent trip with Jen and Patia)Another day is upon us, sweet new light and life. As much as I love the summers (read sunshine and long days) in Montana, I have to say that I look forward to the fall this year. Along with the transition of the new school year, fall in Montana brings gorgeous colors. But perhaps most of all, the changing season brings the sort of mental 'settling in' that I've needed for a while now. It brings opportunity to simplify, to … [Read more...]

First Day of Class

Gallagher Business Building October 2006What an amazing day. I awoke to stormy skies and blustery winds through my windows and began my day just as I would any other: shower, breakfast, coffee. I read a bit, I wrote a bit. Then, around noon, it began. I was going 'to class'.Now, granted, I'm a T.A., not a professor, not a student, but still I was going to class. True to form I worked on things right to the last minute, making my journey to campus and the GBB (pictured above) a frantic … [Read more...]

Gratitude Journal

Garnet ghost town, MontanaThings to be grateful for? Hmmm... So many. Peace - of mind, of body, of living in harmony with work, people, studies, nature; of sitting on the porch and listening to squirrels bickering back and forth across the street, the distant hum of power tools as homeowners take advantage of this beautiful day to work outside, of having a Pepsi even though I know it's bad for me because it reminds me of growing up and summer days like this; of living on a street where the only … [Read more...]

The Dao of Reading

Missoula Sunset, 8-19-08Last night's "Dharma Tuesday" centered on the simple act of reading a sutra. What benefits may be gained in this practice? Why, in Buddhism, which seems so focused experience and activity in the world, are texts so important?I recall learning years ago of a discussion amongst two Greek philosophers, perhaps Socrates and an interlocutor. In the dialog, one of the great thinkers lamented the invention of writing. He said that now people will simply write down great … [Read more...]

Gratitude Journal

It's been a bit since my last gratitude post. As usual, I suppose, I've spent the time with friends, in nature, and hard at work. In my more pensive moments, I've found myself asking: what's it all about? (and I laugh now) And my mind tends to toss and turn, this way and that. Until, out of the depths comes a soft answer: service. Hokey, perhaps. Or just too obvious. But it's the same answer time and again, and it seems to be the only answer that breaks the cycle. So the next question is: … [Read more...]

Everyone Needs a Fish Bowl

This is the conclusion of a fascinating talk on TED by psychologist Barry Schwartz. It follows my last post perfectly, so I thought I should share it with y'all. His latest book discusses the paradox of choice, how we think it makes us happy, but actually doesn't. Have a watch: … [Read more...]

Complete Simplicity of Character

"Through cultivating and refining the perfections [Buddhist virtues], the practitioner ascends to the stage of a kalyana-puthujjana, or virtuous worldling -- this being equivalent to the attainment of "complete simplicity of character." During this process ... greed, ill-will, and pride gradually diminish and the practitioner spontaneously begins to feel disenchantement with the world." from The Goal and the Path of the Great "generation of mind" Essoteric TeachingBurma, 1987My niece Tyera … [Read more...]

Remarkable Beauty

And I don't just mean my travel partner...This weekend I postponed a trip to see my folks in Helena (leaving tomorrow) to grab an opportunity to visit Glacier National Park. It was the perfect end to a long and wonderful week. The Center for Ethics had just concluded hosted Debating Science, a major project bringing around 30 graduate students, mostly in the sciences, together with experts in the fields of Biotech, Nanotech, and Climate Change for five intense days of lectures, seminars, and … [Read more...]