The light beneath sleep

The light beneath sleep Sometimes, underneath deep sleep is a certain diffused glow, as, in the rainforest, luminous toadstools glow green among the leaf litterand beetles crawl about with winking abdomens. One night when I followed this glow I came to an upturned tree that was a kind of cathedral for glowworms and the light beat against my face, my chest and my hands. At the end of the corridor of sleep, a dream stands. It may be that at the end of the corridor of death there is the … [Read more...]

Godtalk and the Quest for Meaning and How We Sometimes Get Distracted

Once again over at my Unitarian Universalist minister's chat the subject of godtalk has overwhelmed the board.It is interesting. I freely admit.Two decades ago a UU minister who used the word God in the pulpit could be in trouble with the congregation. A decade ago I casually mentioned in the pulpit my own nontheism and found myself visited by elders who were worried that people might misunderstand what I meant... Today you can find ministers who think hard atheism has no place in our … [Read more...]

Doing Nothing

Where have you been?Out.What have you been doing?Nothing.It is time to sing the praises of doing nothing.Nothing.Taking time off. Time for oneself.Delicious stuff.And in history a fairly rare thing. For most of humanity for most of time, time has been, is work. Rest is occasional. Doing nothing scorned if not actually criminal.One of the great gifts of the Jewish tradition was the idea of sabbath of rest as sacred. I am also forever indebted to the Taoist wisdom of doing nothing. They got it … [Read more...]

Dance Me

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Thinking of Harry Patch

Today Harry was laid to rest.He had been offered a State funeral. He declined. He wanted a private burial. And he'll get that. But he could not avoid his fame and the need for a public funeral, which took place at the Cathedral in Wells.I first heard of him simply as the oldest Englishman who had died at the age of one hundred eleven. Turned out he was also the last survivor of the trenches of World War One.And then it turned out in addition to some heroics during the war he was an unalterable … [Read more...]

Thinking of Nelson Mandela

In our generation there are few individuals who shine forth as does Nelson Mandela.I've thought a lot about him and how he became Nelson Mandela.On this day in 1962 a young revolutionary leader was jailed. I don't know a lot about that man. But he wasn't Mandela, not the Mandela.I wish no such experience for anyone. And such an experience is much more likely to produce bitterness, hatred and a burning desire for revenge. Or, just to break someone completely...We can't call what the ingredients … [Read more...]

Happy Birthday, Mr President

Contrary to what you may have read elsewhere on the web Barack Hussein Obama was born on this day in Honolulu, Hawaii... … [Read more...]

Buddhist Texts in the Current Unitarian Universalist Hymnal

The scholarly blog Transient and Permanent recently posted a list of Buddhist contributions used in the current Unitarian Universalist hymnal, along with corrections of attribution. As I consider the Buddhist influence within contemporary Unitarian Universalism particularly interesting it seemed worthwhile cross posting...Between themselves, Philocrites and Paul Oakley came up with all of the Buddhist contributions to Singing the Living Tradition, the current hymnal of the Unitarian Universalist … [Read more...]

Wishing the Pope a Happy Birthday

Probably not the one you're thinking of.Nazeer Gayed was born on the 3rd of August, 1923.He was elected pope of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandia and head of the Holy Synod of the Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria and installed on the 14th of November, 1971.I find him one of the more interesting of contemporary Christian leaders... … [Read more...]

Zen Meditation as Objectless Curiosity

For the past few years I've felt what we teach at the Boundless Way was the Harada Yasutani koan curriculum resting upon a base of shikantaza.I realize that's not quite right.We actually offer a single practice. Standing here we call it shikantaza. Standing here we call it koan introspection.From one position we say sit down, shut up and pay attention.From the other position we throw out points of engagement from our tradition to grab that attention.Here I'm thinking about what we mean when we … [Read more...]