September 3, 2018

In many ways, writing is listening and simply taking notes. One of the reasons I love the process of writing is that it enables me to listen until my loneliness opens into a blessed sense of aloneness. The gift of deep silence is that it allows us to let go of what we want so we can receive what we have. I’ve always been a learner of the heart, not a specialist of the mind. I can dissect and hone… Read more

August 27, 2018

Access to knowledge is a major step in deepening community, because it welcomes individuals into the ongoing conversation that is the life of community. A compelling example took place in Hanyang, Korea (now Seoul, South Korea), in 1443, when Sejong the Great (1397-1450) had a new phonetic alphabet, Hangul, created for the people of Korea. This extended literacy beyond the ruling class. With the creation of Hangul, knowledge and the conversation it opens became available to everyone. Now everyone had… Read more

August 20, 2018

When overwhelmed by the suffering, bring water to the first you find. When you can’t grasp, embody.   All life depends on water. As such, access to water has become a universal right in the world, regardless of faith, country, privilege, or poverty. Throughout the world, in a legal and common law way, people, corporations, and countries have access to water, but no one owns the water. What this means is that if a river passes through your land, you… Read more

August 15, 2018

A great many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices. —William James I was at the airport, traveling to New York, waiting to go through security with my passport out, when I noticed for the first time that each page has a quote on it. And two of them, back to back, capture the way we work with and against community in our American culture. On page 20, Lyndon Johnson says, “This is what America… Read more

July 23, 2018

The humane sense of community envisioned by Confucius beholds society as a structure of human relationships that can be maintained and renewed through daily rituals. Believing that a healthy society is based on a healthy individual, Confucius said, “To put the world in order, we must first put the nation in order; to put the nation in order, we must first put the family in order; to put the family in order; we must first cultivate our personal life; we… Read more

July 16, 2018

Despite all our differences, the unity of [hu]mankind will assert itself irresistibly. —Carl Jung   In my thirties, I almost died from a rare form of lymphoma. During that time, I encountered a strange and potent inversion of how we claim to care for each other in America. While it’s widely known in the province of law that we are innocent till proven guilty, once ill, we find ourselves in the province of medicine where we are sick till proven… Read more

July 9, 2018

As pollen gathers and disperses, as inlets form and wash away, instances of meaningful community cannot last. Eventually, they will disperse, not because there is something wrong with them, but because all forms are impermanent and run their cycle. Whether they form for a day or three hundred years, they surface from the reservoir of life-force and eventually join other confluences further downstream. However long, short, wide, or deep a true community might be, its impact is timeless. So the… Read more

July 3, 2018

We cannot live for ourselves alone. Our lives are connected by a thousand invisible threads, and along these sympathetic fibers, our actions run as causes and return to us as results. —Herman Melville The sympathetic fibers that Melville refers to can become visible—but only to those who open their hearts. The Diné (Navajo) say that seeking wholeness is personal, an individual journey, while seeking harmony is transpersonal, a communal journey. The Diné word Ahyo-oh’-oh-ni means to bring one into harmony… Read more

June 25, 2018

An old friend drove me into the Santa Fe National Forest so we could walk the aspen grove. Walking among them, touching them, listening to their creak and sway, I could feel their connectedness. Above ground, aspen grow as individual trees, but belowground they’re enlivened by one interconnected set of roots. They are the most expansive growth of trees to share a common root system. This means they are one living organism and one living community—at the same time! This… Read more

June 22, 2018

I was in Vancouver at the Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia when I entered a rotunda whose seats are scalloped like ripples in a deep lake. At the center of the ripples, where the stone would have dropped, is an enormous wood sculpture of a large bird on a half-open shell in which humans are waking. Some of the waking figures are eager to come out, while others are hesitant. The larger than life carving is… Read more

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