Sufi masters often say that the secrets of the Path are handed heart-to-heart, like seeds, for you to grow in your flesh garden.
In the past Winter Intensive, I said — though perhaps not as loudly as I felt — that a teaching which is not handed heart-to-heart has no Reality, it won’t contain the experience of spiritual lineage transmission. Sufis are big on experience. So, first of all, this is truth, not a bid for control or a slash of stinginess or cloud of mystique. And second, it underlines the respect with which true matters — like one’s life, one’s opportunity — are best approached. We can always approach ourselves with contempt and derision, and many of us do, but a healthier, more fruitful attitude is respect and appreciation. Read more
Alia Thabit and I recorded a recent conversation about Daily Practice and Dancemeditation Path. Here is an excerpt from our extended conversation. Read more
One must have enough to engage in Path. What is the right amount?
I have always felt that choosing simplicity—which is not quite the same as poverty but similar—was less of a strain on the ecosystem. Have what is essential. Don’t indulge. Animals get this equation right. Humans have to work at it. Buddhists, Sufis, Yogis, and pretty much all Paths, know about appetites and the need for simplicity. Read more
Late September on Apache Mesa
A towhee rustles in the scrub oak. For this I love the oak.
Sun dimples two bright dots on rounded haunches of the blue ceramic Japanese tea cup Kathy gave me. Its delicate craquelure beneath shiny lacquer is a map to unknown lands. My heart wanders along these, digressing languidly. All the inner maps in my life. Read more
When I first returned from the mesa, I saw very little of Ric. He came and went. We were both content with ourselves and loving toward one another, and I felt such pleasure seeing him buoyant and industrious at 57 after years of doing responsible but unfulfilling work, knowing he had found his place in the world. But there was that first evening…It was 10pm. He had departed twelve hours earlier and I hadn’t seen him since, Read more
We are born to die.
The usual verbiage is that we are born to live and die, as if existence is an arc, but as far as the body is concerned, living and dying are integral. Like a snake we continually slough off skin, layer over bone, rip connective tissue and re-solder it. Living, at the biological level, involves constant dying. Life and death are not just cyclical but simultaneous. Life and death are one. And the same. Our culture gives us so little affection for small, daily deaths. Read more
I wrote this in late September at Ravenrock:
I walk onto the deck in twilight that feels as if it is hurried along, as if the wind dashes over the crest snapping a whip, urging the light, which gathers birds and butterflies in its graying arms, away from this summer haunt to other regions south of the equator. Yes, it is no longer summer. Read more
It is a quiet thing, learning from wilderness, becoming less tame, and less inclined to tame every little moment and every little action, to let time roam freely in me, my hair to tangle, my ears to grow as big as jackrabbit ears. ‘Wild’, as I am coming to know it, is learning a different way of being, and discovering, once the old veneer of self has chipped off, the original wood of self, Read more
Mid-September. The cold front arrived as promised with a heavy blanket of cloud and sharp rainy winds out of the northwest. I curled under cozy covers all night, intermittently sleeping soundly, but often awake, eyes closed, listening to the wind and rain, safe and warm. Snug in a storm.This is one of the keenest pleasures I’ve ever known. Read more
It is so easy to squander peace, crush it beneath habituated frenzy. Sufi Master Adnan Sarhan often said, “If you are in a state of peace, stay there.” A good reminder. This year, after the Summer Movement Monastery, I am content. I could make a list of reasons why but I know that these happenstances are simply concurrent with a more fundamental experience of self. In Sufi, we talk about maqams—stations. There aren’t many of these but each one is a pole around which the seeker turns, looking, feeling, sorting the unreal self from the Real. Read more