Soon a big year starts for me: I will have been engaged in daily spiritual practice for thirty three years.
That is a lot of daily practice. Some delicious, some a slog, some neutral. Once set in motion, the dailiness was fairly easy to maintain. The health benefits—both mental and physical—are striking and rewarding. Spiritually it is less predictable, but I think that’s because from time to time I entertain fantasies about what ‘spiritual’ is, what Path is. (As distinct from the experience of Path which arises from practice and study.) My favorite fantasy is that Path will relieve me of my ‘self’ and of the conflicts in my life. I ask it to be Prince Charming. The escapism disappears, however, when I get down on the mat and breathe & move. I find myself, whatever she is today, and no matter what trouble I have been avoiding, I find solace. Such a simple thing. Read more
Here is a basic Sufi adage: The best way of knowledge is through experience. Just to be clear: ‘experience’ means doing an action rather than reading or talking about it. Experiential knowledge involves all our senses. It is three dimensional and multi-sensorial. It’s not that thought isn’t valuable, but thinking about an action must not be mistaken for doing an action, and information about a matter must never be mistaken for experiential knowledge of the matter. As well, there is the obvious reductionist fact that thought is body. Our marvelous, lovely thinking is the result of our nervous systems swilling endogenous or exogenous chemicals. Even fantasies of disembodiment—resurrection of the body in heaven, out-of-body travel, etc.—are created by the body. Read more
Can’t Find the Grand Canyon
We engage in practices to open ourselves and to learn what it means to be present in this Moment, rather than caught in an old personal story. Last night at 2am unable to sleep, I slid into chanting thinking that I should be asleep and that chanting would calm me, but the chant felt dense, lumpy. A Being-ness had come over me and chanting felt like floating up from a depth. Then I realized I was awake because I was in the Moment. Read more
Days of hammering nails into the porch frame of the barn transform me. I’ve gotten good at swinging the hammer, letting the tool do the work, the nail going straight in, but I have to focus on each strike. I breathe and strike. Breathe and strike. Then I stand and gaze at the march of 2X4s thinking of the time when the boards will all be screwed down and people will sit here, chatting, or quietly watching Hermit’s Peak. This thought makes it easier to bend forward and begin striking again. Breathe and strike. This is mantra work. This is breath work. Read more
The dervish’s turban has four wraps.
The first is renunciation of this world.
The second is renunciation of the Other World.
The third is renunciation of the self.
The fourth is renunciation of renunciation.
Not a lot of words here, but an elegant, succinct map for a pursuit which could occupy the better part of a lifetime to undertake and understand. Read more
Yes, its a saga.
I began with ideas and a gorgeous, ideal architectural drawing from Dana Bixby. I sent these to five contractors in New Mexico. Two were swamped, one backed away due to conflict of interest, one is still working on an estimate two months later, and one gave me a detailed, transparent estimate which, though fair, was so far out of range that I was very, very demoralized Read more
As I was beginning on a spring cleanse, a friend wrote to me: I complete 7 years of celibacy this month—please have a cup of tea in honor of this milestone. After 7 years, I am free of all past lovers, and there is a definite boost to my energy.
All I could think was that we wash our hair a billion times but rarely consider clearing our sexual channels. I don’t think women, in particular, talk about this option much. Sexless-ness is hush-hush turf. Read more
Ric and I take a walk at midnight. The sky opens and tosses down a fine rain/ice. The black bayou quivers. Damp coolness slides around my neck and fingers my ears. Ghost touch, tomb taste. Tonight, thoughts skitter, feet move under me, Read more
A Dancemeditation session is a process of spiraling inward toward the center of the self, then coming out again, but I am not so fond of the clinical feeling of that descriptor. A Dancemeditation session is a work of art. It has light and shadow, shape and beauty, texture and time. It is creative. Ineffable spiritual awakening quivers in this vessel. Read more
Imagine eating and eating and never digesting. Imagine being full, packed to the gills and never being able to assimilate, starving for nutrition, wallowing in gluttony run amok. Now imagine that this is not about food but about body taking in information and never having a chance to integrate this information. This not so hard to imagine because it is how we live. Read more