Monday, April 12, 2010

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Tolstoy's "The Death of Ivan Ilych"

I have just finished reading Tolstoy’s brilliant short story, “The Death of Ivan Ilych” and it occurs to me how ridiculous much of my life is, how unimportant most of it is; not in a depressing way, in a liberating way; not unimportant or ridiculous in what I do but rather in how I do it. It occurs to me, afresh, that it doesn’t really matter what I do; the only thing that matters is how I do it – do I do it with love (or other versions of ‘Love’ : Presence, play, Joy, attention)?

There are so many ways of NOT doing what I do with love that I am not really going to waste time trying to list them. I am either loving or doing something else that is not-love (worry, getting it out of the way, has to be done to earn the paycheck, nobody else will do it, expected of me, hate, ad infinitum).

On any occasion where I look death in the face, just as with Ivan Ilych, I think mental pain will be more severe than physical pain if I look back and realize that I have not loved enough. It is not just the big love either – mate, children, parents, friends; it is also in the tiny little moments of everyday life, the myriad ‘nows’ in which life happens where I can choose the ‘how’ of love over ‘hows’ that are not love.

Life is sooooo beautiful, magnificent and perfect; The great equalizer: How we do life matters and What life we do doesn’t matter. The “HaHaHa AHA!” of the suddenly enlightened student who has just been whacked on the head by the Zen master: Ditch digger, doctor, CEO, peon, investment banker, artist, Drill Baby Drill, environmental activist, rich, poor, Muslim, Jew, Christian….. HaHaHa! It’s all an illusion because it is all just made up from the fabric of “Now.’

No belief or activity or line of work is any better, more necessary, or more real than any other.

I have this truly ugly love seat that I bought on a whim from a consignment shop. The woven fabric of the love seat depicts a rustic country scene of farmhouses, roosters, apple trees, dogs frolicking, ducks swimming, and sheep grazing; all done in bright greens, whites, reds, browns, blues and gold. There is SO MUCH going on in that fabric.

One day I kneel on the cushions, get really close to the back of the love seat and I can follow an individual strand of the fabric as it runs its way from left to right all the way across the back. That strand passes through every one of those scenes, becoming each of the bright, contrasting colors. Right now even as I type I have set the laptop on the seat and I follow it through roof tiles, a white bunny, a red tulip, the green leaf of a tree, the bark of the same tree, a red apple, a white dog, a black dog, blue water, a white sheep, and then it repeats the pattern --- and it is the SAME THREAD. Of course every 16th of an inch the horizontal thread disappears behind another thread running vertically up the back of the seat - the warp and woof of existence. The picture is the illusion made by the dying and weaving of the fabric, the fabric is real.

Same with Life.

What we have in common is so much greater than what divides us; ummmm actually ☺ - we only have in common (the fabric) - what divides us is an illusion (the pictures). Really? OMG, the same thread passes through me AND Sarah Palin? And Osama Bin Laden? AND George Bush? And that mud puddle? And that blue sky? OMFG!

So what does Fabric have to do with Ivan Ilych?

To me, a life well lived consists of awareness of the fabric of life (Backstage) instead of being caught up in the pretty or ugly pictures created by that fabric. Awareness of the fabric gives me the freedom to enjoy the pictures, the beautiful as well as the ugly, and results in more moments of friskiness, beauty, passion, wild joy, love, Presence and Union.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


This is our new studio in creation (Oops - Bottom to Top of course).

Been a loooong time arising:)

Sometimes I feel that I really should have been a builder or carpenter, I love working with my hands and I so love seeing something created by those hands - something physical and touchable created - arising out of the conjunction of raw materials, tools, physical labor and a dream. It seems to me to be creation in a nutshell. You have a thought/desire and gradually you bring it into manifestation. All you need are the proper tools, the material AND the know-how (or learn it while doing) to bring it about.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Meditation is Easy

As part of my daily meditation I do a Chi Kung practice known as "Standing Meditation." Although I have twice done the traditional 100 day practice of standing for an hour each day, and for years have done 30 minute daily practices (and for years done nothing too!), these days I do 10 minutes of standing.

Today this re-revelation revisited me: Meditation is actually very easy and enjoyable. It is only difficult when I think I am supposed to be experiencing something other than what is already going on; when I think I am supposed to be One with everything, or blissful, or peaceful, or transcendent, or the you-name-it high we meditators are always chasing.

However, when I just allow myself to sink into the Now, the Present Moment, and realize that there is absolutely NOTHING to 'get,' - EVER, that "IT" is always right here and available, because "IT" is the ONLY thing really going on anyway - EVER - well then, golly gee - meditation is so damn EASY; just a matter of paying attention and learning how to let go of distraction (Uh oh! "Learning how to let go of distraction" - See? Already there creeps into the Now, something that isn't there ('Learning' something). It can get really tricky - which is why so many monks end up forsaking their practice and even offing themselves.

Let's keep it simple - just sink into what is already going on - period. Simple - easy - enjoyable - AHhhhhhhhhhhhhh!