Thank You Tree Good Bye

Thank you, tree. Goodbye. Were you a Christmas tree? A Yule or Solstice tree? Or simply an excuse to sparkle? Names fall like needles. Go back to the forest now. Become the smallest parts of yourself. We all do that. Remember your seed, closer to earth than light. Now grow downward, into darkness. 

New Year's Resolution: Give Up Angry Politics

I've noticed that the rage of the political Right and the rage of the political Left are one and the same energy. For some folks, political anger is the only rush: the rest is numb.

Whenever I become political - and sooo progressive - two things happen in me. First I become right: as in righteous. Which means I stop listening to anybody who has a different view. Second, my heart contracts. Love becomes less important than being right. I tune into a global wavelength of anger that feeds my outrage, making me more and more like the people I despise. I guess this is why Jesus said, "Love your enemy." He wasn't so much giving us a way to address our adversary as to save our own hearts from poisoning themselves. After all these years of being in "the peace movement," I really ought to take him up on it.

I've written nearly a hundred newspaper editorials where I've lambasted the political right, their corporate fascism, and their wars. But I was merely preaching to the choir, and alienating the opposition. No one changes any minds by being outraged, or right. Political anger doesn't solve anything: it just polarizes.

This is where I thank Charles Dickens. Re-reading Dickens teaches me the role of literature in getting one's head unstuck. Though Dickens never preaches religion or politics, Christ-like compassion pervades all of his stories: and it is a dynamic, active compassion. Dickens shows us a society crippled by unbearably corrupt banks, courts and politicians: a system that simply won't be reformed in any foreseeable future. Yet every day, apparently powerless people redeem the poor and the outcast with acts of human care, often heroic in their anonymity.

At the still center of the smallest act of kindness is a healing that redeems the earth. What changes things is not our moral outrage, but allowing our hearts to flower and act in the grace of the ordinary.

So I have decided to do my work outside the political system. The world yearns for anonymous sacraments of kindness that have nothing whatsoever to do with politics! The Kingdom of Justice is not built out of political angst, but apolitical movements of the heart, aimed at gathering communities rather than splitting them in two. This year, I resolve to drop the rituals of political anger, and disengage from the rhetoric of both Left and Right.

Peace to you, my friends, and happy New Year in this time of fresh beginnings, which we celebrate simply to remind ourselves that every moment, all year long, can be a moment of awakening.


Paths meet.
At the other side of the Crossroads
which is which?
Or would you rather wander in a desert
imagining that God has chosen
you alone?


The crack of the pine at midnight
where a deer leaps in the woods.
Winter rain against my window.
A seal's cry over miles of still water.
Fifty silent Christmas's ago,
my mother's voice.
Every perception arises in the Self.
Every motion is returning.
Distance is the last illusion.

He Accepts & Welcomes You

"No belief is required to travel with the Buddha. You can come to him with all your skepticism. He accepts and welcomes you, and he says, Come with me." - Osho.

Precisely the same is true of Jesus. No belief is required to walk with Jesus. He accepts you as you are and says, "Walk with me. I don't want to lead you, I want to walk beside you, and be your friend." Jesus is a Presence, not a belief. The dogmas and creeds invented by Church councils, hundreds of years after his birth, have nothing to do with this friendship.


Why do you count?

What would happen if you stopped counting?

the hours the years the days until christmas face book friends hits runs errors heads calories beats miles blessings breaths beads mantras reps of surya namaskar hail mary's stars sheep votes...

How many more? More than what? More than this? Could there be more than this?

What if you count til the end and the number is one?

Abolish Grades

Improve schools: abolish grades.

Do you grade your own children? Is your child a “C”?

Grading is degrading. Future schools will regard grading with horror, like slavery, or frontal lobotomies. Grades either make children feel unworthy, or inculcate that false superiority which spawns the arrogance of class.

With a 740 on my verbal SAT, I attended an Ivy League college. The kid next to me got a 340 and became a mechanic. When my car breaks down, I have no idea how to fix it. I tow it to his garage, awed by his superior intelligence. The grades we got in school mean absolutely nothing.


Grades encourage inside-the-box thinking, the box being a standardized test. Standardized tests produce standardized citizens, risk-averse and suppressed in creativity. Grading pits students against each other, reinforcing an ethic of me-first narcissism rather than cooperative problem-solving.

Like child abuse, grades demand submission to the elite and powerful. Teachers who define success by grades are simply bullies. No teacher is worthy of that title who does not dream of ways to evaluate students without grading them.

Our children are incomparable, each intelligent in a thousand ways but usually graded in just one. Grading establishes a dysfunctional hierarchy where few are rewarded, most are stifled, many are shamed.

Where is that courageous school that carefully evaluates students without grades, where intelligence flowers without bullying by the corporate testing industry, where the heart’s creativity is valued along with the intellect?


Are you alone?

Then Be alone.

You were alone from the beginning of time. You are alone until the end of time, which is now.

If you are perfectly alone, you are not alone.

With every fiber of your being, embody aloneness. Let each atom encircle a magnitude of aloneness. Rest as the majestic body of limitless star-clustered aloneness, and you will never be alone.

Blended Honey

The bee knows how to avoid the thorn, alight on the blossom, and steal the nectar without getting stuck. The bee makes honey, not from one flower alone, but many. There are many flowers in our garden: we are free to make honey from them all. We are citizens of the whole earth, and all religions are our birthright.

Winter Morning Meditation

Breathe out slow, root sunk in dark earth.

Silent pause, the still deep seed.

Not-doing in-breath, green heart gift

Sprouting sunrise.