Is our existence “fundamental”?



“Everybody is fundamentally the ultimate reality.”

The self…”deep down basic whatever it is, and you’re all that, although you are pretending you’re not.”


(from Spirituality and Health)

There are lot of wonderful, fairly short videos on YouTube. I just “found” them and am thoroughly enjoying listening to them.


November 5, 2013

I think we all have someone, or many someones, who we would refer to as a “teacher”.

Maybe your kindergartner teacher comes to mind. Or your minister, therapist, boss, friend, grandmother, father….

Some of these are spiritual teachers, life teachers, vocational teachers, educational teachers. Teachers, teachers everywhere.

” A true teacher is someone who can offer us a map,

a question, an insight,

or simply a listening presence that sparks a fire in us. “

Joan Tollifson

I read something recently, and I will include the link at the end, that called into question the label of “teacher”, and the value, power, importance we place on that person. Sometimes we put them on a pedestal. Sometimes they put themselves on a pedestal.

But who IS a teacher? What is a teacher? How does someone become a teacher? Are we all teachers? Could we be? Should we be? Is a “teacher” finished being a “student”? Can they continue to learn from others?

What do you think? Who are the teachers in your life? What kind of teachers are they? Are they the kind of teacher that have some kind of piece of paper that says they are a “real” teacher, or have they become a teacher through life experiences? Do you view them as “different” from you, “better” than you, “smarter” than you? Do you regard them as someone “special” or “gifted”? Do you feel you could never be “as good a teacher” as they are?

Are you a “teacher”? To whom? About what? Do you think you’re “pretty special”? Do you feel as if you are a “student” too?

What happens when we stop being a student? What happens when we see ourselves as “above” someone else, or “better” than someone else?

I am a teacher and a student. Right now my most significant teachers are a group of three to six year olds. Sometimes I feel like they look up to me way too much, figuratively and literally, so I often sit on the floor. I am not smarter than they are. They teach me important things: “Just be kind” they say. To them that’s the answer. To almost any question they face.

I hope you have good teachers in your life. I hope you still see yourself as a student. If there is a pedestal involved I hope you can gently remove it.

“I’m not a teacher: only a fellow traveler of whom you asked the way.

I pointed ahead- ahead of myself as well as you.”

George Bernard Shaw  Go to entry 10-30-13, scroll down

garlands in india

In cultures where flower garlands are used, the garland maker chooses the flowers not only for their color and fragrance, but also for their meaning and sentiment.

“Fashion your life as a garland of beautiful deeds.”

What if we put purposeful thought into how our lives were being “fashioned”? What if, instead of making our garland of flowers, we created ours out of beautiful deeds? What would your garland look like? What would you want it to look like? How much effort do you put into your thoughts about the kind of life you lead? How much thought would you put into choosing beautiful deeds that reflected you and your life choices?

What beautiful deeds have you already done in your life? What ones are currently ongoing? What ones do you envision or hope to happen in the future? How long will your garland be? What colors will we see? Will we know the names of the deeds, or will they be private, hidden and known only to you or those you initiate into this part of your life?

kindndess sign

It’s a New Year. The perfect time to start a fresh garland of good deeds. Give value to doing one act of kindness each day. Maybe let the world know in a small way: a sentence on facebook, a short tweet. See what happens. Take action on that urge we all have to help someone out, to be kind with no thought of personal gain. Many times these feeling are spur of the moment, but you can plan ahead too. Make a little list if it helps.

Watch as your garland grows. Watch as the beauty of it begins to reflect on your face with a warm glow. Watch how your life changes as you complete each good deed, each act of kindness, and bring someone else a small moment of joy.

Have a Happy New year!

“Take more time, cover less ground.”
Thomas Merton

My life isn’t even that busy or compartmentalized, but I often feel rushed. I was at a conference last year and the speaker asked the audience: “How many of you feel like your life is out of control in terms of responsibilities and things you have to do?”. I think I was one of two or three people who didn’t raise their hand. So, why do we do this to ourselves? What is so important that we have to feel “out of control”?

What would happen to you, your day, your life, your job, your family if you took more time to do some things, but overall, covered less ground. Would everything fall apart? Would you fall apart? Would you fail at something? Do we have to get everything done all the time, every day?

For so many of us there is a pressure, an expectation to hurry, hurry, hurry. There always seems to be a list of things to get done…that never seems to get done. Something is always hanging over our head, on the back burner, nagging at us when we do try to relax…The list in our mind is always being modified, but never seems to go away.

One thing that seems to ensure our list is always long is that we find it difficult to say “no”. At some point we each have to understand we just cannot say “yes” to everything.

I love my computer and the internet. It keeps me connected and informed. It provides information and entertainment. But it amps me up.  And I also “loose” time, sometimes hours, by just “tootling around” for no reason or purpose.  I have a personal agreement to turn my computer off by 8 pm in order to focus on winding down.

I am lucky to work at a place with a wonderful circle of maple trees in the yard. When weather permits, I grab a blanket from my car and spread it out under the trees and sit or lay down and do nothing. I stop. No errands. No phone or laptop. No “catching” up or getting one more thing done. I just stop. And when I get up after a little bit, I am a better person all around. Take a break….a real break. With nothing to do.

If trying to slow down is something important to you….you have to change the way you think. Often I hear friends say: “Oh, I can’t sit down, that just wastes time and I have so much to do”. Taking time is not wasting time. Unscheduled time, quiet time opens doors both to yourself and life.

By making  conscious choices you provide the potential for rich and meaningful things to happen in your life. When life becomes more dictated by lists and the chaos of frenetic energy and activity we don’t even have the time to see the potential as we zip right on past it.

Take more time. Cover less ground.