Mindfulness as the foundation for life guidance.

It’s far more creative to work with the idea of mindfulness rather than the idea of will. Too often people try to change their lives by using the will as a kind of hammer to beat their life into proper shape. The intellect identifies the goal of the program, and the will accordingly forces the life into that shape. This way of approaching the sacredness of one’s own presence is externalist and violent. It brings you falsely outside yourself, and you can spend years lost in the wilderness of your own mechanical, spiritual programs. You can perish in a famine of your own making.

If you work with a different rhythm you will come easily and naturally home to yourself. The soul knows the geography of your destiny. Your soul alone has the map of your future, therefore you can trust this indirect, oblique side of yourself. If you do, it will take you where you need to go, but more important it will teach you a kindness of rhythm in your journey.

by John O’Donohue

A Blessing for the Senses.

A Blessing for the Senses

May your body be blessed.
May you realize that your body is a faithful and beautiful
friend of your soul.
And may you be peaceful and joyful and recognize that your senses are sacred thresholds.
May you realize that holiness is mindful, gazing, feeling,
hearing, and touching.
May your senses gather you and bring you home.
May your senses always enable you to celebrate the universe and the mystery and possibilities in your presence here.
May the Eros of the Earth bless you.

~John O’Donohue, from Anam Cara

Inhabiting the House Through Mindfulness.

Anda (7.17.12)
Anda (7.17.12)

It dawned on me this morning that the house becomes more inhabited through mindfulness practice. Each time I do something in a certain part of the house with mindfulness, that area becomes more alive. This seems so simple, yet isn’t it true that the most potent teachings are simple– simple although difficult (e.g., love your neighbor as you own Self)?

I have often felt strangely disconnected from my house, which doesn’t make sense because I love my house and spend a lot of time in it. It was one of those ambient and subtle feelings that I didn’t think to address, to contemplate. Now I see that it is mindfulness practice that can ameliorate the feeling of estrangement.



Cultivate generosity of spirit.

Cultivate generosity of spirit.
Cultivate generosity of spirit.

While in contemplation I was alerted to this quality that I needed to focus upon. When I was at McGinley’s for the session, I wrote it in my notebook, then began to sketch the musicians. It was Jim Kerr’s birthday, so he ended up being the focal point. Jim Kerr does have a generous spirit, so it jelled nicely.

This morning it dawned on me that I had been considering generosity of spirit only in relationship to people. But it also applies to my attitude toward things, actions, and place. Mindfulness in action, and in regard to things and place is generosity of spirit.

The ultimate generosity of spirit is to surrender to one’s own inner Self, releasing the illusion that we are separate.

To give selflessly to others is such a gift to the one who does it, because it opens the giver to the ultimate surrender to the Absolute.

Since it is the night Santa comes, it’s perfect timing.


The Witness.

Putting myself in the picture (Anchorage, 7.10.10)
Putting myself in the picture (Anchorage, 7.10.10)

This morning I meditated on Nature outside the picture window. Snow was falling and just watching it was mesmerizing. But I was meditating with the eyes open– so I watched my breath for the five minute timed period. I was in the Witness state; I was Self-aware as well as aware of the snow falling, thickening the white carpet that was already there.

Meditating with the eyes open adds a whole new dimension to life.  For me, it is easiest to do this first thing in the morning. When I meditate in the morning, it helps to set my intention for the day– to be present in the moment as much as I am able.

Remember only one quality that Awakening has. That quality is witnessing. Whatever is happening, just be a witness, don’t be identified. You are not the body, you are not the mind, you are not the astral body. You are not the silence. You are only a witness. The witness is the very being of a Buddha.     ~ Osho


To go in the dark with a light is to know the light. To know the dark, go dark. Go without sight, and find that the dark, too, blooms and sings, and is traveled by dark feet and dark wings.

-Wendell Berry

(Thanks to David Salminen.)

Irish Poem.

I have news for you:
The stag bells, winter snows, summer has gone
Wind high and cold, the sun low, short its course
The sea running high.
Deep red the bracken; its shape is lost;
The wild goose has raised its accustomed cry,
cold has seized the birds’ wings;
season of ice, this is my news.

9th Century Irish Poem

(Thanks to Liz Weir)

Winter Solstice today!

Winter Dawn (Anchorage,1.27.13)
Winter Dawn (Anchorage,1.27.13)

We pause for a moment
– as the Earth does –
between breathing in and breathing out,
aware of the sacred space
that unfolds at a point of stillness.

The word solstice is derived from the Latin sol (sun) and sistere (to stand still), because at the solstices the seasonal movement of the Sun’s path – as seen from Earth – comes to a stop before reversing direction.

— The Sacred Feminine for Life on Facebook

(The photo was taken in January, but it conveys the feeling of Solstice.)

Approaching with reverence.

Sacred Cave (Yucatan, Mexico, 7.22.13)
Sacred Cave (Yucatan, Mexico, 7.22.13)

What you encounter, recognize or discover depends to a large degree on the quality of your approach. Many of the ancient cultures practiced careful rituals of approach. An encounter of depth and spirit was preceded by careful preparation.

When we approach with reverence, great things decide to approach us. Our real life comes to the surface and its light awakens the concealed beauty in things. When we walk on the earth with reverence, beauty will decide to trust us. The rushed heart and arrogant mind lack the gentleness and patience to enter that embrace.

by John O’Donohue