The search for God, peace, love or enlightenment may be a serious business, but we have to lighten up as well as enlighten up along this great way of awakening. Joy is an important part of life and necessary component of spirit. If we take ourselves too seriously, life ain’t much fun. My old girlfriend used to call me Serious Das, but I was older then. That was in the Seventies.
A laugh closes the distance between a speaker and an audience. A smile isthe shortest distance between two strangers. I have found that humor is one of the best teaching tools, and I never leave home for a lecture...
I saw the terrific Selma film recently, so reminiscent of many of us marching in the streets of Washington, DC and NYC in the mid-late Sixties, being tear-gassed and arrested-- and beaten occasionally too. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is much on my mind, following a season of shooting black youngsters in the streets of our country as well as the United Front of Charlie around the world. May we not merely sit around and fiddle while Rome burns! Oh, that I might protect all the children beneath my maroon lama robe, help guardian and mentor them, and lift them up together in the light of sanity,...
One of my inspirations is the late Boston teacher Howard Thurman (1899-1981), a great thinker, educator, and peace-activist—Dr. ML King’s mentor-- he taught me how important this attitude is for each of us personally and for the wellbeing ...of our world. He says: "Don't ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and then go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive."
I could wail on how a little Mindful Anger Management could go a long way to save endangered young black men on the street, or how the credibility gap between the interested public and our government agencies and leadership, in this OverInformation Age, seems to grow and fester; but it’s the holiday season now and I’m looking at the three quarters of the glass that’s full, rather than the half that’s empty.
The news glut and general cacophony can be so depressing, but whenever I talk to a young person and meet their eyes I irrationally feel hope, inspiration, and a call to get it together,...
We should not be taken in by the intensity of our latest spiritual epiphany while losing sight of the endless journey yet to be unfolded. I diagnose this seeker’s disease as “premature immaculation”, and it does crop up on this shore today: thinking we are there before we actually are. We may actually have gone far; and yet, there is still far to go.
A spiritual teacher and spiritual friends can be very helpful to keep us going along the great Way of awakening; a clear head and good heart are essential, and can be cultivated and developed; and a regular spiritual practice is absolutely...
A poor man asked the Buddha,"Why am I so poor?"
The Buddha said, "You did not learn to give."
So the poor man said, "But, if I don't have anything to give?"
The Buddha said, "You have a few things:
The Face, which can give a smile;
The Mouth, you can praise or comfort others;
The Heart, it can open up to others;
The Eyes, they can look at the other with the eyes of compassion;
The Body, which can be used to help others."
Summer is a great time to sit quietly on your porch, in a park, at the beach, or even just on you front stoop and incorporate a spiritual exercise—a moment of mindfulness, of contemplative sweetness into your busy life.
Breathe, Smile, and Relax Sitting still in a quiet place, bring all of your attention to your body as you fill your lungs and lower belly with one deep, deep breath. . . and then let it out in a long sigh. . . . Ahhhh
If you were truly attentive, your mind would have been clear of all distractions for 10 whole seconds, while your body was nourished with extra oxygen and your...
Maya Angelou was one of my favorite American writers and spiritual elders. I remember hearing her give a rousing keynote at an Omega conference in Florida several years back, saying that she was trying to grow up into a beacon of truth and wisdom to shine light in the world. That’s my kinda gal.
Maya means illusion in Sanskrit, but this goddess was real enough. Her writing, teaching and extensive heart-centered social activism seemed all of a piece, which greatly inspired and informed many of us who strive likewise to be bodhisattvas, spiritual activists, and genuine higher educators. ...
My First Encounter With the Sixteenth Karmapa
Huffington Post April 7, 2014
After I graduated from college in 1971, I had the good fortune to travel overland from London to India. I had celebrated at Woodstock and marched on Washington, but that first Asian pilgrimage was the real turning point of my life. Over time, I would find and meet many -- if not most -- of the saints and enlightened masters (Hindu and Buddhist) of that era.
One day in 1973, in the foothills of the Himalayas at a hillside monastery outside Darjeeling, one of my friends surprised me by asking, "Have you seen your picture...