The blessing of the spiritual path is a homecoming to our essential nature—wakeful, loving awareness. These two talks explore the grounds of that awakening, which is a shift of identity from that of a separate self to realizing the formless luminous presence that, like a boundless ocean, includes all the waves or expressions of our being. This two-part series includes several guided reflections and invites us into the dimensions of the path that lead to true freedom.
The blessing of the spiritual path is homecoming to our essential nature—wakeful, loving awareness. These two talks explore the grounds of that awakening, which is a shift of identity from that of a separate self to realizing the formless luminous presence that, like a boundless ocean, includes all the waves or expressions of our being. This two-part series includes several guided reflections and invites us into the dimensions of the path that lead to true freedom.
By learning to inhabit the body, we discover the space and aliveness that fills the universe. In this meditation we are guided through the body, filling different domains with presence. We then open into the continuous awake space that is both within and surrounds the body. When we notice the mind drifts, we relax back to be that awake space, aware of the changing flow of sensations, thoughts, feelings and sounds.
We close with a simple prayer: May we come home to the light, love and aliveness that’s our deep nature. May we live our lives from loving presence. May that loving presence ripple out in a way that brings peace and healing to our world. Namaste
While meditation begins with purposeful collecting of attention, it leads to non-doing presence, to Being. In this guided practice, we arrive in presence through a body scan and attention to the breath, open the attention to changing experience, and then explore the freedom of not controlling anything, and letting life be just as it is. (given at the Fall 2020 IMCW 7-Day Silent Retreat – 2020-10-26).
There is no controlling life. Try corralling a lightning bolt, containing a tornado. Dam a stream, and it will create a new channel. Resist, and the tide will sweep you off your feet. Allow, and grace will carry you to higher ground. The only safety lies in letting it all in— the wild with the weak; fear, fantasies, failures and success. When loss rips off the doors of the heart, or sadness veils your vision with despair, practice becomes simply bearing the truth. In the choice to let go of your known way of being, the whole world is revealed to your new eyes.
When we are in our daily trance, we are often leaning forward, on our way somewhere else.
In this meditation we are guided to relax back into the awareness that is always, already here. We explore relaxing back through a body scan, and then with all our senses wide open. With practice we increasingly find our pathway home by relaxing the clench of doings, and resting in what is.
When we are suffering, we are believing something untrue – usually a limiting story about who we are. This talk explores the roots of our self-doubts, and the teachings and practices that remind us of our basic goodness – the loving awareness that is our source (given at the Fall 2019 IMCW 7-Day Silent Retreat – 2019-11-06).
Carlos Castaneda – the Don Juan books – puts this way. He says, “You talk to yourself too much. You’re not unique in that every one of us does. We maintain our world with our inner dialogue. A man or woman of knowledge is aware that the world will change completely as soon as they stop talking to themselves.”
Sri Nisargadatta says, “Love tells me I’m everything. Wisdom tells me I’m nothing. Between the two my life flows.”
I really invite you to experiment and find the way of remembering love that warms your heart because it’ll help you trust your heart and we deep down really want to trust the goodness of our hearts.
Prayer is a communing with our enlarged being. This talk examines less conscious forms of prayer, and how we can evolve the power of our prayers by opening into the depth of our longing, and reaching toward our true belonging (from the 2016 IMCW Spring Retreat).
How I yearn to belong to something, to be contained in an all-embracing mind that sees me as a single thing.
And I yearn to be held in the great hands of your heart.
Oh let them take me now.
Into your hands I place these fragments, my life, and you my God spend them however you want.
~ Rainer Maria Rilke
Refuse to fall down
If you cannot refuse to fall down,
refuse to stay down.
If you cannot refuse to stay down,
lift your heart toward heaven,
and like a hungry beggar,
ask that it be filled.
You may be pushed down.
You may be kept from rising.
But no one can keep you from lifting your heart
~ Clarissa Pinkola Estés
While we have evolved to experience a defining sense of separate self, our potential is to awaken to the formless dimension – the pure awareness is our shared source. This talk explores how we can undo the identification with thoughts, emotions and feelings that keeps us landlocked and unable to trust and live from our naturally loving and radiant essence. (a favorite from the archives – given at the 2014 IMCW New Year’s Retreat in Reisterstown, MD)
Poem at start of talk: “Landlocked in Fur” ~ by Tukaram
I was meditating with my cat the other day
and all of a sudden she shouted,
I knew exactly what she meant, but encouraged
her to say more – feeling that if she got it all out on the table
she would sleep better that night.
So I responded, “Tell me more, dear,”
and she soulfully meowed:
“Well, I was mingled with the sky. I was comets
whizzing here and there. I was suns in heat, hell-I was
galaxies. But now look-I am
landlocked in fur.”
To this I said, ”I know exactly what
What to say about conversation between
“Love Poems From God: Twelve Sacred Voices from the East and West” (Ladinksy, 2002)
Listening to sounds is a powerful way to quiet the thinking mind and connect with the natural openness of awareness. In this guided meditation, we begin by opening to sound and then listening to and feeling the whole changing flow of life – allowing whatever is here to be just as it is. In the foreground, we notice the dance of sensations, thoughts, emotions…rising up and falling away. And in the background, a wakeful, receptive presence – the silence that is listening. When we let go of all doing and relax back into this alert stillness, we sense our true nature…our home.
In words from the Tibetan tradition: “Utterly awake, senses wide open. Utterly open, non-fixating, allowing awareness.”
(Morning meditation from the 2018 Spring IMCW 7-Day Silent Retreat)
Our being has many frequencies of aliveness and as we attend to the more subtle, we discover a portal to the radiant awareness that is always here. This meditation guides us in using the breath and attention as we scan through the body and awaken an inner luminosity. We then open the attention to rest in the whole field of awake awareness.