Monk In The World

To be a monk is to have time to practice for your transformation and healing. And after that to help with the transformation and healing of other people.

Thich Nhat Hanh

Sunday, October 4, 2015

What Do You Know and What Do You Believe?


Japanese mothers used to try to curb their children’s mischief by saying, “If you aren’t good, a spook will get you,” or “a child snatcher will come for you.” I remember being scolded like that myself as a child. Spirituality based on faith follows a similar model of trying to guide people using certain images and ideas. On the other hand, spirituality based on experience leads people to peace by having them perceive reality clearly, thereby ridding them of fear:

Koun, Yamada (2015-07-14). Zen: The Authentic Gate (Kindle Locations 268-273). Wisdom Publications. Kindle Edition. 

Friday, October 2, 2015


"My computer sits in a room at the back of our house, with a view of the garden. I sat there writing yesterday when all of a sudden I heard a scraping, squeaking sound. My gaze shifted to the outside, to the garden. The weather was brilliant. Not the slightest breeze in the air, everything bathed in a soft, clear light. I saw nothing. Another squeak. Then I had to laugh. Above the weathered garden fence I saw the curly head of Antje appear and disappear. She was on the swing, and loving it. Antje is five. She regularly stays over at her grandmother's, who lives next door. Delighted, I keptp looking at my neighbor's little grandaughter. At the eunthusiasm with which she surrendered to the swinging, while her curls danced wildly up and down. She was not contemplating theories or explanations. She was just swinging...I watched this little girl move with her whole being. Without thinking of anything at all Completely at one with her activity. And suddenly I wished for life to be such that we would not grow older than five"

THE TASTE OF SILENCE: how I came to be at home with myself
Bieke Vandkerckhove

Monday, September 7, 2015


May the light of your soul bless your work
with love and warmth of heart. 
May you see in what you do the beauty of your soul. 
May the sacredness of your work bring light and
to those who work with you
and to those who see and receive your work. 
May your work never exhaust you. 
May it release wellsprings of refreshment,
inspiration, and excitement. 
May you never become lost in bland absences. 
May the day never burden. 
May dawn find hope in your heart,
approaching your new day with dreams,
possibilities, and promises. 
May evening find you gracious and fulfilled. 
May you go into the night blessed,
sheltered, and protected. 
May your soul calm, console, and renew you. 
John O’ Donohue

Sunday, August 30, 2015


Lawrence Freeman, in his book Jesus, The Teacher Within, addresses throughout this book the question of Jesus to his disciples:

Who Do You Say I Am?

Early in this reading Freeman remembers some of his own teacher's thoughts (Father John Main) about the importance of "questions" vs "answers" saying:

We have reached the point, John Main believes, where we do not need more answers, instant diagnoses and solutions. We need to relearn how to listen, humbly and profoundly, to the redemptive questions.

Freeman, Lawrence (2011-09-05). Jesus the Teacher Within (Kindle Locations 312-314). Hymns Ancient and Modern Ltd. Kindle Edition. 

When is the last time you googled the right question instead of googling the right answer?

What are the redemptive questions for our lives?


Friday, August 28, 2015


The absurdity of certitude is life’s most seriously damaging narcotic. It accuses us of our shallowness and hollows out the soul. Doubt is uncomfortable, yes, but doubt always leads us beyond the present moment to the kind of moments that call us to greater truth, deeper wisdom and a more adult measure of the self.

Chittister, Joan (2015-02-24). Between the Dark and the Daylight: Embracing the Contradictions of Life (p. 154). The Crown Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. 

Wednesday, August 26, 2015



Go Dawgs!

Knit one and Purl Two!

The question haunts us from dawn to dusk, from night to day. Exactly what is a woman? What is a man? Or better yet, what is a “real woman” and a “real man”? And whatever the answers, how do we show it? The issues that characterize this problem of identity are more than simple scientific ones. They are socially cataclysmic. Everywhere children learn young that invisible social barriers separate them from the fullness of themselves. Males— boys, in particular, who do not epitomize definitions of the manly man— who suppresses emotion, exudes physical prowess, and emphasizes sexual conquest— are excluded from contemporary social life for reasons far beyond their control. They are small boys who play with dolls— and are laughed at for doing it. They are young male teenagers who prefer to learn to knit or dance or sing rather than be athletes and so are hounded to an early grave because of it. They are grown men hiding the truth of their sexual identity from their mothers who want them to get married and produce grandchildren. Or they are young males hiding their softness from fathers who want them to drink hard and kill animals, rather than write poetry or join the local theater group. They are men who learn to feel diminished by doing “women’s work” like babysitting or child care. They are grown men who grow up full of self-hatred for not being muscle-bound and autocratic, loud and overpowering of others, sure of themselves, demeaning of others, rough and tough and controlling. They are men with sensitive hearts who love to hold their children, who kiss their sons and teach them to cook, who encourage their daughters to greatness, who have no expectations of being waited upon by women who have full lives of their own to live. And yet they spend their lives questioning their identity to the point that the questions themselves are madness-making. Only when we all come to the point where “masculinity” can claim for itself the kind of feminine freedoms to love and cry and care which the psychologist Carl Jung speaks about can men become the fullness of the real man they are meant to be. It can only happen when the rest of us begin to realize that the questions we’ve been asking about what it means to be a fully developed person are themselves wrong. The great question of life is not so much, What is it to be masculine or what is it to be feminine? The great question of life is, What is it to be human? Then, the humanity of all of us will be safe. Then the humanization of the human race will really be possible.

Chittister, Joan (2015-02-24). Between the Dark and the Daylight: Embracing the Contradictions of Life (p. 100). The Crown Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. 

Friday, August 21, 2015



When in the soul of the serene disciple
With no more Fathers to imitate
Poverty is a success,
It is a small thing to say the roof is gone:
He has not even a house.

Stars, as well as friends,
Are angry with the noble ruin.
Saints depart in several directions.

Be still:
There is no longer any need of comment.
It was a lucky wind
That blew away his halo with his cares,
A lucky sea that drowned his reputation.

Here you will find
Neither a proverb nor a memorandum.
There are no ways,
No methods to admire
Where poverty is no achievement.
His God lives in his emptiness like an affliction.

What choice remains?
Well, to be ordinary is not a choice:
It is the usual freedom
Of men without visions.

Is this not realizing Ordinary Mind?