A life dedicated to service...

“Sometimes it takes darkness …”

Some animals hibernate in the winter. Rodents, bears, bats, wasps, snakes, and fish go into hiding, lower their body temperature and heart rate. I’ve been in relative seclusion since late December. No, not depressed or confused, but enjoying isolation and equanimity....
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the gift of waiting

Waiting for what? I’m becoming aware of the many instances when I’m forced to wait and the ways in which I respond to them. There are countless moments, part of every-day transactions, such as staring at the floor indicator in an elevator, waiting for the credit card...
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Week 49: eight seconds

We humans have many frailties. “One of them is called novelty bias. It means our brains are suckers for the new, making us twig helplessly to Facebook notifications and the buzz of incoming e-mail” for instance. [1] We have an attention span of a goldfish. “A goldfish is...
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Week 48: 108 bells

Strictly speaking we didn’t complete our project to live the year 2017 “as if it were our last” but, really, each day could be our last, each moment the sky could fall in without warning. My New Year’s resolutions is simple (and impossible to achieve): May...
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Week 47: “Forgiveness is a fierce practice.”

“Forgiveness shakes loose the calcification that accumulates around our hearts. then love can flow more freely,” writes Frank Ostaseski* (p. 56; subsequent quotes are from the same book). I’ve been at the monastery for four days and, for the only time of the...
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Week 46: “Five Invitations”

I recently spent two intens(e)ive days of training in Mindful Caregiving at San Francisco Zen Hospice Project. Co-founded many years ago by Frank Ostaseski, it provides “the best possible care for those at end of life. We believe it starts with being open to the idea of...
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Week 45: Contemplating impermanence

Our “living this years as if it were our last” project began on December 19, 2016 (here) and is nearing its end. A year, a day, a bold undertaking — all of the nature to come and vanish. May we continue this practice for ever and ever. Found* this Impermanence...
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Week 44: What am I being given?

I apologize for the delay in writing. Went on sesshin at the monastery, a silent retreat on the theme of Gratitude. Several days of not speaking; instead sitting and walking meditation for hours on end, meals in silence, chanting morning noon, and night; short nights of...
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Week 43: Speak to me of corneal transplants

Someone dies and the family must answer, typically on short notice and in the presence of grief, questions to do with the ‘disposal of the body’. If there’s to be a funeral; has an undertaker been selected; what religious or spiritual observances are in order;...
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Week 42: Q: When will I die? A: Don’t know.

A gentle guided meditation on mindfulness and the possibility of death. I’ve just completed it for the third time in as many weeks — takes 30 minutes — and come away just a little calmer and a tad more careful after each round. The recording begins without an...
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