The Mystic Heart That Will Save Us

Posted by on Oct 1, 2017 in blog |

Part of my lifelong calling and current work is as a teacher. One of the ways I really love to do this is lead groups to explore and discuss books. To find the right book, first I see where my current questions are leading me and then make the assumption that other searching souls are being led in the same direction. Then I look around at the books I’ve read or want to read and see which of those will shed light on my concerns and make the assumption that they will shed light on the concerns of the other searching souls. (Lots of assuming, I know.) Then I spread all these books out on the floor, get down on my knees, dangle a crystal over them until it is spinning wildly, and then I know that’s my book. Okay, that last part is not true. But I do pull a few books out and set them on my desk so I can see them in passing. I thumb through them, read or re-read parts, put them aside, ignore them, pick them up again, set them back down, and then (I swear this part is true), one day I just know which book to use. It’s like the cover is a little brighter and the words of the title a bit clearer than the others. This method has yet to fail me. About five or six years ago, I read The Mystic Heart by the late monk Wayne Teasdale. I knew I wanted to offer it, but it just wasn’t time. I didn’t have a firm enough grasp on his proposition. So I’ve been using other wonderful books which I think really matter for the spiritual journey. Earlier this year, and as a direct result of the election, I led two studies of books which tie spirituality together with how to survive these chaotic and scary times. They are The Powers That Be by Walter Wink and Active Hope by Joanna Macy, both of which I highly recommend. Then I let the summer go by, led two workshops on the Enneagram and another on cultivating our relationship with the Divine all while incubating the question of which book to go with next. And then one day in late August, The Mystic Heart leapt off my desk, shouting “Pick me, pick me! It’s time!” Teasdale’s premise is that if our venerated religious institutions want to play their part in moving human consciousness to the next level so we can stand a chance of surviving, they better get over themselves. They better come to grips with the fact that at their core, they’re not all that different. They’re all trying to answer...

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The Enneagram – What’s All the Fuss About?

Posted by on Jul 17, 2015 in blog, homepage |

I’ll tell you what all the fuss is about. It’s about this being a fabulous tool for understanding yourself and others. It’s about this being a great map for exploring your desires, fears and core motivations (just code words for personality type). And it’s about this being a way of awakening to who we really are (yes, something other than personality type), seeing others through a lens of acceptance and compassion, and even experiencing the world as a place where we all belong. That’s a tall order, eh? Well, I’m here to tell you, the Enneagram offers and delivers everything it promises. In July of 2001, at the urging of a close friend, I took my first Enneagram book with me on a beach trip. Shortly after beginning it, I had this dream: I’m sitting in a lounge chair at the edge of the ocean, looking at a map with the word “Enneagram” written across the top in large letters. The territory on the map looks a bit like Tolkien’s middle earth. A man walks up to me and asks, “What are you doing?” I look up and because the sun is directly behind him, I can’t see his face. I say to him, “I’m discovering who I really am.” I’m not kidding. I really dreamed that. Fifteen years, countless workshops and about 25 books later (not kidding about that either), I am still discovering who I really am with this remarkable matrix of human behavior. Through the Enneagram, I’ve learned to spot those behaviors which keep me going around in circles and to trace the painful patterns they can create back to where they began. Because the Enneagram helps me see and understand the natural human attachments which keep my personality intact, I’ve developed quite a bit of compassion for myself. Now when I see myself doing those things I do, instead of asking, “What in the hell is wrong with me?” I am more inclined to say, “Well, there I go again being me!” When something brings us this much understanding of ourselves, it’s bound to spill over into our relationships. Better than anything I’ve ever encountered, the Enneagram helps me get that everyone is operating out of the same kind of personality stew I am. It’s just that their stew is as particular to them as mine is to me. Seeing where we get stuck within ourselves is just the beginning. The Enneagram offers a map for moving beyond these patterns. It points the way towards real personal and spiritual growth by guiding us towards that essence we came into the world as but have forgotten about. It helps us remember by showing us what gift we...

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Forgiveness – I’ll Meet You There

Posted by on May 19, 2015 in blog, homepage |

We often hear that when we forgive someone for hurting us, we are really giving a gift to ourselves. When I trade in hurt and anger for forgiveness, I discover a deep peace and freedom. I’m no longer carrying around that resentment which has been chewing on me, and my world feels a little bit better. But if you’ve ever been the one who did the offending, the one who inflicted the wound (and who hasn’t?) and yet been forgiven, then you know what a great gift it is to be on the receiving end of that trade. So I think it works both ways – forgiveness is a gift we give to ourselves and to others. We all get hurt in life, and we all hurt others because we’re all flawed human beings. When we extend forgiveness, it’s a mutual exchange of mercy, and everybody receives. “But what if I’m not ready to forgive?” I can hear the question rising up in your throat as you read this. Forgiveness is not an event. It’s not a quick snap-of-our- fingers fix. It’s a process, and it can take time. But consider this idea. What if we think of forgiveness as a place? A place we know exists even if it is far away, and in order to get there, all we have to do to begin the journey is open the door a tad. Maybe peek out, maybe not. We go back to our coffee, to our laptops, to whatever it is we do, but the door’s been opened. When we’re ready, we open the door a little more. And then one day, we take a step. And then another. We pass a speed limit sign which says “As fast or as slow as you need to go.” We take a few more steps. We pass a destination sign which say “Forgiveness – As close or as far as you need it to be.” Over time, we find we think less and less about the offense and that our baggage of hurt and anger starts to grow wings as it gets lighter and lighter. We’re moving towards this place called Forgiveness, and the journey is not nearly as painful as we thought it would be. So what do we do? We keep going. Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there.  ~Rumi, 13th Century Sufi...

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