Tag: suffering

The Problem with Grace

If I were to pick one word that is central to my spiritual worldview, it would be Grace. And yet, I often find it to be the most difficult to talk about. It is profound as Truth and simultaneously problematic as a concept. It is a word that points to the deep nature of Reality and our soul’s relationship with God. But any explanation I can possibly think of is problematic if taken literally and applied inappropriately.

For instance, the words, “Everything is Grace,” can be either a soothing balm or a dagger to the gut depending on our understanding and application. They can be used to minimize danger, trivialize the suffering of others, or to spiritually bypass our own journey. They can also be that deepest reminder of our inherent OK-ness, even when our body, mind, and life circumstances are not OK.  They point us to the indestructible nature of Being, even in the face of death.

Read more

Bracing Against the World

Our samskaras, or the accumulation of habits formed from past action and thought, are deep impressions that have dug themselves into our mind-body system. These samskaras manifest in the form of bracing. We tighten in our mind-body in order to push away unpleasantness or to grab at the desirable. It is this contraction that creates the illusion of separation. By bringing our awareness to these deep holdings, they begin to loosen on their own, returning to their natural state.  We stop bracing against the world.

Read more

Using Spiritual Truth to Shield Against the World

Faith doesn’t need to cling to words because it accepts the ineffable understanding behind the words. Faith can sit with unknowing and trusts that inconsistencies only show us our understanding is incomplete. When the veil lifts and we catch a glimpse of the mystery’s divine harmony, we accept it. And when we read the news, look a homeless women in the eyes, or fill up our gas tank on a late night in a moment of awakened horror, we accept that too.

Read more

A Spiritual Response to Crisis

The belief that we are all One is not spiritual if it blinds us from injustice. It is only spiritual if it reminds us of our interdependence- that none of us are free until every last one of us is free. Belief in in the Perfection and Harmony of the Cosmos is not spiritual if…
Read more

Listening to the Pain of the World

They say a parent loves their child so much that the child’s needs come first. Through exhaustion and fatigue, through early mornings and late nights, through rebellion, lies, and being ignored, a parent will ensure their child’s survival and even its thriving. This is how I want to love the world. I want to love…
Read more

Because the World Needs us.

I have been writing much about suffering, so today I thought I would write about love. It’s difficult to discuss it in a way that is fresh and alive. The word itself died long ago in the coffin of cliche and teenage romance. What good will saying it one more time do? When I first…
Read more

The Dharma of Our Times

Now published on the Be Here Now Network I have spent years trying to find that morally superior stance that could acquit me of the suffering of society.  As a young environmental and human rights activist I found solace by making corporations the enemy. They were the cause of our suffering. Eventually that no longer…
Read more

Normalizing Truth

How are you? How many times have I held back answering that question honestly because I didn’t want to deal with the responses that would follow? Being honest and truthful is a powerful practice to soften the edges of the ego, drop pretense, and help foster more intimacy in the community, but our culture doesn’t…
Read more

Compassion, Privilege, and Spiritual Practice

I just finished spending time at the “Ram Dass Spring on Maui Retreat.” An incredible assortment of teachers was present, including Lama Surya Das, Mirabai Bush, Saraswati and Raghu Marcus, Nina Rao, Rameshwar Das and Shantala. Of course, for me and many others, our reason for being there was Ram Dass. It’s hard to put…
Read more

Faith and suffering

I love suffering. It brings me so close to God -Neem Karoli Baba These words have often been my lifeline when it feels like I can’t breathe. When the constriction from my own mind has cut me off from the world, and when I am unable to connect with anything or anyone outside of myself,…
Read more