31 May 2011


One of the things I love most about piano study (and, today, Bach in particular) is the progressive, seemingly unending "opening" that occurs. Almost every practice session holds a surprise, a revelation. Something to see/hear for the first time, even when I've already spent months with the piece.

Today I discovered a harmonic line of sustained half notes "hiding" in a passage of Fugue #10 (from the Well Tempered Clavier, Book 2). I have practiced and dissected these four measures for weeks and thought I knew them inside and out...and yet...

How are relationships like musical compositions? How are relationships unlike musical compositions?

30 May 2011

Coming to Now

My heart is not pure.
This is a thought I have about myself. This is one of many thoughts I have about myself.

Something I tell myself about my life.
So I can recognize myself, find myself in the throng....remember who I am. Find my way through my life. See myself.

Through current readings in Eckhart Tolle, I am perceiving a space behind-beyond-around-within my thoughts. A space he calls Being or the Now. A space where I divest and dis-identify with my thoughts and simply observe.

It is a profound practice. And I am disinclined to speak or write, or have been for awhile.

Typically, reading stimulates thinking for me. It is a curious experience, then, to be reading about not thinking.

Typically, reading also triggers a strong compulsion to talk (a thought-based activity) about what I'm reading, as well as what I think about what I'm reading. And I have done some talking about Tolle.

because I am absorbing the ideas
because my life perspective/paradigm is shifting
the experience of "talking about what I'm reading" is not the same. I'm especially aware of a diminishing need to convince or teach in these conversations -- usually a defining characteristic of my conversations about spirit...

I had lunch with friends on Saturday and observed myself talking about Tolle (and other things). There were moments when I was simultaneously disinterested and amused by my performance.

Other moments when I stood in God-consciousness and watched my ego dancing and felt nothing. At least, felt nothing about ego, had no "opinion"...felt only the vast, unfettered vitality of being.


This morning I observe with fascination the feisty (if not downright frantic) persistence of certain thought patterns. As I delve deeper into Tolle's teachings on Being, more and more I am drawn to relinquish identification with whatever I am thinking and it's almost as though ego resents the shift in attention. Starts yammering "Hey! Over here! Where are you going? We've got gripes and opinions and fears and judgments to tend! Pay attention!"

In a few weeks, what feels like a new chapter will begin for me. Relocation of home base, new social circle, travel for training opportunities in Theater of the Oppressed, new projects... These things do not exist. They are anticipated, near-future, to-be illusions.

Now, right now, I feel weightless and energized. And I am hungry. Hash browns and lightly scrambled eggs...

17 May 2011

Blessed are the pure in heart

"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God." (Matthew 5:8)

Why are they blessed? What does it mean to be pure in heart?

My heart is not pure. At the heart of my spiritual belief and practice is a desire to become fully human, to "get it"...and move on. Move on to God. This is the intimate yearning within the intimate yearning.

"Create in me a clean heart, oh God; and renew a right spirit within me." (Psalm 51:10)

My heart is not filthy. This is the combined result of imperfect practice and endless gifts of divine grace from who-knows-where-or-how.

I've been known to describe my life as charmed. Even lucky. I rarely use either term without remembering that my father often described his life as jinxed (though he always laughed as he said it).

Those who know me say I always land on my feet. I suppose I can see why they say it but wouldn't that mean there are times when I'm tumbling through space? Falling, falling and it's uncertain whether I will land on my feet or on my head?

I hardly ever pray now but I prayed every day when I was 5. And my heart was pure. And I saw God. And Santa Claus.

My heart was clean. No stains of


I didn't know why I walked on two legs instead of flying but I believed without question that I could fly. I believed God and Santa and fairies and stars were powerful. I believed requests of any of them --
prayers, letters, magic words and wishes -- might yield the ability to fly.
I stood in the rain tonight and turned my face up. To be washed clean. The moon is full. I cannot see her but I know she hangs bright behind the dark clouds. I lifted my face to the rain, the dark clouds, the moon.