WAITING

WORDS LIKE LIGHT 

Saturday, July 30, 2022

         ‘Waiting’ is a wonderful word. It implies so many things. If we are waiting for something, then we are expecting it to happen, to come to us. We don’t have to do anything ourselves; we just have to ease up and wait, because we know it will come. If we are waiting, then, in a sense, we are relaxing, because we are totally confident that what we are waiting for will arrive. Waiting does not imply worrying and fearing. Rather, it implies being patient, because we know that what we wait for is definitely coming. Today I want to wait patiently for the power of the infinite universe to exert itself and to control my life. Of course, I don’t really have to wait for that, because it’s already happening at every moment today. What I have to do is resist the temptation to start doing things to bring happiness into my life. The happiness is already in my life, because I am an inseparable part of the peacefulness of this vast and marvelous universe. What I have to do is simply realize that, and wait to see this peacefulness effortlessly disclose itself each and every moment.

WAITING ON THE PHONE

She enjoys waiting 
on the phone 
for a human being’s voice,
because for her, 
nothing is better 
than waiting.  
She loves waiting  
for her breath 
to bring a rise to her lungs
and then a comfortable fall,
and she feels fortunate 
to wait faithfully for thoughts 
to flow into and through 
and then out of her,
like an always helpful river. 
She waits for wonder 
to arrive for her, 
as it always does, 
and she delights 
in waiting for fear 
to shrivel up 
and float away, 
waving and smiling 
like a friend.
“Waiting for Mom”, oil on canvas, by Ty Livingston

INSIDE

­­WORDS LIKE LIGHT 

Monday, July 4, 2022 

         Today, I hope to keep in mind that there is no outside anywhere. All of reality today will be on the inside, because the inside is everywhere. In a universe that truly has no boundaries, everywhere is inside, and everywhere is actually at the center of the inside. I have spent so much of my life trying to cope with what I saw as ‘outside’ situations –  events and circumstances that seemed to be separate from me and sometimes threatening me – but now, at the truly awe-inspiring age of 80, I see clearly that everything is on the inside, and that the inside is a boundless and harmonious wonderland. For a large part of my life, I struggled to find peace somewhere outside of me – in people and material things and situations – but now I see there is no outside anywhere, and the inside is endless and everlastingly peaceful (even though I often don’t see the peace anywhere). Today, like all days, the kingdom of serenity is inside everything, including me – and every moment, including me, is inside this quiet kingdom.

Could be a pretty sweet day! 

Below, two best friends in their 80’s enjoying a lovely walk on the beach this morning …

DREAM

WORDS LIKE LIGHT

Wednesday, March 30, 2022

            I often live inside a seemingly real daydream, where everything is solid and separate and easily distinguishable. In this fantasy, there’s me and the rest of the unconnected universe, all maneuvering in meticulous ways to stay safe and separate. It’s a life of separation and positioning and constant concern for my individual welfare.  However, sometimes it does seem obvious to me that this notion of solidity and separation is truly just a dream, a way of looking at life that’s no more real than a fanciful fable. At those times, life presents itself as what it truly is – a nonstop dance where nothing is separate or solid, and everything is interlaced in endlessly supportive ways. The dream of solidity easily disintegrates, and reality is revealed as a totally mysterious but unified and helpful adventure. Today, I’m again setting off, with anticipation and appreciation, on another path in this wondrous, interwoven forest called life.  

ON OUR WALK THIS MORNING,
IN OUR FAVORITE CEMETERY OVERLOOKING THE MYSTIC RIVER

OUR CHALKBOARD POEM FOR TODAY

Worker and Soak

WORDS LIKE LIGHT 

Sunday, February 20, 2022

WORKER

         I am fortunate to always be able to watch and appreciate the countless workers in the carefree factory of this universe of ours. All day long, my lungs labor with ease and pleasure to bring me fresh breaths, and my eyes, like true craftsmen, constantly bring sights into my consciousness in the most creative and comfortable ways.  The amazing artisan called Thinking is always hard at work, mysteriously making and sending thoughts by the thousands swinging through my mind, and each Moment, in fact, is an artistic toiler in the making of brand-new miracles.  

Strangely, the seemingly separate person called ‘me’ is more of a watcher than a worker. My job is to watch and welcome and understand and love what the workers of the universe are quietly accomplishing, moment after moment. How lucky can an 80-year-old dude get?   

SOAK

         Today, all day long, I will be soaking in the splendid peacefulness of life, even though I may be totally unaware of it. I may be faraway in my head that’s often full of worries and wonderings and what-ifs, but the boundless life that I’m part of will always be bathing me in the undisturbed endlessness of the present moment. Whether I realize it or not, I’ll be immersed in restfulness all day, because that’s where the universe always is, and I am one of its lucky partners. Hopefully, I can occasionally come out of my reveries and feel the marvelous soaking and rinsing in serenity that is always – always – happening. 

+ our chalkboard poem earlier this week +

WORDS LIKE LIGHT 

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

PASSION AND COMPOSURE

I am slowly becoming more skilled at working and resting at the same time, something I often see in nature. Trees, for instance, seem to be busily working when they sway in strong winds, tossing their limbs in a spirited manner, but they also seem absolutely stress-free. Perhaps their secret is that they don’t resist, but simply settle back and let the wind do most of the work, allowing them to sway tirelessly for hours. I see a similar situation now, in these days of autumn, when leaves are offhandedly floating to the ground in effortless ways, which enables them, in just a few days, to completely cover square miles of land with their colors.  This is an astonishing achievement, one that would take we humans a supreme effort, and yet the loose and untroubled leaves do it in a seemingly leisurely way. And of course there are the coming snowfalls, perhaps the most restful of nature’s activities, when whole crews of snowflakes float in perfect peacefulness across the landscape. Within a few hours, a sovereign state of snow can set itself up across a landscape, and it does it in the quietest possible way. A snowstorm has a way of combining effort and restfulness, something I greatly admire. Perhaps my goal in life should be to live like autumn leaves and snowflakes, with both passion and composure.

IN PATIENCE

In Patience, South Carolina, 
people show tolerance even for raving storms. 
Sometimes their self-restraint
when facing problems seems similar 
to trees kindly caring for high winds 
by waving to them. 
People in this uncomplaining town 
are almost imperturbable,
particularly when trouble blows through.
Somehow, they effortlessly find a way 
to welcome the trouble 
as an affable consultant 
able to advise on a new trail to take. 
You can't believe the calmness 
that almost constantly comes over 
people in Patience, 
as if calmness is a gift 
that keeps on giving in this town, 
as if serenity always streams through them 
like light breezes in trees. 
Doggedness doesn't come any tougher 
than in Patience, 
where even death is endured 
with indefatigable kindness.   
If you visit Patience, 
perseverance and composure 
will walk around town with you. 






Here are some scenes from our sunrise walk this morning on Napatree Point …

WORDS LIKE LIGHT 

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

STABLE

         We all search for something stable in life – a safe, solid ‘rock’ that can’t be shaken by even the worst of life’s storms – and actually, we all have one. It’s simply the ever-present, ever-sturdy present moment. Whatever happens today will happen in the now. I may think a lot about the troublesome past and the worrisome future, but all that thinking will happen in the immovable present. Try as I might, I will never be able to push the now away and replace it with the past or the future. After my strongest labor, the present moment will still be there, steadfast and serene – and smiling. All my ‘what ifs’, no matter how persistent and persuasive, will never remove, or even slightly shift, the durable and abiding present. My life – and all of life – rests on an unfaltering foundation that has no top, no bottom, no borders whatsoever – a basis bigger and broader than the endless sky – and the wonder is that it is simply the here and now, the ever-present present moment.  

         Today should be a day of perfect peace for me, for under me is an endless and stable basis that can never be broken – the long-lived and reliable present. 

STEADY AND STABLE

All days are steady and stable.
They always dance, one way or another,
throwing themselves into life 
like flowing rivers that love to drift.
There are forces in all days 
that think they’re beautiful, 
and they are,
so beautiful that they find 
small fortunes for us in every moment.
All days bring balance with them, 
and durability, 
which enables them 
to be available for us 
for 24 hours.

And here’s our chalkboard poem for yesterday …

WORDS LIKE LIGHT 

Monday, October 25, 2021

KINGDOM

         When I was a boy, I loved reading comics and books about ‘kingdoms’, those far-off realms of royalty and splendor, and now, at the age of 79, I see that I have always dwelled in the most glorious kingdom of all – the infinite domain of the present moment. I truly am surrounded, at all times, by boundless solemnity – the stateliness of brand new thoughts gracefully arising before me, the magnificence of fresh sounds and sights ceremoniously appearing as if out of nowhere, the majesty of new moments suddenly presenting themselves like shining personal assistants. I’m truly living a fabled, fairy-tale life, where the magic of peace and love rules all. 

         Trouble is, I usually don’t see this kingdom of quietness and accomplishment that surrounds me. For some reason, I usually see only troubles and worries all around me. Wickedness seems to shine far brighter than wholesomeness, and fear seems far more forceful than love. 

         But I know that the kingdom of the present moment – the kingdom of kindness and care – is the true realm of the real, and sometimes I am able to enter that blessed land. Then I feel like I’m once again reading a comic book, and it’s called Real Life In The Real Present – and I settle back to enjoy the adventure.  

GLORIES

These are the glories 
of getting up early: 

candles caring for you
in the morning darkness -

your thoughts 
journeying with joy
 through the day’s possible adventures -

lights across the street 
unfastening your life -

silence sending peace 
to the hours and centuries ahead - 

cinnamon spice tea 
making life fresh 
at five-thirty a.m.  


WORDS LIKE LIGHT 

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

ORDER

            Today, as usual, the present moment will give the orders. All I have to do is listen carefully and follow its instructions. I won’t have to busy my little ‘self’ to figure things out and give commands and directions, because the present moment will quietly do that for me. It will tell me how to sit at my desk, how to listen to the sounds of the furnace, how to tap the computer keys accurately, how to be present in a perfect kind of way. There will be order everywhere – in the position of the small hairs on my hands, in the way my coffee waits in the cup beside me, in the way sticky notes are situated on my desk. Tidiness will show me how to to live and love this day. There will be apple-pie order from breakfast to bedtime, if I can stay observant and see it. The world actually works in orderliness and symmetry, even though it sometimes seems in disarray. I just hope I can see through the mist of my own thoughts and recognize the discipline and peacefulness of the present moment, for it’s always there.

ORDERLINESS

He marvels 
at the orderliness of things. 
These days
the birds start singing
at exactly five-seventeen,
and the newspaper man
makes his stop at the house next door 
at six-o-six.
Stranger still, his breath
enters and leaves with precision,
his quiet heart
carries on its duties
in a dependable way,
and the stars stay
where they're supposed to stay.
It's astonishing
to consider this
as he eats his perfect
piece of toast
and dawn delivers
another ideal day 
at his doorstep. 

WORDS LIKE LIGHT 

Thursday, September 30, 2021

CAUSE            

I find it strangely comforting. even uplifting, to realize that I will never fully understand the cause of anything. With each passing year, it has become more clear to me that the universe is a place of unlimited and unfathomable mystery, a puzzle far too complicated for me – or anyone – to solve. The origin of each thought, each action, each event is lost in infinite obscurity. I often ask myself: Where did this thought come from? Why is this occurrence happening right here and now? Where did this feeling come from? None of these questions will ever have answers, and that realization – surprisingly – brings me comfort and inspiration. I breathe a sigh of relief to know that all searching is done. I no longer have to constantly root around in life looking for reasons and causes, because I understand now that reality – life – is a shoreless, bottomless sea, where there are no beginnings or endings, where everything is a cause of everything else, and where, therefore, everything flows together in harmony.  Of course, I often don’t see much harmony in this terribly troubled world of ours, but today I rest in the assurance that it is always there – underneath and within whatever is happening. I take comfort in that understanding, the way I would take comfort in swimming in an endless, compassionate ocean. Of course, I must always work hard to unveil the hidden harmony in life, and to help others see it, but it is definitely there. I will never know the cause of anything, but in this vast and marvelous ocean called life, I don’t need to. I just need to keep swimming and watching for the harmony that’s always arising.

CAUSES AND EFFECTS
 (In Spark SD,USA)

In Spark, South Dakota, 
dawn seems to always call forth friendliness, 
and mid-morning makes it easy
to be sincere. 
Even coffee is an occasion for kindness, 
and the simplest words can spark off 
the flames of affection. 
HIgh winds work the magic 
of amazement among the citizens,
but also engender the gentleness 
that’s needed in times of storms. 
Big sorrow always brings on 
big neighborliness, 
the kind the citizens see 
all around them - 
among breezes, and butterflies, 
and snowflakes in December, 
everything in Spark 
somehow producing 
more peacefulness, 
more harmony, 
even inside sickness, 
where harmony sways and whirls 
and helps the sickness feel fulfilled 
and ready to fade away.