The wise scholars who saw a strange solitary star in the sky and sought to follow it are somewhat similar to this still somewhat unwise senior citizen who tries his best to see before him the solitary star called ‘the present moment’. It’s always there, shining with a sunniness that can’t be equaled – the single moment in my life, right here and now, that lights all things with the power of the universe, and prepares a perfect way for me to live, if only I would notice it. Other lights are also there, of course – the worries that flash and flicker for my attention – but the single light of this present moment has the power to make all other lights soften and disperse. It’s all there is, really. It rises before me second after surprising second, day after day, and brings with it all the satisfaction I could possibly need. I live my life in unceasing starlight, the constant sparkle of the present moment. Sadly, I’m afraid I miss most of it.
WORDS LIKE LIGHT
Sunday, September 11, 2022
I should be able, fairly easily, to practice devotion today, since life itself will be practicing it all around me. The present moment, to take the most wonderful example, will be constantly devoted to staying right beside me at all times, fair weather or foul. Every sight I see will also stay steadfastly there, as long as I’m seeing it. Sounds, even our clothes-washer swishing and whooshing, will be faithful in presenting themselves precisely as they are, and thoughts will come to me with quiet carefulness, committed to giving me the perfect thought for that moment. Outside, butterflies will bend their wings with attentiveness, and sunshine will faithfully give itself to trees and homes and lawns. Devotion will truly be everywhere today, so living with dedication should be fairly easy for an old and delighted 80-year-old boy. I could make each and every moment an object of devotion, even perhaps worship. I could show attentiveness even to my steps across the carpet in our house, and sometimes I could pause and observe my sacred breath, and maybe even make a dutiful bow to its miraculous performance. Living with devotion doesn’t get much easier than this!
A BELIEVER (Harrison P., 61, Blessings CT) He’s a believer in living with devotion. Every day, he revels in all the living moments as they evolve and revolve through the infinite levels of his life. He constantly feels revived just by swerving into the next second in the uneven but devout way the universe – and he – lives.
WORDS LIKE LIGHT
Monday, August 22, 2022
Today, I hope I can keep in mind what is really true about life, even though this truth sometimes seems unbelievable. Throughout the day, I need to occasionally say to myself that, yes, it is really true that the present moment is the only moment that ever exists. In reality, there is only the wide-ranging and far-reaching present, never the past or the future. We often ‘think’ about the past and future, but the thinking definitely always takes place in the ever-present present. I should also constantly remind myself today that, since there truly is no past and no future, but only the limitless present, then the present moment is actually, in point of fact, always brand-new. This moment, right here and now, each of them, is genuinely fresh and first-hand, the very latest in moments. Each and every moment today, in truth, has never existed before, which means that I will be present with new-born wonders, over and over again, all day long. And, finally, I hope I can often remind myself today that, since the present moment is, in truth, all there ever is, then each moment actually has no beginning, no end, no boundaries, no limits. The real truth is that I am always living in a boundless, brand-new, mind-bending heaven, right here in our small home in our small town on our small planet in a universe that is, in plain fact, way beyond my meager human understanding. I guess, if truth be told, I am a very lucky old dude!
REALLY WINNING Really winning could be studying the words of a book so they switch on like lamps, or chewing a bagel you've chosen with boldness and sincerity, or sitting in any chair in your life like it's a throne, or writing a sentence with juice in its words and power and its punctuation, or even making a mistake and seeing the miracle inside it.
WORDS LIKE LIGHT
Wednesday, August 3, 2022
I have always heard it said that life should be taken seriously, but perhaps it would now be better for me to take it playfully. Maybe I should think of life as a hobby that I can enjoy coming back to each morning, just a pleasant pastime that could bring me sometimes smiles and sometimes mystifying but sweet confusion. Maybe I could find more sportiveness in life than drudgery, more lightheartedness than hard labor. It all depends on how I see life – as a battle to be fought, or as a dance to be danced. Now that I am a ripening 80-years-old, perhaps I can have more friskiness in my life, more of the easy horse-play I seem to see among dragonflies and breezes and mischief-making squirrels. I see so much solemnity in human life, so many people with frowns like they’ve fallen into far-down wells, so many instances where seriousness has far surpassed playfulness. Yes, there is work to be done in our lives, tasks that we must undertake each day, but surely these can be undertaken with a feeling of sprightliness and even rascality, rather than boredom and dispiriting duty. Life, maybe, should be a joy rather than a job. At 80, it’s time for me to take some hops and skips and see where they lead.
WORDS LIKE LIGHT
Sunday, July 31, 2022
(written on 11/22/02, when I was still teaching)
Paying attention to something always makes that thing clearer and deeper. This is a truth with magical powers. If I am attentive to a book as I read, the book invariably becomes better, richer, more powerful. If I am attentive, really attentive, to my students, they grow stronger and more capable before my eyes. If I am attentive to the present moment, that moment – any moment – grows stronger, more intense, and more exhilarating. Attention is to anything what sunlight and rain is to plants. Attention feeds and energizes whatever it is focused on. Today, I will try to be attentive to each moment, and therefore I will have the pleasure of watching each of them sprout and spread and blossom.
Below, a scene from this lucky morning …
THIS IS WHAT IT’S ALL ABOUT (Sharon Z.,82, Blessings, CT) At her age, she says she has more scraping-the-heavens kinds of days than she ever had in younger years. She has little money, so she’s always surprised by the grand scale of her life, the way, over 8 decades of years she seems to have slowly come from a cave into sunshine, and finds herself now on the spectacular summit of old age, with a trove of young talents inside her, and all her worries fallen into a silent and bottomless hole. It happened, she says, when life, not she, became the center of attention and this galloping good life took her for a ride and shouted This is what it’s all about!
WORDS LIKE LIGHT
Friday, July 22, 2022
Today, I want to practice the fine art of waiting. I want to wait, as often as possible, for my thoughts to settle down at the start of a fresh moment. Each moment makes a brand new beginning – a new life, really – and I need to patiently wait and watch it quietly unfold. If I just linger awhile, taking a few deep breaths, my ambitious and sometimes obsessive thoughts will surely loosen and relax, and the magic of the moment will slowly appear. But it does take waiting – patient, easygoing ‘staying put’ right where and when I am. Maybe I’ll be a good ‘loiterer’ today, just cooling my heels, all day, in the refreshing comfort and wisdom of the present. That might actually be the best way to get a lot done!
IN STAYING , KS, USA In Staying, Kansas, staying is a popular pastime. Trees usually stay standing precisely where they are, almost as if they think they are lucky to be there, and laughter lingers longer here than in other towns. Pillows wait patiently for people’s heads to finally find them, and happiness, in Staying, insists on hanging around, hoping someone will notice. Towels in bathrooms stay put, well prepared for people’s hands, and the sky continues, day after day, to be the sky. Best of all, in Staying, peace persists, hangs on, continues, and carries on.
WORDS LIKE LIGHT
Thursday, July 7, 2022
Whenever I feel uncomfortably warm on these summer days, I can always sprinkle some cold water across my face, and luckily, life itself does something similar when I get lost on the sweaty trail of worries. All I need, when cares and concerns are closing in upon me, is a sprinkle of presence – the boundless freshness of each present moment. Perhaps I will feel it every so often today – the splash of newness that’s always available, the soft shower of inventiveness that life is always ready to spray me with. In the heat – real or metaphorical – of any day, I hope I can feel the soft drizzle of cleanness in each feeling and thought, the way each new moment is bespeckled with dashes of cleverness and resourcefulness. Like the best friend it is, life is always ready – especially in the heat of doubts and qualms – with its rejuvenating sprinkles of freedom and refreshment.
THE FOUNTAIN She found a fountain one morning, and made it something she could carry and care for, an everlasting spring, a spray she could use to sprinkle stillness and acceptance on everything, especially on herself, this restless person who forgets that she's a fountain herself, an unfailing flow of life, and now she carries the quiet fountain she found and is starting to see that she simply found herself.
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 …
WORDS LIKE LIGHT
Thursday, June 30, 2022
Today, like all days, will hold me carefully in its friendly arms. I may sometimes feel adrift in a sea of concerns, but all the while this day – part of the life that started cradling me 80 years ago – will be safely enfolding me. Throughout the day, the present moment will always be with me, embracing me within its everlastingness, spreading itself out to its infinite distances so that I can feel the fun of having no boundaries at all. There will probably be moments when confusion may seem to be clasping me tightly, or when fear may appear to be following me, but always – always – the dependable present moment – life itself – will be enveloping me in its vast and trustworthy way. I may even sometimes feel the gracious squeeze of life as it holds me in its welcoming, inescapable arms.
WORDS LIKE LIGHT
Monday, June 27, 2022
I have always tried to be a law-abiding citizen, but, in this very instructive eighty-first year of my life, I’m finally realizing that, in one sense, I have no choice in the matter. There is one law that I must obey – the most important law of all, the only eternal and shatterproof law. This is the law that says the present moment must be obeyed, because it is the only moment that exists, is without boundaries, and has all the power in the universe. In moments of clear thinking (which, I’m afraid, are still fairly rare for me), I realize that this law is indeed unbreakable. Each day, each moment, I actually have no choice but to obey this law – and why should I ever resist obeying it? This law surrounds me with comfort and fearlessness, reminding me that all is always well inside its reassuring certainty. It says that whatever is happening, be it scary or soothing, can be successfully dealt with because it is happening within the limitless present moment, where I also am ‘happening’, and therefore the situation and I can smoothly work together to unfold the wisdom it is bringing. As has always been the case in the history of human civilization, frightening events and situations – for nations and families and individuals – are occurring across the globe these days, and the only way to weather these storms is to meet them in the boundless present and roll with them through the troubles and toward wisdom and healing. It’s an unbreakable law: every present moment is large enough to contain both distress and restoration, both sorrow and understanding. I just need to recognize and appreciate this unassailable principle of reality.
Below are some of Delycia’s beautiful early summer flowers …
and here are two healthy breakfasts ready on the patio table this morning …