Category Archives: Detachment


Ever since I was a child I’ve had repeated dreams where I can fly. I literally just bend my legs and lean upward and I fly. At first there is a bit of an unsure feeling, but I quickly get the hang of it and delight in my ability to fly!


A couple of weeks ago I was privileged to attend a day long retreat/teaching with the Dalai Lama. He spoke of meditation within our current frenzied cultural context as a source of peace, focus and something that engenders compassion. He also spoke about the endless chatter that we all have going on in our minds, whether or not we are aware of it. He said: “Who wouldn’t want a break from all that every now and then!”


The other night I had another dream that I was able to fly. As always I woke up feeling sad that it was a dream and that I really can’t fly. Yet, for some reason, this particular dream of flying began to get connected with my meditation. Meditation is a way to fly on this side of life; it’s a taste of the total freedom and total weightlessness that we will experience – both a psychological weightlessness and a physical weightlessness. When one meditates, the deeper we go, the more unaware of our body and mind we are and, in a sense, we begin to fly! Some even say we get more in contact and at one with everything that is around us – because, as physicists say, everything that exists is simply wave energy vibrating at a certain frequency. This creates matter. When we meditate I believe we are in touch with this Energy (capital intentional, i.e., God) at more fundamental levels and so we begin to experience a freedom from this particular body and a unity with all that exists, all Energy – and in this sense, we fly!


Jesus said “the kingdom is at hand,” it’s here! What a blessing and what a relief that we can begin to experience the kingdom right here and now. I believe I can fly!



We all chase after it, in one way or another. We somehow expect that in this life we will find total fulfillment and happiness whether it be through our spouse/partner, that “perfect someone,” through our work, our house, our car, friends, our children, our church, synagogue, temple or mosque, our guru – our favorite self help writer, our minister, priest and the like. Somehow all of us expect perfect happiness on this side of life, whether we’re aware of it or not.

Think about it. We place high expectations on our boyfriend/girlfriend, our spouse, friends, spiritual path, church and even ourselves to bring us happiness and fulfillment. Somehow we expect that one day we will arrive, we will find perfect serenity, perfect consummation, perfect happiness – the perfect orgasm through one of these means.

We all feel a fundamental sense of disconnection – from our Source and from one another.. And this very incompletion makes us continually reach beyond ourselves to find completion, be it in a person, place, thing or philosophy/spirituality. And this is good. But the sooner we realize that none of this will EVER make us FULLY complete, connected, happy, etc – the more peaceful we will ultimately be. Our expectations of one another, our spouses, of possessions and even of our spiritual path become realistic.

Ronald Rolheiser, in his book The Holy Longing: The Search for A Christian Spirituality, has a great chapter on sexuality – this Divine energy which drives us to seek completion and fulfillment outside of ourselves because we all feel a sense of incompletion. Yet, he says, the truth is, we all live with the “frustration of a lifelong, unfinished symphony” (c.f. p.205ff). On this side of life we will never find the perfect orgasm, the perfect person, or constantly live in a state of total fulfillment. The good news is, the sooner we accept this, the sooner we will stop expecting people or things to bring us the total fulfillment that only Divine fulfillment can. And, consequently, the happier we will be. Much pain and sadness in life comes from disappointment born of dashed expectations that this person or thing will completely fulfill us.

So face it, we’re never going to have the perfect orgasm. Ironically, when we realize this, the more connected and fulfilled we will feel.


As I continue “Just Sitting” – my Zazen practice – I remain intrigued by what it’s doing, yet at the same time trying to be unattached from expectation that anything will come of it. This simple (and not so simple!) opening of the body, spirit and mind connects us directly to Source Energy, God, Spirit and when you think about it, that’s freak’n amazing!! I find myself more aware, looking to see what this silence will bring.

Most of the time I find it difficult not to think, and simply concentrate on my breathing. The mind, the ego will not easily shut up. It does NOT want to give up control! Yet, what a relief it is to stop the incessant chatter within! I can only imagine what this must do to the brain. I can’t help but believe that in the process of this silence of the mind, the brain is literally making new connections. I am convinced that in this silence I am more lined up with Source, and Divine will becomes my will. In this silence the ego is shut up and I somehow feel more directly connected to God – I let go of control. I get out of the way. Maybe that’s what “let go, and let God” means. Normally when I give up control, I find myself, at least apprehensive, if not downright fearful. Yet as a result of this silence I find myself looking forward in hopeful expectation to see what will unfold in my life – and that of the world (because it‘s not just about my life, but affecting the world). Instead of a problem to be solved, life is becoming a Mystery to be lived. I look forward to the journey!


The other day I was made aware of a movie called “Into Great Silence.” It is a documentary film directed by Phillip Groning which portrays the lives of the Carthusian Monks of the Grande Charteuse Monastery high in the French Alps. It’s known to be one of the most austere monasteries. I imagine that many people might be bored out of their minds by this movie, as it definitely takes one “into great silence,” as its title suggests. The movie is around two and a half hours long and most of it is silence. It simply shows the monks in their day to day lives – without offering commentary or explanation. These monks do not talk, except when they are in common prayer and once a week after a meal on Sundays. So it’s quiet! Disturbingly so! Yet, . . . Refreshingly so. Talk about counter-cultural!

After watching this movie I wondered how much we may all be seduced away from the silence by the incessant, and sometimes, unnoticeable noise all around us. I wonder if all the noise that surrounds us, or that we choose to be surrounded by – lulls us into a dull sense of living, and ultimately – in our society – a crisis of meaning.

When I enter into the silence, which is initially disturbing, I am lead to a greater sense of myself, a more peaceful place and, in the process, I become a more compassionate presence in the world. It is nothing short of hard work to stay with silence, but I am becoming more and more conscious of the tremendous difference it makes in my life and work. I feel as if I am slowly being seduced by it. In entering the silence I give up control to a Higher Power, which is initially disturbing. But now I am intrigued by it, curious and interested to see what happens. And something is happening. I don’t quite know what it is, but I know it’s good.

Amazing Divine Synchronicity

I have been struggling with the re-emergence of a guy in my life that I once had deep feelings for. I have been struggling with the way he is living his life. I am no saint, by any means; but after many years of not being in touch, to hear of the way he is living and justifying his life surprises me.

In the midst of this struggle, I opened to a daily reading. It was from Teresa of Avila’s “Interior Castle” and this is what it said: “Let us look at our own shortcomings and leave other’s alone. . . . There is no reason why we should expect everyone else to travel by our own road, and we should not attempt to point them to the spiritual path when perhaps we don’t know what it is.”

I looked up and laughed, amazed at Divine Synchronicity. . . . And to think there are times when I have difficulty believing!

Teresa goes on to say that we might learn important lessons from the people who shock us. Indeed, it may help define more clearly what is life giving to us and who we are.

Get the focus off of him; and get it back on yourself and what you need to do to live in ways that are life giving for you.

LIVING In the Storm

I am going through a bit of a major shift in my life. In one sense it’s not a big deal. In another, it’s a HUGE deal. And it’s one of those situations where you don’t know whether or not it’s all going to work out. Ever been there?

My tendency in such times is to stop living. I get so focused on the challenge at hand that I put my life and sometimes my relationships on hold. This is no way to live. OK, it usually takes me a while to learn things; but learn I do! This “storm” in my life is presenting me with a wonderful opportunity to learn patience and detachment. It presents me with another lesson in what it means to be so detached that I can continue to LIVE in the midst of the storm. Do what I must, yes. But then, let go and allow it to go where it will.

We CAN live in the midst of the storm!

Holding On Tight

Luke 6: 36-38

Holding on tight?

Let go.

Sometimes we have a tendency to hold on tight. We hold on to people, places, things. We protect, hoard, worry, feed resentments, judge, . . . and in the process we fail to live. When we’re so concerned about holding on to what we have, when we’re so concerned about never forgiving this or that person, when we’re so concerned with controlling – we fail to live and enjoy the moment.

Be compassionate, don’t judge, forgive and don’t worry about holding on to what you have but give, give, give! And in the process we will experience life again! When we cling, even to our judgments, we are not free. It’s like the story of the monkey who discovered a banana inside a hole in a tree. He reached in to grab the banana and got stuck. He stayed stuck for hours, trapped and unable to move; until he realized that if he just let go of the banana and relaxed his hand he could be free.

Sometimes you and I are holding on so tightly to people, places and things – even our own hurts – and in the process we stay stuck and miss the glory of living! When we let go, we’ll discover an abundance of bananas free for the taking.

Something Bugging You?

Various things bug us all. They could be small things or significant issues. Whatever the case, there are ways of dealing with agitation. We’re not powerless. As a matter of fact there’s a way to allow ourselves to stand in our own power and not allow these things to bug us. Eckhart Tolle suggests two things in his book The Power of Now, which I think might be very helpful. First, when we get upset, simply become present, aware that we’re upset and don’t resist whatever is bugging us. Oftentimes we walk around not feeling good, or edgy and angry, yet unaware as to where that is coming from. Realizing where it’s coming from is helpful in waking up and, instead of resisting it, it helps to simply accept that that’s the way things are at the moment. But how the hell do we accept something that’s bugging us??? Tolle goes on to suggest a way to do just that, a way that puts us in control and not a victim of outside circumstances. He calls it transparency.

He uses the image of becoming transparent to allow whatever it is that’s bugging us to go right through our bodies, as if we weren’t even there. He says that when we become aware of being bugged by something or someone, or being hurt, to imagine ourselves gradually becoming transparent, as if there were no solid mass to our bodies. Imagine the the hurt or upset going right through us without hitting any solid wall of resitance. I find this a wonderful image. We then stand in our own power and are not victim to whatever or whoever is bugging us. We have a choice and need not get upset or ruin a day by something that someone has said or done!

Now, if you’re anything like me, you need LOTS of practice at this. I still get upset, resist and blow of steem, sometimes saying or doing things in reaction that I shouldn’t. But I am happy to find through Tolle, some help in dealing with agitation. Perhaps with practice I’ll become a more calm, peaceful person when bugged by something or someone.

No Strings Attached

“They make contributions out of their surplus, but she from her want has given what she could not afford – every penny she had to live on.” (See Luke 21: 1-4)

When I give something, do I place expectations on my giving? If I give something to a friend, do I expect something in return? If I give my time, do I expect it returned? Or do I give, only when I FEEL like giving?

Or, when I give, do I give completely, even when it’s inconvenient, expecting nothing in return?

If I examine my own life, sometimes it’s about expectations and convenience and not about freely giving. At other times, I give freely of what I have.

One thing is clear. I am most happy, most content, when my giving is free, no strings attached. It is in those moments when my heart feels a quiet contentment and knows the care of a loving God who promises that I will be given all that I need, . . . if I just let go. Even when it comes to love, when I cling, life becomes cloudy and difficult. When I let go, life becomes a richer experience.

Calculating Happiness

Whether it’s about our personal growth, our finances, our careers or remodeling our homes we spend a good bit of time calculating what we need to do to reach our goals.  This is a good thing, because if we just jump without some research, thought and prayer we’re apt to not to reach our goals, or to get ourselves into bad situations.

I was reading Luke 14: 25-33 today and Jesus speaks about such planning.  But what’s really curious is that the “planning” that we need to do in order to live well (aka be his follower), he says, is to “renounce all our possessions.”  Go figure!?  I don’t think that would be the advise that anyone would give us, . . . would it?  It probably wouldn’t be the advise that any good person would give in his day, since having possessions and health were considered evidence of one’s right relationship with God.  So if wealth equaled being in right relationship with God, Jesus turns that upside down by saying:  NO!  To be in right relationship with God and others “renounce all your possessions!”  I don’t see many of us literally doing this, whether fundamentalist or progressive.  So what could this mean for us?

Do I cling to people, places or things?  If I do, I am not living in freedom.  Do I hoard what I have, whether that’s my possessions, my friends, my lover?  If I do, I am not living in freedom.  Yes, we all need to think, to calculate and be responsible with our jobs, careers, schooling, our loved ones.  But that being done, then we need to let go and let God.  In “renouncing” (aka, letting go) of all that I want, can I trust that I will be lead and given all that I need, whether it be love, joy or happiness?

You know, when I look back at my life, it is precisely the times when I have let go of worry about my own time and my own concerns, that I have been most happy.