to be or to be alive

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There is an ancient tale about a warrior in quest of a magical sword that will make him invincible. Along the way he meets by chance a wise old master who gives him a set of spiritual disciplines to follow. The warrior pursues them diligently for years. Then one day the magical sword finally appears to him, as promised. But as he grasps the hilt, he realizes that the spiritual practices have worked: he no longer cares about the powers the sword would give him.

When the light of clarity can penetrate the clouds of our delusion, when we sustain a mindful awareness of our emotional patterns, we can penetrate the confusion in our minds. This emotional work clears the way for plunging into the larger dimension. The alchemists sought to transform lead into gold, or denseness into subtle consciousness, and this work can follow that same pathway. Emotional alchemy can be a stage in the journey into spiritual alchemy.

~Tara Bennet-Goleman

when words like connection, light, and hope become trite and the breath becomes stale….

inquiry for today~    be wary of complacency and the sought-after-routine…..instead- …..enliven….cherish…..drown in not-knowing…….


It is useful to reflect on what happiness is. I talk about deeper forms of satisfaction that are associated with spiritual awakening and revelation. On a more relative level, now and then do you take time—real time—to contemplate what makes you happy? It is nice to have comfortable things, and it is nice to reach in the refrigerator and pull out something yummy any darn time you want, but that is pleasure, that is not happiness. What makes you happy? What contributes to your happiness? What takes away from your happiness?

When we contemplate these questions in a deep way, they can bring us back to our senses, back to our center, back to our heart, and back to our being. We can return to loving the simple things and appreciating them. We can notice that we are happiest when we are contributing to the welfare of someone else; being a positive or benevolent presence in someone else’s life is a great contributor to happiness.

Making ourselves comfortable at every second does not necessarily make us happy. This is what I have found when I have gone back to the mountains, which I do every year: there is a happiness that is an aspect of being. To be is itself happiness. Even beyond the bliss of pure being, what contributes to happiness, flourishing, love, and joy? The things that come to my mind are not the things that bring me the most ease and comfort. I find satisfaction in actions like contributing to the welfare of others, loving well, and connecting with nature.

What is the thing that helps you reconnect? How much time do you spend doing it? Contemplate that, because you might find the means to your well-being and the well-being of others is a lot closer than you imagine. That is when all these elements start to come together—happiness, well-being, love, and compassion— and you start to feel they are just different ways of speaking, living, and experiencing the same thing.


2 thoughts on “to be or to be alive

  1. I was my husband’s caregiver first at home and then at a nursing home for five months where I stayed with him because he panicked if I left. I never loved him more in our sixty years together and as hard as it was for both of us, love encompasses peace and joy and compassion. And that is the very best of life even in death.

    • It’s wonderful to learn what love is. To unlearn what it is not. I am so graciously honored by your sharing. May you never doubt love- ever. Love to you…..

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