Thursday, January 29, 2015


Anger is often seen in spiritual practice as undesirable and to be let go of as soon as possible. And in a general sense it’s true; we  have all seen people who hold onto their grievances and resentments and carry them around like valuable possessions, bringing toxicity into their own lives as well as those around them. However, while it’s good general advice to release our anger quickly, it does not always help us in the nitty gritty of our own daily lives.
 Anger is a signal like any other emotion. Often anger signifies that an important personal boundary has been crossed and we need to listen carefully to the message contained in the angry emotion to discern what is to be done. And it might mean an old hurt has  surfaced that needs further healing. So it is important that we investigate what our anger is about before we either attempt to let it go or act in some way to defend ourselves. 
 Often there is an intermingling of a past hurt and a current situation that we are facing. For example we have a difficult relationship with a boss at work that lines up with old issues with a parent. This takes particular care to sort out as to what part of the situation may be our own issue and what part we have a legitimate cause for wanting to confront the other person, while not acting out and undermining our position.

Monday, January 26, 2015


There are two basic paths in meditation practice: one is about detachment from thought and emotion and is typified by Buddhist meditation practices to develop insight into the empty nature of reality ( more about what emptiness means another time. ) And then there is the heart centered meditation practiced by mystical Christianity and Sufism.
 In my own practice I lean more and more to heart centered meditation and I am going to be teaching more about that in our group. In heart centered meditation, you bring your awareness to your heart center and let yourself open to the source of loving which Christians and other theistic faiths call “God.”  When we bring our consciousness to the heart, we feel deeply connected to our very selves and deeply connected to others and the world around us. 

Thursday, January 8, 2015


While we seek healing and spiritual growth for ourselves, there is another loving force operating from the other side. We could call this “Grace.” Unlike other things, Grace is unearned, unconditional love; it is given to us simply for being human beings. This is not the normal economy of the world where everything has to be bought and is also usually bargained for with others: you give me this and I will give you that.
 For most of us, even those who have had so called normal lives, we cannot imagine something that is given free of charge, so to speak. “So what is the catch?” the cynical or doubting part of you might ask. There is no catch; we simply have to open ourselves to receiving this grace. Of course this is just too good to be true for us with our experiences of being hurt by others, of being made to feel small and unworthy. It is very hard to imagine living in the economy of unearned Grace where no demands are made of us, no conditions are put on our being accepted, and there is no hidden agenda that could be turned against us.

So the work we are invited to do in spiritual practice is really an undoing, a letting go of all the old limiting beliefs that we harbor deep inside of us of being unworthy, of suspecting the motives of others – even God or our higher power, of holding on to the belief that nothing is for free… And giving up the old agendas of our ego self that has thought to buy this love and protect itself by trying to be successful, being a good or bad boy/girl, etc., etc. So there is a price after all: letting go of everything that gets in the way of receiving this love. This deep incredulousness about the gift of Grace is the fundamental wound of us human beings. It is everyone’s spiritual wound, without exception. And we heal it by gradually opening ourselves to this gift.

Peace, Robert