Woods Walking Inspirations

img_3518Our vertical path: from sensing to mind to heart to soul into the subtle into the astral absorbed into the silence of the Absolute. There, back to limitless sensing. ~Rudy

 

 

 

 

 

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img_3230-pm-crpThe trees in their wintering slumber slip past the kaleidoscopic dreaming of fall to the dreamless deep arctic sleep. The light of Turiya beacons them beneath the frozen, still surface. A quiet burble of Being just below–so close. The silent sound of the gateless gate opening to full Presence. Suddenly, a flood of infused Presence that absorbs one into One, from self into Self. There, Is. There, I Am. ~Rudy

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img_1404-pm-crpWe each are our own Second Coming. It just awaits our attention and intention. “Strive to bring back the god in yourselves to the God in the All” – Plotinus’ last words, recorded by Porphyry” ~Rudy

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img_2956Thank heavens for philosophy, the king of sciences and its crown of metaphysics, which tells us that religion and science are distinct disciplines contained within the singular act of being. Science describes what is, a posteriori–after experience. Religion is the popular expression of deep spiritual experience, experience which reaches into the depths of being a priori–before experience. The crown of the tree communes with these heavenly depths, bringing the wisdom of this divine presence back to its roots just as we in prayerful presence. ~Rudy

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img_2874-ir-crpEach religion is one of the many branches of a tree. The oneness of Being precedes all religions. That Oneness is experienced in mystical vision. ~Rudy

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dsc_0411-pm-crpThe preparation captivates us.
The heat centers us.
The taste calls us out.
The nectar of these exotic leaves goes to our heads.
The silence brings us presence.
The presence brings us peace.
The peace deepens our silence.
The deep silence takes us to unknowing.
The Unknowing reveals itself.
There, I am.

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img_2559-pm-2The mystic closes the holy book and walks through the back door of the house of worship into a brilliant lived experience of spirit. It is our personal, finite consciousness participating in the greater energy of consciousness that surrounds us. A convenient analog is that one leaf absorbs what sunlight it can, but the Sun touches everything in a profound, profuse abundance. ~Rudy

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img_2404-pm-crpWalk your path as prayer beads, over and over. Let each step be your invocation. Stretch into the silence, inside and outside of you. Listen for the nuanced echoes from the forest and from your heart. Let the presence of your soul descend as love. ~Rudy

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IMG_2388 PMWhen we stretch into our soul, we find that we are present to a vibrance that surrounds us and embraces us with a profound beauty and presence. ~Rudy

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img_2392 PMWalking immersed in this glorious place is a distraction, a distraction from the self we bring to the path. The “self” is built like a sandcastle and every step, every breath, every beauty is a wave that washes the sand from its base. Wave after wave, we melt into the sands of the beach, the sands of time, the unity that is found there. Upon leaving the path, we rebuild this “self,” but with more care, more discernment. This new self, this new sandcastle shines with a distinctly different light. ~Rudy

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IMG_2313 PMOur universe is one tree in a forest of universes. The first night that I walked off the park trails with this realization, I could barely walk under the immensity of the idea! But then, with every breath, I was absorbed into its magnificence. ~Rudy

 

 

 

 

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IMG_2307 PM CRPThis life is part of the constant emergence we’re all doing. From seed to womb to birth to life — to life in spirit, whether now or in death. Touching Spirit now is better! ~Rudy

 

 

 

 

 

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IMG_2196 PMNot only are we connected to God through substantial lineage and the historic connection — the evolution of matter from the Big Bang and what “was” before — but we are also immediately connected vertically from the theoretically pure-energy subatomic level up through our temporal, physical selves. The last step is the returning to Source of spiritual presence. ~Rudy

 

 

 

 

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IMG_1960 PMI’ve said here before that even a tree is present and transcendent in its groundedness and presence to the sky. That is a hypostatic union supposedly reserved for only the holiest ones among us. But if a tree can be “that,” we can certainly live that! We just need to embrace our personal divine nature and live it! Then, we wouldn’t just adore the Holy Ones, we would adore each other! What a difference that would make… This is not new. It is the heart of Namaste. ~Rudy

 

 

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IMG_2142 PM CRPI have been in lectio divina on the idea of the Eternal. There can be none else, none other. We are of it, we are from it — we are “It”! I arrive over and over at the wisdom of the Upanishads, “Tat tvam asi,” you are that. The very act of existence, our participation in Being, forms the heart of a Prisca Theologia — the one true theology. ~Rudy

 

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IMG_2203 PM CRPEach religion, each faith tradition, is a window on the one Being. In our silence, we leave the religious house that holds our personal window on the world and step into the glorious presence of Being. ~Rudy

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IMG_2194 PMWhat I “see” there: the masculine energy of the sky kisses the feminine energy of substance to give us life. It is just there to be seen by, as stated in the Thomas Gospel, “those with eyes to see.” It is there for anyone who pays attention. And it is the Spirit of the sky that touches the Body of Humanity – if we but allow it, if we but surrender to it. That light is grace given to us. ~Rudy

 

 

 

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IMG_1498 PM CRPOur Second Coming — now! A spiritual Pentecost, one person at a time. What if that were the new myth, the new story, the new paradigm? The really good news is that it is not a myth! As stated in the Thomas Gospel, heaven is spread upon the earth and men do not see it. We just need to be it! ~Rudy

 

 

 

 

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IMG_1860 PM CRPToday, astrophysics talks about the indications of a multiverse — an uncountable number of universes! So then, imagine that our universe is one tree in a forest of universes, a forest without beginning and without end. But then, in Spirit — by the source energies of Being — you are loved as though you are the only one! Shouldn’t we love each other as much? Sit with that idea, over and over. From the Upanishads: Tat tvam asi — you are that. ~Rudy

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IMG_1783 PM CRPThat we are, that you and I live and breath implies a contingency of “I am” from the “I Am.” Even from the idea of the Big Bang, there is an emergence from a uniform initial plasma the multiplicity that we know, which evolved through stellar nucleosynthesis. (Burbidge et al) From whence we come! So, yes, Being, big “B” is the source of our being, small “b” and Source not only lives in us, but in a radical sense *is* us! In personal hubris lies denial and separation. ~Rudy

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IMG_1919 PMWe all know our senses. We are immersed in our thinking. We feel the moods of our heart. But the breadth of the soul is elusive. When heart and mind are connected (entrained), the next step is the limitless soul. After the bliss of the heart is the peace and joy of the soul. ~Rudy

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IMG_1823 PM CRPIn these marvelous days, we find revelation dancing with realization; the qualitative experience described by the quantitative knowing. We find ourselves as a temporal complement to the Being of the Absolute, manifesting and participating in “It.” As Norris Clarke, SJ said, our temporal multiplicity permits the communication of Being — from the Infinite to the finite. ~Rudy

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DSC_0665 PM CRPAt the roots of Being is the Everlasting, or, whatever one wishes to call it. Perhaps, as the physicists tell us, the very roots are an ocean of energy, then my energy is an expression of “that”! As stated in one of the four great sayings of the Upanishads, Tat tvam asi! On our meditation hikes, the trees show a trinity: the energy of their substance; the energy that gives them life; and, the energy that underlies both of these manifested forms of energy. In our quiet, in our spiritual presence, we find this source energy is personal and loving. It is not like the heat of a fire, which warms us but keeps us at a distance. Rather it warms us and invites us to unity and a profound presence. The sheath is bliss, the core is joy! Then we can act from that heart. ~ Rudy

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IMG_1772 PM CRPErwin Schrodinger described verschränkung, or entanglement, as two particles connected to one another regardless the distance between them. They are ‘present’ to one another by some means. Spiritual interpretation of this scientific observation points to the undercurrents, the energies, of Being and the Jungian idea of the collective unconscious. Mystics of all stripes have experienced this ‘presence’ since the dawn of humanity. Institutional religion can muddy these waters with myth and their literal interpretation. Perhaps today realization informs revelation — and vice versa. ~Rudy

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IMG_1744 PM CRPWhen we look inside, we see the Universe from whence we came. The nest from whence we came. But, where are we going? Jesus, in the Thomas Gospel, said that the Kingdom is both inside of you and outside of you. Our very mode of being is on a path of emergence, from seed to womb to birth to life — to Spirit! Looking inside in this life, then, we do as the Sufis say, to die before we die. At first, it is dying to self, then it is dying to the physical body to know our destination. ~Rudy

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DSC_0345 PM CRP 3The koans that I share on Woods Walking paradoxically rely on reason — or words — to get to the nothingness of the traditional Zen Koan “Mu.” Just as discursive contemplation offers a path to silence — or nothingness — by exhausting the words, we find that neither reason, nor words are enough to get to the soundless void of our personal Presence; or passage through the “gateless gate” of traditional Buddhist koan work. The words of my koans are like the grains of sand in an hourglass. When all have passed through, one is “out of time,” one is out of words. We have defined “Zyzzogeton” and turned the last page of the dictionary to find a blank page. Then, having followed a short path, we reside in the very grounds of Being, the vast presence that is the flow from before the beginning. Then, and there, you Are! _/|\_

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IMG_1036 PM CRPRory. He helps me to be as a beginner each time we walk. I throw sticks of self for him. He brings them back so I can see how broken they are. That helps me drop my personal foliage for the new blooms that always come and are ever better in each spring’s greening. It is a spring resurrection – dying to self, becoming Self! If I retrace, I ask, “Why look for the living among the dead?” Keep walking ahead! That is my simple practice, my simple guide. ~Rudy

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IMG_1533 PM CRPWhen we are in our souls and our souls are suffused with the energy that surrounds us, we are present in an intimate profound communication that carries us away. Like love, it begins with glimpses and noticing and becomes a flood of presence when the dam of perception breaks. ~Rudy

 

 

 

 

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IMG_1378 PMThere is a nakedness in spiritual presence that is simple and natural. Living that in body — not literally naked — is the challenge. It is expressed beautifully in the Thomas Gospel: “When you disrobe without being ashamed and take up your garments and place them under your feet like little children and tread on them, then will you see the Son of the Living One, and you will not be afraid” Perhaps the translation should say “you will be the Son of the Living One.” Our living, with every breath, is really participation not adoration or even emulation. It is being! ~ Rudy

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IMG_1281 PM CRPI stand ‘neath this tree with my hand extended, reaching for the clouds. My fingers are Gibran’s many fingers of the one hand of God; many voices, one song. Then the sky responds with breath and light, a breath that fills my lungs and light that warms my heart. I simply surrender, my soul crossing the isthmus is isness. ~ Rudy

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DSC_0539 PM CRP 2When the flock gains the wisdom of the Shepard, that is the Second Coming; a spiritual communion that is now, if sought and surrendered to. At that time, governance becomes administration. ~ Rudy

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IMG_0847 PM CRPWisdom also resides in the endless discursive discernment of the objective. In the oneness of Being, all things are connected and the objective pursuit of these connections allows us to sail on a ‘logical lattice’ whose imagery I find in the idea the Net of Indra. There is a real, literal continuum of contingency that is every breath of now, and every passing of the baton of life, from parents to children, from seed to plant to seed. At the alpha of this contingency is Source and our very substance derives from this source. Ambiguity knocks at the edges of what we can sense, but because we sense here, now, we can also sense that which is beyond us, here and now. That is the ‘hyper-real’ of deep spiritual encounter. ~ Rudy

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IMG_1180 PM CRPToday’s Koan: The Labyrinth
:  I enter. I am there. I walk, I turn mantric, tantric bends. I shed my layers, the sheaths of Allium Cepa. Days upon days of wandering and wondering; turn after turn, being at center, not knowing center. My turning, everyone’s yearning. The center is everywhere, the center is nowhere. The center is you. The center is me. The Center is the maelstrom of Being shooting up through my core, Planck by Planck, atom by atom, cell by cell; from me to you, to You. We!  More here: http://wp.me/p4cmRf-8G

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DSC_0254 PM CRPA spiritual paradox is that Eternity, or the Everlasting, is now, not just when we die, or at the end of time. Mystical traditions cite a goal that one must die before we die. It’s the idea of loss of self, again. This process unites us with the wisdom and guidance of the Everlasting, which is both the Absolute and All Souls flowing from within us. ~ Rudy

 

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DSC_0263 PM CRPToday’s Koan: The New Dogma

So, we are in a new Copernican moment in history that calls for a new dogma. Copernicus spurred the change from a heliocentric cosmology, where Earth was seen as the center of the universe, to a model that moved the Sun to the center. At least as the center of our solar system.

So with many religions pointing to one truth, it is time for each religion to give up its institutional center, yielding to the idea that the act of ‘religio’ – the personal connecting back to source – happens person by person.

This Atman is Brahman. This ancient idea is a touchstone for a Prisca Theologia – that one true theology that is as true as every sustaining breath that every man and woman breathes.

http://wp.me/p4cmRf-8e

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IMG_0879 PM CRPWhen you spend time with the idea that we are all made of star stuff; that, after Heisenberg, at the depths of our being, we are pure energy that manifests in this physical form. In the quiet of meditation, we ‘religio’ – we connect back to those roots. The trees under which we hike have roots in the soil. Our roots are in the soils of Being and the crown of our presence brings us back to Source, whatever you may call it. The old myths and magic are melting away; from pointers on the path to a destination of realization where analogy displaces the myths. ~ Rudy

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DSC_0627 PMToday’s Koan: Returning

From Being back to doing, step by step. From Soul to heart to mind – to action. But now active in this place with that constant third eye, the Observer observing, discerning, guiding. Acting from Love, from that place of Peace, that place of Unity. The parchment of a personal commandment that lives from deep within – dippers first drawn out, then a flood of Presence. Compassionate action guided by the mind that knows the feel of Soul.  http://wp.me/p4cmRf-7O

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DSC_0369 IR 50Today’s Koan: The Next Testament

Who will write it, what will it say?

Is it a page to be venerated, or a life to be lived?

The original pages came from the depths of many souls to heart to action. From all Holy Books and the mystics who wrote or inspired them.

Is the next story the Second Coming, but as men and women living from hearts afire with the constant flow of a deep spiritual presence? We all sense it, we taste it. But do we live it?  http://wp.me/p4cmRf-7B

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DSC_0379 PMEnjoy this season of souls returning to the soil! Our universe emerges from the grounds of Being to yield new life, then we break at the stem and return to Source. So simple, so true, so beautiful! ~ Rudy

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DSC_0246 PM CRPGoing from “eyes (or any of our senses) to mind to heart to soul” seems like a jump into the abyss, but only because it is unknown to us. Going into the unknown of our inner self is the only way to find what you are looking for. There is treasure there, a treasure that is you — a hidden you! Joseph Campbell called it the hero’s journey. ~ Rudy

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IMG_0929 PM CRPAs science tells us, the legacy of our very substance derives from the radical grounds of Being. In this dual state of temporal existence, we are matter infused with energy. It forms a trinity of source, energy and matter. Meanwhile, the grounds of Being are the Absolute — the Absolute Energy. “I Am that I Am.” ~ Rudy

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IMG_0327 PMI was surrounded by the mist of the Divine and saw with those eyes. Then, even the nakedness of the expectant forest was beauty. ~ Rudy

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IMG_0814 PM CRP“God, as the All in all, can be awareness in every Planck Length, every gluon, every quark and quirk of our being. In ecstatic encounter we surrender to this joyful awareness, this presence, this being; our being in Being. Being in us! Go inside to know, to be.” ~ Rudy

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IMG_0846 PM CRPWe live as a tree under full Sun. We receive the photosynthesis of prayer in Spirit, then spread that wisdom into the soil of Being through our roots; our actions. As above, so below. ~ Rudy

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IMG_0857 PMWith eyes I see beauty, with mind I know beauty, with heart I feel beauty, with soul I AM Beauty. After this meditation, we return, from soul to heart to mind to action. It is a compassionate action that now flows from the peace of this deep presence. ~ Rudy

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A Siren Bridge

A Siren Bridge

Today’s Koan: Adoration to Participation    My favorite analogy regarding the transition from adoration to participation is that traditional ‘church’ is like people going to church to worship a bicycle — that no one rides! But then, in the dark of night, a few individuals learn to ride that bike and find the ineffable joy of freedom, movement within the Spirit whose breath blows through their hair. Now, I ride that bike all the time.  How about you, have you crossed that bridge of epiphany?  More here: http://wp.me/p4cmRf-7l

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Four Steps

Four Steps

Today’s Koan: Four Steps
With eyes I see
With mind I know
With heart I feel
With soul I Am.
http://wp.me/p4cmRf-7b

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IMG_0125 PM CRPIn the depths of presence, my awareness, my very being, is cast upon the earth and falls like rain as love. It is a depth of compassion that cannot be just me, but is also the upwelling of Spirit within me – the currents of Spirit from before the beginning. I see with other eyes where we are, what we are, what we are a part of – Now! There is challenge, but there is also joy; the profoundness of just being and becoming. It is a raw humility that joins me to every creature of the wood – and every like-minded person I encounter – many here in these pages. Written now, lived now, even as these words age, the Being is timeless. ~ Rudy

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IMG_0449 PM CRPEach branch, each thought, reaches out into the aether sampling Spiritual Being. The impossible abundance prompts us to abandon such thoughts for simple, quiet presence. The active reach gives way to a passive presence absorbed in the All. There we find immersion, infusion — bliss! ~ Rudy

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IMG_0636 PM CRPInner divinity is the bloom of a person, of humanity — of you and me. Do we personally manifest flowers or thorns? Is humanity a garden or a brier patch? What holds us back from being a glorious field of color; light in the darkness? ~ Rudy

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IMG_0536 PM CRP“If those who lead you say, ‘See, the Kingdom is
in the sky,’ then the birds of the sky will precede you. If they
say to you, ‘It is in the sea,’ then the fish will precede you.
Rather, the Kingdom is inside of you, and it is outside of you.
When you come to know yourselves, then you will become known, and you will realize that it is you who are the sons of the living
Father. But if you will not know yourselves, you dwell in poverty
and it is you who are that poverty.” ~ Jesus, The Thomas Gospel

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IMG_1359My first profound, awake spiritual experience: I was 14 or 15. My dad had been teaching me to fly our old Aeronca Champion. This flight was my first in the front seat, handling the radio and everything. After departing the airport airspace, I finally had a chance to look out of the windshield without operational distraction. It was a glorious Sunday morning after Mass. I could see forever. And Forever saw me in an echo. The physical sensation was like a spiritual bucket of water thrown in my face, drenching my spirit, my whole self. I was present to Being. I saw with whole heart, whole soul and whole being. Other eyes. I didn’t say anything to anyone; we didn’t talk about these things, then. I wish I’d had a ‘teacher,’ a Shaman, someone that could have looked deep into my heart and simply said, “Yes.” Now I know! How common is this for others? And we don’t recognize it for what it is? In those late 60s and early 70s, we were too busy with the catechetical, and not at all given to spiritual practice, except by happenstance. Today I know that this Presence is available in every moment — it is each moment, whether we sense or appreciate it or not.

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IMG_0484 PM“As the tree returns to the sky, humanity returns to the Absolute in Spiritual presence, what I’ve described before as the photosynthesis of prayer. There, we experience the marvelous sustaining light that falls upon the Earth, but at the order of Being, in the energy of Spirit, we find a personal Presence in Being with the Absolute.” ~ Rudy from “Today’s Koan: Trinitarian Son” http://wp.me/p4cmRf-N

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Abu Dhabi Amory Ross - Team Alvimedica PMI close my eyes and set sail within the sea of Being. Across the density of these temporal waters, my awareness propels me forward on the breath of Spirit. Quiet mind rides the waves of this place and leaps as a dolphin–just a moment–into the Aether of Presence; a brief glimpse of the infinite void. I make way across the waters, leaving a wake of presence with others, rocking their paths with the very idea of the depths of the heavens, accessible with just a flip of a fin, a trimmed awareness angled just so to the winds of Spirit. We set course toward a pleasant horizon and safe harbor, a dissonant siren song calling us forward. I stand watch in the dark nights, eyes skyward to ride ecstatic flashes through the heavens. ~ Rudy Image: Amory Ross, Team Alvimedica

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IMG_0444 PM CRPOur personal ancestral path is just one limb on the tree of life that blooms in the forest of Being. The depth of wisdom there is timeless and breathless, but built on the countless sparks of living souls from all times, all universes and all worlds — ever, and yet to come. In our temporal blooming, we know the Alpha and the Omega, but in the eternal grounds of Being there is just that sweet “Is-ness.” ~ Rudy

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A Blessed Spot

A Blessed Spot

It was on this spot, during an evening hike in 2009, where I had a significant spiritual infusion — like a bucket of water thrown in my face — that prompted my writing of Woods Walking. I’ve been ‘unpacking’ this moment and these hikes ever since. From a religious perspective, it could be equated to a Pauline moment. From today’s scientific perspective of entanglement and the depths of quantum gravity — the analog to our deep subconscious — it could be called a volcanic eruption of awareness: what was being seen connected to the depths of my own heart, my own nature, my own presence. The son meeting the Father, perhaps in triune terms.

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IMG_0498 PMToday’s Koan: Quantum Dissonance
“Dissonance, purely, is lack of agreement. Popularly we hear dissonance as cognitive dissonance: one’s actions not in agreement with one’s beliefs. Of course, the quantum physicist–and even the mystic–find a dissonance in Being itself. From an electron jumping orbits to the double slit experiment, science finds dissonance: what is real and tactile at a macro level dissolves to an apparent nothingness at the subatomic level.

For the mystic, moments of ecstatic presence are in discord with the solidity of the waking present moment and the weight of self on the meditation stool, which just before, seemed to not even exist.”
More here: http://wp.me/p4cmRf-6R

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Lothar Schafer on the morality of unity:
From SAND ’14, a panel discussion of the “Physics of Self.”
https://youtu.be/gQbM4gYg6rA?t=11m7s

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This interview with J.Norris Clarke, SJ helped to put me back on the ‘path’ about 10 years ago. It is a masterful display of the beauty, depth and reach of classical metaphysics.http://www.innerexplorations.com/catchmeta/a.htm

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IMG_0497 PM CRPToday’s Koan: The Waters of Being
“The opening of the third eye is literally a movement from faith to experience; from believing in “God,” to the presence and knowing of The Absolute. That is the essence of mystical experience. It is the realization of our full human potential. Mystical experience connects us to that which is ‘before the beginning,’ to borrow a Sufi term. But it also connects us to the spiritual “Body of Humanity,” my ecumenical term for “The Christ,” or “Buddha Nature.” It is the experience of our own Kundalini energy, the coiled energy of ‘self’ that reaches into the unseen in ‘aha’ moments that everyone has, but few develop. These depths are the “Waters of Being,” the vast immensity we see, we intuit, under a star-struck night sky, or the depths we probe in meditation.
More here: http://wp.me/p4cmRf-6J

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Presence

Presence

As I walked I was a canopy of presence. Step by step each leaf, each thought blew on the wind. I became pure presence to Being, bare limbs of awareness with un-shaded light pouring into my heart. I echoed with an explosion of joy, a rush of energy that would not be contained. From my heart into my full presence, a new bloom of being present, assumed into the Breath of Being, walking but not walking, adrift in the sublime buoyancy of this profound joy — I was! ~ Rudy

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IMG_0162 PM CRPToday’s Koan: Infinite but Personal
“This “God” is not the old bearded man of the Sistine Chapel with a scowl and judging eye. But rather this ‘Isness’ is the Absolute Energy of Being that caresses each one of us as the Sun caresses every tree in the forest, from seedling to sapling to each aged giant. God, without gender, is Infinite but personal. In our humanity we are the complement: personal but infinite. As John O’Donohue said, “the spiritual life is about the liberation of God from our images of him.” ”
http://wp.me/p4cmRf-6B

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IMG_0398 PM CRPAll we need do is say yes to the abundance of Spirit as a tree says yes to the abundance of Sun. It is our natural state. ~ Rudy

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IMG_0693 IR CRPToday’s Koan: Trinitarian Son
“At the level of this order, following the continuum of time, we arrive at an Absolute as the analog to our Sun, the Alpha of our being, the source of our very substance and the well of energy that enables the Cosmic Trinitarian Son — the totality of our universe and all other possible universes, all of which are the temporal expression of, the complement to, the Absolute. As described in other koans, it is a cycle of energy: a diminution that derives from the Absolute and returns to It in Presence, Understanding and Being. As the tree returns to the sky, humanity returns to the Absolute in Spiritual presence, what I’ve described before as the photosynthesis of prayer.”
http://wp.me/p4cmRf-N

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IMG_0363 PM CRP

The ‘second coming’ is the gradual awakening of humanity to its true nature. Then our personal governance comes from the heart and the ‘body of humanity’ becomes heaven spread upon the earth. ~ Rudy

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Hacking Consciousness with Dr. John Hagelin.
https://youtu.be/R9ucmRglCTQ

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IMG_0118 PM CRPOne day I will be spread upon these trails so that my substance can play in the light of day and sway in the breeze of night; not isolated in some crypt, but living again in another form, the perch of a bird, the scat of a squirrel, the song of the Wood Thrush. You will see me, you will hear me and I will caress the synapses of your soul with the warm breath of summer.

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CIMG0542 PMThrow a kiss to the stars above at night, receive the abundance of the Absolute in return. My heart sings with their response! ~ Rudy

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What a sky!  At first it seemed an oppressive mantle, pea-soup fog, thick enough that neither the stars nor Luna broke through.  My third eye pierced the mist and gazed at those stars; to Arcturus and Bootes straight above and Sagittarius and Scorpius on the warm southern horizon. Was that faith or knowing?  Regardless, the geek in me thought of Geoffrey Burbidge and his B2FH paper – published just a year after my birth — that told us where we came from –our nucloe-sythetic genesis in hydrogen. And even that from the primordial soup of Being. This mist I breathe, I drink, I clink in a glass.  I skate, I ski – I am from it and with it.  It is in me; two parts hydrogen, one part oxygen in a constant cycle of drink and breath and sweat.  Even now, it dews on the tips of my brow and the down of my neck – in me, around me, surrounds me. Remarkable! Even now, it charges these fingers that ripple and riff; a self-reflective sparkle on the waves of time and space. It soaks the roots of my being and charges the crown of my thought, and that photosynthetic touch back to the Beginning. It is in you, it is in me – many vessels, the same water, one Spirit. Go and see!  http://wp.me/p4Xyay-1c

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The Immensity

The Immensity

Today’s Koan: The Realm of Spirit
“…when I am quiet, when I let the presence of that same sky touch my heart – without thought, without desire, just my own being present – suddenly I am swept away by the immensity of the echo that absorbs me. It is a felt spiritual presence, like blessed water cascading down into my heart. I become a participant in that ‘Is.’”
http://wp.me/p4cmRf-6l

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What a sky! Through the thinnest satin veils Luna took leave of the King of the skies. Jupiter, blushing red through a mantle of mist, was steadfast in his 11-year course. After their evening’s dalliance past, Luna was demure in her departure, back to three nights of dark communion, her face turned toward the light. She wanes for this renewal before yet another return of bright benediction in an indigo sky for lovers. Yet, the three dark nights are not a kiss, not an embrace. They are Essence through essence – esse per esse. Hearts through hearts; that tantric completeness for which every embrace yearns — yet can only know breath upon breath, soul through soul. In this arctic air, I release a breath to that mist above, breath upon breath; drunk in the tavern of Love.

http://wp.me/p4Xyay-18

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A Mystic Moment

A Mystic Moment

The most beautiful and most profound emotion we can experience is the sensation of the mystical. It is the sower of all true science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead. To know that what is impenetrable to us really exists, manifesting itself as the highest wisdom and the most radiant beauty which our dull faculties can comprehend only in their most primitive forms – this knowledge, this feeling, is at the center of true religiousness. ~ Albert Einstein

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Natural Lineage

Natural Lineage

Not only are we connected to God through substantial lineage — the historic connection, the evolution of matter from the Big Bang and what ‘was’ before — but we are also immediately connected vertically from the theoretically pure-energy, subatomic level up through our temporal, physical selves. ~ Rudy

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Expansive Being

Expansive Being

“Plato and Plotinus didn’t attach that (the good) to being which was a lesser notion for them, a more limited essence. The good was the ultimate for them, and the good was naturally self-effusive, generous, self-communicating. St. Thomas took over that tradition and put it right into existence, itself, and the good is a function of existence. Now he took over that whole dynamic, so every being is necessarily, is naturally, self-communicative and expansive. That’s what makes the universe.” ~ Norris Clarke, “A Taste of Existence”
http://www.innerexplorations.com/catchmeta/a.htm

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Now I sing the hymn “Taste and See” as ‘taste and be’! I’ve said it before, put down the Holy Books and seek your direct experience. That is what inspired the Holy Books; that is what makes you and me fully human. Faith is waiting, experience is Being! Faith anticipates the kiss, Being is the kiss.

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Light of Being

Light of Being

Today’s Koan: Light of Being  Here is my order of experience: That I am; that I experience wonder; that I can reach into this wonder through my own spirit; that, at my depths, I AM this Wonder and It is me.  This is what I ‘feel’ in the presence of these beseeching trees — their reach into the heavens.  It is through the Absolute Energy of Being, energy that fills my heart, my being, that I sense what ‘is.’  As the Sufis say, then, in those depths, I connect to that flow of Presence which is ‘from before the beginning.’  It lets me bask in the Totality of Being, or ask about particulars before me and how each relates to the other — and the Other.  This is not adoration, but participation.  In the depths of Presence, adoration yields to gratefulness and joy!  This Joy knows itself and acts in accord with its own harmony.  Immersed, awash in the Light of Being! http://wp.me/p4cmRf-67

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Bellarmine Chapel PM CRPBellarmine Chapel — my parish. Joseph Campbell reminds us that ritual is important. As he would say, the rituals of the Season ‘pitch us out’ to a greater sense of what we are — individually and as humanity. The sconces on the walls tell me about the ‘math of spirit’: since light intensity decreases by the square root of the distance, perhaps spiritual intensity does as well. When we follow this arcing ceiling to its peak, the closer to Spirit we come, the more we are illuminated by its Presence. Until we touch the light and become the Light, then we burn in an ecstatic moment whose shine we never lose. At our baptism, we receive the Light of Christ. It is up to us to kindle that flame. Image: Lauren Davidson

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Energy of Being

Energy of Being

“From Science: It is gift to one’s self, in spirit and in place and time, to embrace our physical presence in this moment and then be aware of how our mindfulness and how our spirit reaches across both time and space. Each of us is a realization of potential that begins physically and expands spiritually in a constant birthing — from seed to womb to life to understanding to encounter — to Being! From the diminution of pure energy that created this time and place, that allows us to come to be, then we are reborn to that original energy, that Spirit to which we return. Then we become gift to others and the One Spirit that sustains us. But we can be that gift—now! We are the only ones that separate ourselves from the gift of each other—and from The Beloved.” ~ From Comments, “Woods Walking #10: The First Encounter”http://wp.me/p11gpL-1l

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Entanglement is simple: It is presence, one particle to another via the primal, underlying medium of Being. In spiritual experience, we are entangled with Being and with each other. The most common example is telephone telepathy — the phone rings, you answer and say, “I was just thinking about you!” Right?
http://youtu.be/o_FIujB1K7c

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The Blaze

The Blaze

“You were within, but I was without. You were with me, but I was not with you. So you called, you shouted, you broke through my deafness, you flared, blazed, and banished my blindness, you lavished your fragrance, and I gasped.” ~ St. Augustine, Confessions

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Divine Light

Divine Light

As we walk our daily path under the shaded canopy of human perception, sometimes the sun splashes through, giving us moments of clarity, moments of light. Tongues of flame dance on the path before us and call us out from under our safe protective cover into the fullness of Spirit that is always present. ~ Rudy

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Today’s Koan: Spirituality and Quantum Mechanics
” In Spirit, in our personal Penrose/Hameroff ‘objective reductive’ awareness, we ‘religio’, we connect back as the living expression of possibility to the Absolute source of our potential. Therein lies the source of Love – the cherished connection between the originating possibility and the actual expression of the ‘idea of us’ in matter and energy. Following our ‘substantial lineage,’ we physically, or in some Higgs particle-tangible way, emerge from the fabric of the Absolute. We are the energetic seed of the father infusing the matter of the mother creating a unique, vibrant re-expression of what was before. We cross the isthmus between the myth of scripture and the scientific expression of the one-and-the-same Being.”
http://wp.me/p4cmRf-2p

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What’s for lunch? Are you using a fork? Where did it come from? While eating mindfully, consider the metaphysics of your fork. Here’s my “Woods Walking” post on just that! We are blessed with these gifts. http://wp.me/p11gpL-r

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A wonderful interview with Sufi mystic, Maata Lynn Barron. Her path to inner spirit, living from the heart, was through metaphysics. That took her to the real experience of the inner self, pulling back the veils that conceal the heart. Her later practice of Sufism is an external expression, a practice that takes students to the inner heart. For me, the path was also through metaphysics, but mine was the evolved metaphysics of St. Thomas Aquinas, which itself is the synthesis of the empirical thought of Aristotle and the spiritual work of St. Augustine, marvelous, ancient foundations! Again, whether Sufi or Christian, either tradition takes one to the truly human inner experience of the heart, of spirit. As Lynn says, it is an *experience.* Our mind knows, but our heart is. Spiritual experience is like flight. Physically we may fly in either a Cessna or a Piper, but the core experience of flight is the thing we seek. The brand of aircraft is incidental to the experience. So do not deny what Sufism or Christianity reveals because you do not trust one or the other, just know that this innate, inner experience is real and true, regardless the path. Every person’s path is unique. The truth is ultimately found in silence, and there, there are no words or names, just Being. Meanwhile, listen to Lynn’s descriptions of her core experiences, of her encounters. That is It!

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Today’s Koan: Intentionality 
“On the path from realism to nihilism, a veil of perception is gradually drawn around our human perception, and the continuum from realism to despair is in proportion to the transparency of one’s ‘cocoon.’ Interestingly, the process of meditation seeks to unveil our perception yielding a pure intentionality.”
http://wp.me/p4cmRf-5A

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This Sun is a source, yet it is not ‘the’ Source. That is another path, another river of spirit whose estuary flows from us into the limitless Everything. http://wp.me/4cmRf
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Today’s Koan: Trinity
“In place of The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit, consider the Sun, the Earth and the energy that comes to the Earth from the Sun that sustains all life.”
http://wp.me/s4cmRf-trinity
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From “One: the Movie”: Describe God.

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From “Meditative Moments” — brilliant!

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Dr. Cynthia Bourgeault on the practice — and science — of Centering Prayer. You ‘know’ this when alone under a brilliant night sky, you look up and you say, you feel, you experience “We”! You are spacious and given over without limits; your own spirit expanding out in limitless presence. Pax, Rudy

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Fr. Thomas Keating, creator of Centering Prayer, talks about the wisdom of the Zen koans on the five senses — and a little on Oneness. Via The Global Oneness Project.

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“Early one morning when I was busy making breakfast the sun came over the horizon and its first rays streamed through a window and struck a red cup sitting on the kitchen table. I had seen that cup hundreds of times before. I had washed it, put it away, drunk from it, and let my fingers get warm around it, but until that morning I had never truly seen it. The sun seemed to illuminate the cup from within. It was no longer a simple kitchen utensil, but sat there in the middle of the table aglow with being. I felt, ‘This isn’t just a cup. It is!’ And the radiance of this “is” took my breath away.” ~ Woods Walking #2: The Metaphysics of a Fork
http://wp.me/p11gpL-r
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“I tell my students that if they are going to do metaphysics, they need two pieces of equipment to get at the local sports store: a pair of wings and a diving suit. The diving suit to go down into the depths of being, and a pair of wings to take off and go to the furthest reaches. Being is the ultimate and beyond it is just non-being.” ~ W. Norris Clarke
Woods Walking #2: The Metaphysics of a Fork http://wp.me/p11gpL-r
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Easter is about the Divine spirit that resides in all of us. It is part of our humanity; that eternal, timeless potential whose manifestation in us only awaits our seeking, attention and intention. Once felt, once released, we know an ‘impossible containment’ that manifests as Love and Joy. Go and seek!
http://wp.me/p4cmRf-E
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“Woods Walking #17: Navigator of Being”
“So, how does one navigate the endless skies of meditation without that hopeless sense of disorientation? It’s funny, before I even knew I was on a journey in spirit, I began to pull back the veils of the heart, to follow touchstones along a path.”
http://wp.me/p11gpL-c2
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Sufi Mystic Maata Lynn Barron describes her path to the mystical through the study of metaphysics, without even expecting the experience that eventually overcame her. I experienced a similar path, pulling back the many curtains of perception along the metaphysical trail. “Woods Walking #2: The Metaphysics of a Fork” provides a glimpse at the process behind metaphysical thinking; the very objective process of peeling the onion of Being and arriving at core truths. Enjoy this brief example!

“There, we have engaged in the metaphysics of your fork! In this process of analysis, one also begins to sense the contingencies necessary to create your fork…”

http://wp.me/p11gpL-r
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I had a wonderful chat with a dear friend today and one of the ideas discussed was the evolution of the human spirit. I think it’s important to realize that we are living the evolution of Earth-based humanity. There is a long legacy of humanity in Spirit that “Is” from all time and all places and we are inflating into the void of eternal space and awareness. I discuss this in “Woods Walking #15: The Boundaries of Being.”

“As the waters of human knowledge lap at the shores of Eternal Being, our spirit is drawn into the Heavens to be returned to us in the life-giving rain of revelation.”

http://wp.me/p11gpL-33
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“God’s only message is ‘I love you.'” Brother David Steindl-Rast
When I heard that message in the unfolding “Three Nights of Affirmation.” http://wp.me/p11gpL-15


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Welcome new friends to Woods Walking: Peter, Mica, Pau, Jan, Denise, Moon River, Kimberly and Sue! One might ask, why Woods Walking? Well, it’s about sharing a gift, a gift that we all have that is all too often unrecognized, overlooked or left unattended — the gift of Spirit. In today’s crazy world, leading teachers like Fr. Thomas Keating O.C.S.O tell us that recognizing our personal spiritual potential is critical to the future health and vitality of humanity. When we live from a compassionate heart rather than from the lower energies of unrestrained ego, we find a much healthier “Body of Humanity.” Of course, this begs the question, how did I recognize my own spiritual capacity and potential? That started at a very young age for me with an accidental overdose of my mother’s epilepsy medication. I was three years old and wanted to emulate her daily routine. That led to a near-death experience (NDE) that I recount in “Woods Walking #10: The First Encounter.” You can read more about that experience at the link. But my experience can be summarized in this quote, “I tell this story, for the first time publicly here, because the experience has helped to take me from a sense of religious faith to a sense of spiritual actuality; of participation in a spiritual reality that extends beyond what we know through our normal five senses.” Through “Woods Walking” and “Today’s Koan,” I reconnect with previous and current experiences, sharing them so that others may unlock their own potential. Perhaps I’m rolling the rock away from the entrance to the Platonic cave of ego. The view outside is really quite remarkable! Pax, Rudy
http://wp.me/p11gpL-1l
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Another teacher who affirms my personal spiritual experience is Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee. Mystical encounter goes back to the very beginnings of humanity. All we need do is pay attention to those ‘small miracles’ that occur to us every day. Then, as Joseph Campbell said, “follow your bliss.” Pax, Rudy

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Canal of Light

Canal of Light

Today’s Koan: Second Birth. The Good News is that we are destined to a birth into Spirit. A radical, free presence that calls us forth from this womb of Earth, the warmth of Sun and placental sustenance of the hearth. We gestate in this dense, temporal cocoon of close action with the weight of gravity. Seeing with unlimited, quiet vision, we sense a new life of unrestricted being and Eternal Presence. Our second birth is through a canal of Light after a blessed release of effortless passage into the welcoming hands of Presence of those of our legacy, our love and The Absolute. Whether by age, accident or infirmity, Mother Earth begins her push as we desperately hold fast to what we know. The pain of leaving, the angst of the unknown into a refreshing first Breath of Spirit where we will cry with delight in that first stretch of our spiritual self finding the Presence with Love. Then we will be the Breath of Spirit that caresses the leaves and stirs the waters in our new naked birth into the Alluring Echo of Being.
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Matter Infused with Energy

Matter Infused with Energy

Today’s Koan: Trinitarian Son. In the Book of Genesis, God creates the heavens and the Earth, with mankind being created as part of the narrative. Of course, in the times of its writing the authors did not have the scientific, evolutionary perspective of humanity’s true genesis from the soils of the Earth, so this mythological account was created to make sense of the veil of time that separated the authors from their true genetic, chemical and physical origins. In the prior koan “Trinity,” we contemplated the literal trinity of the Sun, the Earth and the life-giving energy from the Sun that sustains the profusion of life on Earth. It is a trinity that surrounds and sustains us everyday. If we pull back the veil of time and Being and peer into their fullest and deepest perspectives, and contemplate the higher order of Trinity–on the order of Being–we go beyond Earth as the grounds of our being, our home, to the expanded perspective of our temporal universe as the cosmic grounds of our being. This is the genesis that began at the Big Bang, evolving over billions of years of stellar nucleosythesis in the hearts of stars, making the very stuff of Earth and the elements that would coalesce, enabling our factual genesis. At the level of this order, following the continuum of time, we arrive at an Absolute as the analog to our Sun, the Alpha of our being, the source of our very substance and the well of energy that enables the Cosmic Trinitarian Son — the totality of our universe and all other possible universes, all of which are the temporal expression of, the complement to, the Absolute. As described in earlier koans, it is a cycle of energy, a diminution that derives from the Absolute and returns to It in Presence, Understanding and Being. As the tree returns to the sky, humanity returns to the Absolute in Spiritual presence; what I’ve described before as the photosynthesis of prayer. There, we experience the marvelous sustaining light that falls upon the Earth, but at the order of Being, in the energy of Spirit, we find a personal Presence in Being with the Absolute. There, the breath of Spirit envelopes us like the warm kiss of the Sun, but with a touch that is total in our consent. In this Trinitarian Son, we are matter infused with energy just to live. On the order of Being in relation to the Absolute, we are individual consciousness infused with the Energy, the Presence of Being. It is That to which we return–energy to Energy.
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Joyful Anticipation

Joyful Anticipation

Today’s Koan: Advent. The paradox of awaiting amongst the living. For those in whom the Spirit is awake, Advent is a recollection of the journey and a time of gratefulness. For those on the path, Advent is looking ahead, anticipating an alluring joy. It is always Good News. Our spirit is already the drop of water surrounded by ocean. The coming of The Christ is our personal awakening to this Presence. For Christ is. The Trinitarian Son always shines with the pulse of each member of the Body of Humanity, present or past. Our salvation lies within us like a dormant seed awaiting emergence, tending and nurturing, yielding the bloom of a Lotus flower, radiant in the full light of day. The Nativity of Jesus is symbolic of the birth of our own spirit, from the lower energies of survival and sustenance to the higher, enlightened levels of compassionate action and living in peace with others — in the waters of unconditional love that are our natural place. I see this emergence in the woods, from seedling to sapling, each yearning for the light of presence until their full spread of canopy finds its place high among the others, receiving the life-giving light. It is a natural newness and emergence among those already present, those always present. Whether alluring or arrived, the journey is sweet in process or recollection. What steps do you take this Advent Season?
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Today’s Koan: Musical “Passage.” From William Ackerman, a beautiful tune that ascends the scales; the energy of music. Thomas Jin’s images resonate with images of these koans past. Be quiet and listen deeply. Flow into the sound box, the deep woods of the guitar. Breathe in each note; breathe out the resonance of each sustaining harmony. Feel the long days of this magical wood as it swayed in soft summer breezes, learning the notes of Being, the peace of a summer sunset, the song of many birds, the soft, nourishing rains. The creaking strings echo the crackling cold wood of winter, the bare, feathery branches that sifted the spiritual breezes, remembering those deep notes of star-struck nights, harvest Moons and crescent earth-shines. Listen deeply for the mystic mist and the magic drawn from the roots deep in the earth, the soils of trees past and songs played long before. Be with all of it now, let your ‘self’ fill the canopy of presence, the full bloom, in full consent, full Yes!

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Abundant Gratitude

Abundant Gratitude

Today’s Koan: Thankfulness. Even on a frigid morning hike, my heart melts with gratitude. It is the gratefulness of just being, participating in this grand spaciousness that spreads across that valley ahead and into the deep expanse of stars at night. And the humble moments of quiet mind where thankfulness meets an Eternal Presence that is constantly inviting, constantly alluring with the delicious taste of Being. It wafts through the trees on the breath of wind and beams of light like the warm aromas of cooking on this day of thanks. They are inviting aromas to a banquet that sustains us in spirit, promising a full heart and a joyous soul. I see that light with every step. I am at table with thanks today and pass the abundant plate of gratitude to you. Pax, Rudy
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The Beautiful PathToday’s Koan: Gratefulness. For Thanksgiving, a re-post of an early koan. Simply put, gratefulness is gratitude; even awe at and for the fact of our very being with each breath. We feel this with a positive diagnosis, or good news in a letter, or receiving a gift from a loved one. But in the depths of meditation, appreciating our presence with Spirit, we know that we are, that there is a path ahead, that we belong to a marvelous grandeur whose face we see in nature and in the smile on another’s face. And for these, we are grateful. What are you grateful for?
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Quantum Consciousness

Quantum Consciousness

Today’s Koan: Spirituality and Quantum Mechanics. Mystics such as Rumi say that we are like a drop in the ocean; we are that water, so we already possess everything in the ocean. This idea, experienced in the Spirit, is an analog to quantum mechanics. We are a possibility playing out, a re-expression of Being as being–small ‘b’. All possible conditions are concurrent always in the Heart of Being, the Absolute foundation of Being , the most Primal “Is-ness.” At that primal absolute level, we already are as possibility, but in temporal expression, in the specificity of matter infused with energy, after the random chaos of creation, the components of our physical being play out. The subatomic building-blocks combine in specific expression completing a probable, possible ‘self’. It is random specificity, not predestined, but Known by the Beloved across time. Spacetime–space and time–are the requisite components necessary to allow these probabilities to play out. In Spirit, in our personal Penrose/Hameroff ‘objective reductive,’ awareness, we ‘religio’, we connect back as the living expression of possibility to the Absolute source of our potential. Therein lies the source of Love – the cherished connection between the originating possibility and the actual expression of the ‘idea of us’ in matter and energy. Following our ‘substantial lineage,’ we physically, or in some Higgs particle-tangible way, emerge from the fabric of the Absolute. We are the energetic seed of the father infusing the matter of the mother creating a unique, vibrant re-expression of what was before. We cross the isthmus between the myth of scripture and the scientific expression of the one-and-the-same Being. We are a unique sculpture, a unique form whose substance is the Clay of Being. In quiet Presence, we reconnect to this reality through its immediate, concurrent quantum nature. ‘Spooky action’ is spiritual action, the self seeing Self in the tidal waters of Being. It requires faith prior to experience, but once known, it “Is”! In the words of Jimi Hendrix, “Are you experienced?”
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A Forest of Universes

A Forest of Universes

Today’s Koan: Arboreal Meditation #4. This thread of meditations has used the metaphor of a tree in ascending levels, ascending orders, from the order of the one and the many that repeats in nature and in useful structures, to each leaf representing a person to each leaf representing a world. This expanding revelation of the expanse of the wondrous Being around us is based on the analog of a familiar, natural presence that now ends with contemplation as each leaf considered as a separate universe, each emergent from the tree of Being with roots in the Absolute. Science today is addressing the questions of whether we are the only life in the Universe, or if this Universe is the only one in Being. In the presence of profound, profuse, prodigious life on our great, good Earth–so many trees, so many species, such astounding abundance of life–it seems to be a natural extrapolation to say that there is a profusion of universes as well. Even our personal being is based on astounding numbers–trillions of atoms and billion of cells. In what Richard Rohr refers to as the Cosmic Christ, each Universe is “The Christ” considered as life emergent in the cosmos, emergent in Being through some transition from the Absolute to a temporal expression of the Absolute in space and time as matter infused with energy. This “Christ” results in what I’ve called “the human flower of the breath of God into the cosmos.” What is the limit? Why should there be any limit? Not only that there are countless universes in being, but like the trees in the forest, each universe has a specific life span across deep time, in a continuum with both previous and subsequent universes and the constant emergence of life; what Meister Eckhart referred to as ‘constant birthing.’ How does one come to terms with such infinite, eternal expanse? In the koan “Eros to Ethos” we find meaning in the ascending energy of life, from the base energies of reproduction and the struggle for sustenance to the emergent energy of compassionate action in a personal ethos. This ethos of one in the many, one for the many, gives us meaning and is a worthy echo back to the Source of our personal being. In meditation, one also encounters meaning in the form of presence to Spirit, a presence whose encounter *is* Love, traditionally called “a peace that exceeds all understanding.” But it can be experienced! Carl Jung said, “I don’t believe, I know.” Joseph Campbell said, “I don’t have faith, I have experience.” In “Woods Walking #9: Three Nights of Affirmation,” I recount my own profound experience of this Eternal, Unconditional Love. So, making sense of all of this, we rest in the Peace of Presence, not only with the Absolute, but also with the joyful emergence of eternal souls, like our own, in a glorious, eternal communion. Today, do you have faith or experience? If faith, seek that wondrous Experience!
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Galactic Arms

Galactic Arms

Today’s Koan: Arboreal Meditation #3. Every tree is an emergent, ascending order, arcing above us, beseeching the sky; weeping limbs dancing in the music of a soft summer breeze. That dance, that order washes over me with an infusion of wonder with each wander past that stately, steady, swaying presence. It tells me many things: the one, the many, my own living expression as a single leaf in concert with others, in communion with the spirited light. It tells me who I am — in a living analog of substance, form and color. Expanding awareness into the full canopy. But it calls me out to yet another, higher order as I gaze upon the brilliant night sky. There, this wise arbor blooms into a universe. Then, each leaf is a world unto itself set on sweeping galactic arms branching in groups, swirling in energetic, cosmic winds. I become a mere cell on that earthen leaf; part of the order, part of the dance, part of the being of this larger, expanded ‘one.’ This world becomes one season in the life of this cosmic arbor anchored in what, emergent from what? Even though the leaf, this world exists in seasons, even this cosmic, universal arbor has its own alpha and omega, a story in which we are barely a note in a song beyond our own. I am one note in this tree’s movement in a symphony of Being. One note in a harmonious whole, one note given meaning in the arrangement with others in that swaying. lilting beat of time. Beginning with an explosive rumble of a kettle drum of creation, to the last waning draw of a bow across an ascending eschatic note to Fiddler’s Green. This wise arbor emerges from and goes back to the cosmic soil of being, adding depth and completeness to a whole that isn’t whole without us. Potential added to perfection. Emerging with wonder, returning with the wisdom of seasons. This one tells many stories of many seasons, yet it is only one of many. To which wise arbor do you listen? Do you hear the song?
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Misty Mystical Light

Misty Mystical Light

Today’s Koan: Arboreal Meditation #2. Every leaf is you. Every leaf is me. Each connected at the stem to the life-giving branch, emergent in our own veiny, fleshy expression of energy and life. The Light of Being reaches deep into the roots of its own Self to call us out, out into a budding presence, birthed into a new nurturing light. A call from The Self to self, drinking from the immensity of Being, re-expressing energy as a new self, a new being in that self-same light. Each of us emerge in line, in time, a continuum, part of the whole, pulsing in the energy of light and life. Breathing in for sustenance, breathing out in assent, waving in the spiritual breeze, energized by its light. Our unique expression joins with others reflecting this riotous, joyous, colorful play of light in echo to the Eternal Call and its misty, mystical Presence. That Presence patiently waits in duration, through dark nights and long winters and many generations just for us, just for you, just for me — for our own play of being in this Well of Life. The leaf on the tree smiles in perfect consent awash in its own shower of light. Do we consent, are we attentive to this loving call? It is a simple, loving, radiant utterance until that day when we break at the stem to that final call to Light.
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One and the Many

One and the Many

Today’s Koan: Arboreal Meditation #1. In these naked, chill fall days we find the bare limbs of the forest and each tree reveals itself. We see the one and the many; the loan trunk that bears all of the weight of the tree up, up into the diversity of the limbs to the feathery fingers that seine the breath of spirit. It is a familiar, familial spread that repeats over and over in the forest and in our many structures: water, power; organizations; circulatory–even cerebral. The one in the many. The oneness of the many. Whether by natural or deliberate cause, the unity, the continuity repeats over and over. The call of revelation for fruitful abundance emerges from this living earth in profusion. But always from a beginning, from a source — to the many; the all. That tree before me harbors the secrets of the arbor, that which we do not see just in passing, but in quiet, steady presence to its very being. The roots of its being reach down into the depths of our awareness–beyond thinking, beyond pondering to pure presence — the isthmus of “is-ness.” The journey is countless steps, countless thoughts, but once there, the steps melt into a fluid concurrence; a presence expressed in a core truth that is beyond all, touches all and is in all. It is from The All in image and likeness. Are you seeing, listening to the breeze? This first is a bud, an emergence.
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Energy of Life

Energy of Life

Today’s Koan: Photosynthesis of Prayer. Like the leaves and the Sun, our own cerebral cortex is where the photosynthesis of prayer takes place; where the light of Presence is welcomed and the breath of Spirit moves. It gives us Spiritual food in quiet emptying and consent.
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Moonlit TrailToday’s Koan: The Brilliant Deep. After a day of rain and storms, Rory and I went for a hike last night under an incredibly bright Moon. The brilliance is enhanced by the fact that all of the foliage is down now, save some of the underbrush. From my photos and posts, you know that I am taken with the play of light; the colors, the contrasts and the wash of colors in early and late day light. Of particular contrast last night, though, was the brilliant moonlit darkness against the full light of the midday Sun. The Sun’s light touches everything and gives the sky the deep burning blue that still gives me delight after long days of clouds and rain. But what strikes me even more is the brilliant, deep darkness of the night sky, where the blazing light of the Sun hides nothing and we can gaze upon the stars and even past them into the endless void of space and time. Our normal immediate environs are our usual reference, but the deep darkness provides wondrous moments to expand one’s awareness, to go inward, then outward, following the earlier koan, “Impossible Containment.” At first we feel small, even insignificant under this immense expanse, until we start to drink in our sense of participation in this immediate place and go outward in “ownership” of our oneness with all of it. It’s an endless playground of fantasy and flight. And in the perspective of countless worlds, countless galaxies, and even, countless other universes, past, present and yet to come, how many eyes have gazed out in similar wonderment? How many in this moment, much less across the continuum of time? There, the echo of Spirit provides a response from countless voices that confirm our awe and the joy of this presence to the moonlit light bark of the sycamores to the hoot of the owls to the spirited, charged expanse of our drop of water an an endless ocean. Beyond consent to the soul, consent to the sky is a wondrous presence that is our natural abode after birthing from our Platonic cave. I breath in to be and breath out into this brilliant deep that echoes with its own personal presence. Image: Peter Wimberg
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Geyser of Spirit

Geyser of Spirit

Today’s Koan: Impossible Containment. Go inward to go outward. This from the last koan, the revelation of the critical mass of spiritual awakening; that once released can never be contained. It is beauty’s potency in Being which can never be restrained. Beauty will be, as it arises from what is. The river of being flows along splendid shores carrying the silted seeds of emergent life. The very seed of being is an impossible density, whose release echoes across the background of time and space. It is a geyser of spirit from deep within. Each bud repeats this burst in a new declaration, in its own voice and place. A profuse song that can never be silenced, whose libretto is liberté. The arms of my soul know this breadth–with every breath. Is this your liberating release?
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Eden is!

Eden is!

Today’s Koan: Foundations of Being. “Eden is!” from Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth. As Thomas Keating says, mystical contemplation, by its nature, is paradoxical. When we go inward, we go outward. When we dive deep into our own consciousness, we find that we are a participant in the Grand Consciousness of Being. The poet Rumi calls our personal presence a drop in the ocean. In other koans, I’ve referred to our awareness as a cosmic radio tuned to some extreme end of the electromagnetic spectrum. One really can’t consider how we know without knowing what we are — what we know about what we are. Go inward to go outward. Keating also describes the presence of God as imminent, a foundational, actual presence that is sustaining, moment by moment. When we go inward physically, with the eyes of a scientist, we get to the ever smaller and smaller. In the koan “The One and the Many,” I said that the larger is contingent upon the smaller. Each brick in a wall is essential to the structure of the wall. Each atom, each proton and electron, and all of the subatomic particles and energies that make up an atom, are this descending vortex into the smallest, most humble components of that which is — the foundations of being. Putting it in terms of another koan, this is a true “substantial lineage” that connects us intimately to the Absolute; the First Mover, the Self-sufficient Act of Being. When we realize this inward presence to Being, we know that ‘Eden is’ and that we are a part of The All. Yet, it is the gift of our individual awareness, our personal being, that tends to disconnect us from this unitive presence. The challenge of duality. Yes, we can exist quite independently. In fact our own sustenance in life depends upon independent action — eating, breathing and drinking — those lower energies described in the koan, “Know Thyself — Energy.” But then, as we go outward, we need to find and express compassionate action, putting us in harmony with others and “The Other.” That is the guidance of the Dalai Lama. Denial of this harmonious presence is the source of chaos among men and women. The brick wall described before must be laid square and true to be sturdy and enduring. While this image has a constrained, restrictive connotation, is fails to express the denotation of freedom that we enjoy — in thought, movement and intention. When we go outward, we find an Infinite Presence. That is peace, that is freedom — that is the foundation of our very being. Are you “with It”?
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A Joyous Path

A Joyous Path

Today’s Koan: Spiritual Bread Crumbs. It’s like love. It is love! A first glance, a first touch, a first laugh together. All are bread crumbs along a path to lasting devotion; a tie that can’t be undone. A presence without which we seem lost, unsettled — disturbed by a lonely, longing ache. Comfort and a quiet, peaceful heart are only found with the Other. What leads us along this path of unknown longing to a sudden full Presence, without which we are in a delicious agony? How is it that the unseen completes us in such an overwhelming way? It is a depth of touch, a scent, a sight. A warm breeze through our hair that reaches down into the synapses of spirit, waving them to a slow, flowing balletic beat — back and forth and looking up, looking deep into a dark, brilliant void of endless spiritual touch. Beyond our first love to the First. What? The seed of someone’s spiritual touch, another’s spiritual devotion, a sunrise, a sunset, the love of another? Or just a quiet calling across a wide valley? What’s there? Who is there? Between touches, between bread crumbs, there is a deep chasm. Haven’t I already said yes? Haven’t I consented to that wafting, warm enveloping touch? Yet, like an overcast that hides the brilliance of the stars, we are left alone for moments, days even weeks. Dark nights that draw me forward to find yet another bread crumb, a new radiance, a new depth of presence. My God, how far does this go? I may burst! In that sweet drenching Presence, that complete warmth and rest that drifts on a relentless tide of humble devotion. A new bread crumb that makes us laugh — and cry — with a profound joy that we sense as lasting, loving — forever. It is there. You are Personal, You are immense, You are everything. You Are!

Do you sense it?
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Weeping Cherries

Weeping Cherries

“I turned down the last Observatory hill from under an immediate canopy of leaves to see a grand pallet of colors; reds, yellows, oranges and even hints of maroon edging into purple. The park’s weeping cherry trees put on a daily, almost balletic performance, changing from green to reds and orange, before falling from their branches with an orange-yellow hue.” ~~ Woods Walking #4: Fall Colors

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One in the Many

One in the Many

Today’s Koan: The One and the Many. On this morning’s dawn hike, I watched one loan leaf waft down from its summer high perch at the top of the canopy. Countless leaves are falling now, but this one caught my eye for its rolling, defiant last flight; from its summer in the Sun, back to the legacy of the forest floor. From the venous life of the tree to its lifeless form taking on the external infusion of moisture and the micro-biome that brings it into unity with those gone before. That one leaf seemed so insignificant. But one leaf does not a tree make, nor can a tree thrive without each one of its crop. Each is essential in its own way. So it is with humanity. All of us make up the whole, but each of us has our own note to play, as so well said by Sufi mystic, Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee. As reflected on in the earlier koans on vertical continuum and holons, each ‘one’ is essential to being. From a Higgs Boson to an atom to a molecule to each cell in our body, each is the foundation of the next and the larger is contingent upon the smaller. So it is also from the koan “Eros to Ethos,” each individual makes up our community whose aggregate quality is the sum of the personal ethos. How do you contribute to the Body of Humanity; from your oneness to the many? What is the color of humanity; a vibrant color, or darkness — and where?
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Energy Emergent

Energy Emergent

Today’s Koan: Eros to Ethos. We are energy emergent from Being, energy that begins with our literal roots in this earth that sustains us. The energy that burns within us is derived from the Sun above us. That is the energy of our physical presence, the energy that derives from each breath and each meal and each drink. In Greek mythology, Eros was a ‘primordial god’ who was involved in the creation of the cosmos. He represents our beginnings and our yearnings in this temporal life. From seedling to sapling, Eros is that initial struggle to live, then to pass on this gift to progeny, leaving and extending the legacy of our living and of the thread of life, the continuum of matter infused with energy upon this Earth for literally billions of years. As a sapling matures into one of the giants of the woods, fully present to the light of the Sun, we also are drawn to a higher emergence and expression of our own energy. The flame of the lower energies, the lower Chakras, rises up in us to the higher energies of heart, head and soul. It is the compassionate and wise, the emergent Ethos of energy as expressed in Greek mythology through the stories of Orpheus. The energy of Being re-expressed, as and through ‘self,’ arising in us to find the beauty that is, closing the circle of energy, the journey of our being back to Being; the Absolute. When we put down the Holy Books and see what is around us, this path of energy is emergent and present to us. Then the mythologies of our Holy Books come to life in the meaning buried in those pages, emergent from the heart of the first writers. In quiet reflection, we become present again to this Energy. The lilting music of Orpheus calls out our energies, from the base up to the glorious; as his music called Eurydice back from the underworld. The beauty — and challenge — to humanity, is the freedom of re-expression of this energy of life. In these choices, Ethos transforms to the character, the ethic of our being. We realize our potential when our energy is in harmony with the Energy of Being. Is your energy fully emergent?
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Blessings Upon the Earth

Blessings Upon the Earth

Last night, I noticed this visage in the photo posted with the koan “Know Thyself — Energy.” Indeed, matter infused — infused with energy. A blessing of natural occurrence upon this great, good Earth. “Being as self communicative.” ~ Norris Clarke, SJ I find quiet humility in it; with it. ~ Rudy
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The Circle of Energy

The Circle of Energy

Today’s Koan: Know Thyself — Energy. Again, following the koan “Matter & Energy,” today we continue with knowing oneself, and now on the second level, energy. Life, our personal being, is matter infused with energy. As we sensed in yesterday’s contemplation, our energy flows along miraculous channels emergent from our human DNA, with roots back into the DNA of Being. Yet, the energy of life is our absolute connecting back to the source of all being, the Absolute Energy that Is, prior to the Big Bang. To repeat Joseph Campbell’s description of creation, the Absolute created the earth and breathed life into it. Whether by deliberate action, or just natural occurrence, our universe is. That breath is in every moment, in the energy of each thought, each inhale, each flexure, every movement. Without that active, vibrant flow of energy, our physical self is only an empty temple. The photo with this koan portrays that energy of life breathed upon the Earth, expressing itself through matter in beautiful, sublime variations that are continually changing. Spend time with this image, then in a similar environment near you. Follow, sense, feel that flow of energy, from the Sun to that photosynthetic transformation and recombination of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen into the base sugars of life. We value gold, but we live on these natural, synthesized expressions of energy. In our own consumption and conversion of these compounds, whether through vegetation or flesh, we literally depend upon that chain of energy. It is the bread of life. In the koan on Matter, we focused on our physical presence and gentle movement: that muscular action enabled by chemical release — that physical burning in the core of our cells that we feel in the warmth of a touch. Yet, those movements are directed by literal, electrical impulses that flow along our nervous system. That is a quantum level higher expression of energy. Our muscular energy is a local strong force, while our nervous energy is a guiding weak electrical force across the span of our limbs. All of this is orchestrated instinctively by our primitive, yet sophisticated central nervous system. Here, we are following the ancient alchemical path of chakras, from the lower energies to the higher from our now more sophisticated understanding of this light-to-chemical-to-electrical-to-life conversion of energy. The last quantum step is back into the canopy of our awareness, as described in “Woods Walking #16: The Earth, The Self, The Sky,” our consciousness is energy emergent from lower chemical levels to higher electrical levels — and finally to spirit: that summative expression, emergent presence that is the final prismatic calculus of this circle of energy. Our spirit connects us back to the sky, back to the Absolute Energy that is our source – the Alpha and the Omega in the River of Being. We complete the journey of our own being when we return to that source in the presence of spirit, whether in the quiet of contemplation — now — or after our last physical breath and our second birth into that eather that Is! This koan is a discursive meditation meant as a logical path, a series of breadcrumbs, a meal of meaning. We take this meal, now, in quiet meditation to be with it, visualizing again our physical self, but also our energetic self, from chemical, to electrical to spiritual. We end the journey at the Hindu concept of Shakti, that primordial cosmic energy that is the well of our being. In spiritual presence, we complete the journey back, the connecting back to this source. The “religio.” It is a literal path, a literal flow that continually happens, whose final human expression is awareness, reflection and transcendence. The final step of transcendence is as described in Woods Walking#16:

“Meditating minds are minds that are fully engaged, where the focus of awareness—the spotlight of specific thought—is released in favor of full, broad presence; the flood of full capacity, true potential and the gifts and grace of the human mind and consciousness. It is consciousness, energy, flowing out in abundance through every branch and fully illuminating the entire cranial canopy, consenting to and dancing with the energy of the sky.”

There, the energetic circle is complete. Is your spirit alive?
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Presence to Self

Presence to Self

Today’s Koan: Know Thyself — Matter. Following the koan “Matter & Energy,” today we start knowing oneself, and on two levels; matter today, then energy tomorrow. So, at a convenient time, get comfortable, relax and close your eyes. Imagine yourself sitting under this tree. Steady your breath to longer, slower deeper breaths. Quiet your mind and bring yourself to a focus of awareness of your physical self; as you sit or lay, or however you find yourself. Focus on your breath — in and out, with a slow pause after you breathe in. Let distractions fly as you exhale, like a bird from the branches of your mind. Let it go and watch, dissolving into the air. After getting to a quiet space, breathing in and out, slowly expand your awareness of your physical self. Start with your bones — the rising and falling of your ribs with each breath — follow them back to their axis at your spine. Follow your spine up and out to your arms to the tips of your fingers. Gently flex your fingers from open to closed, from closed to open. Do the same now, down through your legs — the large femur down through your knee caps to your lower legs, down to your toes. Gently point your toes, down and back. Be quietly present to these motions. Now, do these again, but feel the warm, smooth action of your muscles as you flex your fingers and again point your toes. Feel your whole self as you do. Take several minutes to be with this quiet presence to self. If something ails, give it your loving presence. Let worry and fear fly; just offer loving, healing presence. Then, know your sensing through your nervous system. Imagine the trunks and branches of your nerves and finest extensions, from your spine out into your arms and legs, to your fingers and toes as you flex again, slowly and gently. Follow your nerves to their very endings — on your skin, the warmth of the air around you, any breeze through your hair, the warmth of light on your face. Feel the caressing pressure of where you comfortably sit. What quiet sounds do you hear, what do you smell in each breath; what do you taste, perhaps from a recent meal? With each breath, slowly repeat each feeling — from bones, to muscle to skin through the replying nerves that bring your this wonderful presence to self. Finally, be still. Relax completely. Sense everything about you — be quietly aware of your total self, your being. Did you find a glorious, timeless moment of gratefulness? Take a moment, be grateful and slowly come back to self and what is next with a refreshed presence. Peace to you…
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Glorious Colors

Glorious Colors

Today’s Koan: The Glory of Being. This koan, this picture require few words. I turned on the path and looked up into this glorious splash of colors in the morning light. The glorious sight took my breath away. The vision was glory, affi…rmation, presence; the invisible gift of light making things visible, glorious and wondrous. We do not see light; we see things in light. So it is with The Absolute. I was still, quiet and moved in that brief moment of oneness. Glory Be!
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Matter Energy Life

Matter Energy Life

Today’s Koan: Matter & Energy. In the koan “God’s DNA,” we considered Jospeh Campbell’s description of time and space as being the screen between our perception and presence with the Absolute. In the koan “Trinity,” we described energy as the most fundamental aspect to life. Campbell describes it wonderfully; that God created Mother Earth, then breathed life into it. From the koans “Substantial Lineage” and “Megaverse,” we know that the creation story is really one of transition from one state to another, much like a seed falling into the rich soil and germinating from its quiescent state to a budding, thriving, emergent seedling. A seed is essential DNA surrounded by its own stored energy. The seed of our being in this universe is the Big Bang. So what do we make of this continuum from one state of likely pure energy to what we know as matter infused with energy; the energy of life? In “Woods Walking #15: The Boundaries of Being,” I discussed Stephen Hawkings’ differentiation between time and no time.

“Considering Hawking’s boundary between ‘time and no time,’ and that energy may pre-exist spacetime, and further considering Einstein’s elegant, fundamental equation E=MC2, where any mass accelerated to the speed of light becomes pure energy, we find ourselves at the precipice of a higher order, pre-existent state of being—a quantum state prior to the Big Bang, where energy does not express itself as mass and therefore does not occupy space as we know it. What this implies is that the Big Bang is the diminution of pure, pre-existent energy in a way that yields mass, which also occupies spacetime. Quite suddenly and explosively! It is a transition from a higher ordered state of being to a lower ordered state where matter is separated from energy.”

But then, from matter and energy, how do we get ‘life’? Energy in our dimensional universe begins with solar fusion, the energy of stars driven by the quantum effects of gravity. The next requirement is a planet, like Earth, in the habitable zone of its host star. Venus and Mercury have plenty of solar energy, but so much so that there is either no atmosphere (Mercury), or it is inhospitable to life (Venus). Even our own Moon is a desolate landscape without a harboring atmosphere. On the Moon there is matter and energy, but no life. So, life arises within the hospitable conditions that permit the necessary chemical interactions where energy becomes applied–and meaningful; from the most fundamental, primordial single-cell organisms to our complex, bi-pedal, aware, intelligent and reflective human species. In life, then, energy ascends through levels of our being. In eastern traditions, in human form, these energies ascend through the chakras, from the lower levels essential to sustaining and replicating life to the higher heart chakra, the source of compassion; that beautiful expression of living energy between one and another. Beyond the heart chakra is where we turn with one another to our eventual “Spiritual Returning.” As this image shows, we participate in this “Continual Harvest,” whose building blocks are matter and energy so arranged to create life, and meaningful, reflective, compassionate life that ultimately links back to its source—that Absolute Energy of Being. It is our choice, day by day, where and how our energy is spent; where it resides. You and I are elegantly arranged matter infused with life-giving energy. How are you expressing your energy today?
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The DNA of Being

The DNA of Being

Today’s Koan: God’s DNA. A few years ago, a visiting Franciscan priest spoke during the homily at Mass to talk about Franciscan Missions. He used the term God’s DNA to connect all of us as brothers and sisters along this path of life. No matter how one refers to the Absolute, when we follow our ‘substantial lineage’ back to the source of this ‘River of Being’ in which we participate, we arrive at a moment of ‘no words.’ Our personal intuition senses this deep genetic connection that gives us life to know–to be aware, and beauty to appreciate. We are–we participate. In moments of hubris, we want to ‘own’ our moments, to be masters of our domain. But in quiet moments of humility, we sense our contingency, our dependence on ‘other,’ and “The Other.” Raissa Maritain said it well:

“At the sight of something or other, a soul will know in an instant that these things do not exist through themselves and that God is.”

Joseph Campbell refers to our busy attention below this canopy of leaves as the screen of time and space that separates us from the Absolute. His life was dedicated to the study of the mythologies of the world that help humanity see beyond this screen to “What Is.” When we look past this colorful canopy into the limitless sky above–and let our awareness loose in that grand aether–we find participation, not only in the immediate presence, but in the Presence to Being. That is Glory, that is Grace! As both Campbell and Father Thomas Keating say, that moment is right now, not some indeterminate future time, or even the moment of our last breath. All we need to do is stop and listen. Every faith tradition has it practices that take us to the transcendent, moments of transcendence. We are descended from and arise through this DNA of Being and boundless joy awaits in that moment of true consent and connection. Squeeze your hand in a moment of presence and feel. Are you listening?
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Quiet Presence

Quiet Presence

Today’s Koan: Spiritual Presence. In “A Secret Search in India,” Paul Brunton describes his first encounter with Ramana Maharishi as “a steady river of quietness seems to be flowing near me, that a great peace is penetrating the inner reaches of my being.” In eastern terms, that is “Satsang.” Brunton continued, “Does this man, the Maharishee, emanate the perfume of spiritual peace as the flower emanates fragrance from its petals?” In previous day’s koans, we’ve explored faith, journey and returning to spirit. But unlike a physical trip, how does one know the destination, the arrival, the affirmation of ‘presence’? As recounted in ‘Woods Walking #10: The First Encounter,” my early accidental misfortune provided the good fortune of a literal, sensed presence, since my whole perception, my whole being was that pure presence in those wondrous out-of-body moments. Since then, ‘normal’ perception, I’m sure, was changed. Yet, I was so young! Regardless, moments of awakened and even sleeping presence have the distinct tinge of “otherness.” Instead of the usual constant flow of self-emanating personal awareness, there is a spiritual touch, like a tap on the shoulder, like a gentle breeze, that, as I described yesterday, feels like tousled hair, or breath on the synapses of our perception. It is distinctly ‘other.’ Imagine singing alone on a stage, then someone in the wings starts to sing with you in harmony — your attention immediately goes from the doer, the performer to participant and receiver. But internally, in spirit. Water is an enduring metaphor for presence, particularly still waters: water that reflects the sky perfectly and lets us also see the depths undisturbed. That is why quiet mind is so central to the teaching pathways to spiritual awareness. The noise of busyness, business and external stimuli can, and do, so readily overwhelm that inner sense. My great gardener friend Jenny provides a wonderful metaphor for quiet mind: weeding a garden patch, leaving bare, rich earth ready to receive new vibrant, colorful life — those flowers and ‘fragrant petals,’ referred to by Brunton, are carefully selected for the quality of their presence. Spiritual presence feels like déjà vu, but instead of a sense of place, it is a sense of presence with another. My first awakened recollection of such presence was after serving a Holy Week mass with Father Al Bischoff, I was walking down a sunlit cloister to ride my bike back home. The light of that cloister penetrated beyond the sleeves of my jacket to a wafting, breeze-like presence that was quiet, peaceful and ‘other.’ My stasang that day was likely “Father B,” and the many nuns of Notre Dame who attended that mass at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Chapel. Are you listening, what do you hear? What wonders await in those depths?
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The DNA of Being

The DNA of Being

Substance from the stars to be; energy from a star to live. Consciousness manifests from substance; Spirit manifests from Being!
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Waters of Affirmation

Waters of Affirmation

Today’s Koan: Affirmation. At the end of the quest of faith, after the journey of spiritual returning, we find a moment of consent, of affirmation. It is our own response of ‘yes’ to the spiritual breezes that teased us with moments of bliss, that tousled our hair then breathed on the synapses of our spirit. It is letting the full warmth of the Sun’s light on our face pour into our heart. From “Woods Walking #9: Three Nights of Affirmation,” there was a path of unconditional love, that, during awakened moments, became an empathy with others. Then in dreams it became the intimate encounter with Love, first affirming the love of my siblings, then that of my parents. Finally, Love itself, in Spirit was there, like emerging from the wooded thicket, arriving at a beautiful shore where the only response could be a complete yes. It is a drenching affirmation of our being, our participation, our dance with Being. The returning is complete and the path is now bathed in a new radiant light, seen with depth, presence and meaning. Where are you on the path to affirmation?
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The Bloom of Spirit

The Bloom of Spirit

Today’s Koan: Spiritual Returning. Yesterday’s koan on faith described the path from questioning to pursuit to presence with Spirit. That journey can be called spiritual returning. As I do so often, I offer a compelling image of one of our local park’s weeping cherry trees; this one from this past spring taken at dawn in the joy of full regalia–that beautiful full presence of self to the sky, realizing its true beauty. But returning? When did we depart? Did we ever depart, or are we returning to our source and realizing the wondrous presence in willing consent? The cherries offer a wonderful metaphor of our own journey. From our literal roots in this Earth and our continual sustenance, drawing from her soil, to being present to her breezes and whims of season in our pursuit of daily life — the swaying and bending to the winds of change. But then in repose we find ourselves in wonder and questioning. It is part of our human condition, our human potential, the flowering of our consciousness that has expressed itself continuously since the cave paintings of Altamaria through the ancient mythologies to the many religious expressions across the world. All express the harvest of our soul’s desire to return to the Host Spirit, the sower of Being, whose presence we find in the roots of a Hermetic prisca theologica – the true story common to all spiritual desire. We are drawn to the continual harvest through a prior presence as waters flowing back to the sea–waters drawn from the sea into the cloud of spirit, rained upon the Earth and flowing back to their source. But as the tree, we stand fully present to the light of spirit, emergent from the soil, but mindful of our presence to the infinite depth of the sky through the photosynthesis of prayer; that triune communication from us, through Spirit returning to the Source. Are you in the bloom of presence, are you returning?
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Bare Seeking Limbs

Bare Seeking Limbs

Today’s Koan: Faith. Faith is fidelity, belief, trust, all edging on conviction, seeking the verity of experience. As the bare limbs of this tree beseech the sky awaiting the warmth of spring, enduring the dark nights of winter, faith follows many paths of thought looking for proof, affirmation. There is duration; a journey. To say ‘no’ is to cease the quest, to deny it and always cast our glance to the ground. To say ‘maybe’ is to leave the quest behind a closed door, a door that will always creak to the relentless winds of the claim on one’s heart. But for those who follow the quest earnestly, the full presence of encounter awaits, as the musician that practices the craft, the art finds songs that play themselves. At first, faith may answer with just a splash of light on one’s face. But later, in full consent, one drinks in the light, lets it penetrate to the heart in the full warmth of encounter, of being present to Being. It is the limbs in full bloom swaying to the winds of Spirit and the light of life. Then we are energized, brought to full life by the light that was always there, echoing Jung’s statement, “I don’t believe, I know!” I am! Then, faith moves from the vertical quest of immediate questioning to the path ahead and confidence that the way will be shown, will be known. Perhaps moment by moment, or turn by turn, or even by a clear map that shows the way ahead. There lies an infused faith, a certitude that propels us, not compels us. Where is your quest today?
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Vibrant Weeping Cherry

Vibrant Weeping Cherry

“Earlier this week I turned down the last Observatory hill from under an immediate canopy of leaves to see a grand pallet of colors; reds, yellows, oranges and even hints of maroon edging into purple. The park’s weeping cherry trees put on a daily, almost balletic performance, changing from green to reds and orange, before falling from their branches with an orange-yellow hue. The colors are vibrant, bright and beautiful. The trails were carpeted with all these dappled colors, as the leaves spend their last hours before beginning their decay into the arboreal legacy of the forest floor.” ~ Woods Walking #4: Fall Colors
More here: http://wp.me/p11gpL-B
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The Path as Journey

The Path as Journey

Today’s Koan: Journey. Yesterday’s koan, Legacy, implies a sense of journey. From the observant steps, step-by-step, of the hike, which journey has a specific beginning and end, to the brief, variable journey of a leaf falling to the ground. Last evening, the wind was calm and leaves would fall slowly to the ground. One maple still held many seed pods, and each leaf seemed to launch many pods, with the leaf tumbling and swaying through its journey and the seed pods seeming to hover their way down in that energetic spin to the ground, a spin that, even in its asymmetry of form, was in perfect balance. Each pod answered the question, what is the sight of one wing flapping. Journey ever expands. From my own one-second, three-foot gait to the variable time of a falling leaf to the span of our day, our seasons, our life to the life of a tree or its forest, each journey implies a purpose and a duration that is native to that purpose — that place. Each journey has an end where we stop and reflect, as a lotus flower basks in the Sun after its journey to full bloom. But that reflection is always about the journey, after which there is another and another, all contained in a larger journey, from lifespan to community, to nation, to world, to the grand space of which we participate. In retrospect, journey yields legacy. Journey is a segment of our earlier koan of continuum, a continuum of seemingly infinite length, but made up of countless journeys defined by lives and moments in each life, from strides to seasons to phases. The sense of presence on this ever expanding journey, this continuum of Being, is described in yesterday’s quote from Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, “Everything that rises must converge.” That convergence is the forest, the community, the presence to Being. What are your journeys, now and ahead?
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Legacy Under Foot

Legacy Under Foot

Today’s Koan: Legacy. We normally think of legacy as the memory left behind by a great person; a loved family member, a great leader, or a teacher. But in the woods, legacy is found in the forest floor upon which we walk. As this year’s leaves gently drift to the receiving earth one can’t help but think of the many years and many layers that have created this very soil. Geologists tell us that this local wooded park dates back 250,000 years to the last Ice Age that covered this area with glaciers. It’s fun to walk these trails and imagine the many seasons that have laid down this rich floor. Even now, the woods are covered with the new and the old. Saplings struggling for their own light to mature giants that lay down generations of golden colors to the fallen timber that rots, yielding back into the forest floor, all carrying with them countless years of Sun, rain, wind, winters and the breath of spirit that watched over them. Playing with numbers, once can find estimates of the number of trees per acre, the average tonnage of leaves and even the average life span of the trees in your own woods. For my park forest, this is an amazing number spread over 250,000 years, yielding the lush grounds of the woods. Shuffling through the leaves of this fall, I know their stories and imagine the old timber that has melted back into this welcoming earth. And I can even see the gray and crackling leaves of recent years. But then I know that there are countless years of stories shuffled through by people before me and the animals that make these woods home. What do you think of when you walk on history, on such legacy? This wood is a literal presence with its own continuum of life and legacy.
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Spirit Upon the Earth

Spirit Upon the Earth

Today’s Koan: Trinity. How do we experience the Trinity today — each day? In the face of our current science, we can see the traditional idea of “three persons that are co-equal, co-eternal and consubstantial.” In place of The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit, consider the Sun, the Earth and the energy that comes to the Earth from the Sun that sustains all life. Thanks to innovative thinkers like Georges Lemaitre and Geoffrey Burbidge, we know that our Universe is the result of the Big Bang (Lemaitre), and that all elements arised from this common, homogenous source through stellar nucleosythesis. (Burbidge) In the sense that the substance of being that we know derives from the Big Bang (see the previous koan, Substantial Lineage), then all is indeed ‘co-equal, co-eternal and consubstantial.’ Our everyday evidence of this trinity is the Sun. While it literally provides us with life-giving light, it is also forging, right now, a new crop of elements for the next emergence of solar generations. It is of little wonder that ancient civilizations deified the Sun. Yet today, we know that our Sun is only one of billions in our Milky Way, and one of many trillions in our Universe. Our ultimate source of being, then, is the self-sufficient Source of Being that Is before the Big Bang. It is that Being that we find in quiet presence, in a spiritual communion where we are separate but one, unified by that medium of spirit. While this can sound ‘hokey,’ consider that cosmologist only recently identified the existence of dark energy and dark matter, which together account for over 90% of the “stuff of the universe.” Science hasn’t directly observed either dark matter or dark energy. Yet these are profound energy and substance that suffuses the space around us. Is it so far-fetched then that the light of the Sun is also the Spirit on the face of the Earth? We are ‘consubstantial.’
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Messier 74

Messier 74

Today’s Koan: The Unchanging. A few days ago, the koan was ‘Intuition.’ I described the response from intuition and the ‘planes of knowing’ this way using the image of galaxy Messier 74: “From there, jets of inspiration emerge perpendicular to the plane of our own knowing.” We learn from another dimension. Such enduring, eternal wisdom derives from unchanging principles that apply for all time; time and duration as we know it. In Spirit, we find a bridge from our temporal self to the unchanging, eternal Being. The image of a galaxy provides a wonderful analogy for this connection. A galaxy, like a wheel, spins about an axis. Our own Milky Way takes about 250 Million years to complete one rotation, yet it rotates around an unchanging center, an axis, a hub — the eye of the storm of change. Cosmology tells us that this center is a black hole, where time stops and the rules of physics break down. Think of a wheel on your car: its point of contact propels us forward. Yet the wheel spins around its axel on a race of bearings. While the wheel experiences change and locomotion, the axel is unchanged, supporting you as the driver and your will to reach a destination. Are galactic jets literally the energetic communication from the unchanging? No one knows the answer to that question. But we do know that that center, that black hole is seen as a type of portal. To what, we don’t know without experience. Yet, in Spirit, we experience a connection, a presence that is unchanging. What do you experience as the unchanging? Image: NASA Hubble Space Telescope
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The Light Within

The Light Within

My walking meditation is, by necessity, on the order of being — recognizing and observing what is around me and how everything is intimately connected. It is a profound recognition. Yet, there is a higher order of meditation, on that of love. Meditation on being takes one to the Presence of the Absolute, but meditating on love is the path to the true essence, the quality of that Presence: our being *with* Being. My description of this Presence is recorded in my post “Woods Walking #9: Three Nights of Affirmation.” Read this and know that this Presence is part of *your* nature — everyone’s nature; it just awaits one’s seeking and consent. http://wp.me/p11gpL-15
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Flood of Light

Flood of Light

Today’s Koan: Being In Love. Being and Love; two essential words to contemplate deeply. In meditation, we release everything; who we are, what we are, where we are so that we become pure presence, pure being present with Being — our individual spark of awareness present to That Which Is. Pursuing this path, I describe an eventual encounter in “Woods Walking #7, The Contemplative Path” this way: “At some point, one encounters the raw fact of existence versus non-existence, whether personal (had “I” not been conceived) or, more radically, the stark, absolute concept of being versus non-being.” When we return from this journey of deep presence, we return to normal awakened consciousness. We awaken to a new personal presence flooded with the light of love, a love based on the gratitude to simply “be.” In body and soul we are each unlimited potential, energy emergent as a person in relation with other persons. Returning from such an encounter is not unlike returning from a refreshing vacation, a revealing, restorative retreat, or even awakening from a very deep sleep where we feel as though we are ‘rebooting’ to everything around us. That light of love found within us is like putting new batteries in a flashlight and turning it on in the depths of darkness. That relief, that sense of freedom in light comes with recognizing our own Being in Love. Have you sensed this radical intuitive light?
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Substantial Lineage

Substantial Lineage

Today’s Koan: Substantial Lineage. We’ll start this koan with a quote from the popular astronomer and astrophysicist known by his pronunciation of the word ‘billions,’ Carl Sagan: “The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars.” In the koan on The Body of Humanity, we contemplated the familial, biological lineage of humanity. In this koan, we drop down an order to the level of our matter, our substance and its lineage. Take a moment right now to look at the hand that guides your mouse or touch-screen. It is a marvel of substance give form — and life! It is organic substance that has arisen from this very Earth in a well organized chemical and biological manner. So did the plants in this photo, but along a more direct, botanical path. Our human sustenance follows a more circuitous path, since we are further up the food chain: the conversion, the passage of solar energy and substance from plants to animals to our own consumption. Regardless the path, the substantial lineage, the path back in history, in time, goes back to a primordial Earth and even back to the formation of our solar system, which itself is the progeny of prior stars and the complex atomic substance made possible only by those previous extremes of temperature and pressure. Also consider from “Woods Walking #12: The Substantial Lineage: Back to the Roots of Being,” “Hold a piece of your gold jewelry and contemplate its real substantial lineage – from the single source of ‘creation’ and the homogenous substance of the Big Bang through the generation of this very gold in the heart of a star that was from hundreds to thousands of times the mass of our own Sun. These specific gold atoms have followed quite a fascinating cosmic path to our hands!” This lineage is worth many moments of quiet contemplation, reflecting on our cosmic family ‘photo album,’ and our literal ties, in substance, back to the oneness of the singularity and the Big Bang — and whatever preceded that. Even though we are separated from that moment of transition by billions of years, we are intimately connected nonetheless. Do you feel it in your bones?
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Galactic Jets

Galactic Jets

Today’s Koan: Intuition. I’ll start this koan with a question: seeing the word ‘intuition,’ what is your first impression? The word derives from the Latin verb ‘intueri’: to look inside or contemplate. From Webster’s intuition is defined as the “faculty of attaining to direct knowledge or cognition without evident rational thought and inference.” My personal take is a “well of inspiration.” Intuition serves as a creative muse as well as a source of scientific insight. Albert Einstein said “The only real valuable thing is intuition.” It is a quiet guide that answers our questions, usually when we aren’t paying attention, when our innate faculties, unfettered by the pressure to perform, show us the answer. It’s not unlike the child’s toy, “Crazy Eight Ball,” only without the sense of chance. The answers seem to float to the surface of our imagination and force themselves into our conscious awareness. Perhaps it is our channel to the mystical ‘plane of knowing,’ described in the koan on “The Body of Humanity”? My personal attentiveness to intuition began with my reading of “God, Zen and the Intuition of Being” by James Arraj, which explored the similarities between Zen and the metaphysics of St. Thomas Aquinas. Intuition is like finding a hidden well while wandering in a field. Of course the very first thing we do is investigate how deep the well is by throwing a pebble into its maw. With intuition, there’s no immediate splash from the depths, which only makes it all the more fascinating! Then we shout into the blackness waiting for an echo and initially none comes in reply. But eventually, it seems that another voice comes to the surface with a wordless whisper, like flashing a picture in our awareness to which we must add words. It is a previous koan, “Spiritual Infusion” providing us the very essence of our subject of query. I’ve used the NASA Hubble Space Telescope image here of the galaxy Messier 74 to summarize my impression of intuition. As described in previous posts, it seems to be the summary of our five senses and our own thinking all thrown into a blender, drawn into the vortex of the mixer, the black hole at the galactic core. From there, jets of inspiration emerge perpendicular to the plane of our own knowing. What are your recent inspirations from intuition? Image: http://www.theregister.uk.com
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Continual Harvest

Continual Harvest

Today’s Koan: Continual Harvest. As Henry Nemo’s classic jazz song says, “‘Tis Autumn.” Rory and I took a beautiful hike this evening under the late-day Sun breaking through the last clouds of earlier rains. The vibrant colors of fall are alight along the wooded trails. In the bosom of this beauty, I couldn’t help but reflect on the koans of the “Megaverse” and “The Body of Humanity” from these last days. The woods are a wonderful metaphor for the idea of a megaverse — that grand structure of being which vibrates with uncounted universes in their own ebb and flow across deep time. In the woods, each tree is a metaphor for a single universe. So in contemplation, the woods launch a wordless presence to such a grand idea of Being. As we did in Woods Walking #16, “The Earth, The Self, The Sky,” consider each leaf an individual on the tree of life. In our time, we are a source of joy to the Absolute and the oxygen of life to the Beloved. From the soft, budding, naive color of spring to the harsh, dry green in the heat of summer to the last brief, vibrant colors before its end, our leaf, our lives play out a full three acts before release — and lofting on the wings of Spirit to the lap of the Beloved. Yet ours is only one host tree within this forest of Being, and we fall, eventaully, gently, to the common soil of the forest floor, the grounds of Being from which all arise. As the leaves fall around us, we can reflect on the continual harvest of souls, beings that flow as a river of love to the Beloved. In quiet presence, we are with them. When will you shuffle through the leaves and listen to their stories? I laughed with deep delight!
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A Blissful Evening

A Blissful Evening

Today’s Koan: Body of Humanity. This koan follows naturally from yesterdays’ koan on the Megaverse. The tagline on my Woods Walking blog is, “The participation of the Body of Humanity in the Greater Glory of Being.” Consider today your personal presence with other people as common participats in a larger whole. Each of us makes up ‘the body of humanity,’ and our individual actions define the aggregate expression of the whole. And, further, consider how we are present to the ‘glory of being.’ Whether at the glorious rim of the Grand Canyon, or in an elevator on the way to a meeting, each moment is a blessed instant in this participation. We are players on a stage. Is it a good show, tragic or comic? I’ve said in Woods Walking that “we are the human flower of the breath of God into the cosmos.” Are we realizing that beauty in each moment, as an indvidual, as families, as a groups, as societies, as the aggregate body of humanity? If not, what, or who is our guide? It is clear that we are living an awkward, painful evolution of a non-awakened state. When we are awake, we find that we participate in a Grand Spirit, present to the Absolute, as well as to others already born into the Spirit. As I asked in yesterday’s koan, how can we learn from those who already know the answers? Present to a crowd, as in this koan’s photo, or even in the metaphoric image of the Chinese wish lanterns in the Woods Walking page cover photos, we all have a quiet, intuitive sense of what is appropriate. Still, when we are in need of answers, perhaps ancient mystical traditions can point us to what is known as the ‘plane of knowing.’ This is the infusion from the extant, spiritual Body of Humanity, that in the perspective of the scientific idea of the Megaverse, contains a literal eternal store of life lessons, people who have lived and learned, but *are now* in a harmonious, blessed communion. What can we learn, what do we need to learn? Amazingly, there is no deific imposition of will; we are free to become, to realize what we can be! Are we?
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Rudy EZ 4-06We look up with questions to that burning sky until we leap into its “tumbling mirth,” whether on earthen wings or our own silent, soaring presence of Spirit.
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Soul Emerging to Spirit

Soul Emerging to Spirit

Can the fish deny the sea, can the flower deny the field, can a bird deny the air? How can our soul deny the Spirit? ~ Rudy
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Image: From Quarks to Quasars

Image: From Quarks to Quasars

Today’s Koan: Megaverse. A few months ago, I posted that to know who we are, we must know what we are. The path to that definition is knowing that of which we are a part. This image via From Quarks to Quasars refers to research that postulates the cause of ‘bruising’ apparent in the CMBR — the cosmic microwave background radiation. CMBR is the static you can hear between stations on an analog radio, like an old car radio. It’s the remnant radiation of the Big Bang identified by Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson in the early 1960s while conducting research at Bell Labs. In defining ourselves, humanity’s cosmic vision has evolved from flat earth to geocentric to helio centric to a solar system which is part of one of billions of galaxies in a rapidly expanding universe. But expanding into what? As Columbus once gazed across the Atlantic Ocean, humanity now gazes past the observable, theoretical boundaries of our own universe, finding that our universe may be one of an uncountable number of universes — a megaverse. At first, this vision is overwhelming, with a crushing feeling of smallness to our meek human form. But then we recognize that we can, we are, conceiving this image and that we are participants in this vision of an already-existent limitless horizon. We are Columbus setting sail, or Lindbergh taking off to cross an ocean of the unknown. In Woods Walking #16, I talk about a fully open awareness, analogous to a canopy of leaves open to the sky. Indeed, spiritual awareness is a means of coping and convening with such a vision, where our personal presence is part of this grand, limitless oneness — the All. Is humanity on Earth the only intelligent life in this vision? That does seem preposterous, doesn’t it. So, how can we relate to others so distant, who have all the same questions that we do? Or, how can we learn from those that already know the answers? That is in Spirit, the connecting Absolute Energy of this Megaverse. Is that what we are? Are we that drop in the ocean of Grand Spirit and its profound, welcoming Presence? Here, mystical insight merges with scientific realization. We now move from the mythologies of the unknown to participation in “what is”! So, what are you? Are you open to this profound Presence?
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On the Path

On the Path

Today’s Koan: Walking Meditation. Meditation comes in many different flavors; as many as there are practitioners. For me, walking meditation is the most natural approach to quiet mind. I’ve never sat in the popularized Lotus position, th…at visual icon of meditation. My ‘practice’ is contained in one simple sentence from Woods Walking #1, “…after giving thought to the events of the day, I let the quiet of the woods take over.” Letting the quiet take over is my surrender of self: from a definer and delineator to a listener and receiver. This is conveyed in Woods Walking #7, The Contemplative Path, “…the active, working, conscious mind of the day turns to the serene reception of the quiet beauty of the woods and the expanded sense of my own belonging. Here and now.” It is a listening and sensing of “belonging to what.” The other important aspect is being in the moment. My working mind is always en route to something or some place and is impatient for the result or destination. My quiet mind is just here, just now, present in the moment, drinking in what is around me — as *it* is, observing without judgment. In that comforting silence, the waters of my awareness seek and meet the level of the Spirit that surrounds us, that vibrant energy that suffuses everything. I drink in that energy with eyes, ears, taste, scent and touch, summarized in an intuitive, expanding presence seen and observed by the third eye. How do you walk?
More from WW#7: http://wp.me/p11gpL-P
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Darkness Into Light

Darkness Into Light

Today’s Koan: Perception from Oneness. Dr. Cynthia Bourgeault uses this term, and one can understand its intent on an intellectual level. However, defining it and experiencing it are like the difference between watching a bird fly and actually taking flight. When the winds of Spirit lift your expanded awareness, when you perceive from that internal, quiet mind, suddenly you see with other eyes through your own. It is an immediate infusion of spirit where the very essence, the very being of the object pours into your own heart with a sense of completeness and affirmation. It is the same feeling as being “on the same wavelength” with friends while in discussion, but there is a palpable internal affirmation of one’s immediate experience. There is a timeless sense that can only be experienced. Words fall short here, but previous koans on Non-Duality, Expanded Awareness and Inner Light are helpful. You will know it as a wave hitting a beach and the strong current washing past your feet. But this from an intuitive, interal presence that washes over your awareness. What do you see, how do you feel it?
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The Light Within

The Light Within

“In the year leading up to my encounter, I experienced the enjoyment of philosophical pursuit and the wondrous, revealing process of new metaphysical analysis, breaking my own trail through natural law and its logical lattice. All of this led to many sleepless nights with mind racing, pulling back the many curtains of deeper levels of understanding. Later reading of mystic and writer Emile Mersch I came to appreciate the meaning of his term, “mind aflame.” ” ~ Woods Walking #9: Three Nights of Affirmation
More here: http://wp.me/p11gpL-15
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Light of Grace

Light of Grace

Today’s Koan: Grace. From Webster’s: Unmerited divine assitance given humans for their regeneration or sanctification. I recall asking my mother, as she taught me my evening prayers, why we prayed. Her simple, timeless answer was so that we may receive the grace of God. Of course, at that ripe young age my mind reeled with imagination as to what ‘grace’ looked like. I settled with an imaginary chest filled with some glowing, bright substance, almost like jelly, but not sticky; as if sunlight were captured in that chest. This sight on the trails yesterday reminded me of that chest of glowing ‘stuff,’ but here given as the gift of beauty, the grace of being, the energy of life. It is fascinating that Websters would use the term ‘regeneration’ to describe grace, given the recent koan on vertical continuum and the moment-by-moment sustenance at the subatomic level of our being — the energy of existence, per Aquinas! Given the duration of the Webster’s definition, perhaps we have always known that we ‘are’ by virtue of the grace of God. It is an opportunity to be, to act, to return to being what we can be. We sanctify our given grace by what we do with it. Regardless, this grace is always a gift, for which we are grateful! What is your grace, and how do you express it?
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Fr. Thomas Keating calls science “that other book of revelation.” Yet, as we grow in appreciation of who we are and what we are a part of, the old mythologies of both science and religion begin to break down as the curtains of metaphor are drawn back, only to reunite, to be revelaed, in a common vision of presence in a constant, ever-chaging dynamic “ground of being,” to use Campbell’s words below. That ground of being is the self-sufficient act of being that we found in wordless presence in the previous koan on contingency. One can see this dynamic ground of being in a forest — seemingly unchanging, but always different. One could call ‘that ultimate gound’ the Absolute Being, the Well of Energy, the Non-Contingent Being. Fr. Norris Clarke said, “It isn’t a form or structure. It is an act of presence, and immediately expands like an act of energy so that the most radical thing in St. Thomas is the energy of existence, and in the modern physics, what is the great underlying unity turns out to be more and more some kind of radical (as in, roots of) physical energy so the physicists describe it as transformations of energy.” It is Brahman, Allah, God. We are all expressions of this creative energy, yet we can immediatly be ‘with it’ in Spirit.

“But this hard-and-fast mythology is now itself breaking in pieces. Newton’s ‘impenetrable particles’ have exploded, and in the realm of subatomic physics that is opening to the mind’s eye—beyond reach of direct scrutiny and to be known only by way of observed dynamic effects—the entire universe appears (to quote one recent interpreter) ‘as a dynamic web of inseparable energy patterns’ that always includes the observer in an essential way.

“This is to say that in what we think we know of the interior of the atom, as well as of the exploding stars in millions of spinning galaxies throughout an expanding space that is no longer, as in Newton’s view, ’always similar and immovable,’ the old notion of a once-upon-a-time First Cause has given way to something more like an immanent ground of being, transcendent of conceptualization, which is in a continuous act of creation now”

Excerpt From: Campbell, Joseph. “The Digital Historical Atlas of World Mythology: IA – Prologue.” Joseph Campbell Foundation.
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The Path Ahead

The Path Ahead

Today’s Koan: Gratefulness. Simply put, gratitude; even awe at and for the fact of our very being with each breath. We feel this with a positive diagnosis, or good news in a letter, or receiving a gift from a loved one. But in the depths of meditation, appreciating our presence with Spirit, we know that we are, that there is a path ahead, that we belong to a marvelous grandeur whose face we see in nature and in the smile on another’s face. And for these, we are grateful. When are you grateful?
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Today’s Koan: The Density of Being. In our presence to being, in our awareness of self moment to moment, we experience the density of being. Like the tides, this density floods and ebbs within us, in either pain or joy, distress or pleasure, in sadness or happiness. Like a physical density, we seek release from the constraining density of displeasure for the breath of bliss. It is our nature to exhale, to find liberty in freedom of movement and freedom of will. The very moment of creative transition of our universe, from the impossible density of the point of singularity to the explosive inflation of spacetime–like a stretching, waking beast let loose from a cave, set to roam its territory, in its time and place. It is our nature to emerge even from self, to expand from the pointed cares of the day to the joys of an expansive awareness. As reflected on in Woods Walking #16, our spirit, our energy emerges from the roots pressed in the soil up into the branches of the canopy of leaves into the light of day, where we loose the focus of pain and gain the expansive presence to bliss and the fullness of light, consenting and present to the expanse of the sky. What is your density now; what breadth do you seek?
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Angels on Our Path

Angels on Our Path

My hope in sharing these impressions from Woods Walking is that you might ponder your favorite posts during walking meditation, or quiet moments alone, or even on a long drive when the blaring radio or the sameness of music is no longer a sufficient companion. Whether reading this page out of curiosity, or deep within your own sense of wonder, I hope to open the door to the depths of spirit that lay within each one of us. You will live with a greater sense of joy and appreciation when the rare or occasional ‘aha moment’ becomes a daily revelation, when you see with depth without judgement and you find yourself laughing with delight at the simplest of things. Pax, Rudy
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“How does one take a deeply personal, experiential event and “prove” its authenticity? How does one describe their love for another person? How does one communicate the deeply moving feeling of beauty communicated by art, music or nature itself?

Empirically, any of these would pose a seemingly impossible task. I can’t “replay” the spiritual experience on screen or provide an intimate empathic connection to the lived experience. Perhaps in one disposed to his or her own spiritual capacity, a laying on of hands, or what Hinduism refers to as Shaktipat—the conferring of “spiritual energy,” may be enough to bring the skeptic along.” ~ Woods Walking #10: The First Encounter
More here: http://wp.me/p11gpL-1l
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Today’s Koan: River of Being. After spending time with the ideas of continuum and contingency from these previous days’ koans, one eventually develops a sense of presence, not just where you are physically, but also in a larger spatial, spiritual sence that is informed by intuition and the third eye, both tied to our deepest presence within self and the reflective awareness of self. From that centered self, then, we can do what Fr. Norris Clarke, SJ decribes as going out horizontally, embracing all that is around us from this new, intimate presence to self. It is where we begin to feel a sense of belonging that goes beyond just friends, family and community. It is your presence to Being; to that which is. Paradoxically, it is a loss of self as one is absorbed by that which is around us. Metaphorically, it is a river of being. It is real and palpable and ever changing, just like a river, flowing in its quiet grandeur. In Woods Walking #4, I closed with this sense of the river of being:

“I stop on the trail for a moment and revel in my own “I am.” I reflect on the long continuum of time that has led to my personal coming to be and this current moment, here on this 23rd day of October in the year 2009 A.D./C.E., at the colorful dusk of another day. I trace my genealogy that yields to the forest floor, to the stuff of being and the “substantial lineage” back to the moment of creation. This reflection yields to an instantaneous Presence within which, in spirit, I lay prostrate in humility and thankfulness for this wondrous, ineffable Gift of Life. Tonight, there is no infused contemplation, just a personal upwelling of joy and gladness; from me to You.”

The vertical and horizontal of continuum are merely delineations, limitations and descriptions of a wordless sense that welled up within me in that evening. It is like being in love for a long period of time, where one experiences many nuances and surprises that keep that flame burning. Where do you find, where do you sense, your river?
Woods Walking #4: Fall Colors More here: http://wp.me/p11gpL-B
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Waters of Being

Waters of Being

Today’s Koan: Contingency. Over the last two days we considered the idea of continuum, in the dual senses of our personal, immediate vertical act of presence–from the subatomic to the whole of Being; and then the continuum of time, the duration of our instantaneous presence across the continuum of our own life and the continuum of time that stretches beyond our own corporeal life, back to the past and into the future. Intimately connected to continuum is our personal ‘contingency’: that which we are dependent upon, or conditioned by. Contingency is taken in two senses; first what we need to be sustained, and second what enabled us ‘to be’ in the first place. On the immediate biologocal level, we live moment by moment sustained by our heartbeat, our breath, our hydration and our nutrition. Consider The Rule of Fours: one can go four minutes without air, four days without water and four weeks without food. These contingencies connect to the vertical; to sustain us in this moment. Meanwhile, along the continuum of time, we are each alive contingient upon the thriving and sustaining of life before us; our own parents and our ancestors along a long line of living and propagation. Even our very humanity is evolved from some prior species and the long genetic tree, back to the very first seeds of life on this Earth some 3.8 billion years ago. Life is not spontaneous; it relies on the passing of a baton from generation to generation. Even life, at its most fundamental, primitive level is and was contingent upon the habitable environment of Earth and the chemistry that sparked that first act of functional vitality. One can still turn the clock of contingecy back further, since the chemistry of life is contingent upon the atoms created in the heart of stars and their combinations in molecules. That is the point of the Neil deGrasse Tyson video linked on the last koan. However, even the stars above are linked back to the plasma of creation, the result of the Big Bang and that explosive, inflating transition from what was before. In this koan, we are following contingency back to the Non-Contingent Act of Being. What is that self-sufficient Primal Act? In this koan, we sense Tyson’s statement that “we are all connected” in the continuum of contingency. In the photosynthesis of prayer, we ‘link back’ to the Primal Act. In the Latin, linking back is ‘religio.’ Do you sense the act of presence with that Primal Act in your photosynthesis of prayer?
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From All Science All the Time

From All Science All the Time

Today’s Koan: Continuum of Being: Yesterday we pondered the horizontal continuum of time where we observed that “…we are, in ‘this’ moment. We live and breath and mark our mornings on this segment of continuum in the 21st Century AD/CE.” We mark time on a continuum of memory and projection–backward and forward. What we have been and what we will be. Today, we ponder the vertical dimension–what we are in each moment, each instant; the vertical continuum that “is,” moment-to-moment. In Woods Walking #9, I shared a mantra that scribes this vertical path of our personal, instantaneous manifestation of Being. The first, personal part is, “One boson; One quark; One proton; One atom; One molecule; One cell; One organ; One Person. One Quark represents the family of subatomic particles and the energies that bind them together; the particles that are manifestations of some primal energy given mass by the now-demonstrated Higgs Boson, as of March 14, 2013. Particle physicists describe the theoretical Higgs Field–the ‘beach of Higgs sand’–which surrounds and infuses our very existence, from our own body to everything that surrounds us. And even the stars above. Now, that which surrounds us completes the mantra from Woods Walking #9: One family; One community; One city; One country; One world; One solar system; One galaxy; One universe; One… Since the writing of WW#9 on August 21, 2010, we may also need to insert ‘One megaverse’ between ‘One universe’ and ‘One.’ In this pondering, one gains a sense of radical connectedness that is based on an expression of energy that Werner Heisenberg defined with his Uncertainty Principle: describing that subatomic particles act both as particles and waves, depending on how they are sensed and measured. Thus the paradox of quantum mechanics. Regardless this ‘fashionable’ phenominalist uncertainty about reality, it still hurts like hell when we accidently hit our thumb with a hammer! The pain of that accident marks our duration following that ‘energetic interaction,’ sending us off on the horizontal continuum. The best ways to summarize this koan are with the ideas of two great thinkers; Joseph Campbell and Neil deGrass Tyson. Campbell, renowned for his study of global mythologies and what each expresses: ultimately the idea of “the zoom,” “the energy of the universe.” And for astrophysicist Tyson, his expression of “The Most Astounding Fact.” Before viewing the Tyson video link, let me ask: How do you, or when do you/will you, appreciate your instantaneous presence? And your presence implies presence to others, other things, other people — and presence to the Primal Energy of Being, “The Other.” One grain of sand does not a beach make. http://youtu.be/9D05ej8u-gU
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Here is a wonderful video that complements today’s koan on the Continuum of Being. “A Good Day,” featuring Benedictine Monk, Brother David Steindl-Rast. Watch it again tomorrow with the koan on the vertical continuum. Pax, Rudy

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Today’s Koan: Continuum of Being. This Koan is in two parts; vertical and horizontal. Today we’ll ponder the horizontal continuum of time. Rory’s pre-dawn walks have been under brilliant star-struck skies, and day-by-day, we watch the slow passage of Orion across that deep, dark dome, marking the arc of time at that early hour of the day. As the North Star anchors the rotation of the sky, so do the stars anchor our place in time. The stars we marvel at today are the same that were marked and charted by Hipparchus (190-120 BC), whose system of magnitudes is still used today. So that twinkling in the sky anchors us to Aristarchus (310-230 BC) who first proposed a heliocentric model, or Ptolemy (90-168 AD), whose geocentric model became the norm until the Renaissance astronomers Galileo (1564-1642) and Copernicus (1473-1543). Watching the movement of the stars and planets, we connect across the chasm of time to these other observers, thinkers — and ponderers. Observing the motion of the moon and seasonal passage of the Sun as it dips to the southern winter horizons, we arrive at the same conclusions, that in the day of Copernicus, were considered heresy. Oddly, today’s heresy may be that we notice at all. Perhaps today we look forward in time with knowledge of a far more vast cosmos whose herculean astronomical expanse makes time virtually irrelevant. Yet, we are, in ‘this’ moment. We live and breath and mark our mornings on this segment of continuum in the 21st Century AD/CE. How do you sense your place in time, the legacies of thought, place and even genealogy? Do we not gaze at the smae stars and breath the same air as those before us and those after us? That shared breath of meditation.
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The energy that emerges in us is the energy that Is… — Rudy

From Woods Walking #16: The Earth The Self The Sky

“In the Thomistic vision, what is common to all things is the radical energy of existence. It can be conceived like an energy because it is an act of presence. It isn’t a form or structure. It is an act of presence, and immediately expands like an act of energy so that the most radical thing in St. Thomas is the energy of existence, and in the modern physics, what is the great underlying unity turns out to be more and more some kind of radical physical energy so the physicists describe it as transformations of energy.” — W. Norris Clarke, SJ
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The Milky Way

The Milky Way

Today’s Koan: Expanded Awareness. On the path to emerging spirit lies the expansion of our own awareness. It is a sense of scope that takes us out of our own immediate surroundings and concerns to a broader perspective of things. In nautical terms, we seek to move from the enclosed view of the engine room to the view of the bridge. Academically and historically, this is an emergence from Plato’s Cave. In Woods Walking #15, I talk about the expanding bubble of human knowledge, which cosmic and quantum theory now has leapt beyond the bounds of our own universe. On my walks with Rory, I step out of the confines of our house to a canopy of leaves, to a mantle of clouds, to the winds of our protective atmosphere, to the arc of our planetary neighbors to the stars of our immediate Orion arm of the Milky Way and beyond to other galaxies and the energies that bind and connect them. As our spirit emerges in this ever-widening scope, as we begin to sense those ethereal energies that are the breath of Spirit, empathy begins to color our view. Then, we come back to self with a different approach to our immediate, daily concerns. Where are your boundaries?
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Shuumeigiku Flower

Shuumeigiku Flower

Today’s Koan: Emerging Spirit. I was so moved by this photo taken by fellow park board member, Jenny Koester! Spiritual presence begins with sparks of awareness, buds of insight and whispers of spiritual breath. With a little weeding and cultivation, our bud of awareness gradually emerges, then bursts open with a full face toward the Sun, grateful for the life-giving light, the energy of life. In Eastern traditions, the Lotus flower represents a similar full presence to Spirit. In Woods Walking #16, I write about our personal emergence of spirit, energy that emerges from the earthen roots, through the stout trunk, to the full flowering of presence and the photosythesis of prayer in the full canopy of leaves. Our own full bloom of this Shuumeigiku flower only asks for consent, a full yes to the light of the sky. Is your bud ready to break open, or is it basking now fully in the light of life?
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Why Woods Walking? I was talking to a friend this past week about my motivation for writing Woods Walking. If I have a gift, it is one of self-awareness; that third eye that knows self and observes ‘how it works.’ I’ve been a private pilot since I was in high school and I equate Woods Walking to writing a ‘pilot report;’ the recounting of ‘how she flies.’ So, as a bread crumb, here’s an example of a pilot report that I wrote about the Aeronca Champion in which I learned to fly. By the way, one of my earliest moments of clarity took place during my first ride–my first flight as the pilot, really–in the front seat. After the busyness of handling the radio and takeoff, we turned east on a beautiful, clear Sunday morning flight. Settling in and looking through the windshield, that expansive vision across the carpet of earth, humanity and the brilliant blue beyond hit me like a bucket of cold water in the face. It was a true ‘wow moment’ that took me out of myself, where my awareness seized upon the scene, the reality, the being layed out before me. Here’s the link for the PIREP about “The Champ.” Enjoy!
https://www.facebook.com/notes/rudy-siegel/pilot-report-aeronca-champion-7ac/93533586983
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Today’s Koan: Unique and Infinite. Tying back to the earlier koan “Holon,” we can think of ourselves as one cell in the Body of Humanity. Indeed, in our awakening moments, in our moments of awe, we know that each of us is unique to him or herself with a personal, intimate perception of self and our environs. Yet, in our inner life, we emerge from the boundaries of our small human form to the stunning expanse of the Spirit. It can begin with imagination, taking ourselves to remote locations from the comfort of familiar, comfortable surroundings; to familiar places or places we anticipate a priori. But wading past the waters of imagination to the deep waters of quiet mind we find a brilliant darkness, which description is a paradox to the sense of immense love and belonging found in that presense to Being. We begin with moments of ‘No Words’ that are steps on the path to an eventual, overwhelming Presence. From moments of clarity to the Clear Being. What are your unique and expansive moments of clarity?
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“It is important to note that this blog should not become a wedge between one’s own faith traditions and an awakened presence to spirit. Rather, it should enrich any one tradition, much as the earliest spiritual encounters of humanity inspired establishment of religions. Just as important, the diversity of religious expression should not serve to invalidate any one tradition. Diversity of religious expression is reflected in nature itself through the awe-inspiring differentiation among genus and species.” ~ Woods Walking: Welcome
More here: http://wp.me/p11gpL-1
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Today’s Koan: Transcendence. A state that is beyond the material universe and beyond all physical laws. Spiritual encounter is, by its nature, transcendent. This state also goes beyond the specifics of religious traditions, and in so doing, it points to the common patrimony among all men and women. Transcendence does not deny the value of any spcific religion, rather it illumintes the common threads that tie all faiths together. When have you felt transcendence?
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Wisdom from Thomas Keating that tells us what we find in our Inner Light, or moments of No Words, those koans offered earlier on Woods Walking. Keating talks about interior conviction regarding the “Other.” This conviction is based on the direct experience of the “Other,” not just a resigned, obscure sense of ‘faith.’ http://youtu.be/p-Q9ql0Pqo0?t=32s
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Inner Light

Inner Light

Today’s Koan: Inner Light. The other day the koan was ‘No Words.’ It is that point where nothing else can be said about the object being considered, and the object’s being, its pure essence, becomes part of our being. This also ties to the earlier koan ‘Non-Dual.’ We can reach this point in ourselves as well while considering our own sense of being. In eastern traditions this state is called Samadhi, where the consciousness of the experiencing subject becomes one with the experienced object. The western term is epiphany, a sudden realization that has a real, palpable feeling. When the epiphany is about ourselves, our inner light shines more brightly and we are a true presence to others. There is a distinct purity and enduring sense to such moments, whether about an observed object, or about ourselves. What are your epiphanies? Go back to them and observe your own pure inner light.
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Today’s Koan: Spiritual Breeze. Here is a peek behind dogma: Within the metaphysics of St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) is a philosophical tool called The Analogy of Being. Since everything springs from a fundamental unity in nature or “being,” (that unity is God in religion, the Big Bang in science) we can find similarities among disparate things through analogy. (Biblically “Image & Likeness.”) Here is such an analogy: The wind through a stand of trees is like the Spirit wafting through the synapses of the mind as the trees sway in the evening’s strong breezes. Meanwhile, the beauty of the scene stirs our intuition, that higher sense that is the sum beyond our normal five senses. Like the trees, we are “moved” by the beauty of this perception. As astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson says, “We are all connected.” When do you feel the breath of Spirit?
Video: Breeze through the Trees https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=3050283381731&l=7103940244433373435
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““I think, therefore I am.” “Cogito ergo sum.” As Fr. Clarke’s interview, “A Taste of Existence” suggests, encountering our intimate fact of existence leads to an innate feeling of joy, of belonging and of participation in a greater whole. It defines us personally: that I am, and we are, the human flower of the Breath of God into the cosmos, intended for the Communion of the One Body.” ~ Woods Walking #7: The Contemplative Path
More here: http://wp.me/p11gpL-P
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After the Rain

After the Rain

The genuine mystic is known by joy, patience, trustfulness and peace. Contemplation, although the highest form of prayer, is not an elite, lofty endeavor for special ‘holy’ people. It is for ordinary, happy, uncomplicated people who enjoy being with God.” ~ Jaqueline Galloway
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Quiet Presence

Quiet Presence

Today’s Koan: No Words. In meditation we seek a quiet presence with the Spirit. There are many paths and practices to follow. One, as offered by Centering Prayer, is just recognizing and releasing–observing without judgement–that which occurs to us. It is a seeking of the quiet. Another path is acceptance of the active mind and following a path of reasoning until the path and the words are exhausted. This is discursive contemplation. This is just as profound a pratice as we follow a river of logic, a river of being to its source until nothing else can be said and we are left in a wordless, breathless presence with Being. It is a deliberate hike to the rim of a canyon or the summit of a mountain where the view leaves us with no words. Which is your favorite path?
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Today’s Koan: Spiritual Infusion. The intuitive acquisition of the nature or essence of something; the wordless conference of the comprehensive awareness concerning the subject’s ‘being.’ In Hinduism this is referred to as shaktipat, a spiritual touch, the confering of spiritual energy. My own expression of spiritual infusion is shown in the analogs through Woods Walking concerning the use of trees to symbolize our participation in Being, (WW#11 & 12) as well as our personal emergence of spiritual presence. (WW#16) This process of “unpacking” the wordless sense into words may take considerable time, given the comprehensive nature of the original conference. The moment of infusion is marked by a sudden feeling of bliss, or joy and a lingering afterglow as the subject’s being settles into your own awareness. Have you unpacked your moments of bliss, when you suddenly “just know”?
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The Lush Woods“It was impossible to ignore the instinct for life in this rolling carpet of soft, fresh green bursting out among the stand of trees. The raw intuition for life, the innate force of nature to sustain itself in this lush, riotous profusion was inescapable, intoxicating.” ~ Woods Walking #13: The Instinct for Life
More here: http://wp.me/p11gpL-2s
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The Exuberant Hunter

The Exuberant Hunter

Today’s Koan: My Dog! As we turned onto the path this morning, Rory pulled against the leash with the exuberance of a hunter. Yes, it was a squirrel! It struck me right then, as I restrained his power, that even Rory is an expression of the energy of the Universe, one that was trying to pull me over! What expression of energy is near you – right now? We are constantly immersed in it…
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Greened Weeping Cherry

Greened Weeping Cherry

Today’s Koan: Non-Duality. In Woods Walking #16, I talk about the photosynthesis of prayer. That ‘connectendess’ takes our awareness out of ourselves, to ‘peak experience,’ to spiritual presence, even mysitcal union. In such moments, we pull back the curtains, throw open the windows and shatter the shell of self and consent to that which is, the greater spirit that is other souls and the Absolute. Walking on a path, shafts of light sometimes touch us. In clarity, sometimes non-dual awareness touches us. When do you feel this?
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A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delus…ion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. ~ Albert Einstein
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Today’s Koan: AUM. “The four-part syllable: the birth, the coming into being, the solution — and the silence that underlies it.” — Joseph Campbell This is a koan to return to every day. Do you sense what underlies your being? The clip begins at 50:53. Mouse over the timeline and click on that time code.

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The Fire of Spirit

The Fire of Spirit

Today’s Koan: Namaste! A word of greeting derived from the Sanskrit words namah and te, that honors or recognizes mutually each person’s form as a literal manifestation of the Form of Forms, or Brahman, or God — the one ultimate essence that underlies everything. Do you recognize your own depth of being, your connectedness to, your expression of, the Ultimate Reality? Namaste!
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The Light Within

The Light Within

“Within the influence of the Spirit, everything seemed natural and accessible.

As this spiritual awareness increased my dreams reflected the peace that I was experiencing during the day. There was a distinct sense of change in the nature of my dreams; a coming to me rather than from me. There was a sense of spiritual infusion and in some cases personal encounter with individuals whom I did not know, but equally shared my disposition toward “the good.”

Then, there was yet another distinct change in the nature of my dreams to a sense of what I can only call affirmation. There were three distinct levels of affirmation over three nights.” ~ Woods Walking #9: Three Nights of Affirmation
More here: http://wp.me/p11gpL-15
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Chinese Wish Lanterns

Chinese Wish Lanterns

Today’s Koan: Spiritual Nakedness. I used this term to describe the afterlife accompanying the Chinese Wish Lantern cover photo on the Woods Walking Facebook page. Imagine that you are blissfully naked in the sense of openness to others; that your heart is known to everyone and everyone’s heart to you; imagine that your ears hear all and that all ears hear you. How would you live? http://www.facebook.com/WoodsWalking
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Another quote from the powerful Cardinal Martini interview: “How can we liberate the embers from the ash, to reinvigorate the fires of love? For the first thing, we have to seek out these embers. Where are the individuals full of generosity, like the Good Samaritan? Who have faith like the Roman centurion?”

The faith of the Roman Centurion played out: http://youtu.be/SNLSBjYDPko
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The Spiritual Breath http://youtu.be/pX19NwKz4hU
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Presence in the Medium

Presence in the Medium

Today’s Koan: All boats sail on the same wind. Are your sails trimmed to make way ahead, or do they luff in the breeze with the hull in irons? From the koan the other day; if our consciousness acts as a spiritual radio, then the spiritual breeze is the medium and we actually act as presence in that medium in relationship to all others there as well. It is best if we sail in harmony and avoid collisions! Image: http://www.sailing-news.ch
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Presaging the current changes at the Vatican?

“The Word of God is simple, and seeks out as its companion a heart that listens. … Neither the clergy nor ecclesiastical law can substitute for the inner life of the human person.” —
Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini, August 8, 2012, from his last interview two weeks before his passing.

http://ncronline.org/blogs/ncr-today/translated-final-interview-martini
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Valley Trail Stream

Valley Trail Stream

“I eventually became more deliberate about meditation when walking alone, particularly this past winter after the stream restoration project at Ault Park was completed. … I wrote the following meditation after a moonlit walk in January:

“It was another delightful evening strolling by the Valley Trail stream under a brilliant, star-struck sky, with a bright moon providing the stage lights for the show that would unfold. The quiet spiritual breezes of last week were now shouting through the limbs; the trees bowing and swaying to the breath of Zeus blowing past, leaving the sound of deep surf crashing across the hills. And I doffed my many hats of the day on those swaying limbs, letting the wind blow them away. Thoughts of the moment, thoughts of the past, thoughts ahead — each chapeau let loose on the wind back to the diffuse breath from whence they came. Centering there, standing along the stream, letting its gentle, constant ripple cleanse my heart of the last chimeras of the day. Ready now for a quiet, warm sleep and a fresh eye on the new day ahead.” ~ Woods Walking #16: The Earth, The Self, The Sky
More here: http://wp.me/p11gpL-3Z
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Today’s Koan: “You are not a drop in the ocean. You are the entire ocean in a drop.” ~ Rumi
Recalling the koan on hydrogen and our substantial lineage, the entire ocean (or the universe, per Neil deGrasse Tyson) is in us through our common roots in substance — in Being. Seeing with depth, we move from “I” to “We”.
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First Light

First Light

Today’s Koan: Perspective. Our temporal life is but a spark in the continuum of Being; a spark that sets off an eternal flame. We tend to define things from our personal perspective. What is the perspective outside of us? Not the perspective of others, but the perspective of the sky?
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Today’s Koan: Each of us is a radio tuned to the Spiritual end of the spectrum. When you begin to feel gratefulness, joy and peace without seeking them, then you know that you are “tuned in”!
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All of the excitement surrounding yesterday’s Papal interview reminds me of the quote from the Thomas Gospel: “(108) Jesus said: He who drinks from my mouth will become like me, and I will become like him, and the hidden things will be revealed to him.”

This is *for every person.* Anyone who listens to their inner self will discover some aspect of the Spirit that infuses each one of us. It is our personal ‘noise’ and lack of attention to this quiet gift that shuts it out, like a curtain drawn across a wndow. When one recognizes this innate potential, suddenly we mirror what Carl Jung said, ” I don’t need to believe, I know.”
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CIMG1192 PSE“We do not come into this world; we come out of it, as leaves from a tree. As the ocean ‘waves’ the universe ‘peoples’. Every individual is an expression of the whole realm of nature, a unique action of the total universe.”
~ Alan Watts
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Linda Hogan, Native American Writer

Linda Hogan, Native American Writer

“After contemplating the creative breath of God blown into the cosmos, coalescing over eons into this specific, life-giving place, the active, working, conscious mind of the day turns to the serene reception of the quiet beauty of the woods and the expanded sense of my own belonging. Here and now.

It is a psychic massage awaiting the wade into the deeper waters of intuition and a fuller immersion in the enduring peace of this natural place. The Sacred Quiet touches me and settles in harmony with my intuitive self, much as a quiet snowfall blankets and smoothes a mottled field.” ~ Woods Walking #7: The Contemplative Path
More here: http://wp.me/p11gpL-P
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Today’s Koan: From our senses to awareness to the heart to the All.
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Today’s Koan: Seeing with depth. Yesterday’s koan was about hydrogen and it ubiquitous presence as an essential aspect to our physical living through its part in forming water. In quiet awareness, one seeks presence on another level — with the spiritual — that energy, that being, that we find in the quiet depths of our own aware intuition. It is a summary manifestation of our senses and our knowing mixed into the “batter of being.” In our silence is the awakening of our third eye, a reflective presence to self that observes, that sees and observes what our “batter” becomes. It’s a peek inside the oven door. In Eastern terms, the third eye is a higher chakra. In that quiet, intuitive presence to self, one sees with depth. These moments are like the external aha moments described in previous koans and posts, but this “vision of self” is internal and ‘of self.’ These are moments when we feel removed from self, if just for fleeting, timeless moments. It is our consciousness seizing the moment, being fully present and in consent to what is. That is also described as ‘mindfulness.’ What do you see with depth? And when?
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Today’s Koan: At the intersection of science and spirituality, consider the simple hydrogen atom. With one proton and one electron, it is the simplest element and it was the first element to form about 200,000 years after the Big Bang. Hydrogen is estimated to account for 75% of the mass of the Universe. It is also two parts of the water — H2O — in your morning coffee or tea. Water also accounts for about 60% of your body’s weight. So today, mindfully sip your tea, coffee or other beverage and consider how close to God that elemental hydrogen really is!
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Today’s Koan — OK, today’s second koan… 😉 Where does the water come from that fills the river? Where does the Spirit come from that fills our hearts?
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Fr. Thomas Keating describes what we find in those ‘aha’ moments. http://youtu.be/Rd2LPjpd9As
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“In one of the Upanishads it says, when the glow of a sunset holds you and you say ‘Aha,’ that is the recognition of the divinity. And when you say ‘Aha’ to an art object, that is a recognition of divinity. And what divinity is it? It is your divinity, which is the only divinity there is. We are all phenomenal manifestations of a divine will to live, and that will and the consciousness of life is one in all of us, and that is what artwork expresses.” ~ Joseph Campbell, “Creativity,” The Mythic Dimension
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Faith is like a roadmap. You know the roads you’ve driven, the paths you’ve walked. But faith is the confidence that the other roads on the map are there. It is a trust in the cartographer, the map maker. Spirituality is a roadmap from faith to true experience. One just needs to trust the ‘aha’ moments that serve as mile markers, breadcrumbs on the path. ~ Rudy
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North of Harbor Springs, MI

North of Harbor Springs, MI

“And in the face of today’s expansive cosmology, astrophysics and particle physics, we will explore the intersection of science and spirituality. As human understanding reaches beyond the limits of our known universe, we’ll expand our vision within this emerging, new Copernican moment in history and open ourselves to a newly perceived relationship with the Supreme Being and how humanity’s relationship to God may be seen in a new light.” ~ Woods Walking — Welcome
More here: http://wp.me/p11gpL-1
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Today’s Koan: Following up yesterday’s idea of multiplicity from unity, here is a word to ponder: ‘holon.’ A holon is anything that is complete in itself, yet part of something else. The word comes from Arthur Koestler’s book, “The Ghost in the Machine.” From sub-atomic particles to atoms to molecules to a cell in your body, each is a holon. Even Earth is a holon, part of our solar system. How are you a holon, on the orders of family, community, society — even humanity? The Body of Christ?
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Today’s Koan: On our morning walk today, I was struck by the Sun’s first kiss on the tops of the trees in the park. Admiring a Sycamore that was awash in light, I was struck with the idea of multiplicity from unity; the one and the many. You and I are leaves on the tree of Being. Without words, follow your branch to your roots.
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Can the fish deny the sea, can the flower deny the field, can a bird deny the air? How can our soul deny the Spirit? ~ Rudy
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Today’s Koan: On this bright, beautiful day, how do you feel the photosythesis of presence, of prayer?
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“My experience that day was more of an academic epiphany of a theoretical nature, whose foundation was my then-current class load including University Physics, Rocky’s class (Philosophy of Science) and Dr. Walter Clark’s class, History and Systems of Mysticism.

In the midst of the lecture that day, I realized that scientists and mystics were likely describing the same “ultimate reality,” yet from their respective, unique perspectives. One of empirical pursuit, one of deep faithful listening. It was a personal “Summa” moment, where something had been stirring in my subconscious; a million-piece puzzle coming together from the corners and edges, working inward toward an evolving, complete picture.” ~ Woods Walking #2: The Metaphysics of a Fork
More here: http://wp.me/p11gpL-r
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A note to a life-long friend whom I’ve not seen for a while, introducing him to Woods Walking.
“John, One of the things I’m doing in my Woods Walking blog is reconciling with and understanding my own spiritual experiences. I mentioned my early near-death experience (NDE) yesterday. That is recalled in WW#10, which experience, to me affirms our soul, our Angelic wings. This capacity begs the question, what can these wings do? You know what the wings of an A-6 Intruder can do. (He’s a retired Marine aviator.) What is our real human potential, our spiritual ‘firepower’?

Here’s WW#10. “To provide a glimpse of my own further affirmation of the spiritual, I will refer to another personal experience, in this case my first spiritual encounter. It is one of a very different nature and one that took place at a time of, for me, early true innocence.” Woods Walking #10: The First Encounter
More here: http://wp.me/p11gpL-1l

Your funeral mass story is a wonderful parallel. It’s your own youthful peak experience, when your soul sees through your eyes. That is a prayerful, spiritual moment, a flapping of fledgling angelic wings. It is REAL vision in a spiritual sense.

What comes through in the Thomas gospel is that Jesus not only gave the Apostles the Lords Prayer, but also how to be with God. As Joseph Campbell suggests, how we grasp that we are a radiant of God’s being, that we literally manifest from His real presence.

In prayer and meditation, we complete that human transformation from a thinking person to an aware person in the Presence of The Christ.

That’s why I find quantum mechanics so fascinating, it seems to describe God’s literal presence in our very being, sustaining us from moment to moment; from the energy of the sub-atomic to the manifesting of our tactile, sentient being – right now! I forget who said it, but there’s a saying that God is closer to us than we are to ourselves – our true selves. In deep prayer and meditation we strip away that screen of ‘self’ between us and God. Jesus did that perfectly.

Spiritual food for thought: the Bible is the A-6 manual. Living the Word is putting down the book and strapping in. Either is a courageous action, as you well know! That’s why Saint Paul is such a powerful presence in the Church; he became a soldier for Christ.

God Bless and Good Night! Rudy”
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Last week I posted Neil deGrasse Tyson’s “Sermon”: science finding spirituality. Today, here is Richard Rohr talking about “The Cosmic Christ”: spirituality finding itself in science. They are like two arms of one galaxy with roots in the common core.

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Today’s Koan. I want to start something new today on this Woods Walking page. I want to offer something for thoughtful contemplation or meditation. I may not have one of these each day, but when I do, it will be a thought or an idea to ponder through the day. Koan is the Buddhst term that Websters defines as “a paradox to be meditated upon that is used to train Zen Buddhist monks to abandon ultimate dependence on reason and to force them into gaining sudden intuitive enlightenment.”

For me, a Koan takes us to the being, the deep intuitive experience, that which is before words. Or, as Jospeh Campbell would say, to the “energy of the Universe.”

So, on this hot September day (9/11/13), how does the Sun remind us of the Trinity? Abandon the words and experience the Sun as it is. Then put your experience into your own words. Post them as comments here, if you like. Pax, Rudy
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I want to share another segment of the remarkable Joseph Campbell interview with Bill Moyers. In this segment, Campbell talks about the Gospel of Thomas and its different meaning. (At 10:39 into the video.) Do we wait for the coming of Christ, or do we become the Christ now?! Our personal spiritual capacity points to the latter. Hear more about the Thomas gospel in the Elaine Pagels interview with NPR linked below on this page. Pagels talks about the historic environment in which the New Testament gospels were selected from among all of those written.

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“My personal, organic spiritual self is affirmed in this experience. And to have ongoing experiences that know Sublime Love and spiritual intimacy testifies to the reality of the traditions of revelation that inform the many religious faiths celebrated by humanity for millennia.” ~ Woods Walking #10: The First Encounter
More here: http://wp.me/p11gpL-1l
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Believe me, you will find more lessons in the woods than in books. Trees and stones will teach you what you cannot learn from masters.

~ St. Bernard of Clairvaux ~
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“But it was a sight after the blooms that prompted the title of this blog post. This leafed-out weeping cherry reminded me of the idea of constant birthing, originally offered by 14th Century theologian and philosopher Meister Eckhart. Eckhart’s idea, through the lens of today’s scientific observation, yields this thread of contemplation: from seed and egg to womb to birth to life–to second birth into the afterlife.

Our second birth is the destiny and the true birthright of humanity. Our temporal lives are the briefest of sparks when dabbed on the canvas of deep time.” ~ Woods Walking #16: The Earth, The Self, The Sky
More here: http://wp.me/p11gpL-3Z
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Emergent Soul

Emergent Soul

Our consciousness evolves into an awareness, a presence with the being that surrounds us, with the Spirit that Is. ~ Rudy
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Under Way

Under Way

Our ego is a boat at anchor turning passively with the winds, bound by a shackle. With the awakened self we weigh anchor and set sail on the breath of Spirit in a silent freedom on a journey over endless waters–to others, for others, with The Other. ~ Rudy Photo by Kurt Arrigo
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“Equally important to the discussion of creation is consideration of the matter of degree. It is impossible for something to be spontaneously created from nothing — ‘nothing’ taken as an absolute state, in an absolute sense–from nothing to something. However, what can be spontaneous is the creation of an idea, or concept of ‘something new.’ But that new ‘thing,’ that new idea will be the form given to some underlying substance. And that new idea, that new form, will only be realized when it is imposed on its intended substance: the potter throwing clay–the artistic idea comes to life under creative hands.” ~ Woods Walking #11: Eternal Being and Manifestation of Spirit
More here: http://wp.me/p11gpL-1w
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The Valley Trail

The Valley Trail

“‘Nature Prayer’ is my term for finding God in meadows, fields, gardens, or backyards; or peering up at the night sky, walking along the beach, or joining in bird-watching expeditions, all the while searching for the divine presence.” ~ James Martin, SJ, “The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything”: Harper One
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The Fire of Spirit

The Fire of Spirit

The individual path to the birth of spiritual awareness is like a Lamaze class; other people, even books, may give you general direction, but your intimate, personal experience of the birth of awakening will be uniquely your own. But when that moment happens, when the Spirit within you cries for the first time, there will be no doubt. Your very being comes alive and you will see everything differently. The depth of vision is unlimited, so you will continually experience new awe, new wonder — and wisdom. You may have heard of non-dual awareness. That is when the flame of your consciousness is born and unites with the flaming energy of Being, of the Universe, of God. It is the overwhelming Peace of returning home.

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The meta-key to unlocking the why and how of just about anything…
“So, let’s partake in Fr. Clarke’s analysis by looking at the metaphysics of a fork, wherein we will drill down in detail concerning a specific thing. In this case something handy and familiar, much like the red cup. Borrowing from the toolbox of Thomistic metaphysics, we’ll look at a fork on the order of causality – that which makes it “to be.”

The order of causality includes:
Intrinsic Causes: Material & Formal Causes, i.e., the substance and form of a fork; and
Extrinsic Causes: Efficient & Final Causes, i.e., the how and why of a fork.” ~ Woods Walking #2: The Metaphysics of a Fork
More here: http://wp.me/p11gpL-r
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CIMG1192 PSE“During outdoor walking practice – in order to connect more deeply with all of the healing elements within and around you – you may want to stop walking from time to time and simply breathe.” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh
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“…the third aspect is self-transcendence, going beyond oneself, and finally taking on the great center of the universe as one’s own center, a kind of de-centering of self-centeredness.” ~ W. Norris Clarke, SJ, “A Taste of Existence”: An interview with James Arraj
More here: http://ow.ly/oy4F4
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“Our theme is ‘the center,’ the place of meeting of the human spirit and the divine Spirit, and, in that meeting, the place where the Christian at prayer meets the whole of reality, divine and human, persons and things, time and space, nature and history, evil and good.” ~ Thomas E. Clarke, SJ, “Finding Grace at the Center”
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“…the simple truth is that we’ve all been given eyes to see. What is becoming more apparent by the day is that we all must become contemplatives, not merely in the way we reflect or pray, but in the way we live–awake, alert, engaged, ready to respond in love to the groanings of creation. Human life depends upon us living this way.” ~ Judy Cannato, “Radical Amazement” Introduction. Notre Dame, IN, Sorin Books
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After the Rain

After the Rain

“In Woods Walking #11, I talk about the necessity of some ‘eternal being.’ How can there ever be ‘nothing,’ from an absolute standpoint? And in the comments following Woods Walking #2 I discuss the prime contingencies of causality: substance and intelligence. This is relative to the causality that we know in our temporal, relativistc spacetime framework.

In WW#11 I draw the conclusion that the necessary intelligence coexists with, that it manifests from, the eternal substance of being. It is that substance which is self-sufficient in being and relies on no other for its existence.” ~ Woods Walking #15: The Boundaries of Being
More here: http://wp.me/p11gpL-33

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Fr. Thomas Keating on the importance of Interreligious dialogue as a path to peace. http://youtu.be/H0QKupTCWMA

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Earth from Moon“To provide a glimpse of my own further affirmation of the spiritual, I will refer to another personal experience, in this case my first spiritual encounter. It is one of a very different nature and one that took place at a time of, for me, early true innocence.” Woods Walking #10: The First Encounter
More here: http://wp.me/p11gpL-1l
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The Lush Woods“The woods were resplendent in their lushness, freshly showered, flaunting their natural beauty with perhaps a blushing feint of vanity.

It was the profuse display of emerging life that suggested the Eros of the wood. It was impossible to ignore the instinct for life in this rolling carpet of soft, fresh green bursting out among the stand of trees. The raw intuition for life, the innate force of nature to sustain itself in this lush, riotous profusion was inescapable, intoxicating.” ~ Woods Walking #13: The Instinct for Life
More here: http://wp.me/p11gpL-2s
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St. Thomas Aquinas

St. Thomas Aquinas

“If Zen cannot give Thomistic metaphysics its supreme technique, which is the stopping of all thought, for they are both pursuing different goals, what can it offer? It can give two things of the greatest importance: an atmosphere of dedication to enlightenment, and the inspiration for Thomism to attempt to create its own metaphysical techniques and koans.” ~ James Arraj, “God, Zen and the Intuition of Being,” Chapter 6: Metaphysical Koans
More here: http://ht.ly/orljo
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The Greened Weeping Cherry

The Greened Weeping Cherry

Meditating minds are minds that are fully engaged, where the focus of awareness—the spotlight of specific thought—is released in favor of full, broad presence; the flood of full capacity, true potential and the gifts and grace of the human mind and consciousness. It is consciousness, energy, flowing out in abundance through every branch and fully illuminating the entire cranial canopy, consenting to and dancing with the energy of the sky. — Woods Walking #16: The Earth, The Self, The Sky
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We need not see, just be! ~ Rudy
“I see a pattern, but my imagination cannot picture the maker of that pattern. I see a clock, but I cannot envision the clockmaker. The human mind is unable to conceive of the four dimensions, so how can it conceive of a God, before whom a thousand years and a thousand dimensions are as one?”
~ Einstein (The Expanded Quotable Einstein, Princeton University Press, 2000 p. 208)
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Life-Sustaining Energy in Light“Mystical prayer draws us into a more and more intimate relationship with our soul and with God. St. Teresa of Avila describes prayer and meditation as the door into the castle of the soul; she compares souls without prayer to people whose bodies are paralyzed. In her autobiography, The Life of St. Teresa of Jesus, she outlines four stages of prayer: recollection, quiet, union, and ecstasy. She uses the image of a gardener watering his garden to describe these stages.” ~ Llewellyn Vaughn-Lee, Prayer of the Heart in Christian and Sufi Mysticism — ch. 2, Stages of Prayer More here: http://ht.ly/opSEO

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The Light Within

The Light Within

“I now understand the natural progression through the three levels of my encounter as a necessary preparation of my own “temple” for the acceptance of this total and complete surrender to trust, peace and the total infusion of the Holy Spirit—a path from the immediate, accessible, personal truths to a more Eternal Expression. It was a Beatific Infusion of Perfect Love whose manifestation in me was a feeling of sublime and total Peace; an affirmation without reservation.” Woods Walking #9: Three Nights of Affirmation
More here: http://wp.me/p11gpL-15
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“Mythologies, in other words, mythologies and religions, are great poems and, when recognized as such, point infallibly through things and events to the ubiquity of a ‘presence’ or ‘eternity’ that is whole and entire in each. In this function all mythologies, all great poetries, and all mystic traditions are in accord; and where any such inspiriting vision remains effective in a civilization, everything and every creature within its range is alive.” ~ Joseph Campbell in Myths to Live

How many folks do you know that describe themselves as spiritual but not religious? Is it that their traditional religion “hides the prize” of spiritual experience? That would be like going to a restaurant and not being served. Look, but don’t touch. That customer will go and feed him or herself. Serving the spiritual appetite–the vibrant, personal sense of ‘what’ and wonder–is essential. ~ Rudy

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Moonlit Trail“I notice, on those moonlit nights, that the illumination from the Sea of Tranquility pales to that of the direct, revealing sun of the day. Though, that soft light brings wonder: does humanity reflect the Eternal Wisdom of the heavens as well as the moon reflects “Old Sól,” as the moon pours diffuse light on these dark trails?” ~ Woods Walking #8: Farewell to Winter
More here: http://wp.me/p11gpL-W
Photo: Peter Wimberg

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“The Entire Universe Radiates.” — Sean Carroll, Caltech
Hmmm, Eternal Being, Perhaps? If we can be aware at our puny size, is it so preposterous to think that the massive energies of the total universe can be aware of itself? That “thought” is faith — until one has an encounter with the Sublime. Then you “know”!

From comments after Woods Walking #12: Substantial Lineage: Back to the Roots of Being
More here: http://wp.me/p11gpL-29

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Gandhi Creative Systems ThinkingAccess to Spirit is the common patrimony of all humanity. We have just evolved different traditions, stories and rituals. ~ Rudy

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Finding God at breakfast — in your fork!
“One evening, a good friend and I, a friend who had spent some time in Tibet after some tough turns in life, were talking about Zen Buddhism. I mentioned one of my favorite books, “God, Zen and the Intuition of Being” by James Arraj. In it, Arraj explores the similarities between Eastern and Western traditions of mysticism and Catholic metaphysics; specifically the metaphysics of St. Thomas Aquinas. The discussion turned toward a specific example of metaphysics and we used a common kitchen fork as our subject of analysis.” ~ Woods Walking #2: The Metaphysics of a Fork.
More here: http://wp.me/p11gpL-r

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Sufi mystic Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee answers the big questions. From “One, the Movie.”

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“Faith precedes belief systems.” ~ Fr. Thomas Keating

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Previously, I’ve quoted Carl Jung on this page as saying about God, I don’t believe, I know. With such direct exprience, the challenge of faith becomes more about faith in oneself; to meet the mark and live up to what has been known, to keep the ‘self’ in check. In this linked video, Cynthia Bourgeault talks about consciousness as “knowing with,” the eastern sense of non-dual presence with God, which reaffirms the real presence and immediacy of Spirit. Whether a dark night anticipating a return with Spirit, or a first encounter, “knowing with” awaits!

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“In Woods Walking #2 we discussed the metaphysics of a common fork. We drilled down into the detail of its being, reviewing a fork on the order of causality, from the final cause – the desire to have a fork – to the material, formal and efficient causes. The efficient cause being that person or process that imposed the form of the fork on its material substance.

That process of causality is plain enough.

But as I walk through the woods, I wonder: who desired that there be trees and animals – and people?! There is a distinctly different causality at play in nature. The efficient cause of a tree coming to life is the innate process of the species’ lifecycle. Men and women can certainly plant and tend to trees, but their existence is not contingent upon human industry.” ~ Woods Walking #12: Back to the Roots of Being
More here: http://wp.me/p11gpL-29
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“…from seed and egg to womb to birth to life–to second birth into the afterlife.

Our second birth is the destiny and the true birthright of humanity. Our temporal lives are the briefest of sparks when dabbed on the canvas of deep time. We live a caterpillar phase, a metamorphosis before flying on butterfly wings back to Eternal Being, constantly emerging into greater and greater degrees of freedom within our core act of being. It is the density of temporal being birthing us, releasing us into the aether on the wings of grace. ~ Woods Walking #16: The Earth, The Self, The Sky
More here: http://wp.me/p11gpL-3Z
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“Recalling the comments of ancient Philosopher Parmenides, “Nothing comes from nothing,” therefore it (creation) is more likely a moment of quantum transition from some primal substance – a meta-substance from Eternal Being, perhaps — to the yielding of a homogenized, inflating soup of super-heated plasma. In other posts I’ve used the phrase, “The breath of God into the cosmos.” ” ~ Woods Walking #11: Back to the Roots of Being
More here: http://wp.me/p11gpL-29
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On the Path

On the Path

“The ”mission” of this blog (Woods Walking) is not one of conversion. Rather it is one of ecumenism, an ecumenism inspired by deep spiritual encounter and the profound unity found there in the roots of our very being. It is a oneness based on our shared source in nature, in the substance of being, as well as the latent spiritual capacity in all men and women that is so easily overlooked in our daily lives.” ~ Woods Walking – Welcome
More here: http://wp.me/p11gpL-1
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“Passive moments of deep intuition can occur even within repetitive activities. What athletes refer to as “the zone,” can be experienced as a deep, consuming awareness of what one’s body is doing reflexively, from bicycle riding to distance running and even, for me, as the pilot of an airplane–when the connectedness of awareness to mind to body to machine melt into the instantaneous appreciation of the seamless process of control and direction and the consuming, immediate unity of the moment. Such moments are intimately self-aware, reflective, yet distinctly “out of time.” ” ~ Woods Walking #7: The Contemplative Path
More here: http://wp.me/p11gpL-P
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So, what is an awakened spiritual experience like? It’s kind of like making a Banana-Honey Smoothie!

Just as our five physical senses create a single sense of our surroundings, our intuition takes varied impressions to an even deeper level of sense, of being. You know the individual ingedients of the smoothie — the texture, taste and smell of a banana, the yogurt, and even a celebratory pinch of nutmeg. But, add them all to a blender, then slowly, mindfully take that first sip, savoring the combined and individual flavors… Your mind reels in that moment. You are lost just then in the flavor, the summary of your efforts and the inviting ingredients. You are lost out of time in that instant as your awareness siezes that blend of flavors, aromas and the feel of the cold smoothie on your tongue and the frosted glass in your hand.

You can find those moments while woods walking, too. It may not happen right away, but something — maybe the hoot of an owl, or the song of a bird, or the burst of color or sweet smell of wild flowers — will catch you, surprise you, and take you briefly away from yourself. It’s an alluring first taste, a first sense of your own depth of spirit. Of course, you’ll yearn for more as you hold onto that moment, seeking greater depth through mindfulness and an expanded awareness, or a brief meditation with your eyes closed.

Now, just to be fair, here’s the recipe for that smoothie! Pax, Rudy
http://www.smoothieweb.com/banana-spice-smoothie/

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“We will find our second birth through death, a new life in the Spirit. And when we find joy in others, we will have found the Loving Body of Christ, the Body of Humanity.”

From comments after Woods Walking #15: The Boundaries of Being More here: http://wp.me/p11gpL-33

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“Here’s a link to an excellent video comparing Buddhism and science. From individual parts, we always find the whole. When we follow a river to its source, we find its true nature. And when we follow Being to the self-sufficient act of exis…tence, we will find a radical, simple Unity. There, in spirit, we will be in harmony finding joy in one another. Or we shall not be welcome. Perhaps not condemned, just on the perimeter of joy until we find personal peace within that grand communion.”

From comments after Woods Walking #15: The Boundaries of Being
More here: http://wp.me/p11gpL-33

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“I have made myself open to our sixth spiritual sense that, at times, has made itself present to me, sometimes quietly, and sometimes in an overwhelming rush of sensibility–at times in waking moments and at others while asleep. I have also found that spirituality is not necessarily an immediately present sense like those of touch or taste, but rather it is something that develops, much like one’s sexual self – a latent force that gradually develops in proportion to the amount of attention one permits.” ~ Woods Walking — Welcome
More here: http://wp.me/p11gpL-1

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“I felt that the theocentric, objective realism at the foundation of the Jesuit philosophical systematic perfectly matched the spiritual current–and experiences–that had guided me to this place. In that way, the then-current Xavier systematic matched my own inclination to synthesize the empirical thinking of the day with traditions of faith and religion, reconciling cutting edge science to the disciplines of philosophy and theology, seeking out the common threads to both.” ~ Woods Walking #9: Three Nights of Affirmation
More here: http://wp.me/p11gpL-15

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“The genuine mystic is known by joy, patience, trustfulness and peace. Contemplation, although the highest form of prayer, is not an elite, lofty endeavor for special ‘holy’ people. It is for ordinary, happy, uncomplicated people who enjoy being with God.” ~ Jaqueline Galloway

Comments after Woods Walking #10: The First Encounter
http://wp.me/p11gpL-1l

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A delightful interview with Fr. Raimon Panikkar on the joy of living from Being. http://youtu.be/Cbjd_Tdnqxg

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“There was a heavy thunderstorm late in the afternoon with torrents of rain. By early evening, the park trials were bathed in a soft, clearing twilight gracing the woods with radiant rays through air saturated with moisture.

The temperature was in the low 60s and the humidity was nothing short of tropical. It tinged the view with a misty paleness, bringing to life realist landscapes of Rousseau or Manet. The lush greens and blues faded at a distance by the breath of Zeus, the misty remnant of his afternoon fury.” ~ Woods Walking #13: The Instinct for Life
More here: http://wp.me/p11gpL-2s

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A wonderful, brief video of Father Thomas Keating talking about the human gift of contemplation. Recited prayer is merely dipping one’s toe in the water. Contemplation is the gradual, full immersion in those deep waters of intuition, and eventaully, Presence. You’ve seen the Sun and Moon reflecting off of those beautiful waters. Go! http://youtu.be/jIDhTv2bopw

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Present in Silence

Present in Silence

Lay down the Holy Books and stand quietly in the Presence of Being. ~ Rudy

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“There is an utter humility, a boundless joy and a profound gratefulness found in acknowledgment of the Grace of this Gift.

We know it, we experience it at specific times and specific places, yet that moment, that realization of “I am” is timeless in its sense of encounter of the enduring, unconditional Love and Belonging from and with our Creator.”

“To deliver oneself up,
to hand oneself over,
entrust oneself completely to the silence
of a wide landscape of woods and hills,
or sea and desert; to sit still while
… the sun comes up over the land
and fills its silences with light.

…few are willing to belong completely
to such silence, to let it soak into their bones,
to breathe nothing but silence, to feed
on silence, and to turn the very substance of their life
into a living and vigilant silence.”

~ Thomas Merton
from Thoughts in Solitude

Woods Walking #7: The Contemplative Path
More here: http://wp.me/p11gpL-P

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“I’ve sometimes jokingly (only by half) referred to our human death as being the ultimate religious ecumenism. Yet, the moment of temporal coming to be (the Big Bang) truly is an ecumenical moment, both from a religious and a physical perspective. Humanity is contingent upon this original, primal substance, just as is the “stuff” of the forks we considered in the metaphysical discussion in Woods Walking #2. It is a fundamental connectedness between the inanimate and the animate, aware and reflective beings that we are.” ~ Woods Walking #12: Substantial Lineage: Back to the Roots of Being
More here: http://wp.me/p11gpL-29

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Photosynthesis of Prayer

Photosynthesis of Prayer

Like the leaves and the Sun, our own cerebral cortex, our consciousness, is where the photosynthesis of prayer takes place, where the light of Presence is welcomed. It gives us Spiritual food in quiet emptying and consent. ~ Rudy

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There has always been an inviting inner sense, a siren that stirred my curiosity–to be aware and to probe. At times there seems to be a gnawing void of unknown, a perceived potential, an open space of unanswered questions that is sensed and yearns for attention and exploration. It is the logical lattice of natural law that unfolds before me. It is analogous to peering across an open body of water and wondering what the far shore might hold.

The sea that calls all things unto her calls me, and I must embark. ~ Kahlil Gibran

Woods Walking #7: The Contemplative Path
More here: http://wp.me/p11gpL-P

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In the previous post, I included a quote from Prof. Brian Cox. Here is his wonderful TEDx talk on why 84 countries funded the Large Hadron Collider in Europe. (LHC) Another person I’ve mentioned and quote frequently on this page is Fr. Thomas Keating, founder of Centering Prayer. Keating calls science “the other great book of revelation” that is as equally important as the personal revelations contained in the Bible. At the core of each “book” is the creation story. The science story tells us how we’ve come to be, while the Biblical story is an early interpretation of why we’ve come to be. The how and why are intimately connected and it’s fascinating to listen to Brian Cox and draw parallels between these timeless stories. We also get a new intuitive sense of the ‘why’ in Dr. Cox’s brilliant presentation. Listen to it carefully and at the same time sense the presence of your “stuff of being”–the atoms and molecules that comprise your physical body. It’s quite an enjoyable contemplation for a quiet moment! ~ Rudy

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“One might say science is the sum total of our knowledge of the universe, the great library of the known, but the practice of science happens at the border between the known and the unknown. Standing on the shoulders of giants, we peer into the darkness with eyes opened not in fear, but in wonder.” ~ Professor Brian Cox

Allegory interprets revelation until these days when human realization unveils the “oneness” that both revelation and realization see. Intuition guides both the scientist and the seer to a glimpse outside of our inflating bubble of knowledge. Both, however, are ecstatic in their respective encounters. ~ Rudy

From Comments after Woods Walking #15: The Boundaries of Being
More here: http://wp.me/p11gpL-33

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Linda Hogan, Native American Writer

Linda Hogan, Native American Writer

“As I moved from specific memories to contemplation of those souls, I was met with a sudden Sweet Affirmation–a wispy chorus of “Yes” perceived at the core of my being. And there were many present in that brief touch across time; faces unseen yet presence felt.” ~ Woods Walking #7: The Contemplative Path
http://wp.me/p11gpL-P

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The DNA of Being

The DNA of Being

Substance from the stars to be; energy from a star to live. Consciousness manifests from substance; Spirit manifests from Being!

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“The idea of Eternal Being points to the source of this substance upon which we base our corporal existence. If this “stuff” is from Eternal Being—the sands of time–something that has always been, and from which a Grand Intelligence manifests, we gain a new concept of the eternal. But these concepts also point to a regenerative universe. This very idea implies an infinite progression of temporal coming to be, that we are 13.8 billion years into our current generation. From a religious perspective, this implies an infinite, yet constantly growing Body of Humanity.” ~ Woods Walking #11: Eternal Being and Manifestation of Spirit
http://wp.me/p11gpL-1w

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Rambrandt's Head of Christ

Rambrandt’s Head of Christ

My thoughts after reading Fr. James Martin SJ’s Facebook comments on following Jesus: Is Jesus someone to “follow,” as in a future personal destination? Shouldn’t the point be “To Be The Christ” — NOW! Imperfectly? Certainly! But each day of deliberately putting on that holy cloak means that we become more and more perfect in our own way. Perhaps it’s an aspiration to a higher degree, but being Christ now is the point. An actor doesn’t pretent to be Caesar, the actor must “be” Caesar. If we put on the cloak of Holy Spirit, we don’t just look at the flame, we must “be” the flame! Following implies duality. Being is non-dual–the burning heart, unity and Oneness that mystics describe. Does one observe or practice? ~ Rudy

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“As human understanding reaches beyond the limits of our known universe, we’ll expand our vision within this emerging, new Copernican moment in history and open ourselves to a newly perceived relationship with the Supreme Being and how humanity’s relationship to God may be seen in a new light. It is a vision where a radically connected empirical reality encounters similar concepts of fundamental unity as expressed by human traditions for thousands of years in theology, mysticism and metaphysics. ~ Woods Walking – Welcome
http://wp.me/p11gpL-1

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“When you start to walk out on the way – the way appears” ~ Rumi

So, what is “The Way”? Regardless of religion, devotion or practice, it is the quiet inner self. In WW#16 I called it the photosynthesis of prayer, which is based on our shared human capacity–the reality–of soul. It connects us to Being as each leaf interacts with the light of the sky. We arise in multiplicity, but connect in One Spirit. ~ Rudy

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“I came across a wonderful article on dogster.com about meditating while walking one’s dog. Paige Polisner, dog-lover and meditation teacher states, “I teach Buddhist meditation, and it’s all about trying to open our hearts and become less egocentric and more other-centric.” The more “other-centric” aspect helps to clear one’s mind, to become observant of “the other,” whether small “O” or capital “O,” as Thomas Keating, creator of the Snowmass Inter-Religious Conference suggests.” ~ Woods Walking #16: The Earth The Self The Sky
http://wp.me/p11gpL-3Z

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The Valley Trail

The Valley Trail

What glasses do you wear walking this path; theology, science, wonder, doubt, confusion, judgement? What are your glasses made of? Any of these project ourselves onto this scene. Instead, remove the glasses and just let this be. What fills you then?

Doesn’t beauty stop us in our tracks? On a hike, in a gallery, in a chilld’s face… It’s those breathless moments that offer a peek into the sublime, letting the face of beauty talk to us — letting it in. That face is the face of love whose heart pumps the very energy of life. It pours onto this scene as light, yet that light is just a manifestation, a metaphor of something even deeper. Something that touches everything! At the heart of mystical encounter is emptying and consent. Focus on the light in this image and how it touches everything. Consent to its warmth on your face. Let that warmth pour into your heart. Your echo is your own beauty in reply.

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“Such awareness and actualization on a personal level is at once awe-inspiring and humbling, but also very exciting for the truth–the reality–that lies behind the human experience of the Divine. And on the scale of the Body of Humanity, both living here and now, and for those “Risen” before us–the miraculous spiritual reality that calls us together, has literally unlimited capacity for Good.” ~ Woods Walking #10: The First Encounter
More here: http://wp.me/p11gpL-1l

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The Milky Way

The Milky Way

“In discussing faith and religion with a good friend who proclaims himself an agnostic, I arrived at a mantra of sorts intended to instill a sense of wonder, a hunger even, in such a genuine heart. It starts at the subatomic level and move…s to the transcendent. He was amused — at least.

One boson;

One quark;

One proton;

One atom;

One molecule;

One cell;

One organ;

One Person;

One family;

One community;

One city;

One country;

One world;

One solar system;

One galaxy;

One universe;

One”

~~ Woods Walking #9: Three Nights of Affirmation
More here: http://wp.me/p11gpL-15

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Constant Yearning

Constant Yearning

“We are the human flower of the breath of God into the cosmos. When considered and contemplated on the orders of contingency, causality and continuum, starting from our own “I am,” there can be no other conclusion. And in contemplation of these koans of contingency, causality and continuum, we are present to this Source, this Absolute Being—this Love!” ~ Woods Walking #16: The Earth The Self The Sky
More here: http://wp.me/p11gpL-3Z
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“…we find ourselves at the precipice of a higher order, pre-existent state of being—a quantum state prior to the Big Bang, where energy does not express itself as mass and therefore does not occupy space as we know it.

What this implies is that the Big Bang is the diminution of pure, pre-existent energy in a way that yields mass, which also occupies spacetime. Quite suddenly and explosively! It is a transition from a higher ordered state of being to a lower ordered state where matter is separated from energy.” ~ Woods Walking #15: The Boundaries of Being
More here: http://wp.me/p11gpL-33

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“Today’s technology allows us to see and know so much more. But it also allows us to collaborate in amazing new ways via instant, massive communication.” ~ Woods Walking #14: Human Collaboration
More here: http://wp.me/p11gpL-2D

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The Light Within

The Light Within

“I have known since what mystical traditions refer to as infused contemplation, some of which I’ve described in other installments of Woods Walking.

I am left with a sense of participation in a greater whole, as described in Woods Walking #2. Just as importantly, there obtains in me a hunger, a disposition toward an integrated world view in which a sense of continuum is vital. That sense of continuum extends to both logical integrity—in a vertical sense—as well as an observation of the literal continuum of time and space.” ~ Woods Walking #9: Three Nights of Affirmation
More Here: http://wp.me/p11gpL-15

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Woods Walking is the exploration of our shared human spiritual capacity in relation to what has traditionally been known as the Supreme Being through simple prayer, contemplation, mystical encounter and near-death/out-of-body experiences. We will look at the common roots of such encounters, regardless of one’s religious or spiritual tradition.

“The Word of God is simple, and seeks out as its companion a heart that listens. … Neither the clergy nor ecclesiastical law can substitute for the inner life of the human person.” — Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini

Posting under the blog title “Woods Walking,” I start with the everyday immediate experience of nature and beauty and look behind the curtains of deepening levels of understanding to arrive at accessible, useful and real meaning.” ~ Woods Walking – Welcome
More Here: http://wp.me/p11gpL-1
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Waters of Being

Waters of Being

Eckhart Tolle talks about spacious awareness. Spacious awareness is dropping a pebble–a thought–into the waters of Being and letting your awareness go, following the ripples as they cross the surface. In the woods, listen to the breeze in one tree, then let your awareness go out, listening to all of the trees. Then you become aware that you actually hear only those trees nearby, but that the entire forest is singing the same song. That’s when you find spacious awareness beyond yourself, and the love and belonging of your real participation in it all. And the all beyond your horizon. The real magic is the personal intuition of the “we” in that moment, from the dual to the non-dual presence – from the woods and me to we. Image: Writing Day

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From the logic of metaphysics, how do we comprehend multiplicity from unity? Is Being equivocal, univocal, or analogous? In its diversity, multiplicity cannot be univocal or equivocal, so therefore it must be analogous, which is from the Greek, analogos: likeness in proportion. The most fundamental likeness is existence, the fact of being, the act of duration. For living things, the likeness is rooted in the double helix of DNA and the miraculous diversity of expression possible within that core chemistry. The language of life! The homogenous, univocal moment of singularity before the Big Bang could not contain itself; it literally exploded into this beautiful diversity that we are, and know, in each moment. But everything we sense is tied to that mustard seed of creation — and the tree from which it fell… ~ Rudy

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First Light

First Light

“Imagine the view of our Earth on a clear day when you can see to the true horizon, with the Earth the analog of Eternal Being. Now, further using the metaphysical tool, analogy of being, imagine that each tree encountered is a unique universe – each grows from a singular seed and continually branches into smaller and smaller segments, yet is rooted in its earth, its equivalent of eternal being. And each tree has its own life span, from growth and expansion to death and decay back into the soil of its earth, only to be followed by others; its own progeny as well as the progeny of other nearby trees.

The implied scales of time and space for all the above are truly mind bending — truly deep time and the ultimate, unimaginable expanse of space. We can be overwhelmed by the absolute scale of Eternal Being. Yet the very fact that we have even come to comprehend such concepts is miraculous in its own way. The very fact of our abstract conception of such a vision is testament to the fundamental value of our personal, individual being, as well as that of the Body of Humanity that naturally arises from this very process of temporal, universal generation.” ~ Woods Walking #12: Substantial Lineage: Back to the Roots of Being

More here: http://wp.me/p11gpL-29

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“Out of our own depths arise the forms; but out of regions where man is still terrible in wisdom, beauty, and bliss. This Atlantis of the interior realities is as strange to us as a foreign continent. Its secrets must be learned. And the way of learning is not that of the laboratory and lecture hall, but of controlled introspection.” ~ Joseph Campbell, “The Art of Reading Myths”

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The Living Wood

The Living Wood

I see a forest of Universes that constantly live and die, and yield generations of souls that add richness and love to the soil of Eternal Being. ~ Rudy

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The Clearing Sky

The Clearing Sky

“Just as I know the stars shine above this evening’s dark overcast, I know that You are there as well with the familiar Communion of Saints. Whether waiting, or calling.

Patience and hope will bring once again the unbridled joy of clear skies, the steady deck of calm waters, a glad heart and the Peace of intimate presence with You again.” ~ Woods Walking #3: A Spiritual Overcast
http://wp.me/p11gpL-w

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“To further compound the questioning, some cosmologists, such as Martin Bojowald of Pennsylvania State University, posit that there is a universal cycle of inflation and contraction. Instead of there being a singular creative “Big Bang,” there is a cyclical “Big Bounce.” It is reasonable, in such a cosmic model of universal cycling, that a “Creator” is not necessary as an ‘efficient agent’ since the cycle is the natural outcome of physical laws.” ~ Woods Walking #11: Eternal Being and Manifestation of Spirit
http://wp.me/p11gpL-1w

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The Timeline of Our Universe

The Timeline of Our Universe

The Genesis Story: The Big Bang and Inflation, the deep roots of our family tree! A seed planted in the forest of Eternal Being.
Image from Space.com

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Each Universe Rooted In Eternal Being

Each Universe Rooted In Eternal Being

“Science and theology intersect at the fact of being as well, specifcally at the Big Bang, which is the ultimate form of ecumenism, either spiritual or physical. So, with that empirical knowledge, the best repsonse is to give in to the allurement of the “I Am.” Can a flower deny the field or a tree deny the sky? Then we should not deny that attractive “mysitcal smell” of the Spirit. It’s the smell of the Heavenly banquet that we can be with — now!” ~ Rudy
Comments following Woods Walking — Welcome
http://wp.me/p11gpL-1

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Cross the Bridge

Cross the Bridge

If you go off into a far far forest and get very quiet – you’ll come to understand that you’re connected to everything ~ Alan Watts

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Nearby Stars

Nearby Stars

Feel tiny? Don’t worry, stars are small compared to galaxies, and galaxies are small compared to galaxy groups, and galaxy groups are small compared to the Universe. Oh, and the Universe is small compared to the Megaverse. After that, who knows? Now, on the small end of the scale, a Planck Length is the smallest theoretical unit. For an idea of scale, if a Hydrogen atom were the size of the Milky Way Galaxy, a Planck Length would be the size of a human hair. That’s small! Regardless, our human consciousness is the great equalizer. See, you’ve just envisioned the radically small to the unimaginably large. ~ Rudy
Photo via Cincinnati Observatory Center

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“When we push the clock of temporal being back in time, there are several key benchmarks. The first, and most notable, is the Big Bang, or alternatively the Big Bounce. In either case, from a singularity of absolute density, there was a burst, a moment of “creation.” Recalling the comments of ancient Philosopher Parmenides, “Nothing comes from nothing,” therefore it is more likely a moment of quantum transition from some primal substance – a meta-substance from Eternal Being, perhaps — to the yielding of a homogenized, inflating soup of super-heated plasma. In other posts I’ve used the phrase, “The breath of God into the cosmos.” ” ~ Woods Walking #12: Substantial Lineage: Back to the Roots of Being
http://wp.me/p11gpL-29

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“Both Catholic metaphysics of St. Thomas Aquinas and today’s cosmology describe a fundamental unity that permeates and connects all things. That which forms the most fundamental core “being,” or primal substance, upon which a diverse reality is built and presents itself to our senses, both physical and transcendent.” ~ Woods Walking #2: The Metaphysics of a Fork
http://wp.me/p11gpL-r
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Kent

Kent

From my friend, Kent Beausoleil, SJ — 500 years of wisdom for personal decision making.
http://www.ignatianspirituality.com/16906/top-five-things-i-want-my-peers-to-know-about-ignatian-spirituality/

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Chinese Wish Lanterns

Chinese Wish Lanterns

In the spiritual nakedness of the afterlife, our soul is a pure presence with others, like Chinese Wish Lanterns floating into the Grand Aether of the evening sky. Each soul’s loving presence contributes to the shared well-being in communion, bouyed by the being of the Absolute and the breath of common spirit. There, the open arms of our souls find Bliss. ~ Rudy Image via http://www.chinesewishlanterns.com

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The Dalai Lama

The Dalai Lama

A global ethic beyond societies, beyond religions – for humanity. Each person is a cell in the Body of Humanity, so each person’s actions affect the health of the whole body. ~ Rudy

Every Day Prayer:

“Every day, think as you wake up, “Today I am fortunate to have woken up. I am alive, I have a precious human life. I am not going to waste it. I am going to use all my energies to develop myself, to expand my heart out to… others, to achieve enlightenment for the benefit of all beings. I am going to have kind thoughts towards others, I am not going to get angry, or think badly about others. I am going to benefit others as much as I can.”

– His Holiness The Dalai Lama

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“So, to the skeptic, I ask that they consider the cultivation of their own truest and fullest self. Our corporal lives are but a flash in the continuum of time and space. To deny one’s own eternal, spiritual capacity is analogous to striking a match and letting it burn out to a wisp of smoke without setting the larger fire ablaze.” ~ Woods Walking #10: The First Encounter
http://wp.me/p11gpL-1l

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A fascinating discussion about “making a mess” of the church. As Fr. Martin suggests, it is a good mess, a mess this church needs. Pope Francis I is leading the church back to a participatory community through the open doors of forgiveness. And it’s not that the church forgives us, but perhaps more that we forgive the church and bring awakened hearts back to community, creating a vibrant, dynamic Body. In Acts, the Apostles took on the mission of The Christ, and it was not with orders but with an intimate, personal consent to a living, enduring Spirit that guided their mission — with hearts that burned after Pentecost with the living good news. The church is not meant to be merely a Sunday obligation, rather it is a Sunday celebration after which we leave the doors behind to do the good work for the rest of the week.
http://www.nbcnews.com/id/3036789/ns/msnbc-morning_joe/vp/52651774#52651774

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A remarkable discussion of the Divine Oneness by Fr. Thomas Keating, co-creator of Centering Prayer. His joyful, playful demeanor is a reflection of an open, alive heart!

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“Woods Walking is a call back to our inner selves and our true, natural capacity for quiet spiritual encounter. Spirituality has been overlooked as so many have revolted against the surface trappings of dogma, injustice or the inflexible nature of existing religious institutions. Meanwhile, many institutions have hidden the empowering aspects of spirituality in the deep recesses of monasticism–deliberate or not.” ~ Woods Walking — Welcome
http://wp.me/p11gpL-1

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“For me, that encountered sense of “belonging” leads to the sublime sense of Peace that I’ve described on quiet evenings. Fr. Clarke described it in “A Taste of Existence” as “blown mind,” that is, an expansion of one’s awareness to embrace our unique personal place within Creation, and that all of this “is Gift for us,” as is the intent of our Creator. There is an utter humility, a boundless joy and a profound gratefulness found in acknowledgment of the Grace of this Gift.” Woods Walking #7: The Contemplative Path
http://wp.me/p11gpL-P

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The Milky Way

The Milky Way

There is a popular idea of “convergence.” But that idea is from a dynamic, dualistic human perspective. Science and religion are, in a sense, on a path to a convergence of mutual wisdom. But in being, in what is, as it is, science and re…ligion are like oposing spiral arms in our galaxy; one occupies one arm, one the other. In fact, both are part of the one galaxy and their arms terminate at the center of this spiraling being. In discernment, in meditation, in prayer, look for what is, as it is. Let your spirit be bathed in that warming light. After all, it’s source is love! ~ Image from Space.com

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“The real magic begins, as Clarke further describes in his interview, when we’ve drilled down in detail on any one thing and arrive at its unique fact of existence, and then begin to go out horizontally and apply this realization to all things, even to the entire universe. As Clarke suggests, then our mind is “blown” as we begin to appreciate our own “being” and our participation in a greater whole.” ~ Woods Walking #2: The Metaphysics of a Fork
http://wp.me/p11gpL-r

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The Beautiful Path“The mind can go in a thousand directions but on this beautiful path I walk in peace.” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh

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img179.jpg“As the waters of human knowledge lap at the shores of Eternal Being, our spirit is drawn into the Heavens to be returned to us in the life-giving rain of revelation.” ~ Woods Walking #15: The Boundaries of Being
http://wp.me/p11gpL-33

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The Canopy of Awareness

The Canopy of Awareness

“When consciousness meets Spirit, it is a moment where the bloom greats the Gardener and every petal of the bloom rejoices in the glow of joy shared between them. This presence and mindfulness is the photosynthesis of prayer and contemplation, the direct nourishment of self from the sky, the Spirit.” ~ Woods Walking #16: The Earth The Self The Sky
http://wp.me/p11gpL-3Z

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“So for the person of faith, does the new learning of men and women, such as Hawking’s, diminish or eliminate the concept of “omnipotence” assigned to the traditional concept of “Creator”? A strict Creationist view would emphatically say n…o; that we demonstrate the deadly sin of pride with such statements. Nonetheless, humanity has altered its perception of the heavens, and even our very Earth, many times over, as our capacity to observe and measure the nature before us has benefited from the evolution of our scientific technologies.” ~ Woods Walking #11: Eternal Being and Manifestation of Spirit
http://wp.me/p11gpL-1w

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Via Share the Light

Via Share the Light

“Share the Light” talks in this image about the heart of humanity. To Christians, this might be “The Christ.” However, in the explosive vision of our Universe, and beyond that to a Megaverse — in either case there would be uncounted worlds that h…ave yielded intelligent life, and will yet in the future — we have to think of an inclusive Body of Humanity: all intelligent life, across all time, whether living now, or now ever alive in the Spiritual realm. In that light, Earth’s humanity is still a sapling yearning for light among the wise and tall of the forest of an expanded vision of humanity — humanity beyond our Earth-based reference. So from our humble, evolving roots, we are growing into a radical new vision that those before us already know and live. The power of meditation and contemplation is our real access to this aggregate wisdom of those already past their “initial spark” of temporal life. These souls, this Body of Humanity has already walked our path. They know the true nature of our being after this initial spark of living and breathing. How great is the Humanity of many worlds, many universes in an infinite progression of temporal birthing? Uncountable worlds, uncountalbe universes! Imagine the expanse and wisdom of that Humanity. We should aspire to their love and cumulative wisdom. It is all available to each of us — now!

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After the Rain

After the Rain

Trees are sanctuaries. Whoever knows how to speak to them, whoever knows how to listen to them, can learn the truth. They do not preach learning and precepts, they preach undeterred by particulars, the ancient law of life. ~ Hermann Hesse
WW#16: http://wp.me/p11gpL-3Z

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From Woods Walking #16: The Earth The Self The Sky

“In the Thomistic vision, what is common to all things is the radical energy of existence. It can be conceived like an energy because it is an act of presence. It isn’t a form or structure. It is an act of presence, and immediately expands like an act of energy so that the most radical thing in St. Thomas is the energy of existence, and in the modern physics, what is the great underlying unity turns out to be more and more some kind of radical physical energy so the physicists describe it as transformations of energy.” — W. Norris Clarke, SJ
http://www.innerexplorations.com/catchmeta/a.htm

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“In spite of the gathering darkness, we ventured onto the western end of the Forest Loop Trail getting a hill-climb in for the evening, raising pulse and respiration while stepping high to avoid stubbing my toes on stumps, roots and rocks. It was dark enough, without the waning moon, that in the most-dense portions of the woods, it was almost impossible to see the path ahead.” ~ Woods Walking #11: Eternal Being and Manifestation of Spirit
https://excelsisdeoomnibus.wordpress.com/2010/10/31/woods-walking-11/

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“Early one morning when I was busy making breakfast the sun came over the horizon and its first rays streamed through a window and struck a red cup sitting on the kitchen table. I had seen that cup hundreds of times before. I had washed it, put it away, drunk from it, and let my fingers get warm around it, but until that morning I had never truly seen it. The sun seemed to illuminate the cup from within. It was no longer a simple kitchen utensil, but sat there in the middle of the table aglow with being. I felt, ‘This isn’t just a cup. It is!’ And the radiance of this “is” took my breath away.” ~ From “God, Zen and the Intuition of Being” by James Arraj
http://www.innerexplorations.com/catew/3.htm

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“Like ancient mariners who relied solely on the stars to find their way, I know that the overcast will yield, even if partially. Soon I will see glimpses of the stars of Orion – Rigel stunningly bright after days of absence, peeking crisply around wispy edges.” ~ Woods Walking #3: A Spiritual Overcast
http://wp.me/p11gpL-w

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“The leaves of the tree are like the cerebral cortex, the fine covering of the cerebrum and cerebellum. And like the leaves accepting the spirited energy of the Sun, the cerebral cortex is the wiring of the brain that is the home of memory, …emotions and our unique, self-reflective awareness. It is the sensitive interface, the human “radio” to a broader consciousness and our own foliage and the scent of sweet spiritual energy and the sky beyond the Sun.” ~ Woods Walking #16: The Earth, The Self, The Sky
http://wp.me/p11gpL-3Z

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“If you are driving and you arrive at a red light you have an opportunity to practice meditation. Sit there. Smile to that light. Breathe in and smile. Breath out and allow your body to relax. The red light is no longer an enemy preventing …you to go but a friend helping you to stop and go back to your breath and allow your body to relax.” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh Quoted in Woods Walking #9: Three Nights of Affirmation
https://excelsisdeoomnibus.wordpress.com/2010/08/21/woods-walking-9/

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IMG_0639 IR CRPAt the sight of something or other, a soul will know in an instant that these things do not exist through themselves and that God is. ~ Raissa Maritain, Quoted in Woods Walking #2: The Metaphysics of a Fork
https://excelsisdeoomnibus.wordpress.com/2010/08/07/woods-walking-2/

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I enjoyed a wonderful walk tonight. The Valley Trail stream was running quietly, partially frozen under a star-struck sky. It was a perfect time for “on-the-go introspection,” to borrow a term from writer Chad Foreman. (http://www.thewayofmeditation.com.au/)

The navigator in me quietly found my place in this way, holding to my compact physical place, but expanding the scope of my thoughts. I stood erect on a flat stone at the edge of the creek with my eyes focused on bright Jupiter. I was quiet and let fly all distractions.

I felt the weight of my feet on the stone; I listened intently to the constant cascades of water down the steps of the stream, noticing the many distinct sounds from right to left; my focus followed the bare trees to their synaptic, feathery tips that combed the gentle, spiritual breeze; I leaped out to Jupiter and was aware of its current phase, its mass and rapid, but seemingly still motion above; I placed myself on this great, good Earth as the Earth-Moon orbital dance joined the planetary arcs around our Sun; I found our spark of human time in the long-cycle on the Orion-Cygnus Arm of the Milky Way; our accelerating galactic expansion and a future date with Andromeda; then, out along the local group to the blur of the then-but-now observable edge of “it all” where the unseen travels with light speed into the brilliant, Deep Darkness; pondering the unmoving, constant hub at our center; and the Spherical Beyond.

Breathing in here the atoms of former stars — breathing out there, looking back from that lofty perch through my third eye. All without words, just being with, and in, and among. ~ Rudy, January 7, 2013

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With every breath you take, whether in meditation or walking the hall to an appointment, we all rely on the abundance of Oxygen. In this stunning picture of the Crescent Nebula linked from APOD, note the blue-green material being ejected from the dying star, NGC 6888. Such dying stars created the oxygen we breathe. We cannot live without this very Oxygen, just as a fish could not swim without water. In a sense, we thank our lucky stars with every breath.
http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap090915.html

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IMG_0598 IR CRP3I could not say I believe. I know! I have had the experience of being gripped by something that is stronger than myself, something that people call God. ~ Carl Jung

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“In the year leading up to my encounter, I experienced the enjoyment of philosophical pursuit and the wondrous, revealing process of new metaphysical analysis, breaking my own trail through natural law and its logical lattice. All of this led to many sleepless nights with mind racing, pulling back the many curtains of deeper levels of understanding.” ~ Woods Walking #9: Three Nights of Affirmation
https://excelsisdeoomnibus.wordpress.com/2010/08/21/woods-walking-9/

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From Simply Being

From Simply Being

This picture from Simply Being reminds me of the spring blooms this year, holding tight against the chill air, waiting for warm Sun to open to the sky. We are like this before our spirits open to a broader presence and awareness, when we hold tight to fears or corners of security. The steady, deep breath of meditation or the quiet of contemplation, allow us to heal, relax and open our bloom of spirit to other open flowers surrounding us and to the brilliant, welcoming sky above. Our open bloom is our true beauty!”

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As we walked across some old fallen bricks at the southeastern-most point of the Forest Loop, where the trail starts its turn west, I regained the sense of history in these woods. From these bricks of the Ault family vineyard nearly a hundred years before, to the whisper of quiet footsteps from the Miami and Shawnee tribes of centuries past, I listened for the quiet echo that might issue from the legacy of the soil.” ~ Woods Walking #5
https://excelsisdeoomnibus.wordpress.com/2010/08/08/woods-walking-5/

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“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.” ~ Henry David Thoreau
Quoted in Woods Walking — Welcome
https://excelsisdeoomnibus.wordpress.com/2010/08/06/hello-world/

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“…the Big Bang is the diminution of pure, pre-existent energy in a way that yields mass, which also occupies spacetime. Quite suddenly and explosively! It is a transition from a higher ordered state of being to a lower ordered state where matter is separated from energy.” ~ Woods Walking #15
https://excelsisdeoomnibus.wordpress.com/2012/04/10/woods-walking-15-2/

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“I will not apologize; there was an erotic undercurrent to this evening’s walk.
There was a heavy thunderstorm late in the afternoon with torrents of rain. By early evening, the park trials were bathed in a soft, clearing twilight gracing the woods with radiant rays through air saturated with moisture.” ~ Woods Walking #13

https://excelsisdeoomnibus.wordpress.com/2011/04/22/woods-walking-13-%e2%80%93-the-instinct-for-life/

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“Last night I enjoyed a beautiful walk on a crystal-clear evening. It was the kind of evening when one’s spirit opens like the bloom of a chrysanthemum, and the impressions are as many and hued as its petals. The arms of my soul open wide in a full embrace of the glory of being.” ~ From Comments after Woods Walking #12, March 29, 2011

https://excelsisdeoomnibus.wordpress.com/2011/03/05/woods-walking-12/

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The experience that moved me from a sense of religious faith to a sense of spiritual actuality — “Seeing the bright light, I was drawn toward it. It seemed to be a long way off and as I began to move toward it, someone came to me from the direction of the light, and without words, turned me back communicating that I return.

The image I saw after I was turned around was the classic big blue Earth floating before me. It looked just like a picture taken from about half the distance to the moon, based on pictures I’ve since looked at taken during lunar missions.” ~ Woods Walking #10
https://excelsisdeoomnibus.wordpress.com/2010/10/28/woods-walking-10/

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At the limits of human knowledge: “M-Theory, the Big Bang and Multi-Verses. Through science toward a vision of an eternal, yet ever-expanding Body of Humanity born on many worlds in many universes. Perhaps in the Spirit, we find Eternal Wisdom.” ~ Comments after Woods Walking #12

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“Perhaps many universes (multiverse/megaverse) arise from Eternal Being, just as many trees arise, live and die

Each Universe Rooted In Eternal Being

Each Universe Rooted In Eternal Being

within the lush grounds of the woods. In the fullness of Absolute Being, is the proportion of a single universe similar to that proportion of a single tree to our great, good Earth?” ~ Woods Walking #12
https://excelsisdeoomnibus.wordpress.com/2011/03/05/woods-walking-12/

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“To deliver oneself up,
to hand oneself over,
entrust oneself completely to the silence
of a wide landscape of woods and hills,
or sea and desert; to sit still while
… the sun comes up over the land
and fills its silences with light.

few are willing to belong completely
to such silence, to let it soak into their bones,
to breathe nothing but silence, to feed
on silence, and to turn the very substance of their life
into a living and vigilant silence.” ~ Thomas Merton
from Thoughts in Solitude

First Light

First Light

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The spiritual path is like learning to play an instrument. At first, we we pluck a few awkward notes.

An Instrument of Presence

An Instrument of Presence

Then the bow begins to master each minim and music slowly emerges. In time, and with practice, suddenly, and without warning, we find the music playing itself through our hands with its own meaning and call. In that magical moment, we are carried away on those timeless beats and vibrations. Photo: Taringa.net

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This sounds like “Woods Walking”! ;-)) No breathing or counting is necessary, just quiet listening and observing without judgment — just as things are. Letting one’s consciousness become the caressing hands that know the beautiful scene wi…th intentional mindfulness and openness to what is, as it is. There, the echoes of being are as deep as one cares to listen, from the smallest, delicate bloom on the trails to your favorite twinkling star in the night sky. Or even the Moon as it paints a gilded edge on passing clouds.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/andrew-weil-md/walking-meditation_b_2870543.html

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“I notice, on those moonlit nights, that the illumination from the Sea of Tranquility pales to that of the direct, revealing sun of the day. Though, that soft light brings wonder: does humanity reflect the Eternal Wisdom of the heavens as well as the moon reflects “Old Sól,” as the moon pours diffuse light on these dark trails?” ~ Woods Walking #8
https://excelsisdeoomnibus.wordpress.com/2010/08/09/woods-walking-8/

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After losing consciousness again I had an out-of-body experience, initially seeing myself from a vantage point off to the left on the gurney with people surrounding me, working very intensely.” — Woods Walking #10
https://excelsisdeoomnibus.wordpress.com/2010/10/28/woods-walking-10/

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Within the last 40 years, even Jesuit Novitiates were not permitted to read Pierre Teilhard de Chardin. Yet today he offers a clear voice for the spreading awakening to our inner selves.

“Sons and daughters of the earth, steep yourself in the sea of matter, bathe in its fiery waters, for it is the source of your life and your youthfulness.

You thought you could do without it because the power of thought has been kindled in… you? You hoped that the more thoroughly you rejected the tangible, the closer you would be to spirit: that you would be more divine if you lived in the world of pure thought, or at least more angelic if you fled the corporeal? Well, you were like to have perished of hunger.

You must have oil for your limbs, blood for your veins, water for your soul, the world of reality for your intellect: do you not see that the very law of your own nature makes these a necessity for you?”

–Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

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A recent note to a friend:
“I’ve been quietly blogging about spirituality and my own coming to terms with silence over the last four years. I had set on a shelf an early life NDE and a later mystical experience in the rapid pursuit of life! Ego and self have been in a blender, mixing it up in a dance of Yin and Yang. But as I write in “Woods Walking,” the quiet self has taken over. I know that …I am and we are the human flower of the breath of God into the cosmos. We are that brief bloom of a flower awaiting assimilation into that which Is. Yet, we need not wait! It is the egoic among us who draw the borders and draw the swords. I stood in this morning’s first light under blooming cherry trees and danced with the Kiss of Presence. Ah, bliss! Pax, Rudy”

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Our very personal intention, our perception, of our personal existence leads to that moment of Descartian realization, “I think, therefore I am.” “Cogito ergo sum.” As Fr. Clarke’s interview, “A Taste of Existence” suggests, encountering our intimate fact of existence leads to an innate feeling of joy, of belonging and of participation in a greater whole. It defines us personally: that I am, and we are, the human flower of the Breath of God into the cosmos, intended for the Communion of the One Body.” — Woods Walking #7
https://excelsisdeoomnibus.wordpress.com/2010/08/08/woods-walking-7/

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A wonderful video of Cynthia Bourgeult on Centering Prayer.http://youtu.be/b2SRVr89GFU

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A wonderful article on the Carmelite Nuns of Baltimore. The Carmelite Nuns were part of an important study by Dr. Mario Beauregard investigating the brain activity of people engaged in meditation. Dr. Beauregard found brain images that were active across all regions, not just regions associated with REM sleep or hallucinations.
http://darkroom.baltimoresun.com/2013/07/hidden-maryland-carmelite-monastery/#19
http://drmariobeauregard.com/

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“I stop on the trail for a moment and revel in my own “I am.” I reflect on the long continuum of time that has led to my personal coming to be and this current moment here at the colorful dusk of another day. I trace my genealogy that yields to the forest floor, to the stuff of being and the “substantial lineage” back to the moment of creation. This reflection yields to an instantaneous Presence within which, in spirit, I lay prostrate in humility and thankfulness for this wondrous, ineffable Gift of Life. Tonight, there is no infused contemplation, just a personal upwelling of joy and gladness; from me to You.

Then Trevor pulls at the leash, I come back to self. Time, and the evening — and we — march on.” — Woods Walking #4
https://excelsisdeoomnibus.wordpress.com/2010/08/08/woods-walking-4/

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Jill Bolte Taylor, Neuroanatomist experiences–and evangelizes–Nirvana.

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“In the midst of the lecture that day, I realized that scientists and mystics were likely describing the same “ultimate reality,” yet from their respective, unique perspectives. One of empirical pursuit, one of deep faithful listening.” — Woods Walking #2
https://excelsisdeoomnibus.wordpress.com/2010/08/07/woods-walking-2/

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Beauty found even in the most humble of places.

The Play of Light

The Play of Light

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Another of my Picturing God photos — it was just like this today!
“I was struck recently by the play of light in the woods. The life-giving light of the sun is much like the love of God for us—the light and love literally sustain us, in body and spirit. Then we reflect that wondrous, abundant spirit to those around us.”

CIMG1192 PSE

http://picturinggod.ignatianspirituality.com/1882/light-in-the-woods/

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To answer ‘who am I’, first answer ‘what am I’.

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Light on a leaf is illumination, light through a leaf is understanding.

Energy to energy

Energy to energy

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“This is joy: to sit quietly with the infusion of Spirit in this natural place.”

A Bench in the Woods

A Bench in the Woods

http://picturinggod.ignatianspirituality.com/2365/bench-in-woods/

Joyful Anticipation

Joyful Anticipation

Joyful Anticipation

Joyful Anticipation

Matter Infused with Energy

Matter Infused with Energy

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