zen masters

Posted in Uncategorized on November 28, 2012 by cgeary

It is common in popular buddhist writings to talk about difficult people and situations in our lives as being our ‘zen masters’ because of the positive good/learning that can come from something that doesn’t seem so good at the time. I’m sure, I myself, have offered this thought to someone dealing with conflict as a way of looking for the silver lining. I have to say, however, that the past week or so, I have been in a couple of situations like this. I am especially averse to conflict and never know exactly at what point I need to say something to resolve a bad situation or just keep my mouth shut and move away. I usually do the latter, but sometimes I think I am shirking my responsibility…though actually I may have just had my buttons pushed because of my own issues, and should have backed off. In any case, what I have to say is this…it is true that with enough discernment these situations can be learning experiences and the people involved can be your zen masters…it is also true, that it can feel really awful in the middle of it and it takes a lot of will and letting go of being right to get to the place where you feel like you can be humble enough to admit your own mistakes and learn something….not something I will casually suggest to someone in the future unless I’m part of their situation.


Posted in Uncategorized with tags on November 25, 2012 by cgeary

This Thanksgiving Day weekend I’ve thought of many things I am grateful for…primarily the people in my life. I certainly have an abundant life by any definition. The challenge I feel at the moment, however, comes from feeling overwhelmed with too much…more things than I can organize or take care of and more things that I want or need to do than I think I can get done. I try to blame this on outside forces, but in the end it is just me who has held on to things while acquiring new things or made time commitments. Even my job is my job because i choose for it to be. It is true that I am influenced by a culture of materialism and that is averse to slowing down. Slowing down often involves saying ‘no’ to friends and I hate doing that but I hope there is a silver lining that I am better company when I do say ‘yes.’ I have been consciously trying to slow things down but it requires letting go of some things and it is difficult to choose. I don’t have any answers at the moment…only the desire to clear out the clutter and slow down.

Posted in Light on September 27, 2012 by cgeary

more thoughts on peace

Posted in Uncategorized on September 12, 2012 by cgeary

from Wendell Berry’s book “Leavings”


Before we kill another child

for righteousness’ sake, to serve

some blissful killer’s sacred cause,

some bloody patriot’s anthem

and his flag, let us leave forever 

our ancestral lands, our holy books,

our god thoughtefied to the mean

of our smallest selves. Let us go 

to the graveyard and lie down 

forever among the speechless stones.

Posted in Uncategorized on September 12, 2012 by cgeary


Posted in Uncategorized on September 11, 2012 by cgeary


The Road to Peace

Posted in Uncategorized on September 3, 2012 by cgeary

I just finished reading The Road to Peace by Henri Nouwen, edited by John Dear, and my spirits have been lifted. I do not feel the despair I have been feeling the past few years over the state of politics and the increasing power of the 1 percent. My road to Henri Nouwen was somewhat circuitous…I picked up the book because in my mother’s apartment because it was edited by John Dear and was on the topic of peace. Ron and I heard John Dear speak at Wildgoose this past June about the Sermon on the Mount and were moved to begin thinking seriously of how we might focus our energy on peace activism. We have each been reading other books by John Dear trying to figure this out. This book of essays written by Nouwen over his life time trying to make sense of injustices of the world and how to address them made me realize that we can’t obtain peace by making hating those whose agendas we find wrong. I realized that I need a spiritual context for working through this — as uncomfortable as I think this will make people that I am close to and share my political beliefs. I am feeling drawn to write more about this to explain a change in the way I am thinking about this. I am sharing this in short bits because if I wait until I have it all sorted out I will probably never get anything posted. Instead, I am sharing a personal journey towards a framework of love and understanding for all to move towards peace and compassionate communities as a work in progress.