All religious traditions are different in important and often disturbing ways. And yet, when diligently pursued to their innermost depths, they meet, like rivers in an ocean, in oneness and universal love.
We may not be able to view our world through time-lapse technology like filmmaker Louie Schwartzberg, but we can slow down and tune into our senses while outside in nature. Our five senses are the keys that unlock the door to the now moment- and through that doorway, peace resides.
I would like some help. I lack a religion or even a spiritual practice, so I turn to music, most often Krishna Das. I don't have the slightest clue what he's singing about --- the Hindu names of God, mostly --- but I take comfort in the comfort he's found in his guru, Neem Karoli Baba.
I had caught myself red-handed, not practicing what I preach, and it was a delicious moment to be reminded of where my true peace and power lie -- within, not on the 405 freeway only when the conditions are just as I think they "should be."
Until you and I detach from all things, until we can let go of the illusion of control, we remain incarcerated, as it were, incapable of knowing the "abundant life" as Jesus called it -- which explains much of the division that is our world.
I am incredibly lucky. I have had a close personal relationship with three of the highest octane, world class gurus -- spiritual teachers who still walk the planet: Ram Dass, Zen Master Bernie Glassman and Deepak Chopra.
Back in 2000 when my dear friend Sabine Chaloupy took me to see her guru Amma in New York City, let's just say I that was ready to pooh-pooh the whole thing. Hugging? Really...? Are you serious? Whatever....
He swung into our line of vision, swiveling his wheelchair around finally to face us in his spacious living room, his back toward a large window with a vista onto the Pacific Ocean in Maui. Ram Dass was beaming, joyous.
To be mindful of the fact that life can end without warning at any moment certainly makes the desire to live more authentically that much stronger, but this is not the only reason for being present in the moment; it is also that the present is where life is actually lived.
We come into relationships often very much identified with our needs. I need this, I need security, I need refuge, I need friendship. And all of relationships are symbiotic in that sense. We come together because we fulfill each others' needs at some level or other.
Wavy Gravy, bowed but unbroken, walks into a deli-café in New York's SoHo, holding a fish on a leash. He's making the rounds in Manhattan, doing interviews to publicize a documentary -- about his life.