Showing posts from October, 2015


With palms together,
Crying , the deep convulsive sort of crying, the crying born of years of unwanted and horrific memories, was comforted by my brothers yesterday.  At the Vietnam Memorial in Truth or Consequences I broke down in torrents of grief, anger, and hurt.  Within a few minutes a young veteran put his arm around me in silence.  We stood there together. Then another two veterans joined us.  It has been nearly fifty years since I left Vietnam and yet, in a nano second, I am there again.  
This time my tears were not just about me, however, this time they were also about my younger combat veteran brothers and sisters who each day struggle with their demons.  I feel great sorrow about this as I know they have years to come, years of the same sort of pain I experience 49 years after the fact.  This is just not right.
The night before a young lady, a female veteran, was considering suicide.  We talked with her, listened to her as she paced the sidewalk, and in the end, our love …

Responding with Compassion

With palms together,
The weather here in Las Cruces, New Mexico has been difficult.  The hail storm we had a couple of weeks ago did over $10,000.00 worth of damage to our roof. Who knew?  And we are forecasted to have more storms this week.  Our insurance has covered the loss and we will be getting a new roof in a couple of weeks plus two broken skylights will be replaced.  While the process of working with the insurance company, adjusters, and roofers, was relatively easy and straightforward, I’ve noticed I have felt stressed.  I suppose that might have something to do with my broken hand as well.  
This brings up something important: how we respond to our perceptions, thoughts, and feelings.  Many people come to Zen practice in order to “get better” and that can mean a whole array of things from stress management, to anger management, to improving out general outlook on life, which is to say, to become happier.  All of these are just fine, thank you very much, but each is also som…

Right Speech: Religion and Politics

People say there are two areas of discussion friends ought not pursue:  religion and politics.  Yet, it seems to me these are two of the most important areas of our lives and they deserve civil dialogue.The key word here is “civil.”  To be civil is to be respectful which requires listening and close attention. Today it seems nearly impossible to bear witness to such discussions. Talking heads and pundits have created a style of “dialogue” which is less dialogue than haranguing. Nothing is accomplished by one person interrupting, brow-beating, putting down, or competing.  All these methods accomplish is to gain ratings on talk shows, polarize conversations and dumb-down our everyday ability to talk with one another.  Recourse to “talking points” or catch phrases limits depth and discourages actual conversation.

This loss of ability to discourse is a sorry state of affairs and a dangerous one.  When civilized people cannot talk with one another nothing is learned; “opposing” camps rema…