The Lives of the Dead

Some of the most interesting people I meet are dead…

Archive for the category “Zen”

A New Year’s Resolution Suggestion?





The universe gives you what you need when it is your time to understand it. You can long for a favored outcome but the Architect holds a silent, unseen hand on your rudder, and you will go where the river directs you.

This does not suggest that you do you not work for your goals; that you do not invest your heart; that you do not suffer the sleepless night; that you do not rise up again and again in the face of disappointment; that you do not fight injustice.  It is in these struggles, in these challenges, in this pain, that the lessons are found.

You cannot know before the end what will come to pass. Or whether it will be all you had imagined.  The future remains shrouded. The goal must not be simply to attain your desired outcome. Over that, you have no control. The goal is to find the lessons in the reasons you may not have achieved your goal. Happiness and satisfaction lie in finding the delicate balance between striving towards an outcome and stepping back to observe and understand why things are the way they are, or why you did not get what you wanted so badly.  There is no such thing as failure or loss if you take the lessons. This is the secret to inner peace. 


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If you are enjoying this blog,  please click the link above to subscribe and receive posts via email (new posts every three days).  When you think of others who might enjoy it too,  it’s easy enough to help spread the word! Post your favorite stories to social media.   Email a particularly apt link to a friend.   Even better,  talk about the concepts with others (whether you agree or disagree. )
Also,  there’s a discussion group on Facebook,  for conversations about any of the concepts/issues in the posts.  Honestly, these are things in here which I don’t fully understand myself.  I would love  get your thoughts on this…even if you think this is all a bunch of hooey!

Reiki and the Power of Ritual

Dear Readers,

Now we have finished Level 2 Reiki, and by the time you read this,  will already be well into the Advanced level.  We’re both enjoying the class — it’s the same students (and teacher, of course), all moving through the course together.  It’s a nice friendly group and a pleasant way to spend a Monday evening. Has it rocked my world?  Not particularly.

I still don’t believe there’s anything especially mystical about it (or about the special symbols or “incantations” we use).  I’ve just read of another similar program called “Healing Touch” which does not use any signs or words, requires no initiation, and seems to be equally as effective.  But Reiki is older and has that air of eastern mysticism to it which I imagine is a big part of its appeal.

Hubby and I have been “Reiki-izing” each other’s minor aches and pains, and it does seem to help.  I can’t say, however, whether the laying on of hands is having a genuine physiological effect or whether it’s purely the placebo effect.  But in the end, does it matter?

I’ve also found a new meditative tool.  Years ago, in Istanbul, we bought a beautiful hand-painted illumination encircling some Islamic calligraphy. (We bought it from the artist, herself.  She did the painting and a friend did the interior calligraphy.)  She explained that there are many names for God/Allah., and this particular one meant “Love.”  It was a gift for my mother-in-law, and when she passed away last year,  it came back to us.   It’s now in the “yoga corner” of our living room, and I’ve been using it as my drishti (focal point), especially for the balancing asanas.  But recently,  as I’ve been looking at it, I’ve started to perceive it as a cross section of a Reiki conduit, through which the energy flows.  The white part in the center is a channel filled with love.  As I focus on it,  I visualize this channel running through me; I am empty of everything except love and positive energy.

Truthfully, I feel kind of silly and woo-woo even admitting this,  but really it’s just a way for me to focus my intention; a way of blanking my mind to everything except this loving energy.

My yoga corner.

Doing this has given me new perspectives on the power of ritual in people’s lives.

As regular readers know, I consider myself a skeptic.  (I know,  I know.  “Quite the assertion coming from someone who claims to channel dead people!”)  I don’t believe in anyone’s idea of a traditional God. I believe there is something greater than us out there, but I have no idea what it is. (I do, however, have strong feelings about what it is NOT. For example, an entity that hates LGBTQ people.)   I have never had use for formalized, organized religion, not even as a kid.  (For me, the search for answers is my own personal religion.)   I admit, I’ve been known to look askance at those to adhere to ritual and rules, mainly because it’s always seemed to me a form of magical thinking (and I certainly do not believe in that!)

I try to consider everything with an open mind, without automatically accepting standard explanations  Sometimes science can “explain away” spiritual phenomena (such as this interesting theory of the Passover story.)  Sometimes the spiritual explains things that science cannot (i.e. placebo effect, meditation, the proven efficacy of prayer over distance.)  And sometimes,  they seem to give credence and weight to each other (i.e. quantum entanglement,  double slit experiment, “gut” feelings.)

I have come to understand, however, that ritual as a meditative process can be very effective.  I don’t believe that praying, lighting candles, reciting the rosary, davvening, prostrating oneself several times a day, etc. is going to put anyone into a nonexistent God’s good graces.  However,  if done in the right frame of mind,  it’s a form of self-hypnosis or meditation, helpful for putting the pray-er more deeply in touch with their own subconscious; perhaps even with the collective unconscious.  If one seeks answers or guidance in such a state,  answers will often appear.  From where do they come?

Is God talking to them?  Is it their own unconscious responding?  Are they tapping in to the collective unconscious?  Or, really, are they all one and the same?

The Eagle Has Landed!!!


Yippeeeee!!  The book is live on Amazon!!!  (click link to purchase)

I was hoping to keep the price down but It’s nearly 400 pages so printing is expensive. Sorry!!! Nevertheless,  I’m quite pleased with the way it came out.  What I particular love about the book format is that you can randomly open to any story, and depending on your mood and where you are in your life at that moment,  you may find different meaning in it each time.

Positive feed back on Amazon would be MOST appreciated!!!  (hint, hint!)

It would thrill me no end if small groups of people got together regularly (like a book club) to discuss some of the stories as jumping off points to their own deeper understanding of themselves and of life.  I’d love it if teachers assigned the book to students, then asked the students to write their own life story in a similar format. Therapy patients could benefit from a similar exercise.  I invite actors to use the stories as monologues and writers to use them as jumping off points for books, plays, or movies.  Truly, I hope this book finds some life outside the blog. I’d be most appreciative for any help you might offer in spreading the word/work.

Thank you ALL for your loyal support and feedback.  Gail, you see I took your advice re the cover. And Lino,  I took your advice about arranging the stories in a way so that each one informs on the one before and after it, (unlike the blog, where they are published as they come to me.) Both excellent suggestions!

Much love,


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