Who told you you are not perfect? Who gave you the image you see in the mirror? First, accept, however you can, that you are made of the essence of God. Before any layers of worldliness are added, before anything at all is added, you are perfection. Start from there.
Now, seeing that you are of the very same being-ness as God, listen to whatever voice in the world, either your own inner voice or an outer one, that says you are this, or you are that, and hear how it cannot touch you. See that the individual 'you' that has taken on all these identities is not you, but a fiction you've accepted. Seeing the fabricated, worldly version of you, your true self will emerge without any effort.
One in an infinitely open field will eventually feel trapped, although there are no gates or borders or boundaries. This one will build gates, buildings, and all matter of creations, to distract from the vast field. In time, this one will forget who built the creation, feel there must be something more to existence, and seek the freedom of the open field he retreated from in the beginning.
All things become a trap for the one who sees and is not seen.
Trying to surrender is merely another form of not surrendering. Realizing you cannot surrender, nor give up on surrendering, spontaneous meditation, stillness, silence occurs. Surrender has happened without you.
I will be taking a sabbatical leave to take care of some spiritual and practical matters. On the practical side, I'll be exploring ways to create more stable funding for the Mission and possibly find grants etc. In order to keep this vision going, some practical financial matters need some extra attention. From the spiritual side, quiet grace never hurts!
I will still be present to answer any emails etc but the main break will come in terms of writing full sermons regularly. I don't anticipate a very long break, however, I will update as needed. In lieu of the full length sermons, I will try to post regular 'shorts', almost Zen Koan style. I also encourage reading past sermons as we can often find new things a second time.
Thank you to everyone for their continued support. I pray I find a continuing source of financial stability for the Mission so that it may continue, and expand, its service.
Sermon for June 29, 2019
There is a kind of pulsation, vibration, that is our existence. Our heartbeat, our breath, life and death, our sleep cycle, day and night, and even our thoughts, the ‘stream of our thoughts’, themselves, pulse in an on and off rhythm. Music is also very illustrative of this up and down, on and off, sound and silence. The silence between the sounds are as much a part of music as the actual notes we tend to focus on. Our thoughts operate much the same way, we focus on the thoughts and miss the gaps between them, much like watching a movie that appears continuous, but when slowed, is just pulsating still images moving so quickly that our mind fills in the blanks.
Sermon for June 23, 2019
Losing a loved one is one of the most difficult things we can experience. It lays us bare in a way few things can, often ripping through things we once thought could give us some peace and happiness. Grieving seems to be able to create a kind of void, deep within us, in a place rarely touched. Yet, grief is somehow also able to cut that same space. The way grief is able to create this empty hole, and then torture it, is something that catches most, if not all, unprepared.
In other times of trial, we often seek space, find time to just be, to recover and recharge. In grief, there is a unique process where our ability to use space is somehow thwarted. Activity doesn’t help, space doesn’t help. Religions, philosophy, promises, kind words- it all just falls into this void of grief. We can feel in great pain, and totally numb, seemingly at once. It seems a great paradox, and source of incredible pain, that this space, this void, can be both so empty, swallowing up so much, yet palpably occupy a core of who we are.
Sermon for June 16, 2019
Having grown up in a large city, it was quite a while until I realized what a real ‘starry night’ looked like. I looked up at the night sky, loved to gaze up at a vastness I could barely comprehend, but had little idea what I was missing by living in the bright lights of the city. The first time I went to a place with a truly dark sky, I was in awe. To me, it didn’t even look real. I was so used to the sky that was flooded with the light of humanity that what was natural appeared to be like a dream. How ironic that humanity’s reality made the real appear fake!
In so many ways, we flood our lives with the light of our individual will, our needs, our perspective. Like the lights from the city obscuring the stars in a clear, dark sky, we drown out the bare truth that is always available to us. We become used to a reality that has our imprint on it, then we wonder why we can’t find “Truth”. We think we have to get something, when it is more accurate to say we need to take something away to see what is already there. Did Christ come to give you something, or awaken you to what is already there?
Sermon for June 9, 2019
24“Truly I tell you,” he continued, “no prophet is accepted in his hometown.”
The words of Jesus are like a sign on a road during a long road trip, directing you to something you see as a journey to a destination. We see such a sign, the words referring to where we think we are to go, and often take it at face value. “500 miles to San Diego”, we see. Our minds skip ahead to San Diego. The sign, however, isn’t merely about San Diego, a literal description, a destination. The message contains the totality of the journey, the infinite points along the path, infinite worlds contained in the smallest of measured steps along the way. Woven in the layers of a simple sign are infinite opportunities to find Truth, from the start, along the path, to the destination, and at the literally infinite points in between. That 500 miles could take a few hours, or infinite lifetimes. A seemingly simple sign might lead you beyond your wildest imagination.
Sermon for June 2, 2019
Matthew 19 23-26
23 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”
25 When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, “Who then can be saved?”
26 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
The young man went away sad, and this is a beginning. This is the beginning of the spiritual emptiness that will make the rich man available to God's saving grace. This is the beginning of making space for God in places the world, wealth, once occupied.
Jesus states our condition, and the way to truth, so directly here that we could easily take it as just another condemnation of wealth in general. We could read these verses from a modern paradigm also, applying current societal and political views to a spiritual truth that transcends the changes that occur with time. What Jesus is leading us to is beyond the changing surface existence we inhabit.
Sermon for May 26, 2019
What would I write here if I wanted to express the Truth as directly as I could? I would leave the page blank. But alas, that would not be helpful to those who seek the truth because the very fact that they are seeking means that the blank page just isn’t anything to them other than being a blank page. What one sees as the Truth, total peace and fullness, absolute lack of anything like anxiety or depression or sense of time and not being ‘here and now’, another sees as frustration, mystery, pointlessness, a canvas that needs to be filled, or something totally unseen, the invisible background. Inherent in the seeker is the desire to find meaning in the blank page by filling it. Inherent in the ‘knower’ is the fullness of the blank page itself.
When you look at your own path in this light, can you see how you would be destroying the truth you claim to want by the very way you’ve chosen to try to find it? Can you see that, once that insight that what you’ve been doing isn’t working dawns on you, your stubborn mind then immediately tries to find another “way”, another “method”, continuing the exact same error? That should give you a kind of knowing smile, and a good laugh at yourself.
It's not about me, but if you must, click the "about" page.