Posts Tagged ‘Heaven’

The keys to heaven

November 5th, 2009    -    7 Comments


Recently I ran across a new Buddhist blog that says it is for people who “are interested in meditation but don’t want to pretend they live in ancient Asia.” I try not to get too worked up about how people characterize Buddhism, but that line about pretense got my attention.

If I have your attention, please hop over to the web magazine Killing the Buddha, where my newest essay, “Grass Huts and Hermits” is up this morning. I’m looking into the future of American Buddhism, and it seems an appropriate way to sum up this week’s explorations of faith.

You have the keys. Get going!

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Michael with the gloves off

November 4th, 2009    -    14 Comments

I told the best of my friends I would write about this, as uncharacteristic as it seems. The impact was that stunning.

The other night I had an unforgettable dream. For one thing, it’s the full moon and all. It’s been some time since I’ve had a dream this vivid, and I knew that I would have to share it. For 24 hours after, I couldn’t find the words. My mouth would hang open, my eyes fill to the brim. Here goes.

I was standing in a room with a guide. Expectant, awaiting. I would be meeting someone soon. And then I realized I was standing backstage about to meet Michael Jackson as soon as his performance was over.

Whaaat? I’m no hysterical fan. I share only everyone’s appreciation for his musical genius and discomfort with everything that came after. Still, collective consciousness weaves its way into unwitting spaces.

He entered and stood before me. Instead of a shadow of black, a camouflage of dark costuming, he was enrobed in yellow light. I stared into his open and unlined face. It was pure, unblemished. There was no shield or barrier; no fabricated drape of hair, hat or sunshade. I looked into his eyes and he looked into mine and I thought to myself, I could look at him forever.

Honestly, I could cry at the recollection.

Just at the moment I’ve realized what a contortion self-image is, how we cripple and mutilate ourselves with false identity, the confines of our shame and guilt, I have an audience to prove the point. This is Michael without that. Without the guise and defense; the self-hatred. This is pure love.

He said to me, I’ll be seeing a lot of you.

I said, I’ll be seeing a lot of you too.

And then I realized where I was, where we’ll all be, when we make that change.

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