Why So Delicate?

It seems to me that I’m happy and at peace as long as everything is more or less the way I want and expect it to be, as long as people are kind and complimentary of me, as long as I’m comfortable and well rested, with enough money saved and bills paid, and as long as my health is strong and I don’t have to work so hard, and friends surround me and comfort me and my family loves and accepts me, and that I am treated fairly, without any injustice, and no criticism comes my way. Oh, and no traffic, I hate traffic.

Rock, solid, monolithic, immutable, unchangable, imposing, vast, deep, unconditional, unmitigated, unequivocal, unmistakeable, thorough, certain, whole, final, eternal peace is what I really want.


Dust if you must, but wouldn’t it be better to paint a picture, or write a letter?

Bake a cake or plant a seed, ponder the difference between want and need?

Dust if you must but there’s not much time, with rivers to swim and mountains to climb.

Music to hear and books to read, friends to cherish and life to lead?

Dust if you must but the world’s out there, with sun in your eyes and wind in your hair.

The flutter of snow, a shower of rain, this day will not come around again.

Dust if you must, but bear in mind that old age is coming and it’s not kind.

And when you go- and go you must- you yourself will make more dust.


A Story and a Question

Tuesday morning, there was a man sitting in the waiting area asking to see me. I had just got out of a meeting about curriculum design, so I was in the mood for just about anything to get the bad taste out of my brain. I walked into my office and opened up the blinds letting in the light from the hallway, and I could see that the man was already gathering his things ready for the shift to my office. I sat at my desk and rubbed my face. “What is this guy all about,” I thought to myself, putting my coffee mug, that reads “Keep Calm and Trust your Principal”, under my Keurig machine.

“Hello Mark Merrifield?” said the man extending his hand. “I’m Kenneth Johnson.”

“How are you Mr. Johnson, can I offer you a cup of coffee, I also have chai tea if you like.”

“No thank you, but I would like to talk about what I may offer you.” Getting right to the point.

“And what would that be Mr. Johnson?” I have been the Principal at De La Salle North Catholic High School for twenty years. I’ve seen my fair share of sales pitches pushing copy paper, SAT tutors, office supplies, you name it. I remember a guy selling nothing but staples. Later that afternoon I had a budget meeting, so if this guy could help me save a few hundred dollars on some expense, it might be worth the ten minutes he was asking.

“I want to offer you $25,000,000.” he said.

I smiled and grabbed my mug, blowing on top of the coffee to fog up my glasses as I like to do.

“Sure you do,” I said, “then I want to accept it.” My reply was meant as disbelief, but Mr. Johnson was all business.

“Wonderful.” He said reaching into a briefcase, placing an envelope on my desk.

“What’s this?” I asked, opening the top. Inside was a check made out to De La Salle North Catholic High School for $25,000,000.

“I’m sorry is this a joke?” I said to the man.

“I assure you it is not. I represent Oregon Pacific Investment and Development Inc. and I want to buy your land. I assure you that this is a very generous offer.”

“Generous or not, Mr. Johnson, I have no idea, but this is not something I can take from you even if I wanted to, I’d need to present this to the board of directors. De La Salle has been here for eighty-five years!”

Mr. Johnson plucked the check from between my hands and placed it back in his briefcase, as if to express impatience. “It’s funny how everyone seems to want money, but I can’t seem to give away the stuff! This would be such a benefit to your school.”

“Well, sir…” I stammered, made to realize that this guy was serious, “to be fair, it would not benefit our school at all, it would destroy it. I imagine you are going to plow everything to the ground and build condominiums…”

“A mall.” he interrupted.

“Well, then, a mall. Wonderful. So explain to me exactly who this money is for, and who does the money benefit really if the school that is to receive it will be destroyed by it?”

“Ahhh,” said Mr. Johnson. “Follow that question to the end and you have understood enlightenment. What is De La Salle High School if not just an idea. How to you pay an idea for its land?”

He got up, closed his briefcase and left the room. I haven’t seen him since.


Adyashanti Straight Talk

This excerpt can be read in full using the following link:



In my experience, everyone will say they want to discover the Truth, right up until they realize that the Truth will rob them of their deepest held ideas, beliefs, hopes, and dreams. The freedom of enlightenment means much more than the experience of love and peace. It means discovering a Truth that will turn your view of self and life upside-down. For one who is truly ready, this will be unimaginably liberating. But for one who is still clinging in any way, this will be extremely challenging indeed. How does one know if they are ready? One is ready when they are willing to be absolutely consumed, when they are willing to be fuel for a fire without end.

If you start playing the game of being an “enlightened somebody,” the true teacher is going to call you on it. He or she is going to expose you, and that exposure is going to hurt. Because the ego will be there, standing in the light of Truth, exposed and humiliated. Of course, the ego will cry “foul!” It will claim that the teacher made a mistake and begin to justify itself in an effort to put its protective clothing back on. It will begin to spin justifications with incredible subtlety and deceptiveness. This is where real spiritual sadhana (practice) begins. This is where it all becomes very real and the student discovers whether he or she truly wants to be free, or merely wants to remain as a false, separate, and self-justifying ego. This crossroad inevitably comes and is always challenging. It separates the true seeker from the false one. The true seeker will be willing to bare the grace of humility, whereas the false seeker will run from it. Thus begins the true path to enlightenment, granted only to those willing to be nobody. Discovering your “nobodyness” opens the door to awakening as beingness, and beyond that to the Source of all beingness.

Do not think that enlightenment is going to make you special—it’s not. If you feel special in any way, then enlightenment has not occurred. I meet a lot of people who think they are enlightened and awake simply because they have had a very moving spiritual experience. They wear their enlightenment on their sleeve like a badge of honor. They sit among friends and talk about how awake they are while sipping coffee at a cafe.

The funny thing about enlightenment is that when it is authentic, there is no one to claim it. Enlightenment is very ordinary; it is nothing special. Rather than making you more special, it is going to make you less special. It plants you right in the center of a wonderful humility and innocence. Everyone else may or may not call you enlightened, but when you are enlightened the whole notion of enlightenment and someone who is enlightened is a big joke. I use the word enlightenment all the time—not to point you toward it but to point you beyond it. Do not get stuck in enlightenment.



“What was born must die. Only the unborn is deathless. Find what it is that never sleeps and never wakes, and whose pale reflection is your current sense of “I”.

-Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj, I Am That

All things are changing, no thing stays the same, and no thing remains. Yet within me I know that I am unchanged as everything changes around me. Therefore I am no thing; I am poor in spirit.

Blessed [makários ] are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

Matthew 5:1-3

Makários (“blessed”) describes a believer in enviable (“fortunate”) position from receiving God’s provisions (favor) – which (literally) extend (“make long, large”) His grace (benefits).

For Jesus, poor and spirit is the Kingdom of God. Yet poor in spirit is what I am (I am no thing).

“The coming of the kingdom of God is not something that can be observed, nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is within you.”

Luke 17:20

So, let’s find this blessed no thing within, that which never sleeps and never wakes and whose pale reflection is your current sense of “I”. Live there for a while; no thing will be the same.




With what my God can I your Love repay,

Since by your Love, to Love at all is known?

For half your Love I’d give the world away

Yet may I pay for Love with Love your own?

What have I, then, that I have not by loan?

Let none deny my dire poverty

Lest in my heart I place myself enthroned

Forgoing You as True necessity.

So now I give what you first gave to me.

To pay my boundless debt of your pure Love

A life of endless generosity

While trusting still in Strength that’s from above.

I give in thanks what I received from You

So in my thanks my debt I this renew.

Stepless Walking

God is as close as you are to yourself. Forgetting this is what the illusion of separation is made of. Union with God is as simple as recalling this truth. Living this truth abidingly is awakening. Abiding in this truth destroys, one by one, all untruths within me. Living this truth in all aspects of life places me at the silent door of the Kingdom of Heaven. Sitting at this door is the knock to which the door will in time be opened. Once the door is opened, the journey is complete, without having taken a single step.

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”

Matthew 7:7

Hubris of Spirit

Then Jesus told them, “This very night you will all fall away on account of me, for it is written:

“ ‘I will strike the shepherd,and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’

But after I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee.”

Peter replied, “Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will.”

“Truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “this very night, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.”

But Peter declared, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” And all the other disciples said the same.

Matthew 26:31-35