Logos and Separation

We need another and a wiser and perhaps a more mystical concept of wild animals.  Remote from universal nature, and living by complicated artifice, man in civilization surveys the creatures through the glass of his knowledge and sees thereby a feather magnified and the whole image in distortion.  We patronize them for their incompleteness, for their tragic fate for having taken a form so far below ourselves.  And therein we err, greatly err.  For the animal shall not be measured by man.  In a world older and more complete than ours they move finished and complete, gifted with extensions of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear.  They are not brethren, they are not underlings; they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendour and the travail of the earth.

-Henry Beston, The Outermost House, as cited by Karsten Heuer in Being Caribou: Five Months on Foot with an Arctic Herd, p. 10

In the “complicated artifice” of immured, urban life, I often experience the living world of the animals, plants and minerals in the tundras, deserts, mountains, rivers, lakes, forests, caves and oceans like a ghost-appendage, like a part of me that I can’t shake the awareness of, though I live in a fast-moving, technologically driven human ‘nation’ that has severed itself from these other nations both in habitat and in consciousness.

The influential philosophical writings of the ancient Greeks, particularly of Aristotle, conveyed down to us through innumerable refracted lenses in the post-classical tradition the notion that human beings are superior to the animal kingdom as a result of their unique possession of ‘logos’, or the capacity to reason.  Aristotle took this analogy even further, to suggest that just as domestic animals’ benefit’ from their domination by human beings, so do women and slaves ‘benefit’ by being ruled by free men.  Aristotle’s writings supplied the European and early American slave-traders and slave-owners of the 17th-19th centuries with canonical arguments for racialized, chattel slavery.

What comes of the persistent human belief in separation?  Our human history is littered with exemplum upon exemplum of the tragic consequences of this belief.

Mindfulness practices provide an antidote.  They help us to reestablish connections with each other and with other nations.  They help us to really feel and grieve expressions of separation, to have compassion for them, and to heal the rifts through loving kindness and equanimity.  They help us to attune to the earth with new or regained senses.


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The Year of a Thousand Cranes

It has been some time since I’ve sat down to write a blog post, and I confess that the greatest reason is that I have spent all my spare time in the last few months planning our D.I.Y. wedding. My partner and I at long last had a beautiful wedding ceremony in a rustic state park in the heart of Virginia’s Cumberland forest. Friends and family surrounded us as we offered blessings and khatags to each other and spoke the following vows:

Do you pledge to help each other to cultivate compassion, patience, and wisdom in all the seasons of life?


Do you pledge to see all circumstances as opportunities to grow, to open your hearts, to accept yourselves, and each other and to generate compassion?


Do you pledge to honor the mystery of each other, even as you seek to understand yourselves, each other, and all living beings?


Do you pledge to examine your own minds continually and to regard all the mysteries of life with curiosity and joy?


Do you pledge to preserve and enrich your affection for each other, and to share it with other beings?


Do you pledge to take the loving feelings you have for one another and your vision of each other’s potential and inner beauty as an example and to radiate this love outwards?


Do you pledge to remember the disadvantages of fear, anger, judgment and clinging attachment, and to apply antidotes when these arise in your minds?

Do you pledge to support each other and help each other deepen the other’s experience of the Tao, holding in your awareness that all things and beings are empty of a separate existence?


Do you pledge to continually return to the awareness of your own Buddha nature and the Buddha nature of all beings?


Do you pledge to continually return to the awareness that all things are impermanent?


Do you pledge to allow this awareness of the impermanence of all things to help you achieve your greatest potential and lasting happiness?


The Japanese tradition of Senbazuru, or the making of a thousand origami paper cranes, is said to bring the maker of them eternal good luck and a blessing or wish come to pass. And, so, I embark for the remainder of the year on making a thousand paper cranes with the intention of inviting the blessing that I may every day remember my vows and remember who I was on that day–a true being connected to every other being by the purest of love–a girl with her heart blown wide open with love and gratitude.


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Prayer in a Contentious Political Climate

May I surrender the struggle to change myself and others.

May I surrender Frustration and Anxiety as Expressions of the Persistent Belief in Separation.

May I rest in the awareness that I Am

and That All Beings Are Worthy of Celebration

and that my Being and Your Being are Empty of Separation from Each Other.

May I understand that Doing does not perfect Being

Any more than Not Doing Makes Being Imperfect.

May I Be Witness to Attack Thoughts as they Arise

And as They Fall Away,

Resting in the Awareness

That I am Not my Thoughts

And Neither are You.



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There is Peace in Yielding

Return to the movement of the Tao.
Yielding is the Way of the Tao.

Tao Te Ching 40, tr. by Stephen Mitchell

I could see peace instead of this.

A Course in Miracles, Lesson 34.

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Thank You for the One Lovely Blog Award

Thank you to both Arjuna of The Wondrous Dharmma and Yaz of Free Your Mind for nominating Zen Being for the One Lovely Blog Award.   I really love both of their thought-provoking blogs for very different reasons.  And, I appreciate these awards–not so much for the award itself (though I am honored), but rather for the opportunity to share with other readers blogs they may not have encountered before.   And, so, in no particular order, I pass on nominations for the One Lovely Blog Award to:

Fierce Buddhist

I Stop for Suffering

Donkey Whisperer Farm Blog (from one animal lover to another!)

Worldly Winds

Julie Hansen Intuitive

Pocket Perspectives

Through the Healing Lens

Recovery Through my Lens

I know that many bloggers do not accept awards. For those of you who do not, please just accept my appreciation for all you do.

Peace and love,



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Getting Quiet and Listening

In my previous post, I reported that I had recently attended a truly inspired aromatherapy workshop led by Katie Buggs of Katy Bugs’ Healing Sense.  I’ve been reflecting on that workshop all week, and thinking about how some of the guidance that Katie provided with regard to becoming acquainted with each of the oils in her Reiki Essential Oil Kit is useful in other–really all–areas of one’s life: respect for something one doesn’t and probably cannot fully understand; humbleness in the face of mystery; courage to speak one’s truth when one’s voice shakes;  shaping the intention to be an instrument of divine love and compassion–the list goes on and on.

The most important lesson that I took away, however, was the lesson of getting quiet.  The first exercise that Katie asked us to perform was to take a whiff of one of the oils and just sit with what sensations and perceptions arose.  As the day wore on and as we used each of the oils in Reiki sessions, I became quieter and quieter.  The quieter I became, the more expansively I experienced each of the oils.  Per Katie’s instructions, we were using very small and prescribed amounts of oils–sometimes the amount was so small that the perception of smell was not quite engaged. Yet, each oil offered a unique and profound experience that could be perceived in a deep state of internal quiet.

In this quiet, I came to understand why Rosewood and Sandalwood are such sacred trees. Mala beads are often made from them–in fact, I have a set of Sandalwood Mala beads that I purchased at one of the most sacred Buddhist sites in the world–in the temple at Sarnath (Deer Park), India.  I often just hold them in my meditation time without chanting.  I just like to hold them gently in my hands.

When we enter deep quietude, it becomes possible to deeply listen–to the body, to grief, fear or anger that one may be holding onto, to the energies of plants, rocks and animals that offered up so much wisdom to indigenous and shamanic cultures, to one’s deeper wisdom, to the state of wellness and wholeness that is one’s natural state of being if only one can just tap into it, and to the divine energy that enervates and connects all life.


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Healing Sense Aromatherapy

I am still buzzing!!  Yesterday, I had the glorious opportunity to attend a truly inspired and inspiring workshop on Aromatherapy by Katie Buggs of KatybugsHealingsense: Aromatherapy and Holistic Blends.  During the workshop, we worked together to become very familiar with each of the oils in Katie’s Reiki Essential Oil Kit.  What I truly came to appreciate in a whole new way is that the plants of this planet function as distillations of divine consciousness articulated into material form.  They have distinctive energies; each plant resonates at a particular megahertz; they can gently and subtly assist in helping us to calm, uplift, release, relieve physical pain, open up to more love and forgiveness.  They have so much to share with us.

I splurged and bought Katie’s magnificent “Plant Sense” Card Deck so that I could widen my knowledge about each of the plants and oils that she blends.

Thank you, Katie Buggs, for being such a profoundly humble, gracious, incredibly knowledgable and kind ambassador for the plant kingdom.  My gratitude is immeasurable.


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After the Palace Burns (a villanelle)

This seedling has a secret life, untold

by sparrows sleeping softly in its ear.

This one small thing is heaven, shaking, bold,


its mossy buds recalcitrant to cold

and shadowing a blue-veined, faint frontier.

This seedling has a secret life, untold;


its frozen limbs a glassy world uphold–

as if all life should be this tight, this clear–

for this small thing is heaven, shaking, bold.


What wind could all its universe unfold!

Perhaps it takes a stranger who can hear

this seedling in its secret life, untold,


its sightless face emerging from the mold,

its features worn away into a smear

of my small piece of heaven, shaking, bold.


A palace burnt and all the gardens sold,

though God’s address is anywhere but here,

this seedling has a secret life, untold;

this one small thing is heaven, shaking, bold.

-Jennifer Anna Gosetti-Ferencei, After the Palace Burns. Zoo Press, 2003.


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What a Gem–another insightful post by Gems of Delight. Enjoy!

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On Emptiness

Empty your mind of all thoughts.
Let your heart be at peace.
Watch the turmoil of beings,
but contemplate their return.

Each separate being in the universe
returns to the common source.
Returning to the source is serenity.

If you don’t realize the source,
you stumble in confusion and sorrow.
When you realize where you come from,
you naturally become tolerant,
disinterested, amused,
kindhearted as a grandmother,
dignified as a king.
Immersed in the wonder of the Tao,
you can deal with whatever life brings you,
and when death comes, you are ready.

-from the Tao Te Ching by Lao-tzu (tr. by S. Mitchell)


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