The Arts

My Teacher’s Page on Stillness Speaks

The beautiful people at Stillness Speaks have included me as a teacher on their website and have launched my very own teacher’s page. My goodness, they know more about me than I do! They’ve gathered quite an impressive collection of my talks, articles, books, interviews — most of which I did not even remember!

I know the stewards of this website personally, and they are truly servants of truth in its most expansive sense. Have a look at their website and support it if you are so inclined.

“Stillness Speaks is a preeminent resource for self inquiry and self exploration – the endless journey of self realization. We offer works of teachers (luminaries), and wisdom traditions (paths), both historical and contemporary, Eastern and Western, indigenous and otherwise. Our approach is integral – all are welcome!”

Bankruptcy, Past Lives, and the Buried Origins of Fear of Speaking

I’m not going to analyze, interpret, or frame the events I recount in this article. I’m just going to stick to the facts of my experience, as clearly and cleanly as I can remember them. I have not written or spoken of this before.

It’s 1996. I am living in a tiny cottage on a small farm in Somis, an unincorporated community in Ventura County, CA. My brother, an attorney, lived nearby in Ventura.

I had filed for personal bankruptcy under Chapter 7. The “inquisition” day had arrived. I went with my attorney to the courthouse, where I sat with several dozen other petitioners and their attorneys. At the front of the large room was a dais, on which were seated seven trustees, whose roles were to question each petitioner to ascertain the validity of their various claims and statements.

My turn came. The questioning began. I affirmed the validity of all my written statements. OK. Until …

In 1995, I had published my first book, The Sacred Hub, with Crossing Press. The book detailed my spiritual experiences and understanding to date. In a publishing upheaval, Crossing Press remaindered the inventory of my book, which I bought for very little. (Ironically, this book is being reissued this month by Wetware Media, whose publisher calls the book “a spiritual classic.”) I had about 2,000 books on hand. I had declared this as an asset, though of little actual cash value. One trustee held up a copy of the book and, so it seemed to me, boomed threateningly: “What is this?”

Five Things I’ve Learned About Writing

(This has been published on Rebelle Society, which can be read here.)

Writing ain’t easy.

Over time and with experience, it does get easier, but even then it ain’t easy. But that don’t really matter, ’cause if you’re called to write, you can’t avoid it. You gotta do it. Even if your spelling and grammar aren’t too good. It don’t matter.

You just write, because you got to write.

I started writing in my late teens, mostly long unintelligible poems to record my equally unintelligible wanderings throughout the world, took a 10-year hiatus while living in an ashram, then came back to it. My first article was published in 1991, a featured article in a “new age” magazine with my name on the cover. I went sky-high with pride and self-importance; that didn’t last.

Speak Truthfully

This post is an excerpt from The 5 Principles of Authentic Living. Here, I discuss the fourth principle: Speak Truthfully.


Be Present, Pay Attention, Listen Deeply. With these principles, we become intimate with what is beneath the thoughtstream in order to uncover and discover our authenticity. These three principles illuminate us from the inside, through the clarity of awareness and power of silence. But this is not enough for an authentic life, because we have to bring this clarity and power from the inside to the outside, to the world in which we live and work and play, to where we see and feel the ripples of our authenticity in the reflections of our words and actions and relationships.

Leadership Dojos and Zendos

This article is an excerpt from Igniting the Soul at Work: A Mandate for Mystics. Though originally written about 15 years ago, the premise seems to be as true and relevant today as then, especially in light of the current roster of presidential candidates. This article suggest that leaders voluntarily engage in the humanizing and enlightening activities of various dojos and zendos. First, I describe my own experiences practicing zazen and aikido, and then extrapolate what I experienced and learned to a curriculum for leaders.



In the winter of 1969 I cinched up my Aikido gi for the first time, bowed, and stepped onto the mat in a small dojo, practice hall, in Arcata, California, a little town on the northern coast. The sensei, teacher, was a big burly man who looked like a meat packer or longshoreman. Instead, he was a psychologist by profession, and a man of very gentle disposition, although he could throw my ass across the room while barely touching me.

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Three Definitions of "Soul"

If you put “soul” into the search box and tick “for all departments,” you’ll be notified that there are 1,530,783 products. Should you want to winnow the chaff from the wheat and end up with a reasonably concise and precise definition of soul, please go right ahead. It should only take you a century or two.

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Pay Attention

This is chapter two of The 5 Principles of Authentic Living.

5 Principles copy

Pay Attention

Now that we’re Being Present and living from awareness, now that we are not determined or defined by our thoughtstream, we have to incorporate into our repertoire of living authentically the second principle: Pay Attention.

The definition of Pay Attention is simple, and the application is likewise simple, as in straightforward. It does, however, take practice. The rewards, the return on our investment, are staggering.

Paying Attention means to notice what we’re doing in real time. It means to notice the effects we produce. It means to notice everything that’s happening, while it’s happening — in real time. There is an important synergy between Be Present and Pay Attention. The first principle reminds us that our thoughtstream distorts and disguises reality. By slowing down the projection speed of our mind, we can experience the way we superimpose the thoughtstream onto the screen of reality. But to Be Present isn’t the entire game: it just gets us into the game. Once we’re in the game, we have to Pay Attention, we have to notice from awareness what we are doing, and what is happening inside and outside.

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Collaboration with artist Jane Ellen Davis

I have collaborated with artist Jane Ellen Davis to produce a series of six Buddhist-themed memes, entitled “The Six Bodacious Buddhas.” Janie sent me her selection of artworks; I’d sit with each one until they spoke to me, and then I wrote. I think that the finished products reflect Janie’s artistic inspiration and my own outlook. They are posted on my Facebook pages, and they are also gathered and posted on a board on my Pinterest account.

Janie Davis

Janie Davis



To see more of Janie’s art and to read about her new book, please visit her website. Below is one of the memes.


One heart_edited-1

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“No Goodbyes – Messages From The Other Side”

My good friend and colleague Barry Eaton has just published a new book, No Goodbyes – Messages From The Other Side, which is a follow up to an earlier book called Afterlife: Uncovering the Secrets of Life After Death. In that book, based on his own fascinating experiences of life between lives and his numerous communications with those who have passed over, Barry answers many questions about the spirit world you’ve been longing to ask.