Tending the Fire

tending the heart fire

I keep forgetting to do

The little things each day,

to show my wife and son I love them,

to dance and sing and play.

I keep forgetting to take the time

to seek the silence,

still the mind.

I keep forgetting who lives inside

of every creature, plant and stone.

I keep forgetting who I am

and who I’m with,

even when I’m alone.

I keep forgetting my life comes down

to just this moment, here and now,

and how I choose to spend it.

Remembering is a sacred fire

and I keep forgetting

to tend it.



Look No Further

you are home

After a thousand lifetimes

spent searching for God,

There a comes a day when the soul finally collapses,

weary and exhausted,

into the arms of grace.

“There, there,” says a soft voice

from somewhere back behind your eyes.

“Be still now. You can rest.

Look no further than this ragged breath,

this beating heart,

this aching back,

these tired bones.

Look no further than this quiet street,

these quaint little temples,

these tufts of grass and trees and weeds.

Look no further than the earth and sky,

this moment suspended here between.

Look no further, pilgrim.

You are home.”

Today is the Day (To Sing Jai Ma!)

nature walk

Today is the day to sit outside, soak up the sunlight, take some deep, mindful breaths. Taste the air, so fresh and cool and full of life! Take off your shoes and feel the earth against your skin. Dig your toes into a bed of clover.

Today is the day to go for a walk, to take a closer look at the world around you, to see what often goes overlooked. Notice the dazzling array of weeds and grasses, bushes and trees that are spilling out everywhere, all around and in-between our houses and our streets.

Today is the day to stop and smell the flowers. Open your eyes and drink in the colors, the elegant patterns and imperfections, the wild ecstatic wind dancing!

Today is the day to watch the sunset.

(Honestly—how long has it been?)

Watch the stars come out tonight… bathe in the moonlight, find constellations. Try to comprehend infinity, to wrap your head around the sky. I mean really try—reach and stretch until your mind is ripped wide open.

Today is the day to hug a tree, to dance in the meadow, to play in the dirt; do the kind of fun and crazy things that only children are alive enough to do. Wrestle with your dog, roll on the floor, get licked in the face. Go adopt a pet from your local animal shelter.

Today is the day to take a small step; pick up some litter, start recycling. Get together with your neighbors; clean something, fix something, form a committee. Set an example. Be the change.

Today is the day to honor the Earth and the whole miraculous web of life. Today is the day to plant a seed.

Today is the day to sing Jai Ma!

To praise Mother Nature, to radiate our love and appreciation. Let her know we’re awake, and paying attention. Let her know that we care, we are trying our best. Let her know we are grateful.

We are oh so grateful…

Join the birds and the bugs and the angels, the silent song of the trees and flowers. Join the chorus of life everlasting, singing a joyous, triumphant hymn.

Jai Ma!  Glory to the Goddess, beautiful mother of the whole universe!

Jai Ma, Jai Ma, Jai Ma!

Eternity is a Matter of Depth


Eternity doesn’t really mean infinite duration.

(Honestly, just think how boring that would be…)

Eternity means infinite depth.

A second can be divided into a thousand milliseconds. Each millisecond can in turn be divided a thousand times, and so on forever. On the quantum level of reality, these tiny fractions of a moment are bursting with activity—countless swirling microcosms are created and destroyed in the blink of an eye.

And just as the experience of a second varies based on your perspective, so too the lifespan of a star or a galaxy. The birth and death of a universe could be seen as an ephemeral phenomenon.

It’s all relative.

As a minute ticks by in clock time, we can experience it in a variety of ways. If we are anxious and bored, that one minute can seem quite lengthy. If we are actively engaged, it can pass in a flash. It all depends on us, and how we are relating to the world in that moment.

Think of the may fly, which hatches, matures and dies in a matter of days. How must this amazing creature experience a minute? An hour?

What most of us feel on a daily basis as the need for more time, is really the need for a deeper relationship with the present moment.

We don’t need 36 hours in a day, we need to fully inhabit the hours we have. We need to open up our senses, open up our minds; to appreciate the endless layers of texture and detail present in everything around us; to be more aware of the forces at work within us.

We don’t have to live forever to have eternal life.

Eternity is within this very minute, in between the ticking seconds. Savor the boring and ordinary moments; watch them come alive and unfurl their hidden wonders.

Breathe in… be nourished by the breath of the infinite.

Breathe out… relax, release, let go.

Sink deeper into the rhythmic ebb and flow of Nature. Feel the pulse of the cosmos throbbing in your veins, the life and activity of your cells. Roam the shifting landscape of your thoughts, your emotions, your imagination… worlds within worlds. Let it all wash over you. Drink it all in.

Drown in it.

What Do You Do?


What do I do?

I love.

I love my family. I love my son. I love my momma and my sisters. I love my woman (that’s you Suely, amor de mi vida, reina de mi corazon). I love them and I tell them so every goddamn day. I love them and I do whatever is best for them, whatever I have to do to protect them and provide for them, to give them the things that they need, the things they deserve.

And I love to tell stories around the bonfire. I love to sing. I love to drum and play guitar. I love to make music. I love to dance. Badly, but I still fuckin’ love it.

I love to work and to sweat, to fix what needs fixing, to do what needs doing, and do it as good as I possibly can, to put my whole heart into it, and make an art of it. And then I love to sit in the evening, with my best friends gathered around me dusty and tired, and drink ice cold beer and tell dirty jokes, and laugh and look back on the day we’ve just lived, at the work that we’ve done, at the problems and obstacles overcome, and stand with my shoulders strong and my head held high, and say to the universe,

“Yes. Yes and yes. Come with it. I’ll take it. Give me all that you’ve got.”

I love to spend time in my garden. I love to go camping, to be outside. I love to walk through my neighborhood and look at all the trees and houses, at all the flowers doing their own little colorful living dances. I love to talk to the children playing outside, I love to play catch with them, and remember their nicknames, and tell them how good they are, how awesome and cool. I love to wave and smile at the old women on their front porches, to the old men tending their lawns and gardens and waxing their cars.

I love to admire the splendor of Nature, to shower the cosmos with my adoration. I love to listen to the birds and the angels chirping, to all the cars and the engines humming, to the sirens and the people wailing, to the whole holy Aum of existence existing.

I love to be ripped open by awe and wonder.

I love to write. I love to weave words and emotions and ideals all together, to compose a lasting edifice in the mind of God, a sort of vista in the soul where we can look out at all of our living and dying and loving and fighting and see it all clearly and know what it means. I love to say what needs saying, even when it hurts.

Especially when it hurts.

I love to pray. I love to sit and marinate in the silence, and savor the depth and richness of reality; to be in the presence of the All-In-All, to vibrate like a living harp string in the hands of something truly incomprehensible…

I love to create, to give birth to the most amazing earth-shaking ideas of what this world could be and how we could all just love one another, and help one another, feed and clothe one another and just care for each other and give each and every human being a smile and a hug and the space and the freedom to be what they are deep down, and all that they could possibly be, which is divine and incredible and beautiful.


Hare Krishna, Hare Rama, Hallelujah, Amen.

What do I do?

I love.

And I slip and I fall. I forget, and go back to old autopilot. I suffer and hurt; get angry, depressed.

But then I remember; awaken again. I forgive, and I learn, and I blossom anew. And I wake up every morning and face the same choice, the same question, over and over, again and again…

And I love.

I love life. I love you. Thanks for reading.

What do you do?

My Ex is My Guru


I just got off the phone with my ex. Or, more accurately, she just hung up on me.

Now a phone call from my “baby mama” is never a pleasant experience, not by any stretch of the imagination. With all the lies, threats and accusations, there’s not a whole lot of actual communication that goes on. She mostly just yells over the top of everything I say. But more often than not, I am able to let it roll off my shoulders and stay Zen.

Today, not so much.

Today I’m gritting my teeth. Today I take the phone and hurl it across the room (toward the sofa, of course—I’m pissed-off, but not so much that I’m gonna destroy my phone). I feel a roiling in the pit of my stomach; a bitter emotional stew, the primary ingredients of which are frustration, anger, helplessness and hate.

Yeah, I said it. Hate.

The realization of it shocks me. I’m feeling hate right now. I didn’t even know I was capable of that.

In spiritual circles, even the more open-minded ones where we talk about “allowing all of our feelings,” hatred is still pretty taboo. No one talks about it, except of course when they are talking about terrorists, or racists, or religious fanatics. You know, “Them.” The other guys. The bad guys.

Well I’ve discovered hatred in me. And I’m allowing it. I’m accepting it. I’m sitting with it, listening to it, and seeing what it has to teach me…

You may not know it from looking at me, but I’m a “bad guy.”

I’m a bad guy because I walked out of a toxic relationship with the mother of my child. Or, as she puts it, “I abandoned her.” I’m a bad guy because I filed for full-custody as she bounced in and out of jail and rehab, and at least five different homes. “I took her child away from her.”

I have ceased to be a human being in her eyes. I have become an enemy, a villain, a scapegoat; the monster that “ruined her life.”

And as I sit with this hatred that I’m feeling, it becomes clear to me that I have done the exact same thing. I look at her and I see a face twisted with rage. I see a maelstrom of hurt, anger, addiction and violence; I see the pain and turmoil that it has caused my little boy.

What I often fail to see is a human being, a living soul, a child of the universe, just like me.

This is how racism happens. This is how rape happens. This is how hate crimes, gang violence and church bombings happen. As I look at this drama, this dance of pain between my ex and I, I can see the root and the seed of all war, terrorism, slavery and suffering.

There is no “them.” There are no bad guys. There’s just us. All of us together, living, loving and hurting as one. Learning and growing, slipping and falling, and finding our way back home.

Maybe my ex is my guru.

She’s not enlightened. She doesn’t wear monk’s robes or have a Sanskrit name—but nobody attacks my ego so effectively, so relentlessly. She doesn’t study the dharma or practice meditation—but she is a clear and perfect mirror for all of my anger, resentment and frustration.

She is showing me my attachments, my defenses, my illusions. She is teaching me to let go of my stories, my self-image. You know, stuff like I am wise, I am peaceful, I am “spiritual,” I am a good person, a good father, all that jazz.

Looking into the inner darkness takes me beyond good and bad, right and wrong; beyond the concept of self to the reality of Self. I Am That I Am.

My ex is my guru. So is my son, and my beloved. So are my friends and family, my neighbors, and all the people I work with, worship with, drink with, laugh with, talk with and cross paths with. As are the authors I have read, many long dead. And you, my readers and friends. And everyone who has touched my life in any way.

You have taught me. You have molded me. You are a part of me.

I’m sorry if I’ve hurt you. Please forgive me.

Thank you for being the doorway through which I come to know the whole spectrum of love, sadness, fear, ecstasy, and yes—even hate. My experience of human life would not be complete without you.

I love you.


~ Ben

Abide in the Question


Schrodinger, Kierkegaard, Gandhi, Tagore; Jesus and Buddha, Whitman and Rumi; philosophers, poets and prophets through the ages… what are they driving at?

What is the common theme, the unifying Truth espoused by the greatest minds of every time culture, embraced by an ever-increasing number of people today, in an unprecedented techno-spiritual Renaissance?

Wait a second—don’t offer up some quick and easy answer. Sit with the question. Take it in.

It’s tempting to respond with “We are one,” or “God is Love,” or some other catchy little gem of wisdom. But I’m not fishing for words or slogans. I want to go deeper.

What weaves us together?

I don’t care whether you call it God or Buddha nature. Call it Spirit; call it Consciousness or Love, or ‘the quantum source field’ or whatever. It doesn’t matter. Don’t be content with a label.

Forget the names—what are they pointing at?

Whatever it is, we’re immersed in it. Touch it, taste it, breathe it in.

Don’t refer back to the books you’ve read, or what some wise man may have told you. Forget what Patanjali said, and Oprah and Chopra too. Don’t let anyone tell you what is real. See for yourself.

Who are you? What is “I” made of? Where does thought come from? Is there anything you can really know for sure?

The questions are a doorway into the mystery—dive in.

Feel after God.

Seek out the elusive edge between “self” and “other.” Is it really there?

Seek out the essence, the core of your being, the source of your awareness and your will to choose. No more second-hand descriptions—experience it directly. Or does it experience you?

Abide in the question, not knowing… Go deeper.

No more words.

~ Ben



All loving Father

Who dwells in the innermost place

Nothing is hidden, or secret from you.

Here I am, and you well know

What is on my heart –

I will be silent on these things.

For it is in silence that I feel your Presence

In silence you speak to me

And guide my understanding.

In silence I come before you,

In silence we meet.

In silence I am one with you

And there I rest


~ Ben

A Child’s Laughter

laughing girl

The scriptures are a priceless gift,

But sometimes we need a break from our studies.


Discipline, fasting and meditation

Can take you very far indeed,

But life isn’t all about solemn routine.


God isn’t confined to dusty tomes

And silent temples…


Free and formless like the wind;

Wild as a dancing flame;

Like buds in Springtime bursting

Here and there and everywhere;

With spontaneous joy and magic

Spirit blossoms!

Like a child’s laughter.

~ Ben

Back to Basics


Empty your boat, bhikku!

Forget your history,

Forget all you’ve learned and studied –

Do you think you can reach the mountaintop

With that library strapped to your back?

There is nothing that you need to carry –

You are being carried.

You can never grasp the Dharma

With all your reason and cleverness.

The cosmic laws are written

So that a child could understand.

Quit trying so hard.

Go back to basics.

Be simple. Be silent.

Be empty.

Embrace each moment from your inner stillness.

Lay down your plans and expectations

And remove the mind from the equation.

Feel these currents of energy

Shifting and surging;

Just flow with it.

Dance with Tao.

Ride the razor’s edge of Now 

You are already home.

~ Ben