The world is celebrating the feast day of Saint Francis of Assisi today! Francesco di Bernadone, whose real name was actually Giovanni (John), was born some 800 years ago. He came from a wealthy family. But turned his back on his mercantile father and gave up all worldly goods to help the poor as well as the animals.Continue reading
What do a missing swimsuit and a 50-year-old photo of a newly-minted lieutenant have in common?
Both got lost and then recovered on a friendly trip to the library and the treasured gift of hoping for an uplifting outcome.Continue reading
Mindfulness meditation has awakened within me.
I am once again being guided by my good friend and co-founder of the Center for Contemporary Mysticism, Joe Irwin a former church pastor.
———— Continue reading
I knelt at the gravesite while bowing my head and closing my eyes to pray yesterday morning. I was visiting Calvary Cemetery of West Conshohocken, the burial site for Father William E Atkinson, an Augustinian priest who passed away in 2006 and is now being considered for canonization by the Catholic Church to be named a saint.Continue reading
Walter Mondale, the Minnesota resident and former candidate for president of the United States, was a staunch advocate for providing legal services to poor people charged with crimes and I firmly believe that his legacy will live on.Continue reading
“Groundhog Day” is the movie starring Bill Murray who visits Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, where he is destined to live each day over and over for what seems like eternity. It’s message is one of Karma and reincarnation, particularly when one realizes that the director and co-screen-writer was a practicing Buddhist named Harold Remis. Continue reading
Joy filled my soul as I read that the 12 boys trapped in a flooded cave in Thailand were thinking of entering a monastery in honor of the former Navy Seal that gave his life in an effort to save them. Continue reading
Thích Nhất Hạnh looked at me from the most sorrowful eyes I have ever seen and I understood what it was like for a person to feel all the suffering the world is experiencing.
I had attended a five-day silent retreat at Blue Cliff Monastery in upstate New York with some thousand others who meditated morning, noon and night. Someone would ring a bell as you walked through the monastery grounds and just like clock-work, everyone would stop what they were doing and rest in the present moment. Continue reading
A Tibetan Singing Bowl rang out just now. It called me back to the peace inside despite the noises of harshness my life has heard played out for me in recent times.
There is a message I receive every time I travel to the IKEA store and visit the “As Is” department. I get a feeling that the Universe is telling me to open myself to the message the Swedish furniture store wants to share with the rest of the world.
Accept life “As Is,” it softly calls out to me. Continue reading
Can someone become the “muse” of another?
Could my reckless and often unabashed “agitation” be the instigation for another person to find the voice she needed to speak directly from her soul?
I like to think so. I believe I might have sparked a keg of memories that were waiting for the right moment and touch to manifest and explode for the world to finally see. Continue reading
“You can’t replace Trouble, no matter what you say,” I said to Wendy. “He was my favorite cat, the only one that could not only catch those dirty squirrels, but also behead them and leave their carcasses behind, sans their squirrely little heads. There’ll never be another one like him.”
‘No, I’m not trying to replace Trouble,” my wife answered me. “It’s just that our son Nicholas could use another pet, and the one we found at the Kitty Cottage is so adorable, I thought that any pet lover would welcome her into their home. Give her a chance. I know you’ll warm up to her and treat her as a member of the family in no time.”
Sundance is now this cat-lovers’ most lovable feline ever!
(For more, please see: Unconditional love from a cat.)
If you could go back in time to attend a Meet-Up in Jerusalem with the famous rabbi from Nazareth to share some bread, wine and good conversation, would you sign up and go?
How about traveling back some 2,600 years to give a listen to the Four Noble Truths in northern India by a fellow who some claim had reached enlightenment? Would you agree to meet weekly to discuss life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness? Continue reading
I’ve been to some ten different Buddhist temples in the mountainous regions of Korea taking in the rustic, centuries-old magnificent works of art and spiritual creations of man. I felt uplifted when entering doorways that millions, perhaps billions, of others walked through in search of peace and calm on their way to a potential enlightenment.
None however, have inspired more of a majestic feeling inside than the new WON Center in Seoul, Korea, where a bolt of soft and pure lightning once again struck me with what I can only describe as a divine presence that’s humbling and elevating at the same time. Continue reading
“Namuamitabul” is a Korean Buddhist chant that means “The Buddha of infinite light, infinite life, and infinite wisdom.”
This chant is recited numerous times by participants in a WON Buddhist meditation as part of a routine that involves chanting, sitting meditation and walking meditation. Continue reading
Pride cometh before the fall.
Ad Deum Qui Laetificat Juventutem Meam!
That’s one of the prayers I would recite as an altar boy at St. Ludwig’s Roman Catholic Church and I’ll never forget it ‘til the day I die. Don’t ask me what it means. I never figured it out, but I loved to say it! Continue reading
Korea awaits me next week as I travel more than a thousand miles to find myself and discover reasons why I am still here on planet earth.
Yes, I’m joining a group from Philadelphia, New York and Chicago that will fly to Seoul, South Korea, to take part in the centennial celebration of the WON Buddhism founding by its master on April 28th, 1916. Continue reading
Day 7 – Total Balance Is Natural Balance
Question 1 of 4
Describe three sources of inspiration in your life that keep you aiming to be a better you.
— Oprah Winfrey and Deepak Chopra’s Free 21-day Meditation
I got the best sleep I’ve had in years last night and I owe it all to treatments I have received for not only what ails me, but what has been blocking my lower brain from connecting with my upper brain.
I slept like a proverbial baby Continue reading
I’m having fun.
I’m enjoying life and and feel a peace and calm I didn’t know I’d ever experience again. It’s like falling in love for the very first time. I look forward to each new day filled with hope and a smile for whatever life presents to me. Continue reading
I believe that all of us are placed on this earth for a purpose, and the aim for us in life is to find out what that purpose is!
We don’t usually seek the answer right away. Most put it off until some calamity forces us to find answers to life’s most important questions. Why am I here? Why am I in this body? Who am I, really? Continue reading
When I write, I try to tap into the child within. I try to “feel” something that I can share with another, be it humorous, educational or shocking. I have stories to tell from my past that brought me to this point, and I think they may help another to feel what I feel and to take action even if that action is simply to refrain from acting or even thinking.
The smell of lavender and a hint of myrrh greet me as I walk into the meditation room. I had not expected my sense of smell to be the first one to experience such a warm and inviting welcome. I should not have been surprised. The olfactory system is the first sensory organ I usually use, and I’m not too proud to state I am usually lead by the nose. Continue reading
Listen to yourself.
Close your eyes and go within and listen to the sounds of silence. Continue reading
I believe that I have become a “spiritual soldier of fortune” and would travel anywhere my heart beckons me to learn, to pray and to find answers about the universe.
I got an inkling of this calling when I was a teenager. It came about when I was 18, just out of high school and experimenting with grass and LSD. Timothy Leary enticed me with his message in the 1960s, advising all to “turn on, tune in and drop out.” I turned on and tuned into the message, but couldn’t afford to drop out because I was from a working class family that saw work as a way out of poverty and into the middle class. Continue reading
Ever wonder what you can do to be more like the person you always aspired to be? You know, the one you hoped you would grow up to be, but didn’t get the chance because life seemed to hit you upside your head and throw you off course? Continue reading
What do you tell a person who wants to know about Buddhism?
What books do you recommend? What authors?
Should she look into mindfulness first, or jump right into a form of Zen Buddhism or the Tibetan Buddhism of the Dalai Lama? Continue reading
Is “letting go” a feminine trait?
Is it in the same category as “surrender” or “submit” — actions deemed by some son of a bitch to be “unmanly”? Continue reading
What gifts can I offer the world today? What insight, wisdom or thought could I bestow on others seeking the healing we need for our mutual pain and suffering?
I am no psychic. I’ve never seen an angel or felt the tingling sensation from a spirit wanting to use me to provide a message or a sign. I’m no medium. Continue reading
I close my eyes and I enter a world where nothing but love exists within. It is a state of mind I visit more often now that I meditate early in the morning. You see, I roll over in my bed and wrap my arms around me, feeling the warmth slowly develop and then spread throughout my body. I “sense” a flow of energy — liquid energy — like a lukewarm form of lava flowing from the upper arms to my neck and back and then down through the arms, the torso and then onto other parts of my body. Continue reading
First, do no harm.
This quote from a famous Greek of antiquity could be the basis for a new Golden Rule for the Road. Continue reading
The State of Our Spiritual Union is flourishing.
Seeds planted in the 1960s have flowered, and the Age of Aquarius has finally dawned on the world, awakening many of us to a new way of living, a new way of forgiving. The first signs of this new enlightenment began in the 1990s as the Berlin Wall fell, God revealed secrets in the Celestial Prophecy and the mystical Wisdom of Kabbalah was made known to non-Jews and all women, regardless of age or religious backgrounds. Continue reading
The guru then made the following announcement, quoting the feminine deity: Moor Jani:
We all have the capacity to heal ourselves as well as facilitate the healing of others. When we get in touch with that infinite place within us where we are Whole, then illness can’t remain in the body. And because we’re all connected, there’s no reason why one person’s state of wellness can’t touch others. Elevating them and triggering their recovery. And when we heal others, we also heal ourselves and our planet.
There is no separation except in our own minds.
Simply knowing that I wrote a book is one helluva experience.
Seeing it on amazon.com is breath-taking! Continue reading
Well, I told you my first book would soon appear. And it did.
Just as I went on a cruise in a boat up to the new frontier of Alaska.
Francis of Assisi is on sale. It has one error which I found today. It has to do with Esther of the Bible and her relationship with a fellow who was her uncle but was identified by me as as her father. Not bad for a 266-page book, if I do say so myself.
Check it out. It’s called: “Francis of Assisi, A Novel Awakening to Lady Poverty”
Oh yeah. My name doesn’t appear anywhere on the cover. You see, I “discovered” the manuscript which was actually written by the 13th century monk and I arranged for it to be published after it was hidden in an old castle on an island of Greece. It is novel of an historic book. I think you’ll like it!
Michael j Contoveros
For a look at the book, click on Francis of Assisi
Good enough is the lazy man’s way to enlightenment . . . There’s nothing more to do . . . Your job is good enough . . . Your spouse is good enough . . .Your life is good enough . . . Your meditation practice is good enough. . . You don’t need anything more, and what you now have is good enough. — This is all according to a young monk, – Ajahn Khemavaro, who spoke on Impermanence, in a 2008 presentation, “Everything Will Be alright.” Continue reading
North to Alaska!
That’s where I’m headed next week and I’ll start checking off the newest box of my “bucket list,” the list of things I want to do before I “kick the bucket.” Continue reading
How may I serve you?
That’s the key to a happy life, you know. Learning to serve others selflessly with no expectation of a reward other than the knowledge you are doing unto others something you’d want them to do . . . unto everyone else.
I am about to be an author!
Well, a “published” author, that is . . .
I just learned that my book about Francis of Assisi, a historic novel, will be available at Amazon sometime in the next two months, September and October (2014). Writing it was a true labor of love. I mixed in Catholicism with Sufism and lots of Buddhism. I also introduced Francis, aka Giovanni di Bernadone, his real name by the way, to the Wisdom of Kabbalah and a belief in what I call “angel therapy.” Continue reading
I’m down to just two more days now . . . Two more days in which to become enlightened through the 21-Day Meditation Experience of Deepak & Oprah. Today is the 20th Day. Tomorrow, I’m afraid, it will end for me and you.
No matter what happens though, I’ve been exposed to what Buddhists called the Dharma. That is, the “teachings” of meditation by Siddhartha Gotama, the person most of us call the “Buddha.”
It reminds me of a story I heard recently. It’s about a frog. Continue reading
Just finished 73,000 words about Francesco, the young man from Assisi who overcame post traumatic stress from battles as well as a year-long imprisonment before being ransomed by his rich mercantile father. Continue reading
- the lovely garden beside a Thai Buddhist Temple
- the freshness of post-meditation
- the purity of post-meditation
- the high of talking dharma with a new friend Luke
- surrounded by Bonsai trees Continue reading
When you touch that part of me that has never been touched, a dormant thing erupts.
I am observing this thing for the first time.
Did it exist inside of me or did you put it there when I wasn’t looking?
When I noticed it, it hid behind my ear. I tried to find it, put a name to it, and store it in a folder where everything is orderly and safe. It wouldn’t go.
It was quick like a fox, creeping down my left arm while I examined my right, hiding under my knee when I thought I felt it brush the side of my face.
I am barren without it, yet all the happier to have seen it, if only for such a brief time not long enough even to know what to call it.
— Melanie Kriebel 2013
Sometimes the only way for me to understand something is to try to put it into my own words. Particularly, if I want to memorize or “imprint” something so that I can keep it near and dear to me like an inspirational poem or saying I still remember from my earliest days.
And so, thanks to the kindness of WordPress, I will use my meager intellect to place into words something my heart has tried to understand and permit to grow from one lifetime to another. It is the four truths that can enable those noble among us to overcome what is wrong in our lives and how we could set things right. Continue reading
It took several hours for the effects of the Sweat Lodge ceremony to kick in, but when it did I realized the control I always thought I needed was not in my hands, but in what the Greeks called the Fates; the Christians, God; and the Buddhists, Karma.
A Divine source, refered by some as the “Force,” the Divine Feminine,” the Creator, has dealt a hand to play with our own free will. We get to choose which cards to keep and the ones to discard. By standing pat or by seeking new ones to “change our luck” or to improve our hand, we cast our lot to the future. None of us expect to lose or to face tragedy or a financial crisis. We hope for improvement, to enrich ourselves through our card-playing skill and years of studying the game of life. Continue reading
Take ’em. Break ’em. Make ’em.
O Grand Master, it is your females that will save this species. It is through their power, their innate abilities that man will be saved. Compassion and love must rule the day again. And power must be crushed by the mallet of humility before any dare send another child into war that old men dream of winning as if playing games of adolescent ruffians. Continue reading
The thought of going to prison never bothered me. I’d survive and flourish behind bars where I’d have more than enough time to reflect and write which I have found is my true love in life.
No, I could kill without worrying about the consequences. It would be my first offense. I am certified as a Vietnam veteran with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and I don’t see any judge or jury putting me to death for the crime.
All of this went through my mind when I was waiting at the train platform and a rather tall, white guy walked in front of me. I was standing near the tracks. I was close enough and in line with others stranding on either side of me that I never thought someone could make their way between me and the tracks. But the man did. He walked around me. He stood directly in front of me. No one else stood that close. I recall thinking how totally inappropriate and rude his actions were.
That’s when I planned to kill him. Continue reading
What is a monk to do when he is lonely? When he is blue?
When you reach that low point where you feel you are the loneliest person in the world, who or what do you turn to for relieve? Continue reading
It’s an affirmation I can live with over and over, day in and day out, from one lifetime to another, without ever getting tired of saying it.
It is in the giving of love that I’m twice blessed. I got so much of it when I come into your presence that I can’t keep it in and I must share or I know that I could die. And so, I tell you that “I Love You,” and hope that you never stop listening to me. Even if you blush and say that I’m only kidding and scold me, saying “Stop that, Michael. Quit playing around.” Continue reading
Too often I hear someone talk about an “out-of-body” experience as if it was the greatest thing since, I don’t know, the invention of peanut butter. Astral projection is another feat persons speak of in hushed tones as if their trip from one place to another meant everything in the world.
Well, I’m here to tell you there ain’t nothing like the good old fashioned “In-Body” experience to get the blood rushing and the ecstasy flowing. “It’s your body now, stupid.” You don’t have to go chasing some Holy Grail to find the answer “out there.” It’s here and it’s now. Continue reading
I’m so scared because I don’t know what to do, nor who to turn to. Flashes of insights, intuition and a “knowing” that borders on the psychic has arisen in me and I don’t know if it’s a blessing or a curse. Continue reading
He’s at it again. This time, the Friar Pope is championing what I call the “untouchable class” of Catholics, the single mother, also known throughout Christianity’s Dark Ages as the “UN – WED MOTHER.”
(Funny, but those dark ages seem like only yesterday!) Continue reading
There’s a passage in Mark’s Gospel in which Jesus’ disciples complain that someone — one who is not one of them — is casting out demons in Jesus’ name. It seems that fundamentalists of all ages have held a belief that there was only one way to get to the kingdom; only one way, and that was through Jesus. Continue reading
How could I – a mother of two with a 10-year drug problem – be facing a life sentence for something stupid I did at the local Rite Aid store? Continue reading
When I was a child, I’d feel sorry for anyone who appeared less fortunate than I. That would include the white-haired elderly stooped over with age, as well as the infirm, a word I didn’t learn the meaning of until I was much older myself. Continue reading
On February 5th, 2012, a friend who calls herself, the Frugal Xpat, commented: “I always wanted to meditate . . . ”
I didn’t respond to the comment until now, but want to share how everyone could enjoy this exercise the frugal expat spoke of in Daily Meditation Desperately Needed. As she describes her life’s quest, she is on “An expat’s journey in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.” Continue reading
Shifting into cruise control, I let myself glide through many of life’s activities nowadays. I relax, take several deep breaths and seek a place inside where there are no thoughts, no worries, and no frets. Continue reading
I’ve taken compassion on the road. Literally!
I send affection to motorists cut off by a speeding car that winds in and out of lanes. I feel for the driver who was never told by the operator of a car in front that that operator was going to turn, despite what appears to be working lights that turn on and off when you press the turn signal lever up or down. Continue reading
I am complete.
I am finished.
I’ve done what I have done and everyone can be satisfied with my efforts, including — and most importantly — me. Continue reading
I didn’t want to go back to Omega Institute this year. Each time I travelled to this land of Sleepy Hollow and Rip Van Winkle, I’d get high from the holistic experience. But then I’d change into an Ichabod Crane feeling chased by the Headless Horseman who’d tell true life stories that caused so much pain I couldn’t hold it inside. Continue reading
Cleaning a pot can be very meaningful, particularly if you block out all thoughts and concentrate on nothing but you and the instrument that has helped provide you with so much nourishment. Continue reading
Death entered into my life recently and I have never felt more alive than with — and in — its presence. Continue reading
Purity. There’s something in it that resonates with me. In my private moments, I try my best to connect with it, but once I start to analyze it, it vanishes. Continue reading
There is a tradition in Eastern philosophies where you’re taught to view each person and other sentient being as if he, she – or it – is your mother. I never knew how nurturing this could be until I allowed the child in me to reciprocate and bask in the most secure and loving place. Continue reading
Saying you’re sorry can be downright scary. Particularly, if you’re not sure if the other party will accept your mea culpa even though it’s from the bottom of your heart. Continue reading
After chanting a non-English mantra for some time, I finally learned its definition and discovered a gem of wisdom while contemplating its meaning. Meditating will never be the same, and I want to share with others a little of the enlightenment it’s provided me.
Om Mani Padme Hung. Continue reading
Reality shifted on me the other day, and it helped me realize that I have more control than my “preshifted” thoughts allowed me to see. Now, with a “time-control outlook,” I can try to change my world for the better. Continue reading
I don’t understand all the fuss that Catholic universities and hospitals are raising over providing health care for woman that includes mandatory birth control provisions. Why not let “practicing Catholics” following the teachings of their church to “opt out” for the coverage, while permitting non-Catholics what doctors and women’s groups say is a health benefit? Continue reading
Do yourself a favor. Keep an eye out for a vet.
Actively seek out someone in your church, synagogue or temple and befriend him so that what happened in Philadelphia last week never happens again. Continue reading
It’s time for my disappearing act to begin. I close my eyes, wave an imaginary magic wand, and slowly begin to vanish from existence here. All thoughts and fears come to an end as I find protection beneath a cloak of invisibility, safe from the savages outside and the demons within. Continue reading
“Why did you shoot her?”
“I don’t know.”
With these three words, the defendant buried himself, and no matter what I did to rehabilitate a self-defense claim before the jury, we were sunk. It showed that no matter what one plans, sometimes something can, and always will, go wrong. Continue reading
Anger. It hits like a poison arrow causing me to drop what I’m doing and focus on the pain it inflicts. Continue reading
I can think of no worse place to be than in a church, a temple or a synagogue when an unbidden and involuntary giggle would invade my psyche and take control of me. A “giggle,” is too mild a word: uncontrollable laughter would rise to the level of guffaws and downright knee-slappers’ right at the most somber parts of a religious service. Continue reading
I got high again. I didn’t know how much I needed a “fix” until my head slumped on my chest and I “awoke” to a restful, calm and peaceful world I had been away from for what seems a lifetime. I felt refreshed, clean and somehow right despite what others might say. Continue reading
I love women. I’ll take them in all shapes and sizes, the old and the young, the rich and the poor.
If it wasn’t for women, I — and a lot of guys I know — wouldn’t even be here! Continue reading
Am I un-American or anti-religious when I tell you something I’ve been trying to say for years, but have been afraid of hurting your feelings?
I want nothing for Christmas! Continue reading
(Caution: Exposure to this post could be hazardous to your health, particularly if you were raised Catholic with a taste of Buddhist and Kabalistic ingredients thrown in the mix.)
Indulgences are some things I never thought I’d think about once I finished with my Catholic upbringing and moved onto Eastern Studies and the spiritual advice from the Kabbalah. But, there I was reading how someone could limit their time in purgatory by performing certain acts and saying prayers. Continue reading
No matter how hard I try, I can never count to 20 before an unbidden thought arises from inside of me. I get to three or four while meditating and images pop up on an internal screen capturing my attention. I dare not try this counting method until my body and mind are both well-settled and I can “let go.” Continue reading
Thank God for Buddhism. What’s that you say? I can’t have one in, and of, the other?
Are you telling this red-blooded American veteran that I cannot follow the teachings of the Buddha and still believe in the God of Abraham? Continue reading
I am as dependent on you as you are on me, as we all are on the kindness and labor of others we too often take for granted.
As I look around, I see that my fortune is dependent on the cooperation and contributions of others. Continue reading
I want to follow and not lead; give and not take; love and not hate.
Like you, I want to be a soldier of peace and not war; a kind and loving friend to the poor and a prodding yet mild abrasion to the rich. Continue reading
On this Veterans Day, 11-11-11, what would you tell yourself if you could go back in time and greet that young man recently returned home from the war?
War is never the answer, but only a failure on all sides to reach an answer. Continue reading
Is there a noble banker in the world? Only someone in the lending business who sees his calling as a “service for the people,” I believe, could correct past abuses and recommend changes for, and in the best interests of, us “99 percenters.” Continue reading
Let’s Occupy a Vital Earth! Try it on. See if it fits and whether you’d be comfortable in adopting it when the Occupation of Wall Street and the protest at a thousand other locations worldwide comes to end.
And end it will, with nothing to commemorate it save historians remembering in their books the greatest mass demonstration since Abraham protested the Tower of Babel. Continue reading
“We all dream of a kinder, happier world. But if we wish to make it a reality, we have to ensure that compassion inspires all our actions. This is especially true with regard to our political and economic policies. Given that probably half the world’s population lacks the basic necessities of adequate food, shelter, medical care and education, I believe we need to question whether we are really pursuing the wisest course in this regard. Continue reading
Eight Tibetan Buddhist monks set themselves on fire to protest the Chinese occupation of their country. They took their own lives when soldiers of the army set up quarters in Tibetan monasteries.
How could anyone do such a thing?
They must have been in intense pain. Or, they were offering overwhelming love. Continue reading
Tone it down America. You are cutting off your nose to despite your face. The face of the body politic, that is, and we are creating needless hurt for the countrymen we’d like to lead to our mutual goal: the pursuit of happiness. Continue reading
Why am I a Democrat?
I was born this way. No, that’s not right. I was raised this way. No, that’s not quite right either. I chose to be a Democrat. Continue reading