It took me more than 50 years, but I finally published my Vietnam War story and the toll it took on me after leading a combat infantry platoon as a 21-year-old first lieutenant.
I self-published with the help of editors who wrote the back cover description. They used a mug shot I had taken some ten years ago while attending a PTSD meditation clinic at Omega Institute for veterans and their families. The clinic introduced me to different forms of meditation that allowed me to eventually deal with the trauma and view the war experience in a more benign and compassionate light.
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 →
My son, Nicholas, just didn’t seem to understand how much pain I suffered in Sutcliffe Parkwhen I took him to see fireworks on clear and starry night sky on the Fourth of July some years ago.
At first, I enjoyed the rockets zooming into the air. They were a colorful red, white and blue explosions that took your breath away with gasps of wonder and awe.
Soon however, they took on a menacing demeanor, however, as each blast began to remind me of the Vietnam War and the rounds of mortar fire that fell on me and my platoon some 30 years earlier. Continue reading →
Julie traveled all the way from Chicago and came to the Lotus Flower Island with a question about her life’s purpose. By the time she left the privately owned spiritual retreat, there was no doubt whatsoever that she found the answer she was looking for.
She’ll return to this rustic hideaway hidden away off the mainland of South Korea and, remain there, devoting herself to serving others from around the world who are searching for similar answers. Julie’s newfound happiness will be in helping others suffering from too much technology and not enough love. Continue reading →
“I don’t know” is soon to become my life-long mantra.
It has helped me immensely in calming the “monkey mind” after a wonderful Korean woman introduced it to me and it took a full day for me to understand its profound ramifications.
For me, saying “I don’t know” is a way of humbling myself and admitting that I know very little about the world I live in and what really matters in the scheme of life. No matter how hard I try to “get it right” through searching and throwing myself into one spiritual path after another, the end result brings me no closer to any definite answer and it’s okay to let it go and simply say “I don’t know” to the world.
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 →
I didn’t know how much joy there could be in grief until sorrow encompassed me and a warm flow of unconditional love spread throughout my entire being. Someone I knew experienced a death in her family and it hit me like a proverbial ton of bricks when I learned of her demise . . . Continue reading →
Why is it that I find myself sticking my foot into my mouth everytime something good comes my way? Why do I screw things up so badly? What curse have I created in some past life for me to resolve through some kind of karmic debt that I must repay in this lifetime? 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.
Closing my eyes, I open all my senses to group meditation!
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 →
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 →
If you didn’t know it by now, science supports the claims made by Abraham about the Law of Attraction and how it could help revitalize your life from this moment on.
That’s the word I got attending a workshop when a physicist met with Esther Hicks and explained how aligning with the Source, rather than resisting it, is based on the law of physics. “We knew that,” Abraham said speaking through Esther Hicks. Undaunted, the young man of science said that he realized it only after studying what the Law prescribes for all mankind. Align yourself with what you truly want in life and keep positive thoughts on achieving your heart’s desire. If you can imagine that happiness your achievement will provide, start with feeling that happiness now. Don’t wait for a result. Feel it in your gut, yor marrow, your very soul. Continue reading →
“You don’t need to work when you are meditating,” Abraham told a young woman who was called to the stage to question the spirits about issues she was facing Saturday. She was among some 15 persons who shared the “hotseat” at the Renassaince Hotel near Philadelphia’s International Airport for a workshop.
The message resonated with me and I hope everyone of the more than 500 in attendance took it in and will try the 15-minute exercise once a day to see how easier it can be to get in touch with the Source energy within. Continue reading →
I met Abraham up close and personal yesterday and I learned the universe had called me to study the Law of Attraction as voiced by Esther Hicks, the one who channeled for the spirits guiding us back to the Source within. 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 →
I dreamed a lucid dream for the first time in my life last night.
I’ve tried to experience a lucid dream– one where you tell yourself in the dream that you are dreaming — for more than five years after reading about dream interpretations by Carl G. Jung, the eminent psychiatrist who studied with Sigmund Freud. Continue reading →
I’m sorry. Please forgive me. I know that it’s my fault. I walked out on you believing I could get along without you, without your guidance without your help. Without your love . . . Continue reading →
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 →
A spirit touched me today. Or, rather, the spirit touched the pair of jeans I had worn the day before and left on a chair after removing them before going to sleep. When I awoke and put the jeans back on, I got the surprise of my life. 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.
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 →
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 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 →
Today’s meditation showed us that we all have a profound and innate wisdom. How have you experienced this in your life? Write about a time that you spontaneously said the right thing at the right time to someone. What did that communication feel like for you? — Deepak & Oprah 21-day Meditation Experience.
As I struggle to come up with a satisfactory answer for this question, let me focus instead on what Deepak had quoted William Blake as saying in reference to wisdom. Wisdom is “organized innocence.” What a concept! In order to have or to cultivate wisdom, I know that I must be in awe of something; I must see that thing with wonder, with the eyes of an innocent child. 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.”
You may also have experienced this kind of hope, (See https://contoveros.wordpress.com/?p=12505&preview=true) but not thought of it in those terms. Think of a time when you felt sure you were going to attain a lofty goal, even though the path to the goal was not apparent. That is the hope that comes from your being. Describe this feeling of certainty in your journal. – Deepak Chopra 21-Day Meditation Experience (Feeling Hope)
I was a buck private in training as a soldier in Fort Dix, NJ, when I had a vision or what Zen Buddhists call a “satori” or moment of clarity of what I needed to do with my life.
Despite always having a smile on my lips and a laugh at my tongue, I found it hard to think of anything to write about for the latest meditation round for Oprah and Deepak. That is, until I picked up my son at work this evening and we joked and laughed until I almost did you know what in my pants. It hurt so much that I started crying, that’s how good it was and how great it felt to just let it all come out in front of one of his 22-year-old buddies and our 25-year-old female traveling companion.
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 →
A friend of mine is “into” angels. “Suspend your disbelief,” he told me, explaining how belief in angels re-materialized into his life recently. I knew at that moment that resistance he had spoken of was puffing out its chest and stepping between me and the computer screen where his words appeared.
Am I among the “Chosen?” Will I be one of those who make the “cutoff” at the end when the proverbial bill finally gets to be paid?
I don’t know. If you would have asked me some five years ago, I’d tell you to hit the road. Jack. I’m not into any of that doomsday stuff. The so-called “Chosen People” were the Jews, Right? Look what happened to them. And don’t the Jehovah Witness folks believe that a couple hundred thousand of them will disappear from the earth at the time of the Rapture? And what about some old-fashioned Presbyterians? Didn’t Calvin or one of their leaders claim to be among the chosen few? Continue reading →
I wanted so much to write about your soft, careful touch on my arms and my hands. How you slide your fingers ever so meticulously over the outer parts of me, teasing a sensation to come forth, to grow from the inside out, knowing all along your touch is the touch of love. Continue reading →
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 →
Deborah loved with a love that was more than a love. Cupid’s arrow struck her just as a choir of angels sang and a special cherub played the most beautiful music in all the land over an ancient lyre, the same instrument that a shepherd boy named David once played to honor the god of the psalms. Continue reading →
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.
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 →
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 wayto get to the kingdom; only one way, and that was through Jesus. 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 →
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 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 →
While Neil Armstrong was taking a giant leap for all mankind, I had taken a small step toward adulthood one month after the moon landing, and I had no one to thank for it except my brother, who encouraged me to aim for the stars in becoming an officer and a gentleman in the Army of the United States of America. Continue reading →
I remembered how to fly this morning. The first thing I needed for liftoff, I recalled, was good, solid grounding. Everything must be secured and brought to a complete stand-still before I could ever dream of taking off into the air. 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 →
When I heard the song “Still in Saigon” the other day, I could have sworn a Vietnam veteran had written about his flashbacks and a need to process what was unprocessed as a young man.
Little did I know that the writer never set foot in Southeast Asia, let alone serve in the military. That got me wondering about the performing arts and how someone who never experienced war could capture its long-term effects on those who faced combat. 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 →
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.
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 →
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 →
How’d you like to go back in time and correct mistakes made in the past? No, you couldn’t go back to the moment before you were conceived, or any other time in your far distant past. Go back to more recent moments – say in the past year or two — when you believed you knew so much about life and how to live it without doing harm to others. 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 →
(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 →
There’s something about getting sick on a day off that allows me to feel sorry for myself free of all guilt. I take pity on myself; I baby myself; I pamper me. Nothing prevents me from going “easy” on myself and refraining from pushing to get something done. 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 →
I want to give “thanks,” today, but don’t want to offer it the Norman-Rockwell, “fake-it-‘til-you-make-it” way of the holidays. Instead, I want to share how grateful I am for such taken-for-granted “gifts” that I am only beginning to realize most of us have been given. 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 →
When I read the Occupy Wall Street demonstrators were unfocused and without a coherent message, I took a closer look at them in Philadelphia, and disvovered some were disheveled street persons looking for handouts, and one a graduate school political science major spouting Marxist teachings.
They represented only one percent.
The 99 percent of the other protestors were mostly young, highly educated unemployed or underemployed men and women who got tired of the debt-ceiling fiasco and took to the streets to mobilize against the Tea Party followers. Continue reading →
The greatest protest of our generation is seeking change in all shapes and sizes. You can see it in the signs the demonstrators carry, writing the letters out really big with magic markers so that passersby need not squint to get the messages.
There is not just one message, but many, which all have one thing in common: a belief that our world can do better for all and not just the few Continue reading →