Skip to main content


Living with Sadness

  Today, I woke up feeling sad. All of my basic needs are met. I have a pantry full of food and a warm, safe place to sleep at night.  Put simply, my life is going well by most objective standards. I have (almost) nothing to complain about. So, why am I sad? I don’t think there is a reason. I think there is a wellspring of emotion, and when we wake up our cup is filled with whatever happens to be in the well that day. Sometimes, I wake up angry and irritated. Other times, I wake up quiet and contented. But today I woke up sad. I’ve been sad a lot lately. And I’m not sure there’s much that can be done about it. I could explore the tide pools of sadness. I could tie a rock around my neck and and sink into its dark waters; looking for the source. But I’m scared I’d drown. I’m scared I’d fall in love with the dark anonymity of the sandy bottom, find peace in the fullness of my grief until I forsook the surface world and breathed watery death into my lungs. There’s comfort in sadness. And t
Recent posts

Karma and Family Heirlooms

In pre-industrial America, it was common for family heirlooms to be passed down from one generation to another.   A woman might wear her mother’s wedding dress to get married or a father might give his prized car to his son as a graduation present. Other times, the heirloom might be less descript; a bookcase that Grandpa built when he was a child or a photo album that a favorite aunt maintained for years. These heirlooms served two purposes. First, they were pragmatic. In pre-industrial America, items like furniture and clothing were hard to come by. A family’s dinner table was either purchased at great expense or it was built through many hours of hard labor. And just getting the fabric for new garments could take months in addition to the many hours spent cutting and stitching the fabric into a dress or pair of pants. Gifting items like these to the next generation saved the recipient both time and money; allowing them to focus their energy on other tasks. In addition, family he

Sweeping Up Wood Chips

If one were to visit my home in the wintertime, they'd see wood chips all over the house.  They end up on the floor, and on the chairs, and I've even found them in my bedroom.   I use the wood chips in my chicken coop to provide nesting material and warmth to the birds.   They're effective, but the downside is the wood chips stick to my pants when I enter the coop to collect eggs and feed my feathered friends. Sometimes they even get into my boots.  And when I come into the house after doing chores, the wood chips come with me.  I've tried everything imaginable to keep this from happening.  I take my work boots off before entering the house.  I brush off my pants as best I can when chores are done. But it can't be helped.  The wood chips follow me like flies follow poop.  As far as problems go, this is a minor one; nothing that can't be solved with a broom and dustpan.  But it gives me a bit of perspective on life and Buddhist practice. We can think of the pract

Create Pockets of Contentment (Dharma Talk)

I discuss Buddhist pure lands and the challenge of facing all of the world's suffering. Using the pure land teaching I show how we can create small sanctuaries that save ourselves and others from harm.                                                                                                                                                                            If you enjoyed this Dharma talk, you'll love my books!

Learning to Walk Alone

I've been alone my entire life.  I don't mean that literally, of course.  I have a large family, a girlfriend, and a job that requires me to speak with people on a near-constant basis.   When I was younger, I served in the Marine Corps. where I routinely shared a squad bay with 60 other men.  And when I worked as a farmer's apprentice, I shared a bunkhouse with 5 other people. So, it's rare that my aloneness has been of a physical kind.  Rather, it is in the mental and spiritual realms that isolation has been my only friend. For a time, this bothered me.  I thought I was defective because I didn't care about the sports teams, the TV shows, and the popular culture of the people around me.   I tried to fake it.   I watched football highlights on the weekend, so I had something to chat about with coworkers on Monday.  I studied mannequins in storefront windows, so I could learn to dress fashionably.  And I researched the bands I heard on Top 40 radio stations, so I cou

Goodness is It's Own Reward (Dharma Talk)

I discuss the "paradigm of meritocracy, and how it can set up wrong expectations when we go about our daily lives.  I also discuss the Buddhist practice of Intoku ; explaining how it can help motivate us toward Right Action when there is no clear benefit to ourselves or others. If you enjoyed this Dharma talk, you'll love my books!

Only Two Things Matter in Life (Dharma Talk)

I explore the age-old question, "How Should I Spend My Time?" and discuss the two most important items on everyone's to-do list.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                If you enjoyed this Dharma talk, you'll love my books!