Shintoism & Reverence in Nature

shintoism, religion, spirituality

Shintoism, to me, is best described as the religion of Hayao Miyasaki’s animé — of ancient forest, of swift river, and of plump purple friend or yellow-red fanged foe walking through forest, swimming across river.  Shintoism, to me, is the candied knowledge that the natural world is synonymous with the spiritual world and should be […]

Confucianism’s Progressive Respect*


Confucianism is not a philosophy, not a social system, not a Way, but a religion at whose center is an all-powerful, loving God who engendered an order-seeking universe. This godly force is symbolized by the character Tien, which is often translated as “Heaven.”  Confucius sought to translate the law of God into the law of […]

Acceptance, the Buddhist Way


Last week, I shared a starting list of my favorite teachings from ten of the world’s most followed religions. Soon, I’ll write at length as to why I felt impelled to put together this list. For now I will say that stating this list in no way lays claim to having mastered it. In fact, […]

Cosmic Lull

The old lives gain Reach forward into my days of mind   Their voices crawl Unrushed but sure Recognizable as fingernail On wood   Dormant lessons swell like a full lung Breath-held with the grasping Of days unlived Brandished in offering   My story One more layer of mud Etched unto geologic time    

The Public

From my chapbook “Reverse Commute,” published by Silver Birch Press. This poem was originally published in Big River Poetry Review under the title “Espíritu Santo.”

The Way of Smallness

I never had a crush on any of my high school or college professors. There is no writer that I’ve dreamt of stalking. Deep down, J.M. Coetzee’s thin, tragic eyes give me the chills, and Jeffrey Sachs’s boyish, world-saving smile is just too pure. But, I’ve always had a thing for New York Times columnist David Brooks. […]

How It Sounds

  I was quite surprised last Sunday when a few readers wrote me asking how the mantra I posted that day is supposed to sound.  So, I did something I normally avoid at all costs, sing out loud. Here is a recording of me saying the mantra. I learned it to a lovely rhythm, which […]

Mantra for the Divine Momma

   In honor of Mother’s Day, I wanted to share a mantra that invokes all the abundance of the Divine Mother, the female energy of joy, spontaneity and creativity.  This is a mantra whose practice dissolves fear and negative thought patterns.  Lather, rinse and repeat. For at least forty days and forty nights for best […]

Making the Bhagavad Gita Work for You

After years of yoga, retreats and sessions with spiritual teachers, I was finally motivated to read the Bhagavad Gita, one of the oldest and most relevant Hindu texts ever written. Religious reading is hard. It is slow. It can even, at times, be boring.  But the Bhagavad Gita is an action-packed tale that gets to the point […]

Bikram Love Triangle

Five minutes late to class and we got spots, spots apart. But, a mirrored column in front, so we could check each other out.  I watched you get hot in Ardha-Chandrasana, as you poured your head between short, upstretched arms. Then cut a sweat with the six hip Utkatasana dips, but by then, you were […]

You’re It

As the end of the year approaches, I wanted to share a poem with a spiritual dimension. But, as the piece I selected is particularly Californian in its brand of spirituality, it is playful, mystical and non-denominational. Indeed, it might even be considered hippie-ish. It is an easy  poem to keep in one’s head while one […]

How to Heal Yourself with Your Hands

Not too long ago, I read a book called The Healing Codes, written by Dr. Alex Loyd. The book offers a method of healing any health or emotional problem. It was recommended to me by the most well-respected bioenergetic doctor in Colombia, so I took it seriously. Rather than pre-empting a verdict on the veracity of the book, […]

Buddha Books

The bookshelves at my new meditation center in my newly new hometown of Miami. Way back when, I went to middle and high school here. And, because life likes to remind us who’s in charge, the meditation center is, of course, directly across the street from my former high school. Happy Columbus Day weekend, Americas!

Good God

  The unlaid egg is a grantor for today   Here Where the breeze reigns I bend Allow Bite off the broken nail Celebrant of drops of blood   That throb My fingertips Red

Espíritu Santo

“Espíritu Santo” is a poem about the impossibility of communication, except through bursts of emotion. Big River Poetry Review published it this past weekend and will include it in its 2014 anthology. I have to confess I am thrilled as this is probably the most established journal to publish my work. Thank you for reading!

Beyond the Source: A Mantra against Anger

I recently finished a three-month mantra practice aimed at purifying past karma and detoxifying the body. It is the third mantra practice that I undertake and, as with the first two, the results are transformational. Now I am ready for my fourth practice, which will be aimed at cleansing emotional memories. It is a well-documented […]

What Nietzsche Meant by “God is Dead”

I’m thoroughly enjoying my first Coursera course. It’s on philosophy since The Enlightenment and last week we did Friedrich Nietzsche.  Of course, I’d heard Nietzsche’s infamous phrase “God is dead” before, but I did not know exactly what was behind it. Now that I know, I wanted to share my class notes, because what Nietzsche […]

No Wrong Questions

Last night I went to a lecture on the moral limits of a market economy presented by Michael Sandel, which was part of the Hay Festival in Cartagena. Professor Sandel teaches one of the most popular courses at Harvard University. It’s called “Justice” and it’s about how to decide what is right and what is […]

Yes, really, just do it

Yes, really. Because, if we don’t do it now, we might never get the chance later. The thought of death need not be a buzz kill. Rather, it can be constant motivation to use our time in this life to move forward on our spiritual paths. Because I believe in writing things down, here go […]

J.D. Salinger’s humble intro

I read a fun book last summer written by Jeffrey Eugenides. It is called The Marriage Plot and is basically a love story between really smart people. One of those involved is a Divinity Studies major, so his love is very transcendent. Prominent among all the forms of prayer he tried was the Jesus Prayer, the same […]