Category Archives: Uncategorized

Thoughts for Christmas on my Song, The Bridegroom

Nearly four years ago, I wrote this song called The Bridegroom (link above).  In it, I attempt to express the indescribable joy I find in God’s unconditional love, which ultimately is one with me and with everything.  In the Bible, the metaphor of the “Bride of Christ” is used to express our inexpressibly intimate, and ultimately inseparable Union with Spirit. Our ego or personal self is the “Bride,” or individualized expression, of the One Spirit or Bridegroom, and true everlasting happiness is found when Union with the Cosmic Bridegroom is experienced in the ecstasy of spiritual realization.

The Perfect Love that is found in God (or our own Higher Self) is incomparable and infinitely greater than any temporary happiness a person, thing, or human destiny can give you. This blissful relationship of devotion and intimacy finally culminates in Union: Love, Lover, and Beloved finally realized as inseparably one! Through his own spiritual effort, Jesus realized this Union with God and became the Christ. If we realize it through effort in meditation and the grace of God, we too become Christs along with him.

Continue reading

Merry Christmas from Bodhgaya!

I’ll be spending Christmas in the pilgrimage city of Bodhgaya, the auspicious place of Buddha’s Enlightenment under the Bodhi Tree nearly 2500 years ago. Shall I call the One Love that miraculously manifests all things Buddha Nature, Christ-Consciousness, One Mind, etc.? Is following Jesus merely believing his words, or realizing their essence in my own experience through meditation? Jesus saw his own True Nature and became the Christ, but his mission is only fulfilled when we realize the same Truth for ourselves and transcend the need for a temporary teacher like Jesus. Jesus was a “finger pointing to the moon” of our own Christ-Consciousness right now seeing out of our eyes.

It is time for the human race to stop bickering over whose religious vocabulary is correct, and to start seeking for ourselves through meditation the Bliss that is the basis of everything and that is called by many names. Jesus and Buddha experienced awakening and then gave humanity a menu through their precious words. Will we be content with the menu, or will we taste the delicious food of enlightenment for ourselves? The Buddha’s mission is only completed when we realize that we too are a Buddha. And the mission of Jesus is only fulfilled when we realize that we are ALL awakened Christs, one with the Father and eternal!

Must I go to a church to celebrate Christ-mas? This whole universe is the “church” of Christ, and every atom expresses Its Infinite Glory that even the universe itself is mere shadow of! In bowing to the Buddha, I bow to Christ, and in bowing to Christ, I bow to the Buddha. Fools cling to names and forms, but the wise see the Essence.

Merry Christmas from India, my friends!

A Few Thoughts on Spiritual Peace

Peace that is based upon a circumstance is not spiritual peace.  For me, spiritual peace is both the experience of one’s True Nature (which is peace itself), and a general perspective on life.  To perceive through meditation and the grace of God that your True Self is eternal and indestructible is the source of a peace that cannot be shaken, and does not oscillate as circumstances inevitably change.  It is as if one is watching a movie that has all sorts of ups and downs, thinking that they are an actor in the movie.  Then they realize that the Watcher of the movie cannot be affected by the images that are, in reality, merely entertaining illusions.

Meditation does not solve all of one’s problems, for we must still do our duty, serve others, and remain subject to the law of karma as long as we are on Earth.  But spiritual realization catalyzed by deep meditation can give us access to a Peace that is beyond the constant ups and downs of life, and the gains and losses of karmic fortune.  People may pass out of our lives; we may lose all our wealth and talents; everything we love, and even our body, will someday be taken from us.  The wise, however, never grieve about this natural schema.  For the peace of God, which comes from understanding that you and God are eternally One, can never be taken from you.  To realize this for yourself is truly a priceless gift beyond any means of comparison!

Continue reading

Remembering the Goal of Life

“If a person beholds a lesser happiness and a greater happiness, let them leave behind the lesser to attain the greater.”
– The Buddha in The Dhammapada

It has been said that the spiritual path can be summed up in a single word: remembrance.  Remembrance of what?  The word remembrance points out that, in the spiritual path, we are seeking something we all know deep down to be life’s most important pursuit.  We all know that every person we love, and every material thing we cherish, will eventually be taken from us.  We all know that death will take even our body from us in a cosmic blink.  Deep down, we all know that true happiness cannot be found in impermanent things and people.  It can only be found in the realization of God, who is Bliss Itself and is our True Nature.

The word remembrance also reminds us that God-Realization does not imply the gaining of something.  Rather, the sages tell us that we have simply forgotten that we are God!  We have spent lifetimes upon lifetimes falsely identifying with our temporary minds and bodies, trapping ourselves in the illusion that we are not already Eternal.  Luckily, sages like the Buddha and Christ come to the Earth to remind us of what will truly bring us happiness, and to show us a path to Awakening.

Continue reading

My New Book, Daily Bliss

Here is a link to where you can purchase my book on amazon: Amazon Page

Here is a link to the free pdf version:  Daily Bliss (Final Version)

Imagine we are having coffee together, and you ask me to explain my thoughts about God and the spiritual path.  If I totally disregarded your role in the conversation, and went on an excruciating five hour rant, the result would be my new book, Daily Bliss: Practical Ways to Experience God in Everyday Life.  All the things I consider to be essential concerning my views about God are contained in it.

Continue reading

Spiritual Priorities

When the spiritual path is painted as, “Love God, do the right thing, and only good things will happen to you,” it is a superficial and one-sided explanation that misses the deepest truth about why we are alive. The Divine indeed showers countless blessings upon us, a truth which anyone breathing air right now would be hard pressed to deny. Yet we all sometimes create suffering through our own bad choices and past karma. And, even when we are doing the right thing, I believe God sometimes allows disappointments, delays, and frustration in our lives to draw us back to Himself, and to remind us of the true purpose of life. For no material thing, person, or amount of success could ever take the place in our heart reserved for the incomparable joy of Divine Communion. 

I have found that sometimes disappointment is used to show me that I have been committing spiritual idolatry. Idolatry is not the worship of stones, but inner devotion to anything material we think will make us happy. If we truly believe that wealth, romantic love, success, etc. will satisfy us, we will soon learn the painful lesson that no impermanent thing can take the place of inner spiritual fulfillment. In this sense, the deeper lesson of some disappointments is not, “How can I do better next time” (even though such thinking has obvious practical importance) but rather, “Why did I think that this thing, person, or project could bring me true happiness?”

The good news is that once we learn the deepest lesson that only God-realization can give us lasting happiness, we can also enjoy the world as well. Jesus taught, “Seek first the Kingdom of God, and all these things (i.e. needs and wholesome personal desires) shall be given to you as well.” This promise was almost identically spoken through Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita when he said, “Those who worship me and meditate on me constantly, without any other thought – I will provide for all their needs.” These are wonderful divine promises and express the double blessing of putting God-realization first in one’s life! Yet much of modern religion misses the first part of the promise which, if overlooked, nullifies the second.

The way such a principal manifests in the lives of unique people is surely a mystery. Sometimes people understand from the beginning that God-realization is the superior bliss, but sometimes people are drawn to the spiritual path through suffering. Yet whether people are drawn through knowledge or through perpetual disappointment in outward pursuits, it is my deepest conviction that at some point all people will learn the difficult lesson that God-realization alone can truly satisfy us.

Enjoy your day! With love,


Homosexuality, Christianity, and The Future of Scripture

Introduction:  A Hyperbolized Moment

A few months ago I was visiting my hometown of Tulsa, Oklahoma, and I attended a local church on a Sunday night.  This church helps a lot of people, and the messages there have often inspired me during crucial periods of my life.  This particular night was only about one week after the historic Supreme Court ruling that finally granted gay people the equal right to marry, something that should be an obvious option in a secular democracy.  I was feeling somewhat down that day, and I expected to hear an inspirational sermon.

What I actually sat through was a 50-minute rant from a constitutional “expert” the church hired to speak.  He outlined how America had entered an age of destruction typified by the Supreme Court’s “disastrous” decision.  I won’t get into his political arguments here, but I will share how he dramatically ended his sermon:  in one hand he held up the Bible, and in the other hand he held up the Supreme Court ruling.  With a gesture of passionate defiance, he threw down the ruling, and lifted high the Bible to the rapturous cheers of the audience.

Continue reading

Many Paths, One Goal

“With sincerity and earnestness one can realize God through all religions. The Vaishnavas will realize God, and so will the Saktas, the Vedantists, and the Brahmos. The Muslims and the Christians will realize Him too. All will certainly realize God if they are earnest and sincere.”


Introduction: The Vacuum Effect and the Common Denominator of the Spiritual Path

People often ask me what my religion is.  I usually answer that I don’t identify with a particular religion, but am merely seeking GOD.  To me, God is an experience of Bliss, Joy and Perfect Love.  And ultimately, as Christ taught, I and God are one.  The outrageous and wonderful truth is that we are all God/Buddha/Krishna/etc. in different forms.  To actually experience this is Bliss itself and, I believe, the goal of human life. Strangely though, the fact that I am seeking GOD, but do not exclusively identify with a traditional religion, does not compute with some people… As if it were not even possible to find God without choosing one religion; as if there WERE one correct religion; as if the infinite, indescribable Bliss of God could be contained in a single human system!

I call this the “vacuum effect,” an effect that has gutted the fiery essence of religion and replaced it with a goofy and spiritually limp version of modern traditionalism.  We treat God as if we were buying a vacuum in the supermarket.  Say I need a vacuum for my house… when I get to the store, there are usually at least 20 options I need to sift through to find the one I want.  In a similar way, people often think, “To find God, I guess I need to choose whether to become a Christian, a Muslim, a Hindu, etc.”  They act as if the One True God, the Infinite and Omnipresent Source of the majestic universe, was Himself a Jew, a Christian, a Muslim, a Hindu! This fragmented approach may work for buying vacuums, but God is not a vacuum!  Religions are wonderful as long as they are considered paths to the Divine, but when people think that they must join a human institution to commune with the God within them, it shows there is a big problem with our mindset.

Continue reading

Ordinary Mind is the Way – Thoughts on Chapter 19 of the Mumonkan


-A 19th century woodcut of the great Zen Master Joshu

Joshu asked Nansen, “What is the Way?” “Ordinary mind is the Way,” Nansen replied. “Shall I try to seek after it?” Joshu asked.  “If you try for it, you will become separated from it,” responded Nansen.  How can I know the Way unless I try for it?” persisted Joshu.  Nansen said, “The Way is not a matter of knowing or not knowing. Knowing is delusion; not knowing is confusion. When you have really reached the true Way beyond doubt, you will find it as vast and boundless as space. How can it be talked about on the level of right and wrong?” With those words, Joshu came to a sudden realization.

– Chapter 19 of the Mumonkan

Introduction:  Where is the Place of Enlightenment?

I grew up surrounded by what is sometimes called “Churchianity” in Oklahoma.  I certainly learned some important lessons from my experiences in church-most notably a deep appreciation for the original teachings of Jesus – but eventually I grew jaded with the traditional Christian worldview as time went by.  There were many complicated reasons for my frustration, but perhaps the primary reason was the inaccessibility of God.  God was always something separate from us; He was always in a faraway realm that was far superior to this world, and the only hope we had of experiencing Him fully was in the afterlife. And even then there was always a separation-we were mere humans, and God was God, end of story.

In Zen Buddhism I found a tradition that, among other things, taught the (for me) revolutionary teaching that the Buddha Nature, a term which for me is functionally synonymous with God, is not separate from this very world.  In fact, we would see that we ourselves and all things are It if we could see clearly. As I practiced Zen meditation and studied more about the tradition my ordinary life, with all its usual maddening frustrations, became infused with a glow of supreme sacredness, a point of view that the story I am about to comment on expresses with powerful clarity.  For in Zen our ordinary life is itself the life of the Buddha.  And as it says in the Lotus Sutra, this very world is the “Place of enlightenment.”

A koan is a typically paradoxical Zen story or saying that is sometimes used as a meditation object and is also frequently used as sermon material. This koan from chapter 19 of the Mumonkan (or “Gateless Gate”), the most famous collection of Zen koans, centers around the life question of Joshu, a future Zen master who taught in 8th century China and who in this koan appears as the student.  As with all commentary, my thoughts are not the “correct” way to see the story but merely reflect my own personal thoughts and understanding at this moment.  I also am admittedly interposing my own biases and feelings into the story, but this itself is the very nature of commentary. Please reflect for yourself and discover what it means to you!

Continue reading

Purposes of Meditation

I have been practicing Buddhist meditation nearly every day, usually in the Zen style, for the past five years.  I have also attended 10 week long silent meditation retreats and undergone 9 months of residential training at a Zen monastery.  Yet what surprises many people I talk to is that I do not identify myself a Buddhist, for I feel that all religions are merely paths to God and I do not wish to label myself with one exclusively.  I also sometimes take a more personal approach to the Divine that is usually not present in Buddhist circles, although I ultimately understand that God/Buddha is fundamentally a direct experience and is actually my own True Nature.

I do, however, consider myself a serious practioner of Zen Buddhist meditation, and I have found that this practice has benefited me immensely.  In this brief post I’ll explore a few reasons why I think Zen meditation can be beneficial for both the religious and the non-religious alike.

Natural stress reduction

The most common introductory Zen practice is simply concentrating on your natural breath, a practice that requires no faith and that anyone can easily experiment with.  And it is now virtually a scientific consensus that this type of mindfulness meditation is linked with actual stress reduction.  And stress in our modern world is something that unfortunately is nearly universal.  In America we have so many options, the world is so freakishly fast paced and interconnected, and information speeds through our brains at a level that probably far exceeds all past generations.

This fast paced world seems to stress people out on a mass scale, and meditation can be a natural medicine for this stress.  When I meditate I find that my brain literally relaxes in a physical way.  Especially on a busy day, meditation tangibly reduces my stress in a way that I can actually feel.  Most people realize they are stressed, yet don’t see the obvious truth that stress is the result of having little control over their own thoughts.  We all understand that our bodies need to rest, and that if we exercise them constantly they will get worn down.  Do we not see that the muscle of the mind will make us stressed and depleted if we don’t intentionally still our thoughts from time to time?

Meditation, in this sense, is a non-sectarian and completely natural medicine for stress and a tool to quiet the restless thinking mind.  Its easy to make meditation into something “otherworldly” and forget that Zen meditation is, first and foremost, the physical practice of concentrating the mind on the present moment as it already is.  Is your breath “Buddhist” or “Jewish” or “Muslim?”  Its high time we begin viewing mindfulness meditation as a universal practice that all can benefit from and not the hoarded treasure of a niche spiritual community.

I don’t practice meditation because some ancient book told me to or because some guy with a backwards collar said I should. Rather, I practice meditation largely because I have found again and again through my own experience that it reduces my stress and makes me a more peaceful person.  When I practice meditation in the morning for 20-30 minutes, I find that I can start the day from a place of calm and relaxation.  And when I practice meditation after a long day of business I find it naturally rejuvenates my energy level.  So even if I did not believe in the potential of enlightenment and understand the more spiritual reasons for meditation I would still meditate for its practical physical and psychological benefits.

Meditation as a tool to experience our own God-Nature

From a more spiritual perspective, I believe that we are fundamentally Spirit/God/Buddha, or whatever word you want to call the Divine .  Yet while this is the case it is a mysterious truth that the majority of people have not actually experienced this.  We may intellectually understand we are the deathless and changeless Buddha Mind, but if we are honest we will see that we have a deeply rooted habit of falsely identifying with our limited body, feelings, and thinking mind much of the time.

The other side of meditation is inquiry into the “Great matter of birth and death,” (A Zen saying referring to the quest for enlightenment) and concentration is not a goal in itself but merely a means to that end.  By calming our thinking mind through meditation we set the stage to investigate our own nature.  And just as we cannot see our reflection in a boiling pot of water, so we cannot see the truth of our own original enlightenment if our mind is distracted by thoughts and clouded by desire.  In meditation we still our mind, and then from this place of calm begin to ask the question, “What is experiencing this?”  “What is aware?”  “Who am I really?” By persistently investigating these questions in the context of deep concentration and mindfulness, I believe we all have the capacity to awaken to the truth that our own awareness is God Itself.  The goal of the spiritual path is this direct experience, one that many prophets and sages throughout time have testified to in a variety of both literal and symbolic ways.

So meditation is not merely a tool to calm the thinking mind, although this is an obvious and wonderful benefit of the practice. In my view, Zen meditation is fundamentally a technology that, if pursued singlemindedly and wholeheartedly, can lead to the direct realization of what is called “God” or “Buddha Nature.”  In this experience we are set free, for we realize that everything – the good and the bad, the pleasant and the painful, the ups and the downs, our body, humanity, and even the whole universe – is merely the dream of a nameless Dreamer who is perfect, deathless, and changeless. And it is my deepest conviction that anyone, through the regular practice of meditation and the grace of God, can realize this deep truth in this very body and enjoy forevermore the bliss that all people are really seeking and that cannot be found in any impermanent thing.

Meditation as an expression of our God-Nature

The great paradox of Zen is that we are already the deathless Buddha in this moment, but that, mysteriously, great efforts in meditation are required to actually experience this truth.  Yet we should never think that in meditation we are gaining anything.  Enlightenment is merely realizing what has always been true, seeing that God is what is already seeing with your eyes and hearing with your ears in this moment.   This very moment is God manifesting Itself to Itself, a blessed perfection based on Its own miraculous and rationally inexplicable existence.   A great historical Zen teacher named Ehei Dogen wrote that our practice, or zazen (seated meditation), is itself enlightenment.  When we sit down to practice meditation, we are not trying to get enlightenment.  Rather, in meditation we are naturally expressing our own enlightened nature.  Because Dogen perceived this inexpressible and wonderful truth he called zazen the “dharma gate of ease and joy.”  From this perspective meditation is not merely stress reduction tool or even a tool to experience enlightenment-it is rather a joyous celebration and a serenely natural manifestation of the Enlightenment Mind we have never one been separate from!

For a deeper explanation of how I view meditation, God, and the spiritual path, check out my book in the book tab of this website.  I have also suggest in the appendix of this book several great books on how to begin a meditation practice in the Zen style.  If you are interested in meditation I recommend starting a daily meditation practice for a period of time you think you can stick to  (20 minutes per day is a good starting number) and consider attending extended meditation retreats.

May you and all beings awaken and realize that your own awareness in this very moment is God/Buddha/Tao/Allah/Krishna/Christ Itself.  With love,