Saturday, October 1, 2016

Simple Gifts - Here and Heaven

For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?
                      -   Mark 8:36

So the pilgrim had one of those dreams again. He woke tired and filled with sweat as if he had been wrestling with some unknown angel. He couldn’t remember if he won or lost the wrestling match. He thought that maybe because he woke as the sun rose that he had probably won. Still unsure with his own interpretation he ran to meet with his master teacher and confessor. After he fumbled to find the words to explain what had occurred the teacher smiled and looked at the pilgrim with compassion.
The teacher asked, “”What is this obsession you have with winning?”
The pilgrim was confused by the teacher’s initial reaction and responded to him , “One doesn’t like to lose.”

“Why not?”, smiled the teacher.

“ No one likes to feel embarrassed after trying so hard“, whispered the pilgrim.

“ Embarrassed with what?” the continually smiling teacher queried.

“ You know, embarrassed about putting one’s complete effort that results in not gaining anything , you know…losing,” The pilgrim stood frustrated.

The teacher outstretched his hands compassionately smiling saying “Losing what? Is it that your pride and your ego were lost? Is that a good or is that a bad thing ? Do you think anyone loves you any less or that you can love others any less because you had that dream? What does it really matter anyway? Maybe that angel was you? Maybe this moment now is the dream. Maybe we are here… and heaven.”

The pilgrim tried to bring this conversation to a more proactive conclusion and asked,“ So what can I do?”

The teacher poured a cup of tea for the pilgrim and gently handing him the cup he smiled and said, “Be grateful, be present to how all is sacred and learn true simplicity to bow and bend. Keep your heart open all ways. Help any you meet on the way.”

                                           Yo Yo Ma and Alison Kraus - Simple Gifts

                                                Yo Yo Ma and Friends - Here and Heaven

For my Soul Teacher


Copyright JF Sobecki LLC 2016 All Rights Reserved -

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Days Like This - Good Luck ? Bad Luck ? - An End of Summer Reflection

“There once was a simple farmer who lived and struggled alongside his neighbors and friends, trying to exist and fulfill a peaceful life. One-day news arrived from far away, that his old loving father had died. His neighbors gathered to grieve, but the farmer simply said, “Bad luck? Good luck? Who knows?" 
In time relatives brought a very fine horse of great cost and fine breeding, left to the farmer by his father. All the villagers and neighbors gathered in delight with him to celebrate his good fortune, but he just said, "Bad luck? Good luck? Who knows?”
One day the horse escaped into the hills and when all the farmer’s neighbors sympathized with the old man over his bad luck, the farmer replied, “Bad luck? Good luck? Who knows?”
A week later the horse returned with a herd of wild horses from the hills and this time the neighbors congratulated the farmer on his good luck. His reply was, “Good luck? Bad luck? Who knows?”
Then, when the farmer’s son was attempting to tame one of the wild horses, he fell off its back and broke his leg. Everyone thought this very bad luck. Not the farmer, whose only reaction was, “Bad luck? Good luck? Who knows?”
Some weeks later the army marched into the village and conscripted every able-bodied youth they found there. When they saw the farmer’s son with his broken leg they let him off. Now was that good luck? Bad luck? Who knows?”

      - Anthony De Mello SJ, Song of The Bird

“If you want to make God laugh, tell God your plans.”
                 Woody Allen

“Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.”

                 - Lao Tzu

It seems like yesterday that the pilgrim, who had grown tired of what was considered an extended and unwanted winter, was dreaming optimistically about a mystical filled summer season.  On the eve of the season and the great sacramental celebration for his second everything that was dreamed about would change in the flip of switch. Homebound for weeks great anticipations were altered. It wasn’t until this season was to make her final bow when the predicted second great hurricane of the century became a great false alarm the illumination occurred.

“So is this it? Is this what it is all about? Is your great plan just one big roll of the dice for us and then you wait and see how we deal with the outcome? Are you trying to teach us that our pilgrim egocentric plans are really of no significance in the long run? Why is it that it takes some of us so long to learn that it is how we respond to situations and people and how we treat others that matter? How is it that with all my imperfections that I am permitted to wake to another glorious new day? Why is it that my heart is not filled with one perpetual feeling of gratitude for all the tender mercies? How often do I have to be thrown off my Pauline horse before I hear your voice and trust in just being mindful and compassionate? Forgive me for not being more cognizant and appreciative of all those sacred pilgrims you have placed in my path to help me along on this passage. Though people come and go and things change I hope I remember the holy presence and that this life is a sacrament no matter where and how I am and there will be days like this. ”

(He remembered that when feeling blue and in doubt – PLAY Van Morrison!
 - Besides he had been accused of being on the Harrison payroll and a Jersey Boy disciple.)

Days Like This – Van Morrison

That’s Entrainment – Van Morrison

Real Real Gone  - Van Morrison

These are The Days – Van Morrison

*Labor Day 2016
For all who work, have worked, can’t work and want to work ... and of course my father..

Factory - B. Springsteen

Copyright 2016 JF Sobecki LLC All Rights Reserved. 


Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Contemplation 54

The Now is called “The Present” as it is a gift.”

“Time isn’t precious at all, because it is an illusion. What you perceive as precious is not time but the one point that is out of time: the Now. That is precious indeed. The more you are focused on time—past and future—the more you miss the Now, the most precious thing there is.”
                                     - Eckhart Tolle

There she was standing on the shore with the majesty of that sanctifying sea, her feet inviting and welcoming the christening waters into the great peace and the great journey ahead. On the horizon the canvassed vessel coasted with the current and wind carrying her dreams.

The witnessing prodigal pilgrim wondered:

What knocked me off course? When did I lose that innocent joy where living in the present wasn’t questioned and being and living were one and the past was not regretted nor the future feared? Am I too easy to let storms or even prospective squalls distract me from being?

On the eve of the eighth anniversary of the second chance dance the season he had hoped seemed to evaporate.

However, however… that vision of the bloodline innocent present on the gateway to paradise reinvigorated his own spirit with gratitude, humility and commitment to letting go and being.

Be Here Now – George Harrison

Looking For My Life – George Harrison

* Tomorrow Never Knows – ChoirChoirChoir – The Beatles

Turn off your mind, relax and float down stream
It is not dying, it is not dying
Lay down all thoughts, surrender to the void
It is shining, it is shining
Yet you may see the meaning of within
It is being, it is being
Love is all and love is everyone
It is knowing, it is knowing
And ignorance and hate mourn the dead
It is believing, it is believing
But listen to the colour of your dreams
It is not living(Leaving?), it is not living (Leaving?)
So play the game "Existence" to the end
Of the beginning, of the beginning
Of the beginning, of the beginning
Of the beginning, of the beginning
                                                     Of the beginning, of the beginning

* George Harrison questioned whether Lennon fully understood the meaning of the song's lyrics:
You can hear (and I am sure most Beatles fans have) "Tomorrow Never Knows" a lot and not know really what it is about. Basically it is saying what meditation is all about. The goal of meditation is to go beyond (that is, transcend) waking, sleeping and dreaming. So the song starts out by saying, "Turn off your mind, relax and float downstream, it is not dying."
Then it says, "Lay down all thoughts, surrender to the void – it is shining. That you may see the meaning of within – it is being." From birth to death all we ever do is think: we have one thought, we have another thought, another thought, another thought. Even when you are asleep you are having dreams, so there is never a time from birth to death when the mind isn't always active with thoughts. But you can turn off your mind, and go to the part which Maharishi described as: "Where was your last thought before you thought it?"
The whole point is that we are the song. The self is coming from a state of pure awareness, from the state of being. All the rest that comes about in the outward manifestation of the physical world (including all the fluctuations which end up as thoughts and actions) is just clutter. The true nature of each soul is pure consciousness. So the song is really about transcending and about the quality of the transcendent.
I am not too sure if John actually fully understood what he was saying. He knew he was onto something when he saw those words and turned them into a song. But to have experienced what the lyrics in that song are actually about? I don't know if he fully understood it.[4 (The Beatles Bible)

With gratitude and love for the First Member of The Band and our recent reunion on stage.


Copyright 2016 @ JF Sobecki LLC

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Celebrating Impermanence Day

  “Everything changes. No thing is ever the same.”
                         - Unknown

“No Mud, Not Lotus”
              - Thich Nhat Hanh

“The harder the journey the deeper the purification”
          - Seven Years in Tibet, Heinrich Harrier

Picking up the early morning newspaper the pilgrim read  of the  furious unpredicted and unexpected storm that wasn’t as unusual as he thought. The storm came and went just like unpredicted and unexpected storms in the past. Some streets were flooded. The dreams of a few families disappeared with the retreating street flowing like rivers . Other families had tree split roofs of their lonely homes .

Page two of the paper had a hidden story of he 17th Dalai Lama at a local college. The Dalai Lama spoke of how once he entered a grocery store and noticed his favorite fruit for sale. That sumptuous gift of paradise looked fresh and ready to tempt any sentient being and be enjoyed. The Dalai Lama checked his secret pocket and realized he had more than enough to purchase and then savor his favorite fruit. Without a breath  the money slipped back underneath his crimson robe  as he strolled slowly smiling out of the store . He is one who has the awareness that he did not need that piece of fruit to experience joy and peace. The pilgrim grabbed for his journal ,lifted his broken foot wrapped in a protective boot and began to reflect and write:

“ There is nothing like the sounds and salt aired smells of a sanctifying summer rain, chimes softly ring blessing the moment as the birds' sweet refrain welcomes the nourishment and the new day.
As the rain finishes her work the serene soaked earth solemnly celebrates the sacred re-christening as all that is alive at that moment flourishes. Sometimes distractions bring one to a path where one needs to be...sometimes distractions get one off the true path... being present helps us know the difference. No thing can bring one happiness or peace. They say ‘The moment now is called present as it is a sacred  gift of the divine.’

Moving to the beach was supposed to bring me closer to heaven and yes , sometimes it feels like paradise and sometimes it doesn’t .  I can stand on the shore being filled by the wonder when  a  rogue wave raises itself at my body and knocks me down and just as I get myself up standing upright again there is another wave knocking me down again . The gulls seem to laugh as they glide by while sandpipers seem to chase the comings and goings of the waves ignoring my situation. 

The tide comes in and the tide goes out. The sunrises and the sun sets. All things must pass right?”

Pausing and breathing …he whispers

Ah, Impermanence..,”


"If a problem can be solved there is no use worrying about it. If it can't be solved, worrying will do no good."
                   -  17th Dalai Lama

“You admire the man who pushes his way to the too the top in any walk of life, while we admire the one who abandons his ego.”
              - Seven Years in Tibet, Heinrich Harrier

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life[a]?
28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

                             - Matthew 6:25-34

All Things Must Pass – George Harrison

Turn! Turn! Turn ! – The Byrds

Across the Universe – The Beatles

Main Theme the Movie The Mission- (Ennio Morricone)

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.
What profit hath he that work in that wherein he labors?

                         -  Ecclesiastes 3


The Buddha's Last Instruction
by Mary Oliver

"Make of yourself a light"
said the Buddha,
before he died.
I think of this every morning
as the east begins
to tear off its many clouds
of darkness, to send up the first
signal—a white fan
streaked with pink and violet,
even green.
An old man, he lay down
between two sala trees,
and he might have said anything,
knowing it was his final hour.
The light burns upward,
it thickens and settles over the fields.
Around him, the villagers gathered
and stretched forward to listen.
Even before the sun itself
hangs, disattached, in the blue air,
I am touched everywhere
by its ocean of yellow waves.
No doubt he thought of everything
that had happened in his difficult life.
And then I feel the sun itself
as it blazes over the hills,
like a million flowers on fire—
clearly I'm not needed,
yet I feel myself turning
into something of inexplicable value.
Slowly, beneath the branches,
he raised his head.
He looked into the faces of that frightened crowd.


Copyright 2016 All Rights Reserved JF Sobecki LLC