Higher Power

we rarely speak
of God that
him her force
lives in heaven
forests oceans everywhere

we pray to
be always in
good stead with
each moment where
light is ours

this karma knowing
watching to see
if we are
truly in his
image like clouds

floating peace through
sky we try
meditating while walking
the quiet path
of constant love

and one day
may we arrive
wherever there is
union with all
that ever was

Evening Prayer

I don’t pray every night, but I probably should. After baths, books, conversation with wife, I usually drift into writing, creating, rearranging words on a screen. Mind a whir, could journey depths until dawn, but the clock of calculation, of sanity, of sacred sleep, tells me to stop. I go into my daughter’s room, turn down her light, I love you, I say to her curled up slumber. I meditate in my son’s room, the sound of his breathing, my pew, my stained glass, my sanctuary. Seated, darkness, air in, carbon dioxide out, first minutes filled with brain bouncing from thought to thought, the earlier, the tomorrow, the could happen. Then sometimes the indescribable now, when I’m nowhere, everywhere, witness to all time, and no time at all. Emerge a short life span later, pray for my colleague, that her malignant tumor retreats, allows life, hers to continue. It feels like I could stay forever, talking to God, to no one, to everyone.

Meditation Doesn’t Care

Meditation doesn’t care
about the book you wrote
what you posted online
or the car you drive

Meditation doesn’t care
about your rolex or
your job, so important
money made

Meditation doesn’t care
about all your friends
who go to parties
drink martinis

Meditation doesn’t care
about your writing
these words
bits of truth

Interview with ABC News Anchor and Author, Dan Harris

I had the opportunity to catch up with ABC News Anchor and Author, Dan Harris.  Dan is the author of 10% Happier, a New York Times bestselling book that explores his discovery of meditation and mindfulness.

I asked Dan about the role that mindfulness can play in the lives of young people.  He mentioned the clear benefits of mindful students being able to better maintain focus, while improving behavior.  He stressed that mindfulness can help kids be less emotionally reactive.   In particular, we spoke about the recent developments in Baltimore.  He cited the Holistic Life Foundation as an organization in Baltimore doing incredible work teaching mindfulness in high risk, urban environments.  He stated that there has been an economic divide within the mindfulness community, with some people feeling that mindfulness is largely an upper middle class pursuit, but that he sees diverse socioeconomic communities embracing the practice more and more.  Dan went on to share the insight that practicing mindfulness can help take the bias out of decision making.  With mindfulness practice one can better see how things truly are, getting past stereotypes and preconceived assumptions.

I asked Dan about how his life might have been different had he learned mindfulness meditation when he was younger.  Dan said that he would have been a better student growing up and that it would have helped him focus.  He also said that he probably would have been a little less obnoxious to teachers.  Later as a reporter, mindfulness would have helped him make more reflective decisions before venturing into war zones.  Upon return from covering conflict zones in places like Iraq and Afghanistan, he expressed how mindfulness could have helped him be more self-aware and perhaps avoid depression related to those often traumatic experiences.

Next, I asked Dan whether he thought that mindfulness could compete with drugs and alcohol on college campuses.  He said that college will probably always be a time for experimentation with drugs and alcohol, but that mindfulness can play a role in reducing binge behaviors and sexual assault on college campuses, while also helping to alleviate stress, anxiety and depression.  We spoke in particular about his alma mater Colby College, where he recently addressed students.  After concluding his talk there, a handsome, big, charismatic male student got up and made an announcement about an upcoming event for the “Colby Mindfulness Club.” Dan said that that never would have happened when he was a student there.

I went on to ask Dan about how mindfulness connected to his work reporting for ABC’s Good Morning America and Nightline.  On Good Morning America he mentioned how he often tries to use his mindfulness training to be more aware.  He is able to deeply listen to his co-anchors, slow down the moment, and be fully present in the now.  For example, there are times when he is able to notice when someone on the show is being ignored.  He went on to say that this isn’t something he is always able to achieve, but that he certainly makes the mindful effort.  As a reporter in the field, mindfulness has made Dan more sensitive to others and a better listener.  This sensitivity in turn, has translated into him being a more careful, accurate, and mature reporter.

My last question for Dan was focused on Global Citizenship.  I asked him if he felt a sense of responsibility to parts of the world outside of our nation’s borders.  He cited three levels of mindfulness practice: personal practice, interpersonal practice, and global collective consciousness.  He said that he has made real strides in his personal and interpersonal practice, and that his opening up to a global interconnectedness was a work in progress.  He went on to share that the third practice of global collective consciousness, if achieved by many, can contribute to improving the overall happiness of the world.