This earth is a miracle. Our life on it is a miracle. Our consciousness, a miracle too, is given to us — but only up to a certain point. In adulthood, it is up to us to develop and extend this existing awareness so that it can bear the intensities of life here: both the difficulty and the beauty of our brief moment on earth.
I am a clinical psychologist working out of Great Barrington, MA. The findingly work derives from my lifelong training in Buddhist, Christian and Jewish mysticism. My primary teachers have been Georg Kuehlewind and David Spangler, though I was initiated into Buddhism formally by Lama Sonam Konga of the Drikung Kagyu lineage.
My teachers have also been my professors in German and Comparative Literature at Harvard and Yale. I include, in the Findings pages, elements of the Western tradition that can locate the world in a grain of sand.
The workshops, consulting and meditation groups are all aimed at direct experience, not theory or belief. A powerful push in this direction came from meeting Mother Theresa and working with her Missionaries of Charity in Nirmal Hriday, the Home for Dying Destitutes in Calcutta. Another impetus came from spending nine years as Chief Psychologist for children with AIDS at Harlem Hospital. The many years of seeing patients and facilitating group meditation since then. Consulting to hospices and sitting at the bedsides of the dying. The trees and hills and deer and owls and star-thick skies of the Berkshires.
Maybe I’ve been taught spiritually, above all, by my marriage to an amazing woman for these last 34 years that seem like a single day. Then again, perhaps my greatest teachers and transformers have been my two astonishing sons—one of whom taught me much more than I wanted to know by dying of cancer at age 25. There’s a lot of instruction in just the wear and tear of a life on earth, making experiment after experiment and finding out, by striking many bells, what rings true.
findingly offers many practices to help refresh your connectedness of all kinds – with other people; with the very sources of your own mental and perceptual abilities; with the visible and invisible ecology of Earth. Some of these are individual practices, things to do in your mind, heart and body. Some of them are collective practices; they create a group vortex capable of inviting new inspiration. Some are texts for you to ponder. All these offerings are meant to help you move through life, as Richard Howard put it, not only searchingly but findingly.
We may think of spirituality as meaning, “leaving the earth, the body, our humdrum lives.” This work is all about incarnation, deciding to be born, choosing the very life you have and fulfilling its possibilities.
Or we may think spirituality is about individual development alone. This work aims always at interconnection and dialogue.
Sometimes spirituality involves beliefs, dogmas. This work develops your own ability to experience for yourself. To discern, choose, judge, decide. To love. To take the risk.
Spiritual directions can seem to deny the heat and chill of emotions. This work allows for all the normal emotions and also transforms them, with practice, into new ways of seeing and doing.
Often spiritual folks assert that the individual self should be transcended and discarded. This work finds a personal self that continues to exist no matter how immersed and spiritually connected we become.
We often turn toward Eastern thinkers and forms, as if the whole tradition of the West were no longer valid – maybe because it has led to materialism and bloody conquest. This work finds the pacific and exciting strains within Western literature, philosophy and religion, and the places where, for all our differences, the monistic hints within world traditions can goad us into fruitful spiritual activity today.
I don't know about you, but my mind is often distracted and jumpy, fumbling the keys so they don’t fit in the lock. Probably we all know from graced moments, or following meditative practice, that it is possible to strengthen the mind. Then the world opens up all around.
Normally, we toggle between involvement and separation: between being immersed in the text or the dialogue or the task, and then sinking out of connection into distraction and aloneness. We toggle between compassion and self-orientation. It is possible to linger longer at the immersive pole of this oscillation, participating more deeply in a realm of shared activity without loss of self.
Most days, it seems that we exist in the face a finished world of things. You've probably already hit moments, though, when all your senses, including thinking and intention, intensify. At those moments, you may have found yourself in intimate contact with the world as a something moving, growing, and meaning -- not a world of things at all. This earth is not a collection of objects, says Thomas Berry, but a communion of subjects.