Lessons from dying folks

Been thinking about lessons dying folks taught me. Here are a few. Be curious… encourages the mind to open instead of ignore…'s the doorway to joy. Embrace paradox….hang out with contradictions. Often when we embrace paradox a[...]

Angeles Arrien 1940 ~ 2014

Cultural anthropologist, author, educator, mischief maker and core faculty at Metta Institute ....Angeles often spoke of the four rivers in each of our experiences: Inspiration, Surprise, Challenge and Love. Good questions to ask at the close of[...]

Hands off Meditation

So enjoying today's small group calls with our Meditation & Inquiry sangha. We were exploring the value of a "hands off relationship" in meditation practice. When we relax our efforting we see that awareness knows through the immediacy of sensing,[...]


Writing to a friend this morning about ordinariness I said, "I am in awe not of our capacity to expand but of our ability to shrink the vastness of who we are into such a small[...]

Suzuki Roshi Cancer Diagnosis

December 4th was the anniversary of Suzuki Roshi's death. One of my favorite stories of great zen master centers on his diagnosis. At first it was thought that he had hepatitis. Concerned about contagion his food was prepared separately and he eat[...]

Keep Death Close

This evening we began to bring death into the meditation hall and explored its clarifying power. I find that when I keep death close at hand….I say I love you more often. I take myself a little less seriously and learn to not hold to opinions[...]

Breath & Three Marks

This mornings meditation instruction begins with a careful loving attention to the breath. Breathing is a non-conceptual process, a present time process, like a symphony that can be experienced directly without a need for thought. A living process[...]


Sweet conversation with Ram Dass today exploring the many ways love shows up in the dying process. Love is the holding that enables us to trust and move beyond previous limitations. Love as the aspect of total receptivity that allows us to include[...]

Three Marks

Ran into my friend Lew the other day. He is a longtime Buddhist practitioner who sometimes teaches at the Metta Institute. He shared a short teaching with me which helped in a conversation I had with an injured friend. "Without the misfortune of[...]

Mindfulness of Body

Dharma talk on mindfulness of the body....John O'Donahue the wild Irish poet wrote, "We need to come home to the temple of our senses. Our bodies know they is our minds that make us homeless." When we say "just sit" ….we are[...]


Tonight a friend got scared by the lack of control that characterizes loss. Spoke of “managing our grief” and “getting over grief.” Curiously we never speak of “managing our joy” or “getting over our happiness.” Grief is an[...]

The great matter of life and death

I laugh now thinking about it..... just before my chest pains started that lead to my heat attack I was making notes for a talk on Uncertainty that I had imagined sharing with students in Italy. Try as we might we cannot control the[...]

Purchase the book


Discovering What Death
Can Teach Us About Living Fully

Death is not waiting for us at the end of a long road. Death is always with us, in the marrow of every passing moment. She is the secret teacher hiding in plain sight, helping us to discover what matters most.

Life and death are a package deal. They cannot be pulled apart and we cannot truly live unless we are aware of death. The Five Invitations is an exhilarating meditation on the meaning of life and how maintaining an ever-present consciousness of death can bring us closer to our truest selves.


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