Mind & Heart

Version 2


I have been teaching that mindfulness
might just as well be called “heartfulness.”

In the practice we witness
our own body, heart & mind.
We observe our thoughts & feelings
& so come to know ourselves deeply.

And in this process we befriend
our body, heart & mind also.
We embrace thoughts & feelings
& come to love ourselves more fully.

Human beings are able
to use their minds to think.
But minds can also see.
My mind can cling to a belief.
Or I can see what is.

Human beings are able to
use their hearts to emote.
But hearts can also feel.
My heart can cling to a desire.
Or I can feel what is.

Our heart is a love
linking us to other beings.

Our mind is a light
meant to show us the Way.

The Sanskrit word is Smrti
Zen calls us to remember
our own original essence.

The Arabic word is Zikr
The Sufi calls us to remember
human unity with the Divine.

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My business training gave me
a set of very clear priorities:
You don’t perform a service
without a “return on investment.”
You don’t leave the room
without making sure
everyone has your card.
You don’t announce an event
without a “call to action.”

I tried to do all those things.
But I couldn’t stand myself.
So I don’t do any of them.

My coach also taught me –
“Just shine your light
& they will come.”
I do that one.
I simply teach my classes
& allow people to choose
how to work with me.

I’m not saying it is easy.
E-blasts & flyers don’t get read.
Clients cancel sessions.
Students don’t come to class.
But it makes sense to me
to let beings make their own choices.
That leaves me free to be & do
what I am meant to be & do.

Occasionally I catch myself
still trying to force things.
It doesn’t feel like peace
because it is driven by fears.

My friend Bonnie Rose
talks about “purity.”
Not striving for numbers.
Of either people or money.
Simply feeling your way
towards what seems right.

My friend Pamela Phillips
talks about “goodness.”
Not self-serving actions.
Simply letting the beauty
unfold itself through you.

The Taoist holy sages
taught Wu-Wei.

This term is usually translated
as “non-action” or “not doing.”
But it can also be interpreted
as sincerity or simplicity.

Innocence is not mere naïveté.
It is bringing yourself to peace.
So that you can serve
what is greater.

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It begins with the love
of living creatures
for their own lives.

Then the love
of mothers & fathers
for their children.

Then the tribal chieftain
who loves the people
as if they were family.

Then the holy sage
who loves each person
as if they were the self.

It ends with the world server
who loves every one of us
as if we were a single being.

The awakening of humanity
is an expansion of identity.

Let our hearts be great.
Great enough to embrace
the whole of our very self.
Great enough to befriend
the unity of all beings.
Let our hearts be great.
Great enough not to
abandon even one of us.
Great enough not to
betray any part of us.

Let our hearts be great.

The awakening of humanity
is a universal consciousness.

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Over the past couple of decades
I have talked with a thousand or so
students & clients about their lives –

“Who are you really? And
why are you in this world?”

There is an emerging profile –

We just know some things.
We just feel some things.
We are finding our own way.

We are also developing sensitivities.
Maybe you can’t stand the Mall any more?
I can’t seem to handle as much caffeine.

And authenticity is becoming essential.
Work, Love, Self – It has to be Real.

Many of us are finding that we need:

1. our spirituality to be universal
not so bound by sectarian doctrines;

2. our relationships to be partnerships
honest, respectful & free of coercion;

3. our vocation to be adventurous
serving deeper meaning & purpose.

The shifts we are going through
can appear as stress, loss or crisis.

But these changes are really about
becoming what we are meant to be.

(The photo is of my
parked at one of
my favorite offices.)

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By 1991 I had realized that Mindfulness
was a practical solution to serious problems
such as anxiety, depression & addiction,
as well as a powerful technique
for facilitating spiritual actualization.

Since then I have taught Mindfulness
in schools, colleges, churches, centers,
rehabs, clinics, hospice & other agencies;
& have spent over a year training a group
of traumatized veterans at the request
of the local office of Veterans Affairs.

It seems very safe to say that
Mindfulness has proven itself
as a reliable method for
helping people to become
what they are meant to be.

So I am offering a set of classes
on Monday evenings in Ventura
at the Center for Spiritual Living:

1st Mondays 6:30-8:30pm
This class is open to everyone.

2nd & 4th Mondays 6:30-8:30pm
This class is by invitation only.
Contact me for referrals.


3rd Mondays 6:30-8:30pm
This class is open to everyone.

All of these classes are offered
on a voluntary donation basis.
Any proceeds go to the making
of brief books on related topics.

We meet in the basement
of the Church –
101 South Laurel Street,
corner of Santa Clara.


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Loving Wisdom

Annelle Travis

“Our lives are not our own.”
(Annelle Travis, 1948-2011)

My late wife taught the discipline of discipleship –
living as a servant to the Masters of Wisdom.

Acting as if
the Light of the Buddha
and the Love of the Christ
were real forces
in this struggling world.

She devoted herself to “the Work” –
seeding a planetary culture of human kindness
based upon the Wisdom Teachings that:

1. All beings are One Group.
2. The Plan is Love & Light.

She spent her years striving for
the awakening of humanity,
quietly healing & teaching,
helping others find the Way
of their own Soul.

“My head, my heart
& my two hands
offered in service.”

She helped me to know past any doubt
that our species is a single whole unit.

She told me once,
“Help our friends
as if they were me.”

She meant those strange ones
that serve a deeper cause.

This is my Valentine to you –

No one treads this Path alone.
There is no such thing as alone.

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Wholly Human

ViewSE copy

I once asked my friend Bonnie Rose
if she ever wanted to go totally holy.

She just said, “NO!”

I can’t remember what we were discussing,
& her reply was so vehement that I have
forgotten the conversation that followed.
But that moment has had a lasting impact.

Bonnie Rose is the reverend minister
at the spiritual center in Ventura
that has given me a home to teach
classes in non-dual wisdom.

Rev B & I occasionally walk & talk about
the rigors of being spiritual professionals
in twenty-first century America.

What I admire most about her is:

That she has the courage
to share her own struggles.
That she chooses to embrace
& even cherish human frailties.

I will be sure to run this blog by her
prior to posting it on FaceBook.
But at this moment I don’t really know
what she meant by such a forceful “NO!”

What that reply has come to mean to me
is a warning not to fall into the traps of
contemporary spirituality –

Like striving to be perfect.

I have been studying
humanity’s wisdom teachings
for well over forty years
& as near as I can tell
there is a universal consensus –

The primal yoga of the holy sages
is to rest the mind in the quiet heart
& to act upon the counsel
of the presence found there.

If I can let my mind be great,
bigger than my petty biases,
then it becomes a light
that links me to a Greater Light.

If I can let my heart be great,
bigger than my little wishes,
then it becomes a love
that links me to a Greater Love.

I feel the great saints are urging us
to go towards the perfection,
not by trying to be what we are not,
but by the simplest of Ways –

Service to the world.

We are like shards of glass
embedded in a mosaic.
The perfection lies in the whole.

(The Church I teach at.)

 (Rev Bonnie’s Blog.)

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Moment & Purpose

MatilijaGrotto copy

I walk into the room & a little girl
greets me with a delighted request –
“Can we play the piano?!”
She remembers the first time we met.

My client & friend comments fondly –
“Brock, a normal person would say,
‘Let me talk with your Great-Aunt for awhile,
& maybe we’ll play the piano a bit later.’
But you just say ‘Yes!'”

I’ve never done what I was supposed to do.
Learn their name. Scan their clothes.
Notice the politics. Assess the finances.
I’m always busy doing something else.

When I was an educator I would
get a quick sense of the disabilities.
Then I would ignore them
so I could focus upon the capacity.

When I was a therapist I would
get a quick sense of the pathologies.
Then I would ignore that
so I could focus upon the potential.

This six year old attacks the keyboard
with two fisted alternating bashes.
So I suggest we try some Rock & Roll.
She drops into harmonious attunement.
And our jam mellows into Free Jazz.

The session leads the three of us
(along with their giant sweet dog)
into a grotto up in Matilija Canyon.
The child learns what picnic means.
The four of us make a meal together
seated upon a boulder embracing us all.

Then she wants to climb rocks.
I am following the unfolding beauty.
So we make our way together
an elder man, a little girl & a dog
playing back & forth across the creek
while Auntie watches from the boulder.

My focus goes total –

Keep the other adult in
line of sight or earshot.
Let the child plan the route
but structure for safety.
She has a little cough
the water is very cold
her feet must stay dry.
Let her focus settle naturally.
Gently direct for learning.
Stones, brook,
roots, leaves,
golden sunshine…
silver reflections…
She is watching & listening –
Point her senses toward beauty.
Help her grow toward becoming
the special being she is meant to be.

For me there is a moment of wonder –
How do I know how to do this?
This was not a part of my training.
This is what I was born to do.

And she will forever remember herself
as a competent successful
negotiator of tricky passages.

This girl is a shrewd bargainer,
& I honor my promises,
so at the days end
we return again to the piano.

I feel the call to comp on some chords
originally composed by Pachelbel.
She drops into the spirit of pure play.
And together we enter into sharing
a four-handed co-creative improvisation
making a moment of music
that no one who was present
will ever forget.

It is as if we must
let the ways of the form die,
so the way of the Soul
can be born.

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The whole world is one prayer.

Judaic, Christian, Islamic…
Taoist, Hindu, Buddhist…
Shamanic, Mystical, Esoteric
Anonymous 12 Steps or
New Thought Metaphysical.


Every ceremony or celebration,
every meditation or dialogue,
every ritual or service

any pause for contemplation
any gathering together
any simple moment of silence

creates an aperture in consciousness

the divine world,
the human world,
& the natural world.

The old word is Noumen.
The new word is Vortex.

But it is the Soul that creates it –

an openness through which
beauty & purpose
fountain into our weary world.

Even in the hardest, darkest moments,
we can still clear a little space of prayer –

Letting the Spiritual realm
enter the material realm
through our own being.

This is the Way we touch
the unity of the whole.

And whatever has happened,
no matter how painful,
we can renew ourselves forever.

Your mind may be scattered,
& your heart may be broken,
but with a glimpse of justice,
or with a hint of kindness,
the Great Work begins anew.

(Photograph 2009, by Annelle Travis.)

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Annelle Travis
Born 1948
Died 2011

“Beauty shines forth
from the depth
of all things.”

My late wife was a fierce practitioner
of detachment & discernment.
It was she that helped me find the Path –
Letting the Soul shine through the form.

The life given over to service,
teaching, healing, creating,
quietly showing the Way.

She taught me a thousand times
that the difficult personality
we are striving to serve
is a wounded spiritual being.

And our task is to help them
become what they are meant to be.

Annelle’s journey through Cancer
revealed the essence of Wisdom.

I witnessed her Soul
find its Way through
the crippling impacts,
to shine from her form
again & again & again.

As her health, her strength,
mobility, vitality, memory,
were all taken from her,
she strove to be there
fully for each being
whose path she crossed.

Amidst dreadful losses
she became a source
of deep peace & cheer.

The season of her dying
showed what we really are –

As the body falls away
presence shines forth.

There comes a point on the Path.
Hopes are lost. But faith is kept.
This is the territory of surrender.
And the region of miracles.

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