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The Mystical Depth of Morality

Morality says to do to others what you want done to you. This can lead to saying that if that doesn’t happen, then it’s an eye for an eye. So we need to see the mystical, the transcendent underlying the moral; justice tempered with mercy. Learning to meditate is a journey into the mystical depth of morality. It’s here in the expression about the good measure “running over [that] will be put into your lap.” It is a measure that cannot be measured because it spills over the container into which it is being poured. Transcendence. The mystery of the altruistic gift of genuine generosity.

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The Economy of Truth

We tend to diverge from the truth the more we analyze, complicate and define. We usually speak too much about things we don’t understand but much less about things whose truth we really feel. This is why meditation is so economical, cutting out the waste of thoughts and words in the work of silence and getting directly to the simple end. In the Transfiguration story, Peter (typically) got it wrong by talking, but without knowing what he was saying because “they were terrified.” Why does the truth—and the simplicity that is the medium of truth—scare us so much?

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Be Perfect

“Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Get this and you get the whole Gospel and it changes your life. Fail to get it and the Gospel goes in one ear and out the other and your life is stuck in a repetitious cycle. The key is understanding the word perfect. Seeing it to mean that we are flawless both condemns us (to continuous failure and second-ratedness), and lets us off the hook (there’s no point in striving for the impossible).

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We Have to Renew Religion

The Dalai Lama has said: “My simple religion is kindness. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness.” This might sound as if religion as a system of practices, rituals and beliefs has been or could be made redundant. If only. Humanity tried twice in the twentieth century and failed disastrously, as much so as if it had tried to abolish art or science. In the twenty-first century we have to renew religion, not abolish it.

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What's the Catch?

Ask, and it will be given to you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you “There must be a catch.” Of course there is. Do you think God, the universe, whatever, is going to give you what you want, when and how you order it, like a home delivery? Is God a pizza boy? No, of course not. You’re thinking, “If I get what I ask for I will be a really happy person and then it will be easy to be generous and nice to others. Material and emotional security, good health, and a nice home in which to enjoy it all.

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Radical Change One Step at a Time

To change a small thing makes some people feel insecure about many things and even sends warning signals down deep into the caverns where their fear of death lurks. When it comes to our character or personality, as shaped by years of experience, it seems even more difficult to effect change. We have all kinds of means to resist changing our mind—denial, aggression, and procrastination being among the favorites. To change or repent means not only the content of our beliefs and ideas, but the actual mode of perception by which consciousness operates.

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