Soulful Meditations

Tennessee Williams
“There are no excuses for an artist: You get back to work. You write. You revise. You hector. You promote. You accept the consequences, good or bad. And then you repeat the process.” Tennessee Williams
“You’ll become a better writer and person when you realize how brief and brutal and glorious life is. I promise you’ll develop a filter, and the filter is art, and the art will burn through the brutality; the art will use it as kindling. Look back for the people walking the same path you got through, and extend a hand.” Tennessee Williams


“The world gets meaner and wilder and coarser and dumber. This is true. This is the warning, the plea, for us to step up and do more. The roof of a house is repaired before it crashes; the child is fed before it dies of hunger. We have been lax for too long. Too interior. Uncaring. We now have the world we deserve. How else will we learn? A revolution of kindness will erupt when we have enough carnage and loss. Or we’ll disappear entirely.” Marlon Brando


“The giving of ourselves is the greatest art, really, and it is very difficult to do, because we essentially are afraid that we aren’t enough, that we don’t have enough. So we hide behind facades–performances of denial. This is not living, but bad acting on the stage of life, and it is unforgivable. We have all done it, and it has to stop. We have to show up bare of face and heart and be present. This is the great challenge, I think. To show up and share the person you are within the life you have.” –Marlon Brando


Elizabth Taylor

“There’s always something to do. Make someone smile. Give someone something–a gesture, a gift, a minute of your time. When you reach a certain age, you just want to know that you threw a shadow on the world; that you’ll be remembered. I make sure people see me seeing them and noticing them. I let people throw their shadow on me.” Elizabeth Taylor


Sidney Lumet

“There is no competition. Tell yourself there is no competition. You do not have competitors: You have comrades. Over and over I’ve seen people turn someone with similar dreams and goals into an enemy, when it should have become a fast friend. Friendship is not baggage that weighs you down–it is fuel that will propel you forward and farther. Embrace the community of whatever you do as family.” Sidney Lumet

Harold Pinter

“Here’s the truth of the matter: Asking me how I write is very much like asking me how I breathe. I don’t know how I do it. I don’t think about it very much, and when I do, I become self-conscious and do it with labor. But I recognize that I need to do it, and I continue to do it, in my own way, naturally and by virtue of habit. This is how the writing is. Or the loving. Or the reacting to things. We do these things in our own way in order to survive. If it is not a matter of survival–and if it is not uniquely yours–then I don’t think it matters much. Just breathe. Just live. Just write. Or don’t.” Harold Pinter

Tennessee Williams

“Life, I think, is lurching forward with a set of ideas that your family, your experiences, and your fears have provided for you, but living fully–which I recommend–strips everything away, and you begin to see the particular truth of your own life. We are all alike in many ways, but our paths are distinctly our own. I don’t know that I would tell you to search for this path: It will be made clear to you soon enough. But look for it; keep your eyes open. And never–under any circumstances–refuse to take the path. It will almost never be the one you constructed for yourself in your imagination, but it is yours and yours alone. It is fatal to walk another way.” Tennessee Williams


“When we’re putting up the barriers and the sense of “me” as separate from “you” gets stronger, right there in the midst of difficulty and pain, the whole thing could turn around simply by not erecting barriers; simply by staying open to the difficulty, to the feelings that you’re going through; simply by not talking to ourselves about what’s happening. That is a revolutionary step. Becoming intimate with pain is the key to changing at the core of our being—staying open to everything we experience, letting the sharpness of difficult times pierce us to the heart, letting these times open us, humble us, and make us wiser and more brave. Let difficulty transform you. And it will. In my experience, we just need help in learning how not to run away.”

“To be fully alive, fully human, and completely awake is to be continually thrown out of the nest. To live fully is to be always in no-man’s-land, to experience each moment as completely new and fresh. To live is to be willing to die over and over again.”

~Pema Chödrön


Tennessee Williams and Frank Merlo
Tennessee Williams and Frank Merlo

“Memory, I think, is passion: A passion for a time lost or a time hoped for; a passion to avenge or to amend. We always want something, and we are always looking to be filled, and memory fills us as nothing else does. It is impossible to function without harvesting memory, and so, it becomes apparent, there is no present time–just the husbanding of memory, which we then apply, like optimistic paint, to what is front of us.” Tennessee Williams


”There is a deep tendency in human nature to become precisely what we imagine or picture ourselves to be. We tend to equate with our own self-appraisal of either depreciation or appreciation. We ourselves determine either self-limitation or unlimited growth potential. . . . The positive thinkers constantly send out positive thoughts, together with vital mental images of hope, optimism, and creativity. They therefore activate the world around them positively and strongly tend to draw back to themselves positive results. This is a basic law of mind action. . . . The positive principle is based on the fact that there is always an answer, a right answer, and that positive thinking through a sound intellectual process can always produce that answer.” Norman Vincent Peale

”Art allows us to explore the universe through a filter of human perceptions and emotions. It examines how our senses access the world and what we can learn from this interaction – highlighting how people participate in and observe the universe around us. Art is very much a function of human beings, giving us a clearer view of our intuitions and how we as people perceive the world. Unlike science, it is not seeking objective truths that transcend human interactions. Art has to do with our physical and emotional responses to the external world, bearing directly on internal experiences, needs, and capacities that science might never reach.” Harvard particle physicist and cosmologist Lisa Randall

The Karbon Universe
The Karbon Universe

”It’s been said that to wonder is to begin to understand. Wonder most definitely creates possibilities! Where’s your sense of wonder? Have you gotten so bogged down in the minute-to minute “stuff” that  life has become dull? Bring forth your curious, creative, sense of wonder  and dust if off — lighten up and wonder about everything! We are all amazing and awesome beings and our world is extraordinary even when days may be dark. A sense of wonder reminds us of just how vast the unknown is and how much we have to learn each day.” Beth Burns


”Be aware of wonder. Live a balanced life– learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some.”  Robert Fulghum

”The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing. One cannot help but be in awe when one contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery every day.  Never lose a holy curiosity.” Albert Einstein


“The ability to dream and to create rests within everyone, and this ability needs to be fostered. There is so much creative wealth untapped in all the people in the world. Everything asks for art: raising a child; working well with others; appreciating and loving other people and beautiful things. We have to stop believing that the arts–and almost all creative application–belongs only to those who happen to work at being an actor or a writer or a dancer or a musician. We are all artists. We are all hungry to share a story that only we have and earned and are eager to share.”

“I told you before to laugh and love and submit to whatever presents itself; to change what is bad; to enjoy what is good; to praise what others are doing. I didn’t do that often enough, and so parts of my life feel as if I might not have even been there. Fully. I was there, but I wasn’t fully there. Be wherever you are, fully.”   Marlon Brando

10 Essential Principles Of Awakening

by Jeff Foster

No Destination; Only The Present Moment

There is only THIS; the present scene of the movie of your life. Come out of the epic story of time and space, past and future, regret and anticipation, and the seeking of different states and experiences; relax the habitual focus on ‘what’s gone’, ‘what’s not here yet’ – things you cannot possibly control from where you are. Come out of the story of ‘My Life’ and allow yourself to be fascinated by what is alive, here, right now. Be curious about this very alive dance of thoughts, sensations, feelings and impulses that is happening where you are. Remember, Now is the only place from which true answers can eventually emerge. The present moment is your true home, prior to time and space.


Thinking Creates Suffering

Pain is not the problem; the problem is our thinking about pain, our resistance to discomfort, our attempt to escape it. The real problem begins when we start ruminating on our pain, our sadness, our fears, our anger; brooding over our discomforts, rewinding and fast-forwarding the movie! We chew on yesterday’s and tomorrow’s sorrows, rather than directly exploring and experiencing today’s sorrows as they arrive. We add an unnecessary layer of rumination and resistance to life, and this creates suffering. The invitation? Come out of past and future, seeking and striving, and meet life in the raw, right now, without judgement or the expectation that ‘peace’, ‘relaxation’, ‘enlightenment’ or any kind of shift will result. Meet the moment on its own terms; see it all as a gift. Show up, for the pleasant and unpleasant, the pleasurable and the painful, without an agenda.

Thoughts And Sensations Are Not Personal

See thoughts and sensations as neutral and impersonal events in awareness. Just like sounds that we hear, thoughts and physical sensations arise and disappear spontaneously, like waves in the ocean of You. They cannot be controlled, deleted, or escaped. Cultivate the same gentle attitude towards thoughts and sensations as you have towards sounds. Meet them all with an attitude of kindness and curiosity. See them as welcome guests in your presence.

You Are The Space For Thoughts

Thoughts are not you, and they are not reality; they are only suggestions, possibilities, rumours, propaganda, judgements, voices, images, rewinds and fast-forwards – clouds in the vast sky of you. Don’t try to still, silence or stop thoughts, drop, delete or control them. Be the space for them, even if they are very active right now! Remember, if you notice thoughts, if you are mindful of them, you are not trapped in them. They do not define you. You are the silent container, not the contained. Be what you are – thought’s unchanging embrace.

Breathe Into Discomfort And Pain

Breathe into uncomfortable sensations; give them dignity. Honour them rather than closing off to them, starving them of warmth. On the in-breath, imagine or feel your breath moving into the neglected and tender area, infusing it with life and love. Fill the uncomfortable area in your body with oxygen, warmth and dignity. Don’t try to ‘heal’ the sensations. They want to be met, honoured, included in the present scene. Assume that even discomfort holds intelligence; that it’s not ‘against’ you.

Acceptance Is Not A ‘Doing’; It Is Already So

Acceptance doesn’t mean that something unpleasant will go away. It may stay awhile. Don’t try to accept it (as this is often resistance in disguise) but acknowledge that it is ALREADY accepted, already here. Treat it as if it perhaps will always be here. This removes the pressure of time (trying to make it go away, wondering why it’s “still here”). It IS here, now. Bow before THIS reality. Be curious. And allow any urges, any feelings of frustration, boredom, disappointment or even despair, to come up too and be included. They are all part of the present scene, not blocks. Even a feeling of blockage is part of the scene!

No ‘Always’, No ‘Never’

In reality, there is no ‘always’ and no ‘never’. Be mindful of these words; they are lies, and can create a sense of urgency and powerlessness; they feed the story of seeking and lack. There is no ‘rest of my life’, no ‘for years’, no ‘all day long’. There is only Now, your only place of power. Sometimes even thinking about tomorrow is just too much work. Be here.

You Only Get ‘There’ by being here’

Often we focus so much on the goal/destination that we forget the journey, disconnect from each precious step, and stress is created. Trust that just being present will lead you to where you should be. Take the focus off the 10,000 steps to come, the 10,000 steps you have not yet trodden, and remember the present step, the ancient living ground. Often we don’t know where we are headed, and that’s okay. Befriend uncertainty, doubt; learn to love this sacred place of no answers. It is alive, and creative, and full of potential.

Embrace The Stumbling

If you realize that you’re lost in a story, that you’re disconnected, celebrate. You have just woken up from a dream. A great intelligence is alive in you, a power to realize and connect. You have stepped out of millions of years of conditioning. Don’t punish yourself for forgetting, but celebrate your ability to remember. The moment doesn’t mind that you forgot it! Forgetting is a perfect part of the movie. Allow yourself to forget, sometimes! Be humbled by the journey rather than trying to be ‘perfect’. Doubt, disappointment and disillusionment will be constant friends along this pathless path. There is no destination in presence, no image of ‘success’ to live up to. You cannot go wrong, when there is no image of ‘right’.

Never Compare Yourself

You are unique; your journey is wholly original. We may all be expressions of the very same ocean of consciousness, but at the same time, we are all unique expressions of that very ocean, totally unique in our wave-ness! Don’t compare yourself with anyone else! When you start comparing, you devalue your own unique, irreplaceable gifts, talents and truths and disconnect from your unique present experience. Don’t compare this moment with any image of how it could, should, or might have been. Healing is possible when you say YES to where you are now, even if it’s not where you dreamed you would be ‘by now’. Trust, and trust sometimes that you cannot trust. Perhaps even your inability to trust can be trusted here, and even the feeling that you cannot hold the moment, is itself already being held…”

”Coming to appreciate your worth can, in some cases, dramatically improve your circumstances by changing the choices you make and the actions you take. And as you begin to treat yourself with more respect, other people begin to do the same, since we subconsciously “train” others how to treat us through messages we send through body language, tone of voice, and other subtle cues and behaviors. Discovering your innate worth and living from that place allows you to make more constructive choices–to choose the higher roads of life.” Dan Millman

“The sole purpose of human existence,” Carl Jung wrote in his notebooks, “is to kindle a light in the darkness of mere being.” In a universe devoid of purpose in the human sense, in which we are but a cosmic accident, the darkness of mere being can easily overwhelm us – and yet we go on striking the match of meaning. “However vast the darkness,” Stanley Kubrick urged in a 1968 interview, “we must supply our own light.”


“There is something antic about creating, although the enterprise be serious. And there is a matching antic spirit that goes with writing about it, for if ever there was a silent process, it is the creative one. Antic and serious and silent. Yet there is good reason to inquire about creativity, a reason beyond practicality, for practicality is not a reason but a justification after the fact. The reason is the ancient search of the humanist for the excellence of man: the next creative act may bring man to a new dignity.” The Conditions of Creativity by influential Harvard psychologist Jerome Bruner (b. October 1, 1915), celebrated for his contributions to cognitive psychology and learning theory in education.

”Passion is power. On the color spectrum from faint interest to rabid obsession, it is toward the red end of the continuum. Passion is accompanied by the sound of primal yahoos, castanets in the heart, the beating of wings. It is the natural exudation of love, any kind of love, and spills from us like heat from a fire. Passion is the smelling salts of the soul. Passion’s message is the same one that love brings: follow.

Passion is what we are most deeply curious about, most hungry for, will most hate to lose in life. It is the most desperate wish we need to yell down the well of our lives. It is whatever we pursue merely for its own sake, what we study when there are no tests to take, what we create though no one may ever see it. It makes us forget that the sun rose and set, that we have bodily functions and personal relations that could use a little tending. It is what we’d do if we weren’t worried about consequences, about money, about making everyone happy but ourselves. It is whatever we could be tempted to sell our souls for in order to have a hundred extra years just to devote to it, whatever fills us with the feeling poet Anne Sexton was referring to when she said that, “when I’m writing, I know I’m doing the thing I was born to do.” It is what matters most, whether we’re doing it or not.”  Gregg Levoy


”We were made to enjoy music, to enjoy beautiful sunsets, to enjoy looking at the billows of the sea and to be thrilled with a rose that is bedecked by dew. . . . Human beings are actually created for the transcendent, for the sublime, for the beautiful, for the truthful. . . and all of us are given the task of trying to make this world a little more hospitable to these beautiful things.” Desmond Tutu