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Mac MacKenzie
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Are you looking for me?

I am in the next seat
My shoulder is touching yours

You will not find me in stupa or shrine
In synagogue or cathedral
Not in ritual, sacrifice, hymn, chant, or kirtan

You will you not find me in pinioned posture —
Legs wound around your own neck —
Nor in fasting, penance and asceticism

But when you really look for me
Then you will see me —

Instantly —

You will find me (in all things)
Even in the tiniest habitation of time —

The Breath


the breath

— Kabir, 15th-century Indian mystic and poet (adaptation by Mac based on a translation by Daniel Ladinsky)

Life is the seed of death;
death is the inception of life.

Who can understand this mystery?

We arrive here from the Unknown
and return to where we came from.

What we love about life
is its joy, wonder and beauty —

what we fear about death
is impermanence, dissolution, and loss.

Yet losing is not losing —
dissolution transforms into wonder and beauty,
just as wonder and beauty transforms back into dissolution.

We are breathed in and we are breathed out.

Therefore, all you really need to understand is...

the One Breath.

— An adaptation by Mac of a teaching by Zhuangzi, 4th century BCE philosopher and teacher

"Ironic isn't it, but one of the most intimate acts of our body is dying.

So beautiful appeared my death — knowing who then I would kiss — that I died a thousand times before I died.

“Die before you die,” taught the Prophet Muhammad.

Have wings that feared ever touched the sun?

I was born when all I once feared — I could truly love."

— Rābia al Basri, 8th century Persian ascetic, poet and mystic

“What is troubling you?

What is irritating you?


There is your teacher.”

— Ajahn Chah

This week I would like to tell you a little story…

There once was a man named Su Shi, also known as Su Dongpo, who lived in China during the Song dynasty (960-1279). Su Dongpo was brilliant scholar, writer, poet and statesman. He was was also a devoted student of Chan (Zen) Buddhism. Su Dongpo lived across the river from his friend and spiritual teacher, Master Foyin of the Golden Mountain Temple.

One day while visiting with Master Foyin over tea, Su Dongpo, who prided himself on his wit, intellectual acumen, and prowess in debate, challenged the Master,

“Foyin, people see you as an enlightened monk, but to me you look like nothing but a big, stinking pile of worthless shit sitting on your pillow all day long.”

Then Su Dongpo leaned back, crossed his arms smugly, waiting to see how the Master would respond.

After a time, Master Foyin smiled, placed his hands together in prayer and replied,

“My dear Dongpo, to me you look like a Buddha (i.e. a spiritually awake; a fully conscious person).“

And then he said no more.

Feeling very satisfied with himself, for having outsmarted his teacher, Su Dongpo grinned, arose and bade the Master farewell.

When he arrived home, he wasted no time in sharing his triumph with his sister,
"Sister, today I outwitted Master Foyin in debate,” he proclaimed proudly, recounting the entire story in great detail, so as to savour the taste of his victory once again.

After some time patiently listening to the story, Su Dongpo’s sister replied,
“Oh brother! No, no! Do you not see? You did not win. The Master bested you without you even realizing it!”

Scandalized, Su Dongpo exclaimed, “What do you mean?”

“Brother, do you not see that your perception of the world mirrors the condition of the heart? Master Foyin sees you as a Buddha because he is a Buddha.

You see him as a pile of shit.

Now what does that make you?”

Su Dongpo fell silent, suddenly realizing just how foolish and ignorant he really was.


Try this for yourself this week...

Ask a few people,

“Do you want to live a life of health, happiness, fulfillment and freedom from suffering?”

and invariably the answer will be

“Why yes, of course I do!”

It is rare to find anyone who doesn't want good health, happiness, fulfillment and freedom from suffering.

The question we must ask ourselves continually is this,

"Am I willing to walk a path daily — to make the difficult choices that put me on a positive, healthy life trajectory — of wise, insightful, skillful life cultivation that leads to true happiness, fulfillment and freedom?

May your every step be peace today.


"Make everything in you an ear, each atom of your being, and you will hear at every moment what Life is whispering to you — just to you and for you alone — without any need for my words or anyone else's.

You are — we all are — the beloved of the Beloved, and in every moment, in every event of your be-ing, the Beloved is whispering to you exactly what you need to hear and what you need to know.

Who can ever explain this miracle?

It simply is thus.

Listen deeply with every atom of your be-ing and you will discover it in every passing moment."

— Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī

“She abused me, he embarrassed me, she took advantage of me, he stole from me, she made a mockery of me, he cheated me — in those who give a home to such thoughts and feelings, hatred grows like weeds.

Yet you must know that hating those who wronged you will never bring you freedom — it will only create further suffering.

The cycle of hatred can only be broken by love.

This is an ancient, eternal and universal truth."

— Siddhārtha Gautama

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One of the first things we are taught when we take on this form of life is ‘mimeticism’ — the way of imitation and comparison.

Hence the perceptions, values, opinions, beliefs and suffering of our parents, siblings, ancestors, friends, and society is passed to us and becomes part of the “code” that makes up the reference system for the egoic, separate sense of self.

As children, we are taught to compare.

And we come to discern quickly that simply being ourselves is not good enough.

Hence we learn to hide our True Selves behind a ‘false sense of self’ — masks or personas — to act as intermediary with and to interact with the world around us.

Our parents, family, friends, culture and religion all unwittingly train us to compare ourselves with the ‘reference system’ (just as they were also taught) and to conform to a particular way of perceiving, thinking, feeling, behaving, and believing.

We compare ourselves against the ‘template’ of our environment — parents, siblings, family, friends, neighbourhood, teachers, mentors, heroes, societal, cultural and religious influences.

As children we are continually learning — watching, listening, exploring, feeling, intuiting, comparing and imitating.

We observe those around us — how they behave, how they interact, how they respond — and in doing so, we are conditioned to understand, at every turn, that some things and some people are “good” and some are “bad,” that some are “beautiful” and others are “ugly,” that some are “successful” and others are “failures,” that some are “right” and others are “wrong,” and that some are “in” and some are “out.”

We are all taught to compare and in the process we are all also taught to believe, “I am not enough. Only by wearing this mask or that mask will I be loved, accepted and worthy.”, which sets us up for a lifetime of inner conflict and mimetic desire.

And simply in that alone, we are all fundamentally conditioned to suffer.

May we all find freedom from our suffering.

May we all awaken to true inner peace and reconciliation.


Breathe in deeply — mindfully. Breathe out fully and enjoy a sliver of Eternity. You know that breath you just took? That's a gift.
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