lessons from the lifeboat


Echoes from Emptiness - Lessons from the Lifeboat


Seventy years on and still floating along. This morning’s sit sent me scrambling for my pencil and here’s what downloaded – a list of seven treasured wisdoms the old girl has learnt (so far…)



is this rock-solid, inescapable




is simply the end of seeking




is a story without verifiable




is an argument with Life’s




is meeting Life’s thusness without

a story



is unbridled delight at Life’s endless




is the gift of this unshakeable



Image source


Dervish Dancer

there is a joy
that’s neither an emotion nor a feeling;
that’s unaffected by unkind words
spat from spiteful mouths;
that’s unwounded by hurtful gestures –
off-handedness, rudeness, scorn

there is a joy
that pulses on regardless
of the world’s apparent disarray –
the distress, the abuse and denial –
a joy from which one is choicelessly
propelled into impartial action

there is a joy
that has no opposite, or cause;
it can’t be cultivated or contained,
bought or sold,
given or attained,
yet you’ll never escape its presence

there is a joy
that trashes all your
“teacup ideas” of transcendence;
that sets your wild fearless heart
spinning like a dervish
amongst the sorrows of the world


Image: Rumi on Facebook

are you that free?


The reach of your compassion reveals the degree of your wideawakeness
and conversely
the authenticity of your unconditional freedom
is the reach of your compassion.


Echoes from Emptiness: Contemplation - "Am I that free?"


Compassion begins at home. Begins here.

Are you free to feel the immeasurable depth of your unspeakable pain?

to melt into its fear-full embrace without withdrawal?

to dive deeper yet, without coming up for air

without gasping or grasping for causes, meanings, healing?

to arrive at the altar of the world’s pain;

to light your small candle there amongst the galaxy of flickering lights

and on that sacred clay, to drop to your knees and whisper the holy halleluiah?

Are you that free?

Image gathered from the internet long ago.
If it’s yours, please let me know so I can provide a link-back.

take a look, sister


Sometimes the *echoes* come up with a question for this scribbler on her zafu.

Sometimes it’s koan-like, and she sits with it stuck in her jaws, unable to swallow it or spit it out, while her brain reorganizes itself around the seed that’s cracking the conceptual concrete.

Sometimes it’s a direct hit at her self-honesty – slap!  This morning’s was one of those.


Is your wideawakeness (aka enlightenment, awakening, realization, mindshift…)
big enough to contain every expression of Beingness?

Do you still have preferences for some, and find others a bit freaky?

Are you rattled when disagreed with, and fluffy when folk are in accord?

Do you harbor the notion that others will get to “where you’re at”
and understand you, one day?


The reach of your compassion reveals the degree of your wideawakeness:
take a look sister.




go for the guts of IT


What can be said about the overpopulation of the planet?  What can be said about starvation, about terrorism, about climate change?  What can be said about the spread of diseases like AIDS?

Whatever is said or imagined by thought will be the product of conceptualization – the same source that produced the problems, the questions, and that endlessly spins the solutions.  But genuine change cannot be wrought by thought’s projections, for it only knows the known, and the known is the past.  Revolution is never creative; it may be innovative, but that’s not the same as creative.  Innovation is generated by thought re-arranging what it already knows.  Is it possible for thought to find a new question?  Or can new questions only arise from That which is beyond thought?

What thought knows cannot be the Truth for Truth is changeless and unknowable.

Go for the guts of IT: find the changeless, unknowable Truth and then see what happens to the rest.

Watch in amazement as Life rises to meet ITself – with wisdom and compassion and your name on ITs ID card.


an unarguable eureka


Dashing about with young ones,
quietly caring for older ones,
making name and fame and fortune …

Ceaselessly and choicelessly
we dance our dream
down the pathless byways of Life.

Seldom do we stop and notice
that all our steps
are danced on one spot.

We imagine a ‘me’
and along with it comes time –
the warp and weft of past and future.

Then comes the shock of seeing
that no me, no past, no future
can possibly exist outside of


and an unarguable eureka
You are the Presence
in which all existence appears
blooms, and dissolves…
reshuffles the understanding
of a lifetime
and blows the heart wide open.


how can the Unborn be extinguished?


Sentient beings seem to share an inability to contemplate the likelihood of their death, let alone its inevitability – even on their deathbed.  Most people put this down to fear of the unknown.

Might it be different if they had, by great good fortune, discovered that what they essentially are can never die, for It was never born?

And might those who end this life-experience be the ones whose forgetting of this Knowing is less dense?

My mother bows her head in deep respect when a suicide is reported to her.  She expresses no regret or bewilderment.  She always senses the bigger picture, yet her heart overflows with compassion.  Her untutored wisdom awes me.