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Dear Reader,

View this page as a place where you and I can have a conversation on subjects that are meaningful to both of us. On a regular basis I plan to post a topic or question on my mind which I encourage you to respond to (see below).

On this same page you will also find some of the responses that have been sent in by those who have viewed this web site. Please feel free to submit your own questions and thoughts which I might comment on and share with other viewers. I truly look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,

Archive for June, 2007

A Boy and His Horse

Friday, June 22nd, 2007

There’s a photograph in The New York Times (June 21) showing a boy and his horse bathing in the Arges River outside of Bucharest, Roumania, which has been having a heat wave. The boy is half in and half out of the water playing with his horse, trying to mount it, and it’s a most beautiful sight. The boy is so at ease both with himself and with his horse and has obviously been raised from childhood to ride horses and work with them in the fields. It’s a photograph you want to imagine yourself into, as if you’re the boy cooling off with your beloved horse in the river on a hot spring day. You think back and wonder if you’ve ever been that comfortable with an animal and so close to nature. For me the answer is ‘’no.’’ As much as I love animals, I was raised in the city and never was able to establish such an intimate, natural relationship with wild life. This is something I will always miss.
When I look at that picture, I can fully imagine the boy’s joy and exuberance for life, and I wish, for a moment, that I could be him and feel so at ease with life as he seems to be.
When did you ever feel so close to nature that also made you happy and fulfilled?

It Breaks Your Heart

Tuesday, June 19th, 2007

There is a photograph in The New York Times today (June 19) that breaks
your heart and captures the sadness of the situation in Israel and
Gaza. It shows a young father who was allowed into the Gaza strip
the day before. On the customs counter is a bundle holding the body
of his 4-month-old son, Mahmoud, who had died of heart disease at an
Israel hospital. The father was going home to bury his son. He was one
of the small number of people allowed into Gaza after the terrible
fighting last week between Fatah and Hamas. When will the fighting
end? When will peace ever come to the region? When will things get
better? How terrible to lose a child? How must the father feel?
How sad the mother who must be waiting at home? The indignity of
having to wrap a tiny body in blue plastic in order to transport
him home.
When you lose a child or someone you love, you must
want the whole world to stop and take notice. But life goes on,
fighting goes on, madness and hate go on.
These thoughts are not written to attack Israel or the Palestinians,
they are offered just as a reflection on the sadness of life in
the world we now live in, a world that seems at times dominated by
hate and anger and frustration. As a father, I had hoped I was
bringing my daughter into a world that would improve and become
more wonderful as new discoveries were made to improve life and
health. But, I was mistaken. All I seem to see is a world grown
madder and uncaring. No peace is in sight. My heart aches for
what has happened.
What are your own thoughts?

Becoming a Better Person

Sunday, June 10th, 2007

Someone told me the other day that he studies the writings of
Thich Nhat Hanh, the Vietnamese Zen Buddhist monk and has studied
with him on a retreat with others. What impressed him from
these meetings was that people who studied with him were trying
to become better people.
I liked that thought a lot, the idea of trying to become our best
selves and, in our so doing, helping make the world a little bit
better. This is an empowering thought, particularly now as we
live in a world in which we can some days feel so powerless as we
read about the war raging in Iraq, as we feel swallowed up by the
harsh commercialism that confronts us with such force. I like
walking in neighborhoods where the buildings are small and do
not go soaring into the sky and take away the light. It makes me
feel things are on a more human level.
And the thought of our trying to become better people corresponds to
that image, that we have some power to make other peoples’ lives
a little better through the kindnesses and respect that we show
them as we interact with them.
I know that I would like to be a better person, too, and not be so
self-preoccupied. All this means taking time to think more carefully and more quietly
about the type of life we want to lead. It is so important to live
with thoughtfulness and good intent. It can sometimes be a struggle
to do so, and at the same time it is the easiest thing to do. It
is like breathing and being aware of our breath going in and out.
Are there things you are doing to be a better person? Please share
them with me. I’d like to learn from you.