Let nature do the work.

Photo by Christina Deravedisian on Unsplash

At the root of most spiritual traditions is what could be called the healing of the mind. Or quieting of the mind. By mind we mean that entity that creates unsolicited and mostly unwanted thoughts.

“I’m not good enough/smart enough/thin enough/successful enough.” “Why didn’t she say ‘hi’ to me? I always say hi to her. She’s just rude.” “She broke up with me because I have nothing to offer…”

Healing the mind is central to spirituality

Darlene Gerken, aka Mom

One of several ways I hit the lottery in life was the mom who brought me into this world. I know some may find it juvenile using the word ‘mom,’ but she was never ‘mother’ to me or any of my five siblings. She was, and will always be, mom.

Darlene Gerken was born and raised on the south side of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in, at best, lower middle-class circumstances. Her dad was a streetcar conductor.

She was born in 1928, six weeks premature. How did a family with little money in the 1920s handle that? They held her. Constantly. One…

More encouragement and less intimidation is needed.

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The meditation space has a big problem: Its experts make it too complicated and intimidating to the lay spiritual person. The result is that scads of potential long-term meditators are turned off or at least turned away from something that could have a transformative effect on their lives.

This was driven home, yet again, the other day while I listened to an interview of one of those experts. By the way, I really like this woman. She’s fantastic. Bright. Big-hearted. And the ideas she gave in the interview were really helpful FOR ME.

But I’ve been meditating for close to…

Six days on the edge.

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My 1.3 rose to 4.7. The first number is good. The second meant something was going on with my prostate…and it wasn’t good.

The numbers come from the PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen) blood test, something any man over fifty has heard of. The 1.3 was my PSA number a year ago at my annual physical. The 4.7 was from my physical a few weeks ago. Anything over four and you’re looking at possible prostate cancer.

A friend who just battled prostate cancer

I was particularly sensitive to this development because several months ago a friend of mine had a 1…

It’s about not fighting what is.

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After a catastrophic fifteen months dealing with the ramifications of COVID, the travel industry is now in a different kind of disarray as it seeks to return to some semblance of normalcy. Air fares are going through the roof and, equally troubling, airlines are switching up routes and flights every day. In other words, cancellations and rerouting of already purchased flights are rampant.

My story is that several weeks ago I bought five tickets for my family to fly next month from California to Wisconsin where my sister has a house on a lake. It’s remote, gorgeous and a place…

It came to me after I melted down this morning.

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I was going to write a piece about meditation today, but then all hell broke loose around the Gerken household this morning and so… I’m heading back to the subject I wrote about last week: Letting go of our egos.

[Here’s last week’s article in case you missed it.]

First, I agree with Michael Singer that there is nothing more important we humans can do than let go of our egos. …

A doable approach to letting go of our egos.

Photo by Brady Corps on Unsplash

At the heart of most spiritual traditions is the practice of letting go of our egoic, conditioned selves in order that we can merge with the sacred, conscious, compassionate self that resides in all of us.

The $64,000 question is: How do we do that? I like Michael Singer’s teaching of relaxing and releasing whenever these egoic energies arise inside us. Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism and others all have their way of achieving this.

But this piece isn’t so much about how we let go as much as how we approach letting go of ourselves. I’ve thought of a pragmatic, i.e…

His mind-blowing epiphany carries a lesson for us all.

Photo by Hennadii Hryshyn on Unsplash

The two selves. Conscious and egoic. That concept, expressed variously, forms the foundation for a boatload of spiritual traditions. Understanding it is vital to making progress on the spiritual path.

I’ve written about it several times before, but here’s another summation. The egoic self is essentially the mind. It’s the entity that creates all those unsolicited thoughts like “I’m not good enough, thin enough, smart enough…” “I’ll never get married because I’m not worthy.” Or even “I’m too good for anybody.”

The egoic mind

All of these egoic thoughts arise from the stored experiences of our formative years and after…

Don’t cling, don’t force and work in serene settings.

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In the spring of 2018 my wife and I took two of our three munchkins to France. She had business in Antibes so we figured we’d make a family trip out of it.

It was my sixth trip to France, but my first with kids. Needless to say, it was far different from my previous sojourns. Here’s what I learned.

1. Don’t try to recreate old memories. Create new ones.

After getting married in December of 2005, my wife and I decamped to Paris for two months in the spring of 2006. …

One dad’s heroic (pathetic) tale of survival.

Photo by Robert Collins on Unsplash

“Girls weekend getaway.” No three words strike greater fear in the hearts of husbands/fathers than those. [A close second, for me, is “some assembly required,” chiefly at Christmas time.]

Where to start? How about this morning? It was a blast! My four year-old girl started camp today and I had to have her there by nine. Great. I got her up at 8:20, put on her current fave show (Captain Underpants), got her a baba (her word for a bottle of milk) and got her dressed.

My daughter the hair stylist

Then I woke up her eleven year-old sister. I…

David Gerken

Meditation and Mindfulness teacher. Dad of three precious kids. Former writer for THE WEST WING. Follow me at davidgerken.net.

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