Open Windows

Listening for Silence

This morning I set out to try a new coffee shop five blocks away from my apartment at the intersection of a freeway entrance and a main thoroughfare. The coffee was good. The constant din of speeding cars and accelerating engines was not!

To feel Silence, we have to subtract what is not silence from our awareness. Sometimes we can listen past the noise to the deeper Silence beneath it. Sometimes we have to remove ourselves from the environment to feel in our bones the eternal Silence. I listened for Silence at the coffee shop, but I couldn’t hear it.

We have all heard that Silence is Golden, but I like to say that Silence is Gold itself. From the Bhagavad Gita, we learn that “That” is indestructible: “Fire cannot burn it, water cannot wet it, weapons cannot destroy it, wind cannot dry it” (Bhagavad Gita, 2/23). Similarly, Gold is always Gold, even when enmeshed in rock, even when sunken in the ocean for hundreds of years, even when battered by explosions, each piece remains Gold.

Silence is always Silence, although it may be hidden beneath an ocean of noise. In listening for Silence, we become peaceful. We become clear. We become whole.

In March I ended my post by saying that becoming peaceful is our contribution to the sanity of the world.  What I meant was that our sanity increases as our communion with Silence grows. And, since we are all part of one humanity, our Silence affects others.  Let us listen for our own inner Silence so that, in time, we and our whole culture may become sane, peaceful, and loving.

Looking up,


The Barn

“The Barn”, high in the Oakland, CA hills is a home for horses like no other. It is perched between two vistas, Oakland and San Francisco Bay to the west and the coastal mountains and Mt. Diablo State Park to the east. It is spring in California, and after the rains, the hills are vibrantly green, camellias and magnolias are in full bloom, and the scent of growing things is in the air.

Yesterday, I went to the Barn with my son and granddaughter and walked along the road encircling one of the stables. Hoofprints were filled with water from the recent rain, but the most notable impression I had was the Silence. Horses and people moved slowly, quietly, the voices hushed, greetings friendly but muted, as if the Silence in the air had removed everyone to another realm. I felt removed myself, high above the city noise.
Slowly, my shoulders loosened and a blessed relaxation filtered through my body down to the toes. I found I was naturally taking deep breaths and a feeling of peace spread from my heart throughout my body.

Such is the effect of a simple walk in nature.

We may not all have access to such places of natural beauty, but somewhere, not too far away, is a place where nature can talk to you and give you Earth’s healing energy. You may have to drive a distance to find it, but the healing you will experience in the environment of Silence, is worth the trip.
So, don’t let anything hold you back. Go! Your effort to be with Nature is your contribution to the sanity of the world.

Looking Up,

PS: I invite you to visit the Facebook page of my mentor, Rahul “Star” Patel,

A Giraffe’s Eye View

Two weeks ago I went to the Oakland Zoo with my son and granddaughter. Oakland has done its best to make the animals feel at home. After taking the train through the prairies where buffalo were roaming and past the miniature jungle where the lonely tiger stalked, we stopped at the giraffes’ enclosure. The three giraffes were standing quietly in regal dignity, looking at us looking at them.

From their great height they looked down at the crowd, children running about, cameras blinking, adults trying to contain the children, people babbling in nonsensical fashion, a jungle of sound and motion. The giraffes were calm, quiet, self-contained, their large brown eyes soft and liquid as they gazed at us humans. Was that a look of compassion I saw in their eyes? In their hearts were they feeling sorry for us with our incessant motion and noise? Were they wishing that we could find the peace and calm they experienced?

With their heads in the trees and their feet on the ground, giraffes are a perfect conduit for the energies of earth and sky to meet and work their magic in the heart. We do not have their physical advantage, but we do have the capacity, when we open all the doors and windows of awareness wide, to receive energies of earth and sky beyond our physical bodies and to weave those energies into gifts of love and compassion.

We are living in a time which demands that we take a lesson from the giraffes and learn to look at everyone and everything with compassion and love, lest we become fragmented and create a jungle within ourselves. Giraffe consciousness used to be the province of the few, but now we all need to REMEMBER THE GIRAFFES!

Looking Upwards,

DNA or Destiny?

2019 is a year in which Jupiter in Sagittarius will be bringing us opportunities to grow, expand, and evolve (see Yol Swan’s blog, Main Astrology & Numerology for 2019).

Is our evolution due to our DNA, our gifts to us from our ancestors, or is it directed by some other force? Is our Destiny going to be limited to the development of the abilities and shadows we carry with us from the past or is there something else involved?

My daughter, L., is an accomplished blue grass musician. She has mastered the bass, plays the guitar, and sings from her heart. Recently, she purchased a beautiful mandolin, intending to accompany herself and others with mandolin sweetness. (You have to listen to the mandolin to get what I mean.)



But then something happened. Her 89 year old father’s wife died. He was left with no one to care for him, and, since he had a memory problem, he desperately needed care. L. offered to find a suitable place for him in Santa Cruz, California, where she lives with her husband. With the help of her brothers, she transported him to Santa Cruz, and began the process of finding a home equipped to care for him and getting medical care and proper diagnosis.

Now L’s life is radically changed. Instead of practicing and playing music in her free time, she is responsible for her father’s medical care and handling emergencies which come up frequently at the care facility where he is living. She visits him after work several times a week.

At Christmas when I visited her, the mandolin was hanging on the wall, untouched.

L. was evolving according to the gifts of her DNA, but Destiny intervened. If this happens to us, we can either complain and feel sorry for ourselves, or we can surrender. The Master of Destiny may have other things in mind for us to do, other paths of evolution to follow.

2019 is a year of evolution. Let us be open to whatever windows open for us, even windows we had not included in our New Year’s resolutions!

Looking up,


Recommended reading: Spontaneous Evolution – Bruce Lipton and Steve Bhaerman (Swami Beyondananda)

I invite you to visit the Facebook page of my mentor, Rahul Patel, Author, for a wisdom quote.


Who wields the Gavel?

“Judge not lest ye be judged”. What does this mean? Who is the judge?

Yesterday I was walking along Lakeshore Avenue in Oakland, my neighborhood shopping area, when I met Robert, a man in his seventies, limping along with a huge, built-up shoe for his club foot and weighted to one side by a heavy bag of groceries. A group of three teenaged boys came running past him, almost knocking him down in their careless exuberance.

Immediately I judged them as uncaring, thoughtless, selfish individuals. “Can’t you see he is handicapped? Why don’t you watch where you are going?” was my instant reaction. Robert did not fall down, but I was angrily judging those boys.

Who was doing the judging? Certainly not the one I like to think of myself as being, who is understanding and compassionate. No, it was that other Me, the bristly one, the one who expects others to mirror the image she has of herself, the one who is always quick to criticize, the one ready to hurl a lightening bolt.

Unfortunately, the Me with the lightening bolt is just as ready to aim it at herself as at someone else. Ready with self-criticism, ready with blame, ready with judgment. This is the “lest ye be judged” part of the quote.

As we judge others, we judge ourselves. When we are children, we are hurt by judgments from our parents and others, and in the same way, as adults we hurt our souls when we blame and criticize ourselves. We hurt our Soul, which is the understanding and compassionate One, always seeking to restore love to our hearts. That wound in the heart may lead us down the road to illness and depression.

Don’t ask who is the judge. The judge is not Beyond, the judge is ourselves. If we can silence that judge, we will be at peace –  and we silence that judge with Love.

Keep looking up and loving!


I invite you to visit the Facebook page of my mentor, Rahul Patel, author, healer, teacher, where I post a quote weekly under “Posts”.



Living with the Wow!

To my dear Readers: I apologize for this long hiatus between issues of Open Windows. This period of rest and recovery is coming to an end, and I am feeling the spur to get back to writing.

A few weeks ago, I was driving with my son, Jerry, across Marin County, on the opposite side of the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco.

Jerry had the car radio turned on to NPR, and a woman was talking about health care. The moment we were passing by Kaiser-Permanente hospital, the voice on the radio said, “Kaiser-Permanente Medical Center. WOW! How did that happen? “Did you hear that?” I said to Jerry. Yes, he had heard it, seen it, too.
How was it that a voice speaking on the radio from San Francisco, spoke the words at exactly the same time we were passing the building in Marin County? My mind stopped its usual churning, face-to-face with what it couldn’t know, looking at a wall of nothing.
Since then, I have become aware of many Wow! coincidences, more aptly called “synchronicities”, that is, related events occurring simultaneously, with no direction or planning on my part.
I finally put these unexplainable events down to the activity of the Lone Arranger, my friend Ron’s ( term for the Presence pervading the universe, which is always trying to bring us to the borders of Mystery.
It is in looking at what has no explanation that our mind stops and we briefly see the Space that surrounds us with a sense of wonder. Let us cultivate that sense of wonder and live with the “Wow!” of life.

Looking up,

Find your Wish-Fulfilling Gem

Open Windows
Oakland Heights Rehabilitation
June 2018
Sunny, but cool

Yesterday evening a small, wiry Hispanic gentleman came to my hospital room to take a blood sample. He may have been small, but he walked with an energetic step and his eyes flashed with enthusiasm.
“I love my work”, he said, as he readied my arm for the needle while I looked nervously away,
“I have found my gift – taking blood. I can always find a vein. I never cause pain.”
By this time he had drawn the blood without my feeling anything.
“I tried many things before this, but nothing satisfied me. Now I am happy because I have found my gift.”

Not only was he happy, but he carried an aura of happiness around him.  How many people that evening received an injection of joy medicine because this unassuming man had recognized and practiced his special gift?

Our special gift is that skill or quality which is easy for us. It is not that hard thing someone else does very well. It is this simple thing, this easy thing we can do naturally. This is our wish-fulfilling gem. It makes only one demand – do it!

Keep looking up!




Hang On to the Threads

Open Windows
May 2018
Oakland, CA

The Way we live opens windows….” – Hafiz

Hang On to the Threads

We may carefully construct our morning routines, and it may work well for getting our days started on the right track. But what happens when through some accident or emergency, we are unable to take even the first step? Forget it?

On March 18th, I tripped on the back steps and fractured my ankle. Two weeks later, my right leg in a cast, I tripped over my knee scooter and broke my left shoulder.

Now I am in a rehabilitation facility in Oakland, and in a hospital, you fit into their routine. They do not fit into yours.

So what happens to your morning routines?

What I am doing is rescuing those pieces of my morning routine that I can hang on to. A prayer here, a breathing practice there, a few pages read in between. Two principles I am finding essential to keep my routine: (1) gratitude for the love of God expressed every day through family, friends, and the people who work here, and (2) remembrance of the admonition of Rumi, “Don’t go back to sleep.” This is the most challenging for me!

Until next month, with blessings to you all. Honor your mothers, and remember to hang on to your morning routine, even if you can only do a remnant. Every piece of your routine carries the intention of the whole.

Looking up!



Find Your Unique Hook

Open Windows
March 2018
Oakland, California
Cool and Rainy

The Way we live opens windows….” – Hafiz

Find Your Unique Hook

“I believe that all of us are looking for a Way to live which opens the windows of our hearts and souls in this incompatible digital age. We want to find a Way which helps us knit the spiritual world and our physical lives together in a culture which doesn’t adequately support either one.” – Open Windows –  one year ago.

In the past year I have found that mental clarity is an essential part of this Way. and having a consistent Morning Routine is necessary to approach the rest of the day with clarity. I call my Morning Routine the “hook to hang my day on”.

 Your Hook is Unique

To me, the morning routine consists of those activities essential to our physical, mental and spiritual well-being, which, unless we do them before anything else, are not going to be done at all during the day.

Each person’s hook is unique. What is it you want to do but never have time for? Put at least  a token in your morning routine. It will open the windows. The seed will grow.

Beyond physical cleansing, meditation and writing are absolutely essential for me. Your hook may include gardening, going to a gym, practicing a musical instrument, or experimenting with paints and brushes.

Be patient. It takes time to develop your morning routine.

Once we have decided what our morning routine should be, we need to commit to doing it consistently and in the same order every day to make it a habit. It takes a minimum of 21 days to form a habit. DON’T DEVIATE! We may make short cuts if we lack time, but the essential elements must be there.

Good luck discovering your own, unique, morning routine.

Looking Up!


Recommended reading: James knows all about habits. Highly recommended.
I invite you to visit the Facebook page of my mentor, Rahul Patel, Author, Healer, Teacher.
You may make comments below or contact me at





What is the Next Step?


Open Windows. Living with Integrity, intelligence and compassion
Gujarat, India
February, 2018

“The way we live opens windows …..”

“Float, don’t swim” – Rahul Patel

Today I woke up without the slightest idea of what I “should” do. Yes, I had a list on my calendar, but, since January 1, I have given up having a set program. I make a list, but I have given up the idea that I have to do everything on that list.

“But if you don’t have to do everything on your calendar, what do you do?” you ask.  Excellent question. I didn’t know. I was drifting about, wondering where to start.

Then came an inner answer: “Follow the regular routine you do every morning. Don’t deviate!” My regular morning routine includes meditation and writing, so, Hooray! Even if I do nothing else all day, those two practices are done. i have hung my day’s activities on a reliable hook.

But after that, what?  Shouldn’t I be launching myself into the day’s list, or perhaps planning some new project? Again, my inner guidance whispered, “Keep moving. Don’t stop!”

So I stood up and started moving from room to room, taking care of whatever I saw needed to be attended to in each room, ending with the computer and writing this essay.  At the end of the day there was no column of neat check marks marking what I had accomplished. Instead, I had only two rules to follow: 1) Don’t deviate from your morning routine, and 2) keep moving.

There was no sense of pressure or obligation, yet everything that needed to be done was done. Instead of swimming frantically through the day, I was floating. Is this what is called “flow”?

Looking Up,


I invite you to visit the Facebook page of my mentor, Rahul Patel, author, healer, Teacher.

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Recommended reading: Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind – Shunriyu Suzuki

I invite you to visit the Facebook page of my mentor, Rahul Patel