Open Windows

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.

To subscribe to “Open Windows” click on “subscribe” on the home page.


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

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

The Power of Play

Here we are at 2018, wondering what we should aim for in the coming year. In the mornings I spend some time in conversation with my Soul, and this morning I asked, “What would you like for me to accomplish in 2018?”

“Are you playing enough?” came the answer. “What you call Work should be Play.”

“How can I turn Work into Play?” What followed was five New Year’s resolutions to turn work into play:

1. No expectations: If you set a bar, your ego will make you feel ashamed if you don’t achieve it.
2. No censorship: Don’t hide. Tell the whole story, especially to yourself.
3. Be spontaneous: When you are playing what wants to come out will flow through you.
4. Allow yourself to enjoy: Work doesn’t have to be grim.
5. No results: You can throw your work away. It is the doing (playing) that is important, not the result.

If we can follow these simple rules, we will cross the border between Work and Play. If we make these principles paramount in our lives, we may find ourselves making some changes in 2018!

To all, blessings and grace for true guidance in 2018 and beyond,

Looking Up,

Too many habits?


Open Windows:
Living with Energy, Meaning and Purpose
Oakland, California

Cool and Sunny, November 29, 2017

The way we live opens windows and calls in a secret voice to anything still missing.”

Too Many Habits?

“I have too many habits!” said my friend as we drove to a practice group meeting for people learning to wake up in daily life (  “I’m on automatic pilot all the time. I’ll suddenly wake up and realize I am doing everything by habit while my mind is somewhere else.”

This is called “sleepwalking” because we are actually dreaming while our habits carry us through the day.

It is not the habits which are the problem. Without habits we would waste our time trying to decide what to do next. It is the sleepwalking which is the problem.

Somewhere in the brain there is an on/off switch which controls our attention. When it is turned off, we are sleepwalking. When it is turned on, we are present with heart and soul. Our ordinary work often seems less interesting than our dream. That is why we prefer the dream. But when we realize that being Present is being alive, we want to be in the present moment.

How do we turn that switch on? The Sufi poet, Hafiz, used to call loudly to himself. “Hafiz, where are you?” To which he replied, “I am HERE!” With the HERE! He pulled himself into the present moment. He turned his on/off switch to ON.

Sometimes the switch opens spontaneously, but we can turn it on intentionally by calling our name and asking ourselves, “Where are you?” It will immediately become obvious that we are not HERE, and, like Hafiz, we can bring our whole being into the Present.


Looking UP,


Recommended reading: A classic and always good, “Be Here Now” – Ramdas

















From Craving to Commitment

Back in the days when I was still in college and converting to Catholicism, I gathered the impression from my reading that I should deny all desires. Desire, or “craving” in Buddhist thought, was not only the root of all evil, it was evil itself. I dutifully disciplined myself to ignore anything I might like, and therefore desire. I was engaged in an experiment to see if squelching all desires would make me spiritual.

The answer was “No.” I didn’t become spiritual, but I did become stiff, wooden, unimaginative, and uncreative. Although my thinking mind was not impaired, my emotional capacity certainly was. My conclusion is that denying desire is turning off the flow of emotion and creativity.

Desire is necessary!

Desire is hardwired into our nature as human beings. The external objects of our desires will fade away and be replaced by others, but desire itself is always there. It is who we are. Desire, craving, is what motivates us in our life.

I thought I wanted to live in a nice, comfortable bubble. Good marriage, nice house, nice car, great children, vacations, everything “nice.” Read More…

Look at the Knots on Your Tree

Like the plum tree, we all have a few knots on our “I” tree where the branches have sharp turns. Many times we may not realize that our “I” is broken because we carefully sealed the break with anything from rubber cement to actual cement and then forgot about it. But now, we realize that there is a knot in our “I” tree, which is causing us pain. We want to uncover and heal that injured spot, but how can we do it?

Step #1: ACKNOWLEDGE – The first step is to acknowledge that something really happened. No excuses. Something happened to you or you did something to someone else. It was real. Dissolve the layers of cement and discover what sent your branch off in a new direction. Denial can never heal.

Business woman looking through binoculars against global technolStep #2: LOOK – Really look at that branch from every direction, up and down, side to side, forward and back. No blame, no excuses, just look. Gradually, your perception will widen, your consciousness will stretch, and you will find yourself looking from a different perspective. Indifference may turn to sorrow, anger to compassion. Feel it, express it, write it. Your looking is bringing you healing.
Read More…