Asheville Sangha

Supporting the Awakening of Consciousness in Asheville and Beyond

© 2009 Howard McQueen (Version 1 22-Oct, 2008)

I sit back, deep into the seat of my soul. I sit here because I know thru wisdom, the sheer futility of running away. There is no longer an option to run away or hide.

The Here & Now are my home. My task--to remain awake and aware and, when (not if) I stray, to return to this seat and humbly continue this life’s work: uncovering and cleaning the heart of the dust-from-neglect, now caked into mud, from the tears wept returning home.

Home is where I am completely vulnerable. And yet, paradoxically, in this energetic space of here and now, I am peace, I am sustained.

I grow roots, sending these deeply into my heart. I then nourish this me-as-tree-of-life, letting the spirit of my heart expand outwards, growing leaves, blossoming. This inward-radiating-outward love, expression of myself-as-part-of-the-wholeness-of-life, provides a centering to accept and not resist the external world’s impermanence and ongoing disruptive sensations.

The ever-changing theatre of the external world is just that: constant beauty mixed with ever-shifting drama. The compassion of strangers interspersed with the eruptive mental illness of humans trapped in their heads. Having had encounters with contagious mental illness, my response is an ever growing depth-of-compassion for those caught in pursuing the myriad strategies of the mind: acquire-before-they-expire, hide-before-they-can-be-hurt, imagine-shame-while-anticipating-blame, etc. This is the run-a-muck locomotive mind, not feeling emotions, the heart hijacked from its conductor’s seat.

The external world is like the wind, ever shaping and scouring our surfaces. As the tree, I tap deeply into the earth like the great sequoias. I am openness, allowing the wind to play and have its way with my branches and leaves. I remember to bend when the winds are strong and erratic. The winds calm, the birds and butterflies return, and lightness of being with all creatures of nature is again restored. These states evoke a full spectrum of sensations and I let them all in, remembering to let them pass thru on their own way home. I remember (over and over again and again) to not construct elaborate expectations—just more fleeting castles-of-sand.

Since I am spirit that bore tree, I am learning to celebrate fire as inevitable and elemental. Fire offers up destruction, creating the space for transformation of life. This body, like all vessels born into the external, is on loan, gifted, also returning home. I celebrate this gift, with all the uncertainties and lack of external warranties. To just exist and be connected to unconditional love, even momentarily, even while shouldering this struggle to be human, is wondrous, breath-taking, such a privilege to become … aware.

Thus I serve that which runs through my heart. It is the current sustaining and interconnecting all life, it enables my reflection, it contains light and dark, it is everything--and I am Home.

Two authors motivated me to write this piece. Mark Nepo is an awesome spiritual writer and flat out fantastic teller of stories. Michael A. Singer's first book "The Untethered Soul" is also inspirational. - HM

Views: 15

Comment by Howard McQueen on March 6, 2009 at 3:37pm
Awwwwww, it is so very nice to be resonating with you through words that flow so freely. I am in Copenhagen this week. The Danes are a very trusting people. Huge numbers ride bicycles to work (there are bike lanes as well as large pedestrian sidewalks. For a country of ~ 5 million peoples, they have two hugely supported intranet communities of practice - so large in fact, that in the US it would take more like 100 million people to build a community of that size and quality.

Most Danes will switch to english if you join in on a conversation, as a courtesy. Most of these people look fit and trim, like Americans were back in the late 1950s.

I've been very touched by the people and they are of every race and creed: muslem, Thai, Vietnamese, German and of course root stock of Scandanavia with some German thrown in.

Cheers from Copenhagen - Howard
Comment by Katy Fischer on March 10, 2009 at 11:46am
Thank you for your contributions. I appreciated your photos, and your download of Byron Katie. The part about taking responsibility for the conflict I find, has played a huge part in finding peace in my life. Then your blog resonated articulated what I wish I could have said. Lastly you mentioned Mickey Singer who I've known for many years in Gainesville, Florida...who has played a large part in my spiritual journey.
Welcome to home and welcome to Asheville.
Comment by Howard McQueen on March 10, 2009 at 3:40pm

I've wanted to go to Mickey Singer's Sunday gathering since I first heard about his book and what he has been doing for over 30 years? over in western FL. I do hope to make his acquaintance some day, as well as meeting you somewhere around Asheville.

The photos I uploaded are the tip of the iceberg.

I appreciate you for making these comments - more connections into Asheville for me to celebrate!

Cheers - Howard
Comment by Katy Fischer on March 11, 2009 at 8:52am
If you ever want to go to Mickey's "Temple of the Universe" and visit Gainesville, Fl...let me know. It was a second home to us there and I'd be happy to find you a place a stay and know people who would love to go with you. I look forward to meeting you and to our paths crossing sometime. Thank you for your kind response. There seems to be are a lot of us who have found ourselves drawn here at this time and it is nice to celebrate the arrival.
Comment by Howard McQueen on March 11, 2009 at 9:13am
Awesome Katy. Thank you so much for offering the "keys" to the Temple of the Universe. I get quite an energy rush just contemplating visiting this mecca - especially with a guide / docent familiar with surrounds both geo and spiritual :-) !!! - Howard
Comment by Katy Fischer on March 13, 2009 at 12:48pm
If you ever decide to take that trek, let me know. I've talked to people who will open their hearts to you.
I hope you will keep writing and sharing your openness.... It feels like it comes from the heart. Looking forward to what else you contribute.
Comment by Howard McQueen on March 13, 2009 at 12:56pm

I am a fan of Fleetwood Mac, first being introduced to them in 1970. This was way before Stevie Nicks joined the band. However, I remember that critics said that Stevie Nicks had so much bottled-up lyrics to write that she could write many years worth of songs - which apparently she did and lived up to her persona. I feel a somewhat similar bottled-up depth, so, assuming I stay on this earth for a while longer, and live in my heart, I have this feeling I'll be writing about my own transformation and all the incredible benefits of undertaking inner work!

I do need to get down to Savannah this Spring and bring up by Boat. Perhaps if I give you a bit of advance notice, I can make the mecca down to Gainsville and take you up on connecting and sharing with the spiritual kinship you are teasing me with :-) . Sounds great to me and thanks for again putting forth the initiative to raise my interest in this opportunity. Cheers - Howard
Comment by Katy Fischer on March 13, 2009 at 5:01pm
Would love to hear more of what you've been writing. Run it by me at I have a sense I will be able to relate it to my own experience. Someone once said to me..."you know what you believe when what you hear makes sense to you". I'm always intrigued at what resonates for others.


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