This afternoon, the sun poured through the windows in the front room. I lit a candle, offered incense to the Buddha, and meditated. The simplicity of the practice was what drew me to the Buddha's Eightfold path to begin with - well, that and the hats. Catholics have the best architechture, Southern Protestants have awesome gospel singers, and the Jews have the best food, but Buddhists have the best hats by far. Even the Pope can't top those fluffy yellow mohawk things that the Tibettans wear...

So I sat, calmed my mind, and counted my breaths. The sun moved across my back, and I felt a hint of peace returning to me; the calm knowledge that you, I, and the lamp post are one. Though I took to my cushions alone this afternoon, I am never truly alone. I am always sitting with the world.

My friends of the Baha'i faith have just begun their annual fast. For 19 days, they will take no food or drink between sunrise and sunset. It is difficult, and hard on those with blood sugar problems, but they use the time to reflect and renew their commitment. Inspired by my friend Rachel's devotion to her path, and Abra's devotion to Rachel, I have volunteered to help by cooking breakfast for them on a couple mornings during the fast. While I will not participate in the fast, I feel the need for a time of spiritual renewal as well. My excesses and mistakes have left me with so much karma to work off...

I will use these early mornings as an exercise in mindfulness. Serving others provides a training ground for the virtue known to Buddhists as "metta" (usually translated from the Sanskrit as "loving-kindness") and these are my brothers and sisters, regardless of their beliefs. The fact is, their beliefs are not too far from mine; I found this very Buddhist-sounding quote on Rachel's site:

Do not be content with showing friendship in words alone. Let your heart burn with loving-kindness for all who may cross your path.

Anyone who believes in that wants what I want, regardless of labels. I hope they like rice...


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