Earth life is slow

We are creatures of Earth; our life is part of the life of the Earth, and we draw our nourishment from it just as plants and animals do. Earth life is slow; autumn and winter are as essential to it as spring and summer, and rest is as essential as motion.

-Bertrand Russell, The Conquest of Happiness

It is winter, the days are dark, and nature does not offer up the comfort of warmth. But instead of complaining or decrying this, we can accept it as a part of the creative cycle.

Our bodies need rest. So do our minds. This time of year we can take more time for that by recognizing that everything has a time and place and season. Trust that you will progress and grow, when it is the right time. Spring brings energy, transition, a pushing outward. Winter brings quiet, inner reflection, an evening gathering with friends that is a natural response to the short days, and finally, sleep.

Let the bare trees of this season remind us that we are also needing to look at the bare facts of ourselves, the naked truth of who we are. That will be the starting point for all our love and all our work in the year to come.


The Great Eastern Sun

Imagine the sun rising.

At first it seems weak, then it becomes stronger and stronger as the morning goes on. Soon it is shining with great power.

So it is when we find our genuine wholeness. It may seem a weak thread, but getting comfortable in your own skin, finding your own unique strength and letting that shine, you will grow into great power.

A genuine sense of self, and of trust in one’s place in the universe, is like the sun in many ways. It is a gentle source of energy and renewal, as well as a natural cycle. Sometimes it is occluded by clouds, or hidden at night, but always there.

Let the Great Eastern Sun rise in your heart, and in your head. In this way your wholeness will bring you peace, energy and renewal.

The Source of Softness

When we have a feeling that life is worthwhile and we are worthwhile, from that, a sense of softness or gentleness begins to develop.

 – Chögyam Trungpa, “Smile At Fear”

When we become hardened, it is a spiritual state. This is the consciousness revealed in the story of the powerful Pharaoh of Egypt, whose stubborn heart would not let the slaves go, even at great cost to himself and his kingdom.

How do we reach a sense of softness, what is the source of gentleness?

It is a feeling of genuine wholeness, when we are fully ourselves. All is right with the world when we find ourselves comfortable in our own skin.

Can we be at peace even in times of struggle, pain, conflict, and lack? Only if we believe we are enough. Only if we believe we are worthwhile, that life is worthwhile.

An Appeal To Unity

On November 9:

  • We must come together
  • We must see ourselves as one
  • We must find Unity

On November 9:

  • We must separate our dearly held beliefs from our basic humanity
  • We must separate our dearly held values from our sense of self
  • We must separate our political ideals from our connection to each other

On November 9:

  • We must stop the hunt for revenge
  • We must stop criminalizing opposing views
  • We must stop intellectual imperialism (the view that says if someone’s view is different than mine it is either because they are either ignorant, or sinister)
  • We must stop letting fear govern

On November 9:

  • We must start listening
  • We must start learning
  • We must start taking more interest in each other
  • We must trust, in the wheel of life, in the universe, in God

We must do this regardless of who wins.

So that we can heal as a nation, and stop hurtling toward the chasm of radical divide that is opening farther and farther each day around us all.

Experiencing the Shift

I’ve been privileged to have had many years of experience as both an oil painter and a violinist. I’ve gotten to see up close how those creative disciplines help people attain peace of mind, and in turn, make progress with themselves. As I’ve gotten to do more teaching of kids and adults, both teaching drawing and violin, I have seen some truly amazing things when it comes to personal transformation and growth.

I don’t want to just promote a sort of vague “artsy” creativity. What I want to do instead is to help people experience the shift into the Right Brain, and then connect that to how to find more grounded, aware, peace-filled state. I believe this is the first step toward making real change in the world.

What kind of change? The right-brain codes for living things rather than non-living. It sees things as subjects, not subjects as things. In other words, the left brain tends to treat everything and everyone as a “thing,” a  tool to be used. The right brain tends to treat everything and everyone as a living being, with a sort of personhood or self. The right brain acknowledges that others exist apart from the “I.”


Compass of the Whole

The right brain situates within the whole, its compass points outward to what is good for the whole, rather than how it can use an object for its own good.

Take a GoodMinute

How can we turn on our right brain more?

How important it is to teach the shift to the right brain?

How crucial it is to see others as “ends in themselves” as the philosopher Immanuel Kant put it, and not just as means to an end?


Don’t Push the River

Midweek Devotion

December 9, 2015

Don’t push the river. -Richard Rohr 

Imagine standing on the bank of a river trying to figure out how to shove it forward.

A river doesn’t really need our help. It doesn’t worry about the rocks and trees in its path. It will find a way around them.

White Water

I like that analogy because it reminds me how often we push too hard. Life will flow on without all of our trying. 

I teach violin, and the more I work with children, the more I am reminded of this principle. Even when there seems to be no focus, no direction, and no progress in the practicing, we have to trust that our child’s natural growth process is occurring.

Shin’ichi Suzuki, founder of the Suzuki method, calls it the “mother tongue” approach. Children learn how to speak their native language by exposure, indeed they cannot not learn it. They will learn to play music as part of their natural development if they have an environment of music, an environment of daily repetition, an environment of support.

The same is true of life. The things we yearn for, the progress we would like to see, the accomplishments we strive after, will come as part of the natural course of things, if we allow ourselves to be open and influenced by an environment where they will flourish.

So don’t push the river. Don’t worry about the rate at which you or your child is progressing. I tell parents: “Just get them playing and listening, support them in that effort, and we’ll take care of the rest in lessons.” In life the same is true: just get playing, get out and into the environments that feel right to you, and the resources you need to support you will come in time.

Take a GoodMinute

In what ways am I trying to push the river?

What environments do I respond to energetically and positively? What can I do to put myself into those environments even more?

How can I help the children in my life to flourish in their natural development and growth, without pushing the river?

Through the Gap. Copyright 2015 Edward Obermueller

The Peace of Motion

Midweek Devotion #12

October 7, 2015

Let life flow through you. –Osho

The body and mind both need motion to thrive.

Feelings of happiness and peace don’t come from merely being still. The isolation and bodily deprivation of the monastery may be cleansing for a time, but eventually stagnation and depression will set in.

Ceasing all activity in the mind would mean ceasing to be, just as much as ceasing the activity in the heart. Depression is actually a protective mechanism, a signal that we need motion, we need change. It is a good reaction of the body to what it knows it is missing.

Through the Gap. Copyright 2015 Edward Obermueller

Through the Gap. Copyright 2015 Edward Obermueller

The word “emotion” comes from the root “motion.” It’s not just a matter of endorphins or burning calories. It has to do with the energetic basis for our whole being.

Motion helps bring the mind and heart together in a way that modulates our moods and directs our thoughts. Movement is a form of peace.

Take A GoodMinute

What motion is my body asking for right now?

How is motion related to emotion?

Share your thoughts here on how motion (or lack of it) affects your moods, your body, your mind, your spirit.