a child’s “why”

No matter how much we study sciences, philosophies, or histories, it’s the never-ending questions from a child’s mouth that humble us most. Their innocent, relentless inquiry lays bare how little we truly understand about existence. The most learned academics can meticulously map the cosmos, codify all knowledge into volumes, and hypothesize theology’s deepest meanings. But then a tiny human barely out of the womb will ask a startlingly profound “Why?” that stumps us all over again. In that moment, the veneer of assured, encyclopedic understanding shatters. We’re reminded that for every nagging existential mystery we’ve dissected and catalogued, a dozen more inscrutable conundrums await under each new layer peeled. An unapologetic child simply won’t accept “because I said so” as an answer. They demand to know the reason behind every reason in a way that strips our egotistical overconfidence bare. Their stubborn pursuit of fundamental truth across every “Why?” humbles the most zealously certain mind. To a child, our vaunted mastery of subjects is still hopelessly inadequate – mere fragmentary pieces muddling the big picture. Their endless curiosity exposes how much of life remains cloaked in humbling unknown no matter our credentials. The biggest questions burn from the smallest lips. And it’s their blunt, relentless need to know more that viscerally underscores just how much further we have to go.

joy and love

Joy and love are special states of being, gifted by God. They go deeper than just fleeting happiness or affection stirred up by surface conditions. Happiness is shaky – it depends on external stuff happening a certain way to make you feel good in that moment. But real joy comes from a more lasting, inner place beyond temporary circumstances. Same goes for affection versus true love. Affection is showing some care and liking for someone based on how they make you feel right now. Love is unconditional – not ruled by shifting emotions, but a committed, selfless choice. Happiness is when something pleases you. Joy is being content regardless. Affection appreciates what others provide you. Love gives without expecting anything in return. Happiness and affection get easily disrupted when situations change. But God-given joy and love remain constant through any ups and downs. They don’t rely on receiving – only on selflessly giving from the depths of your soul. Happiness fades as conditions change. Joy endures. Affection derives from being pleased. Love’s foundation is pleasing the Eternal. Those core distinctions make joy and love robust, while happiness and affection are fragile and flighty. Joy and love provide unshakable fulfillment because they’re sourced in something greater than ourselves. Everything else rings temporary at best.

rebuild the bedrock

At first, real learning feels like hearing things your ears just aren’t ready for. The surface level of it , you know, is taking in new information that catches you off guard. But the true core of learning goes deeper than that. It means opening your ears to hear stuff you flat out don’t want to hear. Stuff that challenges your fixed beliefs and makes you uncomfortable. On the surface, learning starts by stretching your mind to understand concepts it hasn’t grasped before. There’s a jolt in realizing how limited your existing knowledge is. But the hard part is allowing lessons to penetrate far enough to shift your entire worldview. That requires humility to accept you’ve had it wrong on some fundamental level this whole time. Surface learning expands what you know. Deep learning rebuilds the bedrock of how you know it. One is extending your mental canvas. The other is reshaping the canvas entirely. The first feels like having your ears opened. The latter is like having them forced open against your ego’s resistance. Embracing that painful growth separates those who rid themselves of ignorance from those who stay stuck recycling the same half-truths.

hope that doesn’t disappoint

Let’s face it, disappointment can feel like a punch in the gut. We set our hearts on something, a dream job, a supportive friend, and then – poof! It crumbles. It’s enough to make you want to curl up and avoid hoping for anything ever again. But here’s the thing – life without hope is like a grey, cloudy day, with no sunshine to peek through. We all need a little light to guide us, a reason to keep moving forward. Maybe the problem is where we’re placing our hope. Sometimes, we pin it on external things, like people or situations. And as much as we’d like them to be rock-solid, life has a way of throwing curveballs. What if, instead, we anchored our hope in something bigger, something that can’t be swayed by the winds of change? Imagine hope as a giant oak tree, its roots digging deep into the earth, its branches reaching towards the sky. No matter how strong the storm, the tree remains standing, a symbol of unwavering strength. Think of it like a lighthouse on a rocky coast. Ships can get tossed around by the waves, but they can always rely on the lighthouse to guide them safely home. Placing our hope in a higher power, whatever that means to you, doesn’t mean ignoring disappointment. It’s about having a foundation that can hold us steady even when things don’t go according to plan. It doesn’t mean we stop striving or dreaming. It just means we do it with a sense of trust, knowing that even in the face of setbacks, there’s a light guiding us, a force working for our good, even when we can’t see it all clearly. Always have in mind that when disappointment knocks you down, take a deep breath and look for that unseen lighthouse. Remember, true hope doesn’t disappoint, it empowers us to keep sailing, even on the roughest seas.

when doors close, new paths open: trusting the signs

Have you ever felt stuck in a situation, like you’re pushing on a door that stubbornly refuses to budge? Maybe it’s a relationship, a job, or even a dream you have, that just doesn’t seem to be panning out. It’s frustrating, right? We pour our energy in, hoping things will change, but sometimes, the only change that comes is the feeling of exhaustion. Here’s the thing – sometimes, those closed doors are actually signs from a higher power, a gentle nudge in a different direction. It can be hard to see in the moment, like trying to decipher a cryptic message. But maybe, just maybe, there’s a reason things aren’t working out the way we planned. Think of it like hiking in the mountains. You reach a fork in the path, and the map you have seems outdated. One path looks familiar, well-trodden, but the other is overgrown and shrouded in mist. It’s tempting to stick to the known way, even if it feels like a dead end. But what if the hidden path, with all its unknowns, leads to a breathtaking vista we never could have imagined? Trusting the signs, even the confusing ones, can be scary. But sometimes, the most beautiful journeys begin with a little detour. Here’s the truth – we can’t always understand the grand plan, the life path particularly woven for us in the most elaborate detail. But we can trust the Weaver, the one who sees the whole picture. Letting go of something that isn’t working, even if it hurts, can be an act of faith. It’s a way of saying, “I trust that something better is out there, even if I can’t see it yet.” And guess what? The universe, or a higher power, whatever you believe in, rarely disappoints those who trust. The pain of letting go might linger for a while, but with time and a little faith, those broken pieces can heal, and a new path, filled with possibility, can unfold. When you feel stuck, take a deep breath and listen to the whispers of your intuition. Maybe that closed door is a sign, a gentle nudge towards a brighter future waiting just beyond the bend.

every step is valuable

Let’s be honest, judging someone who’s trying to improve themselves is like criticizing a wobbly toddler learning to walk. They might stumble a bit, take a few tumbles, but their little legs are working overtime to get where they need to be. The thing is, we all start somewhere on this personal growth journey. Maybe we’re finally tackling that dusty box of neglected goals or trying to cultivate a new, healthier habit. It’s these small steps, these attempts to be a better version of ourselves, that deserve encouragement, not snickers. Imagine a beautiful garden bursting with vibrant flowers. But before that explosion of color, there were tiny seeds, patiently waiting for the right conditions to grow. We might see someone just putting those seeds in the ground, while we’re already tending to our established blooms. Here’s the thing – who knows what kind of magnificent flower their efforts might cultivate? Maybe their tiny steps are a big deal, a monumental shift in their own journey. Perhaps their dedication, even in its early stages, is deeply valued by a higher power. Instead of looking down on someone’s “baby steps,” why not offer a warm smile or a supportive word? After all, we’ve all been there, tripping over our own untied shoelaces on the path to progress. Let’s focus on watering our own gardens, cultivating our own growth, and celebrate the efforts of others, no matter how small they may seem. Because, hey, even the mightiest oak tree started as a simple acorn, right?

patience, an antiquated relic

In our times of instant gratification and on-demand everything, the virtue of patience can feel like an antiquated relic. We expect fast shipping, immediate responses, quick career advancement and expedient solutions to all our problems. Any delay or hindrance is often met with restlessness, frustration and agitation.

Yet patience may be one of the most vital spiritual nutrients we are collectively starved of. For like the gradual unfolding of a rose blossom or a tree growing from a seed over decades, so many of life’s most magnificent blossomings require us to surrender to a coddle of unhurried unfoldings. When we demand that everything happen according to our predetermined timelines and expectations, we cut ourselves off from the resplendent mysteries that can only unveil themselves through the magic of waiting. The germinating seeds of our souls’ deepest growths, our creative genius works, and our most profound realizations about life all gestate according to a natural timing far beyond our singular will’s insistencies.

Like master artists, we must learn to steward the unhurried refinement inherent in each process. Raw effort and willfull striving alone cannot force open the sublime choreographies. This is the great alchemical art – to act while simultaneously remaining attuned to the inexorable pacing of a larger unfolding intelligence.Rather than slipping into resignation or inertia however, patience is an active, highly cultivated state of radical openness and present herenow awareness. It is the ability to fully embody and drink in each eternal moment without grasping to prematurely arrive at some future point of fixation. A serenely sustained beingness where our full participation is allowed to blend and merge with the ineffable unravelings always underway.

From this spacious ground, we gain an organic instinct for when to apply gentle effort and care, and when to simply pause, let go and let be. We begin flowing in symbiotic rhythmic attunement with life’s tidal pulsations rather than working against their oceanic currents. This is the patience cultivated by mountain sages and ancient groves of trees – where one becomes deeply at home harboring the poetry of a universe ceaselessly rebirthing itself through us, never growing restless or cynical about the gradual pace. For they know that the greatest masterworks, be they forms of inspiring humanity or awe-inspiring nature, all gestate through an unrhetorical release, slowly unfurling with inevitable grace when the season is finally ripe. With this mindset, we’ll be at peace with many of the uncertainties we face. Often calibrating such an inner compass has been of help. I hope it helps you as well. Always think about the broad picture, friends.

enraptured in the moment

While playing with my son, these days I tend to notice how him at play becomes completely enraptured and absorbed in the present moment. With pure, unclouded fascination, they fully immerse themselves in the sheer bliss and wonder of whatever captures their interest and imagination. As adults, we too often lose touch with that innocent capacity for soul-reverent joy and presence. Our daily routines and obligations cast a sort of seriousness trance over us, causing us to forget the soul-igniting passions and curiosities that once set our hearts afire. We start listening more to the voices of duty, fear and resignation rather than the spontaneous movements of our own authentic enthusiasm and excitement. We resign ourselves to lives of quiet desperation, sacrificing our deepest aliveness on the altars of conformity and responsibility. Yet our callings, our most vibrant soul-seedlings, lie patiently waiting to be revived and nourished.

They never truly abandon us, but rather remain as smoldering embers within, hoping to be stoked by the breath of our loving attunement once again. Just as a bonfire needs an endless supply of fuel to stay alight, our souls require the continual kindling of pursuits that impassion us and spark our unique creative genius. When we withhold that sustenance by disregarding or denying our true joys, we slowly dim our radiance and inner luster as beings. A chance encounter with a book, a piece of music, a work of art or even just the play of light through a forest’s canopy can be the spark that breathes life into the embers of our long-suppressed inspiration. From there, simply staying in intimate regard with that ignited passion and serving it with wholehearted devotion will cause it to blaze with increasing intensity. For consciousness ever follows the tenor of our deepest interests and prayerful pursuits. What we most revere and adore, we become. So if your life currently feels extinguished and monochrome, like a dead campfire’s ashen greys, cease looking outside yourself for the perfect set of reigniting circumstances. Simply turn your gaze inward and ask your heart “What rekindles my joy and childlike awe of existence? What activities and interests resuscitate me with their thrillingly alive textures of being?” Then follow those clues relentlessly down their luminous trails, allowing each encounter with beauty, intrigue, and breathtaking mystery to refuel your soul’s ascendant resurrection fires. For as you do, you’ll burn away the soot of accumulated fears and stale stories to rebirth yourself into the radiant, infinitely faceted shape of your most wild and rapturous essence.

a serene shelter of words

I have always thought of this writing space as a beautiful sanctuary that I am building for you to rest and read. The routines we have, can feel like a tempest at times – a ceaseless barrage of demands, distractions and urgencies swirling around us. We get buffeted by the incessant winds of work, family obligations, digital overstimulation and our own swirling thoughts. It’s so easy to get swept up in the frenzy and lose touch with any sense of inner calm or groundedness. In the midst of this storm, we desperately need a place of shelter and reprieve – a quiet inner sanctuary where we can take refuge, settle our beings, and rediscover the peace that is our true essence. Just like a snow globe, we require the ability to remove ourselves from the swirling turbulence outside and let the flurries gently come to rest so we can regain clarity.This metaphorical sanctuary is a place already within us, no further away than our next conscious breath. It is the still, silent space of pure awareness that lies beneath the choppy surface of thoughts, feelings, and sensations. A realm of vast, uncluttered presence that is our true abode.To access this inner sanctuary, we must become like skilled navigators or surferapists, riding the perpetual waves of experience without getting overtaken by them.

Rather than flailing against the rolling tides of thoughts, emotions and cravings, we learn to witness them arising and passing away, without judging, grasping or submerging into their undertow.Imagine yourself an old sea captain who has spent a lifetime riding out storms on the vast ocean. You have learned to read the patterns in the roiling winds and cresting waves. You know better than to blindly fight against their power or wish them away. Instead, you skillfully adjust your vessel’s sails and rudder, riding up and over the swells, allowing each rolling surge to sweep underneath as you remain centered and unperturbed.In this way, you cultivate a deep inner refuge – a place of unshakable poise and equilibrium no matter how wild the squalls become on the surface. From this space, you can take wise and grounded action, while never allowing the turbulence to unseat you from your core of abiding serenity.With practice, this sanctuary becomes a waking refuge we can enter anytime, day or night, no matter the external circumstances. A quiet fortress compound within our own being where the rampant monkeys of compulsion and restlessness are dethroned, and we are liberated into the open, spacious awareness that is our deepest nature.

From this liberated interior, we gain a grounded clarity and sovereignty over our lives. We become like still, unruffled pools reflecting the moon – able to bear witness to the magnificent dramas playing out across the waters, while remaining rooted to our essence as the depths beneath. Problems and difficulties no longer appear as crises to reactively combust over, but rather as emblematic waves to wakefully navigate with wisdom and aplomb.. The endless gyres of experience can churn as intensely as they may, but they cannot shake us loose from our moorings to the bedrock of serene being. For in reclaiming this inner sanctuary again and again, we awaken to our ultimate nature as life’s very cradle of stillness itself.

untamed eyes and perception

The other day, I was taking my 3-year-old son Ehan for a walk in a park. Gazing at his curiosity is my biggest fulfilling pleasure these days. Do you remember what it felt like to be a child, newly arrived in this strange and miraculous world? When every tiny thing seemed invested with magic and mystery? The way a simple dandelion puff could become a vessel for impossible wishes carried off by the wind. Or how an ordinary cardboard box could instantly transform into a spaceship, time machine or magical castle simply through the alchemy of your imaginings? As children, we existed in a state of perpetual awe, our senses constantly flooded with the pure rapture of being alive. The velvety texture of a rose petal, the delicious explosion of sweetness from a berry plucked straight off the vine, the kaleidoscope of colors splashed across a sunset sky – all of it was a grand carnival for our eager awareness to drink in.

In those early years, the universe felt wide as the sky, brimming with sublime possibilities and laced through with astonishment at every turn. We viewed the world through a lens of radical presence, utterly consumed by the magnificence of now in a way that alienated us from no aspect of the experience arising. Then, inevitably, we began growing up. Somehow, despite our parents’ and teachers’ best efforts, the world started getting smaller. The magical thinking that had once caused us to see tooth fairies and snipes in the garden gave way to the concrete, rational mind. The inherent mystery and divinity of all life became obscured by the endless looping of our conceptual stories about it all. Slowly, modern society’s trance of disenchantment sedated our childlike perception of reality as a living wonderland.

The bureaucratic, consumerist mindset deadened our senses and walled us off from the profound truth that we are in fact surrounded by absolute miracles at every turn. The very air we breathe, the astonishing natural intelligences collaborating within every breath to sustain our life force, became just “air” – something so rudimentarily taken for granted that we lost all cognizance of its staggering prosaicness. Our flesh, knitted together by trillions of cells cooperating in unfathomably complex biological symbioses, became a mere object of critique and judgment in the mirror rather than a seamless embodiment of the sacred cosmic choreographies that risened us into manifestation.

Even the stars twinkling in their grand galactic vaultings, the dizzying mysteries of spacetime and dark energy, became just twinkling lights in a vacant sky – no longer an abyssal ocean of wisdom and igniting forces whose secret languages our souls were forged to one day remember. Yet that bright, unarmored gaze we once turned upon this world with pure astonishment never truly goes away, no matter how many layers of jadedness and desensitization accrete upon it. No, it remains there in our secret hearts, pulsating insistently like a tiny seed awaiting the chance to thrust itself outward into a blossoming of rapture rekindled. All it takes is the willingness to pause, set down our catalogues of assumptions for just one powerful moment, and breathe our perception back into that primordial spaciousness. To return to seeing all of life not as a series of inert facts, but as an endless unfolding of miracles and total hospitable magic, no matter which way we happen to turn our newly untamed eyes.