Thursday, October 13, 2011


A few weeks ago when I had lunch with two of my monastic friends I told them how valuable my personal monastic experience had been and that it had a great influence on the type of person I am today. I was also thanking them for being part of my experience and also affirming them for being faithful to their calling. Even long time monks occasionally wonder if their life has any meaning. All of us are who we are because of our previous life experiences and the influence of the many people near and far who have touched our lives. Certainly there have been many ordinary people who have touched my life in ways they never realized. As far as more well-known figures I could list Jesus, Buddha, Francis of Assisi, Thomas Merton, Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., the Dalai Lama, Nelson Mandela, and my granddaughter, Chloe. Even though I have a reputation as an aging hippie rock and roller, the primary influences in my life have been spiritual masters, rebels, contemplatives, artists, lovers of nature, peacemakers, and a seven year old Zen Master. I try to be like all of them as I live my daily life. Many young people would barely recognize some of the people I’ve listed. In today’s world too many people choose celebrities from the world of entertainment and sports to be their role models. Most of these people, including many of the rock stars whose music I love, are unfit as people to model your life on. Our role models are usually based on our personal values. What are your values and who are your role models?

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