A Whole Life Path

WISE ACTION: Being Upright

Recorded on May 10, 2022  ::  Duration – 36:27

The somatic sense of ‘being upright’ is more than a posture that we practice in sitting meditation.  It is also an embodied attitude that not only supports our openness but also expresses a firmness of commitment to being awake, to acting with integrity.


When you feel as though your actions are most aligned with what you value, what is the felt-sense, or embodied sense of that alignment? 

Can that felt-sense remind you and support you when you are out of balance?


Next Time, poem by Mary Oliver

Race, Reclamation, and the Resilience Revolution:  article by Larry Ward

Metta Sutta (The Buddha’s Discourse on Loving-Kindness)

Being Upright, by Reb Anderson

With Action at the Center talk by Gil Fronsdal

WISE ACTION: Refraining and Creating

Recorded on April 12, 2022  ::  Duration – 36:55

Exploring wise action as movements of both refraining from perpetuating harm as well as creating or contributing to well-being.


How do I experience the twin movements of refraining and creating, or contributing?


Precepts from Manzanita Village, version by Caitronia Reed

In Praise of Craziness of a Certain Kind, poem by Mary Oliver

For Warmth, by Thich Nhat Hanh (My Two Hands)

Race, Reclamation, and the Resilience Revolution, article by Larry Ward

WISE ACTION: What does it mean to be committed to non-harming?

Recorded on March 29, 2022  ::  Duration – 45:02

Wise action is responsiveness based on ethical sensitivity, and a commitment to non-harming.  The precepts offer a structure for this commitment, but the deepening happens through inquiring and exploring the gray areas, and learning how we lose or blunt our sensitivity.


What allows me to stay most aware of and responsive to my own needs, to others’ needs? 

What does a commitment to non-harming mean to me, how is it lived out? 

Which areas are most challenging to remember and explore this?


Etty Hillesum: Letters from Westerbork

How can I meditate when there is a war going on?, Claude Anshin Thomas interview

WISE SPEAKING: Listen Deeply, Speak the Truth

Recorded on March 15, 2022  ::  Duration – 33:15

Exploring the final two guidelines of Insight Dialogue, we can practice speaking from silence and receptive discernment.   This is an act of love, and it also helps free the heart.


What is your experience of participating in the dance of listening and speaking (receiving and offering) in a way that deepens presence?


“There is time only to work slowly, there is no time not to love.”, poem by Deena Metzger. Read full poem HERE.

Summary of guidelines Listen Deeply, Speak the Truth, by Insight Dialogue community

Echoing Silence:  Thomas Merton on the Vocation of Writing

Say What You Mean: A Mindful Approach to Non-Violent Communication, by Oren Jay Sofer

WISE SPEAKING: Attune to Emergence

Recorded on March 1, 2022  ::  Duration – 40:25

Exploring the fourth Insight Dialogue guideline as a support for wise and attuned speech.


Notice in your interactions with others how the internal movements of pausing (mindfulness, sati), softening around tension (relax, receive) and widening (open) give us a chance to return to a perspective that is healthy and sane, more present.  This allows us to re-enter the dynamic, shifting moment more immediately aware of and aligned with change rather than resisting or ignoring it.

What is the effect in the heart-mind when we do this?  What do you notice?


The Sanity We are Born With, by Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche (from the introduction by the editor, Carolyn Rose Gimian)

Living Buddha, Living Christ, by Thich Nhat Hanh

Insight Dialogue: The Interpersonal Path to Freedom, by Gregory Kramer

Summary of ‘Attune to Emergence’ guideline

WISE SPEAKING: Pause, Relax, Open

Recorded on February 15, 2022  ::  Duration – 28:02

Practicing with the first three guidelines of Insight Dialogue as supports for bringing mindful awareness into conversation and relationship.


Experiment directly with Pause, Relax, and Open as supports for coming out of habitual reflexes and engaging more skillfully with others in speech.


Liberation is a Careful, Everyday, Process.  Talk by Ajahn Sucitto.

Brief Overview of Insight Dialogue Guidelines (by ID community)

Guidelines in more detail

WISE SPEECH: True, Useful and Timely

Recorded on February 1, 2022  ::  Duration – 37:59

Exploring the qualities of wise speech and their effects on our minds.


  • Consider a time when you’ve experienced speech (your own or others) that had the effect of being truly beneficial and attuned/appropriate.  What were its qualities?  What impression did it leave on your mind, the minds of others?
  • Reflect on the encouragement to engage in speech that is true, useful, timely, and arises from a heart of goodwill (as best we are able).  What is your experience of the effects of your own speech when it may have had some of these qualities but lacked others (e.g., true and useful but not timely; true, potentially useful and timely, but spoken with aversion)?


Advice to Myself, poem by Jane Hirschfield

Vaca Sutta, Anguttara Nikaya 5.198

The Art of Communicating, by Thich Nhat Hanh

The Buddhist Path to Simplicity, by Christina Feldman

Right Emailing, by Gil Fronsdal


Recorded on January 4, 2022  ::  Duration – 44:00

Reflecting on aspiration on the occasion of the new year.  When we recollect and refresh our aspirations, we gain not just a sense of uplift, but also, perhaps, the courage and willingness to begin again, freshly. This talk includes pauses for written reflection.


  • When I think about the overall arc of my life, what most deeply matters?  What is worthy of committing myself to learning about expressing wholeheartedly?
  • What is one area in which I am out of alignment with what I most value?  What is most important to remember at those times?


December 31, poem by Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer.  https://ahundredfallingveils.com/

No Time to Lose: A Timely Guide to the Way of the Bodhisattva, by Pema Chodron


Recorded on October 26, 2021  ::  Duration – 35:35

The practice of wise intention is an important way of caring for the mind, and it is the hinge between our understanding (view) and our actions in the world.  We can bring awareness to our intentions in the moment, in specific situations, and to an overall direction in life.


  • Present moment – What is the basis of this thinking?
  • Situational – Why am I doing this action?  How do I want to show up?
  • Overall – What is most important?  What matters?


Famous, poem by Naomi Shihab Nye

Dvedhavitakka Sutta:  Majjhima Nikaya 19

Whole Life Path, by Gregory Kramer


Recorded on October 12, 2021  ::  Duration – 39:47

Exploring ‘widening circles’ of belonging a practice of letting go:  letting go into a somatic sense of safety, an awareness of the present moment, spiritual friendship, community, and the planet.  Experiencing our deeper belonging is the same movement as letting go of the small sense of self.


  • When you feel a sense of natural and un-earned ‘belonging’ — in your physical body, with nature, or with others, what is let go of in those moments?  What is your experience of that?  What is no longer present?


The Swan, by Rainer Maria Rilke    

Widening Circles, by Joanna Macy

A Wild Love for the World, a conversation with Joanna Macy on Dharmaseed


Recorded on September 28, 2021  ::  Duration – 34:33

Sometimes the sense of self is described as ‘ownership.’  Often it’s easier to try to define what we own and what we are —what belongs to us — rather than sensing into a more fundamental belonging.   This talk explores ways we tend to try to negotiate or earn a sense of belonging or defend against perceived threats to it, and how this clouds our view.   


  • What comes to mind when you consider experiences of belonging?  What is the felt sense of those experiences?
  • How do you try negotiate or earn a sense of belonging with others?
  • What are your habitual responses when your sense of belonging feels threatened?


The Zen Mirror of Tokeiji, by Zenju Earthlyn Manuel in The Hidden Lamp anthology

Belonging, by Rev angel Kyodo Williams

You Belong, by Sebene Selassie

Mindful of Race, by Ruth King


Recorded on August 31, 2021  ::  Duration – 35:21

The second talk on wise view explores the mundane (worldly) aspect of wise view and the liberating aspect.


Three prompts for practicing wise view in the moment:

Is awareness present?

What is being known?

How am I relating to what is being known?


The Quiet Power, poem by Tara Mohr

Dhamma Everywhere, by Sayadaw U Tejaniya