Saturday, June 15, 2013

Aroran Beta Test #2

A few months ago I mentioned that my son Kai and I were launching a beta version of a website we've been designing for the past year and a half. As it turns out, that first attempt was something of a non-starter. So we went back to the drawing board and hope that we now have a site that will be both more intriguing and engaging. 

This new site will pose a new question to it's readers each week. It is our hope that each question will be compelling enough to encourage reflection and candid responses from participants. It is the honesty and authenticity of these responses that will, hopefully, support an experience of shared connection regarding common concerns in our lives.

As with the previous version, your responses will be posted via Twitter. The difference in this iteration of the website is that: 1. You aren't required to have a Twitter account, and 2. A box is available for you to automatically post an anonymous response (thus offering participants complete anonymity without their candid response showing up on their Twitter feed). This site is now supported on most web browsers and many mobile devices. (We're still working on getting it to work on iPhones, while it is finally able to work on iPads.)

This new site can be found at

We welcome your participation in this next phase of our experiment in social media. If you have any comments you would like to make about the site, please email me directly at And please feel free to encourage others to visit this site. For your convenience there is a share (+) button on page 3 that connects you to many commonly used social media platforms.

Thank you.

Here is our mission statement:

Maybe social media can help us not only learn about others but ourselves.

Aroran is a community of reflection. It is a place for questions without easy answers, a place where the asking may be as important as the answer. Each week Aroran posts a new question. You can respond through Twitter by including #aroran in your tweet. You can use your personal Twitter account or the anonymous account located below the candle.

If you have a question you feel is right for Aroran, send it to us on Twitter at @aroranquestion. We will select a new question each week.

We hope that Aroran is a way for a different kind of sharing. 

Friday, June 14, 2013

"I have changed my mind about a hundred things. Effort in meditation is one example. I used to think that to become free you had to practice like a samurai warrior, but now I understand that you have to practice like a devoted mother of a newborn child. It takes the same energy but has a completely different quality. It's compassion and presence rather than having to defeat the enemy in battle."

Jack Kornfield

Friday, April 5, 2013

Several months ago I shared a prayer that I had written for a group of Jesuit Volunteers, 38 deeply committed post-university students who had just completed a year of serving in settings of poverty and need. 

The responses to that prayer have been strong and meaningful for me. One that touched deeply mentioned that the request that God "be with any memory that tells me I am alone" allowed a new awareness of how the pain of the past was always accompanied by an experience of being alone. All alone. Bringing those painful memories, including the experience of feeling bereft of presence, began a sense of healing.

Hence our shared need to bring simple Presence to prayer.

One Tender Breath.

One Tender Touch.

One Tender Word.

Slow, calm, rhythmic breathing.

Quiet, gentle touch (hand holding hand).

One sacred word.

Dropping below thought and concept. Dropping deeper than our overly developed minds.

I continue to believe there is value in beginning a time of prayer or meditation with a simple statement designed to touch into the nooks and crannies of our lives, allowing Spirit access through our full permission to be Held in ways deeper than we can design.

Letting Mystery lead, letting Love heal, letting Spirit transform what Rilke calls "blood memory" in ways we can't begin to imagine.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Aroran is a community of silent and written prayer 

My son Kai and I have recently launched a beta version of a website we've been designing for the past 15 months.  It can be found at It's still in the beta testing phase and isn't yet something we want to publicly encourage in terms of being fully shared on the web. But for those of you who participate in this blog, your initial support and involvement would be  welcomed.

For now, participation requires an updated browser (an updated version of Safari or Firefox or Chrome, with download directions at the bottom of this blog). It doesn't yet work on Internet Explorer or on mobile devices. Hopefully those options will be available by early May.

This site also asks participants to use Twitter as a way to submit anonymous/written prayers. Once you have a Twitter account (fortunately it's simple to create an account at you can send prayers to aroran. (Directions included on the site.)

It is our hope to build a global community, where silence and prayer can be shared throughout the world.

In these first weeks of aroran's presence on the web, we're asking your support in establishing a foundation of mindful/prayerful intention. Join in as fully as you wish and . . . for now . . . please don't invite others to be involved. Once we've got the site completed we'll welcome any and all to full participation.

Thank you.

Firefox download (free) -
Chrome download (free) -

Sunday, December 30, 2012

        “The first step in spiritual practice is to know ourselves to be lovable and allow ourselves to be loved."    - John Main, O.S.B.                                         


Saturday, September 1, 2012

Zero Circle

Be helpless, dumbfounded,
unable to say yes or no.
Then a stretcher will come from grace
    to gather us up.
We are too dull-eyed to see that beauty.
If we say we can, we’re lying.
If we say No, we don’t see it,
that No will behead us
and shut tight our window onto Spirit.
So let us rather not be sure of anything,
beside ourselves, and only that, so
Miraculous beings come running to help.
Crazed, lying in a zero circle, mute,
we shall be saying finally,
with tremendous eloquence,      Lead us.
When we have totally surrendered to that beauty,
we shall be a mighty kindness.


Monday, July 2, 2012

What Is There Beyond Knowing?

What is there beyond knowing that keeps
calling to me? I can’t

turn in any direction
but it’s there. I don’t mean

the leaves’ grip and shine or even the thrush’s
silk song, but the far-off

fires, for example,
of the stars, heaven’s slowly turning

theater of light, or the wind
playful with its breath;

or time that’s always rushing forward,
or standing still

in the same—what shall I say—

What I know
I could put into a pack

as if it were bread and cheese, and carry it
on one shoulder,

important and honorable, but so small!
While everything else continues, unexplained

and unexplainable. How wonderful it is
to follow a thought quietly

to its logical end.
I have done this a few times.

But mostly I just stand in the dark field,
in the middle of the world, breathing

in and out. Life so far doesn’t have any other name
but breath and light, wind and rain.

If there’s a temple, I haven’t found it yet.
I simply go on drifting, in the heaven of the grass and the weeds.

Mary Oliver

Wednesday, June 13, 2012


I've been reading a book by Ken Segall about the culture at Apple under the direction of Steve Jobs. The book's title says it all: "Insanely Simple." This singular rule regarding the centrality of simplicity was the key to each decision Steve Jobs made when designing products or mapping strategy about the advertising of new products. (He famously kept sending the iPhone back to the designers with the edict: "one button" and nothing more.)

Steve Jobs understood that we just can't handle too much complexity. He understood that we need the deep value of complexity, but that accessibility needs to be simple in order to be utilized. (What Oliver Wendell Holmes called "simplicity on the other side of complexity.")

This, of course, is my attraction to bringing simplicity to prayer.

One Tender Breath.

One Tender Touch.

One Tender Word.

Slow, calm, rhythmic breathing.

Quiet, gentle touch (hand over hand or hand on forehead or hand on side of head or hands in lap).

One word mantra.

Dropping below thought and concept. Dropping deeper than our overly developed minds.

This past weekend I had the huge privilege of spending several days with 38 Jesuit Volunteers - young adults who have given this past year after college working with those struggling with poverty. Deeply committed, these JVC's carry such promise for our shared future. My only goal was to offer a pathway to spiritual practice that was accessible and simple.

One Tender Breath.

One Tender Touch.

One Tender Word.

To this end I made the suggestion that they begin each period of daily prayer or meditation with a simple prayer designed to touch into the nooks and crannies of their lives, allowing Spirit access through their permission to be Held in ways deeper than typical asking.

 I offer above, for your consideration, this simple prayer.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Beyond a Shadow of a Doubt

What I trust most: When my breathing allows me to include all three: Doubt, the Abyss, and Wisdom. This seems to be the only way I can avoid "absolute conviction," the defensive certainty that I can know what can't be known.

When a Tender Breath encompasses my doubt and my terror, wisdom emerges.

Wisdom, for me, is when unknowing rests into trust.