Posted by: Bruce Proctor | March 25, 2017

Photos: Reflections off the foil on my mom’s new chocolate cake

As usual, these aren’t faked. I passed my mom’s cake sitting by the fridge on my way through the kitchen and said, “Whoa!” I did not manipulate anything in making these photographs other than rotate the cake this way and that and square up the camera to what I saw.





Posted by: Bruce Proctor | March 20, 2017

Dream: the Russian children’s tale

January 7, 2017 1:30 a.m

I am on a crowded train heading east, at night. It could well have been in Russia, though we all spoke American. I was sitting toward the back of the coach, which was lit, but poorly. The interior was murky, a dark, musky red. Maybe the coach was made of red wood, or perhaps it had been upholstered in heavy, red-brown fabric. Maybe it was just bad light. The feel could have been quite old-fashioned.

Up several rows from me a girl, perhaps ten or eleven years old, was holding forth to a rapt group of half a dozen other children about the story of Dr. Zhivago. Finally, I could not contain myself any longer and moved up to join them. I put my hands out toward the girl and began to speak to them all about the deep meaning of the story, the grown-up meanings. They listened with all their being, which surprised me mightily as I was an uninvited guest–and an adult at that.

I broke off finally, self-conscious. We were now somehow seated on the other side of the carriage. They told me, “No! No! We want to hear everything you have to say!” The depth of my urgency broke through me: “As you know, Dr. Zhivago took place in the turmoil of the Russian Revolution. Many, many were killed, or starved, or were caught up in the turmoil. I believe that we have come to a time here tonight where we can and must resolve that agony of so many years ago!”

I spoke mainly to the girl story-teller. She seemed like the central figure–the bringer-together– of the group. And now I was the other center of the web of us all. Still I held back; I knew I myself didn’t know exactly what I was talking about. So there was now a palpable tension.

Across the table from me to my left, a little girl, the smallest of them, only five or six years old, thrust out her arms to me. Since she was so little and apart from the group, I didn’t immediately respond to her. But she was having none of it. She launched her arms again to me and grabbed me: “You must do this!” she cried: “Hold me! Hold me tight!” And she was at my chest, and I held her for dear life. I was afraid I’d crush her, she was so tiny. The rest of the group had me reach out my freer arm through them to the story-teller, and all of them grabbed on.

Then a deep wailing emerged from us, one and all, the littlest one, and me myself, all joined together with all our being. Locked together, we wailed and wailed. I felt from the urgency of it that I might have a physical-world heart attack, and I thought it might go on and on forever. But after a dozen seconds of this overpowering intensity, it suddenly and naturally resolved itself, and I was back in my physical body, coming awake, shaken but at peace.

Over many years I’ve kept a few sheets of spiritual advice handy for quick reference during my day. Over and over I’ve added items and subtracted items as I’ve grown. Below are my current list. Not all of these are obvious: you may need a context which you don’t have yet, Byron Katie’s Work especially. So check out her process. Her website is terrific. Many of these quotes allow me simple access to the essential inner turning.

Misc. sources

  • Self-esteem involves making yourself right rather than wrong and allowing yourself to feel good about who you are.
  • All choices are equal.
  • Use your death as an advisor.
  • Think “possibilities.”
  • No fear, no envy, no meanness.
  • Don’t take anything personally.
  • I will approve of and rejoice in my accomplishments, and I will be as vigorous in listing these, as I have ever been in remembering and enumerating my failures and lacks of accomplishment.
  • Look how far you’ve come!

The Work of Byron Katie

  • Who would you be without your story?
  • I don’t have control and that’s wonderful!
  • We are disturbed not by what happens to us, but by our thoughts about what happens.
  • My thinking is all screwed up!
  • My life has a life of its own. I have nothing to do with it.
  • My life shouldn’t have a purpose.


  • The everyday practice is simply to develop complete acceptance and openness to all situations, emotions, and people.
  • Abandon any hope of fruition.
  • Do things properly for their own sake.
  • We can stop thinking that good practice is when it’s smooth and calm, and bad practice is when it’s rough and dark.
  • Today I will judge nothing that occurs.
  • Keep up with your meditation, as there is no instant illumination. The mind moves slowly into this.
  • Finally, don’t take yourself so seriously.

Frank Kinslow

  • Being self-aware is not a process but a perception.
  • It is totally harmless and completely nurturing.
  • Paths only give the illusion of movement toward the resolution of suffering.
  • When I surrendered to what was and stopped trying to fix anything, the heavens parted. I felt marvelous! And when I examined that marvelous feeling more closely, it grew in intensity.
  • Be still for a few minutes, watching your thoughts–are you ready?: do absolutely nothing!                            (For readers, see if you “get” this, because, simple as it is, it can be the completely unexpected key to an easy, warm turning and realization.)
Posted by: Bruce Proctor | March 6, 2017

Dream: Movie of the Aztec Egg

I’m watching a movie on DVD with a couple friends.

In the opening scene, early morning on the shadow side of an Aztec pyramid,  we see at its top the silhouette of a warrior in full traditional regalia. He trips quickly down the stairs with white sparks trailing his feet. The sparks–or whatever they are–are white and round, cartoonish, and totally out of character for the scene. I think they must be lame special effects, but actually it’s not clear if the warrior is in control of his descent or falling, and I wonder if the “sparks” might actually be cushioning or carrying him on his way down.

He gets partway down when up at the top appears a monster with a huge, raging head, like a Chinese dragon. It plunges right down like a great slug, long and rippling (no legs or wings). We now see that the warrior is cradling in his armor, with great care, a large, white egg still covered with mucous. As the monster plummets past the warrior, it snatches the egg, and surges to the ground and to our left. Our last sight is a glimpse of the egg, nestled lovingly in a snarl of its mighty lips.

Posted by: Bruce Proctor | February 9, 2017

Dream: “The Sikh offers me a gift”

The party was still going on in the house. I stepped out of my room to go to the bathroom. I was passed by a Sikh dressed in full regalia: lots of color, a short vest, silk pantaloons, a short, fez-like cap. He was an older gentleman, salt and pepper beard and hair, a face of great character. He went directly into my room. I turned to inform him of his mistake, but he, in no uncertain terms, shut the door in my face. I followed him in. He was fiddling around in my refrigerator and turned to me with a huge smile, holding in his left arm a heaping still-steaming platter–must have been cooked in the house–while with his right hand the other, thrust out to me a huge, piping hot, chocolate chip cookie!

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