Chattering Mind

Chattering Mind

Hey Man, I Know I’m the Antique Shop!

A thoughtful blogger, meditation teacher, Soto Zen monk, and Dharma store owner named Genryu has asked if any CM readers see the irony in the fact that I quoted Chögyam Trungpa’s famous passage on spiritual materialism (examining how some people collect spiritual beliefs as if they were attractive antiques) in a blog that–I know–sometimes seem to trade belief systems like Pokemon cards. Genryu didn’t say that last part. I’m saying that. But the irony he points to is lost least on Chattering Me! I am the antique shop. That’s why I posted the quote.


I was raised a Presbyterian. I practice yoga. I married a Jewish man, am raising my sons as Jews (they were dipped in a ritual bath and converted), and recently celebrated my 50th birthday in silence at a Sufi retreat center. In my free time, I read the work of Ken Wilber, a philosopher who has developed an integral approach to spirituality. And I work for (a website my husband co-founded) that is truly–and deliberately–a spiritual smorgasbord. (My favorite artist is Joseph Cornell, the ultimate appreciator of spiritually charged ephemera.)

I know I must drive the Zen Buddhist bloggers crazy, but I deliberately chose the name “Chattering Mind” since I–like many people–am both lost and found, in my monkey mind then calm, chasing my tail and then standing tall. Pieces and then all of a piece. I confess to a multi-faith mindset. And an only recently resettled meditation practice.


Years ago, Utne Reader ran a hugely important cover story on the topic of whether or not people could create their own religion by mixing and matching ideas and practices that made sense to them. The editors’ answer to the question was, in the end: NO, you can’t make it up. Or you could, but you’d be a fool to. Choose one. Go deep.

I’m getting there, and observing progress. But I’m made so strangely happy by all the roadside distractions; I love it that I have readers from different faith traditions, or no particular faith at all. Genryu! Please! Come to my house! It’s decorated with stuff from antique stores and flea markets. Not the Zen look! But it has a warm embrace!

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posted October 4, 2006 at 10:35 pm

The editors perhaps thought no because they have been Christian or something. I am a Vaishnava Hindu who have incorporated some views and beliefs from Buddhadharma and the Jains, because all three borrow and give to each other anyways. :)

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Daniela Laws

posted October 5, 2006 at 8:28 am

Hey now, Chatterer : Hi ! This mini article of yours = 1st thing I’ve read @ this web site; just found it, by referral. You think You are an Antique Store ??? Nay ! I am the true original. When I was 16, B4 I ever made a single switch, my Gr-Mother PREDICTED ! Of my Self to rest of my Nuclear Family : ” She will change her religion a dozen times in her Life !” (I’ve lost count ! … Likewise : I look for the Best of each Faith, and incoporate the Best tidbits into one Holistic Picture, Like a Mosaic Tilework or a Stained Glass Window or Over-laid Transparencies. In Other Words : “KOANS”. Once, while working at my physical labor Job only (such as the Job was), … Kapow ! A KOAN was suddenly realized (I had mentally been meditating, while working.) I was sooo stunned by the “Enlightenment”, I actually simply turned around & walked off my job & its duties; went & sat down … w/out even Punching off the Clock ! I was in shock. (My Mngr simply came out & asked : “Are you okay ?” (No chastisment what-so-ever !) “THAT” is coalessing “Religions” !

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Grady Deese

posted October 5, 2006 at 2:24 pm

Thank you! I am a 44 year old male, and theirs probably not a church, or whatever the building is, that I haven’t worshiped in, and I’m LEGALLY A MORMON!!!! But as yourself I get all my good pieces togeather and keep putting the puzzle togeather. I’ve found a lot of good even in pagan . Remember the joke about the man that died , and when he reached St. Peter he was told to be really quite walking down this bright long hall way of doors, the man said o.k. ,but even in death his couristy got the best of him and he whispered to St. Peter…Why do we have to be so quite , and why are there miles of doors on each side of us??? Saint Peter replied, behind each door repensents a differnt faith and all of it’s followers, and they think their the only one’s that made it here!!!!! Thank you, Grady

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posted October 5, 2006 at 2:28 pm

hello cm. Like the lady above, i think one indeed Can and many do create their own religions like the lovely mosaics of their chosen awareness. i wanna go deep where i choose – i call mine a garden. whenever i pull weeds in my garden i am keenly aware of my omnipotence there, choosing which little sprouts will remain and which will go/die/end. it helps me understand the circle, the sphere of it All. Where do u live? I would love to visit. i am in s.f. come on ta my house – i’ll make u a cuppa tea. G-d bless!

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posted October 5, 2006 at 2:49 pm

Dear Chattering Mind, If I say that I look forward to your blog it is an understatment. I too was raised a Christian (Catholic). Love yoga and meditation. I am 35 Married a Jewish man and am raising my 3 kids Jewish. I am a wonderous confusing mix of Eastern & Western beliefs, an antique shop at best. I love educating myself about all religions and feel that they are all a different path to the same end..God, Goddess, Love, a Higher Power. You have been truly an ispiration to me. The life you lead by experiencing all different spiritual teachings & teachers and by exploring the most unique ideas and expanding my consciousness through sharing other websites is something I feel truly blessed to “peek” in on.Thank you for sharing. Thank you for showing those of us out here who have the same universal belief that we aren’t alone. Peace to you- J

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posted October 5, 2006 at 4:57 pm

What I don’t understand about jewish culture is the funny hats

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posted October 5, 2006 at 5:16 pm

“lovely mosaics of their chosen awareness. i wanna go deep where i choose – i call mine a garden. whenever i pull weeds in my garden i am keenly aware of my omnipotence there, choosing which little sprouts will remain and which will go/die/end. it helps me understand the circle, the sphere of it All.” ->I don’t think its acceptable to pick and choose when it comes to religion. The whole basis for religion stems from that fact that the only divine power knows best; and He lays that out for you on paper, literally. However, some laws seem are common to all religions anyway, ie don’t kill people, dont steal, etc. mosaics are pretty, but they arent as strong as a solid piece of glass

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posted October 5, 2006 at 11:47 pm

Keep the thoughts flowing! It’s refreshing and helps open the mind and heart and to hear the sounds of God (or whatever a person wants to call it). I was a shopper for many years, began in the Lutheran church, converted to Catholicism, tried living with a Jewish man for five years, checked out Eastern Philosophy along with Wiccan…then I found a unique path called ECKANKAR.That was 20 years ago.This path offered me personal and spiritual freedom in my own time,at my own pace. It wove the pieces together,all the good stuff wrapped in love. I don’t claim to claim all of it, but now I shop less. I love reading your blog, it’s important to me as I live in an area where most everyone assumes that when you say you love God you’re talking about Jesus. And if you’re not, there’s obviously something very wrong here. I enjoyed reading all the responses as well. Nice to know that shoppers abound, and like our homes, we don’t fit into Better Homes and Gardens. We’re all unique, filled with the light looking for ways to express it and connect with other points of light. Blessings.

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posted October 6, 2006 at 12:10 am

There is truth in all religions, and beauty in all. Celebrate the Diversity of our world, and keep looking for the good in life. It is there, and I think you are doing a wonderful job of showing others the way. Keep it up.

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posted October 6, 2006 at 8:35 pm

I believe there as many different “true” religions as there are different human beings. How could it be any other way? And if there is one, objective truth that applies to us all, it must be at the intersection point of all other faiths. At least your antique store is filled with objects you selected yourself. To buy into a ready-made religion, wholly and fully, is like accepting a lowest common denominator of human spirituality — like shopping at WalMart. We must search for the universal truths, try to unravel the mystery, and keep an open mind. One could define a religion as a group of people who share a common bias about reality. Carolyn Myss says you have to question whether your God is real if he hates all the same people you do. Let’s accept one another’s individual paths. I think your column does very well at promoting that kind of acceptance.

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posted February 13, 2007 at 10:02 am

Careful what you wish for. ;o)

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posted July 23, 2011 at 7:10 am


posted January 10, 2012 at 4:18 am

Just thought I’d see how things are going with you Amy. :)

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