Entries by Marilyn Gustin

Quid Nunc?

Emilio passed away some years ago, but he remains vivid to me. He was long retired when I met him, still full of vitality and passion about all of life. He had been, I believe, an executive in a major Chicago corporation, but that was well behind him. The snippet of memory that returns most […]

Kindness Remembered

Of memories that come as the years flow by, the most precious are those of unexpected kindness received. Here is one: Professor Huston Smith is remembered for many accomplishments in the field of Comparative Religion, including a standard text and several videos. He is remembered also as a talented and dedicated teacher. But many who […]

Ego Surprises

Years ago, I participated in some beautiful, very complex, dances with people who’d had a lot of experience. I was the novice. The challenge was that the lines of dancers interwove as they moved, and if one person made a mistake, the whole undertaking could be thrown into chaos. I was more than a little […]

Jason’s Gift

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about circulating kindness. This story has been on my mind. It’s longer than usual, but please read it all: I drove to the minimum security prison, far out in the desert, at the end of the only road in those parts. When I arrived in the visitors’ yard this […]

Another Way

My husband John and I were on an unfamiliar, two-lane, wooded road in upstate New York. He was driving. We were heading for a destination that might have been drawing many other people in cars, but it didn’t feel like it until suddenly all traffic came to a stop. We couldn’t see any free space […]

To See

Some years ago I was giving a week long series of workshops at a church in Louisiana. I had one “day off” and the pastor asked what I’d like to do. I knew, but had no idea what it might entail. “I’d like to go to the swamps, the bayous.” “What? Really?” He was astonished—after […]

Growing in Rock

The other day, walking in the desert, I came across something I’ve seen before, though not often. It’s a short saguaro cactus, growing directly out of a rock, with no visible soil around its base and no shelter from the sun. I paused to reflect on this amazing thing. Clearly the cactus has put down […]


There were about 1500 people (no exaggeration!) ahead of me in the ashram lunch line. It was a lovely day to wait outside, but still…Around me conversation buzzed and much of it was complaint. Then the man behind me quietly said, “The measure of your spiritual development is how you stand in line.” Over the […]


While doing my end-of-year review, I’ve gradually became aware of the number of human dramas that might be defined as “separation/union” plots. National political separations; families separated by divorces, sicknesses, accidents and even deaths; similar changes in other personal relationships; disagreements that escalate, or understandings that bring together. Even our sports are dominated by the […]

A Childhood Christmas

The childhood Christmas I remember best happened the year we could not afford a tree. I was 12. I don’t know the problems my parents faced that year, but I clearly remember what we did instead of a tree. In the spot where the tree would have stood, we took a couple wooden orange crates […]