Chaplain of the Heart was born from years of cultivating heart, mind and soul through a lot of life’s lessons, study, solitude and the school of hard knocks, to become focused on the art and profession of chaplaincy.
Sometimes life points us from the very beginning to our path-but it takes a little meandering to get there. Sometimes the breadcrumbs that were laid out for us get shuffled in the wind, or hungry birds, or our own mind. Sometimes we need to gather a lot of life in order for it to become compost to our soul’s evolution.
Chaplain of the Heart comes from my path as a life-long spiritual seeker and devotee with a Bhakta’s heart, a Buddhist, an Interfaith Minister, and a servant to the cycles life and death, for all beings. The compost of my life is multi-layered and rich with trials and tribulations, blessings and grace, wander and wonder.
Once I set foot on the path of forming and sculpting my life as a chaplain, a lot of that compost congealed, like worm-casting tea, into a syrup of seva I want to share with you. I hope this site accompanies you and your own journey in exploring the questions AND answers to “How can I serve?”
Why Chaplain of the Heart?
It is my experience that when one can be fully present to another being, free of judgment, free of expectation, free of the need to fix anything, do anything or even be anything, that is when our heart space vibrates a state of being that is palpable and infectious. Whomever is in one’s energy field can also fully be, to the degree they are able to be unguarded and vulnerable to themselves.
As chaplains, we are taught how to create this space of presence by utilizing a well-rounded tool-kit of discernment. However, those tools would not be sharp without our own willingness to delve deep into the vessel of humanity we embody, and to fully explore our own fears, hurts, shames and prejudices so that our presence can truly light the way.
My goal of going through Interfaith Seminary was to learn how to be with people who had different beliefs and spiritual lifestyles than my own. I thought that my newly implemented layer of Interfaith language and understanding would serve me in interfacing with people I never thought I’d have anything to do with, and I was right.
What was also true though was that even beyond the studies and familiarity with different religious vocabularies, my ability to be present to our greater spiritual interconnectedness is the glue that bonds and opens hearts. When there is no them, all we have is us. Disconnection fosters broken-ness. Connection fosters healing.
Now nearly a decade after my seminary experience, I can look back at all the people and animals my chaplaincy has touched, and can really see that it is our being, not our doing, that bonds us and promotes spiritual healing and evolution.
Over the years people have asked me what kind of chaplaincy I provide. My answer has been Interfaith/No-faith chaplaincy with a Buddhist foundation, but I’ve come to see that it is really a Chaplaincy of the Heart, because Home is Where the Heart is, no matter where our bodies reside.
This website is not so much a site about chaplaincy as much as a place for me to share my stories of how chaplaincy has affected my lives and the lives of others. I hope whomever reads through these posts are moved to walk through the world with a wider sense of being, a more compassionate heart, and with a greater intention to recognize and work towards fostering interconnectedness with all beings.
One of my favorite Buddhist texts, the Bodhicaryavatara by Shantideva (chap. 3, vs 18 Padmakara Translation) has these beautiful lines that for me, sum up my intention as a human and as a chaplain:
” May I be a guard for those that are protector-less,
A guide for those who journey on the road.
For those who wish to cross the water.
May I be a boat, a raft, a bridge.”