Saturday Morning


In one of his insightful talks Zen master Shunryu Suzuki said that in your practice you should walk like an elephant. “If you can walk slowly, without any idea of gain, then you are already a good Zen student.” There’s a mantra for your religion: Walk like an elephant. It means to move at a comfortable pace. No rushing toward a goal. No push to make it all meaningful. The sometimes inscrutable texts of Taoism and Zen teach that it’s important to do what you do without trying to accomplish anything. One of the benefits of a religion of one’s own is its ordinariness and simplicity. You don’t need a magnificent ceremony, a specially ordained minister, or a revered revelation to give you authority. You don’t have to get anywhere. There are no goals and objectives: nothing to succeed in, and nothing in which to fail. You can sit in your house, as Thoreau did, and be attentive— his suggestion. “We are surrounded by a rich and fertile mystery. May we not probe it, pry into it, employ ourselves about it— a little? . . . If by watching all day and all night I may detect some trace of the Ineffable, then will it not be worth the while to watch?”

~ Thomas Moore, A Religion of One’s Own: A Guide to Creating a Personal Spirituality in a Secular World.


Riding Metro North. And dragging it around.


Who are we, really? Who is dragging this body around.” (Zen Koan)

4:55 am.
Just another Hump Day in August, but less torrid, and pleasant, really.

It’s a short walk to the station. The digital counter on the wrist flashes Step # 63, a reminder of the failure to reach 6500 steps by last day’s end.

A Lady, in her early 30’s, hair still damp, rushes onto the crowded train car, steps over the gap, looks down the aisle, lets out a sigh. She sets down her bag and stands. You watch. She stands. And stands. And stands. This weekend you opened the mailbox to find junk mail inviting you to join the AARP, and flung it with disgust into the recycling bin. Hey, at least she wasn’t pregnant.

The 7:30 morning meeting is cancelled, 15 minutes before start time. The same meeting requiring you to catch the first train. You launch an e-missile punctuating the finish with an exclamation mark.  Shrapnel hits the target — its impact boomerangs in a Return To Sender. Necessary?

You interrupt another mid sentence, again and again, to steer the discussion and to drive the pace. What is it that is so unsettling that flows in your blood? [Read more…]

Do Over.


When he was a puppy, he slept curled at my feet, under the covers.  The arch of my foot would caress his tailbone. As the night passed to early morning, he would inch up to my knees, still under the covers.

I would turn to my side and set my knee on his back, my leg rising and falling with his breathing.

Eight years later, he’s done with his breakfast. He jumps up on the bed, nudging his nose on the blanket, signaling it’s time to lift the covers. He turns in a tight circle once, and then again, and then falls. He shifts so he is parallel to me, with his back to my belly and his tail at my feet. No longer a puppy, his 70 pounds leans in.

I turn to my side and set my knee on his back, my leg rises and falls with his breathing.

I slide my hand under the cover and touch his silky ears, and pull him in tighter.

He stirs.

No, I can’t buy this on Amazon or find this on the Tube or in a Book.

No, I can’t feel this in any other Moment.


Lice? Hmmm. The rest? Zen Mastery.


Ryokan was a Zen master, hermit, calligrapher, and poet. He was known for his great kindness – he would pick lice out of his robe, place them outside so that they could get some sun and then later put them back into his robe. He smiled continuously, and people said that when he visited they felt “as if spring had come on a dark winter’s day.” He took the name “Great Fool” for himself. When a thief stole his few simple possessions, he wrote this famous haiku:

The thief left it behind:
the moon
at my window.

Roderick MacIver



Saturday Morning: Zen Dogs


“In a series called Zen Dogs, Alex Cearns, a professional pet and wildlife photographer from Australia, photographed pups looking peaceful and calm, their eyes closed.  To capture the animals looking so placid, Cearns counts the number of seconds between blinks. She can take upward of 300 photos of an animal in one hour-long session; she says she usually gets one terrific Zen Dog-worthy shot in the bunch.

Dogs have the power to make people happier and feel less stressed, so it’s not a stretch to imagine you’ve started to look a little more blissed-out yourself just looking at the photos. Cearns believes her project can serve as a gentle and positive reminder to take a break, unwind and contemplate inner peace and presence. Take a moment out of your day to enjoy a collection of these charming shots, and maybe you’ll feel a little bit of what the dogs do.”

Kate Bratskeir, These Photos Of Zen Dogs Will Make You Feel Zen, Too

Don’t miss more of Cearns’ photos here: Zen Dogs


Can, feel it…


Kazuaki Tanahashi
Miracles of Each Moment, 2014

Kabuki Tanahashi @ – Zen Circles. He was born and trained in Japan and active in the United States since 1977, has had solo exhibitions of his calligraphic paintings internationally. He has taught East Asian calligraphy at eight international conferences of calligraphy and lettering arts. Also a peace and environmental worker for decades, he is a Fellow of the World Academy of Art and Science. See more of his Zen Circles here.

Source: Precious Things

Whoa Horse! I told you to stop, damn it!

black and white,

There is a story in Zen circles about a man and a horse. The horse is galloping quickly, and it appears that the man on the horse is going somewhere important. Another man standing alongside the road, shouts, “Where are you going?” and the first man replies, “I don’t know! Ask the horse!” This is also our story. We are riding a horse, we don’t know where we are going, and we can’t stop. The horse is our habit energy pulling us along, and we are powerless. We struggle all the time, even during our sleep. We are at war within ourselves…We have to learn the art of stopping – stopping our thinking, our habit energies, our forgetfulness, the strong emotions that rule us. When an emotion rushes through us like a storm, we have no peace.

– Thích Nhât Hanh, The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching: Transforming Suffering Into Peace, Joy and Liberation

Credits: Quote – Sensual Starfish. Image: landscapre


We are habituated to noise.


“By embarking on the spiritual path, an aspirant is attempting to encounter silence firsthand. This is the quintessential journey in life–the inner sojourn. It is returning to a source long ago forgotten but often glimpsed at moment unawares. Recapturing that which flitters on the periphery of awareness is the goal of the mystic. …The mystic consciously dives into silence, at first unfelt. With repeated practice it becomes a living, palpable Presence filled with immeasurable vitality and boundless, nondual continuity. But what causes this gradual revelation?

First we need to discover why we do not experience silence. The simplest answer is that we are habituated to noise. We are addicted to novelty, sensation, to ourselves. Fuss and commotion, mental chattering, and outer stimulation occupy our minds from dawn to dusk. The twentieth-century Japanese Zen master Nan-in rightly noted that we are overflowing with our own ideas and opinions; to learn Zen we must first empty our minds. But there is no room for such emptiness. When one is clattering away on a keyboard sixteen hours every day, the capacious pockets of silence are kept well at bay. We thereby deafen ourselves to the underlying silence we would otherwise clearly hear.

By intentionally quieting our restless minds and calling a temporary halt to the random noise–inner and outer–to which we are subject, we create an environment conducive to the manifestations of silence. Welling up from within, this silence subtly engulfs us, drowning out all the noise of existence. The Jewish mystics refer to God as “ayin,” nothingness. When we quell the somethingness of our lives, this nothingness emerges. But as long as we dwell in the realm of substance, it remains elusive.”

–John Roger Barrie, in Parabola Magazine: “Silence.” 



It works!


“If you follow the paintbrush with your eyes while not moving your head, it forces you to use emdr which is a therapeutic technique to calm anxiety/panic. Watching fish swim causes the same effect.”

Source: Disintegrated Insanity


Saturday Morning


Source: Mme Scherzo

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