Sunday, November 30, 2008


The human being may be no more real than is a cinematograph film. When the projected light is switched off all that remains is a blank screen. That which has been projected by light was a series of 'stills'. Such also is what is being projected by 'life'. The more you consider the analogy the more perfect it seems to be: it could help us to understand.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

How to survive an emotional crash

When you get on an airplane, they patiently explain to you how to find the escape hatches, use your seat as a flotation device, and use the oxygen masks should the deploy.

One of the first things they tell you about the oxygen masks is that you should first put you own on, before trying assist other passengers.

The same is true of emotional health. You cannot help someone else if you are not emotionally healthy.
We are also the only people in charge of our own emotional health.

Psychology tells us that all emotions are preceded by a thought. How you think about something leads to an emotional response, and the only person in control of this process is YOU. When you choose to REACT, emotionally to someone elses actions, you are no longer in control, they are.

You can put this control in someone else's hands. This will inevitably lead to an emotional crash, due to loss of control, or lack of expected response.

You don't control anyone; they don't control you. You only control yourself. When you take back this control, you will become emotionally healthy. Discursive thinking leads to poor emotional responses, which leads to more thinking, and more emotional responses. the cycle spirals, and you will inevitably crash. Once started, you then make bad decisions or reactions, which lead to more thoughts and emotions. Wow, what a vicious cycle.

I put this control in other peoples hands. I trust, I expect they will act in a way that is in my best interest.

I expected some sort of closure from the last person who will ever be able to give it to me; I wanted understanding, I wanted emotional healing, and I wanted it for her too. That was wrong, to expect this, wrong to think we could give it to each other. I probably only stirred up her emotional pot as well, as that was not what I intended to do. I did not intend to hurt her again.



"The past is finished. There is nothing to be gained by going over it. Whatever it gave us in the experiences it brought us was something we had to know."

Rebecca Beard

"The past cannot be changed.
The future is yet in your power."
- Hugh White

Friday, November 28, 2008

What is the Monkey Mind?

The Monkey. He is you. You get in your own way.

He jumps out from behind the tree. Images roll though your mind like flash cards, unrequested and intrusive. Sometimes graphic, almost always emotional charged.


Sometimes appearing out of no where. Is he testing you? Or is he on your back and you don't see him whispering in your ear? Let your guard down, for even a minute. He will.

Repetitive thoughts, rolling without course, spider webbed-linked by strange connections like a dream. Bounce from one topic to another, non-stop. The Monkey. He is the unconscious mind. He always, ALWAYS wants to be going somewhere. Anywhere. Bad, good, it's all the same to him. He is the block to mindfulness, the block to lucidity. The king of toppling forward, looking backward.

For a while, he is interested in the meditation practice. But he gets bored with it after a few weeks, and starts throwing bananas.

SHOCK the monkey? Doesn't work. He gets even more unruly. So how to contain him?

Practice, Practice, Practice!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


Every man is wise when attacked by a mad dog; fewer when pursued by a mad woman; only the wisest survive when attacked by a mad notion.


"If one speaks or acts with a cruel mind, misery follows, as the cart follows the horse... If one speaks or acts with a pure mind, happiness follows, as a shadow follows its source."

We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves. - Buddha .

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Wise man or a fool?

Buddha said that the difference between a wise man and a fool lies in their intention. If we have a beneficial intention we are wise because all of our actions will be positive. Through engaging in positive actions we will experience good results in this life. We will create the causes for pleasant and enjoyable circumstances. If we have a bad intention our actions become impure and negative and therefore our experiences produce nothing but suffering.

So how can we change our intention? One of the best ways is to begin the practice of cherishing others. As long as we only cherish our self and think of our own happiness we will find it almost impossible to avoid committing negative actions such as killing, stealing, lying, etc. However, if we gradually begin to cherish others, recognizing that they are just like us in wishing to be happy and avoiding suffering, then our intention will become more and more pure. Eventually actions such as killing, sexual misconduct, and hurtful speech will be impossible to commit. Positive actions will become easy for us and each day we will sow the seeds for future happiness.

If we don't use our human life to practice virtue then there can be no greater deception or folly.

Fool or wise man? Guess which I am today.

do you practice careful speech?

Careful speech. Our words have the power to heal, or they have the power to hurt. If they do not serve to help and heal the receiver, ask yourself what possible good can they do? Are they critical? Are they instructive? Are they delivered with vengeance? Justice? Or are they delivered with kindness, and or a hope for improvement? Understanding?

Who are they spoken for, the other, or our own need? Vindictive words? Help no one. Neither ourselves, nor the one they are directed to. No matter how much personal truth they may carry. Hurtful words beget more hurtful words, and somewhere it has to stop. Let it stop with you. (I also wonder why this is so much harder with the ones we love? The one's we should be even more careful with? Why do we hurt the ones we love with indiscriminate speech?)

If they do not heal, they HURT. All of us.

Look into your heart, and ask, no matter how carefully worded, no matter about personal truth, were all of your words spoken with love? No? Then: No more.

No more hurtful words. No more talk about the PPasT. Someone set down a bag, and I picked it up. Now I can't let it go. Why? Attachment, that's why. I attach to bad feelings as much as I attach to good feelings.

Baggage. Is MY choice. Time to set it down, and not expect someone else to pick it up. Check your bags at the door, the door to a peaceful mind.


If we utilize our favorable circumstances, such as our good health or wealth, in positive ways, in helping others, they can be contributory factors in achieving a happier life.
Dalai Lama

Friday, November 21, 2008




The snarling dog.

Not out there.

It’s you.

Get your balance.

Look at it. Directly.

Make space for it.

Fear of flying

It takes courage to jump out of a perfectly good airplane.

It takes courage to NOT jump out, turn around, and land it too.
Which ever you choose, do it with conviction, and do it without regret.
Today. Is a good day. To jump. Or not to jump.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


Karen Hall and Jerry Stahl

"If you're here for four more years or four more weeks, you're here right now. I think when you're somewhere, you ought to be there. It's not about how long you stay in a place, it's about what you do while you're there, and when you go, is that place any better for your having been there?"

Saturday, November 15, 2008


"There are worse things than looking stupid. Sleeping through life is one of them."

Laura Preble

Friday, November 14, 2008

What is anxiety?

In Buddhist terms, I limit the definition to self-created stress and worry, over conditions that have occurred, or are projected to occur in the future. Almost always, our fears never turn out to be even close to what reality brings. Anxiety is 100% creation of conditions INSIDE of us, projected to the outside world. (Sometimes our anxiety is self serving, and actually creates the conditions needed for our fears to come true. But that is another post).

The fear, of say, Nuclear war would be a big one.

Trouble is, most of fears and worries are much, much smaller than that. Will I be able to pay the rent? Why did that person say that, and what exactly did they mean by it? (And don't get me started on e-mail. Talk about dysfunctional communication that fosters multiple interpretation Yikes).

All of this increases our internal dialog, which clouds our perceptions, and moods. The more internal dialog, the more worry. The more worry, more dialog until it reaches a crescendo of a nervous breakdown, or hopefully burns itself out, or we finally say ENOUGH! This is getting me no where.

STOP. The dialog, stop the anxiety. Let it flow naturally. Stop obsessive planning, evaluating. Stop the need for control of what other people do, or say.

My trouble is: as I stop the dialog, then the monkey thinks he can come in and fix it, with the available space. Funny how open space invites us to FILL IT UP. Nature abhors a vacuum, and the mind really doesn't like it.

Peace of mind comes from being aware of what's here. Right now.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The whole universe

Each moment in time we have it all, even when we think we don't.

Our veiled perception, our monkeymind, distracts our minds eye from the truth. The monkey has been taught to want something different than what we have, right now.

Peace. A quality that comes from the inside, not from conditions outside of us.

"You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet, still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet." ~ Franz Kafka

Monday, November 10, 2008

Are you grateful?

It is pleasant to have been to a place the way a river went. But each second the time-river has passed, it's never the same river. You can't get back 'there'. There is no there there, there is only here.

It leaves it's residue, and we should be grateful to have felt the waters passing over us. They change us, moisten us, nourish us, revive us.
Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us."
-Albert Schweitzer

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Are we what we do?

We live in a human dream, being one in which everything appears purely in the guise of it's human utility, and held in place by it's human name. Names are small and sinister metaphors which restrict, absolutely, the use of an object. Our eyes open to this madness every morning and at night we dream within the dream; whole lives are spent without so as a ripple of doubt reaching the surface.

But when the object is allowed to shrug off it's name, it begins the long journey back to it's own mystery- on upon reaching the core of it's own estranging fire, radiates until the whole world is unified by it. The rose or the paper clip; either could open the path back to our awakening.

-Don Pattersen-, Best Thought-Worst Thought (aphorisms)

My thoughts: By naming, assigning, we lose the intrinsic object and instead replace it with the idea of the object instead of the object itself. Can you look at a flower, and not think "flower"? Assigning values and memories to it?

When this is applied to people, we lose the uniqueness we all seek; the marvelous fact that we exist at all is mired in roles, functions. We get boxed up in titles, creating a self-image that exists no where but in our own minds. That 'self' we create is not in the minds of others (duality of existence?) They do not see us as we see ourselves. We rarely think of ourselves as our actions, but that is how others see us, define us.

When we think of another, it's a string of words or memories in relation to how we know them, what their role is against our own. This is of course colored by our interactions, both good and bad. Memories of that person become charged with emotions, sometimes attracting, sometimes repelling, sometimes neutral. But rarely can we think of anyone's uniqueness, to revel in the marvel that they exist, like we do.

It's that existence that is just so incredible.

Saturday, November 8, 2008


"On a lazy Saturday morning when you're lying in bed, drifting in and out of sleep, there is a space where fantasy and reality become one. Are you awake, or are you dreaming? You see people and things; some are familiar; some are strange. You talk, you feel, but you move without walking; you fly without wings. Your mind and your body exist, but on separate planes. Time stands still. For me, this is the feeling I have when ideas come."

Lynn Johnston

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

What is not there?

Do our thoughts on an object then change the nature of the object, or does it mean a change in us? When you think of white, can you see it without the contrast and comparison of black? Can I see the white hole, without the surrounding black?

Is the absence of something the same as Not-That-Thing or is it non-existence?

I would answer: the absence of something makes everything else Not-That-Thing, not the non-existence of that thing.

Once you have knowledge of a thing, everything else can be Not-That-Thing. That can be a very hollow feeling. Sometimes I think our memory and knowledge of the past can be a torturous, longing ache. My thoughts every day, are still a Not-That-Thing process.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Message to Tod

Hi Tod,

Its nice to see how at peace you are.

Thanks for listening to me Sunday night. The mind is a funny thing. I wonder sometimes why we continually get in our own way. (I have a monkey mind for sure). All of this, all of it, is in my own mind. My perspective on things changes, sometimes every day (thoughts of that person, are not that person). I wonder if I will ever know what the TRUTH was. It just seems so slippery

It’s funny how I know, I know that all I have to do is sit quietly in the moment. Yet, my mind insists that it can still fix things in the past. If I work it just right, if I find myself getting to a good place, I continually THEN to try and go back in. Firm ground, is firm ground. Nothing about jumping back into the quicksand helps stabilize me.

I watch the process, and each time I watch it, I get better at getting back onto dry land and staying there. Whew. Deep breath. Today is a really, really good day. Nothing to do, or undo.

I am working at trying to be a better listener, and not just a talker. I have hardly ever learned anything by talking. I know whatever I’ve gone through, and am going through, you’ve been there too. I want to hear more, when and if it’s not too painful to go back there.

It’s always really helpful to talk about it. You and Scribbly have been a big part of my healing, for no other reason than to just listen. I’ve been talking now for ….close to four months, and I probably should have started talking sooner. I think I am almost done talking. I know I’m done talking, and reasoning, and justifying circumstances, but I’m not done talking about the mind and it’s process. (FYI: I think Scribbly has some stuff that needs work. He hinted at it yesterday on our paddle. A beautiful day!)

Thanks again Tod.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Can you surf?

When you are in emotional turmoil it's interesting to watch, if you have enough cognition, the waves. How from day-to-day, your perception of events, and feelings about things change.


One day, you feel good. On top of the world. You are the elephant, and your problems are like flies. You can face it, directly.
Can you realize those emotions are going to come and go? Rise and fall?

Can you surf?