a part of it all

September 2, 2020

I don’t need to be special anymore, because I don’t relate to the illusion of separation, which caused me to keep trying to prove that I was something.

I am part of the universe, as the tree is, as the grass is, or as the water is.

Like storms and like roses, I’m just part of it

– Ram Dass


spreading joy

August 22, 2020

To spread joy, you have to have it. To impart delight, you have to be more or less delightful. And to be delightful is not some factor of trying to make yourself look delightful, it is to do things that are delightful to you. You thereby become delightful to others.

People who are interesting, are people who are interested. Any person for example, who is constantly thinking about all sorts of other things and other people and so on, because they are fascinating, becomes a fascinating person. A person who does not think about anyone else, and has very little going on inside their skull, is boring.

So in other words, your engagement with the external world — the more you are involved, the more your personality is enriched.

~ Alan Watts

heaven and hell

June 25, 2020

There’s another story that you may have read that has to do with what we call heaven and hell, life and death, good and bad. It’s a story about how those things don’t really exist except as a creation of our own minds. It goes like this: A big burly samurai comes to the wise man and says, “Tell me the nature of heaven and hell.” And the roshi looks him in the face and says: “Why should I tell a scruffy, disgusting, miserable slob like you?” The samurai starts to get purple in the face, his hair starts to stand up, but the roshi won’t stop, he keeps saying, “A miserable worm like you, do you think I should tell you anything?” Consumed by rage, the samurai draws his sword, and he’s just about to cut off the head of the roshi. Then the roshi says, “That’s hell.” The samurai, who is in fact a sensitive person, instantly gets it, that he just created his own hell; he was deep in hell. It was black and hot, filled with hatred, self-protection, anger, and resentment, so much so that he was going to kill this man. Tears fill his eyes and he starts to cry and he puts his palms together and the roshi says, “That’s heaven.”

~ Pema Chodron

The moment I realized God sits in the temple of every human body, the moment I stand in reverence before every human being and see God in him – that moment I am free from bondage, everything that binds vanishes, and I am free.

~ Swami Vivekananda

epitaph for you

January 27, 2020

He blazed out the new path for all of us and came back and made it clear. Explored the side canyons and deer trails, and investigated cliffs and thickets.

Many guides would have us travel simple, like mules in a pack train, and never leave the trail. Alan taught us to move forward like the breeze, tasting the berries, greeting the blue jays, learning and loving the whole terrain

~ Gary Snyder’s epitaph for Alan Watts

In the beginning there was ‘the One’ and it was bored out of its frickin’ mind … and so it became two, just for something to do. Yin and yang, nothingness and somethingness, space and object, tumbling eternally.

I imagine those two would have quarreled endlessly had they not become lovers and given birth to an eternal spring of impermanent forms, the “ten thousand things” (as we are known in Taoism and Buddhism).

Perhaps this ephemeral impermanence of things is a sort of truce that was made between the abyss of absolute nothingness and the possibility of something actually existing… a truce that makes it possible for everything imaginable to rise and fall, in and out of existence temporarily, throughout the boundless cosmos, for eternity.

~ Alan Watts

one bow

January 14, 2020

When you bow, there is no buddha and no you. One complete bow takes place. That is all. This is nirvana.

– Suzuki Roshi


December 22, 2019

I do not have a teaching,
I have a practice.
I do not have a belief,
I have a practice.
I do not have a message or story to tell,
I have a practice.
I do not have a god,
I have a practice.
The word dissolves into silence.
The silence dissolves into action.
The action dissolves into wonder.
At dawn, be the mist in a sunbeam.
At evening, be the mountain on a cloud.

~ Fred LaMotte


December 12, 2019

As I stare at the bottles of red wine we purchased almost a year ago, I‘m reminded of the fantastic day we spent in Sonoma Valley with our children discovering its wonderful vineyards.

I find it somewhat odd when we spend that sort of money on things we’ll mostly give to others as gifts or likely won’t use for a very long time.

But, when you experience such a wonderful day — a day beyond imagining — it’s momentous and natural to wish it wouldn’t end. That day in particular reminds me of how little children love being thrown up in the air or pushed on a playground swing over and over — they’ll shout, “do it again!” until the parent is worn out, because they want to repeat that apogee of freedom, that briefest moment of release from banality, over-and-over.

I think this could be why icons of memories of these moments matter. Photos or paintings or statues or figurines or yet to be emptied bottles of wine. They all matter.

Icons matter because they remind us of what liberation feels like.

~ Scott Kinnaird


November 2, 2019

People have trouble being quiet for even five minutes.

When people sit in their first mindfulness session and experience structured silence for the first time, the intensity of their monkey-mind (ego) railing against even the *prospect* of being ignored, usually overwhelms any insight which might have been cultivated by that first practice.

But…a glimpse…a curiosity…a mental question…a wondering…experienced that first time, can push a curious seeker to the next ‘sesshin‘.

And, with practice, that five minutes can eventually expand and the silence can expand with it.

The chattering can subside and the meditator can realize they’re “watching” the chattering monkey-mind. ”They” are not the monkey.

They’re just watching it.

This is the first glimpse of Liberation. This is when we realize what’s possible.

This is when we can stop identifying with the noise in our head and identify with who we really are — an individuation of the Divine.

~ Scott Kinnaird