time to go

April 3, 2021

Life is defined by transience and impermanence. We experience inevitable change and loss, we and those we love and admire get sick, grow old, and pass away. That is reality.

And, the gap between that reality and our expectation is where our suffering resides.

To the extent we learn how to “close the gap” — sit and be with reality rather than resisting it with fear and anger — we are able to reduce our suffering and not be defined by it.

Our suffering isn’t “wrong.” But, neither is it inevitable.

~ Scott Kinnaird

free falling

January 9, 2021

When a cat falls out of a tree, it lets go of itself. The cat becomes completely relaxed, and lands lightly on the ground. But if a cat were about to fall out of a tree and suddenly make up its mind that it didn’t want to fall, it would become tense and rigid, and would be just a bag of broken bones upon landing.

In the same way, it is the philosophy of the Dao that we are all falling off a tree, at every moment of our lives. As a matter of fact, the moment we were born we were kicked off a precipice and we are falling, and there is nothing that can stop it.

So instead of living in a state of chronic tension, and clinging to all sorts of things that are actually falling with us because the whole world is impermanent, be like a cat.

~ Alan Watts

here you are

September 19, 2020

Of course, strictly speaking, there is no method to arrive at the place where you already are.

No amount of searching will uncover the self, because all searching implies the absence of the self – the big self, the Self with a capital S.

So, to seek is to thrust it away. And to practice a discipline to attain it is to postpone realization.

~ Alan Watts

ego, our ancient guard dog

September 8, 2020

I think the ego is likened to an ancient guard dog that can either be trained by us, with compassion, to sit down beside us until it’s genuinely needed…or…we can let that same guard dog stand between us and the world, gnarling at every perceived grievance, identifying SO tightly with it, that we make everyone and even ourselves believe we ARE that guard dog.

When someone says, “that guy is an egomaniac!” Or, “you need to keep your ego in check,” they’re likely describing someone who has identified too closely with their guard dog.

But, when we have our ego appropriately in-check, while we present our authentic self to the world, if our guard dog growls a warning…it might be an appropriate warning! But, if not, with loving compassion, we can pat our ego on the head and remind it that all is well, while thanking it for protecting us down through the eons.

~ Scott Kinnaird

You only see the world aright if you see it as being neither materialistic nor idealistic, but are capable of following up the ideal aspect of what is presented in a material way and following up the material aspect of what is presented as idea.

The spiritual quality of a world conception is not being able to say “Over there is base materialism, which is for the ‘dregs’ of humanity, and over here is idealism, which is for the elect” — and the speaker usually includes himself among these — but the essential quality of a really spiritual world conception lies in its capacity to take what it has grasped in the spirit and bring it down into material existence so that material existence can be understood and not despised.

That is the fallacy of many religious denominations, that they despise material existence instead of understanding it and looking for the spirit within it.

~ Rudolf Steiner, Social Understanding Through Spiritual Scientific Knowledge, 1919


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