Category Archives: Uncategorized

Weight a Minute

5 months is too damn long to not write something. And you know what i’ve done since last post? Well yes, I’ve been engaged more deeply in my Zen practice but in addition to that, I’ve gotten allowed myself to get sloppy with my eating. Lots of sitting (which is on my ass, mind you) and reading and such does not bode well for the ever spreading blob I can only keep in check with regular exercise and attention to diet.

I did in September also go fully plant based in my eating which has been very helpful but around Thanksgiving I let myself slide into eating all kinds of the usual non meat type foods…breads, baked goods of all varieties, etc…and more processed stuff, just out of laziness and the ‘hey it’s the holidays’ mentality. Well, it has been ‘the holidays’ for a month but I was still eating that way.

I’ve been making a concerted effort to get my life back in better balance the past week or so and cleaning up my food, staying active, and getting back to writing is part of that. Also one of my online writing buddies from way back in my Buddhist blogging days, The Average Buddhist contacted me out of the blue this week just to touch base. It feels like the Universe is poking me and not only letting me know I need to get busy again but if I don’t, it may have to shove.

Miss God speaks in a wee small voice but if you don’t listen, Miss God screams. So yeah, I need to get my shit together before Miss God screams.

that’s what Shane said©

My Voice at the Center of the Silence

Well, I didn’t think I’d be away quite this long.  It’s hard to predict how long my quiet phases will be these days.  This quiet time since I last posted I have gone back into deepening my Zen practice by joining a community of folks studying under a Zen teacher who is developing an online group.  I’ve also started sitting with an online Zen group each morning 4 days out of the week.

Getting deep into Zen practice always makes it harder to write because a lot of that experience is hard to put into words.  Curious that a place beyond words is putting me back in touch with my voice.  I needed the silence because I wasn’t really hearing it before.  It had gotten muffled.

I’m curious to hear what it has to say at this age.  I’m 44 but I’ve always felt and sounded much younger in my head.  This time I’m hearing myself more thoughtful, assured, adult, more of a powerful elder wolf howl.

It’s going to be an interesting journey, that’s for sure.

that’s what Shane said©

Kindness Cooties…a post from long ago

I came across a post I wrote for my old Zenfant’s Dirty Dharma blog of days gone by.  It’s one of the ones I liked the best and I wanted to record it again here since the old blog is deleted.  This is 3 years old now.

I want to be kind. I want to be compassionate. I want to be the person that makes others feel more peaceful and settled just by sitting in the same space with me.

I want be kind because it is the best possible, most clear, most sensible action to take. The goal is not to be “good” or avoid Hell (whatever that is) or get extra points for Heaven (whatever that is). The goal is to have no goal and still be kind.

The meditation part comes in because it is during that practice of intensified mindfulness, I get to begin to penetrate down below what my everyday mind is attached to (it’s one of the cool side effects of regular mindfulness practice). I recently heard a talk by Shinzin Young in which he talks about the concept of “no self” as being like an old CRT monitor displaying a pure white screen. It’s white when I look at it with my naked eye, but if I put a magnifying glass up to it, it breaks down into the pixels of red/blue/green. So which is it? Red/blue/green or white? Well, it’s both, depending on my perception, so we could also say it is both and neither…or, to quote the Heart Sutra, “form is emptiness, emptiness is form.”

So when I penetrate deeply enough into my own mind, and see this to be true, the notion of being disconnected from other people, places, things falls away and true kindness emerges. And true kindness is contagious like a virus, it has an energy of its own. Can you imagine a world infected with kindness? Kindness cooties…go get some.

that’s what Shane said©

A Week Away

photo

I am taking a week off from all things. No work. No teaching. I haven’t had that big of a break in near 2 years.

A life lesson I’ve come to understand is that all the structure, interests, hobbies, jobs, schedules, activities, etc that we bundle up and call ‘having a life’ can only be appreciated and more deeply understood by walking away from them. It’s the same as appreciating the ample space of my new coffee mug, not for all the lovely liquid brown heaven it contains but for the space created by a container. A mug with no space is just a block. Music without silence between notes is just noise.

Simple is powerful
Slow is wonderful
Still is amazing
Silence is all

Silence and space are necessary to see the shape of my life. Without them, it’s just noise.

that’s what Shane said©

Why I Killed My TV

book commits suicide

If you’re old enough to remember, there was a time when broadcast stations shut down around 2am in the morning. There was nothing on, just white noise or a static image until 5 or 6 in the morning. No news, no entertainment, no stimulation from the glowing box in the living room.

Contrast that with today and there are multiple glowing boxes of various sizes streaming stimulation into our heads 24/7. I deliberately used the word stimulation. Not news. Not entertainment. Not data. Stimulation.

Constant stimulation and the constant creation of it (that’s how the glowing boxes stay in business) means a couple things creating similar results. First it means that the creators/talkers/actors/writers, etc have to keep generating content. If you watch a random sampling of buzz worthy gaffs and goofs, I think a lot of them come from the talking heads getting tired. Then, in an attempt to keep talking they some weird/offensive/dramatic shit that gets them in trouble or at least gets them more time on the glowing boxes. Secondly, a constant stream of any stimulation leads to habituation in the receiver (and probably the sender as well).

The 2 most common results: Number one is an active issue: You have to shout louder, say more extreme stuff, or make up really weird material just to get noticed. This makes for ridiculous content. Examples would be any ultra conservative AND ultra liberal news outlets, any ‘reality’ TV show or any ‘how to’ show in which the primary host/celebrity/chef/carpenter/decorator, etc uses the word “perfect” more than once per show (or ever in my opinion). An example of generating eye catching silliness just to garner hits/views would be my joke poem/post called The Physics of Jesus that I wrote and posted purely as an experiment.

Number two is a passive issue: Creativity Fatigue. Our major entertainment creatives crank out mostly what is safe and proven (read tired and uninteresting to me). Examples: any sitcom/drama/series that goes beyond season 4, ‘reboots’ of any movie ever made, movie titles that end in a number that is not part of the title (iron man 3 as opposed to fahrenheit 451), any ‘reality’ tv show, and talk shows. …just revealed on Sunday, the 12th doctor who is a white male… and I’m certain my lists are not exhaustive.

Other issues play into it as well but are not within the scope of this post. The short version of why I killed my TV is I got tired of paying for the lame, stupid, repetitious, erroneous, shit on the big glowing box and I cancelled my cable service. There is plenty of the same confusination on the interwebs. I don’t need another glowing box in this house telling me how to think and what to like and how to look as if any of it is relevant or of value.

PS:  some additional truth speaking…bloggers have a similar agenda in that we want you to read our stuff even though we may say we don’t care who reads.  if we didn’t care, we’d still be journaling in our fancy blank books.

PPS:  we do count the hits and clicks and search engine results that bring people to our sites and we secretly wish people would comment on everything.  now that wordpress has a ‘like’ button, our naughty bits get tingly every time we get a notification someone liked our work or started following our blog.

PPPS:  you just read all the way to the bottom of this…GOTCHA!

PPPPS:  how many fucking P’s can you have in one of these things?

that’s what Shane said©

Buddha is the New Black

My mother had her 3rd foot surgery this week. There’s always a lot of sitting and waiting on surgery day. The facility we were at is built for day surgeries. They have a staff that is mostly friendly, engaging and cordial…probably because they know they only have to deal with you for a few hours. They bustle about with subtle acknowledgments and encouragements to help it all seem normal. I’m pretty sure you know if you’ve been in one, though, hospital settings of any kind are completely outside the normal space-time continuum.

That much sitting and waiting is a lot like sitting Buddhist meditation, or zazen as we Zen folk like to call it. Sitting without goals. I guess in the hospital there is a goal of getting through whatever ordeal brought you there but I think a lot of us in those situations try to ignore it for fear of worrying ourselves sick in public. Ok, it’s a lot like zazen until the phones and iPads get whipped out and then it’s just a lot like texting and facebooking letting friends and family know what a drag it is to be sitting and waiting.

During those times it was like zazen, the negative side of meditation reared it’s ugly head in the form of an older man in the waiting room who was chatting with a younger female relative and spouting a great deal of ultra conservative propaganda as if it were capital T Truth. A great deal of it was just standard stuff but then he made some borderline homophobic comments and justified them as being part of “all the books: bible, talmud, Quran, etc”. Gurl, for a minute I did almost capital Q Queen out on him but that moment passed fairly quickly. What I settled on was the fact that the world is made of stories and “all the books” are just stories made up, edited, mistranslated and passed down from a long time ago. Just as made up as Buddhist holy texts (called sutras). Yes these things are said to be handed down or thusly spoken and such but child you and I both know we can’t play a game of telephone across a span of five minutes without fuckin up the original message so just imagine the transcription errors over two or three thousand years.

All this took me back to the Heart Sutra, a cornerstone sutra of my school of Buddhism (think denomination if that helps). It’s a very no non-sense (some might even say non sensical) text that points to the (warning Zen double speak coming) baseless base of things below all the stories in all the books everywhere. Instead of calling him a moron I pulled out the iPad and read the Heart Sutra. I was thankful even if ultra conservative dude was not. It had been a while since I read that sutra and it reminded me that when I get too far from the basics, that’s about ego and violence of mind, body and spirit is not far behind.

Get back to your basics, whatever they are. Try and get behind the stories and make up your own mind. Be a light unto yourself like the Buddha said and find your own answers based on your own experience, not the answers given to you.  Find how your stories link people together, not drive them apart.

Buddha is the new black.

that’s what Shane said©

i will never be

i will never be rich. i am enriched. i am enriching. i am here now.

i will never be the best. i am excellent. i am awesome. i am here now.

i will never be pretty. i am beautiful. i am enough. i am here now.

i will never be famous. i am known. i am knowable. i am here now.

i will never be acceptable. i am unique. i am disobedient. i am here now.

i will never be fixed. i am unbroken. i am impermanent. i am here now.

i will never be successful. i am me. i am happy. i am here now.

i will never be done. i am flowing. i am eternal. i am here now.

that’s what Shane said©

I saved the world today

So see what had happened was…I folded a fitted sheet and it came out pretty good on the first try.  This event would, by any estimation, trigger the apocalypse.  

Fortunately for you, however, one of the pillow cases got lost within the fitted sections without me realizing it.  After searching the house, the washer and the dryer, I figured it out and had to unwrap the fitted sheet to find the case.

Re-folding the fitted sheet a second time, it was the usual wrinkled pile of crap it usually is.

So there you have it, no apocalypse.  You’re welcome.

that’s what Shane said©