Earth Day 2016 – A Contemplation

Earth From Space Wallpaper-704282

[ In honor of the Earth for Earth Day; Monday  April 22, 2016.
This post is written to be read out loud.]

Every moment,

the Earth supports all life upon it.

The Earth provides everything we need.

I cannot make even the smallest part
of what this fragile life utterly needs .

From before birth until our death and decomposition,
the Earth sustains and nourishes us.


This body is composed of the solid elements of the Earth, water, air and energy.

I shall see how from birth through death, moment by moment
Life is completely dependent on and
perpetually supported by the Earth.

The solid elements of the Earth

Without the Earth, there is no life.

This body is constructed of the elements of the Earth’s crust.
Without these elements, no body can exist.

No humans, no animals, no plants, no rocks.

Carbon, Oxygen, Nitrogen, Hydrogen, Calcium and Phosphorous
99% of the body is made of these
( the last 1% is trace elements )

I can do nothing to create a single atom of this body
All the building blocks were here long before I was born
Before my grandparents were born
Before the first humans walked upon the ancient Earth.


This body is 60 to 70 % water.
Without water, in a few days I will die.

Drinking, bathing, washing, flushing, swimming, and growing crops.
Water lies at the center of human life

Life begins in water
For nine months we live in the water of the amnion,
protected by water,
nourished through water.
Water courses through the body with every heartbeat,
and falls away with each tear.

I can do nothing to create a single drop of water,
no matter how great my thirst.
Water does not belong to me or anyone
The water was here before I was born
Before my grandparents were born
Before the first humans swam in the ancient seas.


We breath about 12 times a minute, more that 6 million times every year.
Without air, we lose consciousness in moments, and quickly perish.

The Earth’s atmosphere filters the sun,
carries the clouds,
and connects us with everything that breaths
and transpires.

The breath I breath in now
just breathed out by someone else,
by the trees and green plants outside,
by every other human,
green plant
and animal
that ever lived.

I can do nothing to create a single lungful of air
Air does not belong to me or to anyone.
The air was all here long before I was born
Before my grandparents were born,
Before the first humans breathed the fresh air of the ancient Earth.


Without energy there is no life.

The Earth flying through space
Orbits the Sun in a very narrow path,
Earth’s temperate climate
Depends critically on it’s distance to the Sun.

The energy of the Sun,
Comes to us as heat,
as light,
through food,
through fuel.

Our body receives the energy,
So we live, move, and function.
Energy changes endlessly
from one form to another,
Continuing as long as we live.

I can do nothing to make a single joule of energy,
no matter how great my wish.
Energy does not belong to me or anyone,
passing through life, changing form.
The sun has allowed life, supported life, renewed life
Before the first humans gazed upon an ancient African savannah’s dawn.

The elements of the body,
Water of the body,
Air in the breath,
Energy itself
All are on loan from the Earth.

How many generations have been born,
lived taking what they needed,
then died,
Giving everything back that was on loan from the Earth
Since the first humans appeared ?

I see that everything that permits life,
Everything that supports life,
Everything that promotes life,
This life,
The life of my parents
my grandparents,
my friends,
my children,
The life of every living thing
the entire biotic world
from the highest reaches of the atmosphere
to the deepest ocean depths
lives on the Earth,
depends on the Earth.

For just this moment,
I shall remember my home world
with deep gratitude,
I shall recall with humble awe
The beauty these eyes see,
The delight this body knows,
Every experience that ever transpired,
Came through
the unqualified
of the Earth
And the cornucopia of life
sustained by the Earth.

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Earth photo courtesy of here.

Four elements from here.

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Pain Haze

At a day-long class almost an hour’s drive from home, the level of physical pain rose inexorably all morning. When attention for objects other than the pain faded into the background, the class ( and most everything else ) fell crashing down the pyramid of the Needs Hierarchy to rest in a steaming, jumbled heap on the ground.

Fortunately, the physical body maintained verticality long enough to excuse itself and reach the car. Once in the driver’s seat, the mere act of guiding the vehicle safely home demanded virtually all available physical energy.

This is what I found from that experience:

Pain may reduce physical options; mental options not so much.
The roads that led to my house sprouted a convenience store or gas station every mile, any of which would sell the standard over-the-counter pain pills. To stop, get out of the car, interact, get back into the car, etc., presented an unimaginable effort. Per William James, a ” dead option”.

Still, attention made itself available to explore the pain.

Where is it , exactly ?
Where are its boundaries ?
What are its qualities ?
Increasing or decreasing ?
Moving or still ?
Aching or sharp ?
Where is it not ?
What still feels good ?

How is the breath ?
Is it smooth and free ?
Can more relaxation be found in the breath ?
How ?

Exploring the pain with an attitude of relaxed curiosity showed that the pain was not what it seemed.
The boundary of this pain spilled and blurred all over the body core.
It had no definite center, nor even a central area that did not shift moment to moment.
Intensity waxed and waned in different regions at different times.
The more relaxing around the pain, the less intense it felt.

Wishing love for others reduces pain.
At some point, tried the lovingkindness practice of wishing happiness to anyone who came to mind. The teacher of the class. People I knew. My dog.  Any being whatsoever.
Pain level decreased.
Was the decrease from mere distraction ? Or does other-centeredness reduce the intensity of physical pain beyond mere distraction therapy ?

Pain is like a force of nature.
As a thunderstorm roils and crashes, pain creates effects within attention affecting experience.
Just as a thunderstorm changes from instant to instant, so did this interior weather change inner experience.
No intentionality.
Just happening.

Unowned pain hurts less, because fear is missing.
This pain was not happening to anyone. This was seen. So the relationship with pain was void of the fear of continuance.
No chilling thoughts of a future “me” arose, plagued by the unrelenting presence of this harsh energy.
“Just this”, as in, this instant.
“Just this” made exceptional company that day !

Enough pain changes the values of the moment.

Other than what is described here, little else occupied this attention for the ride home, save safe driving habits.
No thoughts of non-duality, no thoughts of politics, no desires other than described.
Almost everything in the mental world vanished in the presence of pain.
This experience only lasted a few hours on one day.
Some people have to bear repeating patterns of pain for extended periods, even for years.

When pain leaves, it’s as if it was never there. Almost.
After the pain was quelled, what remained ?

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More on pain meditation here, here, and here. Also here.

Maslow’s Heirarchy Pyramid from here.

Thunderstorm from here.

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Old Photo

Old photo

seeing my parents

before we were born


young and happy

full of energy

before they knew



from themselves

from their kids

from each other


It’s hard to believe

they  ever looked

quite so young

so hopeful

or that good looking




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Original photo from :

Posted in Off the Wall, Poetry | Tagged , , , , , ,

About Satori …


Oshaku Okumura, one of the foremost exponents of Dogen’s teachings, said when he was asked about Satori: “Satori is nothing but being aware of, or being alert in, whatever activity you are doing right now, right here. Any activity is not a step, means, or preparation for other things, but rather should be done for its own sake, being accomplished in each moment.”

Viewed through the lens
of self and time,
this statement
did not seem
to make sense.

Isn’t satori
an awakening experience ?

Isn’t awakening
stepping outside
of time ?

So how could satori
be present
” all of the time ” ?

It took satori
to understand
not understanding.

What seems to be present
before satori
is utterly complete

What seems to be present
after satori
is utterly complete

The difference
lies in

To practice
as if
what is real
and always present
really is real
and always present
of the moment
would have helped.

Who knows ?

_ _ __ ___ _____ ________ _____________ ______________________________

Oshaku Okumura Roshi

Drawing of Dogen from here:

The image of Oshaku Okumura Roshi from here:

The quotation came from here:

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Primitive Hut Retreat


primitive hut retreat
on a breezy hillside
of scrub forest
in winter

little hooves scuff by
at 1:00 am

one morning
two owls duel hooting
in the predawn dark

immersed in natural quiet
alive, vital, spacious, free

animal, vegetable and mineral
acoustic contributions
from every direction

not like the dead quiet
at Bell Labs sound-damp chamber

where no owls hoot
no chipmunks dart
no drawn out lowing
from cattle across the valley

why step back from the world
on a pilgrimage to nowhere
looking for nothing
waiting for nothing
sitting with no goal
not even an aspiration ?

didn’t this used to be spiritual ?
driven ?
important !?!

an agenda
trying to budge, shove, succeed
as if practice
was about winning a prize

a farce of inner force
twisting God’s arm
to make awakening fall
from her grasp

like the mythical apple
that never struck
Sir Isaac Newton

gravity never noticed
his marvelous observations
the planets continued on their course
naturally, marvelously indifferent
to the brilliance of his thoughts

all along
God and this one
breathed the same breath
entertained the same notions
emoted the same heart’s energy

now standing under the open sky

twilight fades into night

stars peek out in twos and threes

the half-moon rising slowly

scree tumbles down the hillside

cold breeze caressing

hot tea steaming

starlight shining

bright and vivid

nothing missing

nothing missing

_ _ __ ___ _____ ________ _____________ _____________________

The hut photo was taken by the author.

Starry night from here:

Reference to the anechoic chamber :

The retreat took place here:
( see

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What is Water ?

A humble , honest look at the actual day-to-day,

moment to moment experience

of one person.

Sound familiar ?

A big part of the spiritual journey, told in less than 10 minutes.

This video comes from here:


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The One Process

The One Process Worksop



This extraordinary One Process Workshop helped deepen current experience here, clarifying some questions about post-awakening life through powerful direct inquiry and focused contemplation.

Ken Kelly and Brigitte Hansoul lead the practices through a highly participatory and example-based style whose gentleness belies its power and efficacy.

An amazing experience with continuing unfolding practical benefits.

Ken Kelly

Brigitte Hansoul

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Forgive Everyone, Everything, Forever

[ Cross-posted from Vanishing Narrative. Enjoy ! ]

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Top 12 Ways Losing Weight Resembles Spiritual Practice

12) Learn new vocabulary, such as ” Dharmakaya ” and ” pummelo ” .

11) Counter intuitive.

10) Full of surprises !

9) Hard to believe what you just nearly did.

8) Just one more thing your spouse shakes her head about.

7) Sometimes you’re totally high, sometimes it’s a slog.

6) Takes ” discipline“. ( really just awareness )

5) Both may call for fasting.

4) Transformative.

3) Motivation colors the outcome. ( A lot ! )

2) Delayed gratification is the name of the game.

1) You’re glad you did it.

Dave Letterman

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While the format above was [ vaguely ] inspired by Dave Letterman’s ” Top Ten Lists “, the content is entirely original.

Photo comes from here:

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Waking Up out of a Tradition

Buddham sarinam gacchami.
Dammam sarinam gacchami.
Sangham sarinam gacchami.

I go for refuge to Buddha , Dharma and Sangha.

Through the virtues I collect
from giving and other perfections,
may I become a Buddha for the benefit of all.

How many years have I recited this formula of aspiration
waiting for wisdom, waiting for unequivocal truth ?

After taking refuge in the Truth of B-D-S,
time and again,
I landed in the no-place
of no-I, no-Buddha, and no-time.

This raft got nobody to the far shore;
more or less extinguished and utterly astonished.


More than three years after the upheaval, the journey continues.

Sans identity.

The Buddha’s 2500 year old word’s provided such a sure guide along the way.
Now, this life lives
in this moment,
as Presence,
in Flow,
circumscribed by no-thing.

(except when it doesn’t)

This fragment cannot express how it loved the path the Buddha
( and those many who dutifully, lovingly followed after ) laid down;
a path paved by empty bricks.

Perhaps, no matter how reliable a path one has followed,
the written path ends , whilst the journey continues.

In this case, it certainly has.

Am adept at following signs.

Signs ran out.

Perhaps this mirrors what Krishnamurti referenced
as he timelessly stated
” Truth is a pathless land. ”  (1)

This condition, highly wished for, meditated for and sought,
finally manifested after many years of practice.

What happened stretched  beyond what mind had ever imagined.

No words delineate it.

No guideposts left,





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Raft photo from here:

Space photo from here : <img src=”” width=”800″ height=”600″ class=”alignnone” />

Quote from J. Krishnamurti here:

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