Making a living

One final paragraph of advice: do not burn yourselves out. Be as I am – a reluctant enthusiast….a part-time crusader, a half-hearted fanatic. Save the other half of yourselves and your lives for pleasure and adventure. It is not enough to fight for the land; it is even more important to enjoy it.

While you can. While it’s still here. So get out there and hunt and fish and mess around with your friends, ramble out yonder and explore the forests, climb the mountains, bag the peaks, run the rivers, breathe deep of that yet sweet and lucid air, sit quietly for a while and contemplate the precious stillness, the lovely, mysterious, and awesome space.

Enjoy yourselves, keep your brain in your head and your head firmly attached to the body, the body active and alive, and I promise you this much; I promise you this one sweet victory over our enemies, over those desk-bound men and women with their hearts in a safe deposit box, and their eyes hypnotized by desk calculators. I promise you this; You will outlive the bastards.

~ Edward Abbey

No separation

We suffer from a hallucination, from a false and distorted sensation of our own existence as living organisms. Most of us have the sensation that “I myself” is a separate center of feeling and action, living inside and bounded by the physical body — a center which “confronts” an “external” world of people and things, making contact through the senses with a universe both alien and strange. Everyday figures of speech reflect this illusion. “I came into this world.” “You must face reality.” “The conquest of nature.”

This feeling of being lonely and very temporary visitors in the universe is in flat contradiction to everything known about man (and all other living organisms) in the sciences. We do not “come into” this world; we come out of it, as leaves from a tree. As the ocean “waves,” the universe “peoples.”

Every individual is an expression of the whole realm of nature, a unique action of the total universe. This fact is rarely, if ever, experienced by most individuals. Even those who know it to be true in theory do not sense or feel it, but continue to be aware of themselves as isolated “egos” inside bags of skin.

~ Alan Watts

Parenting in the present

About the only advice of importance I can share with young (or old) parents is to wake up.

Don’t obsess about past mistakes or potential worries so much that you don’t have a clear mind to be fully present and engaged with your kids TODAY – whether they’re 1, 10, 20 or 30.

Be awake to what’s right in front of you, right now, where your kids reside.

But, first you have to be aware there’s even a problem. Otherwise, “time flies” and you wake up too late and discover they’re too busy to be present with you, no matter how badly you wish they would be.

Hell on Earth

Hell consists not in being deprived of union, but in willful failure to appreciate it; in a state of soul so perverse that the love and the gift of union are so repulsive that they appear not as the light of glory but as a terrible and consuming fire. The flames of hell are, in fact, the inescapable love of God.

~ Alan Watts

New land

Last summer, Robbi and I were on a trail in the Rocky Mountains we’d hiked many times before. But, this time instead of turning left at a small fork we decided to turn right.

We weren’t expecting different terrain on the new trail. We were just feeling good and wanted to see what was around the corner…some new land we hadn’t seen before.

What we found was the view in the photo in this post, which of course doesn’t do it justice. The view was breathtaking and we were both glad we decided to do something different.

We were also amazed such a beautiful place had been only a few yards around the corner all those years before without us knowing about it.

In a way, we had just followed the trail out of habit without being mindful about what else was available to us. You could say we hadn’t been as mindful on that trail as we could have been.

I believe spontaneity requires mindfulness.

Being mindful doesn’t block spontaneity. Just the opposite. Mindfulness enables you to escape the prison of habit.

Here’s to mindful, spontaneous and happy trails to you in 2016.

~ Scott

Providence moves within commitment

But when I said that nothing had been done I erred in one important matter. We had definitely committed ourselves and were halfway out of our ruts. We had put down our passage money–booked a sailing to Bombay. This may sound too simple, but is great in consequence. Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness.

Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, the providence moves too.

A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents, meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamt would have come his way.

I learned a deep respect for one of Goethe’s couplets:

‘Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it.
Boldness has genius, power and magic in it!’

~ W. H. Murray in The Scottish Himalaya Expedition, 1951.

Monkey mind

The ego is a monkey catapulting through the jungle: Totally fascinated by the realm of the senses, it swings from one desire to the next, one conflict to the next, one self-centered idea to the next. If you threaten it, it actually fears for its life.

Let this monkey go. Let the senses go. Let desires go. Let conflicts go. Let the fiction of life and death go. Just remain in the center, watching. And then forget that you are there.

~ Hua Hu Ching

Right here, right now

What is it that opens the gate to joy in our ordinary, day-to-day lives? I’ve been calling it awakeness and awareness: the simple practice of sitting quietly, breathing in and out, dropping our obsessive thoughts and resistance to the freshness of the moment that is exactly here.

It is amazing, our resistance to tapping into the joy that is like the blue sky surrounding this earth.

~ Roshi Pat Enkyo O’Hara

The multi-stranded rope of religion

Religion is like a rope with interlaced strands of culture, history, tradition, community, theology, mythology and ethics.

Unfortunately, people believe these strands are all one-and-the-same. If they reject one or two strands, they think they’ll be forced to throw away the whole rope.

Or, they’re made to believe if they embrace only a few of the strands, they’ll be identified with the entire rope.

But, this simply isn’t true. All-or-nothing religions and separation theologies aren’t spiritual paths. They’re tyrannies of the mind.

I would prefer someone embrace the community, culture and ethics of a faith tradition without clinging to its theology or mythology, than have them idolize the theology and mythology and skip compassion and ethics.

~ Scott Kinnaird