June 30, 2016 – August 21, 2016

 

  1. 06/30/2016 — American Robin juvenile 2016 01 — Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, June 27, 2016

    Everything in the world of normal, apparent reality
    is a portal/threshold/doorway
    to the Other World
    of invisible, intangible, ineffable reality.
    And we think the point is
    to leave here and go there.
    The point is realization.
    If everything in this world
    is an opening to that world,
    then WE are what we seek,
    and only need to be who we are
    in order to bring that world
    into this one.
    The pilgrims on their trek to the holy sites
    are holy themselves–
    holiness seeking holiness.
    They only have to wake up
    and stop trying to escape this world,
    But transform it
    by being themselves,
    bringing that world to life
    in this world
    by simply being who they are.

  2. Used in Short Talks on Good and Bad Religion — 06/30/2016 — Mourning Dove 2016 02 — Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, June 30, 2016

    All true religion begins
    with an experience with the ineffable,
    with an encounter with numinous reality.
    Like falling in love.
    I fell in love with a camera.
    No kidding.
    It was sitting on a poolside table
    in a made-for-TV-movie in 1966
    Staring Robert Wagner.

    And I did not have anyone in my life
    to help me interpret the experience.
    We are too often lost to the experience
    with none to help us make sense of it.

    A religious experience
    can be with anything,
    but it cannot be with everything.
    And we cannot plan it,
    schedule it,
    organize it,
    orchestrate it,
    choreograph it,
    produce it,
    box it,
    sell it,
    mass market it…

    We turn a corner,
    and a piano falls out of the sky
    on our head.
    And we don’t know what to do.
    And have on one to ask.

    I’ve been working with the experience
    of falling in love with a camera
    for over 50 years.
    It was the organizing experience of my life.
    I went to seminary to figure it out—
    to interpret it,
    understand it.
    Hermeneutics and exegesis are about
    interpreting and understanding experience
    before they are about
    interpreting and understanding scripture.
    The latter comes out of the former.

    I thought I would figure out my experience
    and help people understand their own.
    I discovered people who didn’t have experiences with the Numen,
    and weren’t interested in having any.
    “Just tell us what to believe Preacher,
    And make it quick.
    I tee-off at 1:30.”

    No one can give you religion.
    It hides around corners in the form of falling pianos.
    or made-for-TV-movies.
    When it shocks you awake with it’s arrival,
    sit with it for a while
    seeking to interpret it in ways that honor it
    and incorporate it into your life—
    finding ways to form your life around it.
    The dance will last forever.

  3. Used in Short Talks on Good and Bad Religion — 07/01/2016 — Eastern Towhee 2016 02 — Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, June 30, 2016

    We have an experience with the ineffable—
    an encounter with numinous reality—
    and we spend the rest of our life
    working to understand it.
    That is the essence of true religion.
    We have devolved religion
    into an assortment of opinions—
    which we call “beliefs,” and “doctrines—
    about the Numen,
    and spend our time arguing
    among the sects
    about whose collection of opinions
    is right and whose are wrong.
    The experience of the Numen
    has been supplanted by
    theories about the Numen.
    Anyone with conviction is an authority,
    and religion is widely avoided
    by everyone who recognizes
    a sham when they see one.

  4. 07/02/2016 — Goodale 2015 65 Panorama — Goodale State Park, Camden, South Carolina, November 11, 2016

    We have to apply the principles of hermeneutics and exegesis
    to each situation as it arises—
    so that we see what is to be seen,
    hear what is to be heard,
    understand what is to be understood,
    and know what’s what there,
    and what to do in response to it.
    Then, we only need the courage to do it
    to be at one with the Tao
    and in accord with our life
    in the moment of our living.
    Right seeing,
    Right hearing,
    Right understanding/interpretation/evaluation
    Is right knowing
    Which becomes right doing
    And equals right being
    (In that doing is being,
    and being is doing).
    When we impose
    our desires, designs, purposes and plans
    on a situation
    things are wrong from the start.
    Our agenda has to be No Agenda—
    just seeing,
    just hearing,
    just understanding,
    just knowing,
    just doing,
    just being,
    at one with the moment
    and what needs to happen there,
    in light of the interests of all that is there,
    for the good of the whole,
    in every moment.
    That’s it.

  5. 07/02/2016 — Cardinal 2016 19 — Cardinal With Blackberry, Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, June 17, 2016

    We keep throwing things in the path,
    blocking the way,
    damming the flow,
    jamming the silence
    with noise from every side
    on every level,
    wondering where Nirvana is,
    and which way the Land of Promise.
    There will be no movement on the Journey
    until we do something with ourselves—
    something along the lines
    of realizing who we are,
    and who we are not,
    and what we are doing
    to keep from knowing what we know
    about the life we are living
    and the life that is ours to live.

  6. 07/01/2016 — Brown Thrasher 2016 04 — Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, June 30, 2016

    The life we are living
    prevents us from living
    the life that waits to be lived.
    The Hero’s Journey
    is from one way of life
    to another.
    Salvation has nothing to do
    with believing or thinking.
    It has everything to do
    with how we live our life.
    It doesn’t matter what we believe
    as long as we live in accord
    with how things are,
    and in alignment with
    the life that is ours to live—
    that only we can live—
    in the service of
    the genius and gifts
    that are ours to share, exhibit, express, incarnate.
    All of our real problems
    stem from our refusal
    to find our life and live it.
    By refusing to do what is hard,
    we do things the hard way.

  7. 07/04/2016 — Sunflower on Black 2016 01 — Sunflower courtesy of Draper Wildlife Management Area, York County, South Carolina, July 3, 2016

    We have to be the authority
    in charge of our own life.
    We have the final word
    regarding what we do and do not.
    We decide for ourselves what is right and not right,
    what is important and unimportant.
    Where we will set our limits,
    place our boundaries,
    draw our lines.
    We have to know what constitutes
    the ground, center and foundation
    of our life,
    and live in light of it—
    in service to it—
    all our life long.
    If we cannot say “Yes, this is so with me”
    about all of these things,
    we know the work that is ours to do.
    beginning now.

  8. 07/04/2016 — Mourning Dove 2016 04 — Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, July 04, 2016

    Brexit is an excellent example
    of the center being unable to hold
    against the pull of extreme positions.
    We cannot count the number of marriages
    that have dissolved
    because those married moved
    away from the center
    toward opposite extremes.
    We have to take care of the center
    by refusing extreme reactions
    to extreme actions.
    Everyone cannot abandon the center
    at the same time.
    When someone rushes to the extreme
    everyone else has to remain cool—
    in light of the truth of the old saw,
    “It takes at least two people to have a fight,
    but one person can keep a really bad argument
    from escalating into a complete nuclear meltdown.”

  9. 07/05/2016 — Red-bellied Woodpecker 2016 05 — Red-bellied Woodpecker With Blackberry, Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, June 30, 2016

    Reality is our only hope!
    We would never grow up without it!

  10. 07/05/2016 — Black Snake 2016 12 — Out of the Trees, Back on the Ground, Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, June 23, 2016

    Reality’s place in our life
    is to wake us up,
    grow us up,
    against our will,
    all our life long.
    We rail against it,
    run from it,
    deny it,
    and pretend it away.
    But, it doesn’t go anywhere.
    It’s always right there, grinning.
    Reality loves its job,
    and does it with a flourish
    usually reserved for bull fighters.
    That would make us the bull.
    And you know the outcome from the start.
    It would behoove us
    to change our attitude about reality,
    and see it as our able assistant
    in the work to see how things are
    and do what needs to be done about them.
    Going over to reality’s side
    shoots us past all the resistance and whining,
    and puts us in the position
    of going to meet what is coming to meet us,
    dealing with it straight up,
    taking care of business,
    and looking for more of it,
    knowing that it won’t be long
    before we hear it calling our name.

  11. 07/06/2016 — Blue Jay 2016 02 — Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, July 5, 2016

    In digging for the gold,
    start with your fear, anxiety, terror, dread…
    Start with the things you avoid,
    the things you won’t look at,
    the things you refuse to consider.
    Start with the things you find things
    to occupy your time and attention
    so you won’t think about them.
    Think about those things.
    That’s where the gold is hiding.
    Joseph Campbell said,
    “The treasure you seek
    is found in the far back corner
    of the cave you most do not want to enter.”
    Walk into your fear and look around.
    Sit down with your anxiety, terror, dread…
    And listen until you hear what they have to say.
    Look until you see past them
    through them,
    to the truth they are hiding.
    and the lie the represent.
    Our fear, etc., is based on the lie
    of our incapacity to deal with the thing feared.
    At the ground level,
    we are afraid we cannot meet the demands of our life.
    We are afraid we do not have what it takes
    to be who we are,
    to do what is ours to do.
    We owe it to ourselves to find out.
    What we will discover if we look
    is that there is way more to us than meets the eye,
    more than we ever imagine.
    We have depths and abilities past all expectation,
    beyond all reason.
    Ulysses faced the Cyclops,
    and we are afraid we can’t get a job.
    The gold we seek
    is the stuff we are made of—
    the stuff we think isn’t there.
    We are killing ourselves
    by being afraid to look
    for the stuff of life within.

  12. 07/06/2016 — Sunflower Collage 2016 — Sunflowers courtesy of Draper Wildlife Management Area, York County, South Carolina, July 3, 2016

    Living is the lesson,
    life is the teacher.
    Everything we need to know about living
    is available by reflecting on our experience with life—
    and reflecting on our conclusions regarding our experience.
    There are no sacred conclusions.
    Everything we think about our life
    is a theory waiting to be refuted or ratified
    by additional experience.
    When was the last time you changed your mind?
    If it has been more than a week,
    you aren’t doing enough reflecting.
    You are too comfortable with old insights and conclusions.
    And, if they were handed to you by someone else,
    it could be that you aren’t reflecting at all.
    What do you think about that?

  13. 07/07/2016 — Chameleon 2016 05 — Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, July 4, 2016

    I see no difference between
    meditation and reflection.
    The two are one.
    The skills necessary for the Hero’s Journey,
    the Spiritual Journey,
    awakening
    and growing up
    (All of which are metaphors for the same experience)
    are:
    Observation,
    Meditation/Reflection
    Realization,
    Implementation/Execution/Application,
    Observation,
    and the repetition
    of the remaining steps in the process
    for the remainder of our life.
    No one can do this for us.
    No one can tell us what our life is asking of us,
    or when and how to do it.
    We work it all out on our own.
    Our life is our responsibility—
    met, not by thinking it out
    in a rational/logical kind of way,
    but by observing, meditating/reflecting, realizing, implementing/executing/applying, observing…
    We should be told this at the start,
    and reminded of it often,
    all along the way.

  14. 07/07/2016 — Black-and-white Warbler 2016 06 — Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, July 7, 2016

    Growing up means doing what you don’t want to do
    the way it ought to be done—
    the way you would do it
    if you wanted to do it with all your heart—
    because the situation needs you to do it.
    How well you do that
    in each situation as it arises
    is an indication of your degree of maturity,
    and is the only measure
    that is worth anything.

  15. 07/01/2016 — 07/08/2016 — Sunflowers 2016 03 — Draper Wildlife Management Area, York County, South Carolina, July 3, 2016

    Listen to your body!
    Your body will tell you everything you need to know.
    We resist, override, overrule, discount, dismiss, disregard, ignore
    the signals from our body
    to our peril every time.
    We cannot fight a winning fight with our body.
    Why would we want to even try?
    We can negotiate with our body
    to see what we can get by with,

    We must not kid ourselves
    about what we are getting by with.
    When our body says stop,
    we stop.
    When our body says rest,
    we rest.
    When our body says drink,
    we drink.
    Water.
    When our body says eat,
    we eat.
    Wisely.
    When our body says no,
    we don’t.
    One of the keys to a long,
    healthy and happy life
    is being able to take “No”
    for an answer—
    particularly from our body.
    What is your body saying
    that you aren’t listening to?

  16. 07/08/2016 — House Finch 2016 05 — Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, July 8, 2016

    The way you can be most helpful to me
    and everyone else
    is by giving us your full attention–
    Listening, looking, seeing, hearing.
    End of story.
    Well, not quite.
    By giving us your full attention,
    you enable us to pay attention to ourselves.
    You listen us into hearing what we have to say.
    You see us into seeing ourselves.
    You reflect us back to us
    better than a full length mirror,
    and there we are.
    Guess how often we see ourselves that way.
    Think how often you see yourself that way.
    The numbers are going to match.

  17. 07/09/2016 — Goodale 2015 61 — Goodale State Park, Camden, South Carolina, November 15, 2015

    It comes down to what we like
    and what we don’t like.

    There is a catch we generally ignore.
    Doing what we like
    requires us to do what we don’t like.
    A lot of us fail to make that connection,
    and therein lies the root
    of most of our problems.
    It is ridiculous to think
    we can only do what we like.
    This is the orientation
    of the Terrible Two’s.
    As the old saw goes,
    “We want to have our cake
    and eat it, too.”
    We can eat it,
    but then, it’s gone
    A healthy lifestyle
    means giving up
    the decadence and self-indulgence
    of sugar, saturated fat, alcohol and sedentary living.
    So, we compromise,
    eat only two pieces of bread per week
    and call that doing the best we can.
    Doing what we want kills us,
    when we refuse to comprehend
    how often that means
    doing what we don’t want
    in the service of what we do want.

  18. 07/09/2016 — Ruby-throated Hummingbird 2016 08 — Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, July 9, 2016

    Mindful (compassionate, non-judgmental) awareness
    takes the full situation into account
    and
    takes us taking the full situation into account into account,
    so that everything is taken into account
    that can be taken into account.
    This is called being transparent to ourselves
    within a situation that is transparent to us.
    It is also called seeing into the heart of every matter.
    When we see all that can be seen
    on the level of the heart of all things,
    what needs to be done is obvious.
    When we wait for the mud to clear—
    that is, to be clear about the confusion,
    the chaos, the conflict, opposition and polarities—
    what can be done is clear,
    and what needs to be done to do it is also clear.
    Then, there is only doing it.
    For instance,
    police have to stop killing black people
    whose only crime is being black.
    And Donald Trump and his fellow Republicans
    have to stop demonizing
    Black people, gay people, women, Muslims and Latinos.
    Now, there is only getting them to do it.
    It will be easier to vote them
    out of office.

  19. 07/10/2016 — Red-bellied Woodpecker 2016 06 — Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, July 9, 2016

    Centered, grounded, in the core
    of what is important to us,
    we are at-one with our life,
    and in sync with what we need to do with it.
    In my case,
    I am clear about what I need to do,
    and what I do not need to do.
    Things that encourage/allow
    silence, stillness and looking out the window
    (And my hammock is a wonderful window
    looking out on the woods
    and on the world),
    are things I need to spend time with.
    Things that are noisy, shallow and mindless—
    like cocktail parties, family reunions, and sporting events—
    are things I need to avoid.
    All paths look equally attractive
    to those without roots to the core

  20. 07/10/2016 — Hummingbird Collage 2016 01 — Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, July 10, 2016 — I put up a Hummingbird feeder today, about ten feet from the hammock. Business was good.

    When you go looking for your core,
    for the foundation stone,
    for the bedrock center of what matters to you,
    go sit quietly in a natural place—
    or, lie in a hammock—
    for an hour or more,
    and return often to repeat the experience.
    This is your practice,
    sitting in the stillness of a natural place,

    You’re waiting for a shift to occur,
    a perceptible click felt in your body
    when you move out of one world
    into another.
    You are waiting to look forward
    to the return to stillness.
    You are waiting to miss it when you move out of it—
    to yearn for it in a way that is surprising
    and beyond understanding.
    You are discovering that silence matters to you.
    and within the silence,
    realization.
    Silence is the path to
    seeing, hearing, understanding, knowing, doing/being.
    In the silence things occur to you
    you could never think up trying.
    Be still and quiet.
    Listen, look.
    It has always been this simple,
    From the dawn of time.
    Doing it is the difficult part.

  21. 07/11/2016 — Blue Bird 2016 03 — Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, June 21, 2016

    Wealth is not going to protect you.
    there is no protection.
    You are at the mercy of forces quite beyond you.
    And you are on your own.
    This is the realization
    that marks the turning point in your life.
    Life takes off from here,
    or it stops here.
    Suicide and all of the addictions
    have their source in this realization.
    Denial, distraction, diversion and despair
    have their origin in this realization.
    It is the swing point between life and death.
    All of the rites of initiation
    are about forcing this realization
    upon the initiates—
    about weeding them out early on—
    to see who has what it takes
    to be of value to the tribe,
    and who does not.
    Without the rites,
    we meet our turning points individually,
    in the haphazard delivery
    of the blows,
    trials and ordeals of our life.
    In those places,
    we have to know we are facing the Cyclops
    in one of his many manifestations
    on the road to our own Odyssey,
    which is to say to our own maturation
    and self-realization.
    We have to know
    that we have what it takes to rise to the occasion
    to any occasion,
    and claim the treasure—
    which has noting to do with wealth,
    and everything to do with the knowledge
    that we are safe with ourselves,
    and have everything we need
    to find what we need
    to do what needs to be done—
    what needs us to do it—
    and continue on the way
    on the journey
    of self-realization
    and maturation
    and the salvation of the world.

  22. 07/10/2016 — Brown Thrasher 2016 03 — Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, June 24, 2016

    Where are you suffering
    from the betrayal of your expectations?
    How consciously are you accepting
    and bearing the pain
    of that suffering?
    It is an old psychological saw
    to say that the refusal to bear
    the pain of legitimate suffering
    is the heart of all our problems.
    It is not that we suffer consciously,
    exorcising the demon
    by naming it
    and carrying its pain in our body
    until we have come to terms with it
    and made our peace with it—
    It is our refusal, our failure, to suffer at all
    that is the problem.
    Where are you NOT suffering
    from the betrayal of your expectations?
    From the failure of your life
    to be what you hoped it would be—
    to be what you wanted it to be?
    Face up to the places
    where your life has let you down.
    And bear consciously the pain.

  23. 07/12/2016 — Feeder Photos 2016 01, 02, 03, 04 — Pay Attention Little Hummingbird (01); Uh-Oh (02); Watch Out! (03); See? TOL-JA! (04} — Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, July 12, 2016

    Our dreams are Psyche’s rendition
    of how things currently are
    with us in our life.
    They are a daily snapshot
    of what’s what—
    of where we are kidding ourselves—
    of where we have to get to work,
    squaring up to reality,
    making our peace with how it is,
    and seeking to find and ground ourselves
    in the center of our heart/soul/self
    and align ourselves with it
    in the way we live our life,
    integrating inner with outer,
    and living a life of full integrity
    throughout the time left for living.
    Listen to your dreams.
    They are our soul’s way of pointing out what is so,
    and trusting us to take it from there.

  24. Used in Short Talks On Contradiction, etc., 07/12/2016 — Sunflowers 2016 01 Panorama —Draper Wildlife Management Area, York County, near Brattonsville, SC, July 3, 2016

    We cannot live with integrity
    without living mindfully aware
    of our contradictions
    and polarities.
    We bear the pain
    by living consciously within the tension
    of our opposites:
    “This, too. This, too.”
    We cannot kid ourselves about who we are
    and also are,
    and how it is with us,
    and live with integrity.
    Thus, living with integrity
    is synonymous with
    living with humility,
    kindness,
    grace,
    civility,
    generosity,
    good will,
    good faith,
    compassion,
    peace
    and all of the other
    wonderful old values
    at the heart of life and being.

  25. 07/13/2016 — Black-capped Chickadee & Downy Woodpecker Panorama 01 — Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, June 30, 2016

    We live in the service of archaic values—
    good faith,
    good will,
    grace,
    compassion,
    justice,
    peace,
    self-discipline
    respect for self and all others…
    The list is long
    which sets us against
    the upstart wannabe values
    of commerce and the economy:
    wealth,
    privilege,
    position,
    prestige,
    celebrity status,
    exploitation and profiteering,
    profit at any price,
    our personal good at the expense of everyone else’s
    and all other things’…
    How must Psyche feel,
    as the Mother of the Good
    of all of her children,
    with them living with only
    the good of themselves in mind?

  26. 07/13/2016 — Cypress Trees 2015 04 — Goodale State Park, Camden, South Carolina, November 11, 2015

    The prophets of every religion
    have a lot in common with Obi wan Kenobi and Yoda.
    They all were waiting
    for someone to hear what they had to say,
    to need what they had to offer.
    So don’t despair when it appears
    that your gifts, genius and talents
    are going to waste.
    Keep practicing your art.
    Trust your audience to appear.
    and, if it does not,
    you still have your art,
    and your life would have been paltry
    without it.

  27. 07/13/2016 — Three Sunbathing Babes 2016 01 —Mamma Cardinal and Her Two Daughters, Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, June 8, 2016

    We have to face up to our betrayed expectations,
    come to terms with them,
    make our peace with them,
    as they happen,
    otherwise, we will keep looking for our life
    to make it up to us,
    to off-set it
    in some unbelievably wondrous way—
    which becomes another betrayed expectation—
    and the downward spiral
    is a quick trip to the end of our rope.
    When our expectations are betrayed, we have to:
    Square up to it!
    Bear the pain!
    Mourn our losses!
    And let them be,
    because they are,
    and that’s that.
    We listen to our dreams,
    do our Inner Work,
    see what our life is asking of us,
    and what needs to be done
    here and now,
    do it and repeat the process

  28. 07/14/2016 — Feeder Photos 2016 06 — Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, July 12, 2016 — I place about 1/2 cup of water in top of the Hummingbird feeder as a barrier to ants seeking the sweet stuff below. I let the Tufted Titmice think I do it for them.

    Your practice consists of two things:
    Do your work—
    the work that is yours to do,
    that no one but you can do
    the way you do it—
    Live to be increasingly transparent to yourself—
    attend your dreams,
    consciously transform all of your “mind-wandering” episodes
    into experiences with Active Imagination (Google the term)
    to see what they have to say about yourself
    (To say to you from your Self).
    Self-awareness is primal awareness—
    primary awareness—
    leading to every other variety of awareness there might be.
    Know your work and do it.
    Know your Self and be it.
    All there is to it.
  29. 07/14/2016 — Brown Thrasher 2016 05 — Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, July 14, 2016 — I don’t know how to distinguish male and female Brown Thrasher’s. I think of this one as “she.” She appears to be in a crisis, and the next photo will appear to be even more serious, but. she is, to the best of my ability to read a bird’s mind, enjoying the wonder of the morning sun after a long dark night.

    For several generations,
    we have been of the opinion
    that if it can’t be weighed,
    measured,
    fenced in
    or photographed,
    it isn’t real.
    The Real World is the one available to our senses.
    The invisible world is “just in our mind.”
    “It’s all in our imagination.”
    There have been times and places—
    and still are places even in these times—
    where the reverse was considered to be the way it is.
    I’m not here to argue who is right,
    so much, as to point out
    that the physical world
    can seem to be the only world,
    And the invisible/spiritual world
    can seem to be the only world.

    The two are one.
    There is one world,
    and aspects of it are visible
    and otherwise apparent to the senses.
    And aspects of it are invisible
    and immune to our experiments,
    but quite available to our ability
    to “apprehend more than we can comprehend”
    (Abraham Heschel).
    Every element in the physical universe
    is a threshold,
    a portal,
    a doorway,
    into the other universe,
    the invisible, intangible one.
    It only takes being open
    to all that is present in any moment,
    to know that there
    is more there than meets the eye.
    Or the ear.
    Practice making yourself accessible
    to what is accessible to you,
    to the invisible/spiritual world
    approachable through this world
    of physical reality.
    Find your holy places–
    “thin places” (Parker Palmer)–
    where the Numen winks at you
    and stirs your soul.
    Spend time in them often,
    lost in the wonder of more than words can say.

  30. 07/14/2016 — Brown Thrasher 2016 06 — Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, July 14, 2016 — It looks for all the world as though she had a seizure and keeled over dead. It would be more accurate to interpret this as Thrasher Ecstasy. After about twenty seconds, she moved to a more comfortable place, and loved the sun some more, as the next photo will show.

    You know by now
    that my highest hope for us is that we
    see what we look at.
    particularly what we look at in the mirror.
    The only strategy I’ve developed for doing that
    is to keep looking until you see.
    In other words, don’t stop too soon.
    don’t think you get it
    just to be done with it.
    Seeing is a lifelong task.
    We see with our experience,
    reflection,
    insight
    and realization–
    not with our eyes.
    Sometimes we have to get closer
    to something to see it,
    And sometimes,
    we have to get farther away.
    All of this takes time,
    so, don’t think you have
    to have it figured out
    and put away
    by a certain time,
    so that you can get on with your life.
    Seeing IS your life!
    And dancing.
    We live to dance with what we see.

  31. 07/15/2016 — Brown Thrasher 2016 06 — Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, July 14, 2016 — All appearances to the contrary, this bird is relishing her moment in the sun. She lay there for about a minute before gathering herself up to meet the day.

    I am saddened into grief and anguish
    over all the people in Trump’s camp.
    How can anyone think
    the way he thinks is the way to think?
    How can we find common ground
    among those who think like Trump
    and those who think like me?
    How are we going to come together?
    Live in harmony?
    All those people filled with such hatred and fear…
    How they must suffer their life each day!
    How they must live with
    such hopelessness,
    rage and despair!
    To think that they pin their hopes on a man like Trump!
    As empty and as shallow as any man ever has been!
    As immature, unwilling and unable to help anyone!
    Who has he ever helped?
    When has he ever offered so much as a cup of cold water
    To those parched for thirst?
    Shelter to those freezing in a winter downpour?
    To live in a hole so dark and deep
    That Donald Trump looks like a Savior and a Bringer of Light
    Is to be of all people most to be pitied.
    They can only hate and fear forever.
    How can they ever hope
    to feel compassion, kindness, mercy, goodwill, generosity, grace, sympathy, empathy, understanding, benevolence, charity, amity, kinship and good wishes
    To all those they despise, resent, reject?
    My heart breaks for the people
    who don’t have a heart
    that can break for anyone not like themselves.

  32. 07/15/2016 — Goldfinch 2016 05 — This is the same Goldfinch blended from four separate photographs. Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, July 15, 2016

    There is my work,
    and there is not my work.
    The older I get,
    the less patience I have
    with things that are not my work.
    I may as well be in jail,
    or changing oil at some automobile dealership.
    If I’m not going to be doing my work,
    it doesn’t matter what I’m doing.
    My work is the only thing that matters.
    And, by now, you know
    that my work consist of looking out the window
    to see what I might see.
    I know that everything is the Tao
    for those with eyes to see.
    Work, not my work,
    It’s all the same thing
    for those with eyes that see.
    When I see like that,
    all will be well.
    Until then,
    I see my work
    and not my work.
    And standing in some checkout line,
    or driving through rush hour traffic
    is not lying in my hammock
    looking into the woods.

  33. 07/16/2016 — Goldfinch 2016 03 — Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, July 15, 2016

    Nothing makes sense.
    Nothing follows anything.
    Our life is a non sequitur
    from start to finish,
    Yet, we take all of the events and circumstances,
    and make a coherent story of it.
    It is madness,
    with things happening for no reason
    right out of the blue,
    like a lifetime of rogue asteroids
    crashing into our planet,
    knocking us into a different trajectory,
    spinning out of anything remotely resembling control,
    and all we want is “smooth and easy.”
    But we take it all in
    and put it together
    in a way that makes it appear to be orchestrated,
    choreographed,
    designed
    and planned.
    We make sense of it all.
    That’s what we do.
    We make things make sense.
    All mythology, all religion, all of civilization,
    is our way of making sense of life–
    of OUR life.
    We tell ourselves things that make sense of our life.
    We make it all meaningful.
    It is our gift to the cosmos to make it meaningful.
    We are all weaving, composing, countless, innumerable,
    stories about our experience with life
    that make meaning out of everything, anything.
    We are beautiful that way.

  34. 07/17/2016 — McDowell Barred Owl 2016 10 Detail — Four Seasons Trail, McDowell Nature Center & Preserve, Mecklenburg County Parks & Recreation, Charlotte, NC, March 24, 2016

    Looking out the window is full time work.
    Think of two worlds–
    the world of normal, concrete, tangible, actual, factual, physical reality,
    and the world of invisible, intangible, unconscious, spiritual reality–
    and the window looks from one world into the other.
    When the world where the one looking looks
    imposes its will and ways upon the looker,
    it is as though someone shatters his, or her, reverie
    by announcing, “Let’s all turn in our workbook to page 24
    and read aloud the second paragraph from the bottom.”
    Or it as though you are making love
    and your mother-in-law enters the room.
    Or, better, it as though you are making love
    And your husband or your wife opens the front door
    and says, “Honey! I’m home!”
    That is a dichotomy that has to be experienced
    to know the wrenching shock
    of being yanked from one world
    into the other.
    This is to say,
    that when you are aware of those
    whose work is to look out the window,
    leave them to their task,
    and hope they will see something worth reporting.
    Do not diminish their work,
    or insist that they join you in board games,
    or Badminton on some lawn.
    Their work is their life,
    and if they don’t do it, who will?
    Trust them to it,
    and wish them well
    in the task of translating the experience of that world
    into the language of this world–
    that the gap between worlds might be reduced,
    and all might be blessed by harmonies unknown.

  35. Used in Short Talks On Contradiction, etc., 07/17/2016 Do You See The KING SNAKE??? — I was dialed in on the Brown Thrasher when I noticed the King Snake gliding along behind her. So I dashed from the hammock to get a closer view, scaring the poor bird into the next county. Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, July 17, 2016

    You know by now that these things are crucial
    to the development of your relationship with your Self:
    The practice of Mindfulness Meditation (Jon Kabat-Zinn’s You Tube Videos).
    The practice of paying attention to,
    recording,
    interpreting
    exploring
    your nighttime dreams and your daily flights of fantasy.
    (Anthony Stevens work “Private Myths: Dreams and Dreaming,”
    is not to be ignored here.
    And Robert A. Johnson’s “Inner Work”
    will also be helpful in a number of ways
    beyond dream interpretation).
    The practice of sitting quietly
    in the stillness,
    open to the silence.
    The practice of reflecting
    on your experience
    in the quest for new realizations.
    The practice of seeing what you look at.
    The practice of becoming transparent to yourself.
    The practice of becoming aware
    of your contradictions,
    and working to reconcile
    the ones that can be reconciled,
    integrating the ones that can be integrated,
    bearing consciously the pain of those that cannot be–
    until something shifts and you transcend
    the two mutually exclusive options
    in the service of a new way of seeing
    that transforms the field of action.
    The practice of listening to your body,
    and listening for the things you are missing in the situation,
    in order to know what you know
    and what can be known,
    so that what needs to be done
    becomes obvious,
    and you do the thing for the good of all concerned.
    So–
    how are you coming along with it?

  36. 07/18/2016 — Red-bellied Woodpecker 2016 11 — Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, July 16, 2016

    I don’t have a warrior’s heart,
    but, I have the strength of my convictions.
    I don’t have what it takes to stand toe-to-toe
    with someone in some boxing ring,
    trying to pummel him to death, submission, or a count of ten,
    whichever comes first.
    But I could stand to-to-toe with anyone
    over what’s right in a particular situation,
    without giving ground or surrendering my position.
    In this, I am more like Socrates or Jesus
    than Alexander the Great or Genghis Khan,
    and am willing to die in the service of what I call good,
    but am unwilling to kill anyone over what they call good.

  37. 07/18/2016 — Goldfinch 2016 06 — Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, July 18, 2016 — This is a composite photo of the same Goldfinch, blending six photographs into one image.

    There is only one trick in the repertory of all the Old Masters:
    Hold everything in awareness
    and wait for what needs to be done about it
    to become clear and urgent,
    and do it.
    Act out of what needs to happen
    in each situation as it arises,
    and not out of what you want to happen,
    or what would be to your advantage to happen.
    The trick is to know what it is time for
    here and now,
    and do everything as it needs to be done
    in the fullness of time,
    when the time is right.
    The trick to being able to pull off the trick
    lies in knowing how to hold everything in awareness,
    and waiting.

  38. Used in Short Talks On Politics, 07/19/2016 — Red-bellied Woodpecker 2016 09 — Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, July 17, 2016

    When I am lying in my hammock
    alone with the birds in the woods,
    holding everything in awareness,
    I am at peace,
    awash in perfection,
    at one with the Tao
    aligned with my life,
    in complete accord
    with the moment of my being.
    And then,
    there is the Republican National Convention
    to shatter my peace,
    and threaten every good thing

  39. 07/19/2016 — The Window 2016 July 01 Panorama — Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, July 19, 2016 — When I look out the window from the vantage point of my hammock, this is the scene that greets my eye. Note the dead tree just to the right of center. I’ll let you know when it falls if I escape.

    Action arises from contemplation/meditation/reflection.
    It is not that we think of what to do and then act.
    It is that we open ourselves to the full capability of our awareness
    in the moment of our living,
    and remain there, holding everything in awareness,
    waiting for what to do occur to us,
    arising spontaneously,
    of its own accord.
    It is magical,
    a gift from the unconscious
    into consciousness
    via contemplation/awareness.
    Anything that disrupts our contemplation
    has to be encompassed by our contemplation,
    so that we now hold it, the disrupting factor, in our awareness,
    and, in time, it will occur to us what to do about that.
    Out of silence comes the cosmos.
    The creative urge to act in the field of action,
    arises in the stillness of contemplation,
    from the heart of awareness.

  40. 07/20/2016 — Red-bellied Woodpecker 2016 12 — Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, July 17, 2016

    When you are enlightened
    all you see
    is things as they are.
    You see what’s what
    in each situation as it arises.
    Seeing what’s what
    puts you at “the still point of the turning world,”
    at the center of what is important
    here and Now,
    in the moment-to-moment
    flow of life and being–
    at the fulcrum of the future,
    the place of leverage,
    for turning “the way it has always been”
    into the way things need to be.
    Right action arises from right reflection
    And right realization.
    Seeing is doing.
    That is enlightenment.

  41. 07/20/2016 — Cypress Trees 2015 03 — Goodale State Park, Camden, South Carolina, November 11, 2015

    I think Jesus was quoting a popular proverb of his day
    when he said, “Wisdom is known by her children.”
    Sometimes, it is by her grandchildren that she is known.
    The value of our acts may be concealed for years,
    if not generations.

    Do not be too quick to condemn your choices and decisions.
    What appears to be a wrong move,
    may contain hidden gifts
    that work in the darkness
    like yeast in the dough
    to bring forth in you
    who you have in you to be.
    Where we have been
    enables us to be
    where we are

  42. 07/21/2016 — Cardinal 2016 13 — Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, June 13, 2016

    There is the beauty of the moment,
    the goodness of things being exactly
    what they are capable of being,
    the truth of what is before us,
    in every natural setting around the world.
    Throw in culture, society, politics, money, power, position
    with personal gain on the line,
    and beauty, goodness and truth
    disappear like a dream greeting the day.
    If there is nothing in it for us,
    we aren’t interested—
    and we miss the gold,
    looking for the gold.

  43. 07/22/2016 — Downy Woodpecker 2016 09 — Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, June 9, 2016

    The search for our life
    is the search for what brings us to life,
    is the search for our heart’s true love.
    This has nothing to do with what we want.
    We want 10,000 things.
    What does wanting know?
    We are too soon bored with this and want that.
    And that, and that…
    We cannot get enough of the things
    that do not satisfy.
    We think that we love what we want,
    and want what we love.
    But we have put our heart and its love
    on the top shelf of some closet,
    or in the attic,
    or left it behind when we moved away in the seventh grade.
    And we have been living in the service
    of what we want ever since.
    It’s time for a reckoning.
    Reckonings take place,
    not by thinking about what our heart might love,
    but by sitting quietly and letting our heart speak.
    It may take a while.
    Our heart may not trust us by now,
    And will test our resolve
    to live in its service,
    so we have to stay with it—
    with the silence, waiting,
    for something to stir.
    For some whiff of an odor of a memory,
    for some flash of light to catch our eye,
    for some forgotten childhood dream, or love, or activity
    to come to mind,
    and invite us to play.

  44. 07/22/2016 — Eastern Towhee 2016 01 — Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, June 30, 2016

    Republicans suffer from a personality disorder
    known as the Alfred E. Newman-like syndrome.
    In that, instead of asking, “What, ME worry?”
    They, to a person, declare, “What, ME be wrong?”
    Republicans cannot consider the possibility
    that they could be at fault, in error, mistaken, corrupt, dishonest, crooked, or blameworthy.
    They see themselves as they wish to be seen.
    everybody else is always wrong.
    Republicans are never wrong.
    But, don’t take my word for it.
    Peruse the archives.
    See if you can find even one occasion
    where a Republican assumed responsibility
    for things gone sour–
    where he, or she, said, “It’s my fault.
    There is no one to blame but myself.”
    And, while you are at it,
    see if anything unfavorable happened over the past eight years
    that wasn’t,
    in the eyes of all Republicans,
    President Obama’s fault.

  45. 07/23/2016 — Ruby-throated Hummingbird 2016 04 — Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, June 20, 2016

    Nothing is a greater threat
    to the stability of a relationship–
    particularly one’s relationship with oneself–
    than a perspective that refuses/fails
    to take itself into account–
    that refuses/fails
    to examine itself with the same ruthless insensitivity
    that it utilizes in brutalizing and eviscerating
    what it denounces, despises, opposes.
    Ann Coulter comes to mind.
    And the entire Republican world.
    and Evangelical Christianity,
    also known as “the religious Right,”
    where the entire Republican world
    gets its spiritual direction.
    Ideology is a blinding light,
    how can those who serve The Truth
    with hearts as pure as gold
    be wrong?
    We must do it as they would have it done!
    those who know best must be pleased–
    or they will be angry
    and vengeful,
    and make us look upon Hell
    as a sanctuary and refuge
    from their vicious, wrathful, ways.

  46. 07/23/2016 — Dragonfly 2016 01 — Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, June 28, 2016

    Those who see,
    see themselves staring back at them
    everywhere they look.
    For those who see,
    everything is a mirror,
    reflecting themselves to themselves,
    showing them who they are and also are,
    exposing them to the piercing gaze of themselves,
    and providing them
    with a level of self-transparency
    unavailable to those who are not
    conscious of what they are not conscious of,
    and, therefore, do not know what all they know.
    Thou Art That, and That, and That…
    infinitely and eternally,
    world without end, Amen.

  47. 07/20/2016 — Goldfinch 2016 08 — Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, July 23, 2016 — This photo is a composite of the same bird blended from three separate photographs.

    When Jesus said,
    love your enemies,
    love your neighbors,
    love yourself,
    love those who are considered to be
    the least of all
    and the most untouchable and unloveable
    in every culture throughout the world,
    in every age
    forever
    (Or words to that effect),
    he was saying
    don’t let your ideology,
    or your theology,
    or your politics,
    or your fear
    or your hatred
    or your anger
    stand between you
    and loving one another.
    He was saying,
    don’t let anything keep you
    from living together with one another
    in ways that are loving–
    in ways that enable the other
    to know without the slightest doubt
    that she, that he, is loved by you.
    He was saying,
    if you cannot do this in each situation as it arises
    all your life long,
    don’t call yourself a Christian.
    or a human being.

  48. 07/24/2016 — Ruby-throated Hummingbird 2016 16 — Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, June 22, 2016

    When Gov. Pat McCrory of North Carolina
    dismisses opposition to HB2,
    which removes LGBT protections
    and prevents new ones from being enacted,
    as “political correctness gone amok,”
    He trashes compassion,
    kindness,
    consideration,
    justice
    and equal rights for all people.
    In favor of his own bigoted,
    homophobic,
    white-straight-guys-are-the-best-kind-of-guys

    Compassion gone amok would be a good thing.
    We need more of that on every level of life.
    McCrory would do well to ride a horse named Compassion
    throughout his remaining term in office.
    North Carolina would burst into life,
    flowers would bloom through the fall and winter,
    and everyone would declare that
    they had not seen such a wonder in all their days.
    It isn’t likely to happen.
    but it is a signal to all of us
    to not allow the charge of “Political Correctness”
    to dissuade us from the practice of compassion
    in each situation that arises
    all our life long.
    Compassion is the highest of values,
    and the world is dying for an experience with compassion–
    for an on-going, unrelenting, experience with compassion.
    The world is dying for what we all have to offer
    in the time left for living.
    Bring compassion to life in your life
    and watch the world come alive.

  49. 07/25/2016 — Black-and-white Warbler 2016 11 — This is a composite of the same bird made by blending three photos into one — Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, July 2, 2016

    I think fear, hate, rage and greed
    lie deep within us all,
    perhaps our first instinctive response
    in the service of self-protection
    and self-interest and advancement–
    and the protection, interest and advancement
    of those we take to be Our People/Our Kind.
    We all have the innate capacity for all these things,
    waiting for the right environmental factors
    to call them forth in defense and aggression.
    Donald Trump strikes a cord
    with his rhetoric and his demeanor,
    speaking to that which resides in us all,
    sparking the reservoir of fuel for energy at the core,
    to incite, inflame and engulf–
    and carry him to victory at the polls
    in his self-proclaimed role
    as Our Only Savior–
    the Solitary One Who Understands And Can Deliver.
    It’s the only song he sings.
    every dictator wields the same power over their followers.
    Jesus and the Buddha, you will remember,
    refused all invitations to become king.
    those who savor the role are not fit to play the part.
    And it is the place of consciousness
    to recognize that
    and to hold everything in awareness–
    within and without–
    and to rise above unreflective reactivity
    in overriding the temptation to be saved and delivered,
    and do our own work
    in the service of the high values
    of compassion, kindness, grace, mercy, peace and justice
    for all people–not just our kind of people–
    in each situation as it arises
    all our life long.

  50. 07/25/2016 — Chickadee Meets Hummingbird 01 — “Hmmm,” Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, July 24, 2016

    Six things are one thing:
    Seeing, Hearing, Understanding, Knowing, Doing/Being =
    a True Human Being.
    We are six steps removed
    from True Human Being-hood,
    a Bodhisattva,
    a Buddha,
    a Christ.
    Seeing, hearing and understanding
    the present moment
    is to know what is happening
    and what needs to be done in response
    with the gifts and genius that are ours to offer.
    Action arises spontaneously to meet the need,
    resulting in being at one with the moment,
    fully alive in the time and place of our living.
    No agenda, no plans, no scheming, no exploitation, no making happen or making not happen,
    just seeing,
    hearing,
    understanding,
    knowing,
    doing/being.
    Practice the six things.
    Become the One the moment needs you to be.

  51. 07/26/2016 — Chickadee Meets Hummingbird 01 — “Mind If I Join The Party?,” Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, July 24, 2016

    This is a “Meditation on You”:
    Make an actual list of the people and things you love.
    Spend time making it,
    and add to it as needed over time.
    Consider each item,
    holding each one in your awareness
    and allowing yourself to see it as though for the first time.
    Make another actual list of the qualities/characteristics
    of each item that set it apart from all other things,
    that attract you to it,
    that give it a place in your life.
    Write these lists down.
    over the weeks or months
    That you engage in this meditation,
    you will be making conscious the values and qualities
    that are important to you.
    Your role now is to enlist yourself in the service
    of these values and qualities.
    Pledge yourself to their incarnation and expression
    in your life.
    Become their liege servant,
    swearing your allegiance
    and your life to their realization
    in ways appropriate to the occasion
    in each situation as it arises
    all your life long.
    These values and qualities guide your boat
    on its path through the sea.
    Their actualization is your reason for living,
    your purpose and your meaning.
    Living them out in your life
    is what your life is all about.
    Repeat the Meditation on You periodically
    to return to the center, ground and foundation
    of your life–
    to reorient yourself
    And to reestablish your relationship
    with the core of your life and being,
    in service to the values
    that are uniquely your own.

  52. 07/26/2016 — Chickadee Meets Hummingbird 03– “This Is Awkward,” Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, July 24, 2016

    I cannot be told what I don’t want to hear.
    That’s a problem.
    The world has to wait for me to be ready
    to hear what I need to hear
    about doing what needs to be done.
    The world has to wait for me to grow up.
    that’s the kink in the hose
    that is supposed to be watering
    the garden of life.
    We don’t have a problem
    that growing up won’t solve.

  53. 07/27/2016 — Chickadee Meets Hummingbird 04– “Maybe If I Skooch Over A Bit,” Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, July 24, 2016

    What are our choices?
    What are the risks and implications associated with each choice?
    What is the best of our available options,
    taking everything into account?
    We don’t always take everything into account.
    Remember your first marriage?
    And, maybe, your second?
    What did you dismiss that should have been factored in?
    We tend to discount
    important stuff
    in deference to something else we have in mind.
    Seeing is revealing.

    We cannot see if we don’t look.
    And we won’t look
    if there is something
    we won’t let ourselves see.
    To see all is to know all,
    but there is a lot we don’t want to know–
    even though we will wish we had known it.
    Growing up is such a hard thing to do
    no one volunteers for it,
    and it has to be thrust on us
    by our refusal to do it.

  54. 07/27/2016 — Chickadee Meets Hummingbird 05– “Ahh. Out of sight, out of mind.” Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, July 24, 2016

    As we broaden our perspective,
    we deepen our foundation.
    We can never see more
    than we can allow ourselves to see.
    Growing up enables us to face all that can be seen
    and more than meets the eye.
    No growing,
    no seeing.
    The path of the Hero’s Journey
    carries us from the declaration
    of Col. Nathan R. Jessup
    in A Few Good Men
    “You can’t handle the truth!”
    To the place of being able to face, handle and serve
    “The truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth”
    in each situation as it arises
    all our life long.

  55. 07/27/2016 — Goldfinch 2016 09 — Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, July 27, 2016

    Our life prepares us for the life that remains to be lived,
    IF we meet it with receptivity
    and not resistance.
    We can refuse the developmental tasks,
    turn down the invitations to grow up,
    make excuse after excuse for walking away
    from the trials and ordeals
    that would call forth our gifts
    and ground us in the confidence
    of our own authority,
    our own values,
    our own mind.
    The door to the future is ours to open.
    Our past provides us either with exactly what we need,
    or nothing we can use
    depending on the value we place on our experiences,
    and the degree to which we reflect on them
    to form new realizations.
    The stone the builders reject
    is the chief cornerstone.
    The past we despise and reject
    is our ticket to a future of amazing worth.
    It all turns on how we see what we look at.

  56. 07/28/2016 — Black-and-white Warbler 2016 07 — Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, July 23, 2016

    There is suffering,
    and there is transcending suffering,
    rising above suffering,
    living beyond suffering–
    into hope, compassion, meaning and purpose.
    This is the scope of the Hero’s Journey.
    “He was a man of sorrows,
    acquainted with grief,
    on him was the chastisement
    that makes us whole.”
    That man is Everyman/EveryWoman.
    His/her path is the path of Everyone.
    On us all is the chastisement
    That makes us all whole,
    by bearing the pain of existence,
    the weight of time and chance
    pressing down on life and being,
    and enter the way of making
    our peace with the conditions and circumstances
    of our life—
    and living there the life that is ours to live,
    anyway, nevertheless, even so.
    Because we understand
    our trials and ordeals
    to be the matrix required
    to pull us forth—
    against our will—
    birthing us again and again
    for the work of wholeness,
    the work of being True Human Beings.

  57. 07/29/2016 — Ruby-throated Hummingbird 2016 17 — Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, July 23, 2016

    If I were to stand before you,
    I would ask you what you see
    when you look at me.
    This is the quintessential exercise in awareness.
    In order to see,
    we have to see our seeing.
    In order to see our seeing
    we have to say what we are seeing.
    We do not see–
    we cannot see–
    until we say what we see.
    Saying is seeing.
    without saying what we see,
    we are stopping too soon,
    and failing to see beyond appearances.
    We are walking through the world,
    seeing nothing of the world,
    relating to the world
    out of our history with the world,
    “Seeing” what we infer and presume to be the case—
    thinking we have seen,
    then we have only “remembered,”
    without pausing to wonder what “that” has to do with this.

  58. 07/29/2016 — The Death Tree is Down — Two guys and a chain saw removed the threat to me and the Glen, and all is as it needs to be — Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina July 29, 2016

    I’m still interested in what you see
    when you look at me,
    only this time,
    look beyond my appearance
    into what it suggests about me.
    What do my eyes reveal about my inner nature—
    my choice of clothes?
    my facial expression?
    my body language?
    What values, qualities, characteristics are suggested
    by my manner and style?
    Use this exercise with
    people you meet on the street,
    people who ride with you on the elevator,
    who live in your neighborhood,
    who work in your building…
    This is a projective technique,
    like a Rorschach Inkblot test,
    that says more about you than the other people.
    They show you who you are.
    you see yourself reflected back to you in them.
    They are mirrors
    showing you to you in a particular point in time.
    They are doorways into a meditation,
    an introspection,
    of you.
    We see in others what we long for in ourselves,
    or what we fear might be in ourselves,
    or what we cannot face in ourselves.
    What holes are being filled by what we see in them?
    What buttons are being pushed?
    What resentments and hostilities are being loosed?
    What needs and longings are being stirred?
    How does what we say about them
    relate to what needs to be faced in ourselves?
    To what needs to be affirmed and celebrated in ourselves?
    To what needs to be embraced and exhibited in ourselves?
    In what ways do we need to become them?
    In what ways do we need to see that we are them?
    What can they show us about who we are?

  59. 07/30/2016 — Cypress Trees 2015 02 — Goodale State Park, Camden, South Carolina, November 11, 2015

    We are back-and-forth between worlds,
    walking two paths at the same time.
    The Glen occasionally lies beneath the flight path
    of airliners on their landing approach
    to Charlotte International Airport.
    Nothing like that for disturbing the peace.
    This morning a Wren was chirping
    during and between flights.
    My attention was yanked from the Wren
    to the airliner, to the wren, to the next airliner…
    In this world, in that world, in this world…
    That is how it is between the worlds for all of us
    much–or most–of the time.
    Now we see it, now we don’t.
    Now we are with it, now we aren’t.
    Now we are in the flow, now we are out of flow.
    With the Wren, I was at one with the natural world,
    to be torn out of that world into the noisy reality
    of the other world.
    Parallel worlds in space and time.
    From at one with the way of things
    to dishevel, disruption, distraction…
    Yet,
    that, too, is the way of things.
    The rhythm of life.
    In and out,
    ebb and flow
    coming and going…
    There is no static, steady, way of being.
    Life is dynamic, in flux, transformative, always moving, ALIVE.
    The flow is always in place–
    chaos and disorder are different phases of order and harmony.
    We take it all in,
    make peace with it all,
    allow it all to be,
    allow ourselves to be at one with it all,
    holding everything in our awareness,
    we come back to the center in upheaval and calm.

  60. 07/31/2016 — The Vine Begins — Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, July 28, 2016

    The Psyche is, among other things,
    that which has always been called “God.”
    The experience of—the encounter with—
    Psyche breaking forth into our life,
    is to experience—encounter—a reality
    that can only be described as “numinous.”
    It has been thought of, and called,
    “An experience with God,”
    through the ages.
    To understand/interpret that experience/encounter
    as evidence of Psychic reality,
    is to lay aside all the theologies, dogmas, doctrines, rituals and religions,
    and to take up the life-long work
    of understanding/comprehending/applying
    the meaning of the term,
    “Thy will, not mine, be done.”
    Aligning ourselves with—living in accord with—
    the self-reflecting internal guidance system
    of the Psyche living through us
    to express, exhibit, incarnate, reveal, become
    itself in our life
    is to know the wonder of the realization
    that we cannot express Psyche
    without being ourselves.
    We bring Psyche forth in our life
    by being who we are:
    “Thou Art That.”
    “The Father And I Are One.”
    “All Is One.”
    “One is All.”
    Who would have thought it?
    Who can deny it?
    Only those to do not know the truth of
    their own experience.

  61. 07/31/2016 — Crane Fly Orchid 2016 01 Detail — Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, July 30, 2016

    If you have a problem
    and don’t know what to do,
    sit quietly with it,
    holding it—
    and your anxiety about it—
    in your awareness,
    without running from the pain
    by changing the subject
    or forcing a solution before its time.
    Simply sit quietly with the problem
    and all of its ramifications.
    And see what occurs to you.
    If, after 20 minutes or so,
    nothing has happened,
    make an appointment with the silence
    in order to return to it at a particular time and place—
    if something occurs to you
    in the meantime,
    receive it thankfully,
    and be glad.

  62. 08/01/2016 — Red-bellied Woodpecker 2016 14 — Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, July 28, 2016 — We have here an adult, probably the male, teaching this year’s juvenile, how to find food. The adult will fly to the young bird and feed it, as though it is in the nest, much like Anne Sullivan signed “water” in the palm of Helen Keller, until it makes the connection and can feed itself in the world it is about to enter on its own.

    We have to guard our own solitude,
    defend our own peace,
    be strong in the service of our own soul.
    We have to learn how to feed ourselves physically and spiritually.
    We are responsible for the life we are living–
    for living the life that is ours to live.
    “What life am I living?”
    “What future am I serving?”
    “How will I bring myself forth in the time that remains?”

  63. 08/02/2016 — Brown-headed Nuthatch 2016 01 — Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, August 2, 2016

    Wisdom is
    seeing what you look at
    and looking at everything.
    Knowing what you know
    and knowing what you don’t know.
    Knowing what’s what
    and what needs to be done about it
    In each situation as it arises.
    And doing it.
    May we all be so wise
    all our life long!

  64. 08/03/2016 — Broad-winged Hawk 2016 09 — Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, August 1, 2016

    Our place is to remember our place
    and not strive for more
    than is necessary
    to find our life
    and live it.
    In light of this
    I offer you what could be
    a daily blessing:
    May we live within our limits
    and not seek more than is appropriate
    an any situation as it arises,
    may we be content to let our life be our life,
    and allow our realizations to come upon us in their own time,
    holding everything in our awareness,
    doing what needs to be done about it,
    and letting that be that.

  65. 08/04/2016 — Eastern Towhee 2016 03 — Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, August 3, 2016

    Irrationality has been around for millions of years
    longer than logic and reason.
    Guess what logic and reason
    don’t stand a chance against.
    In the conflict with irrationality
    logic and reason can only hold their ground
    against all logic and reason,
    bearing the pain of opposition,
    holding out in the service of transcendence–
    which itself is illogical and unreasonable–
    hoping against hope
    (Which also is illogical and unreasonable)
    for the unthinkable, unimaginable, impossible
    (Ditto)
    to happen–
    for a shift to occur beyond all expectation,
    transcending the polarities
    and making possible
    a new way of perceiving/understanding/interpreting
    the situation
    (Which is called in some circles “growing up”).
    We can only hope
    to grow beyond
    the ridiculous and absurd
    (And for the ridiculous and absurd
    To grow beyond themselves).
    We will never
    talk them into becoming
    logical, reasonable and sane.

  66. 08/04/2016 — Red-bellied Woodpecker 2016 15 — Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, August 4, 2016

    We are responsible for knowing where our peace
    is to be found,
    and guarding it with diligence, devotion, dedication and determination.
    Where is your peace found?
    You have to know!
    No one is going to say,
    “Honey, don’t you worry.
    I’ll see to it that nothing robs you of your peace.”
    We are on our own.
    Our life is up to us.
    Our peace is ours to find, protect and serve.

  67. 08/05/2016 — Goldfinch 2016 10 — Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, August 4, 2016

    Doing “the right thing”
    can, often enough, be the wrong thing to do.
    How do we know
    when to do what?
    We don’t know
    when to do what.
    Knowing what we don’t know
    is an aspect
    of knowing what we know.
    Knowing that we don’t know
    when doing “the right thing”
    may well be the wrong thing,
    slows us down
    and invites us to reflect,
    to consider the possibilities,
    to consult the Inner Guide,
    to see what our stomach,
    and other parts of our body,
    has/have to say in the matter,
    to look for the “Uh-oh Feeling.”
    To see what we know
    about what we don’t know,
    and allow what resonates with us
    to take the lead—
    Ready to back out of there
    at the first sign
    of a red flag.
    Do not automatically override
    your disinclination
    to do “the right thing.”

    Look.
    Listen.
    Attend.

  68. 08/05/2016 — Black-and-white Warbler 2016 09 — Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, July 23, 2016

    Mother Nature is a monster.
    All that beauty,
    all those harmonies,
    are what remains of calamity, devastation, destruction and death.
    Out of death comes life
    and back into death it goes.
    The planets and solar systems in their orbits
    are the results of collisions, explosions and implosions
    unimaginable and unsurvivable.
    Wonderful Yellowstone National Park
    rests on the top crust of an active caldera
    that has blown a number of times
    and will blow again—
    perhaps bringing on a nuclear winter,
    and another “near extinction” of life on the planet.
    God makes masterpieces
    with a sickle and a scythe.
    And we have to make our peace with that.
    However, we choose, instead, to go with denial and distraction,
    and religion becomes an accessory to the lie
    instead of an agent of accommodation and acquiescence.
    We need to be able to live in the world as it is,
    in accord with the world as it is.
    Such is the essence of integration, transcendence and harmony.
    Anything less is a mask for the emptiness
    that comes with knowing
    what we cannot allow ourselves to acknowledge.

  69. 08/05/2016 — Blue Jay 2016 07 — Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, July 30, 2016

    Elvis died empty and alone.
    Proving once again the old adage,
    money can’t buy you what you need.
    And drugs, alcohol and sex, sex, sex
    can’t give you what you need.
    What you need is waiting for you
    to live an authentic life
    in ways that align inner with outer,
    and exhibit true integrity of being with living.
    When we are who we are
    in life, word and deed,
    we have what we need,
    and no one can take it away from us,
    or give us anything more.
    We have it all,
    and it is apparent
    in the way we live
    day-to-day
    throughout our life.

  70. 08/06/2016 — White-breasted Nuthatch 2016 01 — Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, August 6, 2016

    We cannot grow up
    without being different
    in significant ways.

    How different can we be?
    we need to be different in some ways.
    We have no business being different in some ways.
    We are wasting our time trying to be different in some ways.
    Here’s the plan:
    Our task is simple.
    We have to sit with the problem
    (This applies to all problems)
    of what needs to be different about us,
    and hold in our awareness
    the matter of what needs to be different about us,
    and what can be different about us
    and what has no business being different about us—
    and see what changes arise
    out of that contemplation.
    The rest of our life is no more difficult than that.
    We see
    and we wait to see.
    We don’t DO anything.
    We SEE everything.
    The doing arises spontaneously from the seeing.
    See?

  71. 08/06/2016 — Crane Fly Orchid 2016 02 — Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, August 2, 2016

    The experience of the Buddha under the Bodhi Tree,
    the experience of Jesus in the wilderness,
    are easily replicated in our own experience,
    simply by sitting quietly,
    or lying in a hammock in the stillness of a natural setting.
    The silence is never silent,
    either externally or internally.
    Attend what arises in the silence,
    and what arises in response to what arises,
    and what arises in response to that…
    holding the entire train of associations in your awareness—
    seeing how this corresponds to that,
    and what that means in light of this…
    Simply attend the whole circus
    including all that arises in response to the circus in the circus,
    enlarging the circus to include everything.
    See what occurs to you as you take it all into account.
    See what insights and realizations come to mind.
    And if you feel like you are in the circus
    and not observing it,
    remember your breath.
    Inhale deeply through your nose,
    exhale slowly through your mouth,
    and bring yourself back
    to this here, this now,
    this space, this time.
    The Buddha grounded himself by touching the earth.
    Jesus grounded himself by eating and drinking.
    Carl Jung worked with stones and mortar.
    Physical reality grounds us in this world
    as we explore that world.
    Without a foundation here,
    there is only empty wandering there.
    And without exploring there,
    there is only empty wandering here.

  72. 08/07/2016 — Red-bellied Woodpecker 2016 16 – Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, August 6, 2016

    We are each capable of all of the responses
    humans have ever made
    to situations humans have faced
    in the course of their lives.
    My wife’s peace of mind,
    and her freedom to work without anxiety
    in the flower beds,
    and that of the grandchildren
    playing croquet on the lawn
    mean more to me than
    any snake slithering through the yard.
    The snakes better take the long way around.
    Mother Nature is a monster,
    and we are her children.
    The Hero’s Journey pulls from us
    what needs to come forth
    to meet whatever situations arise.
    We cannot hold anything back
    that would be appropriate to the occasion,
    no matter how reprehensible it might be
    in other settings.
    Do not be ashamed to offer what is needed
    in the moment it is called for.
    The Dalai Lama’s bodyguards
    carry automatic weapons
    to dissuade all snakes considering
    slithering through the yard.

  73. 08/07/2016 — Cypress Trees 05 — Goodale State Park, Camden, South Carolina, November 11, 2016

    What we seek in our
    saviors,
    heroes,
    idols,
    and loves,
    is to be found only in ourselves.
    What is missing
    is what is ignored,
    dismissed,
    disregarded,
    discounted
    and despised

    The stone that the builders rejected.
    The pearl of great price in the costume jewelry counter.
    Like a root out of dry ground,
    he was loathed and abhorred.
    And he is also a she.
    Living within each of us,
    waiting to be recognized
    and invited to become a full partner with us
    in living the life
    that remains to be lived.

  74. 08/08/2016 — Brown-headed Nuthatch 03 — Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, August 02, 2016

    There is no substitute for
    having the right kind of people
    in our life,
    and no immunity against
    what having the wrong kind of people
    can do there.
    The right or wrong kind of people
    are like our genetic make-up,
    And more important.
    we stand helpless before
    the decree of Fate—
    and work out our destiny
    under the burden or grace
    of that initial given.
    And it is important to remember
    that we have nothing to do
    with the people who receive us
    from the womb
    and are charged with our care and tending,
    setting the trend for the karmic matrix
    of our life.
    Things would be better
    for us all
    with a better start,
    and better help,
    along the way,

    here we are.
    now what?
    We start with not blaming ourselves
    for what we have to work with,
    and then we get to work
    with the practice of developing
    mindful awareness
    and applying it throughout our life—
    looking until we see,
    listening until we hear,
    pondering, inquiring, reflecting,
    until we understand what’s what
    and what needs to be done about it
    in each situation as it arises.
    all our life long.

  75. 08/08/2016 — Eastern Towhee 2016 06 — Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, August 7, 2016

    If you are not occasionally weighed down
    with sadness and remorse
    over various aspects
    of the way things are,
    you are in denial.
    We cannot discount, disregard, dismiss, gloss over and/or brush aside
    any part of the truth
    of the world we go to sleep in every night
    and the world we wake up to every morning
    “Because Jesus is coming soon
    And it will all be made up to us in heaven.”
    We cannot use the good to dispense with the bad.
    tragedy and elation,
    joy and sorrow,
    bliss and desolation
    do not cancel each other out.
    We bear the pain—
    we live in the tension—
    of the polarities of the experience
    of being human,
    and carry in our bodies
    the wounds of
    “All that is grave and constant” (James Joyce)
    in the lives of all people
    in every age.
    It is our birthright and our obligation
    to open ourselves fully
    to the impact of having lived—
    to know “the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth”
    of what it is to be human.
    And to say,
    as it has been said before us,
    “We have seen all there is to be seen,
    and it is good!
    and we love it so!” —
    because that, too, is true.

  76. 08/09/2016 — White-breasted Nuthatch 2016 03 Silhouette — Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, August 6, 2016

    If we play our cards right,
    What???
    What’s the desired outcome
    of playing our cards right?
    We live to exploit and enhance
    our position, don’t we?
    We live with
    wealth, privilege, profit, benefit and advantage in mind,
    don’t we?
    Barring those things,
    what’s the point?
    What is a really good effort worth
    if it doesn’t win the gold?
    And what is winning the gold worth
    if it doesn’t produce
    wealth, privilege, benefit and advantage?
    Joseph Campbell said
    the central point of the Bhagavad Gita is
    “Get in there and do your thing,
    and don’t worry about the outcome!”
    Play your cards right
    for the sake of playing your cards right
    and let that be enough.
    That is the essence of every life
    lived with integrity.
    Jesus and the Buddha head the list
    of those who did it with
    all their heart
    for nothing beyond having done it
    that way.

  77. 08/09/2016 — Goldfinch 2016 11 — Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, August 9, 2016 — A composite photo combining 8 different images of the same Goldfinch.

    Donald Trump’s supporters are strongly in favor of
    sending Latino immigrants back to Mexico and beyond,
    and building a wall along the border between the US
    and the other Americas—
    and sending all Muslims,
    whether immigrants or natural-born US Citizens,
    back to their homeland
    (Never mind that this country IS THEIR HOMELAND
    by birth or adoption via naturalization).
    Let us then put the three groups together,
    Trump’s supporters, Latinos and Muslims,
    and ask, “Which group
    has no idea of what it means to be a United States Citizen?
    Which group has no understanding whatsoever
    of what it means to pledge allegiance to this Republic
    ‘with Liberty and Justice for All’?
    Which group has no grasp of the Constitution,
    of the liberties it guarantees
    and the responsibilities it requires us to accept?
    Which group has no conception of civility,
    much less of civil rights?”
    And “Why doesn’t that group pack up
    and hie out to some hinterland
    where they could hate everyone
    to their shriveled little heart’s content?”
  78. Used in Short Talks on Good and Bad Religion — 08/11/2016 — White-breasted Nuthatch 2016 07 — Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, August 9, 2016

    Start with your favorite religion
    and ask whomever gave it to you
    how they know that
    what they have been told about it is so.
    They will say something like
    “Everyone knows that it is so.”
    Or, “Everyone who knows knows that it is so—
    And this has always been so.”
    Everyone’s favorite religion
    goes back into the dim regions
    when The One Who Knew It First Knew It Is So.
    Everyone’s favorite religion—
    and all of the other ones as well—
    was/were made up long ago by someone who said,
    “I tell you, this is so!
    from that point,
    every religion is held to be the one true religion
    by those who have verified its validity for themselves
    In their own experience.
    Belief is self-validating.
    Try to talk a schizophrenic out of what they know to be so.
    “Reason cannot uproot what reason did not plant.”
    At some point, every religion has to be
    “Taken on faith.”
    It has to be believed to be so in order to be so
    in the experience of those who so believe.
    It is all made up.
    Like schizophrenia.
    The internal process of self-verification/validation
    takes over from there,
    and what we say is so is so
    because we say so.
    “Never mind what the facts are,
    We know what the TRUTH is!”

  79. Used in Short Talks On Politics, 08/11/2016 — First Leaves of Fall 2016 01 — Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, August 11, 2016 — The Black Gum loves to beat the gun, and is known throughout the south as “The Show-off of the forest.”

    If we are going to make up something to believe,
    and we have no choice in the matter,
    if we believe there is nothing worth believing,
    we make that up.
    We make up whatever we believe.
    And since that is the case,
    I suggest believing with all our heart
    that what we do matters,
    that the life we live matters—
    and that we live as though it does
    in everything we do.
    We vote, for instance, like our vote matters.
    We respond to the other people in our life
    as though the way we respond
    makes all the difference in their life.
    We live in each moment
    as though there are no throw-away moments.
    We rise to each occasion
    as though each one is the most important occasion yet,
    and needs our full attention
    and complete participation.
    I write these notes to you
    as though they are the swing point
    from dark to light
    in your life.
    You can tell me they are not
    if you want to,
    but I’m not going to believe you.

  80. 08/12/2016 — Goldfinch 2016 12 — Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, August 11, 2016

    How is your life style
    interfering with your life?
    Blocking your life?
    Preventing your life?
    Killing your life?
    If you are clueless about what I’m asking,
    here’s a different way of putting it:
    How are your symptoms
    interfering with your life?
    When our life style
    keeps us from living our life,
    our symptoms show up,
    move in,
    make themselves at home.
    And we spend our time
    dealing with our symptoms—
    time that would be spent
    living our life,
    if our life style weren’t in the way.

  81. 08/012/2016 — White-breasted Nuthatch 2016 02 — Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, August 6, 2016

    If you aren’t pursuing your life—
    what it means to live your life,
    to give yourself fully to the expression of who you are
    by the way you live your life—
    with complete devotion, loyalty, dedication and determination
    in the time left for living,
    you’re just passing the time,
    hoping to be entertained and comfortable,
    until you die.
    You are a spectator,
    not a participant,
    and nothing can be done for you
    in any substantive way.
    What you need can only be generated from within:
    Heart, soul, courage, spirit, the will to live…
    These things are an inside job.
    You are all up to you
    while life is yet possible

  82. 08/12/2016 — Goodale 2015 31 — Overflow, Goodale State Park, Camden, South Carolina, November 11, 2015

    We are here to bring ourselves forth
    to meet our life.
    What happens to us
    will arrest our development,
    or grow us up.
    Will open us to the hidden possibilities within,
    or close us off from the gifts we carry.
    Will deepen us,
    or consign us forever to wade in the shallows.
    Will call us out,
    or lock us away.
    Will wake us up,
    or numb us out.
    You get the idea.
    We are here to live our life to the full truth
    of who we are,
    so that nothing remains unlived without
    or unknown within.
    We have the time left for living to be alive.

  83. 08/13/2016 — Red-bellied Woodpecker 2016 19 — Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, August 12, 2016

    We seek in others
    what is to be found within.
    We see in others
    what is to be seen within.
    What repels us about others
    resides denied, ignored, within—
    to be acknowledged,
    worked with,
    in softening ourselves
    into compassionate,
    welcoming places to be.
    “Thou Art That.”
    “Become What You Seek.”
    “Recognize How You Harbor What You Despise.”
    We are all variations on a theme.
    We reflect each other to each other.
    We are here to see what we are doing
    and live so as to bring forth in the world
    the gifts and qualities that reside within
    for the good of the whole.

  84. 08/13/2016 — Cottontail 2016 04 — Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, July 17, 2016

    Elvis had it all and it wasn’t enough.
    He wanted to be as big as Jesus—
    and thought he was.
    He was waiting for it to become apparent
    when he died.
    Elvis is our model
    for how not to do it.
    “I’m not the King. Jesus is the King. I’m just a singer.”
    The words fall flat.
    “Just a singer with aspirations bigger than life,”
    would be more like it.
    How to contain our ambition is the question.
    How to live within ourselves—
    in accord with ourselves,
    is the other one.
    Jesus did it.
    Elvis didn’t.
    Where will we fall out on that continuum?
    The key is our degree of
    mindful awareness and self-transparency.
    Placing our attention in the service
    of those things
    would be fitting and proper
    in all times and places.

  85. 08/14/2016 — Spillway — Adams Mill Pond, Goodale State Park, Camden, South Carolina, November 11, 2015

    All the tools of the spiritual journey:
    journals, coloring books, labyrinths, singing bowls, etc.
    are for creating space for ourselves to connect with ourselves—
    a space in which to commune with ourselves.
    The focus of meditation, contemplation, reflection
    is listening within—
    listening to ourselves,
    past all of the clamoring din of
    memories, regrets, fears, anxieties, worries, plans, schemes, etc.
    to/for the central voice,
    the voice of The One Who Knows What’s What.
    We are building a relationship
    with the center, ground, core, foundation of our life—
    establishing our identity,
    finding our own authority—
    by distancing ourselves from the background noise in our life,
    and making a place for ourselves.
    Solitude and silence connect us with us,
    and form a partnership for life.
    It’s all we’ve been missing.

  86. 08/14/2016 — Reelfoot Lake HDR 15 — Reelfoot Lake State Park, Hornbeak, Tennessee, November 4, 2015 — This is a repeat, just because I like it, and why not?

    If we fully attended our life,
    the way we live it would be transformed completely
    over the time left for living.
    It starts with watching all of the
    Jon Kabat-Zinn You Tube videos
    and taking up the practice of mindfulness meditation,
    which asks practically nothing of us.
    What, exactly, then, is the problem?
    If you would prefer to go to a little trouble and expense,
    You could look up NHO Hammocks on Amazon,
    order their $49.95 hammock with Special Promotion Straps,
    put it up in some natural setting
    and practice your mindfulness meditation there
    as often as you can manage.
    You won’t get a better prescription
    with a better outcome
    from any of the people
    offering personal development
    and life transformation coaching
    anywhere in the known universe.
    So, what’s the problem?

  87. 08/15/2016 — Northern Flicker-yellow-banded 2016 02 — Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, August 14, 2016

    Tomorrow will be the 39th anniversary of Elvis’ death.
    At one point, near tears, Elvis asked his “spiritual advisor,”
    “Do you realize I’ll never know if a woman loves me or Elvis Presley?”
    His question begged the unasked question:
    “Is it more important for you to be you or to be Elvis Presley?”
    It’s the question we all live to answer:
    Is it more important to be ourselves or our image, our persona?
    Who are we trying to be?
    Who do we wish we were?
    What is Life?
    What is Death?
    Elvis’ life and death challenge us
    to ask, and answer, the questions.

  88. 08/16/2016 — Goldfinch 2016 14 — Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, August 15, 2016

    There is YOU,
    and there is NOT YOU.
    We have to do plenty that is NOT YOU
    in order to pay the bills.
    We pay the bills in order to be YOU,
    where, and when, and how we can be.
    If we pay the bills in the service of thing that are NOT YOU,
    we play Double Jeopardy with our life,
    and live lost to ourselves,
    without hope in the world.
    We have to get together with ourselves,
    and do the things that are YOU,
    and be the YOU we are,
    in the time left for living.
    If not now, when?

  89. 08/17/2016 — Brown-headed Nuthatch 2016 06 — Two photos blended, using the same Goldfinch twice, Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, August 16, 2016

    Elvis missed his mother.
    An Eternal Boy needs a Perennial Mother.
    It doesn’t work that way,”
    and Eternal Boys have a hard time making it on their own.
    I think Elvis’ theme song was “Teddy Bear.”
    “I don’t want to be your tiger,
    tigers play too rough.
    I don’t want to be your lion,
    lions aren’t the kind
    you’ll love enough.
    Just want to be
    your teddy bear,
    put your arms
    around my neck
    and drag me anywhere—
    just want to be
    your teddy bear.”
    Our life requires us to grow up
    against our will.
    To find within what we seek without:
    Self-assurance, self-direction, self-correction, self-determination, self-reliance…
    The Foundation Stone, the Center, the Core, the Ground
    of our life and being
    can never be Mamma—
    can never be someone saying,
    “Come here, Honey, let me take care of that for you.”
    We are responsible for our own life–
    and that is not just earning a living
    (Elvis did that well).
    It is living to do what we live to do.
    Eternal Boys living to be loved enough,
    missed something somewhere along the way.

  90. 08/17/2016 — Katydid 2016 01 —On the way to the Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, August 14, 2016

    Can you say no when no needs to be said
    without having to
    explain,
    defend,
    justify,
    excuse
    your position
    by having a reason
    that would make things,
    at least,
    understandable?
    Does your “No” have to be understandable,
    even to you?

  91. 08/18/2016 — Goldfinch 2016 15 — Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, August 17, 2016, A composite photograph combining seven photographs of the same bird at the bird bath/watering station.

    I would like to help you with your life,
    help connect you with your life,
    help you be who you are within the time and place,
    conditions and circumstances,
    of your living.

    Remember potty training?
    Remember the terrible twos?
    Remember kindergarten?
    Standing in line?
    Waiting your turn?
    Doing as you were/are told?
    The degree to which we are free to be who we are
    is sharply restricted by the time and place,
    conditions and circumstances,
    of our living.
    It’s one compromise after another.
    This business of being in accord with our life,
    being who we are, when and where and how things are with us,
    is completely ridiculous.
    Who can do it with any chance of success?
    enter addiction/alcoholism, suicide, severe mental illness,
    and deviant behaviors in the extreme—
    all reflecting an I Give Up And Quit perspective/orientation.
    This is the truth as clearly as it has ever been stated,
    and we need someone standing at the exit of the womb,
    giving us last minute instructions to this end
    just before we are born:
    It is all hopeless, pointless, useless and absurd—
    and comes to an inevitable and very bad end—
    and how you deal with that
    makes all the difference.
    When we step into the world,
    we enter a “terrible, horrible, no good, very bad” situation,
    and have to do what we can with it “even in Australia.”
    How well we put ourselves in accord
    with this over-arching truth
    governing all of life on the planet
    and live the best life we can live,
    in good faith with complete self-transparency,
    anyway,
    nevertheless,
    even so,
    for no reason beyond
    that’s the way we are going to do it,
    tells the tale.

  92. 08/19/2016 — Goldfinch 2016 16 — The Breakfast Club, Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, August 18, 2016, A composite photograph combining two images of two female Goldfinches.

    The last church I served before retirement
    offered space for “A Gathering of Sojourners”
    for people to explore ways of deepening/expanding
    their experience of the Numen
    as they sought to find their life and live it.
    If we all had the availability of that kind of space,
    and that kind of gathering,
    we would have what we need
    to find what we need
    to do what needs to be done.
    What more would we need?

  93. 08/19/2016 — Crane Fly Orchid 2016 03 — Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, August 18, 2016

    We all know how nice it would be to have help from on high (or anywhere)
    in dealing with the deep needs of life,
    like food, and water, and encroaching Bad Guys.
    We all need a sanctuary where we can express our fear and anguish,
    and invoke the benevolent powers to intervene in our behalf.
    Where do you go to find help with what you need?
    Carl Jung said whenever we encounter something mysterious
    we project our own assumptions onto it.
    We tell ourselves things about it that make sense to us—
    and have nothing whatsoever to do with what we experience.
    We create a religion and talk about “the man upstairs.”
    There is no man.
    There are no stairs.
    Jung also said, “In each of us there is another whom we do not know.”
    He is speaking of the Deep Self in the unconscious psyche.
    We project outward what is inward,
    and seek “out there” beyond the cosmos,
    the source of consolation and reassurance—
    that ever-present help in time of trouble—
    that dwells within.
    To access The One Who Knows within,
    we have to learn the language of soul,
    and become friends with silent reflection,
    holding in our awareness,
    the full truth of the present moment,
    and see what occurs to us,
    allowing that to draw
    us forth into the field of action.

  94. 08/20/2016 — Goldfinch 2016 18 — Just Out Of The Nest, Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, August 19, 2016

    If it isn’t a part of your field of focus,
    it is a part of your zone of distraction.
    It is about the work.
    not about the ambitions,
    the dreams,
    the plans,
    the agendas, the aspirations…
    There is the work
    and there is all that is keeping us from doing the work.
    The work is our life,
    our business,
    our reason for being.
    We can talk about “taking care of business,”
    but it has to be the right business
    we are taking care of.
    If anything is wrong about your life,
    if you are dealing with symptoms,
    worries,
    anxieties,
    the sense that things are not right,
    out of sync,
    unraveling,
    falling apart,
    disintegrating before your eyes,

    You are off the beam,
    chasing after that which is not IT.
    Sit quietly,
    Holding everything in your awareness,
    until something emerges
    that you know to be IT,
    and do what needs to be done about it.
    Stay focused on it.
    Live to serve it with your life,
    past all of the attractive wonders
    and beautiful possibilities
    that are not IT.
    Get IT down
    and you have it made,
    and the rest of the world
    along with you.

  95. 08/21/2016 — White-breasted Nuthatch 2016 04 — Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, August 8, 2016

    The two essential things
    that you don’t have enough of in your life
    are stillness and silence.
    It takes a lot of both
    to discover and live out of
    your center, ground, and foundation
    in all conditions, contexts, and circumstances,
    in each situation as it arises
    your whole life long.
    Stillness and silence
    are the two things we most decisively avoid.
    We take sleeping aids
    to help us sleep away the nights
    and avoid facing the stillness/silence
    with all that brings to our attention.
    We cannot deal with the monsters and madness waiting there.
    The Buddha under the Bo Tree,
    Jesus in the wilderness,
    could tell us a thing or two about monsters and madness,
    and about the ministering angles,
    and the helpful spirits,
    that are also present to help us face what must be faced:
    The truth of how it is with us.
    We cannot be anything until we can be quiet
    on a regular basis,
    and come to terms with all that is to be found there.

  96. 08/21/2016 — Downy Woodpecker 2016 07 — Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, July 7, 2016

    Two of the monsters we meet in the silence,
    when we are still and quiet,
    are called:
    That Which We Have Done Or Failed To Do, and
    That Which Happened To Us Or Failed to Happen.
    We have to face squarely
    and come to terms with
    our disappointments and betrayals,
    self-induced and perpetuated by others,
    or brought on by circumstances beyond anyone’s control.
    “This is the way it has been in my life,
    and this is the way it has not been,
    and this is what I have done in response
    up to this point,
    and this is what I need to do about it now.”
    As a Phoenix rises from its own ashes,
    so do we all—
    in living toward where we are going,
    out of where we have been.

  97. 08/21/2016 — Mourning Dove 2016 04 Silhouette — Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, August 21, 2016

    We have to make our peace with our past
    and with our present—
    in a “Here We Are, Now What?” kind of way.
    Regardless of what our past has been,
    and no matter what our present is,
    they have gotten us here, now.
    What now, is the question.
    Where we are going is more important
    than where we have been,
    or where we are.
    What we have learned to this point in our life
    will be invaluable in the next phase—
    the one beginning now.
    As we step into our future,
    three tools will provide us with
    all we need to find our life and live it:
    Mindfulness,
    Compassion,
    and Courage.
    Those three things will enable us
    to live transparent to ourselves
    and keep good faith with ourselves
    and all sentient beings.
    Everything will fall into place around this.