Here and Now, Revisited

I say “I have a memory” – I am remembering.
I say “I will take a walk”. -I am anticipating when ‘I am walking’.
I say “I had a conversation” – I am remembering when I was conversing.
I have a thought and a emotion. – I think, feel, and cognate.
When I read the paper about what is happening over there. I am reading right here.

remembering, walking, anticipating, conversing, reading … thinking, feeling, cognating, acting, doing, being and interacting, saying. — all happen in the Here and Now. The poetic license of of English Language can confuse us at times, but we happen in the here & now.

Here and Now Post – reposted:

From our first person point of view, what is happening is always in the present time.
What we think and feel about the future; the past; or somewhere else is actually taken place in real time where we are.

I am not saying that nothing is happening elsewhere other than where i am.

Its the here/now lenses that i perceive the future; past; and far away that is happening in the here and now.

Our thinking mind allows us to reevaluate the past; anticipate the future ;make rational judgments on whats happening elsewhere.

This all fine and healthy. along as we realize that all are feelings are of the moment towards the formulated thoughts in our heads of the past, future and elsewhere.
If we forget this realization we can fill are lives with unnecessary, guilt, inhibition, angst and arrogance.

Zen meditation brings me to real time sensing. Simplifying. I can allow my self to let go of the unnecessary baggage and clutter of my cognitions. I learn through living, by experience . with full body in the here and now.

previously posted Pennsylvania Echoes:here and now

A definition of being (or Zen true self) includes the present action (including doing and cognating) of a subject (eg. a person or organism). I am walking… I am remembering… I am talking…, I am anticipating…
The “Here and Now” is the  circumstance. It is that meeting place joining being to the always changing world.

Some Soren Kierkegaard Quotes and Thoughts

“How absurd men are! They never use the liberties they have, they demand those they do not have. They have freedom of thought, they demand freedom of speech.”

I have been reading some Soren Kierkegaard quotes, lately.
He is one of my favorite thinkers, whos profound words would influence many in the following century. Academics Jaspers, Husserl, Heidegger, humanist psychologist Carol Rogers, and physicist Neil Bohr claimed Kierkegaard’s words as inspiring to them.
Here are some more quotes by the Great Dane:

once you label me you negate me.”
when one is being labeled he is objectified and dehumanized.

What is a poet? An unhappy person who conceals profound anguish in his heart but whose lips are so formed that as sighs and cries pass over them they sound like beautiful music.
As Laura Perls would later say: “without pain there would be no Art“.

KierkegaardAnxiety may be compared with dizziness. He whose eye happens to look down into the yawning abyss becomes dizzy. But what is the reason for this? It is just as much in his own eye as in the abyss, for suppose he had not looked down. Hence, anxiety is the dizziness of freedom, which emerges when the spirit wants to posit the synthesis and freedom looks down into its own possibility, laying hold of finiteness to support itself. Freedom succumbs to dizziness. Further than this, psychology cannot and will not go
The decisions one makes between: what he ought to do: his essence; his nature. and what he thinks he should do in preservation (dread) shape existence in Kierkegaard’s view. life is a series choices, the freedom in deciding comes with anxiety.
For Soren, ones essence or nature is his/her connecting to God. I wonder what he would have thought of Taoism or Zen, had he discovered it, for essence and nature are harmonizing with Tao and Buddha nature, respectively…. For the pantheist connecting with the Cosmos.

Life has its own hidden forces which you can only discover by living.
Life is not just something to be analyzed from afar. the mysteries, hows and whats of life are understood by living or experiencing.

Do not forget to love yourself
Sounds so pretty simple. but read further:

In every man there is something which to a certain degree prevents him from becoming perfectly transparent to himself; and this may be the case in so high a degree, he may be so inexplicably woven into relationships of life which extend far beyond himself, that he almost cannot reveal himself. But he who cannot reveal himself cannot love, and he who cannot love is the most unhappy man of all“.
the path of happiness is authenticity. be true and find ones true nature, within and without and by living it. With that comes compassion,empathy, wisdom and love.

For more kick-arse Kierkegaard quotes  please check out this terrific blog link:
The Kierkegaarden.
from there you can receive daily Kierkegaard “Blooms” on twitter, Facebook, or RSS news Feed.


Tao Te Ching chapter 16


Lao Tzu

Empty yourself of everything.
Let the mind rest at peace.
The ten thousand things rise and fall while the Self watches their return.
They grow and flourish and then return to the source.
Returning to the source is stillness, which is the way of nature.
The way of nature is unchanging.
Knowing constancy is insight.
Not knowing constancy leads to disaster.
Knowing constancy, the mind is open.
With an open mind, you will be openhearted.
Being openhearted, you will act royally.
Being royal, you will attain the divine.
Being divine, you will be at one with the Tao.
Being at one with the Tao is eternal.
And though the body dies, the Tao will never pass away.

(translation by Gia-fu Feng and Jane English)
thanks to

The  consciousness of  the happenings of one’s  body is his mind.  When he or she is  aware of  the particulars of  his body: thoughts, cognition,  feelings, perceptions, reactions – He   calls this  awareness  his  mind.

In Taoism and Zen, meditating is a holistic practice of consciously Letting Things Flow.
(“a thousand”) Things come and go in the moment.  If one is being mindful of things coming and going in the moment, without attempting to capture or control, suppress or force… Then his mind is  resting  at peace.
I have read many times the words “Let things go” during meditation. Its difficult to find the perfect description in contemporary English. What is really being let go of .. is   the clinging and coercing that we usually do of  things that come to mind. What  I really do is “Let things Flow“.

Things are  Happenings.
They  rise and fall  like a figure from a ground of some moving  painting or work- of- art.  No figure is ever truly separated from the ground.  The ground is Nature happening  or the” Tao”.  Things rise and fall, they exist in consciousness as  a singularity of two  (like  figure &  ground;   word & context;   matter & space)  but   the Tao is constant. The Tao flows, but is always here.

from the words of Lao Tzu  the supposed author of  the Tao Te Ching:
Being divine is harmonizing with the flowing nature.
And though the body dies, the Tao is Eternal.”

I Do My Thing, You Do Your Thing Poster

I made a web poster for a friend:

I do my thing you do your thingI do my thing, you do your thing
(click on the poster for full size)

The words are a poem by  Fritz Perls and they are usually titled the “Gestalt Prayer“. Its not really a prayer, other than being a statement of affirmation. The poem could have been titled the “Gestalt Mantra” or “Gestalt Chant”.
What Perls  wished to affirm, I believe, is the spirit of independence and relative self reliance, that… with the concepts of  personal growth, sustainability and responsibility, are at the core of his Gestalt Therapy Theory.
-An existential phenomenology .

The Gestalt Prayer can be found in the work  “Gestalt Therapy Verbatim” by F. Perls.  The photo is mine… for some reason I like to photograph bees. I hope you find it to be a cool affirmation poster.
Thanks to Fritz and Laura Perls and the rest of the “gestalts”  for there inspiring words.

Zen is a Discipline

Zen is one discipline in realizing our everyday existence, Its primary method is Zazen or Zen mediation, in which one “empties” his/her mind of Language, Constructs,  Meanings, and  Concepts  for a short period. The focus of Zen is direct experience… centering ones attention to “The task at hand” so to speak, and  refining experiential learning   with  mindfulness of the unity all “things”, including the spontaneity of all “events”.

Zen or Zen Buddhism is a discipline and method. But it has long metaphysical roots.

Daruma Daishi BodhidharmaZen’s philosophical background evolved from Indian Buddhism and the influence of ancient Taoism as the two paradigms met and as people exchanged ideas in central Asia and China.

The origional school,  Ch’an started in the sixth century or earlier, and Its the exact history is debated. Some describe the philosophies leading to Chan (“Zen” in Japanese) as a Buddhist revival of Early Taoism with Ch’an being the  school emphasizing meditation.  As with the case of many school of thought in Asia: Zen is the mix of different influences.

Ch’an spread through North China and Korea. Chan would make its way to Japan originally as an academic interest where it would be know as “Zen“… Zen the Japanese pronunciation of “Chan”.   Zen is practiced all over the world today.

The Taoism of Zen thought.

In Taoism, The unity and spontaneity of nature is called “Tao“. Transcending any and all human intellect, the Tao is mystical truth… but not an entirely  illusive one. The early Taoist practice meditations (some later Taoist practice Tai chi with meditation), recited the Tao te Ching and practiced  Wu Wei to harmonize with the Tao or nature.

The “Buddha Nature” is to Zen Buddhism ….what ‘the Tao” is to Taoism.  It is unity, spontaneity . The life force, the true way nature happens. A Zen Buddhist meditates by “emptying his mind” or “stilling his mind” to  explore the  “Buddha nature” within him or herself.

Taoism and Zen’s philosophy are both holistic. Every particle is interconnected;  every particle interdependent with its whole.  The underlying principles of the universe , Scientific, Tao or Buddha Nature,  apply every where. In any description of a phenomena the least is the best. that is to say: one does not divide or atomize  the world with his/her intellect more  more than he needs to, as to do so is an artificial representation.

In both Taoism and Zen, The Tao, Buddha nature ,or ultimate reality transcend our human understand via language. historically Chan and Zen have deemphasized (or even rejected) the importance of texts, and written doctrines other than the influence of the four noble truths that is at the center of Buddhism.

Buddhism of Zen thought.

In a very broad sense, Buddhism sets out to solve a problem. The problem of suffering in existence.

Four Nobel Truths of Buddhism (said many ways).

  • Suffering Exists in Life
  • The Source of  Suffering is attachment
  • The Emancipation  of Suffering is attainable
  • The Path  or the “Eightfold Path” (wisdom, conduct, development)

Language including labels, signs and symbols;  Constructs such “self” , “social class”, “efficiency” and “-isms” ,etc.  Meaning including reasoning &  importance
and sentiment  including ideas connecting emotion to an object or  memories….

…  All these things are mental manifestations.

We are thrown in to the world,   As infants we start to define our “self”-concept from the rest of the world with our mind. We  learn language to further dive and label phenomena in our reality, introject concepts from  our peers.   We create definitions for objects and designate importance to events,  attach emotions and ideas to objects, beings, events, and even other ideas.   We fantasize. All this in our mind.

The Zen Buddhist argument is, for whatever reason these manifestations of mind come about…, these are  unreal attachments that shift attention away from the “Buddha Nature” and may cause suffering in life. For the strictest Zen Buddhist an existence that is empty of all mental manifestations is an existence totally free of suffering.

“Zen is a discipline of enlightenment. Enlightenment means emancipation, and emancipation means no less than freedom.”

D.T . Suzuki in his book:  Zen and Japanese Culture.

Enlightenment ( or Sakuri) is freedom of suffering and freedom from attachment.

Enlightenment is simply being.

Zen without Buddhism

I have seen the question on the Internet: Can one practice Zen without Buddhism? The fact is Zen can be used with many ways of thinking, and Zazen meditation for many purposes.

Zen can be a discipline of phenomenology.

Zazen meditation is used for health,   mental health,   sports training,   learning to clear or focus ones attention,   expanding ones mindfulness with any personal faith or way of thinking.

I would argue however, the practicing  Zen overtime , in being committed to Zen as daily practice , and thus experiencing the   mindfulness of how thoughts  arise:  that, some thought formations , thinking patterns and conceptualizations  can be unhealthy. Zen as daily practice,  may be a path to freedom from unhealthy or stagnating ways, or patterns of thinking.

My opinion(for what its worth):  is that there is always  Buddhism within committed Zen practice.  I am one who has suffered from th enslavement of  a restless mind. the daily commitment to Zen has been a huge part of  in continuing my freedom.  Overall I describe myself As Agnostic, but  Buddhism is in  me.

My Thoughts on Zen Thought

I do not wish to infer, with Zen, that I or anyone should be nihilists and say that everything  is just forms of energy and force, that we should reject words, meaning, sentimental attachments, as illusions that bring suffering on our selves or that we should ignore anything that isn’t nearby.

(I  participate in the modern world  and  conform with much of the norms of my culture, and love Art , Science and history.)

Instead ,with Zen and Zazen meditation, I may become more mindful of my own true nature, I may sense the unity and spontaneity of my world with a direct experience , while realizing the clinging and potential discomfort and dissatisfaction that my thinking and can produce. I am weary of the pitfalls of my intellect and  am more trustful of my senses.

Zen is  a discipline of realizing the “every-day-ness”  in here now moment,  mind empty of attachments, mindful of; and connected to  the world…

Zen is a discipline.

A practical definition of self

“In the widest sense possible, mans Self: is the sum total of all he can call his,
not only  body and psychic powers, but  his clothes and his house, his wife and children, his ancestors and his friends,his reputations and works, his lands and his horses,  and yacht and bank account. All these things give him the same emotions.

-William James psychologist, later pragmatist  (principles of psychology).
In James definition any  physical and psychic interaction one can claim   is  part ones  self.

I would narrow my definition of  “self”  to:
a constructed organization or  gestalt of   mind/ body, that may include an integration of:

  • Interests – likes, dislikes, concerns
  • Values – principles,  ideas  held as important and meaningful
  • Beliefs – that which I hold true
  • Sex,   Gender, and orientation
  • Strengths and limitations (real and perceived)
  • Memories
  • basic needs , capacities and drives.
  • Biology:- from hormones to Nervous system to Dna

…that is  both  stable and vital in influencing the processes  of how I live and
is permeable and subject to slow change of growth and withdraw, as I live.

Why bother to define an object-like “Self”?…
I have  heard fellow newcomers to mental health management, describe themselves as if their personalities were pulled by strong  up mood to down mood; Feeling they were different one day to the next, or feeling fragmented….
Wondering if they can find an answer to the important  question: “Who Am I?”
My answer would be “I  start by stating   a few of values, interests, strengths, needs”
these traits tend to be more stable for many people than mood or situation.

Defining ” my- self”  is a pragmatic  solution, because  it gives me a stable answer to question “who am I?”  in understanding my expressions and interactions .
Loosely,   “Self” is  a core or center of being, a way to describe to say “Who I am” with   an important sense of control in sometimes fast paced changing world. My self is Me.

Zen “True Self” and Being

In Zen,   the “every day Self” or “True self’“, is defined as happening in present moment. It is  “Who one is” in the present moment. In Zen the self is also doing. For example  If  I am riding a bike, My  True Self is “I am riding”.
Although , I  believe a persons  “Being” is best described  as:  “doing” in the present moment or experience”,  It is impractical not to differentiate self  from  doing or Being, at times,  as situations and actions change to rapidly, day to day… moment to moment.
It is important to be able to distinguish  self from other (organism from environment) in “Being” as it is to realize the connection. Being is always changing. Action and experience are always changing. “Me” or my self,  always changing also  but it is more the far more stable components of Being than former.
Read more of this post

Feeling word list

I have often ask  “How are you feeling”  to the people I care about….
forgetting that it is a question that sometimes makes people feel surprised or taken a back
Why is it so difficult to say how we  feel, simply?.

from my post,  How are you feeling?

I feel______
I am feeling____

a list of feeling word below.

As always, the stuff on my blog is too inspire you to make your own tools
however a free download is available by clicking on the link below:

Feeling WordsPDF

a very extensive list is available at the web site:

for more on feeling words please visit Emotional Vocabulary and literacy and.


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