Frisbee retrieves a tennis ball; Bo is'nt ready to make his move yet.

What my dog taught me about Zen

“My dog doesn’t worry about the meaning of life.” So begins Charlotte Joko Beck’s classic book Everyday Zen. This simple statement began my fascination with Zen. I had already had direct experience of what Joko was talking about. For roughly 10 years I walked, day and night, with our dog, Bo. During that  period I had suffered a series of setbacks, …

Why men don’t write advice columns

Dear Walter: I hope you can help me here. The other day I set off for work leaving my husband in the house watching the TV as usual. I hadn’t gone more than a few hundred yards down the road when my engine conked out and the car shuddered to a halt. I walked back home to get my husband’s …

microsoft

Microsoft meets haiku

In Japan, Sony Vaio machines have replaced the unhelpful Microsoft error messages with Japanese haiku poetry. Each only 17 syllables, in the 5-7-5 format.  ————————— A file that big? It might be very useful. But now it is gone. The web site you seek Cannot be located but Countless more exist. Chaos reigns within. Reflect, repent, and reboot. Order shall …

pope-md

The Pope and the rabbi

Several centuries ago, the Pope decreed that all the Jews had to convert or leave Italy. There was a huge outcry from the Jewish community, so the Pope offered a deal. He would have a religious debate with the leader of the Jewish community. If the Jews won, they could stay in Italy, if the Pope won, they would have …

Why the 16th century was so different

 Most people got married in June because they took their yearly bath in May and still smelled pretty good by June. However, they were starting to smell so brides carried a bouquet of flowers to hide the body odor. Hence the custom today of carrying a bouquet when getting married.  Baths consisted of a big tub filled with hot water. …

Best caddy comments

Best Caddy Comment #10 Golfer: “I played lousy today. I feel like drowning myself in the lake.” Caddy: “I don’t think you can keep your head down that long.” Best Caddy Comment #9  Golfer: “I’d move heaven and earth to break 100 on this course.” Caddy: “Try heaven, you’ve already moved most of the earth.” Best Caddy Comment #8  Golfer: …

Shortage of virgins

Editor’s Note: It looks like things are getting tough all over. Muslim suicide bombers in Britain are set to begin a three-day strike on Monday in a dispute over the number of virgins they are entitled to have in the afterlife. Emergency talks with Al Qaeda have so far failed to produce an agreement. The unrest began last Tuesday when …

How to write a blues song

1. Most Blues begin, “Woke up this morning.” 2. “I got a good woman” is a bad way to begin the Blues, ‘less you stick something nasty in the next line, like ” I got a good woman, with the meanest face in town.” 3. The Blues is simple. After you get the first line right, repeat it. Then find …

8 thoughts to ponder

Number 8: Life is sexually transmitted. Number 7: Good health is merely the slowest possible rate at which one can die. Number 6: Men have two emotions : Hungry and Horny. They can’t tell them apart. If you see a gleam in his eyes, make him a sandwich. Number 5: Give a person a fish and you feed them for a day. Teach a …

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The Evanescent Horse

from  “Franny and Zooey” by J.D. Salinger… Duke Mu of Chin said to Po Lo: “You are now advanced in years. Is there any member of your family whom I could employ to look for horses in your stead?” Po Lo replied: “A good horse can be picked out by its general build and appearance. But the superlative horse– one …

Albert Einstein

How Einstein saw the world

“How strange is the lot of us mortals! Each of us is here for a brief sojourn; for what purpose he knows not, though he sometimes thinks he senses it. But without deeper reflection one knows from daily life that one exists for other people—first of all for those upon whose smiles and well-being our own happiness is wholly dependent, …

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Andy Rooney won’t like this

This will test your convictions. It was presented by the late Andy Rooney, an 82-year-old commentator on “60 Minutes.” I like big cars, big boats, big motorcycles, big houses and big campfires. I believe the money I make belongs to me and my family, not some governmental stooge with a bad comb-over who wants to give it away to crack addicts for squirting out …

Only an Italian man can make you feel like a woman

On a transatlantic flight, a plane passes through a severe storm. The turbulence is awful, and things go from bad to worse when one wing is struck by lightning. One woman in particular loses it. Screaming, she stands up in the front of the plane. ‘I’m too young to die’, she wails. Then she yells, ‘Well, if I’m going to …

meaning

A search for meaning

What then is meaning? It’s a personal reason for our existence. It’s a reason to get out of bed in the morning. It is not a matter of searching for some ethereal, profound, and mysterious meaning, but merely of choosing what to dedicate our life to, for the purpose of life is to live a life of purpose. In other …

world

The world can be a cruel place

An apparition? A mirage? Both? Neither? She was wearing a gossamer-thin blouse and jeans and came floating across the parking lot like an apparition. I was sitting at an outdoor table, drinking coffee from a paper cup. As she headed straight toward me I figured I was in for an adventure, and quietly wondered what kind. “Do you have a …

Trapped

Trapped by the thing that could have freed him

The invitation to meet Adi Da came at the best possible time. It would be an understatement to say that I was going through a rotten patch in my life. Frankly, I don’t ever remember feeling quite so low and lonely. Full of self-pity, and lacking in confidence in myself and others generally, I was razor close to throwing in …

street_begging

The magical singer

The woman looked poor, dressed as she was in layers of rags to keep out the cold winds of winter. She was of indeterminate age, her hair bound up in another of her rags. But she looked the noodle vendor in the eye while she told him that she had no money to pay for his noodles yet she was …

bead

The Tale of the Odd Bead

Chris (Christine Michaels) was traveling in Kenya and, as usual, was shopping. In the Masai Mara, there are no malls. Instead, shopping is done predominantly in the open marketplaces. Of course, being a typical female, she immediately gravitated to the jewelry stalls. The Masai are expert craftsmen at creating exquisite beaded jewelry. One particular bracelet caught Chris’ attention and, without …

axe

An old man who lost his axe

From the Tao ….  One day a man found that his axe was missing, and suspected his neighbour’s son of having taken it. Observing the youth walking around, the man was convinced that his was the walk of a thief. The youth looked like a thief and talked like a thief; everything he did pointed to his having stolen the …

doctor

Lunatic at the Table

When the German naturalist Alexander von Humboldt told a friend, a Parisian doctor, that he wanted to meet a certifiable lunatic, he was invited to the doctor’s home for supper. A few days later Humboldt found himself sitting at the dinner table between two men. One was polite, somewhat reserved and did not go in for small talk. The other, dressed …

This is a photo of a bullfight that I'm using to illustrate Kornfield's lecture

A Safe Place to Hide

In bullfighting there’s a place in the ring where the bull feels safe. If he can reach this place he can stop running and gather his full strength. He’s no longer afraid. From the point of view of the matador this is when the bull becomes dangerous. This place in the ring is different for every bull. It is the …

Pacino

Oh, those X-ray eyes

Al Pacino told the following story: “During one of my performances I made a connection with a pair of eyes in the audience, and I thought, ‘This is incredible; these eyes are penetrating me.’ I went through the whole performance just relating to those eyes, giving the whole thing to those eyes.”When curtain call came, I looked in the direction …

sunset

Sometimes you just have to sit back and take a deep breath

I’m sitting on my veranda this morning in what is an incredible day. It’s 72 degrees or so, the breeze is cool and coming from the ocean and is washing every part of my body with a sense of being alive on this beautiful day. The ibis are feeding in a foot or so of water at the base of …

troubadour

With a guitar on his back

In a way, Chris the troubadour is still trying to fulfill his father’s dream. Chris was playing his guitar at the Old Salty Dog last night and, outside the noise and hubbub of the bar, talked about his family. There were a fair amount of people in the place-nothing extraordinary, but the crowd seemed into it. He played old Neil …

Cincinnati_Reds

A young man’s thoughts

By using her inate tool of curiousity Barbara discovers a unique event: the Cincinnati Reds, who play their spring training games here in Sarasota, are due to play the Boston Red Sox for the only time this year on Saturday, a mere 24 hours away. Both Jordan and Lesley (two of our children) are extremely excited about this coincidental juxtaposition …