Posts in the “zen” category

The day becomes something that happens within your meditation

“You can meditate while talking to someone, while washing the dishes, while driving. As your experience grows, you eventually come to a point where you are so present that there is a kind of merging of inside and outside. When that happens, ‘focus’ becomes more than an extremely interesting and pleasant experience; it becomes a transformative experience.”

“Eventually a delicious figure-ground reversal takes place. In the beginning, meditation is something that happens within your day. Eventually, the day becomes something that happens within your meditation.”

~ From “The Science of Enlightenment: How Meditation Works

Mindfulness: The 80/20 rule for mindfulness meditation when talking with other people

I haven’t decided yet if I like the book, Demystifying Awakening: A Buddhist Path of Realization, Embodiment, and Freedom, by Stephen Snyder, but one thing I do like is the concept of an “80/20 rule” that he learned about for when we are interacting with other people.

The idea is that even when you’re talking and interacting with other people, 80% of your concentration should still be on yourself and your inner processes, and 20% should be on who you are interacting with.

This is consistent with my own thoughts on the subject, and what Ram Dass said about Maharaji, that Maharaji could always be seen mouthing “Ram ... Ram ... Ram,” even when he was listening to others. Ram Dass himself also spoke of this in his own practice, and is almost always seen working a mala in public speeches.

Ram Dass on remembering things like Maya, Dukkha, illusion, and consciousness

Maybe because of my Back To Now app, I really like this quote about remembering from Ram Dass:

“I think that remembering is the strategy that most religions are designed to do. It’s remembering there are other planes of consciousness, it’s remembering the illusory nature. It’s remembering Maya, it’s remembering Dukkha. It’s remembering the karma, the sangha, the Buddha, it’s remembering that you’re not caught on one plane of consciousness. It’s reminding you to wake up. The device is to wake you up.”

That quote comes from this page.

There’s a pure land where everything is only mind

[This is a story from a book that I have, but unfortunately at the moment I can’t remember the name of the book. I just typed this by hand from some images I have of the original story.]

One day during a speech Hakuin said, “They say there’s a pure land where everything is only mind, and that there’s a Buddha of light in your own body. Once that Buddha of light appears, mountains, rivers, earth, grass, trees, and forests suddenly glow with a great light. To see this, you have to look inside your own heart.”

An old innkeeper who had meditated for many years was sitting in the audience, and when she heard this, she felt a strange understanding of his words. She later told her family, “I feel that happiness is as near as my skin.” When she was awake and asleep she kept his words alive:

“Inside your own heart, trees shine with a great light.”

Ram Dass, Buddha, Maharaj-ji, and Yoda on non-duality

Inspired by a conversation with a friend recently about “trying to love everyone,” I dug into things a little more and found the following information from Ram Dass, Zen masters, the Maharaj-ji (Neem Karoli Baba), and Yoda.

As I keep trying to figure out what Ram Dass means when he says, “love everyone,” I dug through his book, be love now and found these two quotes:

Meditation: Getting to a point where there is no you

A big part of meditating for me has been getting to a point of completely dropping the self-conscious B.S., as I call it. (Which is why I may never be a meditation teacher, lol.) You just have to get to a point where there is no you.

Over 100 of my favorite “mindfulness” quotes

This page contains a list of my favorite mindfulness quotes. Most of these are short, concise quotes that help bring me back to the present moment, and work well with my “Just Be” mobile app.

Update: I have replaced my Just Be application — which was written for Android only — with a new application I call Back To Now, which runs on both Android and iOS.

Background: Just Be

Just Be was a mobile mindfulness app that I created for Android users. This is what the reminders/notifications look like when you receive them on an Android phone or tablet:

Just Be, a mindfulness reminders app

A story about attachment, from Ram Dass

I can’t find the exact Ram Dass story I’m looking for or the specific details, but it goes something like this ... after his initial work with Maharaji in India, Ram Dass came back to the U.S. and lectured on spirituality. As he says it, “I was supposed to be a spiritual teacher with no attachments, but the reality is that wherever I went, I had these nine boxes of things that were of sentimental value to me.” So he’d go from city to city lecturing about how to have no attachments, and all the time he was lugging these nine boxes around behind him.

One day he realized that he really needed to give up his attachments to those things, so he did his best to give everything away, but at the end he still had three boxes remaining. “I’m sorry, Maharaji,” he said, “that’s all I can do for now, this is killing me.”

“That was a few years ago,” Ram Dass said. “Now I have thirteen boxes.”


If you’re truly living in the present moment, some questions don’t make sense

Datline March 22, 2014: A little personal enlightenment:

After going unconscious several times during the last few weeks, I've had conversations with doctors, nurses, friends, and even a shaman about life, death, quality of life, goals, and desires.

I had a hard time answering some of their questions, and yesterday I realized why that was:

If you're truly living in the present moment, those questions don’t make any sense! You can't think about life, death, the past, or the future if you’re fully absorbed in the present moment.

When planning for the future, live fully in that moment of planning for the future. When eating, just eat; and when writing text like this, just write. That’s all.

(In computer parlance, become single-threaded, where that one thread is only focused on HereNow.)

Eckhart Tolle on temporary forms and life and death

The following quote from Eckhart Tolle is from this video with Eckhart Tolle and Ram Dass:

These are just temporary forms. (Pointing to Ram Dass) This form will be gone soon. (Pointing to himself) This form will be gone soon. (Pointing to the audience) And sooner or later, all these forms will have dissolved. Poof. Like soap bubbles. Poof. And all that remains is The One that expressed itself through The Many.

And if you know yourself as The One, which happens when the stream of thinking stops, and there’s just an aware presence, the spacious, aware, formless presence, that’s who YOU are beyond the form. (Ram Dass nods “yes.”) And from there you can enjoy the play of forms.

Activism is the rent I pay for living on this planet

I didn’t get to spend much time with her, but I met Kate Johnson at the 2013 Buddhist Geeks Conference and she seemed like a very nice person. I love this quote: “Activism is the rent I pay for living on the planet,” which originally comes from Alice Walker. There’s a little story about Kate Johnson here on

A description of Enlightenment, from Shinzen Young

“There is nothing intrinsically problematic about this ordinary perspective. The problem comes when it is the only perspective available to a person, which unfortunately is the usual case.

Enlightenment, or freedom, comes when we also have a complementary perspective that we can access at any time. To have this complementary perspective, we must come into direct contact with the third level of consciousness, the Source.

When we are in direct contact with the Source, self is not perceived as a separate particle, objects are not perceived as solid, and space becomes elastic and can collapse to a dimensionless point, taking everything with it to the Unborn. And time is cyclic — self and scene arise from and return to that unborn Source over and over.

Zen koan: It would be better if you died

Zen koans often turn into humorous Abbott & Costello skits. For those new to Zen, the “It would be better if you died” reference just means that you should meditate like you’re in your coffin, which is further embodied in the Zen phrase, “Dead men have no desire.” (As long as you have desire, Zen will keep its distance from you.)

~ From the book, Zen Flesh, Zen Bones

Yogi, Samadhi, and One’s True Nature

“A Yogi is one who has union with the supreme consciousness.”
~ Yogi Bhajan

“Samadhi is the culmination of yoga; it is a state of bliss and union with the universal spirit.”
~ B.K.S. Iyengar

“Seeing into one’s own nature is the goal of Zen.”
~ Thich Nhat Hanh

I will continue to be (Thich Nhat Hanh)

I will continue to be.
But you have to be very attentive to see me.
I will be a flower or a leaf.
I will be in those forms and I will say hello to you.
If you are attentive enough, you will recognize me, and you may greet me.
I will be very happy about it.