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The Tao of being a Sea Squirt

Sea squirts are marine invertebrates, little sac-like creatures. They initially have a rudimentary brain that they use to find a nice safe rock to Attach themselves permanently, and then they absorb their own brains, turning into a stimulus response feeder. Anil Seth, who authored the book "Being You, A New Science of Consciousness," suggests that... Continue Reading →

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Tao of Flight

I was out of the house today for the first time in twelve days. An unfortunate combination of severe food poisoning and walking pneumonia had me down for a while. But early this morning I finally felt well enough to go for a walk at the local park, it was wonderful! Just being able to... Continue Reading →

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Seeing Zen

Your perspective on life comes from the cage you were held captive in." - Sharon L. Adler Although at some point, I may realize I built the cage, and captivated myself. Bryan Wagner

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Commitment

It takes commitment to pay attention and seek an appropriate and relative response to each and every moment. But there is an equanimity that rises, and there is a surety that I am doing the very best I can as life evolves. Bryan Wagner

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TIMING

I have noticed when having thoughts of things to do in the future, I have distorted these present moments by pulling on them, saying, "Hurry up!" Having thoughts about the past drags produces a drag on time like an anchor, "Slow down time, what's the hurry?" But in sitting, doing nothing, just being, time and... Continue Reading →

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Tao of Jazz Improv

I went to a Jazz concert last night in Ann Arbor. An amazing evening and event. What I noticed was, at least from a distance, how Jazz and the meditative perspective have so much in common. Each musician was absorbed in the experience, interacting freely and without hesitation, adapting to structural changes, and moods. Sensitive... Continue Reading →

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Exclusive and Inclusive View

Exclusive: Listening to the oboe in an orchestral piece of music. Inclusive: Hearing the song, all the instruments, sensing the auditorium, the people, smells, the way the environment feels, and a sense of being. What a great ability, having attention and our ability to change the focus of our attention at will. How I react... Continue Reading →

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Caring and Belief

Never believe that a few caring people can't change the world. For, indeed, that's all who ever have. - Margaret Mead I think knowing this adds meaning to existence and is why I care so deeply even when all else seems to fail. Care, not out of guilt or to attain status, but care because... Continue Reading →

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Time

Today is not a bridge between past and future. Today is yesterday's future and tomorrow's past. Arising as one long day, one now, that fades away ever so soon. Take care of you and others. You need to feel balanced, if you're not OK how can you help anyone? Bryan Wagner

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Tao of Congruence

To be Authentic, one needs to be congruent in speech, actions, and perspectives. - Unknown Lately I have abandoned a lot of ideals and perspectives born of ideals, from a lot of different religions, philosophies, and spiritual paths. Instead, I've focused on two simple perspectives, being congruent and relaxing into a state of constant balancing.... Continue Reading →

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When I Believe I’m in Control

For several months I've been focused on the fantasy of control. Recently this dropped in while I was listening to Arcade Fires new single release off the soon to be released CD "We." I don't get to know when the lightning strikes, or the rainbow glows. I can only commit to doing my best to... Continue Reading →

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This unknown time

I no longer want to involve my being with endless chats of maybes and possibilities. Nor debate opinions, or so-called truths, whatever they may be. Or stories of her, him, and it, dancing in endless drama. Or seeking what isn't and never will be. Nor do I care to listen to empty commitments, made from... Continue Reading →

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Roles

I am conditioned into adopting a role (as in “I’m a Meditator) and play it through without developing any insight or comprehension into how meditation can impact the entire process of how I experience life. It’s easier to play a role than it is to embrace the challenges of being a human with all the... Continue Reading →

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Relying on Others

Work out your own salvation. Do not depend on others. - Gautama Lately I've been noticing how, when I started studying Zen, I was so severely conditioned into our educational system, that I was sure I needed a "teacher" who would direct me towards enlightenment, whatever I thought that was at the time. I felt... Continue Reading →

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It’s How not What

How I live while experiencing the stream of thought is more important than the content of the stream. How I live, what actions I take, will indicate how I am in these moments, not the stream of thought. Lately I've been looking at how I'm constantly focused on thoughts as a primary way to engage... Continue Reading →

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On Sadness

 Sadness of thought is not a sadness of Being. I may say “I’m sad” when relying on thought, but when I access the entire system of “Bryan” that simply isn’t entirely truthful. I see it as a momentary intellectual assessment that will rise and fade, a sadness of thought, not a sadness of being.  My... Continue Reading →

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Labels

"It's always easier to label than to understand." I have noticed lately how easy it is to shut down the inquisitive mind by providing it with an answer. So, in a relationship it's so much easier to decide someone's "mean" than to take the time and open oneself to the bigger picture, or inclusive view.... Continue Reading →

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Words

"All teachings are mere references. The true experience is living your own life. Then even the holiest of words are only words." - Ming-Dao Deng I had finished reading some study materials in Chan Buddhism and found myself getting up to look at the bookshelf to find some more material. And stopped. Why am I... Continue Reading →

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To Comprehend

"Life is a succession of lessons which must be lived to be understood." - Ralph Waldo Emerson For me, intellectual understanding is helpful, but to comprehend what a thing or process is, I need to engage with it, taking it into action in any way possible and see how it applies. Sometimes when studying I... Continue Reading →

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Giving You

"There is a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action and because there is only one of you in all of time this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and be lost. The world will not have it." -... Continue Reading →

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Your it

Live authentically from these moments, and be true to how you are, not who you think you are, or what someone else told you. No matter how anyone else perceives me I am the only one who knows how I truthfully interpret and value my actions. Each of us, at any moment, contains the alpha... Continue Reading →

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Wisdom?

I'm not sure about this "wisdom" that we chase after, that endless something that can be applied to life in waking moments. There are so many little wisdom sayings out there that they have become meaningless decorations in a burning house. What's the point? Other than to believe I sound "spiritual" for a moment or... Continue Reading →

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Seeing

Truthfully, I can only offer perspectives on your perspectives. I have no answers, only questions that lead to questions. Embracing that opens wide open spaces inside, and I fall in love with enquiry itself. Today, just being is enough. Bryan Wagner

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To React or not?

Someone asked me about a problem they were experiencing in meditation. It seems they have these small stings, itches, and joint pains that would flare briefly. They were driving her crazy, and she was driven to move and rub or scratch but felt she should stay motionless, and her "teacher" told her to "overcome" those... Continue Reading →

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Desire

It's not that I want the world to be different, I know the complexity evolves independent of what I want, it's my REACTIONS to the world as it evolves that truthfully enable my suffering that need to change. Bryan Wagner

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Those Exquisite Moments

Crocus flowers, I look forward to them every year. They grow randomly throughout the property, little bunches here and there. When they arrive in early spring, they seem to sing as they share their intense colors with the world. Funny how excited my whole being becomes upon their arrival. So, two days ago I spent... Continue Reading →

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Tao of Projection

"Your idea of me is not my responsibility to live up to." - Unknown And, of course, neither is my idea of you a responsibility for you to fulfil. Lately I've noticed that I carry these little images of other people, containers that carry what I remember about all past interactions. Things someone might have... Continue Reading →

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To Embrace This Temporarily

Available as audio The conditioned social "I" is temporary, vague, and wonders what to do next to make sure it exists. The dynamic cannot conceive of a place where there is no holding onto anything, no grasping, or this is mine. A place where, if attending, a constant next appropriate action manifests from the incredible... Continue Reading →

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Self or Not?

It's that same ongoing question that's been plaguing Buddhism, Hinduism, and assorted western belief systems forever. Recently I heard the words, "There is no self!" four times in one afternoon. I understand how it's so easy to pick up that little philosophy and apply it to everything I experience. It's an easy answer to life's... Continue Reading →

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Disney Zen

"Whatever you do, do it well." - Walt Disney For me, this is a very Zen and Taoist approach. Notice that it's not a matter of having to do things "perfectly." When I am present, which for me means I'm focusing attention on exactly where body and breath reside in time and space, I can... Continue Reading →

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Tao of Sad

"Trying to avoid sadness is trying to avoid life." - Maxine Lagace Feeling sad is often considered something to be avoided and rejected, but sadness needs its space, a place to breathe, an acknowledgement of presence. It doesn't disappear, it becomes diluted and pales in the shadows of shifting attention. But it's there, a memory,... Continue Reading →

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The Zen of the “I”

The "I" who believes it "watches" or "observes" thought is a product of the very thoughts it's watching. How do we know when the conditioned personality, the separate self, is spinning a story? Bryan Wagner

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Tao and Zen perspectives

We are all lost, frightened, and unsure humans trying to unravel our own mystery, and we cannot do that for each other. But we can be here for each other, listen carefully and fully, attending to exactly where we are in time and space, caring deeply, and seeing ourselves clearly in each other. Bryan Wagner... Continue Reading →

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Tao and relationship to thought.

Thoughts do not originate from some “I” who is “thinking.” Indeed, every thought that rises can be a combination of physical status including the state of the current blood sugar, mood and emotional basis at the time the thought rises, current environmental impact, conclusions, and beliefs. I have never been able to "train the mind."... Continue Reading →

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Slowly Zen

So, in an age of acceleration, nothing can be more exhilarating than going slow. And in an age of distraction, nothing is so luxurious as paying attention. And in an age of constant movement, nothing is so urgent as sitting still.- Pico Lyer  Recently I have been experimenting with slowing down and have been enjoying... Continue Reading →

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Anger and Zen

"To be angry is to revenge the faults of others on ourselves." - Alexander Pope I am conditioned, sometimes I react out of conditioning and projection. When doing so I may say something or do something inappropriate or mean. When others notice, I hope they will understand that I'm immersed in thousands of years of... Continue Reading →

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The Zen of the Second View

"Re-examine what you believe you know about yourself. I live in transience, and since there is no permanent separate self, I can never be what I was in the past, I can only experience how I am in these very moments, again, and again." - Unknown I often find myself wondering exactly how much I... Continue Reading →

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Inquiry and Tao

"It's not the answer that enlightens, but the question" - Eugene Jonesco When the separate self believes it "knows" something, whatever avenue was being used in the search shuts down. There is nothing outside of transience and change except "beliefs." If I don't question what I believe in, it will change anyway. (I can see... Continue Reading →

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Past Tao’s

"I am a slow walker, but I never walk back" - Abraham Lincoln Perhaps Abe had a Zen background? I interpret this as an encouragement to not "cling" to the past, in the sense of holding onto those things in history. Of course, the past has valuable information and perspectives that I can learn from,... Continue Reading →

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Form and Emptiness

The big question. Buddhist and others have been trying to discern some explanation and meaning for thousands of years. Recently a friend who has made his life's work examining the Sutta's in Pali and Sanskrit told me that NOWHERE in any of the Sutta's did Gautama say those words, they were from one of the... Continue Reading →

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Authority and Zen

Gautama’s encouragements made it clear as reflected in the Kalama and Diamond Sutras. Don’t blindly accept what authority says. This includes any Buddhist “authorities” and the artificial “authority” of conditioned separate self’s thoughts. I find it helpful to pay attention to all those demands authority makes, I will, would, should, could, and must do. These... Continue Reading →

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The Eight Tasks of Zen

I recently attended a class about the famous Eightfold Path. It's number four of the "Four Noble Truths." (Although I don't refer to them as "Truths," I find myself moving away from such stories about Truth, Enlightenment, Awareness, and Mindfulness. I find nothing useful about seeking these things as goals.) The class followed the usual... Continue Reading →

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Tao of Fear

"Of all the liars in the world, sometimes our worst are our own fears." - Rudyard Kipling I agree. In my case it isn't "Sometimes," my fears are the worst liars. Fear is always a projection into the future, being afraid is visceral and immediate. Fearing something is fearing the "stories" that are told about... Continue Reading →

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Zen of the Moment

"Treat every moment as your last! It's not preparation for something else! - Shunryu Suzuki Or treat these passing moments as both the first and last, things rise, we notice, and things fade. The "I" appears in attention, is noticed, the "I" exists, then fades, to be replaced by attention towards something else. Over and... Continue Reading →

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Zen and Honesty

"I would rather be honest than impressive." - Unknown For me, honesty is expressing myself as I am in these moments. We're not talking about the concept of being honest ABOUT anything but being honest in presenting how I am in these moments. To be transparent and avoid focusing attention on the conditioned separate self's... Continue Reading →

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Desire and Tao

Lately I have been noticing that when I desire something, no matter what it is, I find a way to accomplish most of those desired things in my life. I wanted to be a musician and did my best to apply myself, finally being able to earn a living playing music. When that was over,... Continue Reading →

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