Wednesday, March 31, 2010


DHS 140

Brutal day out on the road today. Had to fight 24 mph head winds going south and the same as cross winds going either east or west. Didn't get a break until i turned the bike north and headed back home in the afternoon. Brutal. And i'm pooped.

TransAm Travel

OK, it's official — i just bought my return air ticket online using my United Frequent Flyer Miles.

Here's my schedule:

- During the day on 17th: Ride from Florence back to Eugene
- Late afternoon of 17th: Drop my bike off at Paul's Bicycle Way of Life
    (Probably the 6th Street shop)
- Evening of 17th or Late morning of the 18th: Dinner or lunch with
    internet friends if possible.
- Morning or early afternoon of 18th: Bus to Portland
- 19th & 20th: Portland Japanese Garden, Powells Books, Sightseeing
- 21st: Very early morning flight to Chicago.
    * Chose a 5:45 am flight because that puts me in Chicago at
      ~2:40 pm, which gives me time to take the train
      from O'Hare into the city to connect to another
      train out to Lockport. Will be home around 6:00 pm.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Living And Celebrating

DHS 139

How about a few interesting Albert Einstein quotes?

"A person starts to live when he can live outside himself."

"The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing."

"The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed."

(And while he didn't 'say' it, this was on the sign he had hanging on his office wall)

"Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts."

Al's right, until you can get outside of yourself, outside of your ego, outside of all those thoughts and ideas about who you are, you aren't living, only eating and breathing enough to stay alive. I have often talked about the difference between existing and living and am always surprised when i meet people who don't seem to understand the difference.

It's trips like this TransAm ride, or the Shikoku Henro Trail, or the trek to Everest Base Camp that allow me to see the difference the most clearly. While on the trail, you are forced to face life straight on, look her right in the eyes and deal with her smiles or anger, whatever she feels like dishing out that day. There is no running inside and locking the doors, there is not running to the car to escape the weather — there is just you, what you happen to have with you at that moment, the willingness to accept the situation, the will power to see it through, and the confidence in yourself to stand tall and persevere.

That's life. And that's where you realize that not everything that's counted counts and not everything that counts can be counted. All the friendly people you meet. All the smiles you see. All the beautiful sunrises and sunsets. All the music. All the flowers. Their infinite numbers of colors and smells. All the rainbows. All the ice cream cones on the side of the road. All of those moments sitting on a rock overlooking another outrageously beautiful view. All those evenings when you go to bed after a very difficult day telling yourself 'I did it!'

Al was right, we are all but dead when we lose sight of the mystery that life is. We have gazillions of theories, equations, and formulas, but they really do nothing by explain what we think life is. However, the true story is behind those theories, equations, and formulas. These paint a beautiful landscape that can captivate everyone who looks at it, but the smart one's realize it is still a painting and take a peek behind the easel. That's where your real life is.

So don't stop questioning. Never give up asking 'Why?' Never give up searching. Never give up stretching yourself. Never give up experiencing. Never give up curiosity, even when people tell you to stop asking why. Never surrender your soul. Always aim for the ultimate. Know that in return for never surrendering you will be granted the ultimate prize — a life worth living and celebrating.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Maladjusted And A Pain In The Butt

DHS 138

I put new tires on my bike Saturday before my ride just to see how they would handle, and found that it rode like a brand new bike. The ride was smoother and the bike handled much, much better.

I don't want to put any more miles on them until i actually start my TransAm ride so i took them back off this morning and put the old tires back on. That's when trouble started. Unfortunately.

Me and brakes have never gotten along. I think it's because we're so much alike — i'm maladjusted and the brakes are hard to adjust. After replacing the front tire, the front brakes seemed to adjust fairly well and fairly easily.

The back tire went on the wheel without a hitch, and then on the bike, but i just could not get the back brakes to adjust. If they were centered the brake lever was too soft. If the brake lever was tighter, the brake pads were off center and one side drug on the rim.

After 45 minutes, i finally got them adjusted to something acceptable, changed clothes, and headed out the door for today's ride. Two miles down the road i noticed that there was a "bump" in the back tire as it went around. It was very clearly periodic so it was off balance in one particular spot. Sort of felt like the tire was going flat? I watched it but that wasn't the case? Was it not seated on the wheel correctly? I pulled over at 2.5 miles and checked, but it looked OK. However, the rear brakes were now dragging on the rim so i had to try and adjust them again. The only thing i could get to work ended up with a very soft brake lever; soft enough that i sure hoped i didn't have to make an emergency stop.

To see if the tire wasn't set on the wheel correctly, i let all the air out, worked my fingers and thumbs around the circumference to break the seal between the bead and the wheel, and then re-inflated it. Then off again. Weak brake and the periodic bump, bump, bump, .... continued. Crap. Double crap.

Let the air out again at 8 miles and tried again since i can't see anything wrong with the wheel. Opened the quick release and made sure the wheel was completely seated in the drop outs. Unfortunately, still no better so i went home. Total ride, 16 measly miles.

Have no idea what i'm going to do. I'll take the wheel off again tomorrow, take the inner tube out in case it's crinkled (wild guess) and put the whole thing back together again. Will then work on the brake again as well. Then out the door for another ride.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Stand Still When Lost

Daily Heart Sutra (DHS) 137

I set aside an hour this evening to clean out what used to be my email inbox but which has morphed into a complete rat's nest. Low and behold, there at the bottom of the list of messages was one i had sent to myself 2 years ago with this poem in it.

Stand Still

Stand still. The trees ahead and bushes beside you
Are not lost. Wherever you are is called Here,
And you must treat it as a powerful stranger,
Must ask permission to know it and be known.
The forest breathes. Listen. It answers,
I have made this place around you.
If you leave it, you may come back again, saying Here.
No two trees are the same to Raven.
No two branches are the same to Wren.
If what a tree or a bush does is lost on you,
You are surely lost. Stand still. The forest knows
Where you are. You must let it find you.

David Wagoner

I no longer remember why i sent this to myself (other than i liked it) but on rereading it, i find it very interesting where he says, "Wherever you are is called Here,/And you must treat it as a powerful stranger,/Must ask permission to know it and be known."

Is "Here," and maybe "Now" as well, a complete stranger? Powerful, certainly — getting to know her could completely and unalterably change your life, especially if you get to know her intimately — but complete stranger? (That's a good homework question ... for myself ..., what does it mean to know something "intimately?")

I would never have thought to say that we need to ask permission to know here or now. That's not at all how i see the situation. Rather, i see it as a simple process of opening yourself, inviting them in, and then quietly accepting their presence in your life. No announcements need to be made. No permissions need to be requested. No acknowledgments need to be offered.

In fact, it would wrong to say that you need to acknowledge their presence or ask their permission. Why? Because by doing either of those, you are objectifying the situation; on the one hand there is here and now, and on the other hand there is you. And neither of those is true when you actually visit them. There is only here and now and that includes everything that could ever be counted, spoken about, or acknowledged, including you. In fact, in the "real" here and the "real" now there is nothing, and everything, all simultaneously, with no objects involved and no time involved. It is pure emptiness, pure being, and no more.

However, he is right when he admonishes us with, "If what a tree or a bush does is lost on you,/You are surely lost." In this case, take his advice and stand still. Or, pull out your zafu and sit still. Don't sit with any thoughts of "you" or "sitting" or "still." Simply sit. Life knows where you are. Let it find you while you breath in greeting.

Friday, March 26, 2010

DHS 135

If there ever was a time, now would be it.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Kūkai & Sons, Inc.

DHS 134

I think i found proof that Kūkai (aka Kōbō Daishi) was a secret Network Marketer. Really. That's apparently why he had to leave the capital and return to Shikoku — not because he wanted the seclusion to study, but because he was kicked out of school for conduct unbecoming of an up-and-coming bureaucrat.

Look at these quotes that are regularly thrown around in various modern network marketing eBooks:

"If a man has talent and cannot use it, he has failed. If he has a talent and only used half of it, he has partly failed. If he has a talent and learns somehow to use the whole of it, he has gloriously succeeded and has a satisfaction and a triumph few men ever know."

Thomas Wolfe

"People become really quite remarkable when they start thinking that they can do things."

Norman Vincent Peale

"Success is neither magical or mysterious. Success is the natural consequence of consistently applying the basic fundamentals."

Jim Rohn

"You can have everything in life you want, if you help enough other people get what they want."

Zig Ziglar

"Purposefully leaving a legacy for others breaks the downward pull of selfishness that can be inherent in us. When we strive to leave a legacy, we are acting with a selflessness that can only be good for us. ... We are talking about legacies that make life better for those who come after us, not about our own fame or recognition, but about helping others."

Jim Rohn

"What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals."

Zig Ziglar

Look at it, it seems obvious. Kūkai had an obvious talent. Several, in fact. He was smart, well educated, incredibly curious about life and the human condition, and driven, very, very driven. All marvelous talents for someone who will decide to take on the ills of all mankind. But, he only used part of that talent. He followed, like a lemming, what he was told and what was expected of him. He went to the capital, studied with his maternal uncle, and finally entered the university in order to secure a safe and well respected bureaucratic position in the government. But that only required a portion of his talent, so he was only partially successful.

Then, for whatever reason, it became clear to him that he could achieve much, much more if only he dared to defy his family, friends, and peers and leave the university. If he dared to give up everything and return to a simple, hand-to-mouth life in the mountains and valleys of Shikoku. If he had the courage to give up everything in order to gain even more. And once he knew he could, and he did, he became the remarkable person we all know.

Here is where many people fail, though. They buy into the program, send off their $50 or $100 for the introductory starter kit and instruction manuals, and then sit back and wait for everyone else to make them successful. They assume that success will appear as if by magic, that somehow this mysterious thing that has eluded them all their life called "success" will suddenly appear now that they have sent off their money.

But Kūkai knew this wasn't the way it worked because he had been reading all the network marketing literature. He knew that his success, when it came (not if it came) would be the result of hard, persistent, and dedicated work. It would come as a result of not what he got from others, but as a result of the time and work he was willing to put in himself. By the consistent application of his talent to the fundamentals. So he sat, and he meditated, and he reflected, and he introspected, and he persisted, and he pushed himself, and he never gave up. He worked on these fundamentals day in, day out, week in, week out, year in, and year out. Every minute of every hour of every day. Non-stop.

And in the back of his head he was also clear on one other fact. He wasn't doing this for himself. When success came, it wasn't success just for him, but for all of humanity. When enlightenment came, he didn't jump up and say "I did it!!," he jumped up and dedicated his life to improving the lives of all men and women, of all sentient beings. He threw his life away, and became Kūkai, the savior. A man who's sole reason for existence was to help others.

Kūkai left a legacy that will last forever, and was living proof that what you get from success is nothing when compared to what you become in attaining it.

You may think this proof is a bit circumstantial, at best, but i think it's just too obviously pointing directly at Kūkai's life to be a coincidence. I don't think this leaves any doubt that he studied network marketing — and was very successful at it.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

That Silent Center

DHS 133

I ran across this quote from Joseph Campbell in a book i was reading today:

There’s a center of quietness within, which has to be known and held. If you lose that center, you are in tension and begin to fall apart.

The Power of Myth
Joseph Campbell

... and as soon as i read it i was immediately reminded of the same sentiments spelled out in The Four Quartets so i ran off to look that up:

At the still point of the turning world. Neither flesh nor fleshless;
Neither from nor towards; at the still point, there the dance is,
But neither arrest nor movement. And do not call it fixity,
Where past and future are gathered. Neither movement from nor towards,
Neither ascent nor decline. Except for the point, the still point,
There would be no dance, and there is only the dance.
I can only say, there we have been: but I cannot say where.
And I cannot say, how long, for that is to place it in time.

The Four Quartets
T.S. Eliot

At that silent center, reachable only by crawling through those gaps between two thoughts, there is no place and there is no time, there is just simply Being. Eliot says, "I can only say, there we have been." I would say, "I can only say, there I Am," for if there is no time, how can he say "we have been?"

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Masters Of Thought

DHS 132

It's our choice, no one else can decide for us how we see our lives. Understand your beliefs, understand what you focus on, understand what meaning you impart to your experiences, and learn who you are.

The first chapter of the Dhammapada says it well.
(This from Thomas Byrom's interpretation)

We are what we think.
All that we are arises with our thoughts.
With our thoughts we make the world.
Speak or act with an impure mind
And trouble will follow you
As the wheel follows the ox that draws the cart.

We are what we think.
All that we are arises with our thoughts.
With our thoughts we make the world.
Speak or act with a pure mind
And happiness will follow you
As your shadow, unshakable.

"Look how he abused me and hurt me,
How he threw me down and robbed me."
Live with such thoughts and you live in hate.

"Look how he abused me and hurt me,
How he threw me down and robbed me."
Abandon such thoughts, and live in love.

In this world
Hate never yet dispelled hate.
Only love dispels hate.
This is the law,
Ancient and inexhaustible.
You too shall pass away.
Knowing this, how can you quarrel?
How easily the wind overturns a frail tree.

Seek happiness in the senses,
Indulge in food and sleep,
And you too will be uprooted.
The wind cannot overturn a mountain.
Temptation cannot touch the man
Who is awake, strong and humble,
Who masters himself and minds the dharma.

If a man's thoughts are muddy,
If he is reckless and full of deceit,
How can he wear the yellow robe?
Whoever is master of his own nature,
Bright, clear and true,
He may indeed wear the yellow robe.
Mistaking the false for the true,
And the true for the false,
You overlook the heart
And fill yourself with desire.

See the false as false,
The true as true.
Look into your heart.
Follow your nature.

An unreflecting mind is a poor roof.
Passion, like the rain, floods the house.
But if the roof is strong, there is shelter.

Whoever follows impure thoughts
Suffers in this world and the next.
In both worlds he suffers
And how greatly
When he sees the wrong he has done.

But whoever follows the dharma
Is joyful here and joyful there.
In both worlds he rejoices
And how greatly
When he sees the good he has done.
For great is the harvest in this world,
And greater still in the next.

However many holy words you read,
However many you speak,
What good will they do you
If you do not act upon them?
Are you a shepherd
Who counts another man's sheep,
Never sharing the way?

Read as few words as you like,
And speak fewer.
But act upon the dharma.
Give up the old ways -
Passion, enmity, folly.
Know the truth and find peace.
Share the way.

In a later chapter he continues with:

Beware of the anger of the body.
Master the body.
Let it serve truth.
Beware of the anger of the mouth.
Master your words.
Let them serve truth.
Beware of the anger of the mind.
Master your thoughts.
Let them serve truth.

The wise have mastered
Body, word and mind.
They are the true masters.

When you wake up tomorrow morning, decide to be a true master. Decide to live the day awake, strong, and humble. Master your body, master your mouth, and master your thoughts.

Share the Way.

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Freedom of Limitations

"[F]irst. totally accept your life and what you did in the past. Then, based on the past, make a choice about what to do in the present, and by your decision you can create a new life in the future. That is the real meaning of freedom. Freedom is the vastness of existence where you can accept your past and create your new life moving toward the future. But there is no freedom without limitation. Freedom must be created within limitation. Within the limitation of karma from the past, there is a chance to create a new life. Whatever you did, this is true, so accept responsibility for your life. Then, with your free will, make a choice."

"If you are interested in Zen Buddhism, you are free to decide what to do. You can go to a Zen center for practice and study. Then if you don't like that place, that's ok, go someplace else. That is a choice you make with your own free will. But if you choose to stay and practice at a Zen center, there are limitations, rules and regulations. So with your freedom you can make a choice, but after making the choice you should throw away your freedom and practice according to the rules and regulations. Then you can create your destiny, the new life you are interested in, because your deeds are causes and your future life is the result."

Each Moment Is The Universe
Dainin Katagiri

   1) Know who you are.
   2) Understand your past.
   3) Decide where you want to go.
   4) Find a path leading in that direction.
   5) Accept the limitations inherent in all paths.
   6) Persevere in the face of the inevitable hardships.
6.5) Offer help to everyone.
6.7) Accept help when offered.
   7) Focus on the moment, not the future.
   8) Smile often. Laugh even more.
   9) Celebrate being on the path; don't wait to celebrate your arrival.
 10) Accept your future.

DHS 131

Sunday, March 21, 2010

For Fast Food Lovers

Before eating another meal at your favorite fast food restaurant, read this first.....

Happy Meal Is Ageless


DHS 130
(with a brush out of ink)

Some thoughts:
"The greater danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it."

"Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor souls who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat."

"What we can or cannot do, what we consider possible or impossible, is
rarely a function of our true capability. It is more likely a function of our
beliefs about who we are.
~Tony Robbins~

So many of the great names that we read about exemplified these thoughts in their lives: our limits are defined not by what we can do but what we think we can do, by what we dare to try, by what we dare to dream, and it is braver to aim high and miss than to aim low and hit. But what's amazing to me is that so many people who have succeeded beyond people's wildest expectations took their first steps not really knowing where they were headed.

When Kōbō Daishi left the university and a life of status and prestige and headed back to Shikoku, did he have any idea what his life would become? Did he have any idea that he would eventually found a new sect of Buddhism? When Dōgen Zenji decided to stop fighting the establishment and left Kyōto for the mountains of Echizen to build Eiheiji Monastery, did he have any idea that he would leave behind Soto Zen instead of just a few trained monks? When Mother Teresa gave up her teaching job in a convent and began begging on the streets of Calcutta every day in order to gather what was needed to care for the poor and sick, did she know that she would leave behind a movement? When Abraham Lincoln decided to run for president, did he know he would leave behind the Emancipation Proclamation and the end of slavery? When Martin Luther King decided to spend more time on the streets and less time in the pulpit, did he know he would succeed in leaving behind civil rights?

All of these people had very strong beliefs about who they were and what they were "supposed" to do with their lives. These beliefs didn't tell them where they were supposed to end up, just what they were supposed to do. These beliefs didn't leave any room in their lives for anything except finding a way to satisfy that burning need to aim for the unattainable. They all, in their own way, chose to spend their lives walking a path through all of the hazards and pitfalls of life with the single-minded goal of doing what they knew they were called to do with the one and only life they had to offer.

And it all starts with coming to an understanding of the beliefs we hold about who and what we are.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

As Good As It Gets

Spent the evening reading sections of one of my favorite books, Each Moment Is The Universe: Zen And The Way Of Being Time, by Dainin Katagiri. I've read it a dozen times and still find something new each time i read it. I would be willing to wager a large sum that after another dozen times, i'll still find something that elicits an "Ah ha!" In the book, he discusses the Being-Time chapter of Dōgen Zenji's classic Shōbōgenzō.

"In 'Being-Time,' Dogen Zenji constantly encourages us to see time from a different angle by being present at the source of time. The source of time is the place where you can see your human life from a broad view. We usually think of time as streaming from the past through the present to the future, but at its source time is not like that. There is no stream of time from the past through the present to the future.

"The past has already gone, so it does not exist. The future has not yet come, so it also does not exist. So the past and future are nothing, no-time. Then is the present all that exists? No, even though there is a present, strictly speaking the present is nothing, because in a moment it is gone. So the present is also nothing, zero, no-time, no-present, no form of the present. But that nothingness is very important.

"Nothingness means total functioning, just functioning energy. When the present is no-time, it is interconnected with all sentient beings in the peace and harmony of timelessness. But when nothingness functions, there is a pivot, and it becomes the present. That pivot is called the pivot of nothingness. At that precise point—the intersection of time and space, which is called right now, right here—all sentient beings come together into the moment and a vast world comes up: past, present, future, earth, trees, planets, moons, and suns. In one moment, every possible aspect of human life, everything we can be, spreads out, unfolds, and a huge world comes up. That is called interdependent co-origination. Life is always at the pivot of nothingness; it is always right now, right here. Right now, right here is the eternal moment of the real present.


"[W]hen I do zazen, if zazen is just a portion of me, then zazen is opposed to me and I am always looking at zazen. If I am always looking at zazen, I can not become egoless because that 'I' always thinks about zazen, then criticizes, judges, and evaluates the zazen I am doing. Zazen and Katagiri are dualistic, and this is always egoistic. At that time, Katagiri is a portion of zazen and zazen is a portion of Katagiri.

"In order to become the egoless no-Katagiri, I have to occupy the whole of zazen. I have to become completely one with zazen. Then there is no-Katagiri and no-zazen. No-Katagiri means exactly zazen. No-zazen means exactly Katagiri. When the idea of Katagiri and the idea of zazen are completely empty, just the functioning of zazen appears. The same applies to Dogen's statement 'Being-time means that time itself is being.' That time doesn't occupy a portion of space; that time is the whole of space. Then time becomes a pivot of nothingness.

"When Dogen says, 'Every being is time' it doesn't mean everything is manifested in the stream of time, as we usually understand it. It means everything is reflected in the mirror at the pivot of nothingness. That is the vastness of the universe. It is very clear, very pure, just like a mirror. When you see your life reflected in that mirror, this is egolessness."

Or, as someone else said it:

Kanji Sai Bo Sa
Gyō Jin Hanya Haramita Ji
Shō Ken Go Un Kai Kū
Do Issai Ku Yaku

Sha Ri Shi
Shiki Fu I Kū
Kū Fu I Shiki
Shiki Soku Ze Kū
Kū Soku Ze Shiki
Ju Sō Gyō Shiki
Yaku Bu Nyo Ze

DHS 129

Think i'll spend the rest of the evening watching a movie. Always look on the bright side of life.

Friday, March 19, 2010

It's Spring --- Do You Know Where Your Bicycle Is?

It's spring, and that can only mean one thing. The European bicycle racing season is underway. Already another big name drug cheat has been uncovered and suspended, the Schleck brothers are rumored to be starting their own team, Lance is working with his new team, and Alberto is with his old team but has still managed to win a couple of races, including Paris-Nice.

The saddest news this year is that Johan Bruyneel is leading the Radio Shack team. I so desperately wanted him to take Alberto to a third Tour win, but given Johan's relationship with Astana last year there was no way for that to happen. As much as i still believe that Alberto is twice as good a rider as Lance is in the legs and lungs (given Lance's age) everyone knows that "The Tour" is all about team work and using your head.

Both of those give a huge edge to Lance at this year's tour — Johan is a better manager than Astana's Martinelli, Radio Shack bought and took home all the Astana riders from last year, Astana doesn't care as much about Alberto winning (i read) as they do about having Kazaks of any skill level ride in the tour, and Lance is much more mature in the saddle (Although not as a person, IMO. I lost all respect for him for the way he handled his relationship with Alberto last year. All respect. Completely. Nothing left. Zero. Will be glad when he hangs up his saddle for good. Might even throw a party. Immature, spoiled, and brat are three words that come to mind. Actually only after a body part come to mind first, but i don't want to write that here.).

Oh this is going to be a good Tour this year. Given that i'll be out on the road myself for most of July, i don't know what i'm going to do. I haven't missed following a Tour in many a year but will have no way to follow it this year. Sigh.

DHS 128

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Variety And The Spice of Life

DHS 125

What a day of wide variety. Spent the early part of the morning reading about some fascinating conspiracy theories on the Enterprise Mission web site. It started with an explanation of the spiral lights that appeared in the skies over Norway last December and slowly worked its way into evil powers and world domination. Incredible stuff.

I got tired of that after a while so shifted over to something even more interesting, my copy of the Bicycle Repair Manual, where i read some heart stoppingly exciting information like:

Adjusting A Rear Mech
1) Shift the chain to the biggest chainring and smallest sprocket, then undo the cable-fixing clamp so that the cable hangs free.

  • Check the cable and fit a new one if it shows any signs of fraying. (see pg. 39)
  • Screw the barrel adjuster in or out, until it is at half its range.

2) Use the high adjuster (usually marked "H") to line up the jockey wheels with the smallest sprocket.

  • Once you have lined them up, rotate the pedals forwards while adjusting the "H" adjuster until the chain runs smoothly.
  • Pull the cable downwards through the cable-fixing clamp and re-clamp it.


Pretty good stuff.

After that i was so worked up i pulled out my bike, loaded the panniers, packed a lunch, filled a thermos full of tea and headed out to my favorite lunch spot for an afternoon in the sun. A beautiful 66°F (19°C) day. Could hardly have been better. Not too hot, not too cold. Bright blue sunny skies. Friendly traffic on all the roads. And, the first day in riding shorts instead of tights. Oh, it was heavenly, i'll tell you.

And speaking of heavenly, if i was out looking to pick up women i now know where i would go — my favorite lunch park. Yep, they were out by the dozens, jogging and walking their dogs along the trails running through the park. Buy a dog and head to the dog walking park. From my picnic bench it sure looked like a fail-safe method.

The front panniers act like sails when there is a cross wind, but all in all, the bike still handles very well with then hanging on the front. I weighed them this evening and the two of them, fully loaded, weigh 20 pounds. I haven't weighed the rear panniers yet. Maybe tomorrow.

After getting home, having a shower and a little snack, it was off to yoga class. After that, it was dinner and a relaxing evening with a book i've been working on for a few days now: The Essence Of Tai Chi Chi Kung, from which comes this:

According to Chinese Chi Kung and medicine, the Chi in your body is divided into two categories: Managing Chi (which is often called Nutritive Chi) and Guarding Chi. The Managing Chi is the energy which has been sent to the organs so that they can function.The Guardian Chi is the energy which has been sent to the surface of the body to form a shield to protect you from negative outside influences such as cold. In order to keep yourself healthy, you must learn how to manage these two Chi efficiently so they can serve you well.

Chi is classified as Yin because it can only be felt, while the physical body is classified as Yang because it can be seen. Yin is the root and source of the life which animates the Yang body (physical body) and manifests power or strength externally. Therefore, when the Chi is strong, the physical body can function properly and be healthy, and it can manifest a lot of power or strength.

In order to have a strong and healthy body, you must learn how to keep the Chi circulating in your body smoothly, and you mist also learn how to build up an abundant store of Chi. In order to reach these two goals, you must first understand the Chi circulatory and storage system in your body.


Then i realized it's going on 10:00 pm and i hadn't written my Daily Heart Sutra, so it was put the book down and go downstairs to write it, shrink it in size, and upload it here. Now, with all of that done, it's back to my Chi Kung book for a couple more hours of exploring those circulatory and storage systems.

Monday, March 15, 2010


DHS 124

A quiet day of sitting at home reading and thinking. Didn't leave the house except for my 5 mile run.

"Success is getting what you want; happiness is wanting what you get."
Dale Carnegie

"Our duty as men is to proceed as if limits to our ability did not exist. We are collaborators in creation."
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

Speaking of Dale Carnegie, just before reading some of his book How To Stop Worrying And Start Living, i had just finished listening to some Tony Robbins. It's funny, i could listen to Tony every day for the rest of my life and never get tired of him. I love his message — even though a half-decade of listening hasn't improved my life one gazillionth of a micro-nanometer.

Anyhow, at first i thought the below were saying different things, but the more i thought about it, i think they are in complete agreement.

Tony says a lot of life is outside of our control, but, whether we realize we are doing it or not, in all situations we are stepping ourselves through this process:

1) What do you focus on?
2) What meaning do you give it?
3) What action do you take in response?

Dale says handling problems is a simple three step process:

1) Ask yourself, "What's the worst that can possibly happen?"
2) Reconcile yourself to accepting that worst case.
3) From that time on, calmly, but persistently, work to improve that worst case.

Tony is adamant, don't focus on the negative. Focus on the positive, the stuff that brings you power and happiness. Don't identify something as a problem, rather look at it as an opportunity. Then only impute meanings that add benefit to your life. And then take action based on those positive thoughts and beneficial meanings.

Dale takes the opposite tack. Focus on the worst possible scenario and reconcile yourself to accepting that as the final outcome. Once you do that you can say, if this is the worst that can happen, and i can accept it, it isn't all that bad — and i can certainly improve on it if i really, really try.

They are saying it in different ways, but i think they are really asking you to do the same thing. Interesting. But, i didn't mean to get side-tracked with this. I really only wanted to say how much i love the first two quotes.

Success and happiness are not necessarily co-players in our lives. We can be wildly successful yet as unhappy as a stuck pig heading to the roast. You can also be a complete failure yet find yourself unbelievably happy when you realize that what you got instead was what you really wanted in the core of your heart.

And i could easily say that Pierre has hit my philosophy right on the head. "Our duty as men is to proceed as if limits to our ability did not exist. We are collaborators in creation." He doesn't say we could lead better lives if we accept this. He doesn't say we might be happier if we accept this. He says it is our duty. Our DUTY. It is our duty to grow, to move forward, to advance who and what we are, to continually stretch our envelopes and challenge our limits and abilities. Someone else said the same thing when he talked about those who dare to go too far.

It is your duty to be the best you can possibly be. No, a little stronger... it is your duty to strive to be better than you can even conceive of. And after you advance to a place where you can conceive it, to move the bar out of sight again and start over.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

It's Not That Difficult

DHS 123

The Mind Of Absolute Trust
(an excerpt)

The Great Way isn't difficult
     for those who are unattached
     to their preferences.
Let go of longing and aversion
     and everything will be
     perfectly clear.
When you cling to a hairbreadth of distinction
     heaven and earth
     are set apart.
If you want to realize the truth,
     don't be for or against.
The struggle between good and evil
     is the primal disease
     of the mind.
Not grasping the deepest meaning,
     you just trouble
     your mind's serenity.
As vast as infinite space,
     it is perfect
     and lacks nothing.
But because you select and reject,
     you can't persceive
     its true nature.
Don't get entangled in the world;
     don't lose yourself in emptiness.
Be at peace in the oneness of things,
     and all errors will
     disappear by themselves.

If you don't live in the Tao,
     you fall into assertion or denial.
Asserting that the world is real,
     you are blind to its deeper reality;
denying that the world is real,
     you are blind to the selflessness
     of all things.
The more you think about these matters
     the farther you are
     from the truth.
Step aside from all thinking,
     and there is nowhere you can't go
Returning to the root, you find the meaning;
     chasing appearances,
     you lose their source.
At the moment of profound insight,
     you transcend both
     appearance and emptiness.
Don't keep searching for the truth;
     just let go of your opinions.

In Ten Poems To Last A Lifetime

Every time i read this i can't help but say to myself some variation of, "Well, that's obvious. What's the big deal? This guy got famous for this?" I should get myself quoted as saying (standing tall and with chest out, but humbly, of course):

The Mind Of Absolute Trust

If you want to pass
     your math class,
You have to accept that
     two plus two equals four—
     and so does two times two.
Don't pick and choose
     your own version of truth.
Have a different opinion
     and you will only
     disturb your mind...
and fail your tests
and be held back in 2nd grade
for 10 consecutive years
and make french fries
and server hamburgers
for minimum wage
for the rest of your life.

The more you think about these things,
     the more your head will hurt.
Just accept and trust,
     your teacher knows more than you.
Unless being poor
is attractive to you.

Lao Bendan

There, it's out in the public. Maybe i'll become famous someday as well? Or are you going to try and tell me there was more meaning in Seng-Ts'an's poem than in mine?

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Value Creation

DHS 122
(My Bodaisatta-sama is getting pretty scrawny lately. I think i need to practice or take more time to scribble him/her.)


Dora looked concerned. "Don't you want to know about 'Chi' and 'Gyo?' Wisdom and action."

I hesitated, and sat down again. ...

Dora smiled, thinking I'd just been joking. "Right. So, you've identified your goal and put status to the back of your mind. Now you've got to work out how to get to where you want to go. ... That's where your wisdom comes in. You've got to rack your brain to figure out how to reach your goal. And, action is just what you do to get there, based on your wisdom. Trial and error. A bit at a time."

"The problem, Dora," I said, trying to keep the irritation out of my voice, "is you make it sound so simple, and it's not."

"It is simple. But simple doesn't mean easy. Climbing Everest is simple, you just keep going up. But, it's also difficult, so a lot of people don't even try. Or give up when it gets too hard."

"Perseverance wins."


She sounded positively triumphant, as if the penny had dropped with a particularly thick pupil. "It's what Geoff said."

"Well he ain't wrong." ... "The key," she said,... "is fixing the goal in your heart."


"So," she said, "you know what your goal is."

"Write a best seller."

"OK, but you need to work out how to get there, and still pay the mortgage, keep the lights switched on. Eat, vital. And have a bit of fun every now and then."

"That'd be nice."

She smiled.

"Geoff said I need a job that's perfect for my life right now, as a stepping stone to where I want to go."

"OK. Well, I think there are three elements to every job: Beauty, gain, and good."

"More Buddhism?" I was beginning to suspect it everywhere.

"No..." she said.

"Ah." I was surprised.

"... though the principle was developed by a Buddhist."

I smiled. There we are then. "And what principle is that?"

"Value creation."

"Which is?"

"Basically that everything is neutral and only gets a value, positive or negative, through how we relate to it. And these values are beauty, gain, and good."


"Right. Say you've got the world's largest diamond. Is it valuable? Yes, if you can sell it. But if you can't, what's it's value? Which still means it's value depends on how you relate to it. Beauty is how much you like something, the pleasure you get from it. Gain is the benefit you get from it, which would be money, of course, if you can sell it. And good is how much it does for everyone's happiness and well-being."

I digested this for a moment. "You're saying we give value to things?"

"Almost. The value is created through our relationship to that thing. Our attitude."

"And this relates to work?"

"It relates to everything, darling." Dora smiled. "The more value we create, especially for other people, the happier we are."

"OK, but ... work?"

"Beauty is how much you like a job. Gain is mainly how much you get paid for it, though you could get other benefits too, like experience. And good is what it contributes to society. And different jobs have different amounts of beauty and gain and good for different people. For example, advertising might give you a lot of gain, but some people say it doesn't do much good."

"Hmmm, it helps the economy."

"Which is what other people say, especially if they're in advertising. Anyway, at the other end of the scale, nursing does a lot of good but it doesn't give you a lot of gain."

"Meaning it doesn't pay much."

"Right. Though you might benefit a lot from learning about human nature or stuff like that. And beauty is in the eye of the beholder. How much you like the job is down to you and can change. You might love being in advertising, love the salary, and then start to wonder if you're actually doing any good, and go on and become a nurse."

"Or you might start out all idealistic and work as a nurse and then get hacked off at having no money and go into advertising."

"Exactly. And often people stay in jobs they really don't like because either the money's so good or they think they're doing something really worthwhile. But, the point is, people are always juggling beauty, gain, and good in their work, even if they don't see it in these terms.


"Make any sense? With your old job, for example?"

"Well, beauty... definitely no. Pretty much loathed every minute."

"Anything you didn't loath?"

"Some of the people. There was a kind of grim satisfaction, I suppose, in turning something unreadable into a half decent article."


"Hmmm... not a lot. Definitely not enough for the stress involved."

"OK. And good?"

"Hmmm... not that I could see. No one ever read it."

"Right. So a pretty low score on all three."

"Yep. Bottom job all around."

"Whereas writing a best seller..."

"Well, lots of gain, obviously. Lots of good, because if it sells a lot I'll be meeting a lot of need in a lot of people. Right?"

"In some way, yes. And beauty? Will you actually enjoy the writing; all those hours alone slaving over a hot keyboard?"

"Good question. I don't know, until I try it."

Dora studied me thoughtfully, as if uncertainty was tattooed across my forehead. "Does it help? Thinking about work in this way?"

"Sort of, but until I apply it to this perfect job you're gonna find me..."

She laughed. "Point taken," and unpeeled a fresh sheet of paper from her stack.

Half an hour later, after a rigorous application of beauty, gain, and good to my life and skills, Dora came up with the perfect next step for me. Business writing.

"I just did that," I groaned.

"I'm not talking about the internet," Dora infused. "Businesses have all sorts of things that need writing — brochures, marketing material, newsletters, company magazines, lots of stuff. You could work in a PR department somewhere. Or even a PR company."

I pulled a face. "But I don't like business."

Dora frowned. "Look, Ed," she said sternly, "right now gain is your number one need, not beauty. You've got to pay the bills, right?"

I sighed.

"Plus, one thing leads to another. There are all sorts of openings you'll only ever hear about if you're working somewhere."

"It feels like a step back, that's all."

"Well, you can look at it that way," she said briskly, "or you can see it as your first step towards your ultimate goal."


"Something a wise friend of mine once advised me. You can only take a step forward if the place where you're standing now is solid. Which means you have to advance from a secure base, and i've seen a lot of people fail because they didn't do this. They started businesses or new careers with too little money, or experience, or knowledge. Or a wobbly income. Or even no income at all. And always, unless they were really lucky, they fell on their faces. This basic thing that was missing at the beginning held them back more and more as time went on. So don't underestimate the importance of gain, is all I'm saying. Because as long as what you want to do, your 'Kyo,' is in here," she patted her shapely chest, "more and more you'll find yourself moving into the position where you can actually do it."

"Can i think about it?"

"Of course. It's your life."


From The Buddha, Geoff, and Me
Eddy Canfor-Dumas

Drop Dead, Jesus!

For the life of me, i just can not understand why people listen to, and follow, Glenn Beck. Here's a link to an interesting article about his latest antics from the Huffington Post.

In the article, a Catholic priest shows just what Beck meant, when he told his listeners:

"I'm begging you, your right to religion and freedom to exercise religion and read all of the passages of the Bible as you want to read them and as your church wants to preach them . . . are going to come under the ropes in the next year. If it lasts that long it will be the next year. I beg you, look for the words 'social justice' or 'economic justice' on your church Web site. If you find it, run as fast as you can. Social justice and economic justice, they are code words. Now, am I advising people to leave their church? Yes."

Now i'm no scholar of history or social justice, but it seems to me that a great number of the people we Americans have called "heroes" over the years have earned that reputation, not by fighting for their right to be rich, but by fighting for the rights of the poor, the under-served, and the outcast. Abraham Lincoln, Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King, and Nelson Mandela are just a few. Are we, as a nation, a nation of immigrants, a nation of religious, political, & social tolerance, a nation that dares to lecture the world on human rights, forgetting these values? Are we forgetting these values or have a large number of people simply chosen to throw them away?

How can a man like Glenn Beck have a following in this country?

Friday, March 12, 2010

Kyo Chi Gyo I

DHS 121

"So, Kyo Chi Gyo I. 'Kyo' is your goal, 'Chi' is your wisdom, 'Gyo' is the action you take, and 'I' is your resulting status." "This," she announced grandly, "is how to achieve all your goals in life."

And she wrote it down. Kyo - Goal. Chi - Wisdom. Gyo - Action. I - Status.

"Is this Buddhism?" I asked.

"Everything is Buddhism, darling."

"You know what I mean."

"Well, I learned it from a Buddhist. I think its a variation on a very deep Buddhist principle. But I just use it because it works."

"That's good enough for me," I said. "Go on."

"So, the starting point is setting your goal. Where you want to go. What you want to achieve."

"To be an 'A' writer?"



"Common mistake. You're confusing 'Kyo' with 'I,' your goal and the status you get from reaching your goal. Being and Doing."

"I don't understand."

"Your goal is something outside yourself. Something you achieve through doing. Your status comes from doing it."

I furrowed my brow, still struggling.

"It's like saying, 'I want to be a traveler' rather than 'I want to travel.'"

"But what difference does it make?"

"It helps you focus on something concrete, and doable. Like, you want to go to Russia? OK, but where in Russia? You look at a map and pick a place. That's your goal. In going there you become a traveler, that's your status. Doing leads to being."

"I... see." I wasn't sure i did completely, but I was curious were this would lead.

"So what do you have to do, as your goal, to be a best selling writer?"



"A best selling book?"

"Good!" She smiled, pleased that i'd got it. Except, i hadn't.

"That's it?"

"No, but it's a start."

I was lost. "Well, i'm sorry, Dora, but this sounds like stating the bleeding obvious."

"Then why didn't you?"

I opened my mouth, and closed it, and opened it again. Nothing came out. Dora just smiled.

"It sounds like a small thing, Ed, but the difference is massive. If you focus on 'Kyo,' your goal, all your time you're thinking about out there, how you're going to get to your destination. But, if you focus on 'I,' your status, all the time you're basically thinking about, worrying about yourself. And if your self image and what you want to be are miles apart, ... well, that can be very painful. Paralyzing even."

I nodded bleakly. She'd got my number alright.

She looked at me sympathetically. "Don't worry, we all suffer from it. In fact i think it's why sportsmen, even champions, can choke at big moments. They suddenly switch focus from the game itself to what it could mean if they won or lost this particular point, or missed this kick, or whatever."

I thought about this for a moment. "OK.... it makes sense, but I still don't see how it helps me write a best selling book."

"Right." It was Dora's turn to furrow a brow. "Well.... I suppose I start by asking, what makes a best selling book?"

"If I knew that, Dora, I'd have written it years ago."

"Think of it like any other product."

"But it isn't. It's different."


Another silence. I was stumped again.

"Why do people buy anything, Ed?"


She shook her head. "I'd say it's because it meets a need of some kind. Physically. Or mentally. Spiritually, even. Any successful product does that for a lot of people, and better than it's rivals. Even books."

"But a lot of successful products, books, are almost by accident." I felt I had to argue with her. She was making it sound too easy.

"That's right. Because often the creator won't know how many people have the same need as him or her."

I pulled a face, still unconvinced.


"Right..... So, all I need to do is write a book that meets an absolutely basic need and I'll have a massive hit on my hands?"

"Exactly! And in reaching your goal, 'Kyo,' you become a best selling author, 'I.'"

"Well, I better get going then. Thanks." I started to get to my feet, impatient with the utter banality of what I'd heard.

Dora looked concerned. "Don't you want to know about 'Chi' and 'Gyo?' Wisdom and action."

I hesitated, and sat down again.

From The Buddha, Geoff, and Me
Eddy Canfor-Dumas

(Chi and Gyo tomorrow.)

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

DHS 119

DHS 119

"Sustained happiness comes, not from what we get but from what we give."


"Greatness is above all else, a state of mind. You need to believe in your potential and power before you can bring them to life. You need to feel like you are extraordinary before you can become extraordinary. I call this 'emotional blueprinting.' To see spectacular results in your external life, you have to emotionally—viscerally—create a blueprint of your vision within your inner life."

Robin Sharma

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Seeing Simplicity

DHS 118

Practice non-action.
Work without doing.
Taste the tasteless.
Magnify the small, increase the few.
Reward bitterness with care.

See simplicity in the complicated.
Achieve greatness in little things.

In the universe the difficult things are done as if they are easy.
In the universe great acts are made up of small deeds.
The sage does not attempt anything very big,
And thus achieved greatness.

Easy promises make for little trust.
Taking things lightly results in great difficulty.
Because the sage always confronts difficulties,
He never experiences them.

Tao Te Ching
Lao Tsu

Monday, March 8, 2010

The Gift

DHS 117

A few thoughts from the Jim Rohn mp3 i was listening to during my run this afternoon:

"Success is something you attract by the person you become. Success is not something you pursue, what you pursue usually eludes you like a butterfly, something you go after that you can't catch. Success is something you attract like a magnet, by the person you become.

"To attract attractive people you must be attractive. To attract powerful people you must be powerful. To attract committed people you must be committed. Instead of going to work on them, you go to work on yourself. You work harder on yourself than you work on the job, and if you become, you can attract.

"The whole key is to make yourself valuable. The key is to make yourself attractive. The key is to make yourself skillful, competent, willing, powerful, unique, sophisticated, cultured, being able to manage, in control, healthy.

"The whole key, really, to the future is personal development, because the greatest gift you can give someone else is your personal development, self development, self investment. The greatest gift you can give is your own personal development. If i become 10 times wiser, 10 times stronger, 10 times brighter, 10 times more competent, think of what that will do for my success. If i grow, think of what that will do for my future. Self development earns success. Self investment earns respect. And the only way to make a better and better and better investment in your future is to become better, and stronger, and wiser, and more competent. And the more attractive you become, the more attractive you are. And the more attractive you are, the more you attract success.

"Self development, self investment, attracts success. That's powerful."

While 99% of my brain agrees with him 100%, there is that 1% that realizes that this means i am not attractive. I am not powerful. I am not committed. I am not strong. I am not bright. I am not wise. I am not valuable. I am not skillful, competent, willing, powerful, unique, sophisticated, cultured, able to manage, or in control. That's powerful.

As far as i know, though, i am healthy, so i got one check mark! That only qualifies me to carry a pack and ride a bicycle, though.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Honest Beggars

DHS 116

For most people, a new day signifies nothing more than another day at the office. For a rare few, every sun rise signifies an opportunity, another day, another chance to continue the search. These are the seekers of the world. Yet, hidden among this select group there is an even smaller group of people who know that the only true way to Seek is to let go of the seeker; to let go of any thoughts of seeking, places sought, and destinations, completely, like quirky, but vividly real, dreams from the night before.

For these seekers, it's not how much can you do during the day, but how awake can you be throughout the day. It's not how much can you learn, but how much can you let go. It's not what can you get from others, but what can you give to others. It's not the temples, it's the path between the temples. It's not even the path, but each of the millions of steps you take as you walk along the path.

For the truest henro of the world, though, it isn't even the steps on the path that equate to the search. These henro have come to see that searching equates to Being. These henro have come to realize that the henro trail isn't physical at all, it is the time spent awake and aware during the day, the sum total of the moments when you Are, without all the usual adjectives that are typically attached after that "are." All the time that you are no longer in the process of doing or becoming, but simply, totally, and knowingly Being.

For these henro, the henro trail is simply a convenient place to practice Being on the move, like a zafu is a convenient place to practice Being on your butt — it's not the only place you can do it, but the atmosphere has long proven effective in the Search.

"There is a story about a Jnani who was sitting on the edge of the road, with his eyes closed and his head on his knees, immersed in the Divine. A young boy walked up to him and said, 'Master, can I be your disciple? Can you teach me?' And the Jnani said, 'I have no disciples and I give no teaching. But I will allow you to sit next to me for the day.' The young man sat down and observed.

"All day long people from various beliefs, religions, came to the Jnani, asked him questions, wanted boons, wanted healings, wanted different magical tricks to be performed. A lady came to have her daughter married. She wanted the Jnani's blessing so she could find a husband. Another came to be prosperous in his work. And this went on all day. The Jnani never opened his eyes, nor did he answer. He said absolutely nothing. At about four o'clock, a beggar came over with a bundle on his shoulders, he was disheveled, rags. He went over to both of them and asked, 'Can you please show me the way to town?' And the Jnani opened his eyes, smiled, jumped up and said, 'Certainly, follow me.' He took him a quarter of the way, held his baggage for him, and pointed the road to town, and went back and sat down.

"The young fellow was beside himself. He asked the Jnani, 'I do not understand, Master, what you did. All these people came to you, lawyers, judges, various people from different religions, asking you profound questions, and you would not answer them. But the beggar made you smile and open your eyes, and you showed him the way. Can you please explain this?' The Jnani said, 'The beggar is the only honest man we had come today. He knew what he wanted, and he had his way.'

"What this means is, most people are hypocrites. They want teachings for their own benefit. They're not thinking of the Absolute. They're thinking of what the teaching can do for them materially. They want to remove a problem, change their lifestyle, gain material wealth, rid themselves of sickness, and so on.

"Now these were all legitimate desires, but they have absolutely nothing to do with Self-realization. Self-realization is your true nature. It is what you are. It has absolutely nothing to do with your body. It has nothing to do with your mind. It has nothing to do with your affairs. So the one who is Self-realized is not the body. The body can never become Self-realized. The mind can never know enlightenment. People still believe, no matter how many times I say this, that it is the mind that becomes enlightened, the body rises in consciousness and becomes liberated. Nothing can be further from the truth. You are not the body. You have no body. You ave no mind.

"[W]hat we really want is Absolute Freedom. The ultimate reality is Pure Awareness, Absolute Reality.

"This is a goal that is someplace within us... [U]ltimate reality is part of us already. But we go through all kinds of practices, meditations, sadhanas, trying to awaken... They're all a waste of time.

"As long as you refuse to awaken, and you refuse to see yourself as no body, you're going to go through all these rituals and all these experiences. ... Until you awaken to the fact that it is not the teaching that's going to awaken me...

"It is no person, place, or thing that can ever awaken me and free me from bondage to myself, from bondage to maya, to the universe, to the world.

"And this is the beginning of wisdom, when you realize this."

Silence Of The Heart
Robert Adams

Be an honest beggar. Know where you want to go and ask directions from someone who seems to know how to get there. Follow the directions with no expectations of benefit. Follow the directions with no expectations of reward. Follow the directions without adding anything of your own to them. Know who you are. Know who you aren't. This is the beginning of wisdom, and you're then well on your way to walking the true henro trail.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Just Wondering

DHS 114
(With a brush all but out of ink)

I just read of a local volunteer program looking for volunteer readers in their pediatric literacy program. Apparently you go to waiting rooms at pediatric clinics and read to the kids. It sounds like a perfect match — i love kids and books. I'm going to call them and see if i can turn in an application.

The local hospital told me they didn't have any volunteer opportunities for me when i applied last June. I'm going to reapply when i get back home from my bike ride in late July and am now wondering if anything might have changed.

I wonder if i should join the Peace Corps again?

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Where Am I

DHS 113

Spent some time tonight working on the thrilling job of finding the magnetic declination for every location that i plan to stop for the night while on my TransAm ride. Sounds like a wild night, doesn't it. :-)

I'll be carrying my Highgear Altitech digital barometer/compass/altimeter/thermometer/watch thing-a-ma-jig during my ride. In order to keep it accurate, and hence worth the trouble of carrying it, the altitude needs to be calibrated every day and the magnetic declination as often as you think your location changes enough to warrant it.

Since i'm riding from coast to coast, both the altitude and magnetic declination will change constantly. This means i will need to have accurate altitude and declination readings every day in order to calibrate the Altitech, but since i'm not going to be "connected" while on the road, i need to store this information before leaving.

To do that, i'm using to find the daily declination readings, and to get the daily altitude readings.

For each day of the ride, at the top of the page in the guidebook i'm following that pertains to that day, i'm entering the declination and altitude for the location where i plan to start the day and the location where i plan to spend the night. I can then set these values each morning before setting out and the readings should be reasonably accurate. Finding the information is a slow and laborious process, but i figure i still have a month and a half so there is no hurry.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010


DHS 112

A few interesting thoughts from Napoleon Hill's Laws Of Success:

"No man may become an accurate thinker until he learns how to separate mere gossip and information from facts."

"If you aspire to leadership, I would urge you to study men. Get under their skins and find out what is inside. Some men are quite different from what they appear to be on the surface. Determine the workings of their mind."

"Those who work for money alone, and who receive for their pay nothing but money, are always underpaid, no matter how much they receive. Money is necessary, but the big prizes of life cannot be measured in dollars and cents."

"No amount of money could possibly be made to take the place of the happiness and joy and pride that belong to the person who digs a better ditch, or builds a better chicken coop, or sweeps a cleaner floor, or cooks a better meal. Every normal person loves to create something that is better than the average. The joy of creating a work of art is a joy that cannot be replaced by money or any other form of material possession."

"The only way to get happiness is by giving it away to others. The same applies to the development of initiative. You can best develop this essential quality in yourself by making it your business to interest those around you in doing the same."

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

What If Redux

DHS 111

Messenger Marsh:
(where i go for lunch on my bike)

Nearly got frost bite on my toes riding there today. The rest of me was warm, very comfortable, but oh.... those toes. They definitely didn't like the 32°F (before the wind chill) weather.

What if the question is not
Why do i so infrequently want to be the person i really am,
but what kind of person am i, really?

What if the question is not
What kind of person am i, really,
but what kind of person i could be, if i exerted myself?

What if the question is not
What kind of person could i be,
but what could i do to help others be all they could be?

What if the question is not
What could i do to help others be all they could be,
but what could i do to make the world the sort of place where all could be the best they could be?

What if the question is not
What could i do to make the world the sort of place where all could be the best they could be,
but what do i need to do with myself so that the world is the sort of place where all can be the best they can be?

What if the question is not
What do i need to do with myself,
but what do i need to let go of, so myself can be seen?

What if i stopped asking questions
And just sat with the truth
of I Am?

Monday, March 1, 2010


Forgot to mention something....

Someone the other day asked me why i call my blog "Essentially Nothing..."

It's easy — that's what i think about what i write and that's what i believe i am, which all could see if they planted their butts on a zafu long enough for essentially nothing to take root and start to bloom.

What If

DHS 110

Saw this interesting quote online:

What if the question is not
why am I so infrequently the person I really want to be,
but why do I so infrequently want to be the person I really am?

Oriah Mountain Dreamer

What if we all changed our perspective and looked at life through the lens of that second question? What if we all set aside even a small portion of every day to investigate that second question, to truly look for the persons we really are?

Einstein once said: "There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as if everything is." For the longest time i didn't accept the black and whiteness of that statement — that you had to choose nothing or everything. That never sat well with me. Over time, however, i have come to see that it really is true: either we see no miracles anywhere, or we do see them in some instances. But, once you see them at all, you sooner or later see them in everything.

Life is a miracle. Intelligence is a miracle. (That i have any might be the biggest miracle.) That love, compassion, and empathy exist is an astoundingly great miracle. That we have the ability to investigate who and what we really are is a stupendously great miracle. That those who search with compassion, humor, and dedicated perseverance can actually get a glimpse of that reality is an astoundingly stupendous miracle.

That there are people in this world who, having seen this reality, dedicate their lives to telling the rest of us of the possibility and teaching all who seek them out is the greatest of all astoundingly stupendous miracles.

What if the question you chose to guide your life really was why do we so infrequently want to be the person we really could be?

What if?

T.S. Eliot knew, and answered: "Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far they can go." Until you try and see the impossible, until you try to walk through the gateless gate, you'll never, ever, know the limits of your reality.

What if?