Because Zen makes sense

Archive for the category “Wisdom”

Distance Becomes Bonding

interconnectNow and then meditation becomes more of a contemplation. Today my focused sitting ran into thoughts of an earlier troublesome relationship. I was reminded of the whole story by a sms a few weeks ago. And during my “meidtation” this morning I (at east I think so) experienced clarifyingthoughts of some of the mechanisms that keep “dead” relations “alive”.

  • Trying to create distance actually strengthens bonding.
  • Hatred strengthens self-hatred.
  • Hurting the other is hurting oneself.
  • Blaming the other increase negative self-talk about oneself.
  • Attempts to avoid thoughts make the thoughts sticky.
  • Fighting the other is a self-destructive mechanism.
  • Attempts to extinguish a deprivation make the losses more profound.

Being interconnected with all beings, the ones we we would prefer not being connected with, have huge implications for behaviour. It is impossible to bring negative energy into the field of connectedness without oneself being influenced in a negative way. It’s like a boomerang. Bringing positive energy into the field of broken relations creates the space that enables us to really let go of what’s hurting us. To accept the paradoxes is the only way to solve them.

Illustration from “The Mind Unleashed”


Into a New Year

Life is a continuing learning process. The day I stop learning, I become dead, even if I am technically still alive. So what I have learned in 2014 worth bringing with me into 2015? It is to much to mention it all. Something is worth emphasizing, though.

1. I must try to avoid working so much. This autumn in special has been overloaded with work according to my preferences. I can not blame anyone else but myself. Trouble is that I can turn almost everything I am interested in into tasks and missions. My boss and my colleges encourage my initiatives, but they also make it clear that my workload is my own responsibility. So in 2015 I shall have to kill some of my darlings to be able to mindfully focus better on choose tasks. At least that is what I am hoping to do.

2. I have had a naturist year. I have never been shy, but in 2014 I mindfully explored naturism and my own limits. I liked the feeling of being nude in nature, feeling both the vulnerability and the connectedness to the environment surrounding me. I am wondering why the most natural of all, namely our own bodies, should be hidden behind clothes even when nudity seems to be more comfortable. I accept that others have different social norms, so I tried not to provoke anyone with my naturism. My partial naturist life shall continue in 2015, but I must admit that, with minus 15 degrees Celcius outside, keeping warm is more of a challenge than nudity for the moment being.

3. I shall finish my book on mindfulness. This is a book I have started on several times, but never finished. This time I have found a format that suits me better, so the project is actually moving forward. Much is already written about mindfulness, so many shall question the need for another book on the topic. My reason is that while there are many books, I find that most of them do not have the necessary critical and scientific approach to the topic. Mindfulness is not the answer to every aspects of life. But used in the right way, it may create a big difference to the quality of life.

4. I started working seriously with ecology as a basic understanding of human life. Not the least I shall highlight the ecology of mind, the interconnectedness of all beings, and the need for harmony with the Tao. Since I work with brain functions, psychology and addiction, I shall try to better put all these phenomena into a framework of ecology. The implications of such an understanding is immense in the field of anthropology, development and treatment of addiction and psychological distress.

5. While I am used to communicate the need for mindfulness and harmony with Tao, I myself have a long way to go regarding both mindfulness, insight, harmony and loving kindness. Meditation and training shall continue to be an important part of my life also in 2015. Curiosity and exploration shall hopefully be a framework around my life in the year to come.

I do not have any special expectations in front of a new year. I have to accept whatever 2015 brings. Nevertheless a mindful review of 2014 is useful, and thoughts about 2015, could be a guideline for how I prefer to conduct and prioritize the next year.




Your Yin Yang Mind and Inner Child

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Not Belief, but Relief

skogI do not know where I read “no belief, but relief”. It sure is not mine words originally, but they express what I feel to such a degree that they could have been mine. I identify myself with the words, and what they express in my interpretation of what Tao means to us. And if I feel I touch Tao in a special way, it is in the nature. Whenever I can, I go for a walk in the forest, in the mountains, or on the seashores. I experience that stress and discomfort vanish with the whispering wind among the tress, the birds singing, or, as today, the sounds from a moose up on the hill. As one translation of the Tao Te Ching expresses:

Nature is like a bellows
Empty, yet supplying all needs,
The more it moves, the more it yields;
The sage draws upon Tao in the same way
And can not be exhausted.

This morning I woke up to snow outside. Not so much that I had trouble getting out, but enough to experience a special kind of stillness in the forest. I hardly could hear my own steps.


Sitting by the fire, I got the opportunity to contemplate about nature, and my part in it. When we sit like this, with a cup of coffee, we are able to practically sense the oneness, the connections between ourself and the nature around us. But what I most thought of, was this:


We have had som storms in Norway the last days, and this was one of the results. A big pine tree had lost for the wind, and now crossed the road. It was once tall and strong, but also stiff. And because it was stiff, it had to rely on its own strenght.  That was not enough to fight back when the storm attacked. Let’s listen to Lao Tzu, as expressed in Chapter 76 of Tao Te Ching:

The living are soft and yielding;
the dead are rigid and stiff.
Living plants are flexible and tender;
the dead are brittle and dry.

Those who are stiff and rigid
are the disciples of death.
Those who are soft and yielding
are the disciples of life.

The rigid and stiff will be broken.
The soft and yielding will overcome.

The flexible shall overcome the stiff and strong. The one winning a boxing match, is not the one who hits hardest, but the one capable of avoiding being hit. And the tree on my way was a perfect reminder of this principle for a wise living.

All those reflections


When I went for a walk with an old camera today, in a Norway with diminishing hours of daylight, I became aware of these reflections in a window. I stood in the shadows watching the houses upon the sunny hills, as they were mirrored and framed in this window.

The finger that points to the moon is not the moon. 

(Buddhist quote)

I could turn around, and actually watch the hills, the houses, the sunshine. That was all real. In the window it seemed real, but was nothing more than reflections. If I did not know better, I could have substituted the reality with the reflections. That sounds ridiculous.

Still, that is what I think we often do. We confuse reality with its mirrored image, and act like that what we then experience is both the truth and the only possible reality. Awareness is the opposite. Awareness is to not be fooled by what we see in the mirror, but instead to grasp the reality behind the reflections. While awareness is the endpoint, mindfulness is the way.

For now we see indistinctly, as in a mirror, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I will know fully, as I am fully known.

(1. Corinthians 13.12)

Because behind the reality, there is another reality. And behind that one, yet another….

By having desire, you can only see what is visibly real.
Freed from desire, you can see the hidden mystery.

Yet mystery and reality
emerge from the same source.
This source is called darkness

Darkness born from darkness.
The beginning of all understanding.

(Tao Te Ching, translation: McDonald)

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