Treading lightly the path to enlightenment.

Posts tagged ‘path of peace’

A letter from the Governor of New York State

Dear readers: I live in “Upstate” New York, about 50 miles west of the state capital of Albany. New York City is about 170 miles away. Still, we are all New Yorkers. New York City, New York country, all of the United States, the western hemisphere, the rest of the world…we are all citizens of this planet. We all share in the pain. As Governor Cuomo put it, “…we know that ultimately, terror will not change New York. We will not be deterred. New Yorkers continue to be New Yorkers, and we will not change our lives and let terror win.”

-Paz 

Fellow New Yorker, 

In the aftermath of yesterday’s cowardly act of terror in lower Manhattan, I speak on behalf of all New Yorkers in saying that our thoughts and prayers are with those whose lives were lost, their families, and those who are still recovering.

Our first responders did an extraordinary job. We have the finest emergency personnel on the globe. They work with skill, speed and discipline to keep New York safe yesterday and every day, and we are thankful to them.

New York is an international symbol of freedom and democracy. This can make us a target for those who oppose these values. But we have lived through this pain before, and we know that ultimately, terror cannot change New York. We will not be deterred.

We go forward together and we go forward stronger than ever. New Yorkers will continue to be New Yorkers, and we will not change our lives and let terror win. We are smarter, stronger, and better than those who seek to harm us.

Ever Upward,

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

This Is Not A Post

This is where you would have found a post, if I wasn’t busy outdoors, drinking in every precious moment of the season.

Typically, there would be an article here about the beautiful trail, the crisp air, the smell of dried leaves, the colors of the foliage, all accompanied by brightly-lit photographs.

I would have written (and shared photos) of my drive to Syracuse. The geese in the corn stubble. The rolling hills painted in lovely-sounding colors like crimson and persimmon and peach and burnt umber.

If I had the time, I’d write about the shortening days, the cooling of the northern hemisphere. The natural clocks I follow: birds migrating, the tilt of the Big Dipper in the night sky, the sunrises growing later with each passing day.

I would have regaled you with tales of the Wonder Woods, walks with my Sassy June, preparations for the seasons that lie ahead: hunting season, a Leaf Pile Party, closing of storm windows and the putting-away of lawn chairs and garden hoses.

There lies in the journal notes for many posts: watching the “Wall of Flame” grow bright, then dim to embers, for the twentieth year, this hillside covered with Sugar Maples. The attempts to photograph it each day, to observe the subtle and not-so-subtle changes over the course of an autumn. The tale of the deer caught in the urban environment, trapped and surrounded by highways.

If not otherwise occupied, you might have read the musings of an old armchair philosopher. About putting the camera down and opening the window. About really seeing that which is before me. About the tiny circles we inhabit and the great circles our globe makes around the sun, wobbling through summers and winters. About the grandest circles, cycles of the cosmos, reminding us that “the problems of three little people don’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world.”

You may have read about how much I love this life and this world and everything it holds, animate and inanimate. About the way I worry about tiny helpless animal friends and other living things facing a challenging future. About the way I fervently believe someone will come along after me that loves these things, this blue ball, and will care for them as I have.

There would have been a few paragraphs about how beautiful our world is, not just in this superlative season, but every day, in every season and the seasons-between-seasons.

And I would have once again related how joyful I feel when I am immersed in our world. How I feel I am never alone. How being a tiny insignificant speck on a rock on an arm of a galaxy in a universe filthy with galaxies makes me feel as though I am part of it all. As if this entire Great Cosmos is all mine to enjoy and revere.

Oh, yeah. It is.

 

Seek peace,

 

Paz

Teachers

 

Sumac Sunrise

Trees

Trees are my Teachers.

They have no choice in their birth, as do I.

Tree cannot move nearer to water, to a spot with better sun.

Tree cannot migrate south for the winter, or move over to give another crown some space.

Tree stands and grows mightily in the very spot where it was born.

Year in and year out, Tree is the best it can be, right where it is.

Tree is at peace with this.

Hello Down There!

Fish

Fish are my Teachers.

Trapped beneath the waters in their own beautiful world, they can never witness my own.

Most are trapped also in some impoundment. A lake, a pond. They can go nowhere.

If the water is low, the PH too high, Fish toughs it out.

Unable to get out and walk, or take to the air, Fish enjoys the beauty of his own world, and makes the best of what is before him.

In fact, he may revel in the fact that most of us will never see his world from his perspective.

Fish is at peace with this.

Sparrow Boy

Birds

Birds are my Teachers.

Each sings his own song. Not because he has an opinion, but because he has a song to sing.

Bird ignores critics and all others, and sings mightily as best he knows how, for the love of singing.

Bird will often return to the same nest site year after year.

Bird flies. Bird could fly anywhere, yet stays right here and makes a home.

Comfort and familiarity, Bird declares “This is my home, and I will sing proudly of it.”

Bird is at peace with this.

Life’s a Piece of Cake

Children

Children are my Teachers.

With children, everything old is new again.

Children love boldly. Plant wet kisses right on your lips.

Stretch tiny arms around my neck and cling mightily.

Children laugh readily. When they see something funny.

When you tickle them. When they feel like laughing.

Children cry at the drop of a hat. Hearts are tender organs, after all.

As we age and harden our hearts against the cruel world, we reserve crying for only the “most important” occasions.

Children cry when they feel like crying, and just as quickly, they recover.

Children are at peace with this.

 

Doe & Fawn

And the circle continues.

 

Seek Peace,

 

Paz

 

Fugitives

Fugitive Sun

Together

We shall 

Light the World with our

Fugitive Light.

Suffer unto us your 

Darkest Days,

And

We shall 

Illuminate them.

 

Seek Peace,

 

Paz

Day 21,187

June 28th is my birthday. Day 21,185 this year.

It’s so easy to let days slip past, one at a time, and before you know it, you’ve blown through your whole allotment of around 25,000 (based on an average life expectancy).

Living longer and adding days is an odd dichotomy, at least for me.

I look back through my treasured moments and find them invaluable.

And each day offers me more.

I look back on those black marks on some of those 21,000-plus days, and quickly dispel the thought of anticipating more.

Some things simply should not be thought of.

I’ve been in a bit of a slump for a while.

Work has been a grind. Life has been a challenge, squeezing in time for joy has become difficult.

The loss of my 15-year canine partner in this walk of life hit me hard, and I’m a little surprised that it still weighs on me so after 11 months.

Still, rarely a day goes by that I don’t remember something about him that makes me laugh out loud.

Theodore Geisel (known to most as Dr.Seuss) says, in OH! The Places You’ll Go!, “Unslumping oneself is not easily done.”

On balance, this life and this world are beautiful and precious. Moments are forged daily.

At times like this, it’s more important than ever to remain focused on seeking the joy in life’s simplest pleasures.

I’ll close with a poem which has appeared here before, but bears repeating.

June Piece

It seems as though we’ve just watched

The last of the snow fade.

Now we count the growing grass,

Blade by blade.

We await hummingbirds, tanagers, 

The peony’s first blooms.

We can open our windows (during the day, at least),

In our rooms.

Summer solstice brings promise,

Today the day is long.

We turn to see the rose’s bloom and…

June is gone.

 

Evening In The Garden

 

Seek peace (and simple joys always),

 

Paz

Immortality, however brief

Joy In Motion

 

By Land, Sea or Air,

I wish to live my life

To leave no trace 

But the tracks of 

Wonder and Adventure.

A vapor trail of laughter.

A wake of smiles.

 

Seek peace,

 

Paz

Zen in our Techno-Monetary society

This journal entry was originally posted in 2012.

It seemed worth repeating.

 

Seek peace,

 

Paz

Sunset Moon

It wasn’t easy choosing a name for the blog Armchair Zen, though that’s how I’ve referred to my personal philosophy for some time. Names like “Zen in the modern world” and “Everyday Zen” and the like seemed to be taken. I guess everyone has the same idea.

Mostly the idea of ACZ is to share thoughts and philosophy with those that want to seek enlightenment, peace in their daily lives, harmony with the world, nature, the cosmos and life itself. It’s not about achieving perfection or some higher plane or a place in the next life or eternity. It’s about understanding our capabilities and limitations in this life, it’s about acceptance, understanding, compassion, forgiving and letting go.

As it says in About, these things are nothing new. Applying them to today’s world is not always that easy. We live in a world I term a Techno-Monetary society. We’re surrounded by wonderful technologies from life-saving medicine, global communications, electronic entertainment, space exploration and productivity greater than mankind has ever known, bolstered by the machines and artificial intelligences of our modern world.

In ancient times and old days, individuals and whole communities were isolated, and did not have the benefit of the vast volumes of knowledge mankind has compiled since. Their lives were filled with strife, at the mercy of the elements, filled with superstitions, fears, and lack of understanding of things that seem simple to us today. The sun, the solar system, what makes rain, thunder, tornadoes. They had more time, and perhaps a greater need, to seek peace within their lives.

We are also slaves to the monetary system. In all the developed countries (probably 90% of the globe), we need to work at something to earn money for rent, taxes, clothing, food, transportation, and the list goes on. This is really not new, nor does it strictly apply to developed countries or societies. Go back a couple thousand years and we find people did not live the simple agrarian lives we might imagine. Subsistence farmers & ranchers, mountain-men and even minimalist communities of today need to barter goods or trade cash for the things they can’t make. Cooking kettles, sewing needles, broadcloth, tack supplies, sugar, salt, bacon.

Finding our personal zen and peace within our lives seems like a considerable challenge after negotiating traffic, signing in at work, talking to customers, clients or co-workers that are not seeking enlightened ways, and any number of non-zen, non-nature, non-peace-encouraging things we must do.

Still, I find my ACZ to be pervasive. It hasn’t always been that way. I was “Two Jakes” for many years, seeking solace in nature and creative expression during my precious evenings and weekends, and turning off the peace machine when going to battle with the world. After some years of concentration, practice and informal self-cognitive behavioral therapy, the zen has spread to all hours of the day.

Nowadays there are few interactions with others wherein the conscious-competence of ACZ does not rule. Filter-monitoring, managing emotions & reactions, thinking forgiveness & acceptance, seeking to navigate all situations for the best outcome of all under the guidance of enlightened thought & behavior. Spread loving compassion by being loving and compassionate. Spread forgiveness and acceptance by being forgiving and accepting. Appreciate the beauty of the world around us by opening our eyes and minds and truly seeing. It’s not always easy, but it’s always simple!

That’s really all for this post. Perhaps it’s not a lot of meat, but an encouragement to those that may be seeking the path to peace. Sure, it takes a little time and concentration, but it can be done without extensive training or effort or money or social status or massive brain power.

You don’t have to be rich, you don’t have to be beautiful, you don’t have to be perfect. Everyone is welcome.

The cosmos, and I, love each and every thing without judgement.

That includes you!

Be at peace,

Paz

Constant of Joy

Sunset Moonrise

Someone asked about happiness.

“Can you be truly happy if you are alone?”

I replied as follows:

For me, there is peace. It’s not so much about happy or sad, really. Life is a long, long road for most, and it is bound to be pock-marked with tragedy, sadness, loss and boredom as well as elation, excitement, gains and triumphs.

Having come to understand my place in the cosmos, my perspective has become one of simple reality. Like so many other beings on this planet, my existence is but a flash in the context of the universe. This existence, by its very nature, will be visited by laughter, joy, pain and sorrow in varying measures, until my light goes out. It is the knowing that all things here are transient that brings peace. Cherish the highs and endure the lows, and it’s gone before we know it.

I feel I am never alone. Wherever I go the Great Cosmos is all around me. I am a part of it as a grain of sand is a part of the beach. I feel comforted, secure. In constant company. And it is this that brings me joy (happiness) always.

Any place, any time, the Cosmos assures me, “I’m right here.”

 

Seek peace,

 

Paz

Earthbound Angels

Evan Defies Gravity

Evan Defies Gravity

I read this great piece, I think it was from The Desert Fathers, where a man was dreaming he was a butterfly.

When he awoke he was unsure if he was truly a man, or perhaps now a butterfly dreaming he is a man.

Then it occurred to me, last week.

What if I am an angel?

Suppose I am an angel and don’t know it?

Gosh, how embarrassing.

I mean, I like to think I’m a nice guy, but I certainly have never behaved as an angel should.

What if I’m disappointing a lot of people, shirking angel duties?

I better straighten up.

Man, I have a lot of work to do.

What if, at the end of this thing, I need to answer for my behavior?

“Ignorance of being an angel is no excuse.”, the High Court may say.

“Hasn’t the way and the light been spelled out for you,

repeated over thousands of years by every

prophet and poet in the land?”

Okay.

I gotta go.

Got a lot of restitution to get to.

 

Seek peace,

 

Paz

 

Moments

September Sunrise

September Sunrise

It is a Sunday morning in July.

I look out the window through a gentle rain upon the green field.

A blackbird rummages about, bobbing its head.

 

This is what the bulk of our lives are made of.

Cherish every moment.

 

It is a Sunday morning in February.

I look out the window through snow falling silently upon fields of white.

A cardinal lights.

February Window

February Window

 

Seek peace,

 

Paz

%d bloggers like this: