Tuesday, September 20, 2016

“It Don’t Pay to Eat Too Much on an Empty Stomach”

“It Don’t Pay to Eat Too Much on an Empty Stomach”

It don’t pay to eat too much 
On an empty stomach.
No, nor to slumber too long 
When you’ve been without sleep.

And how about the one that advises
Not drinking too much 
When you’ve been without water for a while
And you’re really thirsty?

Old wives’ tales?
Or good advice?

Hmmm.
With zen,
Where with most things 
Moderation is the gentle goal,

Less is more.

So it’s probably good advice.

By the way.
If it don’t pay to eat too much 
On an empty stomach,
Does it pay to think too much

With an empty mind?



“Evil Zen?”

See no evil,
Hear no evil,
Speak no evil.

Wonderful idea!

But wait a minute…

If that’s how you are,
With no evil to speak, see, or hear,
(And let us not forget our other senses,
For the touching and smelling and tasting of evil),

Then you must be dead.

Because evil, 
Which in this imperfect world
We call suffering,
Is all around us all the time,
And cannot be avoided
At any cost.

From the tiniest ant to the mighty elephant,
And every other living thing as well,
(Including and especially humans),
We all must suffer.

Thank goodness for zen!
A way to find a way
To begin to understand 
The true state of things,
And with this understanding
Make adjustments
To your thinking
In order to live 
A happier life.

Another wonderful idea!

After all,
Doesn’t Happiness
Destroy Evil?
Or at least make it wish
That it hadn’t gotten
Out of bed that morning?

So don’t worry about evil.
Who cares what it smells like?
Or anything else about it!
Get over it.
You’ve got bigger fish to fry.

Learn to unattach yourself 
From the things around you,
And then when you’ve learned that,
Unattach yourself 
From yourself.

Remember there is an unlimited 
Amount of zen in the universe!
Enough for the Happiness
Of everybody!

Take all you need.





Tuesday, September 13, 2016

“The Zen of Elvis”

“The Zen of Elvis”

You have to draw the line somewhere.

That’s a common saying where I come from.
Maybe you too.
I wonder if it’s true?

Many things 
Accepted as fact in this world,
Are not.

And believing does not always make it so.
(Although it certainly helps.)

Elvis Presley believed it.
You can do anything you want, he sang,
But baby,
Don’t step on my blue suede shoes.

Elvis drew the line
At stepping upon his shoes.
Or maybe at stepping upon
A particular pair of shoes.
I’m not sure.

Who cares?
My zen doesn’t give a crap about such things!

Sorry Elvis.
Yet my zen wouldn’t tread upon your shoes,
Or harm you in any way,
Or hinder you or otherwise impede your life,
(Or, in your case, your death)
Unless it was ultimately, cosmically, good for you.

Of that I am certain.

You or me or Elvis or anybody.
Our essences will travel through time
Unharmed by the vicissitudes that may befall,
Because they are immortal.

That’s a reassuring thought.

So go ahead!
Draw a few lines if you must.
If it makes you feel any better.
But please remember that ultimately
You are wasting your time.
Because sooner or later,
Things will change,
Giving the line you drew 
No meaning whatsoever.

Oh.
And Elvis,
If you’re reading this,
Say hi to everybody for me.
See you,
In the cosmic scheme of things, 
Very soon.



“My Zen Loves a Laugh, Part 2”

My zen’s got a great sense of humor.
It loves a laugh!

I’m glad of that,
Because after all, who enjoys 
Being around a sourpuss?

Yes, my zen loves a laugh.
Especially at my expense.

But I don’t mind,
I can afford it
Because, apart from a little humility,
It doesn’t cost me a thing.

My zen is laughing at me all the time.
Laughing at me to remind me
How senseless it is
In this crazy world
To take things too seriously!

Ha! Ha! Ha!

So go ahead!
Why don’t you 
And your zen
Join me and my zen
In a good belly-laugh?

Ha! Ha! Ha!
Ha! Ha!

Yes! Let’s all laugh together!
To remind ourselves that 
Life is ridiculous! 

Ha! Ha! Ha!
Ha! Ha!
Ha! Ha! Ha!

Have you ever noticed 
How contagious 
Laughter is?

Ha! Ha! Ha!
Ha! Ha!

And how difficult 
It is to stop laughing,
Once you’ve begun?

Ha! Ha! Ha!
Ha! Ha!
Oh boy! Woo! 
Ha Ha Ha!
Ha! Ha! Ha! 
Uh-oh.

I think I just peed myself.




Tuesday, September 6, 2016

“What is zen?”

What is zen?

Zen is the way to find a way.
It is the journey and the destination.
It is the empty cup’s emptiness.
It is the form of formlessness.
It is me.
And it is you.

But if you ask me again,
And I had to attempt an answer
That we could understand,

Then I would say
The essence of zen,
As I comprehend it, 

Is to firstly understand that
You and I are as perfect 
As the gods could make us,
But in spite of that perfection 
There will always be pain
And suffering in this world.

That is the way things are.

Thankfully, there is a way 
To reduce our worldly suffering,
And it is called zen.

With zen, we recognize
The interconnectedness of everything,
Past present future,
And realize that our actions 
Have karmic consequences.

What goes around comes around,
As they say,
So it pays therefore 
Not to be an asshole.

Then we remember
That everything 
Is changing all the time,
And nothing, good or bad, lasts forever.

Because if we accept the impermanence of everything, 
We can learn to unattach ourselves 
From the (merely temporary) things and ideas 
In the world around us,
Making them far less important, 
And with this un-attachment to unimportant things
Live a freer, happier life.

After all, 
Whoever said we didn’t
Deserve to be happy?
Not me.

Nor my zen.
For we must create our happiness,
Bringing it out from within.
It doesn’t just fall from the sky.

Remember,
Loving people live in a loving world.
Hostile people live in a hostile world. 
Same world.

There’s other stuff too,
In this essence of zen.
The cultivation of a loving heart.
Compassion for all creatures.
Respect for the planet.
Respect for yourself.
Devotion to others.
Oh, and maybe vegetarianism too.
(Although this last is not strictly obligatory
In my personal essence of zen.)

But there’s no point
In listing anything else.
That’s probably enough for now.
Let me know when you’ve mastered these.

And I’ll think of some more.




Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Discarded Flower Zen

I found a flower today,
Laying upon a grass verge
That borders a busy highway.

It didn’t belong 
On the grass verge,
That was obvious. 

The flower was a type of orchid
Found on large, tropical trees
In southeast Asia.

Or more likely, in Florida where I live,
Found in floral bouquets
For sale in drugstores, near the checkout counter.

Automobiles on the busy highway 
Screamed by just a few feet away,
Unnerving me slightly.

I looked at the flower
And wondered,
“How did you get here?”

After all, everything has a story.
Even a discarded flower.

Then I looked up 
And noticed other flowers
Of the same type 

Scattered along the road’s edge,
And I assumed 
The flower I looked at

Was indeed once part 
Of a drugstore bouquet.
Thrown from a speeding car, I wondered?

Tossed out in anger to wilt at road’s edge,
While in the car a fighting couple 
Travelled on for miles and miles?

They fought all the way home, I imagined,
Him driving grimly and her crying, 
Both saying things they later regretted.

Yes, like all lovers do.
Even you and your lover, I’ll bet.
I know it’s true about me, and mine.

I gazed at the discarded flower by the side of the road, 
And a little sadness touched my heart.
Luckily, the terrifying scream 

Of hurtling automobiles
Just a few feet away 
Soon distracted me from this kind of thinking!

Get away, Sadness! 
I said to the feeling within myself,
And watch out for that speeding truck!

Happiness, 
However it came to exist,
Deserves my attention, too.

Let me enjoy 
This moment of beauty
While it lasts, 

Without fear or distraction.
As I should also 
Attempt to enjoy my life.

Then I looked 
With new, loving eyes of zen
At the beautiful, discarded flower,

And the noise and sadness
Of this world…
Melted into nothingness.