No Speed

My zen practice today is my internet.

It is a good thing my computer is not part of a security base where I am responsible to notify people the bomb is being dropped.

By the time my computer warmed up, found the site, downloaded or uploaded or whatever the F it does for ten minutes while I wait and chant OM, the bomb would be old news, and they’d be paving our burial site with a new super highway. The year would be 2026.

The slowness of life cannot be matched with the sluggishness of a modern computer.

It’s a good thing we still make pens and lined paper, otherwise I wouldn’t have a single book written.

I don’t wait well. Many places and many times I have been sure to reach old age, possibly even death before what I’m waiting for arrives. Computers, buses, miracles. I wait until there is a layer of dust on me.

Yet, sometimes I am late too. And this drives me more nuts than me waiting!

Joyful Pee

My cat loves his litterbox.

He enjoys going toilet more than most anyone or any creature I know.

Going for a pee or pooh is a theatrical production starring Sam.

He announces the upcoming performance with meows, then launches into a tear around the house at fifty miles per hour, skidding over floor, scattering rugs, upending anything standing, artwork and paperwork strewed.

He lands in the litterbox and rolls in it. He digs and digs. Rolls some more. Goes out for another run around the apartment. Rolls and digs some more.

And then finally, finally, relief!

Finished off of course with more digging (fortunately no more rolling!) and a finale of running around the house and rearranging all that you put back in place.

He has a lot more fun going to the bathroom than I do.

But I’m not about to run around the house and splash in the pool (my litterbox).

Threshold Philosophy

What I have found with any pursuit that there is a threshold you need to cross that will take you from amateur to expert. From failure to success.

Of course you say.

But my point is, you need to reach that threshold, and cross it, otherwise if you don’t persist to that juncture and stop for even a short period of time, you will have to start all over. From square one.

I mentioned this before in my Square One Rule, that you need endure a lot of practice to get to this precious threshold.

You can’t know where that line is unfortunately. It will just suddenly one day pop up.

Or not.

Sometimes you can struggle decades and not move one inch closer to success.

So when do you stop?

When you are no longer enjoying the pursuit, or more importantly, not getting anything from it. When you have exhausted all attempts to make it more challenging and you are not advancing one iota. When you have explored all aspects of it and nothing is happening. When you are no longer open to life and where it wants to go.

Not when friends and lovers say give up. Not when you are having a pity party and beat yourself up. If something truly matters to you, you won’t give up so easily.

But all practice can become dull. You have to decide if it’s dull because you’re not advancing, challenging yourself, or it just does not interest you any more. You have to be very careful in your assessment of that, because of the Square One Rule.

It may not mean abandoning it totally. Sometimes you just need to tweak it a bit. Find a different direction. Find something that gives you the same pleasure, in the same field, but doing things a bit differently.

For instance, to get a bit off topic, I knew someone who desperately wanted to be a pilot, but she had a problem with her eyes that could not be corrected. Had she spent some time figuring out what it was that she loved about being a pilot, she may have found something to satisfy that, within that industry. She need not abandon aeronautics just because one door was closed. There are thousands of positions in that field. She may have even found it was not airplanes that she loved but something else, like freedom, or technology or prestige. And those things can be found in many capacities.

Single minded purpose is good, but you need to be open to life, pay attention. Doors may open for you and you don’t see them. Allow your interests to evolve. One thing may lead you to something way more exciting and beyond. Sometimes life knows better than you about where you should be and what you should be doing.

Before a threshold appears many times you hit a plateau. These are tests to see how much you want to keep going forward. If you are going to exert the effort to cross a threshold.

I do like thresholds. They appear everywhere. In your career. Your creative pursuits. Your relationships.

I especially like crossing one. Then you have to find a new one.


There are still a few places in the world you can experience complete silence. You need not travel thousands of miles. I have been delighted to find a few places right in the city, in the outdoors, where sounds are effectively barricaded.

Unless you are with my Mother.

My Mom and I used to take weekend excursions to the country. Little day trips by car to the great outdoors where civilization was far behind in the rear view mirror.

One place I remember very well.

It was late summer and we were deep in some forest, on a road not travelled much. We stopped to stretch and enjoy the scenery.

It was dead quiet. Not a sound. Heaven.

We sat on a guard rail and just listened.

For about thirty seconds.

“It is so quiet here.” My Mom said. I agreed. “I really enjoy the quiet, don’t you? There is no quiet at home. I love it when it is so quiet…” and on and on and on.

“Mom, could you just be quiet for a few minutes so we can enjoy it?”

“Oh, yes of course! I am so sorry to have interrupted your enjoyment. I know that you must need a lot of quiet after your busy week….” and on and on and on. If I persisted to silence her she would get angry and hurt and, well it just wasn’t worth it.

Mom had to comment about everything.

I find this quite funny now, but at the time I was exasperated.

Mom loved to talk, and, I inherited that from her.

However, I can sit quiet for several hours to days.