Zen Principles

Zen Principles to Help You Live Life Better

This article was greatly expanded upon in my book, Half Asleep in the Buddha Hall

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Life According to Zen Master Yogi Berra

Used with per­mis­sion, Jer­ry Breen, of newbreen.com

The following quotes are from one of the most Zen guys
of the 20th century — Yogi Berra

10. “It ain’t over till it’s over.”

Most do not get this, and give up way too ear­ly. You’re not done until you die-or give up.

This quote is from 1973. Berra was man­ag­ing, and his New York Mets trailed the Chica­go Cubs by 9½ games in the Nation­al League East. Berra real­ized that no mat­ter how hope­less a sit­u­a­tion seemed, the sea­son did not end until the last out. The Mets ral­lied to win the divi­sion title on the next-to-last day of the sea­son.

To be down sev­en runs with one out to go is no more sig­nif­i­cant than any oth­er point in the game. Your duty is to act-in this case, to ‘play ball devot­ed­ly.’ The out­come is what­ev­er it is. How­ev­er, if you don’t swing the bat with the inten­tion of win­ning, you doom your­self. So, you set an inten­tion (in this case, to win) and you work toward it with full effort, until the very last.

Most give up a moment or so too soon-typ­i­cal­ly when the going gets tough, and the fog rolls in. Here’s a sto­ry: [sto­ry in my book, Half Asleep in the Bud­dha Hall]

Often, decisions to “stop,” to “pull up,” are made in a similar fog, just a few feet from success. Far better to continue walking, and to make course corrections as we go.

Zen con­sid­ers only the present moment. What I choose to do in this moment is not pre-deter­mined by any­thing. Blam­ing your mom­my or your past rela­tion­ships, your genet­ics or your lack of under­stand­ing is just an excuse for not swing­ing for the fence, right now.

Remem­ber: the jour­ney of a thou­sand miles begins with the first step, but only if you take it. And, of course, each step is a first step.

9. “You can observe a lot just by watching.”

This might seem non­sen­si­cal until you see the under­ly­ing rhythm:

You can observe a lot by “just watching,”
as opposed to judging.

Observ­ing is some­thing we have talked about at length. To observe is to detach from inter­pre­ta­tion. When you ‘just observe—just watch,’ every­thing means noth­ing, and noth­ing is per­ma­nent. On the oth­er hand, if I see some­thing and imme­di­ate­ly go into my head, and start mak­ing dis­tinc­tions, all I will do is find evi­dence for what I already believe.

Shift­ing to sim­ply observ­ing requires that I uncrit­i­cal­ly watch the sit­uation as it unfolds before me. As my mind strug­gles to cre­ate a dra­ma to judge, I observe my mind play­ing games, and then have a breath and let go of that game. In this clar­i­ty, I can choose a way to respond that is appro­pri­ate to the cur­rent moment and sit­u­a­tion, with­out get­ting tied up in the games and dra­mas my mind loves.

[sto­ry in my book, Half Asleep in the Bud­dha Hall]

The cen­tered life (“observ­ing by just watch­ing…”) is about act­ing in a way that is con­sis­tent with your most deeply held under­stand­ings. You can­not be peace­ful by yelling… you can­not solve com­pli­ca­tions by cre­at­ing chaos. The job of life is to become con­sis­tent, per­sis­tent, and resis­tant.

Remem­ber: in every area where you think you are stuck, you are stuck because you are hold­ing on to some­thing that does not work. Let go, observe, move on.

8. “Think? How the hell are you gonna think and hit at the same time?”

This is the fol­low-on to the last point. From a prac­ti­cal per­spec­tive, Berra was spot on. When a pitch­er throws a base­ball at 95 miles per hour, it takes the ball only four-tenths of a sec­ond to reach home plate. That gives the bat­ter about two-tenths of a sec­ond to decide to swing or not to swing.

Thus, when hitting a baseball, thinking gets in the way of acting.

This is true with learn­ing most things. As we learn some­thing, we move from com­plex and slow to easy and fast. (Think back, for exam­ple, to how hard rid­ing a bicy­cle was, until it wasn’t.)

I’m not say­ing that hit­ting a 95 mile an hour fast­ball is easy. I am say­ing that if you are going to learn this skill, you had bet­ter give up think­ing you can rea­son your way through it. All you can do is swing a bat, again and again. Once your body ‘gets’ the idea, you can then prac­tice ele­gant hit­ting, until it becomes instinc­tu­al.

In Zen, we speak of dis­ci­pline. The key dis­ci­pline is ‘non-fol­low­ing,’ or non-attach­ment. You let each non-help­ful thought go by not cling­ing to it. Now, of course, as with Beth, such thoughts will arise until you die.

Fol­low­ing such thoughts leads to paral­y­sis by analy­sis. This paral­y­sis seems inevitable, until I notice that repeat­ing dys­func­tion­al thought pat­terns caus­es the paral­y­sis. I am ‘lost in thought,’ and the cure is to stop myself—not by more think­ing, but by act­ing. Less thought, more action.

Remem­ber: you cause your­self prob­lems by over-think­ing and under-doing. Pick a way to be, and then just be it. Swing for the fences, let­ting the crit­i­cal thoughts fade into back­ground noise.

7. “If you don’t know where you are going, you will wind up somewhere else.”

I used to have a poster on my coun­selling wall that read,

If you aim at nothing, you will hit it.”

Berra presents the same idea.

Many are the clients who whine about their lives, their rela­tion­ships, etc. I say, “Well, what do you want?” They reply, “Here’s what I don’t want…” Phooey. Stat­ing what you do not want, or where you are not going, or who you are not is futile and lazy. Odd­ly, most see this as progress.

I nev­er want to be in a rela­tion­ship like this again!” OK, so the next one is worse. You got what you asked for. This hap­pens all the time.

If you think about it, defin­ing what you do not want is impos­si­ble, as you can­not cov­er every­thing.

[sto­ry in my book, Half Asleep in the Bud­dha Hall]

There is noth­ing more impor­tant than iden­ti­fy­ing the ter­ri­to­ry (what I want) and procur­ing a map (how to behave so as to get there.) It is like using a for­eign sub­way sys­tem. If you have a des­ti­na­tion, all you have to fig­ure out is the map, how to get to the right plat­form, and which car to enter. If you have no des­ti­na­tion, you are going to end up ‘wher­ev­er.’

Sure, life is hard. There are the bad breaks we cre­ate, and bad breaks that just hap­pen. So what? The only way to real­ly live is to focus on what you want, as you drop your attach­ment to what you don’t want. Then, start. Sounds easy, but it takes dis­ci­pline. Is it worth it? “Yes!”

Remem­ber: your job is to state, clear­ly, who you are, what you are about, and where you are. From “here,” you choose your next action. Next, see to it that you have integri­ty. Integri­ty means that your actions match what your mouth is say­ing. Wan­der­ing around all con­fused and lost, while grip­ing about how hard you are work­ing at defin­ing what and where you aren’t, is the height of dumb.

6. “You better cut the pizza in four pieces because I’m not hungry enough to eat six.”

I think we laugh at this one because we rec­og­nize we have done this a time or two. We know we shouldn’t eat two pieces of pie, so we take a larg­er first slice. And then tell our­selves, “At least I didn’t eat two.”

What we are talk­ing about here is the ten­den­cy to jus­ti­fy doing some­thing that vio­lates our prin­ci­ples, then resort­ing to the “It’s not as bad as it appears” defense.

  • I’m not going to crit­i­cize my part­ner, as it doesn’t work. Except this time, because what he did was real­ly bad.”
  • I’m done cruis­ing bars and pick­ing up women. I met her at a library, so that’s dif­fer­ent.”
  • Sure, he’s abused me in the past, but this time he real­ly means it when he says he’s changed.”
  • I’m going to live my life and not let my part­ner tell me what to do, just as soon as he agrees.”

Your life changes when you decide to be dis­ci­plined about what you allow your­self to enact. This process starts when you watch your behav­iour­al out­comes, and notice your pat­terns.

[sto­ry in my book, Half Asleep in the Bud­dha Hall]

For this young woman, change will come when she drops the excus­es for hav­ing sex in an attempt to buy love. She must devel­op and then live by her prin­ci­ples, with no excus­es. She must take total respon­si­bil­i­ty for her out­comes. Oth­er­wise, she is doomed to repeat the same hor­i­zon­tal behav­iours, get the same results, and nev­er change her lev­el of self-esteem.

Remem­ber: our minds are clever lit­tle things, and end­less­ly jus­ti­fy why we can­not do what we say we are going to do. The last thing our egos want is integri­ty-based liv­ing — it’s entire­ly too self-respon­si­ble.

It is very Zen to do what we say we will do. Noth­ing less, noth­ing more. Chop wood, car­ry water. Don’t be tricky, don’t dis­sem­ble, and don’t lie. Say it. Do it. Four pieces, six pieces — it’s still the whole pie.

5. “It was impossible to get a conversation going;
everybody was talking too much.”

A con­ver­sa­tion requires undi­vid­ed atten­tion, depth, and a will­ing­ness to be open and vul­ner­a­ble. Most peo­ple talk to hear their own voic­es, and to fill fear­ful silence with sound. Berra is right—when peo­ple talk too much, it is impos­si­ble to con­verse with them.

Talk­ing (small talk, empha­sis on small) is the social­ly accept­able way to fill the silence void. We’re con­di­tioned to spew small talk, which has noth­ing to do with actu­al con­ver­sa­tion.

Con­ver­sa­tion requires the will­ing­ness to lis­ten care­ful­ly, while sus­pend­ing judge­ment. If we do not pay atten­tion, we are noth­ing more than the sum of our pre-judgements—our prej­u­dices.

Actu­al con­ver­sa­tion is a ver­bal dance, as both par­ties make a seri­ous attempt to com­mu­ni­cate, “This is who and where I am right now.” Con­ver­sa­tion is shar­ing who I am through self-reflec­tion, and lis­ten­ing to what the oth­er per­son has learned of them­selves through their self-reflec­tion.

Many  people confuse self-reflection with an endless whine about how tough their life is.

[sto­ry in my book, Half Asleep in the Bud­dha Hall]

Even when you lis­ten care­ful­ly, your ego-based prej­u­dices have a way of con­fus­ing you. Lis­ten again, with a clear heart and mind, and you might hear some­thing dif­fer­ent.

Remem­ber: slow down. Speak your truth, from as deep inside as you can reach. Reveal more and more of you, includ­ing the messy, evil, nasty parts. Then, shut up, watch and observe. As you find your­self plan­ning a response to what anoth­er is say­ing (in oth­er words, you have stopped lis­ten­ing,) shut up and open your ears. A con­ver­sa­tion is nev­er a debate, and there is no win­ner.

4. “Slump? I ain’t in no slump. I just ain’t hitting.”

We are noth­ing more than our self-def­i­n­i­tion. Or, as the Bud­dha said,

All that you are is what you have thought.”

We end­less­ly self-describe, and because we think it, we tend to stop there, believ­ing we are as we think our­selves to be. There­fore, to change is, first, to change your self-descrip­tion.

[sto­ry in my book, Half Asleep in the Bud­dha Hall]

Our lives are the prov­ing ground for our beliefs. Where I am in life— right now—is a per­fect mir­ror of who I am, what I believe, and espe­cial­ly what I do. I can look at my sur­round­ings and at my men­tal, emo­tion­al, and phys­i­cal state and tell pre­cise­ly what I believe, and who I am.

We need to explore the rules we oper­ate under. If we don’t look at what we believe, to see if what we believe makes sense for us now, we are doomed to live out some old ver­sion of our life plan, and be total­ly mis­er­able in the process.

Remem­ber: “a slump” is a judge­ment, and makes the thing per­ceived seem to be some­thing out­side of your con­trol. If you put the way you are present­ly into a box labeled “Out of my con­trol,” you are well and tru­ly screwed. Instead, emp­ty that box. A sim­ple state­ment of, “Here is where I am right now” allows for the next clause, “…and here is what I will do dif­fer­ent­ly.”

Berra’s “I just ain’t hit­ting” is actu­al­ly his way of say­ing, “I am not hit­ting right now, and will hit next time I’m up to bat.”

You think it, you are it.

3. “If you come to a fork in the road, take it.”

This is opposed to just stand­ing there, star­ing at the fork, refus­ing to choose, to move, to decide. Or, you’re going down a road that’s not get­ting you where you want to go. You come to a place for chang­ing direc­tions, yet con­tin­ue down the old path. You say, “I may not be get­ting what I want, but at least this path is famil­iar.”

Oth­ers are stuck in deep iner­tia, refus­ing to shift any­thing, includ­ing the painful stuff, until they can be assured that they’ll get to the ‘right’ des­ti­na­tion.

Just stand­ing at a cross­roads, end­less­ly debat­ing the ‘right path,’ is a mook’s game. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, our world is filled with peo­ple doing just that—doing noth­ing, while brag­ging about how much effort they are putting into their inter­nal debate.

As they stand there. Doing noth­ing.

Not to decide is to decide. What hap­pens in our life is about what we notice or give cre­dence to. Some­thing dif­fer­ent hap­pens in our lives when we choose to shift our under­stand­ing, and then our actions. This way, or that way—no dif­fer­ence, no wait­ing to iden­ti­fy the ‘right path’—just take the fork in the road.

[sto­ry in my book, Half Asleep in the Bud­dha Hall]

Remem­ber: life presents end­less forks in the road. In gen­er­al, any choice we make can be changed at any time. (Life and death choic­es occur rarely.) Turn­ing a gar­den vari­ety choice into life and death (“But… but… what if I make the wrong choice???”) is actu­al­ly a way to stay stuck. Pick one, and start walk­ing. You do not get the time you waste back at the end of your life.

2. “I never blame myself when I’m not hitting. I just blame the bat, and if it keeps up, I change bats. After all, if I know it isn’t my fault that I’m not hitting, how can I get mad at myself?”

Regret, blam­ing your­self, get­ting mad at your­self… a trio of stu­pid­i­ty. What Berra is describ­ing in this quote is so Zen—“This is not work­ing, so let me try this.” His “blam­ing the bat” strat­e­gy is per­fect. Blam­ing the bat is “no-blame,” or non-attach­ment-to-blame. Berra’s bat was a totem —a symbol—and he used it to re-focus his atten­tion.

Here’s an illus­tra­tion: say your kid mis­be­haves, and you decide to yell at her. The kid flinch­es, cries, and runs and hides. And lat­er repeats the mis-behav­iour.

The wise soul “does not get mad at her­self.” She looks at the bat she chose—her choice to yell. She “blames the bat,” and picks up anoth­er bat—she apol­o­gis­es to her daugh­ter and talks the issue through. Remem­ber: blam­ing the bat is no-blame!

Non-attach­ment starts with accep­tance that every­thing is as it is, until it isn’t. When things go ‘ass-over-teaket­tle,’ it’s essen­tial not to get into blam­ing or recrim­i­na­tions, as all this does is freeze you in place, with­out ‘things’ chang­ing.

Being in cri­sis is the per­fect time for a lit­tle mantra:

This is not about me, this is not per­son­al.”

[sto­ry in my book, Half Asleep in the Bud­dha Hall]

In reality, nothing is happening to us.

All one can do, as Berra states, is drop the judge­ments while doing some­thing new. Blam­ing your­self accom­plish­es noth­ing. Shift­ing focus helps us to remem­ber that life is end­less­ly mov­ing on, and we are step­ping into it, moment by moment. Noth­ing ever remains the same.

Remem­ber: when seem­ing­ly lost, open your eyes and see the beau­ty around you, then ski in a log­i­cal direc­tion, grace­ful­ly and smooth­ly. Breathe. Watch life con­tin­ue to unfold. Act, have faith, and detach. You will get home, one way or anoth­er. Pan­ic and giv­ing up, although pop­u­lar, gets you nowhere.

If what you are doing is not work­ing, change bats — no blame, no recrim­i­na­tion. Move. Now.

1. If I didn’t wake up, I’d still be sleeping.

Here’s my favourite image. I think it’s by John Dai­do Loori.

If you are not awake, you are asleep. Peri­od.

Being asleep is the norm in our world. Peo­ple are caught in dream­scape liv­ing, mak­ing what lit­tle they observe fit their pre­con­ceived notions, cat­e­go­riz­ing peo­ple and expe­ri­ences accord­ing to their prej­u­dices.

Being awake is sim­ply being. It starts with a con­scious sus­pen­sion of judge­ment, through the dis­ci­pline of direct­ing one’s atten­tion. Judge­ments fade and what is left is awak­ened liv­ing.

Here is a descrip­tion of being asleep: as you react out of habit, fear, or con­fu­sion, you are drift­ing off into dream­land.

As I wrote in This End­less Moment:

One point of [the movie] Wak­ing Life is cap­tured in the title: one can choose to wake up to life. Or one can live for­ev­er trapped in a dream­scape, liv­ing a “life” of “woul­da, coul­da, shoul­da.” In a hun­dred years, no one will remem­ber your name. No one, ever, will know you. Except, pos­si­bly, you. If you choose.

And the only you that you can know is the you that you are in this moment. You are not your past—all you have is a present expla­na­tion of the sto­ry you tell your­self about what you believe hap­pened to you.

In oth­er words, you expe­ri­ence your past now and only now.

You are noth­ing more than this moment, this breath. In this moment, you can be ful­ly alive and ful­ly present. And in that choice, you are whole, com­plete, and with­out blem­ish.

Authen­tic, enlight­ened human­i­ty exists only in the Eter­nal Now.

Wake up!

[sto­ry in my book, Half Asleep in the Bud­dha Hall]

Life is about ‘wak­ing up’—about get­ting on with what needs doing. There are a mil­lion and one rea­sons for not start­ing, for turn­ing back, for stay­ing put, for being ‘safe.’ At the end of the day, how­ev­er, noth­ing will have changed. Far bet­ter to risk, to dare, to climb.

Far, far bet­ter to ‘wake up’!

If you liked this arti­cle, here’s anoth­er on Zen Liv­ing!

What, exactly, is up with love?

What, exactly, is up with love? With romance? And how, oh how, do we get love to “stay?”
The question itself comes from an essential misinterpretation regarding the meaning and purpose of life.

Wayne C. Allen

Psst! Hey!

** Want more great writ­ing designed to help YOU to shift your behav­iour?

** Want to learn how to find, build or deep­en your prin­ci­pal rela­tion­ship?

** Want to know more about Zen liv­ing and being?

Check out Wayne’s books!

The book most close­ly asso­ci­at­ed with today’s arti­cle is:


The. Best. Relationship. Ever.

Ele­gant, Inti­mate Relat­ing is an art. It requires atten­tion, focus and per­sis­tence. My book, The. Best. Rela­tion­ship. Ever., is packed with guid­ance, exer­cis­es, and direc­tions for dras­ti­cal­ly improv­ing your rela­tion­ship.

We’re starting with a quote from

a book by Tom Robbins — Still Life with Woodpacker.

On the fourth day, she decid­ed to think, in an orga­nized man­ner, about the prob­lem of romance. “When we’re incom­plete, we’re always search­ing for some­body to com­plete us. When, after a few years or a few months of a rela­tion­ship, we find that we’re still unful­filled; we blame our part­ners and take up with some­body more promis­ing. This can go on and on- series polygamy- until we admit that while a part­ner can add sweet dimen­sions to our lives, we, each of us, are respon­si­ble for our own ful­fill­ment. Nobody else can pro­vide it for us, and to believe oth­er­wise is to delude our­selves dan­ger­ous­ly and to pro­gram for even­tu­al fail­ure every rela­tion­ship we enter. Hey, that’s pret­ty good. If I had pen­cil and paper, I’d write that down.” Alas, she had no pen­cil, while the roll of paper that sat by the cham­ber pot was des­tined for a dif­fer­ent end.

Next, she thought, “When two peo­ple meet and fall in love, there’s a sud­den rush of mag­ic. Mag­ic is just nat­u­ral­ly present then. We tend to feed on that gra­tu­itous mag­ic with­out striv­ing to make any more. One day we wake up and find that the mag­ic is gone. We hus­tle to get it back, but by then it’s usu­al­ly too late, we’ve used it up. What we have to do is work like hell at mak­ing addi­tion­al mag­ic right from the start. It’s hard work, espe­cial­ly when it seems super­flu­ous or redun­dant, but if we can remem­ber to do it, we great­ly improve our chances of mak­ing love stay.” She was unsure if that idea was pro­found or trite. She was only sure that it mat­tered.

Tom Rob­bins, Still Life With Wood­peck­er, pp. 157–158

who knows how to make love stay?
From “Slug­col­o­gy” and “Music for the Hard of Think­ing”

Doug and the Slugs

Who knows how to make love stay?
Help before it gets away.
That’s the ques­tion of the day.
Who knows how to make love stay?

The famous Cana­di­an band Doug and the Slugs asked the same musi­cal ques­tion that is posed through­out Tom Rob­bins’ Still Life with Wood­peck­er. What, exact­ly, is up with love? With romance? And how, oh how, do we get love to “stay?”

The question itself comes from an essential misinterpretation regarding the meaning and purpose of life.

One answer to the “Mean­ing Ques­tion” is: We are dri­ven by a bio­log­i­cal imper­a­tive to “fall in love,” and the bio­log­i­cal pur­pose of falling in love is repro­duc­tion of our DNA, ala Richard Dawkins in The Self­ish Gene.

The ini­tial flush of falling in love is akin to an endor­phin rush, and as we know, endor­phin is the hero­in of hor­mones. No won­der we feel so flushed and full of beans when we meet some­one new.

Although some peo­ple would argue that the bio­log­i­cal imper­a­tive is “all” that life is about, we look at things dif­fer­ent­ly. It’s like­ly why I like Tom Rob­bins so much. In each of his books, and in a mul­ti­tude of dif­fer­ent ways, he returns to the same theme — which is our answer to the “Mean­ing Ques­tion” -

“self-development requires self-responsibility.”

Which is the point in the first part of today’s quote. Many peo­ple who have rela­tion­ship issues admit to hav­ing pret­ty much no idea as to why they are in the rela­tion­ship they are in. They talk about what Rob­bins calls “mag­ic” — the sap­py, sim­plis­tic blast of hor­mon­al ener­gy that makes knees weak, stom­achs queasy and brains to oper­ate on half cylin­ders.

I pre­fer to elim­i­nate the bio­log­i­cal imper­a­tive from this equa­tion, not because I find it unim­por­tant, but because that’s what every­one does any­way. Peo­ple sel­dom com­plain that their rela­tion­ship is on the rocks because of repro­duc­tive incom­pat­i­bil­i­ty. They are con­sid­er­ing end­ing the rela­tion­ship because the mag­ic died, and they could­n’t get love “to stay.”

In other words, relationships end for

A rela­tion­ship is sim­ply one more are­na where we play the only game we ever play — fig­ur­ing our­selves out. But it is impos­si­ble to fig­ure your­self out through a rela­tion­ship. Think­ing you can tends to mean one thing: I now have my part­ner to blame for my inabil­i­ty to fig­ure myself out.

As Rob­bins put it:

…we, each of us, are respon­si­ble for our own ful­fill­ment. Nobody else can pro­vide it for us, and to believe oth­er­wise is to delude our­selves dan­ger­ous­ly and to pro­gram for even­tu­al fail­ure every rela­tion­ship we enter.

My sense is that most people mistakenly enter relationships in an attempt to (over) compensate for their upbringing… or to avoid dealing with their resistance to self-discipline.

It’s not unusu­al for peo­ple to latch on to oth­ers to try to work through dys­func­tion­al rela­tion­ships with their par­ents. Or, because peo­ple sense what a dif­fi­cult dis­ci­pline “get­ting over them­selves” entails, they avoid deal­ing with their issues, need­i­ness and incom­plete­ness by draft­ing anoth­er per­son to fill the gap.

The intent is to fill in the blanks so that, between two peo­ple there is one whole per­son. Thus the expres­sion, “(S)he makes me feel com­plete.”

As Rob­bins writes, love leaves… and the mag­ic dies… at approx­i­mate­ly the moment that the first of the two peo­ple real­ize that the oth­er has failed at the task of mak­ing them feel bet­ter about them­selves.

Then, that per­son starts with the, “How dare (s)he! Does­n’t (s)he know how much ener­gy I’ve put into this rela­tion­ship?” Rough trans­la­tion: “I’ve wast­ed years! Now I have to go out and find some­one else to make me bet­ter, or make it bet­ter for me.”

If, on the oth­er hand, this gets played out anoth­er way, in a self-respon­si­ble way, then, from the get-go,

  • I won’t be look­ing to “be tak­en care of” or “to be under­stood” or “to be loved the way I should have been when I was grow­ing up.”
  • I will have got­ten over the need to look out­side of myself for some­one to blame, or for some­one to res­cue me.
  • I will be quite will­ing to do what­ev­er I have to do to know myself and be respon­si­ble for myself. And
  • I will be respon­si­ble for “keep­ing the mag­ic alive” because I’m the only one who can — I’m the only one who can keep it alive for me.

Rob­bins: “work like hell”, “it’s hard work.” Indeed. Much eas­i­er to look out­side and to sigh and won­der when “it’s all going to mag­i­cal­ly work out.”

Too bad easy doesn’t happen and magic isn’t.

Idea for Zen Living: 12 Presence Presents

Zen LIv­ing: When you’re a Zen Guy like me, you’re con­stant­ly think­ing about, (and try­ing to enact) being present. The Hol­i­day Sea­son is rife with “things” we can dis­tract our­selves with.

I decid­ed to send you a list of alter­na­tive ways of being, in the hopes that shift­ing gears might help you to deal with the hol­i­days more ele­gant­ly.

Of Wayne’s many books, the one clos­est to this top­ic is: Half Asleep in the Bud­dha Hall


This Endless Moment Click image for more info!

The 2nd. edition of This Endless Moment has 100 plus more pages of insights and helps.

You’ll dis­cov­er the resources you need for liv­ing a cen­tered, ful­filled, and aware life.

The paper­back ver­sion is here:This End­less Moment 2nd. edi­tion
The kin­dle ver­sion is here:This End­less Moment 2nd. edi­tion

Appreciate Your Body’s Wisdom

It’s time to reclaim the 95% of your­self that you min­i­mize and dis­par­age – your body. Admit it, you’re liv­ing as a talk­ing head, and haul­ing the rest of you around because you can’t fig­ure out what else to do with your body.

I know a lot of peo­ple who are in absolute denial about their bod­ies, and what their bod­ies want/need. I look and see tight­ness, dis­com­fort, pain. I ask, “What’s up?” and I get this ver­i­ta­ble spew of sto­ries from the past and the future.

It’s all this weird exter­nal stuff that has noth­ing at all to do with what is going on right now.

I sug­gest a bit of breath­work, a bit of focus below the neck. Then the sighs and tears and anger and sad­ness and the horni­ness for life and for release starts creep­ing to the sur­face. Often the up-flow of emo­tions caus­es a pan­icky retreat back into their heads.

If the per­son can hold to the feel­ing, and be present in their body, there is an easy flow of emo­tion and a decid­ed less­en­ing of the dra­ma they are cre­at­ing.

But, boy is it hard to per­suade peo­ple to go there.

In fact, I’ve pret­ty much giv­en up on try­ing. I have tak­en to invit­ing pres­ence through breath (and Body­work) and then just sit­ting there to see what hap­pens next.

Idea for Zen Living: Now is the time to commit to listening to the wisdom of your body. Stop running from yourself – running up into your head, where you lie to yourself and create more dysfunctional stories. In 2020, commit to dealing deeply and fully with your body. You’ll be glad you did.

Live Honestly

The idea of liv­ing hon­est­ly is one of the hard­est “sells.” Peo­ple have a lot of excus­es for not being hon­est, either with oth­ers or with them­selves.

  • Some actu­al­ly resent the whole con­cept – they fig­ure “adults have a right to pri­va­cy.” Hav­ing secrets is seen as a priv­i­lege of being an adult.
  • Oth­ers think that if they are hon­est about who they are and what they are about, oth­ers will run scream­ing from the room.
  • Oth­ers get a charge out of pulling the wool over oth­ers’ eyes.

Living Honestly entails self-discovery, followed by self-reflection, followed by self-revelation.

This process is emphat­i­cal­ly not about dis­cov­er­ing your faults and then stuff­ing them down oth­er’s throats. Hon­est Liv­ing is all about dig­ging in deeply, reveal­ing (to self and oth­ers) the depths of your­self, and emphat­i­cal­ly it’s about stop­ping lying to your­self about your inabil­i­ty to make bet­ter choic­es.

Idea for Zen Living: A noble goal for 2020 is to commit to telling the truth, gently, yet clearly — about yourself. (It’s not about blasting others about what you perceive as their truth – “You are such a jerk. You need to get over yourself.” That’s not your job! Your job is to learn about the depth and height of yourself, and to bring that person into full expression in the world. It is a noble path.

Embrace Movement

Move­ment and change is our only real­i­ty. You can­not cling, for even one moment, to any­thing – a per­son, an expe­ri­ence, even a sin­gle breath. You can­not cling to your life – it is pass­ing, and soon you will no longer be.

Move­ment and the pas­sage of time are intrin­si­cal­ly linked.

Once you see this, you will rec­og­nize that the pain and dra­ma of our lives have noth­ing to do with what is hap­pen­ing right now. All of that pain comes from our fan­tasies that what is hap­pen­ing right now ought to be dif­fer­ent.

As we have that thought, our brains get involved, and soon we are just sit­ting there, immo­bile, telling our­selves sto­ries of past and/or future.

The way out is active par­tic­i­pa­tion in the present moment, empha­sis on active. You incar­nat­ed (lit­er­al­ly “came into flesh – carne”) to have a body, (i.e. to feel and to get around) and bod­ies need air­ing out, danc­ing, jump­ing, stretch­ing and gen­er­al­ly need to be in con­tact with oth­er warm bod­ies.

So, what are you doing to be present and in your body?

Idea for Zen Living: The movement of life is the presence of life. In this flow, I am alive and aware. And that, my friends, is as good as it gets! In 2020, commit to a rigorous physical program of movement, and then be present with what your incarnation feels like.

Commit Wholeheartedly

Here’s a big­gie. Oh, for a whole­heart­ed com­mit­ment to any­thing!

Most peo­ple dick around and chip away at life, as opposed to tack­ling the thing whole­heart­ed­ly and whole-head­ed­ly.

This is a big­gie – a major flaw in the path we are all on is doing only enough to mit­i­gate pain, as opposed to push­ing through the pain to see what lies beyond it.

Rela­tion­ships suf­fer from seek­ing “no pain.” Peo­ple think, “No pain, no prob­lem.” But every­thing always changes – and then the rela­tion­ship goes south – because only the “min­i­mal effort to main­tain the sta­tus quo” had been applied.

My think­ing is that whole­heart­ed com­mit­ment is nec­es­sary for a ful­filled and ful­fill­ing life. Dab­bling, play­ing-at-life, flit­ting about while time pass­es and life goes by, seems to me the ulti­mate in wast­ing one’s life.

Idea for Zen Living: Yet, many are the excuses. And you are never any better than your best excuse. Dear hearts, get over it! In 2020, commit to something and make it happen. You do not have forever.

Put Yourself First

No, it’s not self­ish to put your­self first. I’m not talk­ing about steam-rolling over oth­ers. I’m talk­ing about tak­ing your self, your life, and your path with the utmost seri­ous­ness.

Most peo­ple ded­i­cate their lives to oth­ersand not in a good way. Most engage in an, “If I treat them well, they’ll treat me well” game that nev­er plays out. Why?

When you make it your mis­sion to live for anoth­er, all you cre­ate it the expec­ta­tion that you will do this for­ev­er. It does not engen­der reci­procity. It engen­ders depen­dence and expec­ta­tions – demands – for more and bet­ter from you.

Any one who accus­es you of self­ish­ness is say­ing, “Hey! Wait a minute! You are sup­posed to put me first! How dare you think of your­self and not of me?” In oth­er words, they are doing (being self­ish) what they are accus­ing you of!

The only way your life will ever be oth­er than it is, is when you do some­thing dif­fer­ent­ly. Peri­od. Any­thing else is a fluke.

Idea for Zen Living: You can’t change your life, your prospects, your relationships, your body, without changing something – wishing does not make it happen.
When is the right time for you???
Right now, of course!!

Create More Passion

Paint­ing by Wayne C. Allen

Pas­sion is the burn­ing, inter­nal fire of pur­pose. Pas­sion is a path of self-devel­op­ment – this fire is what dri­ves us to go deep­er – to change. Pas­sion is all about desire focused on a goal and in a direc­tion.

Oth­er stuff (peo­ple, places, things) does not cre­ate pas­sion in us. Pas­sion is an inside job. This is why we can be pas­sion­ate about some­one or some thing at one point, and not pas­sion­ate in the next breath.

Pas­sion feels hot and char­gy. Thus, it is a prime mover and moti­va­tor – so long as we do not attach to or get hooked on the feel­ing. If we do, we become pas­sion junkies, and the only goal is “more pas­sion.”

The form of pas­sion that is help­ful is pas­sion­ate direc­tion. For enlight­en­ment. For a noble goal or cause. For more depth of self-know­ing and for more depth in rela­tion­ship.

This kind of pas­sion­ate act­ing is actu­al­ly a path.

Create some passion for yourself. Don’t put it off. Passion is the power that primes the pump of life!

Demystify Sex

If you’ve read my book, This End­less Moment, you’ll know I take a non-seri­ous tack with mat­ters sex­u­al and sen­su­al. I wrote:

he rea­son sex con­tin­ues to be con­sid­ered some kind of mark­er in rela­tion­ships is sex­u­al embar­rass­ment and imma­tu­ri­ty. Sex is giv­en great mean­ing because we are afraid to take it casu­al­ly.
It’s a hard thing to admit out loud to being sex­u­al.

Quan­tum physics teach­es us that the uni­verse is ener­gy and poten­tial – in oth­er words, stuff is sim­ply in flow and flux, and then is observed and comes into being. This is the state of the entire­ty of exis­tence.

For exam­ple, the old Zen-ish ques­tion,

If a tree falls in the for­est, and no one is there, does it make a sound?”

The answer is sim­ple: It depends.

There is ener­gy that is cre­at­ed by the fall – a flow­ing out­ward of ener­gy. It only becomes a “sound,” how­ev­er, if there is an “ear” to hear it, AND a mind to inter­pret it.

Sound becomes some­thing “real” when it is inter­pret­ed by the brain of the hear­er.

This explains why you under­stand what you said one way, and the per­son hear­ing the same words inter­prets it anoth­er way.

Everything, then, is dependent upon the interpretation of the observer.

Sex becomes a fas­ci­nat­ing and pas­sion­ate learn­ing ener­gy when we inter­pret it that way. That’s the “take” of Tantra and Kun­dali­ni work. The ener­gy (which is “just ener­gy,”) can be direct­ed, turn­ing it into a pow­er­ful force for our own awak­en­ing. Or, it can be made spe­cial, dragged out occa­sion­al­ly, and treat­ed with embar­rass­ment.

Idea for Zen Living: In 2020, find someone to explore your sexual energy with. Learn how to “make it work for you.” Dedicate yourself to breaking open the blocks in your body. After all, you’re in your body for a reason!

Change Your Story

Here’s a ques­tion: “And how is end­less­ly repeat­ing a sto­ry you hate help­ing you to change how you are in the world?”

I spend a lot of time ask­ing that ques­tion – I ask oth­ers, and I ask myself.

I have a cou­ple of sto­ries about being un-appre­ci­at­ed that I’ve been haul­ing out and flog­ging myself with since, well, for­ev­er. I’ve have reached the place where I now laugh at myself and give myself a shake. I cer­tain­ly do not enact this sto­ry any­more.


Because the sto­ry does not work!

Peo­ple argue with me on this one. “But…but… how can I just change my sto­ry? My sto­ry is right! I’m so hard done by! I need to get every­one on the plan­et to admit how bad­ly they are treat­ing me! How can I heal myself when I know I’m pow­er­less?”

Well, yikes.

Noth­ing means any­thing until you give it mean­ing. You don’t like the way your life is going, change your sto­ry.

Idea for Zen Living: In 2020 nothing will move you further along the path than this simple truth – your life is exactly and precisely the story you are telling yourself.

Get this, and then do something about it!

Be a Blessing

We are quite small in the face of the ele­gance of the uni­verse. In the face of that, it might be sise to get over our­selves (and our busy­ness,) long enough to “be a bless­ing.”

In oth­er words, to change your sto­ry from one long, pathet­ic whine,
and to get on with mak­ing a dif­fer­ence in the world.

As I get old­er, time seems much more com­pressed. Six months flash­es by in an instant. Dar­bel­la and I have been togeth­er 37 plus years. Where did the days, the weeks, the months, the years, go?

What have I accom­plished?

I ask myself that ques­tion with com­pas­sion and with grace.

Have I been of use — have I been a bless­ing?

Idea for Zen Living: We stand on the cusp of 2020. You were born for a reason, never doubt it. So, what are you waiting for? The perfect moment? Permission?

How about right now? Be a blessing.

Hone your Loving

Lov­ing (an action, as opposed to “love,” which does­n’t exist) requires keen­ness and sharp­ness and accu­ra­cy, just like a knife does.

Some­times love is a gen­tle nudge, like the last point (he says with a grin…) Lov­ing is nev­er about doing things that fly in the face of who you are. Lov­ing is only pos­si­ble when you are present, con­nect­ed, self-respon­si­ble, and curi­ous.

  • Pres­ence means I am here, in this moment, and nowhere else. Not wool-gath­er­ing, plan­ning my next speech, dis­tract­ed.
  • Con­nect­ed is an emo­tion­al sense of res­o­nance. It’s all ener­gy any­way, so con­nec­tion is allow­ing myself to open enough to actu­al­ly feel the vibra­tional tone of anoth­er.
  • Self-respon­si­ble peo­ple do not blame oth­ers, sit­u­a­tions, or them­selves. They are “sim­ply present,” and from their pres­ence respond from their core to the sit­u­a­tions they meet. Self-respon­si­bil­i­ty is all about work­ing from my cen­tre out­ward, with a clear heart and focused mind.
  • Curios­i­ty is not manip­u­la­tive. It’s an acknowl­edge­ment that what­ev­er is going on in your world is yours, and it, by def­i­n­i­tion, has to be dif­fer­ent from my under­stand­ings. Because val­ue you, I want to know more about you. And because I val­ue you, I want to know how well your per­spec­tive is work­ing.

Idea for Zen Living: Be more loving in 2020. Open yourself to the possibility of caring and compassion, with no need to fix anyone or anything. From this place of non-fixing, live elegantly, leave a mark, and be a blessing!

Get on with it

Peo­ple pick at the self-cre­at­ed scabs of them­selves, and irri­tate them­selves, and the explo­ration, such as it is, nev­er leads any­where except to more things to not like. 

The joke is, the stuff they are dig­ging up is just a sto­ry they are telling them­selves. It’s not true,” it’s not, “who they are.” Who they are is, “all of it, plus all the oth­er stuff.”

And self-explo­ration does­n’t mat­ter any­way. Because this kind of self-explo­ration leads only inward.

No authen­tic spir­i­tu­al path actu­al­ly leads inward. Take med­i­ta­tion. Seems inter­nal, all that breath­ing and emp­ty­ing the mind. But to what end?

Pres­ence! And pres­ence only hap­pens out here, in the world.

Idea for Zen Living: When I stop talking to myself and judging myself and coming up with yet another label, I can simply be, and in that being, respond to life, to self, and to others, and thus to accomplish something elegant.

Because in order to leave a mark, you have to actu­al­ly do some­thing dif­fer­ent!

(Are you notic­ing how all of this fits togeth­er? Good!)

Live in the Present, for a Change

Change only hap­pens in the present moment. The client I men­tioned above was regret­ting a past rela­tion­ship. My ques­tion: How would that per­son (now dead) want you to live your life now? You can’t change what’s hap­pened, but you can change “from now on!”

Idea for Zen Living: In 2020, dedicate yourself to discovering the actual moment you are living in, and stay there. If it ain’t working, don’t do it. Do more of what does work. Open yourself to the present that presence presents.

Learning to Live in Growing Orbits

Live in Growing Orbits

Let an expert take you by the hand and teach you how to Live in the Here and Now. — to Live in Grow­ing Orbits!

You’ve found this page because you are ready to take affirmative action. You’re ready to devote time and energy into being the best possible human you can be.

I’d like to help you walk your path, and I offer you both hope and a guar­an­tee.

One year from today, hav­ing com­plet­ed Liv­ing Life in Grow­ing Orbits, you’ll be joy­ful­ly liv­ing in this end­less moment, free from attach­ments to the past, free from wor­ry regard­ing the future!

This book was orig­i­nal­ly designed as a work­book for my coun­selling clients.

New­ly revised, Liv­ing Life in Grow­ing Orbits is avail­able as either a paper­back or a Kin­dle book– and is designed to help you actu­al­ly enact ideas such as:

  • find­ing your lim­it­ing beliefs
  • open­ing your mind, heart, and soul
  • learn­ing to speak with clar­i­ty and direct­ness

Liv­ing Life in Grow­ing Orbits pro­vides you with the guid­ance you need. It’s a year-long exer­cise in see­ing and sim­ply being.

The Concept

We’ve all been con­di­tioned by our cul­ture and upbring­ing to have pre­con­ceived notions:

  • about how the world works,
  • about who we are,
  • about how to relate to oth­ers, and espe­cial­ly,
  • about what we are capa­ble of.

Perhaps it is closer to the truth to say we’ve been trained to stay stuck – we have learned what we are not capable of.

Most peo­ple are liv­ing exam­ples of the adage, “Argue for your lim­i­ta­tions, and they are yours.”

Living Life in Growing Orbits provides you with tools for breaking free from your limitations.




Wayne Allen is an insight­ful writer. From his var­ied life expe­ri­ence, he blends spir­i­tu­al prin­ci­ples with every­day val­ues, mak­ing for a read­able, thought pro­vok­ing blend of sto­ries and ideas. Fore­most, Wayne is very human .… and this comes through in his writ­ing. This book would be of val­ue to any­one who is gen­uine­ly inter­est­ed in find­ing deep­er mean­ings in life and rela­tion­ships. You can read it all at once, or sip it in small quan­ti­ties.
High­ly rec­om­mend­ed.

~ Ben­net Wong & Jock McK­een

Co-founders, The Haven Insti­tute

Liv­ing Life in Grow­ing Orbits

Living Life in Growing Orbits

Available formats:

* Paperback, 229 pages
** E‑book digital downloads
** PDF Download

* Pub­lish­er: The Phoenix Cen­tre Press (Revised Decem­ber 2015)
* Lan­guage: Eng­lish
ISBN: 978–0‑9877192–7‑0

Detailed Infor­ma­tionSam­ple Pages

Purchase Options

Paperback: $20.00, E‑book digital downloads $2.99, PDF Download $4.00


Pur­chase paper­back from Cre­ate­space

Pur­chase paper­back from Amazon.com


Pur­chase Kin­dle Ver­sion from Amazon.com

Pur­chase dig­i­tal ver­sions (Apple, Nook, Kobo, etc.) from this page

Buy the PDF as a down­load

How to Find Your Perfect Partner

Find out how creating a “List of 50,” will help you to find your perfect partner, and get exactly the relationship you want.

Most peo­ple think find­ing the right per­son should “just hap­pen.” They depend on “the luck of the draw,” and typ­i­cal­ly end up with the next bozo in line.

The “cure” is a focused, clear, and direct approach to the whole “find­ing a part­ner” enter­prise. It requires thought, per­sis­tence, and log­ic.

You must learn how to focus in on get­ting what you want, as opposed to set­tling for “almost, but not quite.”

Rather than leave any of this to chance, I devel­oped
The List of 50.

The List of 50” is the key to finding Your Perfect Partner.

Here is what else you will discover once you get your hands on this book:

  • prac­ti­cal, step-by-step ways to do what works and to stop doing what does­n’t when it comes to find­ing a new rela­tion­ship.
  • the inside val­i­da­tion exer­cise – how to con­di­tion your­self to do the oppo­site of what peo­ple in failed rela­tion­ships do time and time again
  • three cul­tur­al myths that get in the way of rela­tion­ship suc­cess
  • Are you in love? How to tell the dif­fer­ence between lust and the real thing
  • the data fil­ter­ing prin­ci­ple – the rea­son you keep get­ting into dead-end rela­tion­ships (and how to change this for­ev­er)
  • why “tak­ing your chances” is the worst way of find­ing your ide­al part­ner (and you’ll dis­cov­er a much bet­ter alter­na­tive)
  • how to ‘police the lan­guage’ in your List of 50 – ways to say what you want, clear­ly and specif­i­cal­ly
  • are you real­ly ready for a new rela­tion­ship? Your answer may sur­prise you!
  • Why friends are good mod­els for lovers

Click here for reviews, and to read a sample chapter!

Available formats: Find Your Perfect Partner

* Paperback book, 140 pages, ** Kindle download

* Pub­lish­er: The Phoenix Cen­tre Press (Decem­ber 2012)
* Lan­guage: Eng­lish
* ISBN: 978–09877192‑1–8

Purchase Options

Paperback: $20.00, Kindle edition $2.99


Pur­chase paper­back from Cre­ate­space

Pur­chase paper­back from Amazon.com


Pur­chase Kin­dle ver­sion from Amazon.com

The Bedrock of Great Relationships

great relationships

What is The Bedrock of Great Relationships?

It’s the will­ing­ness to com­mu­ni­cate who you are, where you are, and what’s up for you… all the time!

And especially when you don’t want to!

My book, The. Best. Rela­tion­ship. Ever. is both a learn­ing tool, and a step-by-step guide — a plan you will imple­ment — to chart the new direc­tion in your life and rela­tion­ship.

  • Are You Ready For A Mean­ing­ful Rela­tion­ship?
  • Do You Want to Know How to Keep Your Rela­tion­ship Fresh and Alive?
  • Won­der­ing How to Devel­op and Nour­ish a Deep and Mean­ing­ful Rela­tion­ship?

If you are confused about your relationship, just follow this detailed, step-by-step guide for creating The. Best. Relationship. Ever.

Read this com­pre­hen­sive guide and learn how to recon­nect, strength­en your rela­tion­ship, improve com­mu­ni­ca­tion, deep­en inti­ma­cy, and more.

You’ll find easy-to-do exercises designed to get your relationship on track!

The. Best. Rela­tion­ship. Ever. has the per­fect mix of the­o­ry and prac­tice. It’ll help you to imple­ment the 9 essen­tial tools for ele­gant, inti­mate relat­ing. You’ll learn how to com­mu­ni­cate effec­tive­ly and deeply, and you’ll be intro­duced to sen­su­al­i­ty exer­cis­es designed to get you in touch with your deep­est pas­sions. Do what is sug­gest­ed, and you’ll see results!

A user friendly guide to cure your relationship — great relationships are built on these techniques.

  • The. Best. Rela­tion­ship. Ever. is a valu­able tool for those who want to improve their rela­tion­ship. Full of tips and use­ful infor­ma­tion, you’ll learn to make your rela­tion­ship exact­ly as you want it to be.
  • Learn­ing the prin­ci­ples described in this book will help you to keep your rela­tion­ship alive, mean­ing­ful, ful­fill­ing, and excit­ing.
  • This book teach­es the nuts and bolts of build­ing and main­tain­ing a great rela­tion­ship.
    • You’ll learn to stop look­ing out­side of your­self, either for res­cue, or to blame.
    • You’ll learn to take respon­si­bil­i­ty and own­er­ship for your part, and only your part, of what hap­pens in the rela­tion­ship.
    • You’ll dis­cov­er how to com­mu­ni­cate with clar­i­ty and curiosity, and how to con­tin­ue deep­en­ing your rela­tion­ship over time.

Most help­ful read­er reviews:
“Read­ing this book is like hav­ing a pri­vate ses­sion… The book is prac­ti­cal, straight­for­ward and clear… An excel­lent intro­duc­tion to a life of per­son­al devel­op­ment and mean­ing.” — Ben­net Wong, MD, Jock McK­een, MD

Wayne draws upon ele­gance, self-respon­si­bil­i­ty and unabashed hon­esty as the cor­ner­stones for pow­er­ful and inti­mate rela­tion­ships… Writ­ten with sto­ries, case exam­ples and sug­ges­tions.” — Debashis Dut­ta, MSW

As you read, you will:

  • learn 8 rea­sons you’ve failed at relat­ing — we exam­ine what goes wrong.
  • dis­cov­er 3 prob­lems peo­ple have with com­mu­ni­ca­tion — once you know what doesn’t work, you’re ready for what does!
  • meet Sam and Sal­ly, and learn how to real­ly mess up a rela­tion­ship! — you see their mis-steps, and learn from them.
  • find out how “labelling” your part­ner gets in the way of Ele­gant, Inti­mate Relat­ing. You’ll see that Ele­gant, Inti­mate Relat­ing means no judg­ing and blam­ing.
  • learn a brand new mod­el for being in rela­tion­ship. I call this Ele­gant, Inti­mate Relat­ing
  • dis­cov­er the rules and prac­tice of dia­logue. Each con­ver­sa­tion is wor­thy of doing well!
  • find out what to do, and when. You’ll have the tools you need, right in front of you.

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This Endless Moment — Live an Amazing Life

This Endless Moment

I’ve recent­ly re-edit­ed and added to my first and favourite book, This End­less Moment. It’s been a peren­ni­al best sell­er, and many are the folk who have found it life-chang­ing.

Please, think about how things are going for you, and if you think your life could be more amazing, have a look below for a few quotes, then order the book, either as a paperback or an e‑book.

Clients come in for ther­a­py because some­thing (or sev­er­al some­things) isn’t work­ing. Yet, on an entire­ly dif­fer­ent lev­el (and the point of this book)—the real issue is not what isn’t work­ing. The real issue is that they don’t under­stand that solv­ing their issue requires that they behave dif­fer­ent­ly.

There is an inter­nal bat­tle going on in each of us, between the seduc­tive siren song of stay­ing stuck in the “way I’ve always done life” and the order­ly dis­ci­pline of doing things in anoth­er way.

Most peo­ple waste their lives doing every­thing they can think of to get oth­ers to do things dif­fer­ent­ly. There is a con­sid­er­able emo­tion­al invest­ment in this effort. (Let me be clear about which effort we are talk­ing about: the effort of try­ing to get the world to coop­er­ate in mak­ing you hap­py. Now, “the world” can be a boss, a part­ner, one’s par­ents or kids, your friends… or even the per­son serv­ing you a dou­ble fat-free lat­te.)

The first step toward wis­dom is to under­stand that you can’t manip­u­late oth­ers or the world to make you hap­py.

In a sense, all that I ever “teach” clients (and all I ever remind myself) is this: I am respon­si­ble for me, and I am respon­si­ble for how I choose to approach my life. Noth­ing else is going on. This is such a sim­ple point that it flies direct­ly over the head of 95 per cent of the pop­u­la­tion.

You will learn the practicalities of living a full and rich life:

Notice what would hap­pen if we under­stood that the world actu­al­ly is phe­nom­e­nal, that it is a series of uncon­nect­ed and non-mean­ing­ful events. We would have to admit that a thing is a thing is a thing, until we make mean­ing about it. To do this requires a leap in our under­stand­ing. The leap is summed up this way: the mean­ing I make about the essen­tial­ly mean­ing­less is mean­ing­ful only to me.

On relationships:

In oth­er words, healthy rela­tion­ships are phys­i­cal­ly expres­sive rela­tion­ships. If I am avoid­ing phys­i­cal con­tact with my part­ner, I am in effect say­ing, “I refuse to make con­tact with you.” The refusal may seem to play out phys­i­cal­ly, but that sim­ply rep­re­sents what’s going on at all the oth­er lev­els — emo­tion­al­ly, spir­i­tu­al­ly, and in the cou­ple’s “cou­ple-ness.”

On life:

I’d like to sug­gest to you that life is meant to be an ongo­ing devel­op­men­tal project. This is a con­cept we accept at work — we “glad­ly” train and retrain, look­ing for improve­ments, effi­cien­cies, oth­er, new­er, “bet­ter” ways to do things. I sus­pect we were meant to be on a sim­i­lar walk in our per­son­al lives, but some­how for­got.

Other thoughts:

At the end of the day, this is the real­i­ty of life. We are born and die alone, and the rest of life is a solo job in a crowd. This is either ter­ri­fy­ing or free­ing. I’ll scare myself with it pre­cise­ly to the degree that I refuse to accept respon­si­bil­i­ty for my life. I will free myself pre­cise­ly to the degree that I allow myself the per­son­al sat­is­fac­tion of pad­dling just a lit­tle more effi­cient­ly and effort­less­ly each day.

And here is the point!

In the end.. you’ll find your­self liv­ing out your life in a con­scious, present, hon­est, and curi­ous way. You’ll take what comes with­out judg­ment and decide what you choose to do next. You will be con­sis­tent and clear. And you will be that most unusu­al (yet not spe­cial) of all humans- a self-respon­si­ble per­son, engaged in liv­ing life to the fullest, while extend­ing an invi­ta­tion to oth­ers to join you in the pad­dle, the dance.

This book will change your life. Have a look!!

More Infor­ma­tion, ReviewsSam­ple Chap­ter Oth­er For­mats

Available formats, This Endless Moment, 2nd edition

* Paperback: 226 pages ** Kindle edition ** PDF download

* Pub­lish­er: The Phoenix Cen­tre Press (Jan­u­ary 30, 2017)
* Lan­guage: Eng­lish
* ISBN: 978–0‑9877192–9‑4

Purchase Options

Paperback: $20.00, Kindle edition $2.99,
PDF download $4.00


Pur­chase paper­back from Cre­ate­space

Pur­chase paper­back from Amazon.com


Pur­chase Kin­dle Ver­sion from Amazon.com

Buy the PDF as a down­load

Zen — An Alternative to Trump

Sometimes, having another approach to life is crucial.

OK, so the world is a pret­ty weird place right now, and liv­ing with the ten­sion of “not know­ing” (how Zen!!) can be a bit much.

It’s why I wrote Half Asleep in the Buddha Hall.

It’s hard to believe that a sim­ple book has prac­ti­cal, down-to-earth meth­ods and approach­es that will help you not only to cope, but to thrive. I want to assure you that Half Asleep in the Bud­dha Hall brings you into direct con­tact with the wis­dom of the East, and espe­cial­ly the light of Zen.

You’ll discover how to find wisdom and depth.
The Zen stories guide you in a new and powerful direction.

The book is lib­er­al­ly sprin­kled with teach­ing sto­ries, and exam­ples and lessons from my 30 years of Coun­selling expe­ri­ence.

You are able to see and do — you dis­cov­er a way of being in the world that is both pow­er­ful and gen­tle.

There’s really only one way out —
you have to begin the only adventure worth your time and effort —
the adventure of being wholly and fully yourself!

In Zen, we speak of dis­ci­pline. The key dis­ci­pline is ‘non-fol­low­ing,’ or non-attach­ment. You let each non-help­ful thought go by not cling­ing to it. Now, of course, as with Beth, such thoughts will arise until you die.

Fol­low­ing such thoughts leads to paral­y­sis by analy­sis. This paral­y­sis seems inevitable, until I notice that repeat­ing dys­func­tion­al thought pat­terns caus­es the paral­y­sis. I am ‘lost in thought,’ and the cure is to stop myself—not by more think­ing, but by act­ing. Less thought, more action. Remem­ber: you cause your­self prob­lems by over-think­ing and under-doing. Pick a way to be, and then just be it. Swing for the fences, let­ting the crit­i­cal thoughts fade into back­ground noise.

If you’d like to read a ton of reviews or have a look at a sam­ple chap­ter, we have you cov­ered. Give this a click!

Purchase Options

Paper­back: $20.00,
Kin­dle edi­tion $2.99


Pur­chase paper­back from Cre­ate­space

Pur­chase paper­back from Amazon.com


Pur­chase Kin­dle ver­sion from Amazon.com

This Endless Moment, 2nd edition

This Endless Moment, 2nd edition

This Endless Moment, 2nd edition

This End­less Moment, 2nd edi­tion is now avail­able!

The new ver­sion has 60 plus more pages of insights and helps, includ­ing a sec­tion on Zen. There’s also a sec­tion of exer­cis­es.

Revised in 2017, This End­less Moment, 2nd edi­tion presents a sim­ple, direct, and clear secret for unlock­ing your full poten­tial.

In my book, you will discover:

~ ways to enter the peace and contentment of “pedal to the metal” living

~ Eastern approaches to presence and focus

~ tools for deepening your relationships, having great sexual experiences, and

~ how to live with passion, curiosity and excitement!

Check out what’s in the book here.

The paper­back ver­sion is here:
This End­less Moment, 2nd. edi­tion

The kin­dle ver­sion is here:
This End­less Moment 2nd, edi­tion

Revised for 2017 — This Endless Moment

A new version of This Endless Moment is coming soon!

This Endless Moment

Just a quick­ie announce­ment that I’m almost done with the final edit of a revised ver­sion of This End­less Moment, my first and most pop­u­lar book.

This End­less Moment is an amaz­ing book on liv­ing the enlight­ened life. A peren­ni­al best-sell­er, and used as a text­book for new ther­a­pists, this book quite sim­ply changes lives. I’ve received count­less thank you’s from sat­is­fied read­ers, who have used the meth­ods described in the book and found real peace and deep­er life mean­ing.

I started the rewrite in May, and expect it to be available by February.
(And this is me, adding in that, indeed, the book became available in January of 2017. Check out This Endless Moment 2nd. edition here!)

I’ve added 60 or so pages, as well as a bunch of exer­cis­es, and mod­ern­ized the lan­guage. I want­ed an already excel­lent book to be even more help­ful.

I think you’ll like it! Stay posted!