REGARDING MEDITATION AND MARTIAL ARTS

"Nothing is as comforting and reassuring as relaxing in the quietness of meditative solitude one with God and the Universe."

"Relaxation is more than just relaxing...it is a science and an art to be studied and embraced."

"In the solitude of your quiet mind you begin to learn and understand more about yourself.  Consequently, you understand and continue to learn more about your environment and the Universe."

"Breathe in slowly through your nose. Exhale slowly through your nose.  As you do this stretch your arms, legs, and back.  Do this as many times as you like.  You will feel calm and you will feel the force of Zen.

"Chi is all around you, it is energy, and it permeates all living cells.  It is the very life source of Nature and you will want to cultivate it as it is the Tao of Zen."

"One of my favorite scenes in the best martial arts movie ever made come from the late and great Bruce Lee in the movie 'Enter the Dragon.'  The master (Bruce) is training a young student and he says, "go on, hit me!  No, try again.  Yes!  Did you feel it?"  "Let me think," the young student replies.  The master taps him on the head, "don't think...feel!  It's like a finger pointing away to the moon, do not focus on the finger or you will miss all its heavenly glory."  There is more to learn about martial arts than just kicks, punches, and blocks."

"I think it's important to make a distinction between martial arts and self defense.  The martial arts are just that, arts with very specifically designed rules.  In self defense there are no rules."

"It is important to spend time sitting and learning to be in the here and now.  The Japanese call it zazen or sitting meditation and it's about being in the moment quietly without distractions, no music, television, or other electronic distractions.  Just think about the things that are important to you."

REGARDING ZEN

"Zen masters take the road less traveled, treat their family and friends well, slay their own dragons and demons, and discover the real treasure buried deep within their true selves."

"Zen encompasses everything in the Universe, you may meditate on it for a few minutes, or for hours on end, or for the rest of your life and still not fully understand its entire principles.  The reason is Zen has a huge magnitude of the principle of impermanence.   You, your loved ones, your home, even the entire planet is impermanent."

"From a Zen point of view it is important to understand that holding on to things whatever they may be is why you suffer.  It's not about letting go, it's about not holding on in the first place, and being aware that change is a part of reality.  If you can understand and appreciate this you will experience peace every day."

"Today may not be as good or as bad as you think because there are so many things that can affect each day of your life.  In the world of Zen there is also yin and yang and a balance that keeps both good and bad connected.  If things seem perfect to you, they're not.  If it seems like everything is a disaster, it isn't.  Every minute change occurs and at some point your day will change also."

"If you desire to help and take care of others it is important for you to understand that you must also help and take care of yourself.  When the Buddha speaks of taking care of yourself he means to be mindful, by showing compassion and loving kindness to others you are also taking care of yourself."

"Do not rely too much on multi tasking it is too distracting and the Japanese phrase for this is 'too many mind' it will affect your concentration and you efficiency.  Another Zen principle is do one thing at a time.  When you are cleaning, just clean.  When you are eating, just eat.  When you are bathing, just bathe.  Do not clean, eat. and bathe at the same time."

"The wisdom of Zen philosophy can help you to let go of all the things influenced by your ego and bring peace and unlimited freedom in your life every day.  This is called non-attachment and isn't it interesting how the word 'ego' has the word 'go' in it?"

"Non-attachment is often misunderstood meaning not attached to all things physical but ultimately it is the realization of your true self that you are in the Universe and the Universe is in you.  So when you have an image of someone close to you in your mind and when that image changes problems occur and you are no longer free to accept them for who they are in that moment no matter what changes take place.  This doesn't mean you stop caring for them, in fact it is quite the opposite, you know they won't last forever so you appreciate them so much more."

"In Zen philosophy non-attachment isn't really about physical things or locations.  It's about the thoughts and ideas you have in your mind and what you believe about yourself and the world around you."

"All attachment, physical and nonphysical, starts with the ego.  It is fostered through years of conditioning and it is not really a part of you at all.  Your ego is what convinces you that your are a separate entity and disconnected from all things including the Universe."

"It is important to understand that non-attachment is an attitude or state of mind.  New attachments will always creep into your thoughts and sometimes you won't even be aware of it.  So to realize non-atttachment is to realize that you must go with the natural order and flow of things and to respect impermanence of all things that make up your life."

"It is only by realizing and accepting the fact that your ego is an illusion created by your mind and by realizing this you will then be able to seek the true path of Zen."

"Yesterday is gone, tomorrow isn't here yet, every thing in your life is here right now in this moment, if you start to think about it you will miss it totally."

"If you desire greater wisdom you must let go of your ego and become a part of the larger consciousness in the Universe.  By doing so you will gain happiness, attain peace, and find truth."

"Your ego will always stand in your way of realizing enlightenment and discovering your true self."

"To travel down the road to Zen seeking the path to enlightenment you must quit worrying about the little things, quit beating yourself up over little mistakes and imperfections, stop regretting your past, and stop worrying about the future."

REGARDING LOVE AND RELATIONSHIPS

"Tell me the reasons for your little game and after it's over will I be the same, tell me the reasons you are this way and I'll tell you I love you every day, I'll tell you I love you every day." from a song I wrote titled:  Tell Me the Reasons

"Sometimes when I think about matters of the heart, whether it's love or something physical, anything close to the heart is risky."

"I remember the summer you kissed me and the nights we talked until dawn, just a couple of kids all those years ago and the plans we made for tomorrow.  Cherry cokes and fries at the drive in the Friday nights and football games, cruising in the cool night air things were never going to be the same.  I've never loved anyone more, I'll be with until the end, from the start you knew and I did too, you would always be my best friend." from a song I wrote titled:  My Best Friend

"To get happy you must be happy, to get love you must give love, and to feel those emotions you must always pursue them.  They are fundamental toward the goal of enlightenment and the fulfillment of a peaceful life of Zen."

"You've heard it before; do what you love and love what you do, fuel your passion and love will come to you."

"Care deeply for your friends and make them feel there is something special inside each of them...because there is."

"All that glitters is not gold and the greatest gold in human achievement is the true love of another human."

REGARDING HEALTH AND NUTRITION

"Don't wait for your government, or any government for that matter, to initiate healthcare reform.  You can do it yourself, right now, in your own kitchen."

"They say rose are red, violets are blue, sugar is sweet...and man it sure is!  Sugar is the number one addiction in the world, but getting rid of diabetes is also about getting physical and losing that extra weight, and it is also very Zen."

"I grew up watching my parents accept whatever their family doctor told them, without question, but that's the way it was back in the day.  Attitudes are quite different today and with good reason.  Whatever my doctor tells me I will accept it at face value, but I will also investigate and get other opinions.  That is way of Zen."

"Keeping your heart healthy and strong will ensure that your pursuit of a Zen life will be an enlightened one."

"It used to be that all you had to do was look for the sales and good deals at the market but now a days being a smart consumer is not enough.  You must also become an educated consumer and read and understand what is in the food you are eating.  Grocery shopping takes twice as long as it use to."

"Changing your diet and eating more organic nutrient rich foods will give your metabolism a boost and increase your energy levels."

"It seems kind of strange to me that there can be good fats as well as bad fats, but it just goes to show that even on the subject of fats the properties of yin and yang are at work, and it means that Zen exists on all levels."

"It's not only good moral fiber, but good intestinal fiber that helps you in your quest for Zen, especially in the bathroom."

"I think there are millions of people in the world that kind of take their physical self for granted.  I also think that as a world of consumers we are investigating and educating our selves on the foods we consume and what goes in to them, but I don't think there are enough people doing that, and that's fairly obvious considering the fact the more than half of the people who live in the United States need to lose weight.  In addition to losing weight to become healthier, we all need to pay attention to what goes in the foods we are consuming.  After all, if you don't take care of your physical self where are you going to live?"

"I was a teenager in the sixties and kind of thought of myself as a free radical, you know, going against the establishment, being free, being a radical.  And today free radicals are killers...and the times they are a changing."

"The term 'super foods' is given to a group of foods that are the richest in natural minerals and trace minerals.  However don't look for these in your local supermarket because you probably won't find them there.  You'll have to get them from a whole foods or health food store."

"Everyone, including you and me, needs to be educated and smart about the products we consume on a daily basis.  Further, this education should extend beyond food products to include cleaning and personal care products as well."

"I can tell you from experience that your back is the last thing you want to take for granted and yet a lot of people do.  You must pay attention to the health of your back and keep it strong so that you will be able to travel down the road to Zen."

"Well there they are, the closest part of you to the ground and probably the one thing, or two things actually, that we give the least consideration to.  I'm talking about your feet.  everyone needs to be aware of just how important the feet are and if you are planning on continuing your quest for Zen you need to learn about and take very good care of your feet."

REGARDING HEALTH AND PHYSICAL FITNESS

"Find the right mix of physical activities that you enjoy doing the most and do them on a regular basis.  Spread your allotted time for physical activity equally among them and this will give your exercise program balance.  In achieving balance you will be achieving Zen."

"You need to exercise and work out to stay healthy and you need to do it on a regular basis and it gets more difficult as you get older.  The key is to change and adapt.  Adapt your workout program as you age and change."

"If you don't think that stretching is good for you, just ask any cat."

"To make an exercise program well rounded and most effective you must include strength training.  Conditioning your muscles and making them stronger will make not only your body physically stronger, but your mind and spirit as well, and this will enhance your journey on the road to Zen."

"Improving yourself in all areas of your life is the Tao of Zen and the physical part of your life is no different."

"Isn't it strange how one simple thing that most of us get to do, we take for granted, has excellent health benefits, and we don't do it enough?  The benefits of a regular walking program are wide and varied and for me it is a time to connect with Nature with a walking Zen meditation."

"There are many communities around the world that have an abundance of bicycle riders and bikes are not only used for physical fitness and exercise but also for commuting.  When I was a kid my bike was my main source of transportation, I rode it to school and everywhere else.  Here in the United States most people ride for exercise and that is a very health Zen thing to do."

REGARDING SLEEP

"Quality sleep is nourishment for the heart and soul as well as the creative mind."

"To rest my weary self I need a warm and comfortable place to close my eyes and sleep peacefully in a calm meditative state."

"To rub away the aches and pain, to feel the calmness in my brain, to feel totally relaxed from end to end, my spirit is enlightened with peace and Zen.

"A friend of mine said to me, 'man, I slept like a baby last night.'  I said, 'really.'  Then I asked, 'what do you mean, you woke up hungry every couple of hours with a load in your pants?'"

"Funny thing about sleep, too much is not good and not enough sleep is also not good.  If you like you can get into the plethora of sleep programs and studies, but for me I try to keep it as simple (Zen) as possible.  I go to sleep when I'm tired and I wake up when I've had enough."

REGARDING POSITIVE THINKING

"If you take a shortcut to get somewhere you may find that it isn't worth visiting."

"Nothing in the Universe appears to be constant.  Every minute of every hour change occurs.  Nothing stays the same.  In fact, change is the only thing that is constant.  So deal with it.  Learning to adapt is becoming Zen."

"Knowledge is truly an amazing thing, the more you learn the more you know.  However, to give knowledge true power you must learn to use it, that is to put it into practice.  The more knowledge you put into practice the more you will become Zen."

"I'm sure you are like me and everyone else.  We all want things to turn out for the best but not everyone will do what it takes for that to happen.  So, in order for things to turn out the best for you all you have to do is make the best of the way things turn out."

"Did you hear that?  You did...but did you really listen?  Everyone has the ability to block out noise and sounds that surround us on a daily basis.  However, that's just hearing, or in this case, not hearing.  But to listen, and listen effectively, you must listen attentively with all of your senses."

"Setting and achieving goals is a fundamental part of life.  The pursuit of your goals helps you learn and grow.  Achieving your goals increases the quality of your life and it is the quality of life that will help you achieve another goal...a life of Zen."

"If you are going to live a Zen life you must learn how to be assertive but diplomatic.  Living a peaceful life of Zen means you know how to stand up for yourself and defend your rights with honor."

"Talk positively about health, happiness, and prosperity to everyone you meet."

"Have the wisdom to be as happy for the success of others as you would be for your own."

"Learn from your past mistakes and forget them by focusing on your positive dreams of the future."

If you smile all the time you will be a happier person.  If you smile at everyone you meet then you just might make them a happier person too."

"If you spend most of your time improving yourself then you won't have any time to criticize others."

"Promise to have the confidence not to worry, the wisdom to rise above anger, and the happiness to eliminate depression."

"Promise to let everyone you meet know you are well, but not with your words, but through you most sincere actions."

Promise to be true to yourself and as long as you do you will feel the greatness of the Universe."

"Through strength of character comes the power you need to be greater than you are."

"Every desire and every goal accomplished builds your strength of character, not through power, but through strength of heart."

"Try not to be disappointed when things are, well...disappointing."

"Do not allow adversity to weaken you because you will surely have some throughout your life.  Keep yourself centered in the here and now while focusing on your future and this too shall pass."

"It is important to be true to yourself indulge in your passions and try to make them your life's work."

"The smallest part of you is actually the largest physical part of you.  When you recognize your spiritual connection to the Universe you will see yourself in all the grandeur."

"You can be or do anything you want...you just have to let your subconscious know that."

"You realize that sometimes things don't go your way, you've learned how to manage them and that's okay, Sometimes the world may seem unkind, when it reality you just need to free yourself from your own mind."

"Every thought is energy so if you want to have a lot of positive energy then have a lot of positive thoughts."

"Your spirit is the pilot, co-pilot, and navigator of your physical self."

"Pessimism will cloud your thoughts and thinking.  Being Optimistic allows you to think and see clearly."

"You can become more than you are, you can do more than you do, it comes from your desire and will, and the big heart you have within you."

"To lead a great life you must be great in who you are, focus on your dreams and you'll go far, follow your love and increase your desire, and turn those coals of passion into a raging fire."

"Where ever you go in life, what ever you do in life, where ever you go in the world, in a country, in a city, in a town, in a neighborhood, act like you belong there."

"Be careful with those conversations you have with yourself.  If you have the same thoughts or conversations enough they can become quite convincing and perhaps you will become what you think.  Since everyone engages in this internal dialogue it would be to your benefit to keep it positive... always."

"On a warm summer day I use to drink with a tin cup from a cold water well and the water was always very cold and refreshing.  On each side of the well my grandfather had two large sweet cherry trees and they were always loaded with cherries.  I use to eat them straight from the tree along with the raspberries that grew on the wire fence next the the chicken house.  Boy, it sure doesn't get any more Zen than that.  What happened to those days?"

"Here's one thing I always try to keep in mind, my family always makes me happy, and my passions make me happy too and I will always enjoy them.  So if I never make a nickel from my creative passions, I don't really care, because I love what I do."

REGARDING STRESS, FEAR, ANGER, AND DEPRESSION

"If you want to forget about all the things in life that bug the crap out of you just wear a really bad pair of shoes."

"When you worry about something that you can do nothing about then it becomes a fallacy to worry."

"Hold on a sec...I'm drawing you a map, so when I tell you to go to hell you'll know exactly where it is."

"Understand...there is a difference between anger and being annoyed or irritated.  If you don't know the difference and have nuclear meltdown over every little thing then you need to get professional help and learn how to manage your anger.  Despite all the movie rhetoric anger does lead to the dark side and you will never be Zen traveling down that path."

"I think everyone has feelings of depression, anxiety, and sadness from time to time and for the most part it is a normal part of living.  If you are experiencing these emotions but feel you don't have any control over them then maybe it's time to get professional help because you will need in your quest for Zen."

"You must not be afraid, you may be concerned while facing fear and you should be, but do not allow it to stop you in your tracks.  One of the most difficult personal abilities you can acquire is to remain calm when confronted with fear but it is absolutely essential to living a life of peace and Zen."

"Somehow I feel like I've been here before yet I don't know what lies beyond the door.  Waiting here what should I do I can't go back and I don't really want to.  When I was calling for you could you not hear my plea did you not realize the one hurting was me?  I was waiting there I didn't know what to do just wishing for love and thinking of you.  It's strangely calm there's a light coming on to help me find my way.  If I take the next step do you think I'll regret everything that's happened until today?" from a song I wrote titled: Strangely Calm

"Understanding and learning how to effectively manage stress is an important skill that you will need if you are to experience a Zen filled life.  You must know the difference between good and bad stress.  Being able to distinguish between the two and how to handle them is a major step on the road to Zen."

"When you receive a physical injury, whether through your own fault or someone else, that is pain.  When you react to it by becoming angry or planning to get even with someone who has hurt you then that is beyond pain, that is suffering."

REGARDING FAILURE

"There comes a point during the process of failing when it is far more costly than success."

"In each failure there is a lesson to be learned and these lessons add to the sweetness of success."

"You would be wise, my friend, to consider carefully what you do for a living.  It has been my observation that there are a great many people who dislike what they have to do to survive from one day to the next, in other words, to pay the bills.  So I would submit to you that turning your passion into a way of life or career, and if you fail in your attempts you may find, and fear as well, that the passion will no longer be there.  Now, if you were to ask me, is it worth the risk?  Most definitely, and anyone who has succeeded in this accomplishment will tell you the same.  So now that you know this you can focus on success with your passion and realize that it is completely up to you to decided if you should fail or succeed."

"Remember this...just even the smallest possibility that you may fail at something, passion or not, can create such a larger than life drama and paralyze you to inaction so consequently you end up doing nothing at all."

"Failure is nothing more than a learning experience.  It's just a problem that doesn't have a solution...yet.  Try to find something positive in it, learn from it, build on it, and move on."

"Do you realize that there is actually something worse than failure?  I'm not kidding.  Think about it like this; if you tried and failed, well, at least you tried, and now you know.  You still don't have to take it personal, learn from it, and realize that when it comes to your life's passions regret is worse than failing.  Because with regret of not trying you will never know."

REGARDING MONEY, CREDIT, AND PERSONAL FINANCE

"Nobody cares more about you and your finances than you so create a plan and forge ahead.  It's your money."

"Making your money work smarter for you will most likely require a Zen mindfulness."

"Credit can be referred to as 'other people's money' so in essence when you are using credit that means someone else, usually a lending institution, is backing you financially.  Credit is apparently what makes the financial world go round.  I realize that most of us cannot pay cash for a home or a car and for that reason credit is very essential.  The problem is credit is the most abused utility on the planet.  So you will need a mind of Zen to help manage your personal credit."

"It can become somewhat of a bother when you have to pay regularly for something you can't see, taste, feel, or smell but if you ever get caught without insurance coverage in any capacity, you will definitely feel the pinch, and that my friend is not Zen."

"Contracts are there for you to read, so take the time you need, understand every word, so what you read is not absurd, read everything to the letter, make sure it's what you want or could you do better, learn as you live from now to the end, that is the way and the mind of Zen."

"A final thought...if you ever feel lost or insignificant and sometimes you think that nobody cares if you are alive or dead, if you want a serious reality check on this, just miss a couple or three mortgage payments."

"The constant threat of your identity being stolen and the mounting credit card debt that seems to have no end means that you have to take responsibility for your own economic condition and constantly stay on top of the changes.  Make your money work smarter and stay financially educated throughout your life."

REGARDING FRAUD AND IDENTITY THEFT

"Be aware of anyone offering a hand, they may have more than their arm up their sleeve."

"You've worked hard for what you have.  Be sure you know any person or business well before giving any personal information.  Always watch your back."

"Protecting yourself doesn't mean you have to be paranoid, it's just that you never know who is lurking around the corner or in the shadows...watching."

"Committing a serious crime is bad enough, but committing a crime against a fellow human being is a most despicable act, and the perpetrator has absolutely no honor.  There is no honor in thievery of any kind and you must have honor before you can be Zen."

"Grasping at promises the hook is in your mouth, over broke losers falling down they can't seem to find a way out, there are so many cons who sell worthless trash, yet the lines are really long with a fist full of cash, when I lose it hurts me way too much, it's hard to know exactly who to trust." from a song I wrote titled:  Who to Trust

"The rats of the race are in your face do it all before you're too old, it may sound too good to be true but all that glitters is not gold, everyone will feel the pain they are masters of deception, some are caught and some will pay but they will never learn redemption." from a song I wrote titled:  Who to Trust

"Your personal identity is just that, personal.  I know you've heard it before and read it more than once, but when it comes to your personal information...keep it secret...keep it safe, and it's not paranoia, it's Zen."

"When it comes to protecting your identity it pays to be in a constant state of readiness and consider every source that could possibly save your a...neck."