Writings: Don’t believe everything you think



Don’t believe everything you think.

First time I heard this, I thought, “Well, that’s dumb. You wouldn’t think it if it wasn’t real to you. Besides blah blah blah….” If you’ve ever been inside my noisy head, you know I just went on. And on.

Then I looked at what I had just thought (or said in my head) and asked myself if it really was dumb. Maybe not. Maybe there’s another way to look at it….

And I realized I didn’t actually believe that thing I had just thought.

That reminded me of a story.

I’m seven years old, in early third grade. It’s the weekend, and my mom is in the back, hanging clothes on the line. My slightly younger sister got a lighter from somewhere, lit a candle, and crawled under a bed to play. The candle caught the bed afire, and smoke started to collect in the house.

raviBecause I went to school, where they trained you in the ways of the world & suggested ways to think, I knew exactly what to do. And I did it, unprompted and unguided, all on my own.

I went quietly and quickly, without talking to anyone, outside to the front yard and stood in the front yard. I remember, even now, hoping my sister was ok, but knew I wasn’t supposed to go back inside until they told me to.

And that’s what I learned from fire drills at school.

(Luckily, my mom was handy with a fire extinguisher, my sister came out of it OK, and when my mom asked, “What are you doing out there?” to the kid standing in the front yard (me), I didn’t say anything, because you’re not supposed to say anything to anyone during a fire drill.)

Interestingly, I don’t recall ever reviewing this with my folks, which meant I had to reflect on it on my own. Naturally, I came to realize that my sister had been in danger, and everything I was instructed to do didn’t help at all. And being afraid of being caught doing the wrong thing really didn’t help the situation. This all started to crystallize in my seven-year-old brain that sometimes you have to do what you’re told, but keep your eyes open, and options open, and your mind open. Shoot, while you’re at it, keep your heart open, too.

Then maybe you can help put out fires, little as you are.

A day after, I remember asked my sister, who had a certain grounded wisdom then, as now, why did she have a lighted candle under the bed. She said, “It was dark under there.”

And I would say, now, it was no darker under there than in my beclouded brain that was full of the thoughts of others that I had made into mine, and rendered me pretty useless in a real emergency.

You ever been in this kind of situation? and head space, and heart space?

Kinda cool to shake free, wasn’t it?

It’s more fun this way – challenging not just what others think but what we think – and I like the look on your face when you do.

Sunny days to you and sunny smiles, because you get it, hey.

Loving you,
Brother Ian


Writings: Any way you look at it…

You have it. I have it. Most everyone you know has it.

It feels almost impossible to escape it. No matter what we see or develop feelings about, it ends up coloured by our old thoughts, our old wounds, our old successes.

Someone says, “Yay!” and we can’t echo the cheer, because we had a different experience.

Someone says, “I hate that!” about something we’re fond of.

And when we pat ourselves on the back because we have an open mind, because we see things clearly & others don’t, because we get it & they don’t…there’s a bit more.

See, everything we say comes from one place – our heart. And it’s great that each person’s heart is different from each other person’s heart. And whatever each of us sees & feels & knows is shaped by the life in front of us, the way we see it & feel it. There’s no way anyone else could see it exactly the same way.

And that’s beautiful. It’s our chance to share our angle on things with our friends, and sometimes with people who don’t have as good an angle.

It’s our chance to celebrate the people who see things differently (or not at all!) from us, because they have something to share, too. It gives us a chance of real understanding, while still learning to cherish the place we see life from as well.

And that’s the beginning of the chance to be kind.

Love to you all –
Brother Ian

Writings: “The only way out is in, and the only way beyond is through.”

“Spiritual materialism is rampant and a life filled with spirit is a rarity. I don’t care how many crystals you have, how vegan your food is, or whether your Venus is in Jupiter since the last time you blamed your problems on the moon.

“If the way we carry and express ourselves condemns others while lifting ourselves, then we’re as off target as the people we’re condemning. I drink with the thinkers and smoke with the preachers and I’ve never met a good man that believed he has the answers.

“Let your personality be your greatest work of art, and let your actions weave a thread of unity. Laugh at the voice(s) in your head, befriend your ego before you listen to that bullshit that tells you to destroy it. That’s McDonalds spirituality – even attempting to get rid of ego means you want to avoid this and move towards that – creating more of the same inner conflict you’re trying to avoid. Inner silence and enviable peace doesn’t come from the avoidance of life as it is, it comes from moving as deeply into life as you can. The only way out is in, and the only way beyond is through.”

—Bryan Elli

Writings: Those who have ears to hear…


“If we can learn to listen, maybe life will tell us how it needs to regenerate. In the ancient ways, the leader was not the one who told people what to do, the leader was the one who listened, watched the signs, was attentive to the inner world.

Sufis talk about the ‘ear of the heart.’ This is something you learn in the relationship with the teacher. I spent 20 years sitting at the feet of my teacher listening. You learn through listening. You learn how to listen to what is between the words. You learn to listen to the heart, to the soul. You listen to people’s dreams, the signs in their lives. And similarly one can listen and watch the signs in the world around us.

The earth is calling to us, sending us signs of the extremity of its imbalance through earthquakes and tsunamis, floods and storms, drought, and unprecedented heat. These are what Thich Nhat Hanh calls the ‘Bells of Mindfulness,’ awakening our awareness to where it is needed at this moment in time.”

Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee



Writings: Old Zen story…and, seriously, why are you still carrying her?

Ymonk-feetou’ve heard this one before, hey – 

A senior monk and a junior monk were traveling together.

At one point, they came to a river with a strong current. As the monks were preparing to cross the river, they saw a very young and beautiful woman also attempting to cross. The young woman asked if they could help her.

The senior monk carried this woman in his arms, forded the river and let her down on the other bank. The junior monk was very upset, but said nothing.

They both were walking and senior monk noticed that his junior was suddenly silent, and enquired ,“Is something the matter, you seem very upset?”

The younger monk replied, “As monks, we are not permitted a woman, how could you then carry that woman?”

The older monk replied, “I left the woman a long time ago at the bank. However, you seem to be carrying her still.”

Intuitives & more: Lucid dreaming 101

dream1Couple nights ago, I was flying home when I saw the lights on at your house, and the dog on the porch. You waved from the window & smiled, and I waved back, and then went the rest of the way home.

Nope, I wasn’t in an airplane, on the way home from a trip, buzzing your house.

I was in a dream.  I remembered its details when I woke up. When I was in the dream, I felt that I had control of what I was doing in response to the things that were coming up, and did the things I thought were the best response to what was going on (this is what I do in my non-dream, waking state, which includes making mistakes, too!)

This is an approach to what some folks call lucid dreaming. With practice, people can recall bigger & bigger chunks of their  night time adventures, and begin to find connections with what’s going on there.

Now, if you’re really interested in this, I have three articles that will both introduce you to lucid dreaming and give you some ideas that, when you practice them, will help make you better & better at it.


Maybe a good overview place to start is this article, “Ten Interesting Facts about Lucid Dreaming That Will Open Your Mind,” by Rebecca Turner, who has a useful website about lucid reaming as well.

It's not just us...the ancient Egyptians were into lucid dreaming, too.....
It’s not just us…the ancient Egyptians were into lucid dreaming, too…..

While the best way to get into this is to read the article, here are the 10 things, just so you know what’s there.

1. The first lucid dreams were recorded by Ancient Egyptians.

2. One in five people lucid dream every month or more.

3. When you close your eyes in a lucid dream, you can wake up.

4. Lucid dreamers can “talk” to the outside world.

5. Lucidity arises from a special part of the brain.

6. Lucid dreaming can be mapped as a state of consciousness.

Brothers & sisters all over the world share the experience....
Brothers & sisters all over the world share the experience….

7. Certain vitamins will increase your dream intensity.

8. Lucid dream orgasms can be real.

9. Meditation is profoundly linked with self-awareness in dreams.

10. Tibetan Buddhist Monks practice lucid dreaming on their path to enlightenment.

(For more information, check out Rebecca’s World of Lucid Dreaming site.


You may find it helpful to look over this set of suggestions for getting going, which are an easy read, with easy steps – check out this WikiHow article.


Maybe this is a good way to approach all this – here’s a TED talk with Tim Post about lucid dreaming.

In 2013 Tim gave a talk at TEDx in the Netherlands on the emerging science of lucid dreaming and its potential power to enhance psychological development and overall wellbeing.

Having had numerous lucid dreams as a child, it wasn’t until he was 17 years old that Post discovered there was a special name for what he was doing. Since then he has researched, practiced and taught lucid dreaming, recording more than a thousand lucid dream entries in his journals. A graduate of educational psychology, he founded Lucidipedia and SnoozOn, online projects which support the scientific study and practice of lucid dreaming.

Writings: It’s the dream we carry, with Olav Hauge

It’s the dream we carry
that something wondrous will happen
that it must happen –
time will open
hearts will open
doors will open
mountains will open
spring will gush forth from the ground
that the dream itself will open
that one morning we’ll quietly drift
into a harbor we didn’t know was there

by Olav Hauge