After Thought #24
April 3, 2010


What is not here is just as important as what is here.  Life is a dance between what appears to be here and what appears to not be here.

You Are Here.

Without you, there would be nothing.   When nothing becomes something, there is the possibility for anything.  Even though you are here, there is a good chance that you have forgotten what is not here.  There is a good chance that you have forgotten the immeasurable potential of what is not here, and what could be here.

In that forgetfulness, the potential of nothing to become something appears to bound what is actually unbound.  What is here becomes more important, more valuable, and more sacred than what is not here.

When what is here becomes more important and more sacred than what is not here, there appears to be separation and struggle.  There is no separation between what appears to be not here and what appears to be here; emptiness becomes form, form becomes emptiness.  If emptiness is becoming form and form is becoming emptiness, then there is neither form nor emptiness.  Nothing and everything just are.

You are here and you are not here, simultaneously.

If you spent a little more time valuing what appears to be not here; becoming aware of what appears to be not here, your appreciation of what appears to be and what appears not to be would be elevated in gentle, unspoken ways.  What appears to be bound would also appear to become unbound.  You might glimpse for the first time, that what is here is also not here.

We appear to get stuck when we confuse and amplify, label and judge with distinction, what is here with what is not here; barriers appear to be created where there are none.  We try to explain with understanding and reasoning what appears to be here and what appears to not to be here.  We begin to imagine something is here when it is not; we begin to imagine something is not here when in fact it is.

There will always be an impulse of what is not here; to become what was, what is, and what will potentially be here. 

There will always be an impulse to Be.

We spend most of our life using time and attention to focus on what is here: we want more of what is already here, and we want what is already here, to remain here forever.

If we were to lend some of that attention to what appears to be not here, we would bridge the gap of our own misunderstanding, confusion and delusion.  We might reconcile the paradox of what appears to be here with what appears to not be here.  We might finally realize what appears to be here, is actually not here, and what appears to not be here, actually is here.  We might finally realize there is no here, not here.

What is not here is just as important as what is here.  Life is the dance between the two that are actually One.

You Are Here;

better said, you think you are here when you’re actually not.

You’re neither here, nor not here!

: )

ZEN Shredding ~ Insight # 18
October 15, 2008


Recognize struggle in your life.


Most of us have been conditioned to believe that we must struggle, strive and work hard in order to achieve or be successful. When you recognize struggle you can choose to momentarily pause and pull back your attention from that struggle.  This creates space and within the space you will find the freedom to choose a different way of Being. 


Extended commentary:


Someone once said we were born to struggle.  While there is still, occasional struggle in my own life, I have learned to indentify it as primarily a subjective state of mind.  There are times when an outer occurrence could cause great angst and it does not, and there are times when something really irrelevant triggers a cascade of emotions that undermine my attempts to navigate the present moment. 


My exploration and training in a process known as Rebirthing has provided much awareness and understanding into the story we build around struggle.  According to the precepts of Rebirthing our conditioning around struggle is primarily or at least heavily based on the experience of the birth process itself.  If we had a “difficult” birth (and for most it was not effortless!) we will wrongly assume that all experiences thereafter will also be based on struggle and precedent of that “first experience.  As a concept and explanation of suffering, it sits well with me.  I have witnessed enough of my own process and the lives of others to recognize the familiar patterns of struggle when they show up and the debilitating effects it can have on personal well being.


The wisdom tradition of Vedanta takes us a little deeper and more directly into the jugular when addressing the concept of struggle, suggesting the source of all suffering is a result of forgetfulness, of not knowing our true Self or Nature.  While there may be fear and grasping to that which is transient and unreal or identification to an imagined false core self or “I”; it is a lack of awareness of the ONE Self that causes a cascade of effects and immediate ramifications into our life.  The philosophy goes on to say that by discovering our true nature and Self we have the ability to resolve or transform all levels of suffering including the fear of death by pursuing a quest for Who We Are.


Regardless of the story, we have created around struggle, by objectifying the subjective; we break the spell of its hold on our life.  By becoming aware of the pattern of struggle itself, by witnessing its unique details within our body mind system, we loosen the ties that bind, and for a second the finite touches the infinite. 



What areas of your life feel like they are a struggle?


To order a copy of ZEN Shredding please visit:




Check out “Living The Dream”, the gift book version of the slideshow/movie that is available to view free on You tube or the ZEN Shredding website; an inspiring read with full color photo’s of Whistler/Blackcomb Alpine…



(c) Copyright – Michael Sean Symonds. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.




Born to struggle???
February 15, 2008

 “I” bumped into my head this morning ~ twice!  Once on a low hanging entrance, the next time while getting into a truck.  This was shortly after a brief snow shoveling adventure, [ NOT ] my favorite activity in life…  

This event was before a friend confided to me that her mother in law had been just diagnosed with inoperable cancer.  She was distressed; I hugged and tried to console her… 

Later in the Whistler Blackcomb day lot, a snow boarding dude was just a little pissed because his car had got stuck in a small pot hole.  Now, I’m not so butch by any means, but the princess inside me decided to find her inner male and we eventually freed the “dude” from his tribulation ~ Yeah!   This was after he had ranted about the difficulties of living in the resort town that we are… 

People suffer.  “I” suffer.  Recently the feeling of struggle/suffering has been percolating to the surface of my awareness ~ again.  I’ve done enough work on “myself” to realize this particular trance when it arises, and have varying degrees of ability to navigate it’s currants or submerge myself in it’s all too familiar whirlpools.   

At a meeting once we did an introductory question:   “If you had one supper power what would it be?”   “I” thought it was a great question.  My super power would be the ability to take away, with the snap of my fingers “someone’s suffering”. 

A friend once confided to me that she opened a very famous book that began with the sentence… “life is a struggle”, and ended up slamming it shut, never to read it or the contents contained, just because of the opening sentence…


We suffer, humanity suffers.  The “I” suffers.  As long as we continue to identify with the “I” and all its thoughts, feelings, emotions, perceptions and associations we will struggle and suffer in life.  While the desire to eliminate the suffering and struggle in life might be based on some noble virtue, most of humanity is simply not interested in discovering the source of suffering that exists in the world today.   It’s simply too easy to find so many things “wrong’ on the outside, to begin to scratch the surface of what’s really going on “inside.”  Collin Sisson once said “you are completely in charge of your life to the degree you are aware of your own inner perfection…”  What a profoundly simple statement. 

Wisdom traditions teach us that there can never be an external change without first having an internal change.  The purest of these teachings suggest that it is “I”dentification, that causes our problems.  We live our lives with our attention focused and distracted to the foreground of the mirage self or “I”, while missing the background of our true self that existed all along.   In our “forget”   “full”   “ness”,  and depending on the degree of “I”dentification, we get stuck in the little or big potholes that life has a tendency to present to us.   “I” do not believe that life is a struggle.  “I” believe that we believe that life is a struggle because most of us never get to experience the perfection that exists before, during and after the struggling and suffering arises and subsides. 

Most of us never get to have an alternative experience contrary to the struggling and suffering and as a result continue to do life in the same old ways that the majority of the planet subscribes too.  “I” need to be clear that there is no judgment on this particular and most popular method of doing life; I’m just encouraging and challenging the status quo that assumes it’s the only way to do life… 

After the heroics of my parking lot experience “I” went to see a movie, [ ONE ] of my favorite activities in life…  I was pleasantly surprised as the mgr. cashier “comped” me with a free ticket to the movie.  The nice thing about struggle and suffering is that it is not permanent; there is always the opposite swing of the pendulum…  

“Like two golden birds perched on the selfsame tree, intimate friends, the ego [ “I” ] and the Self dwell in the same body.  The former eats the sweet and sour fruits of the tree of life, while the latter looks on in detachment.”

The Mundaka Upanishad

What’s your supper power?

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