Insight #48 ~ ZEN Shredding…
June 2, 2009

Blacomb spring 2008 049


You are not your thoughts; you are the one who is having those thoughts.


It is said that we have over fifty thousand thoughts per day, every day.  The frightening part of this idea is that ninety percent of the thoughts you have today will be the ones you also have tomorrow.  As long as you continue to identify solely with your thoughts they will continue to have power and dominion over you.  As you practice identifying with your true nature, your thoughts no longer have the power to disempower you in your life experience.


Extended commentary:

Sit comfortably and let your eyes close, do this for ten minutes or so, if you can.

While your eyes are closed, take the time to simply notice your thoughts.

After around 10 minutes, let your eyes open, slowly, then read/contemplate the following questions…


What 10 assumptions have you, or do you make, about thinking?

Were you able to sit for the full amount of time?

Were you able to notice/hear your thoughts?

Were you able to notice that there was a space between each thought?

Did this space between thoughts increased or decreased at all during your meditation?

Did your thinking speed up or slow down?

Did you judge, evaluate or place any significance on the thoughts you had during the meditation?

How did you feel about the thoughts that occurred during your mediation?

Did you notice any physical or emotional reaction to those thoughts?

Did you find yourself identifying yourself as/to/with those thoughts?


I would like you to sit comfortably once again and let your eyes close, do this for ten minutes or so, if you can.

This time around I want you to again watch your thoughts as they occur, and, as they occur, I  would like you to notice the space or gap that occurs before and after each thought.  Allow your thoughts to occur, and place your attention on the space, however big or small, that occurs before and after each thought.

After 10 minutes or so, open your eyes and think about the following questions:



How would your life be different if you did not identify with or to your thoughts?

What makes you think that “your” thoughts, are “your” thoughts?

How would your life be different if you knew that the thoughts you have, are not yours, that they do not belong to you personally?

Do you place a “higher” level of appreciation on positive thoughts, while also demonizing your “negative” thoughts?

What makes you think that positive thoughts are different than negative thoughts?

How would your life be different if you knew experientially, that thoughts have no inherent power; that, only when we unconsciously or consciously ascribe power to those thoughts do they then appear to have power over our subjective, (internal) experience?

How would your thinking and behavior change if you knew that all thoughts arise and subside into from and too, the same “place”?

If you are not your thoughts and all the concepts that arise out of all thoughts and thinking, then who or what are you?

Now, as you read these words on the screen of your computer; as you read these thoughts that have become words and sentences, I want you to use your attention to notice the one who is reading these thoughts and words. As you read these thoughts and words, notice that there is a presence; a presence that is aware of not only the words, the spaces between the words, but also it self.  Notice that your attention can be on the words and thoughts and also in THAT awareness or presence that exists before, during and after the words or thoughts are perceived.  Notice that the presence that is their now, reading these words, is the same presence that was their yesterday, and will also be their tomorrow.  Notice that all thoughts come and go, arise and subside, in this awareness; in THAT presence.

You are not your thoughts; a symptom of you appears as the one who is observing those thoughts; a symptom of you appears as the witness to those thoughts.  The you that appears to observe those thoughts is the same you that was their, that is here, and that will be their tomorrow.  The presence that appears as you is your touch point, your bridge, and your doorway to your freedom and the bondage of the mind. 

Avoid the story that your mind is spinning, you will only, ever, get caught up in the conspiracy of its conjecture.  Any time you identify to a thought ~ ANY thought, you will limit yourself in some way.  In the silent, still, awareness of your being, things come and go, arise and subside; they will appear to exist and potentially exist in this awareness.  You are not the you that you imagine or think yourself to be.  You are much more than you could ever possibly imagine or think.    


What is the most negative thought you have about yourself and how does it influence your life?


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…






When you get a chance, please visit the home of my latest work:




The Essentials of a Good Life…


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


ZEN Shredding ~ Insight #24
November 24, 2008


Show up. 



So many journeys and dreams are cut short before they even begin.  As your mind slices and dices your experience, you can lose yourself in the confusion.  Learn to mute dissection, analysis and judgment of your life experience and simply show up.  Having done that, you can step aside and allow the moment to unfold.



Extended commentary:


A conscious mind will always provide a never ending train of thoughts. The wisdom tradition of yoga teaches us that we are not our thoughts; that, until we have a direct experiences of our true nature or “Self” to show us otherwise, we will continue to identify and imagine ourselves to be “our” thoughts; we will continue to be a slave to “the mind” and all the thoughts that “the mind” entertains.


Imagine for a moment that you did not identify with or to your thoughts,  that regardless of whether you had a good thought or a bad thought, a loving thought or a hateful thought, you simply witnessed the thought arise and subside without identifying or becoming fused to that thought.


  Imagine you not only witnessed the thought, but also were aware of the one who witnesses the thought itself, that you could observe those thoughts without allowing yourself to be attached too, or overwhelmed by those thoughts.  Without this distraction and confusion of thoughts or the thinking process, how would your life be different?  What kind of choices would you make?  How would you live your life?  How would you experience your life? 


Take this one step further.  You are not your mind; in fact you are not your mind as equally as much, as you are not your body.  From birth you have been conditioned to believe yourself to be your body and your mind, and on that foundation of false conditioning you built and added newer versions of an imagined self. 


As you identified yourself to your body/mind; as you fused yourself to specific thoughts, feelings, emotions, perceptions, associations and memories that you called “I”, “me” and “mine”.  You “lost touch” with your true nature and “Self” by substituting it with a false nature and self.  You bonded and stabilized yourself to an imaginary identity; a story and composite of a shadow you, that had a past and future, memories and desires, beliefs and fears.


  You took on questions and concerns about who you were, who you are and who you want to be.  You built a life ~ an entire life, based on choices and decisions, ideas and beliefs on a character “you”, a foundation of conditioning and self engendered thoughts that you call “my psychology”, “my personality”.  You wanted happiness, security and freedom and instead, and by degree, you found mostly suffering and pain. 


We spend our lives managing a self that has no existence outside of our own mind. With well intentioned misunderstanding, we apply attention, effort and energy to the improvement, change and transformation of a false self to provide more comfort, ease and security, where there can be none.  We look out there, to the world of form and phenomena, all the while missing the One who could provide true solace to all our endevours.


It’s easy to come up with a million reasons why we “should not” do things in life; there will always be thoughts and there will always be reasons why we “should not” pursue a life and the experiences in life that could bring greater meaning, purpose and fulfillment to Who We Are.


 Sometimes, we just need to take a small, simple step in order to begin breaking the chain of an illusion; a label or definition, a thought, belief or assumption that was anchored as a perception that inherently, has nothing to do with who or what we are. 


Sometimes, when take a risk and simply show up in life in new and previously unimagined ways, we scratch the surface of a new dimension to our being.  With a flicker of attention, we shift from what was noticed, to the One who notices.  We peel back a layer of an onion that at its core, was always, simply, sweet… 


    When was the last time you remember just showing up for life and how did it feel?



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.



The naked, direct experience of “I” mind…
March 19, 2008

“I’m uncertain and afraid.

“I” sometimes feel lonely. 

“I’m wise and talented.  

“I’m single.

“I’m white.

“I’m a male.

“I’m gay. 

“I’m older, “I’m passionate.

“I” meditate.

“I’m a snowboarder.

“I’m a reader, writer, artist and teacher. 

“I’m a student.

“I’m Canadian.

“I’m a “local”. 

“I’m quiet, sometimes feel angry, and once in great while, sad. 

“I” can be intense, purposeful and driven. 

“I’m playful, introspective and sometimes insecure. 

“I’m a seeker, knower and dreamer. 

“I’m concerned. 

“I’m clear, knowledgeable and innovative. 

“I’m disciplined, sometimes noisy and messy.

“I’m trustworthy and intelligent. 

“I’m searching, finding, forgetting and remembering. 

“I’m healthy, immature and mature. 

“I’m a loner.

“I’m a visionary. 

“I’m an unrequited lover. 

“I” can be argumentative, sometimes dismissive and very efficient.

“I’m compassionate, judgmental and occasionally distant.

“I’m committed, “I’m curious.

“I’m a brother, a son, a friend.

“I” care too much about what people think of me.

“I” drive a Jeep.

“I’m the most creative person “I” know.

“I’m a 21st century Yogi.

“I” love life.  

“I” want to be inspired.  

“I” want to inspire. 



None of these things have anything to do with

Who “I AM”.  

Who I AM

is more than my thoughts, my feelings, my emotions, my perceptions, my associations, my memories and my preferences.

Who I AM

is more than my body and the psychology of the “I” mind. 

If “I” do not use, identify or depend on my thoughts, feelings, emotions, perceptions, associations, memories, preferences or body, then

Who AM I?

If “I” do not use, identify or depend on my thoughts, feelings, emotions, perceptions, associations, memories, preferences or body, then what reason do “I” need to define myself?  


Who I AM

is infinite, unbounded, and immortal.

Who I AM

is beyond definition, detail or description. 

As soon as “I” define myself, “I” lose myself in the details. 

The details are happening to “me”, or not.   

“I” am more than a detail, a description, an experience or a story. 

The experience and story is happening to “me”, or not. 

I AM  not the story that is spoken or unspoken. 

The story ~ all stories, are contained within “me”.


the knower, the knowing and the known…    

The mechanics of synchronicity…
March 15, 2008

The Universe is in constant communication with us.  This eternal conversation of unbounded clues and cues, a resource of energy and information, is freely available to anyone whose attention is lively, and can be used in any moment to support us as we navigate the varied terrain of our life.  When the mind and body are quiet, when we are attentive to those clues and cues, we have the ability to navigate decisions and choices in the moment, we have the ability to make the “right” response to every situation as it occurs…

Most human beings are unfortunately distracted into the noise and nonsense of the foreground of life that overshadows the innate, inherent connection we all have to the mystery of our existence and Who We Are.  It is very common for those pursuing the path of awakening to experience a noticeable increase and occurrence in meaningful coincidence or synchronicity in their life. 

While many may discount coincidence or perceive synchronicity as somewhat of unnatural phenomena, it is in fact a normal and perfectly natural experience. It is a capacity that can be cultivated and enhanced for the benefit of oneself and the lives you touch. While many dream of more “personal conversations with God”, we must be willing to recognize that the Universe has infinite ways of communicating the necessary information to those who are willing to receive it; most of them are non verbal.  You don’t need to be an advanced psychic or adept to experience “your own personal conversation with God”.  There are however a few principles that if practiced can help elevate the experience, expression and understanding of synchronicity in your life, to open up the most meaningful conversation you will ever have.  

Principle #1     There is no separation, there is no distinction.  Everything is Consciousness, nothing exists outside of Consciousness. 

The “I” imagines that it and others are separate, distinct expressions of the creative process that exist independently from all other things, causes and conditions.  The “I” assumes and asserts its independence and, through the psychology of the mind, projects itself falsely “as an island” into the world of form and phenomena.  In order for “something” to occur in the Universe the entire Universe must conspire for that “something” to happen or not.  Nothing exists independently of its causes or conditions. 

 Our existence is orchestrated with infinite finesse and correlation; everything is correlated with everything else.  Consciousness is defined by interdependence not independence.  Synchronicity reflects back to us the symptoms of this connection and correlation.  Synchronicity is a Universal whisper; a hint and invitation to surrender and engage the flow.  

Principle #2     Resist the temptation to identify and take ownership of your perceived reality. 

When the magic of synchronicity begins to express itself in your life, the “I” might be tempted to assume that it is the cause of such phenomena.  Within the web of creation, all events, people and things dance in the light of “the creative process”.  The mirage of the phenomenal world is so strong that the “I” will attempt to take ownership of circumstances, situations, people and things; it will imagine that it can influence or control what appears to be “reality”.  

Conventional reality is based on things.  Absolute reality is based on a web of information and energy, the idea of “one” substance not two.  The “I” has no independent ability unto itself to create or influence a thing; ideas, thoughts, motivations, actions, inspiration, creativity or genius itself while appearing as “I” manufactured, actually only “occurs” or “happens” to the “I”.   The “I” receives the impulse of the idea, thought, motivation, action or inspiration and then falsely claims ownership where there is none. 

You are the one who is having a desire, the desire is not you.  You are the one who is having the idea, the idea is not the real you.  You are the one who is being inspired, engaging creativity, or demonstrating genius; you are neither the art nor the genius who created the art, they are contained within you.   The expression of synchronicity can be enhanced by acknowledging that “you” are simply a thread within a vast web of existence.  You are the recipient and benefactor in a Universe where there is no source.  Are you ready to listen?

Principle #3     Become clear, aware and detached around the most important and meaningful intentions “you” have for your life. 

The mind is a valuable tool to use when clarifying what is meaningful and important.  When “your” mind is synchronized to the mind of the “Universe” your desires become the desires of the Universe.  When “your” mind is calibrated to the mind of the “Universe” your ideas, dreams and inspirations become the ideas, dreams and inspirations of the “Universe”.  Nourish and cultivate the intentions and desires “you” have for “your” life.  The impulse of every idea, dream and inspiration “you” have is the very life throb of the Universe expressing through “you”, “as you”.    

Principle #4     Life is an opportunity to nurture the value of relationship; “one” relationship with many flavors.

As you nurture the value of relationship in your life, beginning with your Self, you will recognize the primary vehicle for the expression of synchronicity in your life.  Through your connection to people, places and experiences you will gain the necessary information, ideas, insights and opportunities to elevate your life experience to more intimate levels of experience.  Through people, places and experiences doorways will be opened and closed revealing the necessary information to elevate your life experience.  

Principle #6     Seek happiness outside the experience of another’s approval or disapproval.

As long as you continue to defer yourself to some external source or power, you will continue to suffer.  Learning to appreciate and cultivate the innate connection you have to the Universe where all your needs are met allows you to relinquish the need to depend on another’s approval or disapproval for your needs to be met. 

Principle #7     Synchronicity provides the opportunity to experience inspiration, fulfillment or closure to circumstances, situations, experiences and events in your life.

You are the source of both suffering and joy in your life.  When you take responsibility for recognizing that you are not your thoughts, memories, emotions, perceptions and associations you will experience profound levels of detachment that provide the subjective experience of freedom you have been looking for.  Synchronicity provides the preamble for inspiration, fulfillment or closure to be expressed in your life. 

Principle #8     Synchronicity opens new doorways of possibility; your “next step” in life. 

Within any moment there are perceivable and unperceivable choices to be made.  The “I” cannot fathom nor formulate the outcome of any experience.  The “I” can only ever speculate a projection.  Engaging the element of synchronicity in ones life is an opportunity to step into a field of infinite possibilities that could never be anticipated by the “I” mind.  However uncertain the moment may be, synchronicity is a cue or clue to unlock a doorway to infinitely more dynamic possibilities that could never be imagined. 

Principle #9     Synchronicity provides greater levels of clarity and conviction to the ever changing, ever evolving meaning and purpose of your life. 

The body-mind is hardwired to organize chaos within the heart of a Universe whose essence is chaos.  Synchronicity provides the body/mind with a reference point, the milestones and weigh stations of integration that allow you to navigate your life experience with more effortless ease.  In a Universe that can never be rationally defined, the expression and experience of synchronicity in your life provides you with a glimpse of eternity and the infinite organizing power of consciousness; an inheritance, your birthright.  

Principle #10     Synchronicity is an opportunity to investigate (ask questions) or integrate (”heal/transform”) premature thoughts, memories, emotions, associations and perceptions we have about the story our life and life in general.  Do they determine Who We Are or do they inform us to Who We Are?

In silence the mind remembers, the soul awakens.  When the mind and body are quiet attention settles into Self awareness.  You don’t have to figure it out.  In silence you can find what was never lost; everything will fall into place.  Everything you need is here and now.  Be playful when idea’s flicker into your awareness.  Allow; don’t judge.  Explore don’t resist.  Remain flexible and follow the thread of synchronicity in your life.  Embrace new information, new ideas and new ways of being to be expressed.  Reach into yourSelf; reach out to another.  The body-mind is an instrument that can easily become out of tune with love.  Take care of yourSelf, nurture yourSelf, become yourSelf.

“The perfect man has no self;

the spiritual man has no achievement;

the sage has no name.”

Chuang Tzu       

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