Animal Zen Masters: The cat

Nature delivers the greatest Zen masters in learning how to live in the presence.

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It is fascinating to see cats balancing on the most impossible objects high in the sky and seem to keep their balance in a perfect way. But even cats fall off sometimes, in a dramatic way and it is funy to see how undisturbed a cat can walk away afterwards as if nothing happened.

Even if you’re wrong you’re right, because you made an impact and that is enough.

Zen Masters: The fly

Nature delivers the greatest Zen masters in learning how to live in the presence.

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Ever wondered why it is so difficult to hit a fly?
Their secret is that they’re consciousness is so much in the presence, the sense 0,5 seconds in the future and 0,5 seconds in the past, so are gone before you’re even think of hitting.

The more rooted you are in the presence, the more consious you are.

Zen Masters: The peregrine Falcon

Nature delivers the greatest Zen masters in learning how to live in the presence.


Imagine a brid faster then a Ferrari. It exists and its Latin name is Falco peregrinus. Its normal airspeed is 105-115 kilometers per hour, but when it dives it reaches velocities that exceed 320 km/h!


It climbs up to a high altitude and gravity plus a perfect body shape does the rest. Nostrils and eyelids are protected, because of the pressure is so high.

Be the falcon, shape your being to reduce friction and use the power of gravity.

Zen Masters: The cow

Nature delivers the greatest Zen masters in learning how to live in the presence.


I was staring at a cow laying in the meadow relaxed and ruminating.
It was staring back at me with big, lazy eyes. At least so it seems on the outside. Inside a huge factory is working. Eating, swallowing, pre-processing, ruminating and swallow again, using 4 stomachs.

Be the cow when interacting with othes, swallow, pre-process and ruminate the words, before you react.

The Lonely Pony, A story with a tail

Once upon a time, like a few million years ago, there lived a herd of small pony-like animals on a steppe. It was a pretty big herd for a herd at that time. All together around 26 and a half;one of them was even smaller than the others. Not that he was bothered with that, because every time one of the pony-like creatures made a joke at his expense, he was witty enough to react and leave them standing with their mouths open. His name was Equus.

Because it was several millions of years ago they didn’t have the problem with the humans, simply because of the fact that there weren’t any humans. At least not as we know them now, the noisy and intruding kind. No, at that time the predecessors of humans where much too pre-occupied with themselves, trying to figure out where all those things at the end of their arms and legs were good for, what one could do with them and the fact that the sun, the moon and the stars had to be some kind of divine god. That, and staring at each other, wondering where on earth that other two-legged creature came from.

Now, those were the days.


Equus wasn’t just small; he also was ambitious and liked to eat the good leaves. He liked to eat leaves better than he did grass., Grass was abundant in the steppe, but he went for the leaves in the trees. In order to get to them, he had to stand on his hind legs and stretch his neck as much as he could. The rest of the herd laughed at him, but he didn’t care. He got the best snacks around!

Talking about that, there was one lady in the herd and she was particularly fond of Equus. She liked his attitude, his humor, his persistence and his brown eyes. Equus noticed this and as there weren’t a lot of diamonds around (plus the fact that a pony-like creature isn’t interested in diamonds at all), he picked the best leaves he could find and gave them to her.

They fell in love and she gave birth to a great-looking small pony-like creature and together they couldn’t be happier. Until the moment another beautiful pony-like creature girl was born. That was when they became even happier.

Equus and the Lady both made it a habit to pick the highest leaves, standing on their hind legs stretching their necks. The rest of the herd found them strange and peculiar, especially when they saw that Equus and the lady taught their children to do the same. The distance grew between the herd and them…

Life went on, years went by, and the Equus family grew taller when their children got children and their children got children and all of them started to dislike grass and all of them reached for the higher leaves. It was a funny looking bunch, all those animals standing on their hind legs, stretching their necks, enjoying the green delights. The distance between them and the original herd grew even more. The Equus family was still laughed at, but they didn’t care. They were happy by themselves.

Life went on and a thousand years went by and the Equus family was still mocked and laughed at by the herd. What lunatics you are, the herd shouted, why reach for the unreachable leaves, when the best grass is on the ground, everywhere. The only thing you have to do is bend your head and eat! Any sane animal knows that. The Equus family didn’t care. They had each other. Besides, which animals in their right mind would eat food they had just walked on?

Life went on and a million years went by and the Equus family wasn’t living with their original herd anymore. They left for new areas, with better and higher trees, still enjoying the best leaves high up in the trees and still enjoying themselves.

Their herd was huge and had spread out in the world, but the root of the original Equus family was still together. As a matter of fact, one of the males was still called Equus, in honor of his greatgreatgreatgreatgreat….etc grandfather. And this Equus was well-equipped. He easily reached the highest possible, most tasteful leaves of any tree. With his head in the sun, he was enjoying the day, when suddenly he heard a voice…

The voice said: “Equus, I am so proud of you and your long, long line of ancestors. Resisting the usual, going for the highest and the best, not letting yourself be influenced by what the other members of the herd say. I am proud of the way you have developed. I am proud of what you have achieved and how happy you have been, no matter what happened.”

Equus was confused and looked around, but didn’t see anyone.

The voice continued: “Therefore I will give you, and everybody in your herd, a specially designed coat so everybody will recognize you. But most importantly, I will give you, and all the animals in your herd, a new name. A new name for your species, an honorary title that is. From now on your species is called Giraffe.


The Lonely Pony is part of The World Of Beast and is a fable. It is not the way Giraffes have developed, but is a metaphor to explain that sometimes, the misfits, the unusual, the ones that go against the grain are the ones that are celebrated.

The properties of a path creator


To discover the world I like to run.

Whether I am in a new town or on holidays, I believe it’s a good way to get to know the environment (and stay healthy at the same time ;-)).  Also when I’m running from the house I like to discover new paths. On one on my runs I had an interesting metaphor.

Old paths are just there. Everyone takes them, so the ground is worn and the surface flat. Even in the dark, just a little moonshine lights up the light colour of the path. That is easy and relaxed running. At any pace.

The thing with new paths is that they’re new.
Therefore they are not there. It’s a potential path.

A potential path is just a very attractive area. To create a path means running from where you are to some point at the horizon. The point of freedom, freshness, new things, an adventure!

But because there’s no path, the ground is rough, rocky and unequal. The grass is high and robust and the risk of twisting an ankle or trip is always present.

The best way to create a new path is to adapt your speed and stay focussed on the surface so you don’t trip. And keep in shape to run the same track over and over again.

After a while you’ll notice your speed increases, thoughts start wondering around again and suddenly you realize the rough track has turned into a path.

Happy running.

Life is a journey and sometimes it necessary to rewind

Schermafbeelding 2013-09-04 om 20.56.42It is like music on a cassette tape (which was by the way invented 50 years ago). The music plays, life goes on, knowledge and experience build up. Some songs have certain undeniable memories. You know that feeling.

And sometimes you need to rewind and listen to the songs again.

Chances are, this time you hear a different message or build a new memory in a new spirit.

When you’re aware the world is a puppet show, you can become a puppeteer

But this awareness comes with a great responsibility. Schermafbeelding 2013-07-18 om 15.20.31

Everyone is constantly creating his own reality.

The fact is, it’s the only way we can perceive the world. So based on our past experiences (good or bad) we define for ourselves what is real, or what we want to be real.

This self-defined reality also creates a shield, because when something ‘unwanted’ outside this self-defined reality interferes, we have the tendency to ‘create’ it away.

In other words, we re-define this new outside ‘thing’, based on the reality we know, want and prefer. Every one of us. And that is why we defend our believes and the things we think. It is hard to accept ‘new’ things when it doesn’t fit our personal, trusted reality. It makes us rigid and afraid of change.

In that sense, we are puppets of our past experiences.

We act as a result of these experiences. The good ones and the bad ones. And the older we get, the more rigid we become.

Rigid as a result of prejudices, of conventions, of expectations, of patterns, of suffering, of happiness, of joy, of frustration. Knowing this, changes everything. The way we create our own reality but especially the reality for other people….

For example, if some one is using your creative idea to make himself look better, what would you do?

Normally I would say something about it to that person, but now I realize, this person needs my idea to create a better reality for himself. That is fantastic*! I am proud of the fact I can be part of the creation of his reality.

In a way, all my reactions create a new reality for others. When I’m laughing hard, when I give a compliment, when I am upset or angry or when I am happy.

My reactions are part of the creation of the reality of others and that’s a big responsibility.

For a period of time I’ve been looking at myself and try to figure out why I react the way I do and why I did it and was more and more focusing on how I could change that.

And as with everything, the realization of things is only the beginning, practice turns it into a brain pattern and into a habit. So here are a few pointers:

  1. Ask more questions, because people like to talk about themselves and find that the best conversation. Not you talking to them.
  2. Listen.
  3. Putting yourself in the mind of the other person (empathy) and try to understand his or her reality (asking questions helps a lot)
  4. Thinking about the possible outcomes or consequences, before acting or re-acting (the more you practice, the faster you see different outcomes, the easier it is to make inspirational choices).
  5. Contemplate about what you’ve experienced.
  6. Move your focus from short term to long term.
  7. Inspire people (yes, that is about story telling). Don’t tell what to do. Create a context in which people can make the (right) decision by themselves.

And remember, the easiest way to feel better when you’re down, is to do something good for some one else. Just try it 😉


*It is interesting to see what the literal meaning of some words is:

Realize (what you make real)

Fantastic (that what you fantasize from Old French fantastique, via medieval Latin from Greek phantastikos, from phantazein ‘make visible’, phantazesthai ‘have visions, imagine’

Inspire from Old French inspirer, from Latin inspirare ‘breathe or blow into’ from in- ‘into’ + spirare ‘breathe’. The word was originally used of a divine or supernatural being, in the sense ‘impart a truth or idea to someone’.

Maybe you’re born with a talent, but you’re not born with knowledge

3335652343_1dba943e5fBeing born with a talent or talents is a blessing, but there are a few things to be aware of.

First having a talent doesn’t mean it is discovered. By yourself or by another.

To discover it by yourself I’d say just try. Do a lot of things, even the things that are scary or seem far away. The things you’re good at will stick and develop.

For others to discover it? Don’t worry, it’ll happen, but that’s not the objective. The focus is on you.

The second thing is that in order to let talent grow to its full potential, it takes experience and knowledge (which in a way are the same).

That can take long time and this is a crucial period. It’s this period that makes a lot of talented people loose faith and quit. Be aware and keep going. Use the experience, make it your own, building knowledge and your own style.

This can be a very insecure period, but differentiates true talent from less-talented. The real ones keep on going, learning, growing, falling down, getting up and move on.

Talent is not just a natural born trait, it is also persistence and focus.

Until that time remember this: Talent are like Italian shoes. They look great, they fit beautifully, but only after walking enough miles makes them perfectly, like a second skin. But in order to get there, you have to deal with painful blisters.

And that can be a lot.

But at one point your talent and knowledge match. That is heaven.