Monthly Archives: April 2013

The Refuge of Experience

Remember the Native American legend of the good wolf and the evil wolf? The little boy asks his grandfather which one will win. Do you remember what the grandfather answers? “The one you feed.”

The implication is that we should feed one of the wolves and let the other starve. If we’re patient and consistent enough, eventually, we can eliminate the evil wolf and have only good.

In his teaching, Fred Davis ( makes a distinction between thinking and experience. Experience can mean something we accumulate slowly over time. “She is very good at what she does because she has so much experience.” However, what Fred is talking about is what we might call momentary experience — the experience going on in this moment now.

In each moment, I can trust my thinking or I can trust my experience. If I go with my thinking, I wind up identified with the body/mind, separate, and sooner or later, suffering. When I go with experience, there’s peace, ease, aliveness, connection, and no problems. Only a thought can have a problem. When I catch myself having problems, that’s a clue that I’m identifying with the thinking and an opportunity to shift back to experience.

Which wolf will win? The one I feed more, certainly, but the thinking wolf has its uses. We don’t want to starve it to death. We just want to remember that we can always turn to the wolf of experience for a break from the responsibilities and problems and stresses the wolf of thought brings us.

It might be useful to notice that thought happens within experience. We can have experience without thought, but we can’t have thought without experience. Experiencing awareness has to be present before thought can happen. Moment by moment experience is primary and fundamental. Thought, sensation, everything happens only within that primary and fundamental experience.

Posted by on 2013/04/06 in Uncategorized


Tiny Habits (3)

For the past week, I’ve been working on these habits:

  1. After I peel a banana, I will say thanks for one thing
  2. After I put something in the microwave, I will fill my water bottle if necessary and take a sip
  3. After pulling out of the garage, I will sit in the driveway to watch the garage door close

The banana habit has gone well. Sometimes I catch myself remembering to give thanks for something a few minutes after having peeled the banana. On the other hand, sometimes I notice that I think of the habit a few minutes before getting to the banana and going ahead and finding a gratitude at that point. The purpose of course, is just to get create more gratitude in my life and that’s what’s happening.

The goal of number 2 is to get me to drink water earlier in the day on weekends. When I fix my breakfast, I usually microwave my frozen blueberries for 30 seconds and water for a hot drink for two minutes. So that gives me triggers to take two sips of water. Taking the two sips reminds me that I want to drink more water (and take my water bottle with me when I leave the house), so that’s headed in the right direction.

Number 3 comes from some episodes last year when I thoughtlessly managed to ride off on my bike (or drive off in my car) leaving the garage door open. It’s not such a big deal when Karen is home, but it’s not so good to just go off and leave the house wide open to whatever critters might wander in. So this week I’ve done a good job of paying attention to closing the garage door because of making a point of sitting in the driveway to watch it close.

I may stick with this set for another week. I’m not feeling as automatic and confident with them as I did the first set.

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Posted by on 2013/04/06 in Uncategorized


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Tiny Habits Project (2)

I want to say a little more about the third habit I worked on last week, “After I open the door on my way out of the house, I will touch the door jamb and say, ‘I’ll be back.’”

In the Middle Ages, one of the vows Benedictine monks would make was called stability. It wasn’t about their emotional life, rather it was a commitment to live out their life in a particular community. They promised that they would not pull up stakes and leave without their abbot’s permission.

In a lot of ways, our current home is perfect for us. It’s a condominium, so we don’t have to take care of the yard. It has an attached two-car garage. From our back windows, we see lots of Nature since we overlook a greenbelt that the city has committed to never develop. It’s small so it doesn’t require a lot of maintenance. And we got it new, something Karen had always wanted.

I wanted a simple leave-taking ritual to remind me of all this when I leave the house. That’s what the tiny habit is about. Touching the door jamb and saying “I’ll be back” reminds me of my commitment to this house. We’ve moved enough times already. Our plan is to stay here.


Posted by on 2013/04/01 in Uncategorized


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