Monthly Archives: June 2007

Zentraveler treatise on being centered!

You are already the Center of the Universe. In addition to being the Center of the Universe you are connected to everything. In order to make some sense of the apparent chaos going on in the World– it’s important to know that no matter what your station, condition, or journey you are on— you are still the Center of the Universe.

If I only had that shiny new Mercedes, that perfect wife or husband, my own castle–then everything would be all-right. Take out a yellow sticky and print this on it. I’m OK just as I am! Either put this on your computer or paste it on your forehead depending on how stuck you are on earthy things. The important thing is for you to realize that you are a part of this great Universe and if you are going to be more than a sloth consumer you need to concentrate on centering yourself for the benefit of mankind.

From some of the writings of the Monks I recall a discourse where an indignant woman came running into the Monastery with a little baby and handed the baby to the monk shouting: “He is yours!” The monk enjoyed taken care of this beautiful child until his fifth birthday when the indignant woman returned and said: “Give me back my child I lied to you and now I want him back.” The monk handed the child back to the lady and went on with his business. The business of being caretaker and guardian of the earth.

We are all stuck on- How are you? Oh gee my uncle has the gout and my insurance canceled me etc. I just bought my beach house in Tahiti and my wife had plastic surgery. In order to bring yourself back to center it is very important not to allow mundane worldly things throw you off balance. Take some of the strife out of your life by simply not listening to the news and watching every TV show that is on. No wonder you are scatterbrained and not centered. You are guilty of too much information.

A wizened monk always answered: How are You? with I’m OK. This is his centered answer. He could have had no sleep for 7 days straight helping Tsunami victims with food and shelter but he is OK. He also could be eating a fine dinner with friends and he is also OK. With this minor adjustment in mindset you can be protected from being sucked into worldly problems and allow yourself the discipline to concentrate on being centered. In the long run this is the very best thing you can do for yourself and mankind.

In order to remain centered it is very important to allow some quality time every day even if it is only 20 minutes in the morning and twenty minutes in the evening to use meditation and reflection to set your tone for the following days to come. Put on some light jazz or classical music close your eyes and simply repeat bad air in good air out. As this practice takes hold you will begin to laugh at yourself for all of your useless worrying, scheming and lying to yourself. Take this new learning tool to concentrate on being the best person you can be.

I’m OK I’m centered now! Too bad they didn’t install a level like the carpenters use so we could check on how centered we really are at any given monnet. We came into this life centered and we can go out of this life centered if we simply make a few adjustments along the way.

How long it has been since the teaching of the pure Essence was swept away?
Students are caught up with the written word and Buddhist priests are stubbornly obsessed with doctrine. It’s a shame that for a thousand years no one has spoken seriously of this essence. Better to follow the children and bounce a ball on these spring days.

– Ryokan (1758-1831) —–

THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW: Dropbears – Dropbears are an evil species of koala that fall from trees and attack humans. The evil strain of koala don’t actually exist. The story was created to fool Americans.

THINGS YOU WANT TO SAVE: The Black-Footed Ferret! “mustela nigripes”

The black-footed ferret is a member of the weasel family (mustelids). It has a long neck and black markings on its face, the tip of its tail and on its feet. It is very quick and agile and is most active at night (nocturnal). Ferrets grow up to 2 feet in length (including a 6 inch tail) and weigh approximately 2 to 3 pounds. A thousand black-footed ferrets live in captivity at breeding facilities, while another 80 exist in the wild following release by the federal government.

ZENTRAVELER SAYS: Learn to be Centered in a chaotic World and you might just laugh also.

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Zentraveler arrives on Colombia owned islands!

After picking up the American Vice-Consul from Barranquilla, Colombia our LST Navy Vessel anchored offshore of Providencia, Colombia. My job was to prepare a beach report for the Pentagon which gave me ample time to explore the island. The area consists of St. Andres, Providencia and several smaller islands. It is some 450 miles from Colombia and is very close to Nicaragua in the Caribbean.

Closer to Nicaragua and Jamaica, how the archipelago came to be a Colombian territory is the result of piracy, wars of independence, slavery, immigration, sugar, cotton and religion.

Originally settled by the Spanish in 1510, the islands were part of the Audiencia of Panama, then part of the Capitanía of Guatemala and Nicaragua. They attracted the attention of Dutch and English privateers, and reputedly Henry Morgan’s treasure trove is hidden in one of the island caves.

English Puritans and Jamaican woodcutters followed the pirates and it wasn’t until 1821 during the Wars of Independence that Francisco de Paula Santander took the islands and the Colombian flag was raised on June 23, 1822. Sugar and cotton plantations were the mainstays of the early economy and slaves were imported from Jamaica to work the fields.

Even after the islands became Colombian territory, the English influence remained in architecture, language, and religion.

The archipelago consists of two large islands, San Andrés and Providencia. San Andrés, at the southern end of the archipelago, is the largest island at 13 km long and 3 km wide. It is mostly flat, with the highest point being El Cliff overlooking El Centro, the local name for the town of San Andrés at the northern end of the island. Most of the tourism and commercial business are here. The island has duty free shops and is literally bustling with business botuiques. The island is walkable, but you can rent a scooter or moped to explore and you have your choice of many hotels to accomodate you for a dive trip, vacation, or shopping spree.

Providencia is the next largest island, at 7 km long and 4 km wide. Located 90 km north of San Andrés, it was for many years quieter and less affected by tourism. However, it is rapidly becoming extremely fashionable and expensive. It is still a lure to snorkelers and divers who come for the extensive coral reefs and clear water. The interior of the island is tropical palms and pleasant. A walk from Casabaja to the top of the highest point, El Pico provides good views of the island.

Making friends with the natives I rented a horse for the day’s outing. With one foot in the stirrup this high spirited Arabian beauty took off along the beach as if he was shot out of a cannon. Half hanging on at a high speed run I somehow steered him and me directly in the ocean where we both barely made it out of the surf alive.

Hearing the natives applaud and pop out of their huts was quite a site. The eldest man came over and told me that I was running on their Sunday afternoon racetrack, where the locals bet money and rum on these well cultivated horses. He assured me they gave me the fastest and most spirited horse of the lot.

With both feet in the stirrups my horse galloped straight up the side of the mountain until he reached the top, where you could see the turquoise blue waters in 360 degrees. I started praying that this was not some kind of a suicide horse who would run down the other side of the mountain at high speed carrying horse and rider on their last mission. At this point my new best friend “Horsey” decided to graze in the field and eat a few apples before he whinnied and started the next leg of our trek.

Heading down the mountain trail like a surefooted mountain goat we have somehow bonded enough to reach the other shore of the turquoise blue Caribbean. One small hotel surrounded with coconut trees swaying in the breeze made you think you had really done it this time– you have found Paraiso. After checking into my hotel one of the natives asked me “If I wanted fresh lobsters for dinner tonght?”

I couldn’t help but notice his toes were spread like a frogs and were almost webbed from years of living on the island. The lobsters, rice and rum set you up for the evenings sunset. Just then a man dressed in a white linen suit with a Panama hat ran out on the front porch and yelled there it is: “The Green Flash!” He asked me if I saw it and I definitely answered no! By this time the outdoor porch, which could have doubled for a Hemingway movie set, was full of colorful locals all toasting each other for seeing– The Green Flash!

Feeling like a tourista an English gentlemen walked over and said: “Don’t feel bad I was hear nearly one year before I saw my first Green Flash.” Then he slapped me on my back and said:”it might take that long for the rum to take effect.” He compared it to stunts in school where you stare at a spot through a piece of cardboard and see a large image. You are supposed to have a drink in hand and concentrate intensely on the sun disappearing into the ocean. Just at that instant the entire sky lights up with a sharp green flash. So there you have it— I have arrived just in time to watch the local natives celebrate another green flash.

So if you want off the beaten path and like to explore some beautiful tropical islands in the Caribbean you could set sail for Providencia, Colombia and maybe even come away with the pirates treasure, a good suntan and meet some interesting characters along the way.

QUOTE: “Much talking is the cause of danger. Silence is the means of avoiding misfortune. The talkative parrot is shut up in a cage. Other birds, without speech, fly freely about.”

——Saskya Pandita

THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW: Bunyips – Bunyips haunt rivers, swamps, creeks and billabongs. Their main goal in life is to cause nocturnal terror by eating people or animals in their vicinity. They are renowned for their terrifying bellowing cries in the night and have been known to frighten Aborigines to the point where they would not approach any water source where a Bunyip might be waiting to devour them. Some scientists believe the Bunyip was a real animal, the diprotodon, extinct for some 20,000 years.


Status: Endangered

Mexican wolves are the smallest subspecies of North American gray wolves. They are also the most endangered. Commonly referred to as “El lobo,” the Mexican wolf is gray with light brown fur on its back. It has long legs and a sleek body to help it run fast.

ZENTRAVLER SAYS: Travel light! What do you need all of that stuff for anyway?

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