The Center of All That

Think for just a few minutes about the amount of trust and cooperation that had to happen before the thing you’re doing right now could occur.

Who made the screen you’re reading this on? Who shipped that device to the store? Who invented it? And who invented the previous machine upon which that inventor based this one? Who invented the very first nail? The very first screw? Who mined the iron they used to build that machine? Who harvested the food to feed all those people who invented all that stuff?

And what had to happen before the very first rain could fall on Planet Earth? How many stars had to burst into supernova in order to make the elements that make up this planet, that make up the device you’re reading this on, that make up your body, that make up your mind?

And were you there when all of that happened?

How could you not have been there when every elementary element that makes up your body and your mind was there from before the moment of universal creation and will remain until long after everything you understand is gone?

You are the center of all that. You are where all of that comes together. But don’t get too cocky. Because so am I. And so is everyone else.

Is “you” just a name for a locus point at which all this stuff comes together?

What is time? Is time the number of trips this planet has made around the Sun? We think of time as something real. But where is it? Where does it go when it leaves? Can any moment of time be said to have leaked away from this one?

The world you live in, the person you are, it was built on trust and cooperation. And it was built on war and conflict. Medicines that saved your life when you were a child were developed on blood-soaked battlefields. You would not be here at all except for wars that were fought before you were born.

Who are you if not the center of everything that has ever gone before and everything that will ever be?

Do you imagine that you made yourself? Do you imagine that you are independent? That’s so cute!

Even your thoughts were formed and shaped by processes you could not possibly comprehend. The language you speak, the language with which you form “your” opinions, the concepts upon which those languages were based, they were created by human beings who lived full lives and who, themselves, had thoughts they took to be their own.

And some folks have the nerve, the audacity, the sheer gall and stupidity to call this “mundane,” to call this “boring,” to call this “unsatisfactory,” to wish you could be somewhere else. To take mind-bending drugs to see the “truth.” Where do they get off? Who died and made them the kings of everything?

And, anyway, where else could any of us be?

Do you deserve the good things in life? Do you deserve a break today? Do you believe the crap they’re telling you on the “news?” Do you think they have any more of a clue than you do about what’s important, about where we’re going, about why all this is happening?

Do you worship God? Do you deny the existence of God? Do you think either one has any bearing at on the real situation?

Maybe the thing we should be looking at isn’t time. Maybe it’s cooperation. Maybe the thing we should be thinking about is trust. Not just demanding trust from others, but being someone that others can trust.

Maybe the best future is a future of total trust, total cooperation. But how are we going to get there as long as you insist that you’re right and they’re wrong?



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September 24-29, 2017 Retreat at Benediktushof, near Wurzburg, Germany

October 1-4, 2017 Retreat in Hebden Bridge, England

October 7, 2017 One-day event in Manchester, England

October 18, 2017 7:00pm The Last Bookstore, Los Angeles, CA

October 25, 2017 7:30 pm Battle with Shozan Jack Haubner at Against the Stream, Los Angeles, CA

November 3-5, 2017 Retreat at Mt. Baldy Zen Center, Mt Baldy, CA

November 10-12, 2017 Non-Residential Retreat, Toronto, ON, Canada

November 14, 2017 Lecture, Dawson College, Montreal, QC, Canada


Every Monday at 7:30pm there’s zazen at Angel City Zen Center (NEW TIME, NEW PLACE!) 1407 West 2nd Street, Los Angeles, CA, 90026 Beginners only!

Every Saturday at 10:00 am there’s zazen at the Angel City Zen Center (NEW PLACE!) 1407 West 2nd Street, Los Angeles, CA, 90026 Beginners only!

These on-going events happen every week even if I am away from Los Angeles. Plenty more info is available on the Dogen Sangha Los Angeles website,

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 is now available as an audiobook from as are Hardcore Zen and Sit Down and Shut Up and There is No God and He is Always With You!

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You are me and I am you. So you might as well send your money to me! Your donations are my main means of supporting my teaching. If you find a little bit of truth in what I’m saying remember that even a small donation helps. Thank you!