Author Archives: jeffs zen garden


Turner moment_1

Spectacular vista! The garden is abuzz in glorious revery. Nothing to be accomplished, nowhere to go. Sit down or join in the dance, there is no path to be followed, you’ve never left, we’ve awaited your return. Dry your eyes, it was only a dream.


With warm gratitude to Bob O’Hearn, a brillant writer and constant inspiration.


Many Gardens To Attend

This last Spring and Summer have been insanely busy with such a bombardment of life changing “stuff” that I have been neglecting my little garden here.

When I started this garden it was with the conscious knowledge that it would be a labor of love and personal satisfaction and that I was not going to stress about it if months went by and I wasn’t able to give any attention to it.

Life has many gardens we attend to, does it not my friends. The learning for me is that what we are doing is not nearly as important as where we are when we are doing it.

Road To Damascus

jeffs zen garden

January 2, 2015

Cloud Illusions

My home, in this particular place and time on the garden planet sits atop a Southern California hill with a grand vista to the west. Over the last decade my camera has captured hundreds of cloud images from sunrise to sunset, during all seasons and in all kinds of weather. Recently while playing around with a few of these images I noticed that when flipping a duplicate and blending it with the original, “cloud illusions” began to arise and take on form and meaning!

In the garden, there is harmony, balance and order to the way of nature (the tao). Our human mind, perceiving this order, ascribes to it a higher imagined meaning, substance and purpose to existence. Using memories, hopes, fears, and desires as the medium, we create within our mind an elaborate thought construction of a separate, solid and unchanging self moving within a fantastically complex dream world we have conjured.

It seems apparent that it is our human nature to construct layers of meaning upon the phenomenal world. It has obviously provided our species with spectacular evolutionary advantages. But it is also apparent we have forgotten that when we create this composition, we are painting with illusions of meaning, a dreamworld upon an empty canvas.

To recognize that we project these illusions upon the empty world is to remember once more that we are, each of us, the unwitting architects of our own most beautiful fantasies as well as our own ugliest nightmares. This is the first movement in awakening to the simple truth that there never was a gate separating “my self” from “the world” and that when we open our eyes at last we see that we have been standing in the garden all along.

“When all phenomena are left as they are, their appearance is not modified, their color does not change, and their brilliance does not diminish. If you do not spoil phenomena with clinging and grasping thoughts, appearances and awareness will nakedly manifest as empty and luminous wisdom.”  ~ Dudjom Rinpoche

Witness-to-Dreamland_ExhibitC_web“Soaring Over Dream World”
©2015 Jeff’s Zen Garden

Witness-To-Dreamland_ExhibitD“My Angels & My Demons”
©2015 Jeff’s Zen Garden

Dreamland_Exhibit_A“Escape Into Dreamland”
©2015 Jeff’s Zen Garden



Witness-To-Dreamland_Exhibit-B“What we call the “objective world” is a sort of Rorschach ink blot,
into which each culture, each system of science and religion,
each type of personality, reads a meaning only remotely derived
from the shape and color of the blot itself.”
~Lewis Mumford

jeffs zen garden

December 26, 2014

Recently I awoke from a dream and found myself completely paralyzed. Although helpless to move I was still able to look directly ahead to the pillow on my cheek, the white, sun mottled wall beyond and the tan carpet below. I could hear voices in conversation behind me. I had no interest in what they were saying but the sound of their voices were familiar and reassuring. I began to force myself to move my legs, pulling with my mind as hard as I possibly could trying to will my paralyzed body into motion. As I struggled my mouth opened and I began to moan as a baby does when stirring from a nap. With this I woke up in my bed, my beloved sleeping next to me and the room filling with Sunday morning sunlight.

It was not at all stressful and when I arose I was in a perfect state of relaxation. Since then I find that I am frequently moving in and out of this dream we call the “waking world” as well.

I am seeing that within this waking dreamland I am powerless to move as well. I can only witness. Waking within this dream state is simply the complete realization that this too is a dream and total acceptance of my perfectly natural position as witness to the dream.

Which has led to the only logical conclusion, that’s why we are here in dreamland!

Dreamland_Exhibit_A“Witness to Dreamland; Exhibit A”
©2014 Jeff’s Zen Garden