A mother once asked Chao Chou, “Does a newborn baby also have the sixth consciousness (the knowledge of observing)? Chao said, ’It is like tossing a ball into a swift flowing river….Moment by moment, non-stop flow.’

~ Blue Cliff Record, Case 80

Babies in our practice and babies in our lives. No quiet, no time to meditate, no sleep. Shoot, enlightenment deferred once again. Maybe all this crying, feeding, and pooping is an invitation to practice and not a barrier.

A friend mine, who works as a hedge fund manager and has been practicing Zen for some time recently told me it was only when he had his children that his koan practice ~ which is quite deep ~ began to take off.


Recently at the Camp we had a guest speaker, Michael Kallus, who leads a group in San Francisco called Wind in Grass. Being a single father, he asked if he could bring his five-year old daughter to the talk, which I thought was a great idea. Not an hour later I got an email from a person coming for the first time asking if she could bring her young daughter, which she did. While we meditated, the two little girls ran around the large room, giggling and slamming doors.

In the car coming down, Michael’s daughter peppered him with questions: ‘How long will it take to get there?’, ‘Can you see over the horizon?’, ‘Are there any dolphins on the moon?’ His wonderful talk was about how the incessant chatter of a five year old is his practice. I see the mind of buddha coming forth.

The other morning, one of my girls came into my office while I was meditating, and asked if she could take my car to school. Yes, I said, and told her we were having chicken for dinner. Moment by moment, non-stop flow.