Towards Freedom

Information, Inspiration, Imagination
truly a site for soaring Is


001 Assault With a Banana?

A lady gets on the bus. She is well dressed and sits in the back of the bus. While she sits down the driver notices the lady unpeeling a banana. After eating the banana the driver notices the lady walking to the front of the bus she turn to the lady in the front seat and hits this lady right in the face with this banana peel. She then casually walks back to her seat and sits down.

002 Is There a Camera on the Bus?

Today I was driving and it was very slippery and busy. I guess with this time of year being around the Christmas time it seems to bring out some unique things in people. A lady came up beside me while I was driving and asked me if there was a camera on the bus? because I am focused on the road her comment didn't register right away in my mind

005 Wedaches

All anyone has to do is look without prejudice, and the similarities between weddings and funerals become obviously apparent. In fact, the two functions are nearly identical. Both are exorbitantly expensive. Both require all participants to dress in weird and uncomfortable outfits. Both have an abundance of tears, provided sometimes by hired help. Both have parties. And both are a celebration of the end of something. In fact, about the only difference is that in a funeral the center of attention at least enjoys the benefit of not being present.

A Snake Called Phatlington

In a village where streets were named for trees, former residents that the villagers chose to honour, and some romantic names, there lived a family, father, mother and son who were a little eccentric even for people who chose to live on an island. They really believed that each living thing had a right to its life and merited respect. Their house reflected this belief; a couple of birds, a rabbit, a guinea pig, two dogs and a cat all shared the same rooms.

A01 Happy Easter Dear Emma

Today, Easter Sunday, we are celebrating life with our real Easter Bunny named Emma. It was just about one year ago on a cold and rainy day I decided to venture off into a rough part of town to check on a dog who seemed to be neglected. While driving in a downpour I asked myself why on earth I was going into a rough neighborhood to pretend to be interested in getting a dog that I had no intention of adopting.

Anger Is One Letter Short of Danger

The weight of anger is far heavier than the weight of joy. In it’s most vicious form, anger can lead to murder; joy easily distributes love, even in it’s simplest form. While both are natural emotions to our genetic make-up, we can choose to possess more of the one which we desire to encompass most often, but often times it seems we are displaying the less desired one. There are many ways to prevent and manage anger, which if obtained, consequently leads to more joy.


Are you a lover of books? Are you a parent looking for book recommendations for your young child or teenager? If so, you've come to the right place! LouAnne Taylor has put together a wonderful website for children and parents alike, to find age appropriate books and learning about the importance of literacy … Booklicious

Brittany Bunk

One of the interesting personas on the internet who outputs a massive amount of content, Brittany has created a possible blueprint for the future. She is a dedicated vegan who at one time used to make considerable contributions to Beyond Animal. Unfortunately, around the middle of 2022, Brittany took to falsely accusing Beyond Animal and CEO Claire Smith of not paying her for work she had completed while simultaneously admitting that she had been paid "ex gratis".

Buddha and the Limping Lamb

There are many stories told about Buddha the Compassionate One. They carry the eternal message with a simplicity that any child can understand. Here is one of those gems. The Buddha is taking a walk. He gazes at the beauty of the flowers of the field and says: "O trees and flowers of the field! How trustfully you turn your faces to the sun! And how trustfully nightingales and doves take shelter in you!

Cosmic Soulmates

While I tend to be agnostic, there are many aspects of various religions I admire, a viewpoint which permits one to not hold arrogant perspectives like 'my religion is better than yours'. This competitive attitude has been largely responsible throughout history for barbaric behaviour in the name of God who would be least appreciative of having One's 'children' slaughtering 'children' - with self-proclaimed Christians mutually slaughtering self-proclaimed Muslims mutually slaughtering self-proclaimed Hindus mutually slaughtering self-proclaimed whatevers etc etc

Cup of Tea

A prominent western philosopher had come to Japan to study with a zen master through an exchange program. The two of them sat down for a traditional tea. While waiting the philosopher thought he'd 'break the ice' by telling the zen master a bit about himself. Well, he started and a bit became more and more and more. He talked about his ideas of the history and development of philosophy and about the lack of consistency in different areas of thought and the problems associated with applying logic to situations considered unbroachable through logic.

Dogs in Heaven

There is a very beautiful story from the Hindu mythology's Mahabharata that provides an insight to the meaning of our existence. Five brothers who were kings and their wife, the queen (this happened through a misunderstanding of the concept of 'sharing' as expressed by their mother) after a long reign were embarking on their final journey - to heaven. To do so they had to trek up a mountain and along the way they were joined by a dog.


There is a tasty seaweed On which I like to feed Mineral rich, purple and salty dulse is Good on salads, grains and pulses I feel like a mermaid Eating an Atlantis dish To add a sea-like flavour I needn't hurt a fish! I sprinkle flakes on salad Mix it into hearty stew Blend it into veggie soup Or snack on a piece or two! I have two bits of pet dulse


These are letters on various topics that you can receive via email. We now have backissues of various eletters in simple text format. You can view them in your browser or download them to your computer. It is possible that these eletters will start up again in the future at which time you'll be able to fill out an esubscription form to receive them. Backissues of VOTTIF: VOTT IF … you could get a short, humorous, informative e-mail each week that was insightful and meaningful to your life?

Importance of Improvement

People sometimes get into a tizzy about whether to help others or help themselves. There is no need to see the issue as an either-or. Helping oneself Sometimes people think they themselves are the primary concern. The ancient Greek story goes that Narcissus saw his own reflection in a pool of water and fell madly in love with himself, eventually meeting his demise from this affliction. While such examples of morbid self-love do exist, most people don't tend to follow in the flowersteps of Shelley's narcissi from The Sensitive Plant:

Inspirations I Like

Time ANYWAY LIFE LIFE JUST ISN'T The Rules For Being Human Time Imagine there is a bank which credits your account each morning with $86,400, carries over no balance from day to day, allows you to keep no cash balance, and every evening cancels whatever part of the amount you had failed to use during the day. What would you do? Draw out every cent, of course! Well, everyone has such a bank.


More to come, as we welcome new contributions.

Jewel in the Dust

A man and his wife having lived into their old age chose to leave behind their worldly possessions and follow the path of spirituality. They lived in the cleanliness of poverty filling their days with praying instead of preying. As they had no longer had a home of their own, they walked the dirt roads with the same reverence as though these led to heaven itself. One day during such a walk, the man who had moved several yards ahead of his wife saw a sparkling on the side of the road.

Jonathan the Seagull

Jonathan Livingston Seagull, a novel by Richard Bach, is a much-loved classic that has touched the hearts of many. A tale of courage, truth and love, this eloquently written story is a rich and vibrant literary work. This book centers on the character development of Jonathan Livingston Seagull, who changes from a quiet and timid young seagull to an enlightened, brave and courageous being. The story begins with Jonathan as a lonesome seagull wants to transcend the boring world of eating, mating and sleeping that most gulls live in order to survive.

Magnificent 7

Motivation Most people are waiting to be motivated. They hide, hoping that motivation will seek. Being motivated before you act is an amusing game we play with ourselves. Can you imagine life functioning on that principle? Does the young eagle wait to be motivated in order to fly? Was the newborn motivated just before birth? Do a thing because it needs to be done: motivation will follow the action!

Marc Bekoff

Marc Bekoff is Professor Emeritus of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Colorado, Boulder. An internationally prominent lecturer on animal behavior, cognitive ethology and behavioral ecology, Marc has contributed immensely to these fields via original papers, books and even videos. Additionally, he was a competitive cyclist winning the Tour du Haut Var for his age group in 1986! This is a link to his website. Links Organizations Awards Videos Books Selected blog post titles from Psychology Today Papers (with abstracts) Links Wikipedia: Marc Bekoff

Markus Rafael Nylund

Markus is a musician from Finland and runs the ViceVoids youtube channel. You can find his page on this site here. Below we list some of his videos. VICEVOIDS - timehigh Master of Puppets (Metallica cover) VICEVOIDS - timehigh "this song is like going to church on monday morning. thank you!" Master of Puppets (Metallica cover) "Suddenly Metallica's Master of Puppets started playing through me … Birds flew in the trees and for a moment took a break from their shenanigans …"

Meditating Simply

Meditation is a real chance for you to connect with yourself. Most of us go through life knowing the person we spend the most time with, the least. What meditation is happens to be a question that volumes have been written about. Anytime there is such a lot of discussion on an issue, you can be sure that no one really knows the answer. That's what is so nice about the Zen approach to it.

Mental Diet

Many people talk about the benefits of different food diets. However we have forgotten probably one of the most important diets to our health and that being a Mental Diet. It is not only important in what we put in our mouths but also equally important is what we put in our minds. As the saying goes 'Garbage in and Garbage out'. In today's society we have become accustomed to let a box with a screen dominate our thoughts.

Not a Spoonful of Sugar

Gandhi's "become the change you wish to see in the world" is unfortunately one of those horribly misapplied items that is circulated with wild abandonment by some people who feel they've suddenly been struck with enlightenment. The idea nevertheless is a good one provided one understands what it really means and where the phrase really has relevance. Below is one such instance. You may know the delightful story about the mother who went to Gandhi to get him to ask her boy to stop eating sweets (the kid wasn't listening to her apparently and she figured she'd bring in the big guns!


Everything is made of one All else is illusion If you perceive separation You will feel confusion There is no point in resisting And trying to block things out Just open up to more That is what life's about New experiences of the soul Another piece revealed Is this never ending Love that God is sending? Reveal that problems don't exist Except in our perception Surrender thoughts to God


From reading the title, you might think that I have trouble spelling. The thought had crossed my mind that such a thought would cross your mind and so I had to figure out a suitable answer to the contrary. That answer has taken the entire space of this introduction. The word pickTures, doesn't really exist. It is a concatenation of pick and tures the latter being what's left over when you remove the first three letters from the word pictures.

Pictures From Mystics

A beautiful collection of short stories cross religions and cultures told by Swami Vaswani that often show the way to living properly. It is from the East and West Series.


This is an ever-growing list of quotations attributed to various individuals throughout history. Al-Khafaji Amir Wadi Adams Samuel Angelkate Rose Bach Richard Bentham Jeremy BigG Bridgeman Percy William Cowper William Dijkstra Edsger Dunham Barrows Emerson Haven Emerson Ralph Waldo Einstein Albert Cinderella (Disney 2015) Francis of Assissi Frank Anne Franklin Benjamin Galbraith John Gale Donald Gandi Mahatma Gell-Mann Murray Gibran Kahil Graham Collier Grenfell Wilfred Huxley Thomas Henry Jake King Martin Luther Lincoln Abraham Moynihan Patrick Newton Issac Nickep Niemöller Martin Pope John Paul 2 Poppins Mary prad pradagio Robert Pynn Roosevelt Theodore Sculley Matthew Schweitzer Albert Shaw George Bernard SICP Sir Cole (The Knight Before Christmas) Smith Gary Spock Steinam Gloria Sztybel David Tagore Rabindranath Teresa Mother Thoreau Henry David Tricia Twain Mark Wade Paul Tyler Alexander Fraser Wiesel Elle Zelenskyy Volodymyr Al-Khafaji Amir Wadi To my brother faiz, whose ideals are like the stars: I could never reach them, but I chart my course by them.

Prayer of No Religion

Dear Father, I remember, I am your holy Son There is no separation, everything is one Suddenly the land shone with golden light As I took your hand and my wings took flight Everything now sparkles, everything is love Now that my eyes are open to the holy dove Father I surrender, for my will is yours The path that you lay takes me through many doors From darkness I emerged into eternal truth


These are zenish short stories merrily modified from various sources such as: Zen Comics by Ioanna Zalajan Radical Zen: The Sayings of Joshu by Youl Hoffmann A man of enlightenment and wisdom Become a Buddha Detachment Empty Essence Go away! Knowledge and Understanding More blind Seeing the tao So what boy? The duel The flag The precious stone The two dragons A man of enlightenment and wisdom Student: Oh master, where does the man of enlightenment and wisdom go after he dies?

Radical Zen

An intriguing book with many items about and attributed to Joshu. … many of our standard stereotypes of the Zen Master can be traced to this figure–irascible and blunt, down-to-earth and practical, prone to answer religious questions with seemingly off-the wall non-sequiturs and paradoxes if not a good sharp smack in the face. Amazon (Also available for previewing as a pdf from here.)

Season for Non Violence

This is an article written by the San Diego organizer of the 1998 Season for Non-Violence event. I would like to inform you if you do not know already about an exciting and uplifting time of the year- it is called the Season for Non-Violence. January 30 and April 4, 1998 mark the 50th and 30th anniversaries of the assassinations of Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The days between these memorial anniversaries are being hailed as A Season for Non- Violence - a time to raise awareness about the principles and practices of nonviolence, to highlight the local 'heroes' and initiatives that are putting them into practice, and to honor the legacies of two great men who taught the world an alternative means for defusing conflict and transforming communities.

The Ailment

The following is a well-known tale from the Liezi attributed to Taoist Lie Yukou. It appears in various translations such as A.C. Graham's The Book of Lieh-tzu (p82 pdf) and Eva Wong's Lieh-tzu: A Taoist Guide to Practical Living. The following is quoted from the Thomas Cleary translation (details provided at the end): Lung Shu said to the physician Wen Chi, "Your art is subtle. I have an ailment; can you cure it?

The Battle

Above image was modified using GIMP from an illustration by Anna Bhushan for Folio Society's Bhagavad Gita. See other illustrations by Anna at her website. On the field of Kurukshetra all was tranquil the evening before the battle between the forces of the Kauravas and the Pandavas. Arjuna who was the greatest archer of the latter group, pondered heavily on what was to come. For you see, the Kauravas were his brothers too and when the slaughter began, he knew he would be killing members of his own family.

The Bridge Between Concept and Experience

It seems that choosing one's state of being leads to creations that further reinforce it; such is the nature of physical reality. Looking at the picture you will see a selection of treasures on a table in the corner; a bed of crystals upon which rests a desert rose (rock) on the left, a lantern on the right and a Goddess statue in the middle who is draped with an angel quartz necklace, plus a candle that lies before her and a glass pyramid prism aligned directly behind her.

The Loincloth

There is a delightful story told by Sri Ramakrishna about a man who chose to become a sadhu (a holy man who relinquishes worldly possessions and takes a vow of chastity). Under the instruction of his guru, this sadhu lived in a small hut in the middle of the forest. Each morning after his devotional exercises, he would wash and hang his loincloth up to dry. One day, he found that his cloth had been torn to shreds by rats.

The Mahut God

Once there was a holy man who had many disciples. He taught them well and revealed how God is in all things. One day his disciples went out to gather firewood for their ashram and they heard a great commotion! "Mad elephant! Mad elephant!" was the cry and it seemed to be coming their way. Suddenly, they saw a huge elephant tearing down towards them with others following in desperate pursuit.

The Poor Rich Girl

Buddha asked his disciples to help the poor during a great famine. A very wealthy man spoke up, "Not all my wealth can feed the hungry - there are so many!" Others talked loud and long with great consternation wondering how they could possibly solve such a dilemma even for the Buddha! Then a young girl rose to speak, "Master I am a beggar. I shall feed the hungry as you ask!

The Spirit of the Tao

Taoist teachings have arisen in many forms: abstract aphorisms, philosophical discussions, legends, fables—even jokes. All are represented here, culled from the most popular Taoist classics: the Tao-te Ching, Chuang-tzu, Huai-nan-tzu, and Wen-tzu, stories from the "Tales of Inner Meaning," and teachings of the Taoist patriarch Ancestor Lu. The spirit of the Tao manifests in myriad images, brought to life in this superb translation—from the ever-keen blade of a Taoist butcher to the mechanical miracles of inventor Ken Shiwa, from little boys baiting the great Confucius to mountain hermits disappearing in the mist, from the six robber organs that obscure the primordial to the ineffable mystery of mysteries.

The Stone

Nanak was a travelling guru. He visited many places in India, Arabia and Mesopotamia. In Mecca is the Ka'aba, the sacred stone of the Muslims. One morning nanak was found sleeping with his feet turned to the stone! Some Muslims were furious! "How dare you be so insulting! How dare you sleep with you feet towards the face of God!" Gently, Nanak says: "Very well then. Turn my feet to where God is not.

The Wallet

My mother related this story to me about my grandfather. She lived in his household as was often customary with East Indian families in the 1900s. These extended families were usually quite closely knit and often mutually supportive. My mother adored her father-in-law and it was through her that I found out about his character. One day he came home with a large collection of Indian sweets. Everyone in the large household was surprised.


There is a fine story of a poor old lady who was selling some fruit she had gathered in order to make ends meet. As she walked back and forth on the streets calling people to come and buy, the child Krishna, disguised as a beggar boy, walked up to her asking to eat some fruit from her basket. She was a kind one and though it would cost her, she didn't refuse him.


Have you ever noticed that you have the power to control time? In fact, you are doing it right now. "That can't be true", I hear you say, "Time is shared by everyone, so if one person controlled it then everyone else would notice time speeding up or down! There would be conflicting influences on time happening from many different people, so it wouldn't be possible!" This logic makes sense based on the idea that time is a shared reality between all human beings and something that is unchangeable.

Understand Me

A zen master was teaching a class. One fidgety student was bored and gradually got irritated, because he had decided he couldn't grasp the ideas. This is not surprising since zen is not something to grasp. After all, when one asks "How do you carry zen?", the answer is often "in your empty hand." In any case, such koans were not something this student wanted to deal with, so eventually he spoke out in frustration: "I can't understand a thing you are saying.

What Is Compassion

We examine the meaning of Compassion and find that: The need for a complete understanding of compassion arises out of the following facts. People are mostly very indifferent to the plight of animals. But some are not. What is the difference between these two classes of people. It is that the indifferent people lack compassion for animals and the others have compassion for animals. Animal exploitation will persist until the balance shifts and compassion comes to predominate.

Winter of the Soul

Pieces die off that are no longer needed Tears of revelation cleanse my soul Release aspects with which I once pleaded As they wither away I let them go Things become barer and more plain But the chill that winter is thought to have Remains outside the window of my perception As I'm warmed by the fire with reason to be glad Branches are snapping but beneath the earth Roots are deepening and spreading The snow outside is a stunning landscape A mirror of where I am heading

Zen Comics

Truly an excellent way to encounter zen, these cartoons present many of the koans delightfully! Comics communicate the Zen spirit perfectly. Laughter deflates pretension and a good rap on the head sometimes transcends so-called logic. In the words of Zen, "Nothing is left for you but to laugh!" Goodreads

Zen Mind Beginners Mind

Seldom has such a small handful of words provided a teaching as rich as has this famous opening line. In a single stroke, the simple sentence cuts through the pervasive tendency students have of getting so close to Zen as to completely miss what it's all about. An instant teaching on the first page. And that's just the beginning. Amazon