About Zen Rants

WHO THE HELL ARE YOU & ARE YOU IMPORTANT?

Just some science nerd with a spiritual side who reads a lot.

You know that annoying 5 year old who asks Why non stop? I’m in my mid 30s going on 6. Big questions fascinate me. Little moments excite me. Along the way, I share what I'm contemplating.  

But don’t take anything I say seriously. I don’t really know what I am talking about. But then again, neither do most people.  Question everything and everyone, especially yourself! "For you are the easiest to fool". 

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To your question, my name is Alf. No not Santa’s helper, just a nickname. And also a secret alias that’s part of my plan for world domination. No I'm not important, but neither are you. It's OK. 

WHAT IS ZEN RANTS & WHY DO YOU WASTE YOUR TIME DOING THIS?

Zen Rants are posts providing practical insights for quality time in busy times. A mindful middle path of spirituality without the bullshit. Leveraging proven science AND eastern wisdom.  

Some people find my insights helpful. Some think I’m a crazy modern hippie who is full of shit. Both are probably true. You read and decide.

I write selfishly as a creative outlet. A brain enema of sorts. This is not a meditation 'How To' blog. Or some Buddhist site ('not that there is anything wrong with that').

In talking with people (in the real physical world), some found our talks useful. Thus I figured, “hey, why not leverage this whole internet thing and maybe more can benefit.” Maybe some will. Likely lots of trolling commentary.

But Fuck it.  Sometimes you have to not listen to that crazy monkey voice. That inner critic who loves to get drunk on fear of failure and tribal criticism. "You’re no writer, who the hell do you think you are giving advice".

Does he sound familiar? Watch out, he has many drunken cousins.

HOW CAN I GET YOUR NEXT SEXY HOT ZEN RANTS POST?

Easy, sign up for email updates below. 

ARE YOU SOME GURU STARTING A CULT & PROMOTING MEDITATION?

Once again, don’t take anything I say seriously. I’m a student of life who asks too many questions. No cult plans. But step by step. But you should meditate!

WHAT'S YOUR STORY AKA I NEED TO SOCIALLY "PROFILE" YOU?

Insert canned Professional Bio here: 

  • I studied Engineering & Business Management.
  • I did the technology consulting thing. Realized this is lucrative, but soul sucking.
  • Back to Business College MBA thing, because that was the “respectable” thing to do.
  • Learned a lot, but not about personally exciting questions.
  • Did the Silicon valley thing. Felt my spirit being drained.
  • Realized something needed to change.
  • ..... 

I then quit my job. Donated all my things. And hit the road to follow my curiosity. Coincidentally to explore the nature of mind and man. Sounds so cliche. But as meditation guru Joseph Goldstein says, "If you want to understand your mind, then sit down and observe it." 

So now I’m traveling Asia as a secular spiritual seeker (is that a thing?). Curiously and empirically learning. Open but not afraid to call bullshit. I’m fascinated by the nature of consciousness, Artificial Intelligence, and the future of our minds and technology.

I envision a world of spirituality without all the religiosity. Where we aren’t meditating in caves, but are in an equilibrium with modern technological living. Where technology is a tool to enhance our well being. Where it can expedite our enlightenment and psychological evolution. Ugggh, don’t get me started!

SERIOUSLY, YOUR NAME IS ALF? WHAT'S THE STORY?

Sorry to disappoint, no Frank the Tank streaking down the street story (for the nickname anyway).  My last name is Alfieri --> Alf. I know I know, you wanted so much more. 

WHY ARE YOU RANTING? ISN’T ZEN ALL ABOUT PEACE & LOVE?

Umm, it’s a thought provoking paradox! Mindfulness isn’t about just feeling good or peaceful. Sometimes if you're in a pile of life’s shit, you’re in a pile of shit. In today’s world, we find the right angle, put on a fake smile, filter up, and take a casual selfie about relaxing in a mud bath all while feeling empty inside.    

The pith of Zen Rants is practical helpfulness in a coating of self deprecating humor. But sometimes you need to hold up a mirror to hypocrisy and bullshit. Not from a pedestal of self righteousness, but with practical insights to help (hopefully) make lives just a little bit better. Without awareness, we march in the dark. 

MMUF: MINDFUL MINUTE UP FRONT? WHAT IS THAT?

MMUF: Bottom Line is it’s short summary of a post, up front to save you time.  

Every post has a bottom line up front, or I how as I call it a MMUF: "Mindful Minute Up Front". Because we are all soooooo busy, it’s a one minute summary you can scan. From there you can decide if you want to read on. Did you catch that MMUF within the explanation? See I'm clever! Working on the humility. 

ARE YOU A LUDDITE WHO HATES TECHNOLOGY?

Definitely not. I’m a tech geek. But I also know most tech companies incentives are not aligned with our well being. Engagement scores > OUR happiness. Our monkey minds are already crazy enough. But now we have AI curated articles that know what we want, when we want it. If they were making us more fulfilled  humans, then OK. Instead we go from 5 min to 19 min on the shitter.

Technology is suppose to make life easier. Make us happier. Not just keep us glued to phones for dopamine hits and ad dollars. It’s connecting us but not giving us connection. It's a superficial shell. And it’s not just about technology. Its also our priorities in modern western life. There is more to life than followers & like’s, acquiring consumer crap we don't need, and proving things to people we don't genuinely care about. I will leave my soap box now.  

DO YOU THINK WE SHOULD GO LIVE IN CAVES & MEDITATE ARE BRAINS AWAY?

No, but I think the world would be better if we all meditated daily and realized how damn crazy are minds are. It’s hard to change the entire world. But you can reprogram your mind. And from there your heart follows.  

DO YOU ALWAYS WRITE THIS MUCH & IS THIS OVER YET?

No but you are on page 2 of an About section of a blog. I figured you wanted the Down low. Almost done.

SO WHAT TYPE OF MEDITATION DO YOU PRACTICE?

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I started with Mindfulness of Breathing (Samatha) and Loving Kindness (Metta Bhavana). Through my travels I have explored Vipassana in Thailand and Mahamudra in Nepal (a Tibetan Buddhist system). Sampled some Zen and Advaita Vedanta non-duality. For now my core practice is back to Vipassana (Insight) meditation and Metta Bhavana.  

To me meditation is like cooking. There are many ways to cook a kick ass meal. No cuisine reigns supreme. But there are some common best practices. Like don't burn the garlic! Learn from grandma's wisdom and expertise. Don't shop forever (spiritual sampling) and just start cooking something!     

ISN’T THIS SITE JUST ANOTHER DIGITAL TIME SUCK?

Now that’s a great damn question! Probably. It also depends. Are you reading awesome posts instead of playing with your kids? Delaying that TPS report you have been avoiding for 2 hours?  

The beautiful power of a good book is it will change the way you look at the world, forever. I’m no great book, but it doesn’t mean I can’t ask provoking questions. It doesn’t mean I can’t search and share what I find. Like i said, dont take me seriously. If it gives you a mental model to enhance the quality of your life, sweeeeeet!  

WHERE CAN I STALK AND/OR TROLL YOU?

Easy, follow me below. Although I have a love/hate relationship with social media if you couldn't tell. 

 

CAN I GO MEDITATE NOW?

Hell yes!