Greetings and salutations to all! The Zen Daddy is back to share a bit of dharma with you. As a child, there were few things the Zen Daddy liked to do more than to go camping in the woods. While out in the woods, adults would warn the children not to feed the wildlife, mostly raccoons and the occasional bear. They would usually tell us something like:

“It just encourages them to come around more and lose their self-sufficiency, then they become a nuisance and unable to feed themselves if they rely on ‘people food’.”

One common experience we share includes a tendency to retreat into imagining things different than they are, maybe some alternate reality where we are with Her or Him or that Winning Lottery Ticket or that New Car, and having that thing we want makes everything better. Even the Zen Daddy had his favorite daydream – shooting fireballs from his fingertips. Not sure how useful that would be, but it seemed like it would be fun.

Sometimes we call these thoughts “daydreaming” or – in grander terms – “strategizing”, but really it’s just wanting. These thoughts arise, and they pass away if we just let them be – it is part of being human. If we feed them, however, they start to come back…and we start wanting a little more. And the more we encourage them to come back, the more our attachment to having that person or thing grows until it creates suffering. And of course, having that thing only makes us feel better for a short time, until the next thing we want pops into view.

It can be amusing to watch our little daydreams walk onto the stage, but if they come back perhaps it is best to put up a mental sign, “Please Don’t Feed the Illusions”.

Enjoy your day!

Zen Daddy



About bensten

Teacher, writer, blogger and spiritual practitioner. Managing editor of

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