What Exactly Is ...
A Commentary on The Spiritual Life
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The Zoo Fence is a non-denominational, non-sectarian, independent commentary on issues of interest and importance to seekers in search of the Truth about themselves – their Nature, their Reality, their Universe, their God. Here, you will find articles, guest columns, prayers & meditations, letters, stories, artwork, cartoons, and other stuff, all of which you can consider by clicking on the menu items on our Home Page.
For descriptions or definitions of each, please choose from the lists below:
Wherever you see any of
these three logos
is – ?
Consider This! · A series of short essays in which we explore reality, religion, the spiritual process, assorted New Age and New Thought subjects, health & healing, and life generally. The first selection there, called The Simple Way, offers a quick overview of our philosophy and path. First-time visitors may want to start with that. To go there now, click HERE
Nancy's Page · An assortment of spiritual considerations in the form of essays, articles, letters, suggestions, recommendations, or whatever, all emanating from the clear mind and expansive heart of a very determined seeker. This feature used to be called “Anna’s Page”. Go now
The Gazebo · Here we present spiritual ideas or concepts that are more or less still “in process”, thoughts we are working on (or, more likely, thoughts that are working on us!). Some may be a little off the wall, so go there prepared. Go now
Open Forum · As its name is intended to suggest, this feature of The Zoo Fence is a space where visitors to The Zoo Fence can express their views, share their experiences, ask & answer questions, or simply think out loud. Even just read what others have written. Go now
Ampers&nd · Here we present selections from the work of the world's great teachers. We have featured Swami Vivekananda, Kahlil Gibran, Unity's Reverend Wayne Manning, Elsa Joy Bailey, J. Krishnamurti, Jack Schwarz, Bo Lozoff, Walt Whitman, Dada Mukerjee (writing about Neem Karoli Baba), Angela Passidomo Trafford, J. Vaughn Boone, the Dalai Lama, Sri Swami Rama, Ken Wilbur, Sri Nisargadatta, Richard Rose, Mark Twain, UG Krishnamurti, Ibn 'Arabi, Ramesh S. Balsekar, University of California professor Stephen Cox, physicist Robert Lanza, Erik Steele, MD, Professor Gary E. Schwartz of the University of Arizona, Matthew Fox, and an anonymous friend in Hawaii. Currently, there is an excerpt from Ralph Waldo Emerson’s July 15, 1838 talk to the Harvard Divinity School. Go there now
December Card · Here, every December into January, we share some of the joyful messages sent to us by visitors to The Zoo Fence over the preceding months. The rest of the year, we leave the page in place, but with no links to it, except this one. (We did not post a December Card in 2009, and will likely not do so again. For more about that, please click here.) Go now
Walking with Theophyle · The continuing antics of “Brother Theophyle”, a fellow seeker on the path to Truth, who, we hope, will remind us all to laugh at ourselves. These are available as graphic cartoons and in text version. Go now
Definitions · Explanations of what we mean by some of the words we use. Wherever such words appear on the site, they will be hyperlinked, and by clicking on them, you can jump directly to their definition, find out what we mean, and then jump back to continue reading. Some visitors have told us it was helpful to browse through these definitions during their initial visit, because doing so gave them a preview of our mindset. Go now
Here's A Thought · On a pop-up accessed from the “Here’s A Thought” icon on our Home Page menu (near the top right of the page you probably just came from), we offer brief thoughts and ideas gathered from various sources that we hope will be inspiring, uplifting, intriguing, entertaining, or otherwise useful. We change them frequently, and archive them here. Go now
Integral Health · Here we offer a variety of perspectives on health-related matters of interest to spiritual seekers (and others). As you consider the material you find here, please remember always to talk with your physician before making decisions about any program of diagnosis, prevention, treatment, or health maintenance. Go now
Books and Stuff · Here we offer several different selections of our writing:
Take Off Your Shoes · In 1981, we published a book called TAKE OFF YOUR SHOES. It takes its title from God's command to Moses to “take off your shoes for you are standing on holy ground” (Exodus 3.5). This book explores the true nature of our reality, and the ways in which each of us can effect immediate, positive change in our lives. Go Now.
The Cranberry Tales · We call these, “children’s stories for adults, too”. They were originally published by us in hard copy in a very limited number in 1989. When they first came out, Downeast Libraries wrote, “This collection of short stories about animals living on a farm in rural Maine is notable for its lack of cutesy and condescension to the child reader. It comes out somewhere between the Brementown musicians and E.B. White, and that’s not a bad neighborhood.” Go Now.
A Continuing Fiction · We describe these as “the stories of an aging American male person coming to the realization that there is no such thing”. The person is Peter K Wensleydale, and the story begins in 1973 with Peter's presentation of a letter to his boss at the American Embassy in Gazinga. “It’s a letter of resignation, sir,” Peter says, adding, as gingerly as if he were handling a stick of dynamite, “mine.” Go now
In The Beginning · This book is subtitled “The Eden Conspiracy Unveiled”. It explores the why of the created universe, and asks was “The Fall” at the Garden of Eden a catastrophe or a divine conspiracy? What did Jesus mean at The Last Supper by “this is my body, this is my blood”? Go Now.
The Fall: Catastrophe or Conspiracy? · This is an extended excerpt from our book IN THE BEGINNING. In this selection, we suggest that mankind's understanding of The Fall as reported in Genesis and other traditions may be mistaken; and that The Fall was neither an error nor a sin, but part of God's Plan. Go now
The Last Supper: This Bread, This Body · This too is an excerpt from our book IN THE BEGINNING. In this piece, we suggest the betrayal of Jesus by Judas at the biblical event commonly referred to as The Last Supper may not be what it appears, and that in Truth far more was going on there than has met most eyes. Go now
The Blog · An internet blog entitled “Anecdotal Evidence” where we ventilate a variety of ideas, theories, and arguments on “worldly” topics, by which we mean subjects that do not specifically relate to the spiritual quest, path, and process, all the while recognizing and acknowledging that there is nothing which does not so relate! Go now
Art Gallery · Here are a collection of very beautiful paintings that ask nothing of you but to be there. If the philosophy and spirituality of the rest is more than you bargained for, you may want to jump directly here. You will also find a link to a graphics-free page, describing the artwork in text alone. Go now
Selections & Sources · Scattered throughout The Zoo Fence are an assortment of brief quotations and other selections. Here we list them. Also on this page are citations and references for items that appear in The Quiet Room and on other pages of The Zoo Fence. Often, where we offer a quotation by someone else, clicking on the letter “Q” beside it will take you to this page for its source. Go now
Site Search · With the help of the folks at PicoSearch and at Google, we have a full search capability at The Zoo Fence. Simply, go to our Search page, enter a word or set of words, and if it's on The Zoo Fence, PicoSearch or Google will find it! And list your search results in context. While there, check out our other internet search boxes. Go now
Copyright Permissions · Virtually all of the material, text and graphics, that appears on The Zoo Fence is protected by Copyright or Trademark provisions in law. Here you will find information about that, and about copying stuff from the site. Go now
Miscellanea · This feature is essentially a catchall, a space where we put anything that does not seem to belong in any of the spaces mentioned above but which we are nonetheless moved to share with visitors to The Zoo Fence. Go now
We have no credentials that you too do not have. We are simply spiritual seekers writing here on the basis of our own personal experience. In effect, then, what you find on The Zoo Fence is an expression of personal opinion based upon personal observation of our own lives. Please read it as such. If any of it is of any use to you, we are delighted. But please do not mistake it for authoritative guidance or advice on any subject. We neither wish to, nor are we qualified to, issue anything like that. While this disclaimer applies to everything on The Zoo Fence, it applies all the more to the material at Integral Health concerning any medical, psychological, nutritional, self-help, or any other health-related issue, program, therapy, or regimen. As regards those kinds of questions, we urge you to consult a licensed health-care professional before making any decisions or taking any action. As regards everything else on The Zoo Fence, your best guide is your own common sense.
Inevitably and rightly, there is a lot on The Zoo Fence about scriptures considered sacred by various traditions. As you read those comments and observations, please understand that nothing written here is, or is intended to be, an academic consideration. We are not theologians, biblical scholars, or historians. We are not experts. In the context of this website, our interest in sacred writings is solely as spiritual seekers who have undertaken a personal, inner journey for the Truth of who and what we are. We know that many of our statements, and perhaps even all of our conclusions, will not reflect, and perhaps may even contradict, current orthodoxy, theology, and history. We mean no disrespect by that, but it does not concern us, for again we are not academics, and this is not an academic undertaking. For us, the scriptures of the world’s spiritual traditions are a guide and a tool and a vehicle which can facilitate and accelerate our own passage along the spiritual path only if we understand their message to us. Therefore, we take it to be our duty, even our sacred responsibility, to discover and understand their meaning to us personally, to decipher what the Universal Teacher intends for us to see in them and to do by them. All of that is what we hope to share with you, and we ask that you read it in that spirit.
The Zoo Fence is a product of The Laughing Cat, a corporation founded by two renunciate seekers, husband and wife, who consider themselves to be, and who live as, contemplative monks, and in fact who sometimes think of themselves as the Monks of The Sacred Riddle. They are intensely spiritual, but not necessarily religious in the common sense of the word. That is, they are far more interested in finding the Truth and then realiz-ing it (making it real in and as themselves and their lives), than they are in where they find it. They have, and they belong to, no organized group; there is no hierarchy, no identifiable structure, no membership, no boundaries, no secret handshake. These are simply two ordinary people who, in their words, “left the world” in the mid-1970s to live a life in search of Truth.
For more about “The Sacred Riddle”, please click here. For more about TZF’s perception of the difference between “spiritual” and “religious”, please click here. For a quick read of our pespective, please click here. For a bit about our spiritual journey, please click here; for some “true fiction” about our experience, please consider A Continuing Fiction and The Cranberry Tales.
Why “the zoo fence”? One night in 1974, in a fishing camp on the windward side of Molokai, in the Hawaiian Islands, one of us had a dream about publishing a journal called “The Zoo Fence”. The name probably originated from the practice of the Honolulu Zoo to allow artists to display their art work on its fence in Waikiki; but beyond that, who knows what the subconscious meant by the phrase! In any case, it made sense in the dream, and when, more than two decades later, The Laughing Cat decided to issue a newsletter, the choice of a name seemed already to have been made. (For one interpretation of the name, please see the item “Why the zoo fence?” on our Letters page.)
If you have come to The Zoo Fence by following a link from another site, you may be caught inside one of their frames. To address this problem, we have placed “frame escapes” at the bottom of many of our pages, like the image at right. Clicking on it will extricate you. If you are not sure whether you are caught in a frame, click there anyway. The page will simply reopen. To see what it might look like to be caught inside another's frame, click here.
Thank you for visiting. We hope you enjoy yourself here. We wish you joy and love in everything you undertake.
This page was last updated on November 12, 2016.
For information about other changes & updates to this site, please click here.
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Please read our disclaimer.
The Zoo Fence was first published in hard copy in January, 1996.
It has been on the internet since February, 1997,
first at America Online, then at GeoCities (from 1/1998), then at OLM (from 7/2000),
and now at InMotion (from 3/2011).
Our thanks to Google for the search utility.
And to Alan Simpson for his helpful website and books,
and for the color-bar graphic used throughout this site!
And to Shutterstock for the safety pin images!