Another Open Letter to Zen Gardner

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by Kathleen Stilwell
September 8, 2016

Dear Zen,

We humans are a very strange species.  We can be so incredibly blind and reactive.

I know that you do know the way we can get.  You know because you are one of us and we all can get pulled into dark places we thought we had risen above.

We are not enlightened.  We are growing in enlightenment, which means we still get stuck.  We get paralyzed.  We still listen to fear, even though we’d rather pretend that we don’t.

We don’t completely lose our awareness in these blinded moments, but we lose our connection to real knowing and to taking right action.

In these stuck moments, we are like hoarders with mountains of newspapers that we are afraid to throw away.  We restrict our own movement with facts.

Facts can make us feel right.  Being right is not the same as being true.  Yes, we already knew this before we got stuck, but we have been known, at times, to be a very forgetful bunch.

Home, Sweet Home

If we feel right, then we feel safe.  It’s a false sort of safety, but we are so used to falseness that it feels just like home.

If we feel safe, we feel no need to ask Love what it thinks of the facts we are gathering.  We feel no need to ask Love what, if anything, we should do with those facts.

Being armed with rightness, we now imagine ourselves a force to be reckoned with.

We are proud that we’ve found a way to be right.  With pride (in contrast to self-respect and self-knowing) as our false backbone, we become more assured about how right we really are.  We defend our rightness at all costs, because, after all, our pride is now at stake.  And so it goes.  We’ve created our own monster within.

In these blind moments, we become focused on putting together enough facts to support our perspective — whether from rumors, from stories others tell us, from our own shadowed imaginations, from our brilliantly-researched databases of other people’s ideas, or, perhaps, even channeled from aliens.  A truth-seeker’s gotta do what a truth-seeker’s gotta do.

We are, in this moment of temporary blindness, aligned with an other-worldly sense of urgency that tells us we must quickly build something solid to stand on.  (Time is always of the essence in these cases – and, if we were in our more awake state, that fact, in itself, would definitely give us a clue and we’d ask some hard questions.)

In these blind moments, we’ve forgotten that we’ve nothing to fear.

We’ve forgotten that if we aren’t watchful, fear and other creepers like pride sneak into our soul unseen.

Because it is a master of disguise — and because we all have previously aligned ourselves with lies in a world that tells us war brings peace, poison is medicine, and cruelty is love — fear already knows just how to grab us without our knowing.

Fear knows oh-so-well that we’ve been domesticated from our wild, loving state into more fearful versions of ourselves.  We vibrate at a slower speed and are easier to tag.

We’ve forgotten to be watchful for our own blind spots.  And we’ve forgotten to remind ourselves that we still do have blind spots, perhaps even blind spots we’ve only noticed in others but not yet in ourselves.

Facts can give us a false sense of power.  If we allow ourselves to be seduced into claiming and using this false power we can only create that which isn’t true, never was and never will be.

If we allow ourselves to be seduced into using false power, innocents will be hurt.  That’s just the way things roll in the realm of falseness.

We create our own prison in these blinded moments because, in our fixation on the oh-so-tangible dangers all around us, we have forgotten that nothing can harm us – at least not eternally.  We have forgotten that the eternal is what really matters.

We have also forgotten our own oath to do no harm.  This is our toughest challenge by far.

So, who the heck are we, anyway?

Are we, Zen, the lovers you have always reminded us that we are?  Are we really the awakening?  Guess we’ll see.  I think so.  But we lovers aren’t always right in the here and now.  We specialize in the long run stuff, the eternal.

Many of us know we were born for no other reason than to become as true as we can be. That doesn’t mean, by any means, that we’ve always been or always will be true.

But, when we are in sync with our trueness, we know there can be no other life purpose than to love.

We know that we were called into these bodies by the Great Mystery, and we know that we gratefully answered that call.  We were asked to do something quite simple, or so it seemed at the time:  Just show up, seek out and connect with Love itself, and then give it all away.  Little did we know…

As I read your many articles through the years, I knew you were one of us.  I also knew you knew there is nothing easy about being true and that you were committed to staying the course nonetheless.

The problem with being lovers and the fear of being fooled

Being a lover is no easy gig.

The moment we sign on, we find we have somehow teleported into a reality where all lovers have deeply-embodied memories of being heartbroken — so heartbroken that we are still haunted by a fear that our hearts may never really heal.  There is a shadowy memory of being so hurt by betrayal that many pretend not to have a heart just to avoid ever hurting like that again.

As lovers, we have memories of being used by dark energies that belittled us and mocked the beauty of our open hearts and sacred bodies.

We have memories of the spell being cast that convinced us we were fragile and vulnerable. But we only have a vague recall of the time before the takeover, when we knew, without a doubt, that we are remarkably resilient and creative… and, as it just so happens, we are also eternal.

We have a fear of being fooled again, of being defiled again.  In our more awake moments, we know that only by continuing to seek and  connect with Love can we ever fully stand again in our natural power.

The monster under the bed or the elephant in the room?

There’s nothing like a monster under the bed to get us pulling the blankets over our heads and the wool over our own eyes, especially when the monster was first identified as “the elephant in the room”.

How do we know that the elephant is really a blood-thirty monster?  We know this because people we can trust told us so.  They are important people with internet-issued enlightenment credentials.

Well, maybe we aren’t really sure we can trust them, because we don’t really know who they are, but the horrible nature of this elephant-turned-monster frightens us so much that we’ve decided to cover our asses and go along for the ride.

The scariest and most shocking thing of all, Zen, as you now know, is that this monster was never under the bed.  He was actually walking freely in our village.  He was a writer and teacher with thousands of readers who were uplifted by his powerful words.

As it turns out, dear brother Zen, this monster is supposedly you.

These self-appointed authorities tell us, Zen, that you are not a sincere truth-seeker, sharing his wisdom with thousands.  You are a devious monster with out-of-control sexual appetites and a destroyer of childhoods.

You are also a shapeshifter (we already learned that with the elephant-monster routine) with an amazing ability to fool thousands into believing you were truly loving and were sharing a path of wisdom.

Your ultimate goal must have been to gather up all of us for a ritual sacrifice or something, although I haven’t heard anyone come up with a motive yet.  I’ll be sure to ask the experts.

With friends like these…

Apparently someone in your network of contacts, who you had been sharing with in confidence, decided to pass your confidences along to another connection.

This person felt it imperative that we all be told that you were (17 years ago) involved with a “cult” called Children of God, and that you had been in this cult for 27 years.  This person needed us to know, then another person needed us to know, then another.  A series of open letters to Zen Gardner were written.

In all of these decisions to reveal your past, time was apparently of the essence.  “Facts” were  put together quickly from old mainstream media sources.  For some very odd reason, they could not respect your own sense of time or your choice to reveal what you wanted to reveal.

The cult you joined as a young man turned out to not be just another run-of-the-mill mind control experience, but one that would eventually morph into a giant dysfunctional mess, with sordid elements working their way in.

According the mainstream media, Children of God had members who were involved in free sex (which, of course, has nothing to do with being free and was really abuse of all involved) and had a deviant leader and some members who practiced pedophilia.

Whenever pedophilia is mentioned, we are all sickened.  Just as when we hear about torture, rape, or other seriously violent and damaging acts, we shift into cognitive dissonance.  We can’t imagine anyone ever doing those things.  We also look for a way to make it stop, which can include looking for someone to blame.

Apparently, as a former member of this cult, you are now being held responsible for all that went on there.

While pedophilia is rampant in the Catholic church, without, by the way, being used as a reason to tar and feather all Catholics, it is also a huge global issue.

The truth is, as members of a global community, we are all responsible for this issue. Should we all be labelled monsters?  Probably in some ultra-pure dimension, somewhere, we would be.

We have met the enemy and he is us.

Zen, when we heard about the pedophilia, we were stunned.  I was taken aback because I had to wonder, how did he get here from there?

I expected questions, but not attacks and demands that you go crawl under a rock.

I was dumbstruck at the suggestion that you take down your blog in order to do “self-work” before showing your face again to us high-and-mighty enlightened ones.

Who the heck do we think we are to demand such things of one another?

Who do we think we are that we dare bully one another into revealing our past or revealing anything?

Apparently, we, in these moments of arrogant blindness, have no memory of who we really are.  We’ve forgotten to ask Love’s guidance because we think we are right.

No Shit, Sherlock

In this “Zen experience” we decided to believe our own fears (lies). We then looked to link arms with other believers.  We prepared speeches using quotes from ancient texts and modern mystics to prove how smart we are.  We got out our internet microphones to alert the neighbors that we’ve saved ourselves from being fooled again by the most devious of monsters.  Then we asked everyone to “make this viral!”.

The obedient minions started posting everywhere.

“Zen Gardner is not his real name!”, they exclaim. “He hides behind an  alias.”

Using an alias.  Zen Gardner? You mean that’s not what appears on his government-issued birth record? Now that’s a shocker. Is everyone who uses an avatar or username shady? Some of those calling you out right now use an alias. What does that mean about them?

Some readers are deeply shocked that you, Zen, walked a path that took you through such a mind-boggling, and even, at times very dark, cult — a mixture of sincere biblical study, idealism,  and totally off-balance behaviors.  You must have been a real sicko, the experts say, and could never have been there so long without a permanently-scarred soul.

Did the experts and their minions ever ask themselves if those years in the dark tunnels of control were actually a part of a learning path that gives you such strength and clarity in speaking about the control system?

Could these years in this distilled microcosm of our global community have led you to understand and communicate so well about the whole world as a cult?

If we had given it any thought, and my guess is that most of us hadn’t, would we have asked what type of life experiences gave you such insight and such conviction?

If your writing over these past nine years is really so brilliant, and it is, then shouldn’t we be asking you what first came to my mind:  How in the world did you get here from there?

Shouldn’t we be asking you about your insights on how you became entrapped in such a twisted environment, about how we all become entrapped in such environments that control our minds and numb our inner-knowing?

Shouldn’t we be asking you what wisdom you can share about the co-dependent imprint we receive in childhood that keeps us repeating the same stupid patterns, that keep us seeking the same poisonous relationship connections – until we set ourselves free?

Shouldn’t we give you the opportunity, if you want to accept it, to continue to share your wisdom in these areas as it occurs to you?

And for those who have convinced themselves that you are really a monster, shouldn’t they be asking how you did it?  I mean, wow.  You must have some dazzling skills, way beyond the NLP idea that a few of the experts have thrown out there.

Our love was stolen from us and we are taking it back

We are a very sad people. Our sorrow runs deep.

Our understanding of our divinity was stolen from us.  Every aspect of our precious love and our sacred sexuality was manipulated and flipped inside-out.  We were deceived on the deepest levels possible.

Is this fear of being fooled and manipulated the source of this mad-truther disease?  Or is it the fear of facing our own darkness?

What sort of madness is causing us to cast you, Zen Gardner, out of the village and to build a Zen-proof fence?

Did fear create this mind virus which causes your friends and readers to hallucinate an evil caricature of you instead of seeing who you really are?

Is it fear that is pushing us to shut out your voice from our most important conversations when this could be a moment of transformation for us all?

As I write this, I am imagining readers/friends who are deeply rooted in love.  Like me, they are wondering if a horrible mistake has just been made.

I am imagining that the tide will turn and the usually-quiet lovers out there will stand up in this moment and speak out for you, their friend.

I’m imagining that our intelligent research community will actually do research.  Others have already pointed out that no one has come forward with any evidence that you were part of anything linked with pedophilia.  In fact, the opposite is true and there is testimony of your kind, wise and gentle nature.

Where is the forgiveness? Where is the love?

What if we had found out that you once participated in something that you now would find unthinkable?  What then?  Would we have the wisdom to ask you how you got here from there so that others could follow?

As the “truth vibrations” increase, shouldn’t we be expecting some of us to reveal amazing transformations from entangled darkness to lives of giving?  And, shouldn’t we be there for these transforming and ascending humans to welcome them home?  Well, shouldn’t we?

How could we, how dare we, treat another being the way we are treating you, Zen?

And why are you being singled out for silencing and banishing?

Could it be because you are speaking a truth that is alive and unfolding?

Could it be because what is being revealed here in all of this “Zen experience” is important for us to look at and learn from – from the lynching of one of our friends to the monster in the living room we’ve yet to take collective responsibility for.

By staying in conversation, we could be welcoming energies that will rock our world, if only we have the courage to let it rock.

If we don’t choose to stand up as a real research, truth-seeking community today, then perhaps it will happen one day.

In this moment, I can’t bear to think that we don’t have what it takes to choose Love today.

Zen, could you be one of the greatest con men ever to live?  Sure, you could be.  I could be some sort of sociopath too.  But both scenarios are highly unlikely.

I have been fooled before, but, although I’ve never met you, I see no evidence to doubt who you are.  In fact, as I watched your interviews with CCN (here and here), I became even more convinced that you are the man I sensed you are.

We can all rest assured that we can never claim to have arrived at a place where nothing can deceive us.  And we shouldn’t fear this.

We are not all-knowing.  I’m cool with that.

If we want to share real love, we will have to trust.

We can grow wiser.  We can discover the lies more quickly.  But to love we have to risk and we have to trust our inner-knowing about each other.

Zen, I ask the universe to give us a chance to retake this litmus test of our love for one another, and this time may we answer the call to love.

May we connect with our Source, with the Love of our Life, and then may we give our love away.

May we, in this moment of challenge and in all the others to come, remember who we really are.

With love,




I Know The Way You Can Get

by Hafiz,  from “I Heard God Laughing – Renderings of Hafiz”, translated by Daniel Ladinsky

I know the way you can get
When you have not had a drink of Love:

Your face hardens,
Your sweet muscles cramp.

Children become concerned
About a strange look that appears in your eyes
Which even begins to worry your own mirror
And nose.

Squirrels and birds sense your sadness
And call an important conference in a tall tree.
They decide which secret code to chant
To help your mind and soul.

Even angels fear that brand of madness
That arrays itself against the world
And throws sharp stones and spears into
The innocent
And into one’s self.

O I know the way you can get
If you have not been drinking Love:

You might rip apart
Every sentence your friends and teachers say,
Looking for hidden clauses.
You might weigh every word on a scale
Like a dead fish.

You might pull out a ruler to measure
From every angle in your darkness
The beautiful dimensions of a heart you once

I know the way you can get
If you have not had a drink from Love’s

That is why all the Great Ones speak of
The vital need
To keep remembering God,
So you will come to know and see Him

As being so Playful
And Wanting,
Just Wanting to help.

That is why Hafiz says:
Bring your cup near me.

For all I care about
Is quenching your thirst for freedom!
All a Sane man can ever care about
Is giving Love!

This article may be freely shared as long as the text is unaltered and the original author, Kathleen Stilwell, is clearly identified with a hyperlink back to the original article.

Kathleen Stilwell is a dreamer, in awe of the transforming power of  vision, courage, kindness and imagination. Kathleen created the website Born Outside the Box to share her own experience of whatever this reality is. It is also a place to share the work of other writers who speak of things that resonate with her soul.



  • Mark
    September 9, 2016, 12:54 am  

    Hi Zen,
    I reached out to you a number of years ago because your writing and wisdom resonated with me. Over time, we began exchanging personal emails. I shared my happiness and pride with you over the sites and portals that have picked up your work.
    You’ve become a loving friend from afar, for which I’m eternally grateful.
    What’s happened as a result of you shedding your past-life skin has been a disgrace. Anyone who assumes things without first-hand knowledge of your life has done a disservice to you and to themselves.
    You awakened. That’s what should matter. So should forgiveness and understanding from the reactors. Unfortunately, the archons are feeding at the alternative trough.
    Hang in there my friend. You have an international community of loving souls who are standing by you. Me too.
    With love,

    • bornoutsidethebox
      September 9, 2016, 5:55 am


  • Darnell
    September 8, 2016, 11:28 am  

    Here is a beautiful Poem from Zen Gardner
    by Zen Gardner
    I see it in the faces
    I feel it in the earth
    The yearning ever deeper
    Like the pains before a birth
    The living sense, the sadness
    Their eyes are filled with tears
    As our lonely, longing people
    Are fending off their fears
    The heart of man grows tender
    Caring more for those in pain
    We’re covering our loved ones
    In the downpour of the rain
    The night is soon approaching
    But it must, as will the day
    Be brave and always steadfast
    Love will wipe the tears away
    Learning, ever learning
    Seeing consciousness arise
    While ever dissipating
    Is the veil of woven lies
    We cannot come to fathom
    Or think to just arrive
    This life is for the living
    Yet we onward choose to strive
    For answers to our questions
    The thirst cannot be slaked
    Our hunger knows no bound’ries
    We’re born to be awake’d
    It seems we’re in a process
    Conscious evolution’s own
    To realize just who we are
    And my, the way we’ve grown

  • Darnell
    September 8, 2016, 11:23 am  

    Thank You so much for expressing this…This is so very needed, Perhaps some of Zen’s Articles can be posted here?
    Thank You Kathleenxxx
    Love Darnell

    • bornoutsidethebox
      September 8, 2016, 11:36 pm

      Thank you, Darnell. Some of Zen’s articles are posted here. This blog hasn’t seen much activity for quite a while, so they are mostly older ones. I’ll seek out more of them and post here. Hugs.

  • September 8, 2016, 7:47 am  

    Thank you, Kathleen! Most beautifully and adroitly done! Your inclusive “we” speaks accurately, if not highly, of our individual proclivities toward herding. “We” indeed! Each of us born free and individually, somehow, sometime — perhaps in a natural ontological way, perhaps phylogenetically [my word] — directed (!) — we get caught up in Mass Mind, let go of that which makes each of us special, unique, and try to fit in as best we can, circular orbs into squared jail cells.
    As I myself have wrote to him, I hope Zen Gardner spits in the eye of those who denigrated and disparaged, those who wish his blog “off the web”, and those who desire still to shoo him away from the thousands of pairs of eyes who visited, viewed, and read his work each day.
    Thank you again for your open letter, Kathleen.

    • bornoutsidethebox
      September 8, 2016, 11:45 pm

      Thank you, Alan, for your very insightful response. I appreciate that you took the time to share here. Cheers. — Kathleen

  • September 8, 2016, 5:40 am  

    Dear Kathleen, great work, very loving, grounding and connected with reality. May the “3D witch hunters” read this and reflect on it to bring some sanity in the madhouse. If the “Zentest” is a consciousness indicator where we will stand as a collective when the shit REALLY hits the fan, humanity failed miserably:-) Thanks for bringing wisdom and light in this Kathleen, and thank you dear Zen for offering us a precious test and opportunity, Love Willem

    • bornoutsidethebox
      September 8, 2016, 11:49 pm

      Thank you, Willem for sharing your wise and loving thoughts here with us. You are very much appreciated.

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