Posts Tagged ‘nowism’

I’m getting ready to turn in, and I find myself struggling against the “Sunday night blues”. You know, that resistance to the weekend being over, knowing the next morning starts the workweek again?

Yes, I’ve had a great weekend, and no I don’t feel like getting up in the morning to go to work. But I didn’t feel like getting up this morning, either. I was able to sleep in a tiny bit, but it was when my son gets up and needed to be taken care of. I love spending time with my son, and adored having the morning together. If I don’t resent having to wake up before I feel like it on Sunday, how does it help to resent it Monday?

And really, how does it help to resent any present moment one finds oneself in? I’m generally pretty good about enjoying each day as best I can rather than “living for the weekend”, so I’m surprised at how much I’d rather have another Sunday tomorrow.

Regardless, Sunday or Monday, I’ll need to get up before I feel like it. So I may as well go relax into restfulness and have some sweet dreams.


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Happy Zen Year!

So, 2013. What a year, huh? It was so full of hidden gems and other rocks & hard places, it was tough to stay present in our own skin. There was too much popping up all at once, and too much falling away. How could we keep up?

I heard once that odd numbers hold more chaos and even numbers more constancy, so that made me think that perhaps I could apply that concept to years. If 2013 was chaos that kept the world off its center, perhaps 2014 may be a year of regrouping within that center.

So I’m committing to focus at least one moment each day in a way that brings my full attention to that present moment. I’m shooting for actually posting about that moment or other thoughts each day, to stay present here, as well. Part of my joy is to share what I receive with others. This 2014 is a year to dedicate to joy, being present with it and sharing that presence with others.

You who read this, regardless of when you read it, please consider making a similar commitment to dedicating a tiny slice of each day to connect to the world through your own center. No matter how you feel about yourself, you’re a part of this crazy planet, and we need you to honor that. You don’t have to do anything “special”, just pause with a breath and thank any random moment for allowing you to experience it. That alone will bring you into that precious moment, and experience the simplicity of pure presence that is zen.

It’s time to start showing up. I and the rest of the world dearly look forward to sharing it with you.

Here’s to a Happy Zen Year!

Note: This was actually posted on the 2nd, when the thoughts finished forming into words I could type. Clearly, I’m pretty fluid on the implementation of this goal. Just be who you are and let life flow through you!

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I was talking to a friend today about overcoming Worry Addiction. I used to be horridly addicted to worrying and fretting, and now I’m merely susceptible.  This is thanks to giving up worrying for lent one year.

I’m pretty sure the way I managed it was practicing “postponement” – agreeing with myself that right now isn’t the best time to put my energy toward a situation, as this present moment isn’t when I can do anything about it. Either I don’t have all the necessary info, or I’m just not in a place where it can be helped. Therefore, I promised to do what I could to get into the right time and place and then put the needed energy to it.

This worked, with practice, because the part of myself that felt the deep importance of whatever it was I was worrying over didn’t feel neglected. It felt that I was giving it strong consideration, and rather than dismissing it, was merely trying to make sure it got the time and energy needed for such a momentous issue. (It doesn’t matter how trivial the issue; it’s absolutely EVERYTHING to the part of me that feels it’s so important, just like a baby with a favorite toy.)

It also helped to have a few things on tap to shift my attention to, such as something I COULD plan for, especially if it was something I could also look forward to. Or even just something positive to dwell on. Anything to keep the energy channeled toward something happy rather than manic.

Anyway, I still catch myself getting frantic now and then. But with practice, it’s gotten easier to redirect the energy.

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I have just one reason for not posting again on a regular schedule…

My ‘present mind’.

While at times it will jaunt off into an internal tangent and take me somewhere completely removed from a current situation, generally my mind is on exactly what’s in front of me.  And little else.  Meaning thoughts I had even moments before entering the room, intending to do something very specific, are gone completely when something there needs even a moment’s attention.  The past is fully in the past, even if I’d intended to bring it into the future.

This means that not only do I need a list to go shopping, but I also have to take measures to ensure I remember to bring the list. It also means that unless something is such an established habit that it has become a part of the schema of where I’ll naturally go — it won’t happen.  Almost no matter how much I want it, chances are good I’ll forget.

So when reading about the ideal of the Present Mind, focusing and knowing completely only that which is before you — don’t take it too literally. Oh sure, it’s a valuable skill to be able to pull off, but only when it’s appropriate. It’s not meant to be an ‘all the time’ thing.

If you don’t believe me, try it for a while, and see how many possible ‘presents’ go unopened…

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It’s been some time since I’ve had a day of doing virtually nothing. I was able to casually take care of a key responsibility without really losing too much time, and also zip through some things for work. But mostly I caught up on a couple games I’d been meaning to play, and ate cookies and cookie dough.

I didn’t get a nap, but I did get to chill out on the couch while doing all this. Without a single thought as to what couldn’t (or wouldn’t) get done before the clock tolls twelve.

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Before turning my calendar to October (which I forgot to do yesterday), I want to make sure I’ve shared the quote from last month –

The mind can go in a thousand directions.
But on this beautiful path, I walk in peace.
With each step, a gentle wind blows.
With each step, a flower blooms.

– Thich Nhat Hanh, from “Present Moment Wonderful Moment”

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I’ve got this quote on my desk from Michel de Montaigne, one of the most influential writers of the French Renaissance through the mid/late 1500’s. His writing style merged very serious ideas in with casual stories about himself and his thoughts, which many at the time considered strange and self-indulgent. Personally, I think he’s got some really great ways of showing a zenlike life, shared in a very personal and accessible way.

Here’s the quote:

When I dance, I dance; when I sleep, I sleep; yes, and when I walk alone in a beautiful orchard, if my thoughts drift to far-off matters for some part of the time for some other part I lead them back again to the walk, the orchard, to the sweetness of this solitude, to myself.

– Michel de Montaigne

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I very nearly forgot to have a thought again today! It’s been headache level of busy, and times like that I often don’t think to take a moment and think. Then just now I came across a line from a poem, which says it all:


What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.
No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows.
No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.
No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night.
No time to turn at Beauty’s glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance.
No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began.
A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

– William Henry Davies

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I was thinking today about how people can get caught up in thoughts of the life they want. Some people just imagine being able to spend all day every day lounging by the beach with perpetually refreshed drinks, true. Yet I think most people have dreams and aspirations they truly hope to someday realize, but aren’t in a place yet to do that.

The problem comes when jump from the ideal to the real seems to be across such a deep, deep gulf that we end up feeling farther away from them than is really fair. As a result, in wishing for the ideal, we can feel a harsh separation from the real, or at least wanting to be separated from it. And that’s the problem, because that wish would separate us from where we actually are, when we’re actually there, and able to take actual action to move to where we want to go.

There’s no other way to get where we want to go without first moving our feet where they’re at. To live the lives we want, we must live the lives we have. As much as we can, it only helps us to take a moment and see and appreciate where we’re at, so we can better see how it will help us along.

Of course, Leo Tolstoy put it far more succinctly: “If you want to be happy, be.”

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So what is Zen, anyway, and why is there so much hype about reaching it? Or Tao, for that matter? What do all my little ramblings have to do with them?

I think these questions are rhetorical here, cause I think you all know what I’m talking about. But I post these up on WordPress with the Zen and Taoism tags and I’ve been nudged over whether my random thoughts about living in this world really belong with those tags. So that’s what’s on my mind today (and also that I haven’t had a thought in days!)

I personally think that if you really experience Zen and Taoism in the way that I understand it, the question’s rather ridiculous; the whole point of studying Zen and the Tao is to realize how it’s all just a matter of expressing Inner Nature. Outer Harmony. As best we can. And my natural harmonic is less sitting zen and more working zen. Not so much silent zen, as laughing zen. There’s little room for dust in my Tao.

Not like there’s any one Way to the Way, and also not like all the most celebrated old poets are more stodgy than we are. Today’s quote on my calendar:

How boring to sit idly on the floor,
not meditating, not breaking through.
Look at the horses racing along the Kamo River!
That’s zazen!

– Daito

(I’m not positive, but I think it might be this Daito:
Jan 21: A religous debate between Tendai and Shingon priests on the one hand and Zen priests, led by Daito Kokushi (1282-1337) on the other, was held in Kyoto in 1324. The debate, which was judged by emperor Godaigo and assisted by ex-emperor Hanazono was won by Daito. )

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