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Posts Tagged ‘satori’

The other day, I skipped posting because I had suddenly come down with a very bad cold/flu/ish thing. I wasn’t thinking very clearly, and just wanted to rest.

Actually, I had wanted to be available for a work project I wasn’t feeling prepared to hand off just yet. I left work a little early to try to rest up and stave off what was coming over me, in hopes I’d be able to get back to it.

So I was a little annoyed as I was walking out to my car, wishing I could just wish myself well. I then realized perhaps I should just practice that as my moment of zen, and ask myself what I most needed to accept about my situation so I could make peace and move on.

I then looked down on the sidewalk and saw there was a small screw dropped right where I was stepping. A rusty one, at that.

I laughed at how life tends to answer my questions, and felt better already.

Emotionally better, that is.  It took me until last night to feel physically better, and I’m still taking it easy!

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It’s time to give a bit of a status update for my Lent resolution of giving up “Separation”, or the idea that the experiences I have of other people can be completely “separate” from my own life as a human being.

Today, there was a bit of a traffic snarl in trying to leave work. I had to take a detour, and on the way home, there were more “snarls”, which reminded me what an obstructed time it was in the morning to start with. It was just a day of jams and being in each others’ way. Inevitably, there were drivers who were trying to weave in, jut out, and otherwise “beat” the traffic game, as though it were a competition.

I had a curious experience in all of this. Moreso than normal, I had a deep appreciation for the frustration these dangerous drivers were feeling that “drove” them to drive so unsafely. I felt myself wishing them all the best, and lending my lovingkindness to prevent them from experiencing any accidents or injuries as a result of the difficult time they were having. I recognized that we are all sharing one road, and the accident that impacts one/two vehicles, impacts us all.

I realize it can be considered a fairly “mundane” epiphany, but then again, my focus is squarely on the everyday experiences we have as regular human beings. One of the most everyday of the everyday is the dangerous tedium of the commute, and it was in this everyday experience I felt a unity with the others sharing my road.

I figure, you might have some relative idea of what this might mean to your own life, so I wanted to share. Truly, all my best to you, for we are sharing one road, and I wish for it to be smooth for us all.

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I’ve been thinking again about the addictive nature of certainty, and how tough a habit it is to break. Our Commander Brain tends to require certainty in order to feel it knows who “I am” and has the control “I need” to keep structure and predictability in our lives. That’s why it’s so important to first learn how to break the addiction to certainty, so we may be able to learn HOW to learn more about what we don’t yet know.

To break this addiction, I once spent possibly a whole year practicing being uncertain. Each time I felt I had a solid ground to stand on, to start building a new “what I know” foundation, I deliberately went searching out alternate ways to think and feel, pulling the rug back from underneath my feet. I wanted to stop allowing the habit of trying to find one solid place to stand firm forevermore. I wanted to get used to walking a path of personal growth and lifetime discovery. There will always be core values that will guide and comfort me, but these are gifts I carry in my heart, not anchors that hold me down.

Allowing myself to be trapped in the comfortable chains of certainty endangers that freedom to learn and grow.  I have to thank an article I read today for describing these dangers:

Certainty is the most dangerous emotion a human being can feel in politics and religion. Certainty stops all outside thought or reason. It closes the door and is a metaphorical spit in the face of anyone who disagrees. Changing one’s mind is the essence of critical thinking. As Thomas Jefferson himself said, “Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blind-folded fear.”

Fox News tried to tear my family apart: How they failed to incite my father, by Edwin Lyngar on Salon.com

We are blessed with a bright and beautiful world, and equally bright and beautiful minds with which to enjoy it. Let us practice freedom and skill in our minds, that we may live our lives with skillful freedom.

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I remember hearing that the purpose of the bell in meditation is for the ringing sound to catch the attention. The ears then follow the sound as it fades, leaving only awareness without an object to be aware of.

So when I hear a singing bowl or temple bell or other such sound, I find myself coming to focused attention, taking in the ringing. I allow that attention to follow the sound as it fades away, keeping my awareness open.

Here is a real haiku (not my mimicky ones) that made me think of this:

As the temple bell fades,
The ringing lingers in the blossom scent.
Evening.

kanekietehananokawatsukuyuubekana_02

kane kiete hana no ka wa tsuku yuube kana

– Matsuo Bashō

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Speed Bump 8/21/2009
Speed Bump 9/21/09

I saw today’s Speed Bump cartoon and had to use it for today’s thought. I think it’s kinda funny, but it also illustrates for me the dangers of studying any kind of religious or philosophical path. It can be so easy to get sidetracked with the over-arcing insights and generalities that it becomes hard to apply them to the everyday choices of living. They can be a great guide, but they’re not exactly cut out to act as specific instructions.

That’s why I’ve set out to keep up my agreement to do a ‘daily zen’ thought, and end up talking about very mundane things. The zen is the compass, but it’s the mundane that is the actual journey. The more we learn how to live each day with a pretty clear perspective, making pretty honest choices and feeling pretty much at peace with them, the more we’re living zen.

An active sense of humor helps, too. 😉

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