6/29 - Practicing This Very Moment p.8
I think that the discussion is really going strong! The book may grow on some folks who did not care for the first pages (or maybe it won't. I used to hate black olives, but now I like them.). Happy with the pace?
I will toss out a seed or two for this week. It may be something to talk about.
Moment by moment our practice is like a choice ... between our nice world that we want to set up in our heads and what really is. And what really is ... is often fatique, boredom, and pain in the legs. What we learn from having to sit quietly with that discomfort is so valuable that if it didn't exist, it should ... [The] only people who learn to live comfortably are those who learn not to dream their lives their away, but to be with what's right-here-now, no matter what it is: good, bad, nice, not nice, headache, being ill, being happy. It doesn't make a difference.
Master Dogen wrote:
Do not think of good and bad. Do not care about right and wrong.
Perhaps, in our sitting, we are under the impression that we must seek to see only the clear, blue sky of some pure, harmonious, undivided 'enlightenment', and thus we seek to chase away and conquer the dark, disturbing rainclouds of thought and division and conflict and distraction. We believe that one is enlightenment while the other is ignorance. (And many books on Zen and other like schools of 'enlightenment' will teach that the goal is just that).
However, both clouds and blue are just the sky, and one without the other would be incomplete.
Why would we want to break up the sky?
practicing this very moment
Thank you for kindly attributing helpfulness to some of the thoughts/words I strung together regarding pain. I'm glad to hear it's a helpful image--like most aids--it is of temporary service until more fitting ones come and your own emerge
Well this chapter with Joko is even chewier than the last, a real zen-jerky! The part most compelling for me was the story about the piano teacher (and then she states zen practice is much harder!).
"The crux of zazen is this: all we must do is constantly to create a little shift from the spinning world we've got in our heads to right-here-now." and she goes on to say that 'moment by moment our practice is like a choice, a fork in the road...it's always a choice, moment by moment, between our nice world that we want to set up in our heads and what really is."
I don't think it gets more bare bones honest and direct than that.
However, I don't think the world in my head is always so 'nice'. I do believe that to get to naked, living, ALIVE reality (this very moment) it is necessary to disrobe the mind of all its various clothing--the mental costumes, uniforms, air-brushed 'perfect' images,--of positive and negative things--I've spent my lifetime collecting. Slipping these mental constructions off requires catching myself when I'm just slipping them on--like catching myself putting my hand to my mouth--that broken cookie bit in the box when I've told myself 'no, cookies' (see, see, I say--but this is not a cookie--it's only a cookie crumb!!) hand to mouth so quick I don't even catch it until its already in my mouth! Ah, now the choice: spit it out? or swallow? I don't believe either choice is inherently better: it is the arrival of awareness in that moment that I have a choice which is an astoundingly fresh, and almost a revolutionary concept to this habit-driven mind of mine.
(I have a small aside here--I have not participated in a book club before nor a blog until very recently and it is quite special to share thoughts with you, dear cyber sangha members!)
practicing this very moment
I really enjoyed how you expressed this.
It has occurred to me on occasion that anger is just there waiting for an opportunity to be expressed. That irritability is just waiting for something to be irritated about, that silliness is just looking for a place to be silly and that intellectual forte is just looking for a place to be intellectual, etc. With sitting zazen all these things still arise and still occur, but it seems to me their embodiment (us) is someone who is non-harming to self, non-harming to others in expression, in action no matter what arises in us or what circumstances we find ourselves in.
I loved how you expressed "looking forward to visits from your old friend anxiety" I think with sitting zazen we get on friendly terms with everything.