Cliff asked somewhere on this vast forum:
And this is my humble answer, hopefully useful:You talk about the negative emotions that our thoughts can trigger -- anger, depression, stress -- and offer some valuable strategies for accepting those emotions, holding them without judgement and acknowledging them. I think your daily mantra of, "It's OK not to be OK," is a beautiful path to self-compassion. You suggest questioning the emotion, asking, "It it real, is it true?"
I may be over-intellectualizing here -- one of the symptoms of having a very developed inner-voice -- but isn't asking the question invoking thinking, cultivating the very mental process we want to allow to recede into the background in the daily practice of zazen?
In sitting, in just sitting, we do not add to the acceptation of here and now. We let thoughts arise and vanish without challenging their reality with the razor blade like and very sharp inquiry, giving them space, letting them roam we are actually sky-like filled with clouds. Of course once we identify or play with a single thought, the very wide and wild and raw open perspective is kind of lost as we focus on a particular element of the broad scenery. In life, wherever you are, train, work, streets, restaurant, you might of course go there, in shikantaza mode, in that non dual space that cuts through every confusion on the spot as it makes the whole scenery bloom to its full and boundless expanse. This is called one taste in the zen tradition. This instant zazen is always available. AND you may indeed use the thinking process itself to undermine the confusion that results from believing in your thoughts ( which is partly the actual way a koan might wipe the mirror of the bodymind and make you freely reflect all things without being a single one) inquiry such as: is this real? Statement like: no big deal are dualistic tools for a non dualistic realisation. You see, one of the challenges and real wonders of Buddhist practice is the fact that the dual and relative ( words, actions and the likes ) are used to point at , and not only point at in the Zen path, to embody the non dual and absolute. Lex Hixon in the transmission 43 of Keizan Denkoroku, record of the transmission of the light, that I am busy translating in French for French publisher puts it very clearly: as soon you penetrate the non dual you may pick up and use dualistic tools to express fully the Buddha Dharma. Making a disctinction between dual and non dual would be at that stage very dualistic. This is why we are not drunk with the oneness of Advaita ( i love and respect Advaita but Advaita is another path) , saying one with is already dualistic. We express this as neither one nor two and then, Bob is your uncle as they say in Britain.