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Thread: How to Make Decisions Face Problems

  1. #1

    How to Make Decisions Face Problems

    Hi,

    Several folks have written me in recent weeks with questions about how to make various life decisions or how to face various personal problems. Should they change job, move, break-up a relationship? How best to deal with a difficult person at home or work, or worries about money & health. They all wondered if I had any advice, or if "Zen" provided any answers.

    "Zen" provides no answers. Zero (or, at least, very very few).

    It will not tell you which job to take, where to live, whom to love. It will not make difficult people change their behavior, it will not fix your health or put money in your bank account. Sorry.

    But what our Zen teachings tell us is that there are two ways to approach each of these situations, and two ways to live life in general ...

    In one way (the "non-Zen" way, for want of a better term), we face these decisions and situations of life with a head filled with noisy and tumultuous thoughts, our heart flooded with wild passions, psychological conflicts, a lack of inner peace, resistance to situations, fears and excess regrets. Our Ego is large, and perhaps Compassion is small. In the "non-Zen" way, we make our choices or try to deal with situations from such a standpoint.

    In the other way (the "Zen" way, for want of a better term), our minds are calm, our thoughts quiet and still, the passions and emotions in balance, inner conflicts replaced by harmony and sensations of peace, a dropping of resistance to life, fears and regrets put out of mind. Our Ego is small and, hopefully, Compassion and loving-kindness are large. We thus make our choices and deal with situations from such a standpoint.

    So, "Zen" may rarely provide specific answers, if at all. But is it not better to lead life from the latter perspective? It is a gentler way to live. And, though detailed answers will be rare, many choices and situations will be made simpler and clearer when the mind and heart are made simple and clear ... guaranteed.

    So, will "Zen" tell you which job to take, where to live, whom to love, make difficult people change, fix your health or bank balance? No.

    But it will let you be at home with the choices you do eventually make, whatever they are (whatever choice you make, after all, is just your life!). It will allow the difficult to be easy, the painful not a burden. It will turn resistance to non-resistance, and satisfy by even the unsatisfactory. It will allow each day to be just what it is, and let us see every moment as golden in its way.

    Is that not enough?

    Gassho, Jundo

  2. #2
    Treeleaf Unsui Yugen's Avatar
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    Re: How to Make Decisions Face Problems

    Bravo Jundo! Nothing else need be said...

    Gassho,
    Alex

  3. #3

    Re: How to Make Decisions Face Problems

    In the other way (the "Zen" way, for want of a better term), our minds are calm, our thoughts quiet and still, the passions and emotions in balance, inner conflicts replaced by harmony and sensations of peace, a dropping of resistance to life, fears and regrets put out of mind. Our Ego is small and, hopefully, Compassion and loving-kindness are large. We thus make our choices and deal with situations from such a standpoint.
    I aspire to this - well put Jundo

    Best wishes

    Jools

  4. #4

    Re: How to Make Decisions Face Problems

    It will not tell you which job to take, where to live, whom to love. It will not make difficult people change their behavior, it will not fix your health or put money in your bank account. Sorry.
    Ahhh. Maaan



    G,W

  5. #5

    Re: How to Make Decisions Face Problems

    Zazen will not give you an answer to solve your problem, but Zazen can teach us how to face the problem as it is. And it can support us, so we can think and solve our problem with a cool head.

    Gassho, Shui Di

  6. #6

    Re: How to Make Decisions Face Problems

    Hi,

    I have a cold now, my throat is sore, my muscles ache and my head is full of cotton wool. I did zazen this morning and it didn't help. So I can confirm the above.

    However, how would I feel if I hadn't done zazen? I'll never know.

    Sympathy and cold remedies welcome....

    Cheers,

    Paul

  7. #7

    Re: How to Make Decisions Face Problems

    Quote Originally Posted by prg5001

    Sympathy and cold remedies welcome....

    Cheers,

    Paul
    When you sneeze, just sneeze. And when you cough, just cough.

    Gassho, Jundo

    (That and chicken soup)

  8. #8

    Re: How to Make Decisions Face Problems

    I just need to ask this: could the "zen way" to make decisions simply be mindful of what our heart is telling us? Be what we are at the moment?

    If, for example, my grandma spends 12 hrs cooking a turkey for my birthday, there is a conundrum. I may think that it's not compassionate to eat cadavers of sentient beings, or I may think it's not compassionate to hurt grandma's feelings by passing on the poor bird. Furthermore, I may think that if I don't eat that juicy leg it's just because my ego is a bigot ("I vow to save them all"), or I might think that the only reason I don't wanna disappoint grandma is because my ego doesn't like to deal with the problem. The point is, when you start thinking like that the absurdity of it all laughs in your face and you realize a little bit more just what emptiness means.

    How about just "following your heart"? I use the cliche meaning just making the decision that you really want to make. The zen way is sincere, and unless you go by the name Siddharta you will make some pretty selfish decisions here and there. But that' okay if that's where you are, and if you are paying attention. What do you guys think?

  9. #9

    Re: How to Make Decisions Face Problems

    Who's this Siddhartha guy anyways?

    A great quote by MC JC otherwise known as Big J. AKA "J Man":

    So, I suppose that our perspective in Zen Practice is that, if "Will" finds "Will's Truth", then the "Buddha" has found "Buddha's Truth".
    In one way (the "non-Zen" way, for want of a better term), we face these decisions and situations of life with a head filled with noisy and tumultuous thoughts, our heart flooded with wild passions, psychological conflicts, a lack of inner peace, resistance to situations, fears and excess regrets. Our Ego is large, and perhaps Compassion is small. In the "non-Zen" way, we make our choices or try to deal with situations from such a standpoint.

    In the other way (the "Zen" way, for want of a better term), our minds are calm, our thoughts quiet and still, the passions and emotions in balance, inner conflicts replaced by harmony and sensations of peace, a dropping of resistance to life, fears and regrets put out of mind. Our Ego is small and, hopefully, Compassion and loving-kindness are large. We thus make our choices and deal with situations from such a standpoint.

    So, "Zen" may rarely provide specific answers, if at all. But is it not better to lead life from the latter perspective? It is a gentler way to live. And, though detailed answers will be rare, many choices and situations will be made simpler and clearer when the mind and heart are made simple and clear ... guaranteed.
    So in this practice we sit, we question this and that, we keep sitting, we wonder who and what, we keep sitting. We take it off the seat and we keep sitting. I think the heart is a good metaphor. I believe there's a Sutra named after it.


    Gassho Will

  10. #10

    Re: How to Make Decisions Face Problems

    It's very difficult to add something to your words, Jundo! You have said all that must be said.

    For me this is not a very good moment. Two people are giving me troubles at work from a long time. Zazen helps me very much, as a matter of fact it clears my mind ( I don't mean that I switch off my mind however or that I fall asleep) from all that negative emotions and thoughts and returns me harmony and joy of life.

    The only thing I miss from the list you wrote is loving-kindness. I mean that I don't feel compassion for these 2 persons who are giving me so many troubles. I know that (in their lives) they have much bigger problems than I have, and i'm sorry for them.

    But when I have to face them, I can't remain quiet, a little bit of anger passes through my mind.

    By the way, back at home, Zazen lets me deal with this emotions and better ones spontaneously grow.

    Hopefully, with time, i'll become a better guy.

  11. #11

    Re: How to Make Decisions Face Problems

    Quote Originally Posted by prg5001
    I have a cold now, my throat is sore, my muscles ache and my head is full of cotton wool. I did zazen this morning and it didn't help. So I can confirm the above.

    However, how would I feel if I hadn't done zazen? I'll never know.

    Sympathy and cold remedies welcome....
    Following up on Harry's advice I will additionally offer you the hearty Irish blessing of, "Bos sona!"


    In Gassho~
    Lynn

  12. #12

    Re: How to Make Decisions Face Problems

    Thanks everyone, I'm feeling better now.

    Cheers,

    Paul

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