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Thread: Do I accept or do I endeavor?

  1. #1
    disastermouse
    Guest

    Do I accept or do I endeavor?

    How do you know when you should be easier on yourself and when you need to light a fire under your ass regarding Zen?

    As some may suspect, I suck at pretty much ANYTHING that requires that I be somewhere at a certain time. Even when I sat zazen everyday, I never did it at the same time. I can lift weights everyday for two weeks, but if I sign up for any sort of exercise class (Krav Maga, etc...), I just don't go. My job is pretty much the only place I show up at a certain time without at least a LITTLE bit of wiggle room about the when.

    I'm thirty-four and I've misguidedly tried to fix this little issue that seems to bug others - and I've come to the conclusion that I just don't care that much myself....

    The thing is, is any sort of 'organized Zen' with other people even possible with this particular character trait? Do you just endeavor to keep trying to be good at something at which you are REALLY, really bad? Don't get me wrong....if you suck at meditating, you keep doing it because - well, it's the only game in town really. Still, it's just you and the bench/cushion/chair/etc.

    Hmmmrrrphh...

  2. #2

    Re: Do I accept or do I endeavor?

    Quote Originally Posted by disastermouse
    How do you know when you should be easier on yourself and when you need to light a fire under your ass regarding Zen?
    First thing is to be kind to yourself. Sounds like a touchy feely thing I know, but due to my occupation I don't worry about that to much.

    Watch your mental chatter, is it kind, compassionate, and wise?

    this sounds like some pseudo psychology but when we observe our thoughts over time we can make small adjustments to improve our relation to the self/nonself thingy.

    I have found that when I am kind and gentle with my "Self" I am more likely to be better equipped to serve those around me. And that when I beat myself up about something I tend to become more intolerant of others.


    The thing is, is any sort of 'organized Zen' with other people even possible with this particular character trait?
    I think that you are perfectly suited for this sangha, which is a form of 'organized Zen.'

    Do you just endeavor to keep trying to be good at something at which you are REALLY, really bad?
    I have learned that it is counter productive to think this way. I play a Japanese end blown flute without the notion of good or bad. It has been a fulfilling practice.

    Don't get me wrong....if you suck at meditating, you keep doing it because - well, it's the only game in town really. Still, it's just you and the bench/cushion/chair/etc.
    I can't quite grasp sucking at meditating, maybe I am just feeling lofty right now. Instead of judging your ZaZen accept it for what it is. But I sympathize with you because I have had those days where concentration and contemplation have seemed impossible. All I can say is those days will pass and come again.

    Hope you find that helpful.

    Gassho, "Fuken" Jordan

  3. #3

    Re: Do I accept or do I endeavor?

    well i think you should try and do both... accept the things as they are and after you accept and come to terms with them you should work diligently to change what you think needs changing.

    as for not caring yourself, i dont think you dont care, otherwise you wouldnt of brought this up right?

    Chet i know what you mean about not finishing things and about picking something and than just drop it.
    i used to do that too. so in the end i just decided if i start something i will just go with it and finish it, or i shouldnt start at all. and mostly i keep to it and sometimes i dont. but its just life thats all.

    as for zen i think that as long as you just live your life and do the best you can to live it in a way not harmful to others and yourself that you already practice zen... it took me a very long time to realize that zen and zazen is not just sitting meditation...
    and even after all that time of sitting i still have daysperiods when zazen is a pain in the legs and i just cant sit still... than agian sometimes its just great... its all zazen no matter what you experience or what you call it.


    good luck with the journey.

    Gassho, Dojin.

  4. #4

    Re: Do I accept or do I endeavor?

    Hi.

    Before you start on working on a problem you have to see what the problem is.
    With that being said, you have no problem, you just think you do.
    Just take it "a moment at a time".

    You have to figure it out by yourself, no one is going to do it for you.
    But it might help to listen in sometimes.

    As with the other parts, "dont separate hot and cold", there is no "good" or "bad".
    There "just is".

    Mtfbwy
    Fugen

  5. #5
    disastermouse
    Guest

    Re: Do I accept or do I endeavor?

    Quote Originally Posted by Fugen
    Hi.

    Before you start on working on a problem you have to see what the problem is.
    With that being said, you have no problem, you just think you do.
    Just take it "a moment at a time".

    You have to figure it out by yourself, no one is going to do it for you.
    But it might help to listen in sometimes.

    As with the other parts, "dont separate hot and cold", there is no "good" or "bad".
    There "just is".

    Mtfbwy
    Fugen
    There is no good or bad? Yet we kill weeds and not flowers....paraphrasing Dogen here.

  6. #6

    Re: Do I accept or do I endeavor?

    I think you should endeavor to accept.

  7. #7

    Re: Do I accept or do I endeavor?

    Well, I'm in the same boat. It's not that I have commitment issues, its just that my schedule is wonky, sometimes I have insomnia, I get distracted by lots of fascinating things, etc. I would certainly like to be different, and sometimes I'm good at sticking to a schedule, then it invariably falls apart.

    You have an idea of yourself as you are, and an idea of yourself as you would like to be. It seems to me Zen treats this dualism like any other, both accepting of the way things are, and striving to improve oneself at the same time, whole-heartedly. At some point I always come back to the question, "why do I have this idea of who I should be that is different than who I am or how I am acting". Sometimes it is because of expectations that others have of me (family is always a good one) and more often it is a mental roadblock that I have for some inexplicable reason put up myself. Simply acknowledging and being mindful of the true issue at hand nearly always results in a conclusion.

    Quote Originally Posted by disastermouse
    I'm thirty-four and I've misguidedly tried to fix this little issue that seems to bug others - and I've come to the conclusion that I just don't care that much myself...
    I've come to the conclusion that I need to stop feeling bad about not having a fixed daily routine. I come from a family of morning people and I am a night person. For a long time I felt bad because I got labeled with a stigma that night people that sleep in late are "lazy". (Now of course there are many studies that show it's largely biological). One the one hand, yes sometimes I'm envious of people that have a daily schedule, as the structure no doubt helps productivity, they get more sunshine, etc. On the other hand, my friends that are like that tend to fall asleep very early and sometimes miss out on fun & interesting things that sometimes happen after 10pm.

    In the end, I always make appointments that really matter on time - and that's what really matters to me.

    Gassho,
    Skye

  8. #8

    Re: Do I accept or do I endeavor?

    Quote Originally Posted by disastermouse
    Quote Originally Posted by Fugen
    Hi.

    Before you start on working on a problem you have to see what the problem is.
    With that being said, you have no problem, you just think you do.
    Just take it "a moment at a time".

    You have to figure it out by yourself, no one is going to do it for you.
    But it might help to listen in sometimes.

    As with the other parts, "dont separate hot and cold", there is no "good" or "bad".
    There "just is".

    Mtfbwy
    Fugen
    There is no good or bad? Yet we kill weeds and not flowers....paraphrasing Dogen here.
    Hi.

    very good example.
    And though it is like this, it is plainly that flowers, while loved, fall and weeds while hated, flourish.
    "Dogen, Genjokoan"

    It is also in the lines of the lines of along the lines of the Hsin Hsin Ming:

    "To set up what you like against what you dislike/is the disease of the mind."
    The point is they're both building up to the point they want to show in the lines above, both equally important.
    In the first three statements of Genjokoan, Dogen illustrates what reality is like; in the line above, he presents it more directly, “and though it is like this, it is only that flowers, while loved, fall; and weeds while hated, flourish.”
    This kind of expression, is meant to convey the truth that reality, or enlightenment is not produced by words, knowledge, or even spiritual practice; reality is reality, as it is here and now.

    And if you are in the bookclub here, suzuki, discusses this in the book we're going to read.

    And ask yourself what is weed, and what is flower?
    Is not a weed sometimes a flower and a flower a weed?

    Mtfbwy
    Fugen

  9. #9

    Re: Do I accept or do I endeavor?

    You can never be bad at Zen.

    When you sit Zazen. You sit Zazen. Whether it is all day or 3 times a week. It's all about you. You make the rules.

    There's no rule book that says one must sit so and so many times before they become "enlightened". It's your choice. Of course there are recommendations of sitting zazen, but "you" must do it. So I would say stop worrying about whether or not your Zazen is good or Bad, and just sit Zazen.

    G, W

  10. #10

    Re: Do I accept or do I endeavor?

    In summary:

    yes, no, both, neither.

    Cheers,

    Paul

  11. #11

    Re: Do I accept or do I endeavor?

    Quote Originally Posted by Keishin
    I think you should endeavor to accept.
    Nice! Thats what I was going to write but i took too long to post (;

    I know that my reluctance to meld around a schedule can be harmful to others around me so i do more and more make the effort. If its something i will not make the time for now I just say it out right. My boss always wants me to go snowboarding. Now i love snowboarding. But at this point in my life its taking bit of back seat to the rest of my life. So rather then saying oh... perhaps Saturday... or Ill "try" to meet you up there.. i say flat out thanks but ill pass.

    When it comes to practice I sit as often as i can even if only for a short period, as mentioned. If i dont sit for 3 days then I dont sit. I stopped beating myself up and my practice naturally found its rythm. I sit more regularly now then when i used to try to sit 2 x day every day. I accepted the fact that i was not good with schedules. Once i stopped beating my self up over it i found that it was easier to work small changes in. This may sound silly but it worked for me. Today. Not always
    I have to thank all of you for this too. We support each other through sharing (hmm sounds really mushy but its true) our stories and offering advice.

    Gassho, Shohei

  12. #12
    disastermouse
    Guest

    Re: Do I accept or do I endeavor?

    Well, it wouldn't be a problem, except that I'm torn. I know I need a teacher, and that means some commitment - and I really am loathe to let someone down like that. I've never done a seshin, for instance - not sure I could, really.


    ...

  13. #13

    Re: Do I accept or do I endeavor?

    If you want to, just give it a try. Pretty much the only way to know.

    Gassho, "Fuken" Jordan

  14. #14
    Senior Member AlanLa's Avatar
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    Re: Do I accept or do I endeavor?

    In addition to endeavoring to accept (Keishen), I would add that you should accept the endeavor.

    And if doing it for yourself is too difficult, then try doing it for others as a means of forgetting the self.

  15. #15

    Re: Do I accept or do I endeavor?

    Quote Originally Posted by disastermouse
    I know I need a teacher, and that means some commitment - and I really am loathe to let someone down like that. I've never done a seshin, for instance - not sure I could, really.
    You're not the only one. I've never done a sesshin before, and have a hard time imagining making it through one, but one day I'll be up to the challenge. For now the lack of money and local resources are my excuse of choice for never having been to a retreat or sesshin. My wife also won't let me away for more than an afternoon, let alone a weekend, or heaven forbid, an entire week.

  16. #16

    Re: Do I accept or do I endeavor?

    Retreats are an important part of the practice. More time, working very very hard, in which "nothing happens" ... and that makes all the difference in the world. (I am not kidding. They truly are important)

    I recommend at least one retreat a year ... a week or more if you can manage, two days at least. For those who don't already know, and even for those who do ... our Treeleaf 2-Day Retreat is always available ... 24/7/365 in any lifetime!

    http://blog.beliefnet.com/treeleafzen/2 ... day-j.html

    Watch it 4x, and it becomes an 8 day retreat! (Plus you get to hear my same talks and dumb jokes again and again and again! :shock: )

    Gassho, Jundo

  17. #17

    Re: Do I accept or do I endeavor?

    Don't define yourself as anything. Give up defining yourself, since yourself is not. If you say, "I am like this" or "I am like that" it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Actually, you are reborn each moment, fresh and new, but it's your ideas about who you think you are that, to a large extent, condition the rebirth.

    Maybe.

    Gassho,
    David

  18. #18
    disastermouse
    Guest

    Re: Do I accept or do I endeavor?

    Quote Originally Posted by Borsuk
    Don't define yourself as anything. Give up defining yourself, since yourself is not. If you say, "I am like this" or "I am like that" it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Actually, you are reborn each moment, fresh and new, but it's your ideas about who you think you are that, to a large extent, condition the rebirth.

    Maybe.

    Gassho,
    David
    I'm not exactly sure how to implement your advice. I'm asking for advice about how to deal with what I've noticed as a pervasive issue, regardless of whether I define myself as having a certain issue or not.

    Jundo:

    Yes, I know retreats are important. Do you have any recommendations regarding neck and jaw soreness, for instance? For body aches and pains in general and the attendant headaches?

    Chet

  19. #19

    Re: Do I accept or do I endeavor?

    Quote Originally Posted by disastermouse
    Jundo:

    Yes, I know retreats are important. Do you have any recommendations regarding neck and jaw soreness, for instance? For body aches and pains in general and the attendant headaches?

    Chet
    Hi Chet,

    You mean when you are sitting Zazen, or at other times? Are you sitting with a lot of tension in your body? Holding tension and worry in the body, in the same way that many get "stiff shoulders"?

    Perhaps when you are sitting, you can take a minute or two at the start to feel the tension and worry drop away from the muscle groups in your body? Feel the tension drain from your neck, your shoulders, your back, etc. Do so while following the breath for a few minutes.

    See how that works and report back.

    Gassho, Judno

  20. #20
    disastermouse
    Guest

    Re: Do I accept or do I endeavor?

    Jundo:

    I've noticed that when I hold the mudra lower in my lap, the tension goes away - as it does when I abandon the mudra and simply place my hands on my thights palm-down.

    Jon:

    I think you managed to wring out every neo-hippy natural medicine cliche out there. I think you missed 'cleansing', but then again you talked a lot about water. You know the the 'eight glasses of water per day' thing was just conjured up ex nihilo, right?

    Homeopathy is bunk, in my opinion. TMJ is massively over-diagnosed.

    I'm sorry if I seem cranky about this, but I used to buy this crap hook, line, and sinker and it really is just crap.

    Chet

  21. #21
    disastermouse
    Guest

    Re: Do I accept or do I endeavor?

    I'm not flame-baiting and I don't think my language was overly harsh. Alternative medicine really messed me up back in the day.

    To me, the theories behind a lot of alternative medicine require a certain amount of gullibility in order to believe. The fact that so many Buddhists in the west are ALSO into this stuff reflects poorly on Zen.

    I wasn't trying to insult you, personally.

    Chet

  22. #22

    Re: Do I accept or do I endeavor?

    An insult and a flame can be great learning experiences personally. However, if they start to affect things as a whole, then they probably should be stopped.

    "Who the F**K do you think you are?" Is probably one of the best teachings you'll come across.

    I think the story of the Zen Monk giving away his last possession to a thief, and Hakuin's "Is that so?" Can remind us that there's nothing to take personally.

    Another thing that pops up is "Like rocks that grind together and polish each other through friction."

    But also I think that Zazen is more about balance and Soto Zen is not really the crack of the stick on the side of the head (although I've heard differently in Japan). First I think quiet is important for stages of practice, especially for those who are tense, or have a habit towards anger. Zazen gives you more then enough to deal with.

    Gassho

    Will

  23. #23

    Re: Do I accept or do I endeavor?

    I think the story of the Zen Monk giving away his last possession to a thief
    I haven't actually read this story from a book or a sutta, but in the versions i have heard, didn't the monk say "What a silly fellow (the thief), I gave him my robes but I could have given him the moon" as in a finger pointing at the moon type of moon. Please correct me. This thought just popped into my head.

  24. #24
    disastermouse
    Guest

    Re: Do I accept or do I endeavor?

    So I'm thinking, 'Accept as much as I can while endeavoring to go to a retreat'.

    Chet

  25. #25

    Re: Do I accept or do I endeavor?

    Quote Originally Posted by disastermouse
    Well, it wouldn't be a problem, except that I'm torn. I know I need a teacher, and that means some commitment - and I really am loathe to let someone down like that. I've never done a seshin, for instance - not sure I could, really.


    ...
    Hi,

    To answer the first post, for me it is about figuring out what is the most important thing for me to do at any moment. I think maybe you are suffering with the delusion that regular (timewise) scheduled activity is GOOD, unscheduled is BAD? So much of my delusion is about pejoratives, so this is what I think of first.

    also, I think maybe you are expressing that it is an either/or of acceptance/doing. For me i tis more useful to understand acceptance as when I stop beating my head against the wall of reality, then I can more clearly decide what to do (since we are always doing, there is no possibility of not doing, "not doing" is still doing).

    Having a teacher is not necessarily a commitment, it can be just that you sometimes go to see someone for advice on your zen practice. I think I am of the opinion that it is important not to overlay a layer of fantasy about "teacher", "student", etc. It is just two people talking on occasion.

    But please, if you wish, perhaps you could write more about your need for a teacher? What "teacher" means to you, what you hope to get out of it, what you need this teacher for? I hope the previous doesn't in any way sound as if I am suggesting you don't need a teacher, I am just wondering more about what your "needing a teacher" is about (and that your experience might help me clarify my feelings on this).

    thank you for your time,
    gassho,
    rowan

  26. #26
    disastermouse
    Guest

    Re: Do I accept or do I endeavor?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jinho

    But please, if you wish, perhaps you could write more about your need for a teacher? What "teacher" means to you, what you hope to get out of it, what you need this teacher for? I hope the previous doesn't in any way sound as if I am suggesting you don't need a teacher, I am just wondering more about what your "needing a teacher" is about (and that your experience might help me clarify my feelings on this).

    thank you for your time,
    gassho,
    rowan
    Mostly just to keep me honest and maybe to remind me to keep waking up.

    Chet

  27. #27

    Re: Do I accept or do I endeavor?

    Quote Originally Posted by disastermouse
    Jundo:

    I think you managed to wring out every neo-hippy natural medicine cliche out there. I think you missed 'cleansing', but then again you talked a lot about water. You know the the 'eight glasses of water per day' thing was just conjured up ex nihilo, right?

    Homeopathy is bunk, in my opinion. TMJ is massively over-diagnosed.

    I'm sorry if I seem cranky about this, but I used to buy this crap hook, line, and sinker and it really is just crap.

    Chet
    Dear Mouse,

    Um, "neo-hippy...." and "crap" are, I think, not good language to use here. If we are trying to create a kinder world, it must begin with kind speech, which means not using pejorative language. We will all respect your personal negative experiences if you present them as such, but I believe it is important to be respectful that other persons' experiences are different. Personally, I have no knowledge of what is called "wholistic" health issues, but I happened to find that if I drank a lot of water the day before and and day of my Morris Dancing practice or performance, that it made a tremendous difference in my energy level and endurance level (morris dancing as practiced in california is VERY energetic, lots of high leaps covering a lot of ground, very different from the English morris dancing I have seen on TV). And I discovered that, for some reason, if I take my vitamins before I go to sleep, I sleep much better. I don't know why but it is so. Everyone else who has tried these vitamins say they give them energy so who knows (fyi - they are the "source of life" multi-vitamins/minerals but Nature's Plus - great stuff in my experience).

    thank you for your time,
    rowan

  28. #28

    Re: Do I accept or do I endeavor?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rowan
    ... Personally, I have no knowledge of what is called "wholistic" health issues, but I happened to find that if I drank a lot of water the day before and and day of my Morris Dancing practice or performance, that it made a tremendous difference in my energy level and endurance level (morris dancing as practiced in california is VERY energetic, lots of high leaps covering a lot of ground, very different from the English morris dancing I have seen on TV). And I discovered that, for some reason, if I take my vitamins before I go to sleep, I sleep much better. I don't know why but it is so. Everyone else who has tried these vitamins say they give them energy so who knows (fyi - they are the "source of life" multi-vitamins/minerals but Nature's Plus - great stuff in my experience)...
    From what I've observed English morris dancers spend a lot of time drinking beer so they don't need the water and vitamins...

    :Charles

  29. #29
    disastermouse
    Guest

    Re: Do I accept or do I endeavor?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jinho
    Quote Originally Posted by disastermouse
    Jundo:

    I think you managed to wring out every neo-hippy natural medicine cliche out there. I think you missed 'cleansing', but then again you talked a lot about water. You know the the 'eight glasses of water per day' thing was just conjured up ex nihilo, right?

    Homeopathy is bunk, in my opinion. TMJ is massively over-diagnosed.

    I'm sorry if I seem cranky about this, but I used to buy this crap hook, line, and sinker and it really is just crap.

    Chet
    Dear Mouse,

    Um, "neo-hippy...." and "crap" are, I think, not good language to use here. If we are trying to create a kinder world, it must begin with kind speech, which means not using pejorative language. We will all respect your personal negative experiences if you present them as such, but I believe it is important to be respectful that other persons' experiences are different. Personally, I have no knowledge of what is called "wholistic" health issues, but I happened to find that if I drank a lot of water the day before and and day of my Morris Dancing practice or performance, that it made a tremendous difference in my energy level and endurance level (morris dancing as practiced in california is VERY energetic, lots of high leaps covering a lot of ground, very different from the English morris dancing I have seen on TV). And I discovered that, for some reason, if I take my vitamins before I go to sleep, I sleep much better. I don't know why but it is so. Everyone else who has tried these vitamins say they give them energy so who knows (fyi - they are the "source of life" multi-vitamins/minerals but Nature's Plus - great stuff in my experience).

    thank you for your time,
    rowan
    Use your time for better things than lecturing. Sanctimony is egoic, and probably a greater violation of Right Speech than the words 'neo-hippy' (not strictly pejorative) and 'crap'. The precepts and the Eightfold Path are not to be used for spanking others, they are to be used to examine our own behavior. I'm sure I'll reap the karmic rewards for my behavior if it truly is more than just a little 'rough'.

    Sanctimony drains the life out of whatever it touches.

    IMHO, IANAT.

    Chet

    (Edited to add: I'm cranky today - I apologize, but I figured I'd let my original remarks stand for integrity's sake.)

  30. #30

    Re: Do I accept or do I endeavor?

    Let's not fight about being nice & polite to each other. :roll:

  31. #31

    Re: Do I accept or do I endeavor?

    Hi MOuse,

    I was just thinking that you might find a sesshin actually very easy to do since there is a very set schedule and you just follow along (the only decision is which kinhin period to use for going to pee). For those of us who have trouble sticking to something, it is really great (for "those of us" please read "rowan"). Other people have figured out everything, (food, who lights the incense, etc) so you just do what everybody else is doing. If you find you really need to go home, then you inform the Shiso (senior student who is in charge of the organization of the sesshin) and go home. No problem for anybody. MY first sesshin I got very little sleep the night before and so by 10am I was feeling very not well so I jsut went home (but I didn't know about telling someone, so they got a little concerned). It is important to tell someone so they don't worry you had some traumatic and/or serious medical problem or something.

    cheers,
    rowan

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