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Thread: Zazen the Colonoscopy

  1. #1

    Zazen the Colonoscopy

    Hi,

    A rather special sit-a-long ... or recline-a-long on the blog today. I hope you will join me ...

    http://blog.beliefnet.com/treeleafzen/2 ... scopy.html

    And while that is a pretty mild procedure, maybe this would be a good time to ask some of our members who have gone through more serious and trying medical procedures how Zen practice and Zazen helped them through that. We have some folks in the Sangha who have come through some very serious illnesses and trials, and sometimes speak of how Buddhism was with them in the hospital room.

    Gassho, Jundo

  2. #2

    Re: Zazen the Colonoscopy

    Hi Jundo

    Lovely talk re your colonoscopy & glad they picked up on your polyp early on. You asked for comments re my practice and how it helps in a hospital setting (for those who don't know me - I am a bowel cancer survivor, three years out from diagnosis, who had a right hemicolectomy & 6 months of chemotherapy), my thoughts are as follows:
    - I think practice helps for routine tests. It gives you patience & perspective and enables you to drop the memory of the event pretty quickly - basically you can take it in your stride (I also have recently had an ultrasound, 2x MRI scans & a sigmoidoscopy)
    - Where I am not so sure it is so good (for me - at my stage), is where the news is very bad. I am afraid I was swept away with my poor prognosis for a very long time. However, when all that settles my practice was waiting to pick up where I left off.
    - I also have/had struggled re the life/death are the same argument. I have been unable to gain that perspective & when you are about to be told the results of the tests (and there is a good chance you will be given bad news) I really want to live - no intellectualising, I want to be alive, thank you very much .

    Anyway, I can bore for England on this - so I will stop now.

    Kind regards

    Jools

  3. #3
    Senior Member Kent's Avatar
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    Re: Zazen the Colonoscopy

    Jools, thank you for sharing that with us. Gassho, Kent

  4. #4
    Senior Member AlanLa's Avatar
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    Re: Zazen the Colonoscopy

    As a kid growing up I spent more than my fair share of time in hospitals with surgeries of various types. This was long before I knew much, if anything, about Buddhism or zen, but my approach to those times was to go into quiet acceptance mode on the outside while inside I was passionately fighting whatever it was that had me in that situation. That these two modes of being could be contradictory never even remotely entered my mind. Life was what it was, and I did what I could to make the best of it as it developed; one was outside me and the other was inside -- so what. It is only now, long removed from those times, that I even notice how the zen method that Jundo talks about is so similar to what I did back then just to get by. It's all One (beyond oneness).

    I recall one of Jundo's old dharma talks with Nishijima that must have been shortly after he spent time in a hospital. Jundo asked him about how it was to be in the hospital, and he seemed to just shake off the question as pointless, saying something like, "It was fine, lots of time to do zazen." I just LOVE that!!!!

  5. #5

    Re: Zazen the Colonoscopy

    Hi
    I was a bit hesitant in jumping in on this thread but I think my experience may be of some value to others in our Sangha. Five years ago, I retired from being a Park Ranger with the National Park Service and moved to West Texas. I was physically fit and enjoyed running, and long rides on my road bike. Within in months I was diagnosed with an aggressive prostate cancer. What was to follow was five years of living with a medical issues and treatment that would radically changed my life style. Tomorrow I fly over to Houston Medical Center for what hopefully be my last doctor visit and an end for now to my dance with cancer.

    During this dance, I had surgery every four months, for a total of more than fifteen. I had fluid build around my lungs making it difficult to even climb upstairs or carry my grand child. I had long waits in doctor offices, and the endless tests they could dream up in the radiology department. There were several three hour emergency night runs to the hospital when my urinary system shut down, I learned to put a catheter in myself when flow did not come and use diapers when it did. Finally the cancer was gone, the scaring under control, and an artificial sphincter system on board. The dance has ended and I am totally back to a “normal” life enjoying long rides, morning runs, and seeing my wife Maria relaxed and happy again.

    What did I learn? Obviously there was a wide spread of issues I needed to accept. Pain, anger, frustration, disappointment, were just a few. But looking back, it wasn’t all that difficult, really just another segment of my life. Not good, not bad, just was.

    I would like to share how my practice got me and my family through this. First I accepted the fact that I had cancer, I embraced it and lived with it. It was now part of me as much as hunger and sleep. The first Dr. appointment after the biopsy was the hardest, since I knew what the diagnosis was going to be…. I waited alone in the examining room for about a half hour. After counting the squares on the floor a few times it hit me, just sit, what a good time for zazen. By the time the Dr. came in I was relaxed and with little emotion accepted and discussed the diagnosis of cancer. No fear, no anger, just acceptance. As time when on, zazen became my weapon. Waiting in the pre-op before surgery, having IV’s, catheters, and fiber optic scopes stuck in me, long rides to emergency rooms, lonely nights after operations in the hospital, all were passed through with zazen.

    Five years ago, I had a very “when it is convenient” type of practice. Motivated more towards reducing stress of a job that a whole life style. Cancer became my teacher, my guide towards a committed practice and the ability to live with what was given me.

    As Jundo says, zazen is a very powerful practice.

    Wishing you all health and wellbeing.

    Jim

  6. #6

    Re: Zazen the Colonoscopy

    Dear Jim,

    Thanks very much for sharing that with us. I wish you newfound heath and wellbeing as well.

    Deep bows
    Bansho

  7. #7

    Re: Zazen the Colonoscopy

    Thank you folks for sharing your lessons.
    Many deep bows to you.

    Gassho, Shohei

  8. #8

    Re: Zazen the Colonoscopy

    Jim, Your story is truly inspiring and I just hope I have your courage in facing any difficulties.

  9. #9
    Treeleaf Unsui rculver's Avatar
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    Re: Zazen the Colonoscopy

    Jim, Jools and Alan - Thank you.

    Gassho,

    Ron

  10. #10

    Re: Zazen the Colonoscopy

    Thanks very much for the posts. Your honesty has been very helpful.

    Jools, if you don't mind me asking? When you said,
    ..."when all that settles my practice was waiting to pick up where I left off."
    Do you think your practice was a part of the settling effect ?
    Either way it is nice to know there is always the candle at the window for us when we come home.

    Gassho

  11. #11
    Treeleaf Unsui Dosho's Avatar
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    Re: Zazen the Colonoscopy

    Amazing stories guys, especially Jim's comment about "convenient practice". A lesson for us all; many thanks and bows for sharing.

  12. #12
    Blue Mountain White Clouds Hermitage Priest Taigu's Avatar
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    Re: Zazen the Colonoscopy

    Deep bows to all.
    Up and down is very familiar to all. What I treasure in these Buddhist teachings is that they invite all of us to practice with what is, what we meet in any form or shape, without feeding hopes or regrets. The raw quality of life, as Trungpa used to put it.

    Thank you for your practice.



    Taigu

  13. #13

    Re: Zazen the Colonoscopy

    What I treasure in these Buddhist teachings is that they invite all of us to practice with what is, what we meet in any form or shape, without feeding hopes or regrets.
    That's Zazen. But it's more than that though and not more. What I think is essential is to get our a**es on the cushion.

    A little experience if you may:

    Thinking:
    "Crap. Ah man.This guy was walking down the street. Who was that guy? Tom. No I don't know. What will I have for lunch? What's going to happen tomorrow? (this is a good one.)

    What's going to happen tomorrow/today?

    This is a question that might come up constantly. During Zazen, after zazen, and throughout the day. The solid answer is: "We don't know!" "We have no clue."

    Thinking, thinking, thinking. Always thinking. But if we try to get rid of thinking than that's just more thinking. Everyone has ingrained habits. Zazen is for noticing the root of those habits and opening up past them to "this" moment.

    It all sounds great on paper, but you have to practice to get any clue.

    Gassho _/_

  14. #14
    Blue Mountain White Clouds Hermitage Priest Taigu's Avatar
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    Re: Zazen the Colonoscopy

    Now, to practice with what is is precisely zazen. Will, do you really want to pick up a Dharma fight? Almost martial and extreme in your wording. Fine, you are young and enthusiastic. Give it a few more years, would you? Grandmother's mind over and over again. Serving. Relinquishing your attachment to practice to find ease and flexibility in your life-practice. Just and invitation and a pointer. Yes we always come back to the source on the cushion, yes we also practice shikantaza outside formal sitting. There is a fine line between dedication and fanaticism. Take great care.

    gassho


    Taigu

  15. #15

    Re: Zazen the Colonoscopy

    Will, do you really want to pick up a Dharma fight?
    Taigu. You misunderstood me. I wasn't really talking to you.

    That's the way I talk.

    Gassho _/_

    W

  16. #16
    Blue Mountain White Clouds Hermitage Priest Taigu's Avatar
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    Re: Zazen the Colonoscopy

    Thank you, Will. Still,

    Yes we always come back to the source on the cushion, yes we also practice shikantaza outside formal sitting. There is a fine line between dedication and fanaticism. Take great care.
    I was clearly talking to you ( and reminding myself for I can be very much like you, and talk the way you talk) :wink:


    gassho

    Taigu

  17. #17

    Re: Zazen the Colonoscopy

    "Must" we all talk the same

    Gassho lol

  18. #18

    Re: Zazen the Colonoscopy

    I think it would be more productive if we met.

    W

  19. #19
    Blue Mountain White Clouds Hermitage Priest Taigu's Avatar
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    Re: Zazen the Colonoscopy

    I think so too. Sit together and have a chat. Would be great. But it is also great the way it is now. Having a stone in one's shoe is ok.


    gassho


    Taigu

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