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Thread: Pay Attention

  1. #1

    Pay Attention

    What is the self?

    Generally one thinks of the self as "I' or "Me", something that relates to the outside world. But in fact, you may be surprise to find that the self is just the self. An accumulation of attention.

    It's like a man/woman who is focused on the sound of a cricket that they forget the sound of the air conditioner. It's just a focus of attention. When you focus your attention on something, that thing becomes a "thing". However, it is not that.

    Our common practice is to focus on thoughts. This is habit or "what we are used to. Perhaps we have a pain, or a shaking feeling, or a whatever. Our tendency is to focus on that and in doing so, our attention gets held up. It is not "one" thing. It is just things. When tired sleep, when hungry eat. When typing, type, when drowsy, drowse. Pay attention. What does pay attention mean to our practice? It means discovering the self, the accumulation. It is just being here. Nothing to get. No one to see. No bills to pay, just the paying of them. No time to sit, just sitting time.


    Sit up straight. Pay attention. What happens when you do that? What happens to whatever it was that we were so worried about a moment ago? Don't try to get something, or gain something. That's just more of the same. Don't try to be calm, or solve your problems. Sit up straight, but don't try too hard. Open up. These are the things we learn. We learn this through Zazen.

    Tie your shoes. Don't Tie your shoes and think about what is going to happen at the office. Just tie them.Drink your drink. Don't think about what you have to do "after" you drink your drink. Just drink.

    Study the self. See the focus, and how things arise. Don't get caught up in it, and come back to paying attention and sitting Zazen.

  2. #2

    Re: Pay Attention

    Quote Originally Posted by will


    Sit up straight. Pay attention. What happens when you do that? What happens to whatever it was that we were so worried about a moment ago? Don't try to get something, or gain something. That's just more of the same. Don't try to be calm, or solve your problems. Sit up straight, but don't try too hard. Open up. These are the things we learn. We learn this through Zazen.

    Tie your shoes. Don't Tie your shoes and think about what is going to happen at the office. Just tie them. Drink your drink. Don't think about what you have to do "after" you drink your drink. Just drink.

    Study the self. See the focus, and how things arise. Don't get caught up in it, and come back to paying attention and sitting Zazen.
    I believe it is okay to sometimes tie your shoes while just tying your shoes, and it is okay to just tie your shoes sometimes while thinking about the office. So long as one is not a prisoner of either, one is not tied up in one's own shoe laces! 8)

    There is a time to drop all worry about the future (and all thought of "future" too!) ... and a time not to worry just because one feels a little worried right now about the future. So long as one is not overwhelmed with worry, and embraces however one feels in the present, one is totally "at one" with the present ... even if a 'right now' in which one feels rather worried and overwhelmed about tomorrow!

    To truly be "at one with life at it is" means to drop all demands for how we "think life should be, if only it would be to make us happy".

    But that includes dropping all demands that, to be "doing Zen right", we must not have any "should be/if only would be to make me happy" thoughts 24/7! (kind of a Zenny Catch-22) We should not have "should not" thoughts about often having "should not" thoughts! :shock:

    It is only when we ONLY have (or only try to have) "should not/if only would be to make me happy" thoughts of life that we are prisoners of those thoughts.

    Instead, if we might have "should not/I wish life were not such and such" thoughts in a given moment while ... simultaneously, hand-in-hand ... being perfectly cool with how life is, stinky or sweet ... we are not prisoners.

    That way, we can be totally to the marrow satisfied with how things are right now ... even as, hand in hand ... we are not satisfied and have work to do. Fully Satisfied (BIG LETTER "S"), even with not being fully satisfied (small letter "s")! Otherwise, we would (on one extreme) never be satisfied ... or (on the other extreme) be so satisfied we would never get anything done and never bother to get out of bed in the morning! Instead, we can have 'the best of both worlds' in this one world!

    Be worried or not, and simultaneously know that state beyond all "worry or not". Be sad or not, and simultaneously know that state beyond all "sadness or not" ... know and taste AT ONCE both ways of experiencing life, as not two.

    Be so satisfied and free from worry that one does not even need to feel alway "satisfied and free from worry". Now, THAT's what I call really "Satisfied and Free from Worry"!

    Not worried about either being worried or not ... not sad about sometimes being sad and sometimes happy ... no demands on life, even about sometimes having some demands on life and sometimes none ... etc. etc. 8)

    Just don't get wrapped up in any of it, know how to drop attachments, keep to the Middle Way, see it all as passing theatre scenes of the mind's thoughts and emotions ... and get on with life! One is then free, even as one may be bound by this or that life hassle or obligation ... One is then content, even amid life's ordinary ups and downs and discontents.

    Where did the idea come that we need to be totally free of sadness, worry, desires and discontents in order to be free? I don't care for or need that kind of extreme view of the 'pay-off' on this Buddhist path. I prefer to be free right in this bumpy life!

    So, don't worry too much about being sometimes worried, or sad, or happy, or desirous for a certain outcome ... so long as one also develops the ability to know to the marrow (most of the time, anyway) ... that it is all just passing thoughts, and its all cool.

    Something like that.

    Gassho, J

    PS - How does one attain such a way of being life? Why, Shikantaza of course! 8)

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  3. #3

    Re: Pay Attention

    So, don't worry too much about being sometimes worried, or sad, or happy, or desirous for a certain outcome ... so long as one also develops the ability to know to the marrow (most of the time, anyway) ... that it is all just passing thoughts, and its all cool.
    Yes and no. Karma is karma. Practice is practice. We're not trying to do anything.

  4. #4

    Re: Pay Attention

    Quote Originally Posted by will

    Yes and no.
    Does that mean you were satisfied with my response, but not? 8)

  5. #5

    Re: Pay Attention

    I woke up this morning. Did you know that? Then I sat some Zazen. Great practice.

    Gassho

  6. #6

    Re: Pay Attention

    Quote Originally Posted by will
    I woke up this morning. Did you know that? Then I sat some Zazen. Great practice.

    Gassho
    Forgive the question Will, but after Zazen, what were your plans for the day in this relative world? Ours is the "middle way" (relative/absolute). Are you leaning a little? I've read Jundo's response twice and will read it again very slowly. Much to be grasped for functioning in this life. Gassho Zak

  7. #7

    Re: Pay Attention

    Forgive the question Will, but after Zazen, what were your plans for the day in this relative world? Ours is the "middle way" (relative/absolute). Are you leaning a little? I've read Jundo's response twice and will read it again very slowly. Much to be grasped for functioning in this life. Gassho Zak
    My reply is what my reply is Zak. That reply was then. This reply is now. You know "Now and Zen."

    Gassho

  8. #8

    Re: Pay Attention

    Quote Originally Posted by will
    Forgive the question Will, but after Zazen, what were your plans for the day in this relative world? Ours is the "middle way" (relative/absolute). Are you leaning a little? I've read Jundo's response twice and will read it again very slowly. Much to be grasped for functioning in this life. Gassho Zak
    My reply is what my reply is Zak. That reply was then. This reply is now. You know "Now and Zen."

    Gassho
    Now!

    Gassho

    zak

  9. #9

    Re: Pay Attention

    Not now. This! Not this, "this".

    Plans are plans. What my plans were yesterday, are not necessarily my plans today. Nothing is ever really the same right? And if it is, why bother yourself with it*?


    *It being the "question".

    Gassho

  10. #10

    Re: Pay Attention

    I don't want this to get all hocus pocusy, so I'm going to lay things out as simply as possible.

    You ever hear Jundo talk of a clean slate? Turning the clock back? Well, that 's what Zazen is. We wake up in the morning carrying over whatever we did the night or day before. Then we sit Zazen. Then the clocks roll back. Then we go about it. Then we sit some more Zazen. And so on. It's not about "right" or "wrong", "you" or "me". It's about "this practice" and the practice of our life or "life" in general.

    That's how it goes. If your hoping for a great collision with the heads of the Zen sect, then you will be greatly disappointed, because they are mostly sitting Zazen too.

    Gassho

  11. #11

    Re: Pay Attention

    Quote Originally Posted by will
    I don't want this to get all hocus pocusy, so I'm going to lay things out as simply as possible.

    You ever hear Jundo talk of a clean slate? Turning the clock back? Well, that 's what Zazen is. We wake up in the morning carrying over whatever we did the night or day before. Then we sit Zazen. Then the clocks roll back. Then we go about it. Then we sit some more Zazen. And so on. It's not about "right" or "wrong", "you" or "me". It's about "this practice" and the practice of our life or "life" in general.

    That's how it goes. If your hoping for a great collision with the heads of the Zen sect, then you will be greatly disappointed, because they are mostly sitting Zazen too.

    Gassho
    Truly amazing the power of a well intentioned question. Pay attention! Gassho

  12. #12

    Re: Pay Attention

    Quote Originally Posted by will
    I don't want this to get all hocus pocusy, so I'm going to lay things out as simply as possible.

    You ever hear Jundo talk of a clean slate? Turning the clock back? Well, that 's what Zazen is. We wake up in the morning carrying over whatever we did the night or day before. Then we sit Zazen. Then the clocks roll back. Then we go about it. Then we sit some more Zazen. And so on. It's not about "right" or "wrong", "you" or "me". It's about "this practice" and the practice of our life or "life" in general.
    Yes, Zazen is an ever sparkling clean slate, pristine again moment to moment. No place for dust to alight.

    But Zazen is also about our dirty slate of Karma, and all the past, that is always with us right now and which we carry with us and must live with. You cannot completely erase who you are, what your did and where you came from (not even if you are in the 'witness protection program' 8) ). All you can do is reflect on that and try to write some better things, some beautiful things, on your slate for the future. There is, on our slate, a "you" and "me", and the "rights" and "wrongs" that we do to each other, and to ourselves (not two, by the way) ... and we just have to try our best to write good things, and to keep polishing and cleaning that slate.

    So, the slate is ever clean, the slate is ever dirty (both at once), the slate is written on afresh in this moment, and this moment, and this ...

    Gassho, Jundo

    PS - Above in this thread, I wrote ...

    To truly be "at one with life at it is" means to drop all demands for how we "think life should be, if only it would be to make us happy".

    But that includes dropping all demands that, to be "doing Zen right", we must not have any "should be/if only would be to make me happy" thoughts 24/7! (kind of a Zenny Catch-22) We should not have "should not" thoughts about often having "should not" thoughts! :shock:
    I think I have been saying it in too complicated a way. Let me just put it this way:

    'Just be and let be', which means freeing ourself too from overly high standards of being 'perfect little Buddhas' who are totally free of fear, sadness, and the like. It's okay to feel those ways sometimes ... sad or afraid. To feel those ways is life, is to be human. Just don't be their prisoner, accept them, and one is thus free.

    Then, feel sadness or fear while, simultaneously hand in hand, knowing that beyond all sadness and all fear ... on one is then totally free.

    Gassho, J

  13. #13
    Senior Member murasaki's Avatar
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    Re: Pay Attention

    Thank you for this reminder. While struggling to get back into the practice, I am also dealing with a lot of anger and insecurity. I am picking fights with people and, because I'm so angry, I am unable to make my point to them (and I did have a point there somewhere). I am down on myself. Tired. Frustrated that I did not keep up with zazen and being active on this board, because I would probably deal better with what's on my plate now. Embarrassed of the myriad re-starts I have to make and the "good habits" still don't stick. Disappointed in myself.

    I have time to sit now so I should just sit.
    Gassho
    Julia

  14. #14

    Re: Pay Attention

    Quote Originally Posted by murasaki
    Thank you for this reminder. While struggling to get back into the practice, I am also dealing with a lot of anger and insecurity. I am picking fights with people and, because I'm so angry, I am unable to make my point to them (and I did have a point there somewhere). I am down on myself. Tired. Frustrated that I did not keep up with zazen and being active on this board, because I would probably deal better with what's on my plate now. Embarrassed of the myriad re-starts I have to make and the "good habits" still don't stick. Disappointed in myself.

    I have time to sit now so I should just sit.
    Gassho
    Julia
    Ever see a child learn to walk? Fall down, get up. Fall down, get up, 10,000 times. Walk .... hold balance, stay up ...

    (In fact, the "falling down" is part of the learning process ... all part of the whole).

    Although even a 30 or 80 year old child may yet lose balance and fall down from time to time. (all while there is no place to fall, of course!)

    As the Buddha Cowboy might say, "When you fall off that horse (or Zafu), just get back on there partner."



    Gassho, J

  15. #15
    Senior Member murasaki's Avatar
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    Re: Pay Attention

    Twenty minutes back on the zafu-horse for this cowgirl today after I posted here. I didn't even look at the timer to see how much time was left...maybe so busy struggling with "falling down" and "getting back up". :roll:

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