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Thread: The Experience Thread

  1. #1

    The Experience Thread

    [Thought it might be nice to post some stories about what has happened experientially to complement posts that discuss things generally. Please add any anecdotes]

    I live about 9 miles from town. My little country road is usually quite empty so I can drive at my own pace and see everything in front of me. My big bugbear was always tractors and lorries as there are only a few places on the road with enough straight to overtake safely. In the last few months, or so, it seemed like the world was conspiring against me because on many occasions as I'd leave the house I'd see a lorry coming down the hill that I was going to be stuck behind. It had got to the stage I was hurrying to get to the bottom of the drive, my heart quickening slightly, just to beat any traffic. Of course I knew that was really stupid and so berated myself and reminded myself of mindfulness. I'd follow those lorries getting worked up inside until the overtaking straight and then zoom past- sometimes not being as careful as perhaps I should have. The thoughts were coming that awareness wasn't helping much, but gradually I have noticed that, as I was less and less located in those thoughts and that identity, I wasn't suffering, even though the body and personality were doing the whole anxious/annoyed thing still. Plus the personality still wanted to deal with the whole thing better. Awareness/wholeness, not being concerned with anything, was just..aware/whole. Driving like this was exactly the same as before but different too. The personality still wanted to drive calmly and properly, still didn't like lorries, still felt annoyed but the 'space' in and around it made it devoid of suffering. Then, in the last few weeks, I noticed that the whole thing had stopped. I was driving slowly and happily behind lorries- the personality had got what 'it' wanted and awareness was still just awareness- so perfectly fine. The funny thing was that I still wanted to overtake the lorries on the straights and have the view of the road ahead, rather than the back of a lorry, but now if I got the opportunity it was a calmer, more considered overtaking and if I didn't, well then it was fine still to follow more slowly all the way.
    Rich

  2. #2

    Re: The Experience Thread

    If I wrote down all my thoughts and feelings while driving I would be labeled insane. But because I keep returning 10000 times to - what is, here and now, mindfulness of breathing, before thinking, stopping, don't know - and whatever else you want to call it, everything is OK. Usually following the rules of the road keeps me out of trouble but I still dislike red lights and love green lights.

    /Rich

  3. #3

    Re: The Experience Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Grizzly

    I live about 9 miles from town. My little country road is usually quite empty so I can drive at my own pace and see everything in front of me. My big bugbear was always tractors and lorries as there are only a few places on the road with enough straight to overtake safely. In the last few months, or so, it seemed like the world was conspiring against me because on many occasions as I'd leave the house I'd see a lorry coming down the hill that I was going to be stuck behind.
    Driving and being "stuck in traffic" is an excellent opportunity for a moment of "Insta-Zazen" © ... Shikantaza on Six Cylinders ...

    viewtopic.php?p=4029#p4029

    ... (although I do not recommend the Lotus Posture, as it may interfere with reaching the brakes).

    Eyes open, hands on the wheel ... keep on moving forward toward today's destination, but drop all thought of "someplace to get to" ... Remember the appointment you are late for, but simultaneously release all measures of "time" and "something to achieve". Be "at one" with the lorry that blocks you ... the lorry and you are not apart ... even as you seek a chance to get around the darn thing! Drop all resistance and friction, as the rubber meets the road. Notice one's own "pissed offedness" as but a bit of passing mental traffic ... and, without taking a ride along with it, allow it to drive off and take the next exit out of your head.

    I have been late for important appointments, mumbling under my breath at the red lights, driving like a madman ... yet simultaneously okay with it all. Sometimes total acceptance ... sometimes acceptance without acceptance ... the latter which can include even acceptance of our sometime annoyed non-acceptance of the creeping lorries of life! (A little, sometime annoyance is human! Cut yourself some slack! So long as you do not fall into the extreme of "Road Rage", no problem!)

    In this practice, we can be both at once ... hurrying, checking our watch, in a small tizzy ... yet totally still and beyond all time. 8)

    Gassho, J

  4. #4
    Senior Member AlanLa's Avatar
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    Re: The Experience Thread

    I know this isn't planned to be a "driving-zen" thread, but I find driving to be an excellent place of practice. You can only be where you are on the road, and you need to be aware of that place, but at the same time you have to balance looking ahead and looking behind in the right proportions so as to keep safe in the only place you truly occupy.

  5. #5

    Re: The Experience Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by AlanLa
    I know this isn't planned to be a "driving-zen" thread, but I find driving to be an excellent place of practice. You can only be where you are on the road, and you need to be aware of that place, but at the same time you have to balance looking ahead and looking behind in the right proportions so as to keep safe in the only place you truly occupy.
    Ah i need to print/cut/paste this to my steering wheel most days ops:

    Experience is any of the thousands of "ing" 's we are part of every moment (running, shitting, sitting, laughing,dying etc.) and everyone of these "ing"s are opportunities to practice... actually... ARE our practice. Maybe Just gotta "mindful" of which the "ings" we do in reaction to other/others "ings" while still being.

    Well I got lots of ings to do, Ill start with Shutting

    back to work.

    Gassho
    Shohei

  6. #6
    Senior Member AlanLa's Avatar
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    Re: The Experience Thread

    The line I always tell myself while driving is "I can only drive the road that's right in front of me." It's like my driving mantra, but i couldn't think of it yesterday while posting.

  7. #7

    Re: The Experience Thread

    Ha ha its gone from an experience thread to an about experience thread! Or really an about experience thread to an about an about the experience thread! hee hee
    Rich

  8. #8

    Re: The Experience Thread

    (A little, sometime annoyance is human! Cut yourself some slack! So long as you do not fall into the extreme of "Road Rage", no problem!)
    If it happens yes, but not going to make anything of a nice little change

    Anyway back to the experiences:
    Oh the optimism..decided to take a few of the shabby polysterene tiles down from the suspended shop ceiling and replace them, Five minute job. Didn't count on a decade of dust gathering on top of each one! One tile moved and the whole counter and sweet racks were covered. A customer came in and said that I must be pretty frustrated right about now. I answered that I could scream..and then realised I was lying! It was like I had slipped into automatic- how I would've been a while back. I became aware of my personality running a script while I was actor and stage at the same moment. Was quite fun watching outdated thoughts still playing their game. The whole thing- the dust and extended time that was going to be needed to do the clear up- were all perfectly fine. This very short sequence of events passed and I started clearing up without all the drama I would have made of it years ago. Just another job to do.

    Rich

  9. #9

    Re: The Experience Thread

    Ah, I had the experience of realizing the intended point of this "experience" thread. Momentary embarrassment crept across my cheeks, and self-reproach at my lack of attention to Grizzly's first post. Then, releasing each ... they were gone, human misunderstanding embraced as just part of life. Move forward from here ... Very different from me, say, back in high school, when I was always very self-conscious ... every pimple on my nose a major humiliation, let alone that time someone pulled down my shorts in gym class! ops:

    I first fully attained such enlightenment several years ago when ... full from a big meal, in the middle of a full bow while conducting a lovely sacred ceremony in a room full of devout Zen folks ... just in that still silence between the bells and before the next chanting ... I released what may have been the loudest, most reverberating FART of my life. Momentarily staggered and embarrassed ... I instead released, like a GREAT FART from the mind, all thought of that ... and proceeded forward, FREE of all mental restraint, much as my lower intestine was now 'free' of the beef burrito it had for lunch. A great feeling of release, relief and spaciousness swept through me and filled all space and time ... a sensation that I, all of us, are born as just the universe's endless farting (where does it come from, to where does it go?) ... WHO is it truly to have dealt it, let alone smelt it, and feel embarrassed? To Fart is simply to be Alive!

    All this in a moment ... and so I completed my bows and moved ahead ...

    True Story.

    To be human is to fart, all is a just a Buddha's farting and so are we.

    When heard with the anus, all is bells and sacred chanting.

    GASSY Gassho, J

    PS -

    Quote Originally Posted by Grizzly
    (A little, sometime annoyance is human! Cut yourself some slack! So long as you do not fall into the extreme of "Road Rage", no problem!)
    If it happens yes, but not going to make anything of a nice little change
    Yes, we do not run after being "annoyed" ... we allow "annoyance" to be released from mind. But do not be "annoyed" at the very human feeling of "annoyance" that is there from time to time. Do not be "annoyed at annoyance", even as we release annoyance and are free. To be "annoyed" is one thing, but to be "annoyed" at being a human who is "annoyed" is compounding the annoyance! Not being annoyed, even at a momentary feeling of annoyance, is TRUE freedom from All Annoyance. Annoyance too is just a mental fart to accept and then let go.

    Same for so many "negative" human emotions ... do not be "afraid of being sometimes afraid", even though there is ultimately nothing to fear.

  10. #10

    Re: The Experience Thread

    A fart story! Wonderful. Here on Treeleaf Zen meets the kind of schoolboy humour some of us never grow out of :lol: Great stuff.

    OK here's another one prompted by the fart:

    While I was cleaning up one of my old ladies came in to pay her bill (for those that are confused I have a couple of jobs) for her newspapers. I love my old folks and like to make them smile. If I live much longer I'll be one too. She made a comment about men and cleaning. My wife replied that I could be hired out as I was good at it and so I immediately retorted I'd come and do it with a feather duster and in nothing but a g-string for her (I'd read about naked cleaners a while back). Most of my old ladies like a joke like this but this lady looked shocked! There's quite a strong protestant air in some parts here still. Momentarily I felt a little embarrassed at the same time as I was just aware. So I added, "but maybe it'll just put you off your breakfast then!" and we all laughed. A verbal fart and a good save. :lol: Without the awareness meditation has provided I would have become very self-conscious like I used to and probably couldn't have come up with a spontaneous retort and instead would have stumbled on my words. Not that that would have been 'bad' either.

    Rich

  11. #11

    Re: The Experience Thread

    Ah, I had the experience of realizing the intended point of this "experience" thread. Momentary embarrassment crept across my cheeks, and self-reproach at my lack of attention to Grizzly's first post. Then, releasing each ... they were gone, human misunderstanding embraced as just part of life. Move forward from here ... Very different from me, say, back in high school, when I was always very self-conscious ... every pimple on my nose a major humiliation, let alone that time someone pulled down my shorts in gym class! ops:
    :lol: I can relate to this one too Jundo.

  12. #12
    Senior Member AlanLa's Avatar
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    Re: The Experience Thread

    Speaking of farts,

    I was at my dissertation proposal meeting, a very serious academic intellectual affair all about theory and methodology and so on, when during a silent pause I let out what felt like the loudest and longest fart I have ever had in my entire life. What did I do? I just kept on going with the meeting, because...
    You can only drive the road in front of you.
    See, it's a metaphor for life (experience) :mrgreen:

  13. #13
    Senior Member Silva's Avatar
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    Re: The Experience Thread

    Well, I've always been very absent minded and forgetful, regularly losing my glasses and car keys etc. and frantically, hysterically, accusing and blaming everybody else, searching about the house, and yes, I check the fridge and the microwave oven (and if I don't my husband and children do)...
    After two years of daily zazen Iím still absent-minded and I still lose my glasses and car keys but I no longer get frantic or hysterical, I now enjoy the time I take searching around for them...

  14. #14

    Re: The Experience Thread

    lol Al True.....

    Hi Silva...thanks, a nice little anecdote.

    Best wishes

    Rich

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