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Thread: What makes you whole?

  1. #1
    Senior Member AlanLa's Avatar
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    What makes you whole?

    That thing you want won’t make you whole. You might think so, but probably not in those terms. You probably think it will make your life better, that it will improve you “somehow,” that it will take you “somewhere,” but those are all just masks for trying to become whole. Because where you are, what you are, is whole already; you just don’t know it. You see, it’s not about the chocolate cake, the girl/boy, the new job, the old neighborhood, or that “thing” you’ve been meaning to get for forever. Nope.

    Here’s the thing: You are whole! There is nothing you can acquire to make you any more whole than you are already. I realized this the other day and it has been blowing me away every day since then. Of course, I forget it for a while and start to suffer, but then I remember and I go through the whole blowing away process all over again. Nice, really, nice! So simple, so complete that I thought I was done, but I was wrong.

    Here’s the other thing: Your wholeness includes things like desire. We know that desire for what you think is external to you creates separation between you and it, but denying that desire creates separation within you, and that might be worse. So what’s the answer? Accept your desire; embrace it. I would go so far as to say act on it in accordance with the precepts, because being truly one with it means interacting with it. This is the middle way dance, the mystery that we sit with every day, the stillness within the movement of our lives.

    I’ll be 53 in a few months and it’s been a really revelatory time recently, truly ground-shifting in terms of who I am and what am I doing here. Stuff that’s been troubling me from “out there” for about as long as I can recall I have come realize is really “right here” and has been all along. But that amazing discovery has not made life any simpler at all. If anything it’s even more complicated, but you know what, complication is not a bad thing. As my burden gets lighter my Path gets curvier, and so I settle in for the ride.

    I was walking the dog last night and looked up and stared for a while at the moon shifting in and out of the fast moving clouds. I could just as easily describe it as a chaotic or orderly sky, but what I said out loud was this: “It all fits.”

    Words are like bones; they frame the body but are not the body.
    I leave this body of words to be bleached in your bright sun.
    Gassho….

  2. #2

    Re: What makes you whole?

    Thank you Jigen,


    Very remarkable and cristal-like words.

    I might suggest another way to put it, making yourself whole is loosing every single unecessary bit, or even better, give up the attachment to the unecessary. So chocolate cake there is, new job or new girlfiend or boyfriend... but all experienced as blossoms, happily opening and falling away. But once we grasp the thing, it grasps us. We are caught. And something is missing.

    Being complete is to say no, not to the object or situation or people, to say no to the belief system that underlies our so called vision of the world. Dogen coins it: "to forget the self"

    gassho

    Taigu

  3. #3

    Re: What makes you whole?

    Quote Originally Posted by AlanLa
    I was walking the dog last night and looked up and stared for a while at the moon shifting in and out of the fast moving clouds. I could just as easily describe it as a chaotic or orderly sky, but what I said out loud was this: “It all fits.”

    Words are like bones; they frame the body but are not the body.
    I leave this body of words to be bleached in your bright sun.
    I bow to your words of wisdom!

    *Deep Gassho*


    Seiryu

  4. #4

    Re: What makes you whole?

    Thank you!

    Gassho

    Risho

  5. #5

    Re: What makes you whole?

    Quote Originally Posted by Taigu
    Being complete is to say no, not to the object or situation or people, to say no to the belief system that underlies our so called vision of the world. Dogen coins it: "to forget the self"

    gassho

    Taigu
    I can relate to that sometimes.

    Alan, I'm happy for you.

  6. #6
    Senior Member AlanLa's Avatar
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    Re: What makes you whole?

    Wow, thanks folks. I came this morning prepared to defend this, but I guess I just let it sit.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Heisoku's Avatar
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    Re: What makes you whole?

    Thanks for sharing AL.

    I came this morning prepared to defend this...
    That's your age talking!!!

    I saw this on a T-shirt that may help;
    Youth and talent are no match for age and treachery. :twisted:

    Enjoy your realisation... best wishes.

  8. #8

    Re: What makes you whole?

    thank you for this post, it is enlightening. And full of hope
    gassho

  9. #9
    Stephanie
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    Re: What makes you whole?

    Thank you Alan and Taigu, for your beautiful and instructive words. I have "nothing to add" :wink: Gassho!

  10. #10
    Senior Member Nenka's Avatar
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    Re: What makes you whole?

    Thank you for that, Alan.

    Gassho,

    Jen

  11. #11

    Re: What makes you whole?

    I have nothing to add, but I've been thinking about this all day, and I really like how you word this point. I think it's an important one; it's something I get caught up in a lot. I suspect most of us feel lacking because we are trained to feel lacking; what I mean is that in a capitalist economy most marketing relies on creating a false need, that you are not "whole" or complete without the product being sold.

    The trick for me, and this I think is my personal hangup with the balance required to be on the Middle Way, is that although I am whole right now, it doesn't mean that I should do nothing. Hey the dishes need to be washed, the laundry needs to be done, etc..

    I guess what I'm trying to say, but poorly articulating, is that I need to just do and not create this idea that there is fulfillment based on doing. I don't know if that makes sense, but the way you articulated really hit deep.

    Gassho,

    Risho

  12. #12
    Senior Member AlanLa's Avatar
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    Re: What makes you whole?

    I think that's very well said, Risho. I think it's impossible to do nothing while being whole; by definition, I believe to BE whole means to act, to DO in accordance with the precepts. Too often I think we get caught up in the "experience is delusion" aspect of zen and we end up ignoring the other side of the coin, which is that experience is also reality. That the dishes are dirty is a delusion, but they are also a reality and so you better do them. Thinking that new job will make your life better (more whole) is delusion, but that new job might really make your life better, so go after that job! And so on... BUT don't get caught up in it, as Taigu said in his response.

    One other thing in response to Taigu. Yes, my post was all about non-self, but I never even once considered using that term. I have come to think that in order to make zen our own we need to find new ways to express old ideas. We hear about non-self and various other ideas over and over again, and they are all fine, but I think they take on the comfort of an old security blanket that we just wrap ourselves in without giving it much thought other than how nice it feels, so comfortable that you forget all that went into it. I think it's important to find new and personal ways to say these old things, new ways to make them uniquely meaningful to each of us. We need new images, or at least new ways of putting together old images, or maybe mixes of old and new images. (BTW, I used the moon in my post because I really was staring at the moon, not because I was falling back on an old image, though undoubtedly all my reading about the moon influenced my out loud comment).

    Zen is about dropping concepts, but I think coming up with new ways of expressing those concepts can be just as good a practice. It's boring to drop the same old stuff all the time, so maybe thinking up new stuff as a way of dropping the same old stuff is good practice, too.

  13. #13
    Treeleaf Unsui Myozan Kodo's Avatar
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    Re: What makes you whole?

    Great!
    Thanks.
    Gassho,
    Soen

  14. #14
    Treeleaf Unsui Shokai's Avatar
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    Re: What makes you whole?

    Nigel wrote:
    I saw this on a T-shirt that may help;
    Youth and talent are no match for age and treachery. :twisted:

    Enjoy your realisation... best wishes.
    Somewhere in my drawer there is a T-shirt I wear sometimes that says,
    "So far, this is as old as I have ever been."
    And in our backyard is a stone that says,
    "Ware tada tarui wo shiru."
    Translation: I know only sufficiency

    Thank you; Jigen, Risho, Taigu-oso et al

  15. #15
    Senior Member Heisoku's Avatar
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    Re: What makes you whole?

    Shokai ... I like the quotes..all good fun.

    The idea of acting within the wholeness of non-self seems only tricky if you are looking at it within thye perspective of self. Action and non-self together become something else...I'm not sure what as yet as I need to get over the concepts that create this notion of self.... but it may be tied in with 'no hindrance of mind'.
    I think we all have some expereience of acting 'intelligently without thought' to a situation where the 'right action' presents itself. This action would be 'enaction' whereby we and the environment are so entwined cognitively and consciously that our actions are difficult to separate into we/it.... a wholeness that is right, where everything 'fits' and flows but is not attached to.
    Most of these moments for me seem to be in my younger unattached days where contraints of daily routines were more flexible. I guess the trick now is to develop this within a more structured life...to let it flow and hopefully appreciate the moments as Al has.

  16. #16
    Treeleaf Unsui Shokai's Avatar
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    Re: What makes you whole?

    Nigel;

    I feel the state that you speak of is similar to "being in the zone", It's probably most noticeable in sports. It happens during heavy concentration while applying oneself to a task. It just happens; cannot be consciously fabricated. But, practice, practice , practice on the zafu; study of the Darmha, precepts,etc . tend to provide the 'proper' attitude/mental environment/ state of mind that supports the happening. What this practice/study does is clear up the belief system. What you can't do is sit down and say I'm going to "be" this way; it takes a lot of "slow cooking" (Right Peter !! ) The more structured life... you refer to is probably an aspect of attached mind. My experience/training/practice leave me with the attitude that the only reason we grow old is because we expect to.

    I like/dis-like/no-like the Yogi Berr-ian quote,
    " 99% of Life is attitude; the other half is being here."
    cheers,

  17. #17

    Re: What makes you whole?

    Timbits. They go in the center of the donut.

    Attached files

  18. #18
    Senior Member Heisoku's Avatar
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    Re: What makes you whole?

    Thanks Shokai ....I feel like I could use some Timbits right now.

  19. #19
    Treeleaf Unsui Shokai's Avatar
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    Re: What makes you whole?

    Hello Heisoku;

    A while back, Timmy's started making day-old timbits available as Doggie-bits. Well, all you need do is stand by and watch the dog behaviour in the take out line. They stick they heads out the window to receive they daily handout. Trouble is, our dog is car shy and so we started bringing home a doggie bit for him. Now, he stands at the door and sniffs to see if we've been to Timmy's and if so, you don't get in until you give up the Doggie bits.

    Perhaps that is the same feeling you have right about now ?? :roll:

  20. #20
    Senior Member Heisoku's Avatar
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    Re: What makes you whole?

    Maybe... :wink:

    I found a bit of inspiration in Taigu's Genjokoan talk number 3 also. Thanks Taigu.

  21. #21
    Senior Member AlanLa's Avatar
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    Re: What makes you whole?

    Nigel wrote: Most of these moments for me seem to be in my younger unattached days where contraints of daily routines were more flexible. I guess the trick now is to develop this within a more structured life...to let it flow and hopefully appreciate the moments as Al has.
    First of all, Al has not learned to let it flow and appreciate the moments. The moment I start thinking in that sense of outcome (past tense: "has") I am sure to stumble. More accurate is to say I am in the process of learning better how to let it flow and appreciate the moments more than before, but there is a long way to go. I may have realized "It all fits" but that doesn't mean I don't have to figure out how to make it fit or let it fit itself or just leave the fit of it all alone, etc., because that remains a daily practice issue. Secondly, I do feel I am getting better at this stuff called life as I get older instead of the other way around. I look back on my younger days through the lens of what I am finding out now and am just amazed at the depth of my ignorance. And that's okay; I was what I was then and I yam what I yam now. We all do the best we can within the context of each moment, and then we move on from there to another Holy Now.

  22. #22
    Senior Member Heisoku's Avatar
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    Re: What makes you whole?

    Hi Al...I really meant in that moment you initially described for that moment ... thanks for clarifying.

    Much metta to you. Thanks again for sharing your insights ...it really helps me challenge my perspectives.
    It was Taigu's lecture as mentioned and in particular the quote that 'We make tea then leave.' Meaning that each moment is complete and we leave it as such...something I am having great difficulty with at present, past, present, past, present....you get the picture.

  23. #23
    Treeleaf Unsui Shokai's Avatar
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    Re: What makes you whole?

    But, no apologies for past actions, we either did what we thought was best or totally screwed up
    but, hopefully learned something at that time. It's the guilt thing that will drag you down :shock:

  24. #24
    Senior Member Heisoku's Avatar
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    Re: What makes you whole?

    Thanks Shokai

  25. #25

    Re: Re: What makes you whole?

    Quote Originally Posted by AlanLa
    I was walking the dog last night and looked up and stared for a while at the moon shifting in and out of the fast moving clouds. I could just as easily describe it as a chaotic or orderly sky, but what I said out loud was this: “It all fits.”

    My friend posted this to Facebook last night and I thought of you and this thread and how I should share.

    http://vimeo.com/22439234

    Grateful.

    Gassho,
    Shawn

  26. #26
    Senior Member Hoyu's Avatar
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    Re: What makes you whole?

    Jigen wrote:
    I was walking the dog last night and looked up and stared for a while at the moon shifting in and out of the fast moving clouds. I could just as easily describe it as a chaotic or orderly sky, but what I said out loud was this: “It all fits.”
    Hi Jigen,
    This experience of yours reminds me of a similar sentiment of the Buddhist monk and author Yoshida Kenko. He believed that while there is an attractiveness to the unclouded moon, it is the moon which is veiled by clouds that is a still deeper expression of beauty.
    I am happy you had this moment with which to grow from _/_

    Gassho,
    John

  27. #27
    Senior Member Hoyu's Avatar
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    Re: What makes you whole?

    Thanks Shawn that was beautiful! I love the way in one scene the clouds looked just like the dancing of ocean waves

    Gassho,
    John

  28. #28
    Senior Member AlanLa's Avatar
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    Re: What makes you whole?

    "We make tea, then leave." Yeah, I like that.
    We watch that great video, then leave, too...
    and that's okay.

  29. #29
    disastermouse
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    Re: What makes you whole?

    Quote Originally Posted by Taigu

    Being complete is to say no, not to the object or situation or people, to say no to the belief system that underlies our so called vision of the world. Dogen coins it: "to forget the self"

    gassho

    Taigu

  30. #30
    disastermouse
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    Re: What makes you whole?

    I just wanted to add something from my own experience here..

    I frequent the bodybuilding.com forums for advice and camaraderie, especially now that I'm cutting fat...(it's going splendidly, btw).

    So many young guys, and not a small number of the women, are overweight and unlucky in love. I think it's worse for the women, but the men are much more vocal about it. For the men and women who have lost a LOT of weight, something very strange happens - they don't know how to handle the newfound attention from the opposite sex. Also, they very frequently find that there are worse things than being 'alone'. They were so sure that they were lacking something - specifically the attention of the opposite sex, and when they get it, they often seem surprised that they are not suddenly happier.

    There are many myths about how we are lacking and many messages about how to get those things. I still get sucked in myself quite a bit - but isn't it weird that no matter how often we get duped by this, we still hanker after the next thing?

  31. #31
    Treeleaf Unsui/Engineer Kyonin's Avatar
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    Re: What makes you whole?

    Alan,

    Thank you for the words. We are complete indeed.

    I have noticed that embracing desires and aversions work for me pretty well and I also realized that when you do that, both desires and aversions get lower.

    It's not that you don't feel them, it's just that you outgrow the things you craved in the past, making your life much more intellectual and centered.

  32. #32
    Senior Member AlanLa's Avatar
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    Re: What makes you whole?

    Good example, Chet.
    Exactly as I am finding, Choco. Don't avoid aversions or indulge desires. Rather, hold them both -- and everything in between -- lightly enough to be aware of how they fit in your life. Then let them all go.

  33. #33

    Re: What makes you whole?

    After reading the first post, I was going to say something about expressing old ideas in new ways, then Alan came back and said it better than I would have. So, I'll just say "gassho" and be on my way...

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