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Thread: 7/29 Zen Seeds: Pg 15, 16 and 17

  1. #1
    Senior Member AlanLa's Avatar
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    7/29 Zen Seeds: Pg 15, 16 and 17

    The Horsefly (orphan story left over from p. 15 that I decided to adopt)
    Doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results is an old definition of insanity. But we all do it, right? Our Zen path helps us wake up from that repetitive insanity. We learn to be aware that we are acting like that horsefly smacking into that window over and over again. Freedom is right there in our dis-repaired lives. So what horsefly insanity moment has Zen helped you wake up from?

    Loving (p. 15)
    My first take on this is that re-gifting is OK, so people need to drop their aversion to this made-up social faux pas. While this may be true, that’s not really the point, is it? All we can do is give and to do so freely. What someone does with what we give is not the point. What we get back from that someone we gave to is also not the point. At work, all I can do is teach, and what the students do with what I teach is largely beyond my control. I know what I want them to do, but I have had to learn to let that desire go, because that’s what it is, just another form of desire. Sometimes students get a very different message than the one I intend, the one I think I am delivering, When this happens I try to take it as a lesson that I need to learn how to be a better teacher/giver, which I think is a noble aspiration.

    To give can be hard, and to not have that gift appreciated can be especially hard on our ego. To give is to give up, and one of the things we need to learn to give up is how whatever we give is received. My understanding of the precept of dana is that it has nothing to do with the desire for approval or appreciation. Think about all the things you give, including things like love and time and so on. What do you want in return? Does it depend on what you give? How so? What do you need to give up about giving?

    In another’s place (p. 17)
    Reading this story immediately reminded me of this Shunryu Suzuki tale from Not Always So (Jumping Off the 100-foot Pole, pp. 18-19):

    “Forget this moment and grow into the next. That is the only way. For instance, when breakfast is ready, my wife hits some wooden clappers. If I don’t answer, she may continue to hit them until I feel rather angry. This problem is quite simple—it is because I don’t answer. If I say “Hai!” [“Yes!”], there is no problem. Because I don’t say Yes! She continues to call me because she doesn’t know whether or not I heard her.

    Sometimes she may think, “He knows, but he doesn’t answer.” When I don’t answer, I am on top of the [100-foot] pole. I don’t jump off. I believe I have something important to do at the top of that pole: “You shouldn’t call me. You should wait.” Or I may think, “This is very important! I am here, on top of the pole! Don’t you know that?” Then she will keep hitting the clappers. That is how we create problems.

    So the secret is to just say “Yes!” and jump off from here. Then there is no problem. It means to be yourself in the present moment, always yourself, without sticking to an old self. You forget all about yourself and are refreshed. You are a new self, and before that self becomes an old self, you say “Yes!” and you walk to the kitchen for breakfast. So the point on each moment is to forget the point and extend your practice.”
    This is one of the greatest lessons I got from that book, and I think Shundo Aoyama is making the same point. Every moment can be its own 100-foot pole. Step off! Move on from the 100-foot tall ego pole! Hai! I try to live up to this and often don’t succeed, and that’s ok because there’s lot of opportunity for more practice. How do you deal with interruptions as part of your practice? How can you step off that 100-foot ego pole and say “Hai!” when someone interrupts you in whatever you may be doing? I’m not talking about someone interrupting your zazen, though that is certainly part of this. No, this is more about those life-as-practice moments.

  2. #2

    Re: 7/29 Zen Seeds: Pg 15, 16 and 17

    I don’t think I expect very much when giving. Sometimes, I would like to be loved also, but I’ve pretty much even given that up. I have come to realize that there will come a time when you must expect that people will not love you for anything you have done. Currently in my life, for example, with everything that I do for my niece, nephew and their two friends (all young teenagers), I realize that I may or may not keep them from trouble during these rough teenage years, that they may or may not love me as they progress further through adolescence, and they may or may not come to love me again later.

    Nonetheless, even though not expecting love, there is a subtle minimum that I do expect when I give a great deal of my time and energy to someone. (Smiles or words of encouragement are easy to give to everybody, but extensive time and energy is limited.) I realize that I expect at least some effort on that person’s behalf. It doesn’t have to be successful effort, or much effort, but at least some effort. Otherwise, I feel that there are other places where what I can give that would help a little. I also expect that the person I give to will not abuse me, meaning that they have certain minimum respect for me as a fellow human being. It is hard to explain the minimum I mean here, but it is a minimum. For instance, teenagers often disrespect you and hurt you but don’t abuse you so that you are damaged, if you can understand the subtlety that I am trying to express.

    As far as the horsefly---I am the horsefly extraordinaire! I keep doing the same things over and over (getting upset about my business and then overeating and wasting time on too much TV) and seem to have no idea how to quit and find a way out.

    If you keep buzzing against it, does the window break? Of course not! Gassho, Grace.

  3. #3

    Re: 7/29 Zen Seeds: Pg 15, 16 and 17

    Quote Originally Posted by Graceleejenkins
    I have come to realize that there will come a time when you must expect that people will not love you for anything you have done. Currently in my life, for example, with everything that I do for my niece, nephew and their two friends (all young teenagers), I realize that I may or may not keep them from trouble during these rough teenage years, that they may or may not love me as they progress further through adolescence, and they may or may not come to love me again later.
    I thought I'd let you know that my 12 1/2 nephew just gave me a hug and a kiss (and said that if I told anyone, he'd kill me). So, sometimes, you do get love back.

  4. #4

    Re: 7/29 Zen Seeds: Pg 15, 16 and 17

    Horsefly: I am much more aware of my "thought mill" now, more able to tune into the waves of pointless (and most often negative) thoughts/reinforcements flowing through my brain. Haven't quite figured out how to reverse it, but awareness is a good first step.

    Gifting: This is difficult to do, almost impossible to force yourself to do. It all seems to trace back to ego. When we give a gift, we see it as giving a part of our self. So if the receiver rejects it or later gives it to someone else, we feel personally attacked or devalued. I will have to work on this one...can see many times in my past where I have held grudges for this reason.

    Place: need to re-read..will add later

    Gassho,
    Matt

  5. #5

    7/29 Zen Seeds: Pg 15, 16 and 17

    There are lots of lessons in this little book. I really like the way we are reading it, in small steps, so we can ponder on what is said, and implied.

    The horsefly: zen attitude helps me a lot when I think that getting angry at someone's "completely unacceptable" behavior is the only answer. Then I try to think from empathy, impermanence, interconnectedness... You name it... And I realize that the "completely unacceptable" behavior was, most of the times, a very reasonable one. And, if it wasn't really acceptable I accepted it ad well

    On what to give up on giving. That's an area I really have to work a lot more. A whole life of training in reciprocity: I scratch your back then you scratch mine, is difficult to overcome. But yes, true love is unconditional.

    I'm learning a lot from you, sisters and brothers

    Gassho

    Rimon

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    Treeleaf Unsui Shokai's Avatar
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    Re: 7/29 Zen Seeds: Pg 15, 16 and 17

    I agree with Syd, this book is a great choice and Alan, I admire you're attitude that shines thru in each of the stories' summarys. Now i'll just try not to go back to buzzing against my window

  7. #7

    Re: 7/29 Zen Seeds: Pg 15, 16 and 17

    Quote Originally Posted by AlanLa
    So what horsefly insanity moment has Zen helped you wake up from?
    "If only I use my big ol' brain enough, I can figure out this Great Matter/Mu koan/impermanence business once and for all! Let me just sharpen this here pencil and...."

    What do you need to give up about giving?
    The expectation of acknowledgment and gratitude.

    How do you deal with interruptions as part of your practice? How can you step off that 100-foot ego pole and say “Hai!” when someone interrupts you in whatever you may be doing? I’m not talking about someone interrupting your zazen, though that is certainly part of this. No, this is more about those life-as-practice moments.
    I'm very interested to read what others have to say about this excellent question, which goes to the heart of a major issue for me at work. At the preschool I run I don't have an office; rather, I sit facing the front desk where anyone can walk in at any time expecting my full attention. It has been a constant struggle for me to learn how to let go of... well, of whatever I'm doing! I'm getting better at it simply by learning how to drop whatever I'm doing without resentment -- shikantaza has been extremely helpful in this regard -- but I'm far from perfect at it....

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    Senior Member Ekai's Avatar
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    Re: 7/29 Zen Seeds: Pg 15, 16 and 17

    Answer #1
    Reaching for that darn candy container at work is my horsefly issue. I say to myself, "Ok, no candy today!" So when I get to work guess what I do, EAT THE CANDY!! :shock: This will be one of the things that I love to give up during Ango.


    Answer #2
    When I have given the gift of my heart to someone whether it was romantic love, unconditional family/friendly love or compassion and the response was not something I desired, it caused emotional pain. But the hurt was the result of clinging to an outcome or expectation. I created the suffering within myself. Even though it is not acceptable for any one to intentionally to hurt me or anyone else, everyone has free will to respond to a heart gift in a way that is appropriate for them. If the response is different from what I intend it to be, I just need to let it go. Now when I give compassion and the gift of my heart, I try not to expect anything in return.

    Answer #3
    I can handle getting interrupted at work very well. There are many disruptions in the advertising business and it's best to go with the flow. However at home when I am busy with something and my husband interrupts me, I get agitated quickly. Or during cooking dinner and the phone rings. How dare anyone calls me around 6:00 pm? Don't they know I am busy cooking dinner! :x Well my ability to deal with disruptions has improved with Buddhist practice over the years but it still needs work.

    Thanks,
    Jodi

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    Friend of Treeleaf Daido's Avatar
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    Re: 7/29 Zen Seeds: Pg 15, 16 and 17

    In my job (law enforcement) zen , the “horsefly” and “loving” descriptions has helped me to become more compassionate with the people I deal with as well has with myself. Them being caught in a horsefly type situation or me in the way I am handling the situation. I thought these descriptions very graphic ways to explain awareness.

    To paraphrase Aoyama, “I feel lucky to be exposed to a teaching like this” and I wlll continue to try and put this into action. I will fail and I will succeed

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    Senior Member Hoyu's Avatar
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    Re: 7/29 Zen Seeds: Pg 15, 16 and 17

    Loving:
    Sometimes receiving, in many ways, can be as difficult as giving.
    Here is an example of just one of those ways:
    When I was younger I would get upset if what I got wasn't what I asked for or wanted. Often times blaming the giver with thoughts like "That's not even what I like, Don't you know me?!" Now I see through my own desires etc and more to the heart of the matter.
    Last Christmas my father got a gas grill for me. I suck at cooking and would have rather he have given me a gift certificate so that I could put it towards a snowblower, which if you know anything about the climate of Minnesota you'd see how a grill just isn't as practical! Especially when I could use the snowblower that very night VS waiting another 3 months to be able to use a grill! Once I felt those emotions well up I took a step back to look at things, from my father's perspective. My father LOVES inviting family over and cooking on the grill. From his reasoning a grill would be an awesome gift. So I could tell he only wanted to get something which he thought would be most pleasing. Perhaps in his mind it was a way to have more time together too. Just like how he invites family over to grill. Seeing things from his perspective I could then accept this gift with a grateful heart!

    The horsefly:
    Ouch!

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    Senior Member Heisoku's Avatar
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    Re: 7/29 Zen Seeds: Pg 15, 16 and 17

    Here's me being a horsefly overr the past two weeks or so with my practice... wearing down a ... rut over and over to the point at which I felt like packing it all in (serious!).
    Anyway I found a window nearby in Opening the Hand ofThought, Uchiyama's wonderful book which remindeed me that all before me is my world and my universe and all I have to is accept its suchness! Now I don't know what all the fuss and headbanging was about? This is such a weird and wonderful practice. How lovely the rain is this evening.

    As for loving I have a similar story to John's lovely tale about his dad. Mine involves my mum and her annual gift of knitted jumpers! All my young adult life I have had a wonderful array of strange knitted jumpers from my mum, many of which never saw the light of day. Before she passed away I asked her why she always did this? Her reply was that when her mum died (my nan) I was 5 years old and I called my nan's knitted jumper 'my remembry jumper'. My mum continued to provide me with knitted jumpers since as part of her rememberance for her mum and of the bond that formed between us at that moment. I could have cried and probably did.

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    Senior Member Hoyu's Avatar
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    Re: 7/29 Zen Seeds: Pg 15, 16 and 17

    Heisoku wrote:
    All my young adult life I have had a wonderful array of strange knitted jumpers from my mum, many of which never saw the light of day. Before she passed away I asked her why she always did this? Her reply was that when her mum died (my nan) I was 5 years old and I called my nan's knitted jumper 'my remembry jumper'. My mum continued to provide me with knitted jumpers since as part of her rememberance for her mum and of the bond that formed between us at that moment. I could have cried and probably did.
    This is a beautiful and touching story Nigel!! _/_

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    Senior Member KellyRok's Avatar
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    Re: 7/29 Zen Seeds: Pg 15, 16 and 17

    Hello all,

    Alan - I'm glad you adopted the story. For some reason, I thought/assumed that I should only do 2 stories. I noticed the horsefly story was on the page assigned to me, but that it continued onto the next. I didn't want to step into someone else's territory . I guess instead of assuming, I should have asked. Thank you for taking it on...and sorry for my confusion ops: .

    Answer 1: I'm not sure I've fully woken up yet when it comes to getting caught up in some of the cycles in my life. But Zen helps me point out when it's time to stop beating my head against that wall, and makes me search out a way to do it. That's what I find most valuable about this practice, it helps us see through all the crap and realize the things we need to change.

    Answer 2: Loving...I loved this story because it is so relevant and powerful. I find myself too often searching for and giving gifts with the expectation that the recipient will truly like it. Silly really...but when I give my time to other's, I do it because I want to and not because I'm looking for something in return. So it appears I have a lot to work on in the gift-giving area.

    Answer 3: As other's have stated, I don't get irritated, or have a problem with getting interrupted at work. Interruptions are a part of my job in helping my students. However, when I'm at home with my family - helping with homework, getting ready for the next day, or finally sitting down to just "chill out" and watch some mindless tv - I really don't like to be interrupted. I don't answer the telephone after 8 pm. I figure if it is an emergency, they'll leave a message and I can return their call. So having the attitude of dropping everything to attend to someone who is calling, or at my door is a difficulty for me. Just another thing Zen is helping me work on.


    Lovely responses here!

    bows to all,
    Kelly/Jinmei

  14. #14

    Re: 7/29 Zen Seeds: Pg 15, 16 and 17

    Horsefly: Guilt. It's that one emotion that continues to allow me to smack my face against a pane of glass until I pass out from exhaustion. It's a hard lesson to learn that all of our actions, or lack of action, are our responsibility. It's equally hard to accept that we can move on from them, especially in a society where one's past actions, their karmic residue if you will, is constantly brought up. That's where we learn to practice, the rising and falling away of thoughts, actions, whatever.

    Loving: Giving is second nature to most people; and I say that with the following conditions - Giving to people we like, to people we want a hold over, and the people we know will reciprocate. Each gives us something back. One, giving for the joy of seeing someone we like be made happier (still has the idea of giver and receiver, right?). Two, getting that "you owe me one" feeling (and doesn't it taste sweet at the moment?). and Three, getting a gift later! To give without expectation the idea of self and other needs to dissolve because who would expect reciprocation from themselves! Our right hand doesn't give to our left hand saying, "Oh, I'll be sure to let him know he owes me a favor" it's more like, "Forget it!"

    In Another's Place: Alan you said it perfectly. All of this comes from an exaggerated sense of self-importance. When we bring each other up to the same level, we are all equally important. Yes, sometimes you have to finish something before going down to eat. But sometimes you don't. What's the difference? You tell me.

    Gassho,
    Taylor

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    Senior Member AlanLa's Avatar
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    Re: 7/29 Zen Seeds: Pg 15, 16 and 17

    I gave this thread freely (Ok, it was assigned, but roll with me on this :wink: ) and expected nothing in return, so why do I check it every day or so to make sure it's being received well? The answer is ego. And that ego is the horsefly bumping into the window over and over as it tries to realize the way out is not out the window, but rather to step off it's self-made 100-foot pole. If you don't mind the mixed metaphors (or various stories in the book), then it all fits together, folks. It's all ONE story beyond one-ness.

  16. #16

    Re: 7/29 Zen Seeds: Pg 15, 16 and 17

    Alan, gassho! And touché! Would that we all could be so honest in such moments!

  17. #17
    Senior Member AlanLa's Avatar
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    Re: 7/29 Zen Seeds: Pg 15, 16 and 17

    Let me be more clear. My ego is the horsefly that keeps bumping into this given thread so I am now going to let it go by jumping off it's 100-ft pole and never come back to it again. Period.

    I mean this in the nicest possible way, this thread is dead to me :twisted:

  18. #18
    Senior Member Heisoku's Avatar
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    Re: 7/29 Zen Seeds: Pg 15, 16 and 17

    Yeah right! :twisted:

  19. #19
    Senior Member Shujin's Avatar
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    Re: 7/29 Zen Seeds: Pg 15, 16 and 17

    Alan -- thank you for this week's post. Maybe you'll revisit it. Then it'll be a zombie thread.

    Horsefly: Often times I've been the horsefly. What's difficult for me to see is not that I'm doing something that doesn't work; I can grasp that fairly quickly most of the time. I find myself assigning values to solutions that don't apply, however. (eg This is the right way to solve the problem, that is the wrong way) If I believe that I'm following the "right" solution, I'll continue to bash my head against the glass. My children and wife have helped me grow a bit in this regard. I still have a long way to go.

    Loving: I play the role of the disappointed giver nearly every Christmas. As Matt accurately stated, I feel judged when someone doesn't feel the way I do about my gift. When I'm in an objective mindset, I see how selfish this is. I'm going to work on this in the coming holiday.

    gassho,
    Shujin

  20. #20

    Re: 7/29 Zen Seeds: Pg 15, 16 and 17

    Zombie thread! :lol: Thanks a good one, Shujin!

  21. #21
    Friend of Treeleaf Myozan Kodo's Avatar
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    Re: 7/29 Zen Seeds: Pg 15, 16 and 17

    Flip side to the horsefly: sometimes you got to stick with something? Again and again. An inverse reading, I know.

    Loving: what goes around, goes around. And keeps going around. We need to try and be content with that. Anyway, nothing is given ... and by no one.

    I enjoyed this thread. Thanks everyone.

    Gassho,
    Soen

  22. #22
    Senior Member AlanLa's Avatar
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    Re: 7/29 Zen Seeds: Pg 15, 16 and 17

    This zombie horsefly realizes he went too far. Hold lightly, don't reject outright how the gift is received, nor get overly concerned, that's the middle way. To recognize how a gift is received seems a good way to learn, so long as you accept the result and not be defensive if it's in the negative. Nor should you pat yourself on the back if it's in the positive. It's about the gift and act of giving, not you. So a little checking in to see how the thread is going seems ok as long as I don't wrap my ego around the result.

  23. #23

    Re: 7/29 Zen Seeds: Pg 15, 16 and 17

    Wow, again really, really deep posts.

    1. The horsefly: I don't think there's much to add to everyone's awesome posts, but I think this can be very, very subtle. For instance, let's say we want to quit a habit. If we say ok, today's the day and I'm no longer going to do it. That's fine. But it's our approach. If we start out by trying to fix ourselves I think we've started off on the wrong foot already. Then when we slip up or do what we said we wouldn't do, we beat ourselves up and usually end up doing what we said we would stop doing in the first place. I've experienced this with quitting smoking, caffeine, etc. Sure those habits aren't good, but when I would hate myself for doing those things are having moments of weakness, I would start them again... the horse beating itself against the window.... that unconsciousness. But if we just sit with those things and experience the urges and not necessarily act on them (similar to shikantaza with just letting thoughts go), then I think we give them space and things happen much more naturally instead of being so forced... so ego driven.

    2. Loving: ugh.. I feel this struggle whenever I buy people gifts especially my wife. I'm always so worried if she's going to like what I get her, and I forget about the simple expression of unattached giving, based on love. I usually end up spending way more money than I need to to try and impress her.

    3. In another's place: ooo yeah jumping off the hundred foot pole. Time and time again, I know I grab on and resist. If I'm doing something of extreme importance, I can be like a laser, and I get very annoyed when that focus is disrupted. I know that sitting has helped me loosen my grip on what I want and just be with what is.

    Gassho,

    Risho

  24. #24

    Re: 7/29 Zen Seeds: Pg 15, 16 and 17

    I'm a horsefly again and again, I guess we all are to a certain extend. How nice when we can realize this sometimes; sometimes at ourselves, sometimes at others. Its literally opening space when we realize it and can change a certain unaware or conditioned behavior.
    _()_
    Peter

  25. #25
    Friends of Treeleaf Dokan's Avatar
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    Re: 7/29 Zen Seeds: Pg 15, 16 and 17

    Horsefly:

    Zen has helped me wake up from Zen to be honest. When I first started practicing I had a very romanticized version in my mind. As the years have passed, the hair grayed and I've woke that plopping my butt down on a zafu everyday isn't Zen, and is.

    Loving:

    What struck me was the awareness of not completely giving something. Holding on to that thread, even if it's just approval of what was given.

    In Another's Place:

    Compassion in action is what came to mind when reading that. Having the pure moment by moment perspective to adjust from my own agenda seems so far away and inspiring to read about.

    Gassho,

    Shawn

    Ps - One of my favourite pictures of Suzuki-roshi.

    Attached files

  26. #26

    Re: 7/29 Zen Seeds: Pg 15, 16 and 17

    Hi.

    Horsefly: Its perfectly ok to be the horsefly, just don't get stuck in it.
    Sometimes you need to bang your head against the window, just to see that its there..

    Loving: I have one question here, is the wrappingpaper part of the present?
    And if so, why do you throw it away?

    In anothers place: The thing here, in my humble view, is doing that which is right in front of you.
    Another example is that of when you're sitting and the bell rings, you get up, or when you're sewing and skype calls you put down the needle and answer.
    And in doing so, you do it immediately, you don't linger at the sitting or sewing, but fully commit to the thing at hand.

    Thank you for your practice.
    Mtfbwy
    Fugen

  27. #27

    Re: 7/29 Zen Seeds: Pg 15, 16 and 17

    Hello all,

    Horsefly – Often it is much easier to fall back on repetitive behavior patterns we have used in the past. Sometimes this works….we use our experience to plan for course of action. Nevertheless, sometimes we are so set on our “plans” we do the same behavior over and over again. We ignore the fact that it results in our beating our head into a solid object, like the fly against the glass. Although we may not wish to hear it and the news may seem unpleasant, but those close to us can call attention to our self-defeating behavior and help us to wake up!

    Love – To use the terminology of the psychologist Carl Rogers, we tend to give conditional positive regard to others…even our loved ones, perhaps especially our loved ones. In short, conditional positive regard means I will like/love you “if”….the “if” is often a big one….”if” you think a certain way, if you make me feel good, “if” you conform to my standards. Unconditional positive regard is when we give our love and acceptance without the “if.” This does not mean that we approve of negative behavior, but we still accept and value the person.
    Modifying these concepts a bit, I can relate this to our reading by pointing out that at times I find it very challenging to allow those who I have strong emotional bonds with to have their freedom and not think of how their choice impacts my life. For example, I would love to have my daughter live in a geographical place close to me when she gets out of college and is on her own, but that might not be best for her life. I know this is not fair to her and it’s something I struggle with quite a bit.

    As I write this I am sitting with a very sick little dog, he has been in our lives for over 10 years. This week was to be our one and only week of vacation at our cottage and my time has been spent looking after him and worrying ….a lot. I am on edge about this as I want to make sure he is not suffering and we are doing the right thing for him. I guess one point I am thankful for is that I do not mind a bit staying on the front porch with him, while other members of my family are out swimming, fishing, etc. This is no big moral choice I am making, I just feel this way. I guess in Christianity one would call it "grace" that I am so willingly about to accept my role I am not sure if there is a Buddhist equivalent? This is the type of love I believed is talked about in our reading. Nevertheless, I also know that my love for him is selfish at some level and I must be careful not to fall into the trap of using him as a prop in my life to make me feel better about myself, but respect him as an independent living being with his own life trajectory. (Note: Since the time I wrote this we had to put our dog to sleep. We are fine despite being saddened by this event. I will write more on this as I can collect my thoughts a bit.)

    Gassho,
    BrianW

  28. #28
    Senior Member murasaki's Avatar
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    Re: 7/29 Zen Seeds: Pg 15, 16 and 17

    Since I just joined the list I'm a bit behind, and can't follow all of the threads leading up to the current one. But I wanted to share a bit about the chapter called Loving.

    My mother has a neighbour who is very nice, but a bit strange; she has different ideas about "social graciousness" and manners with people than we do, and often comes across as nosy, a tightwad, and over-familiar. But she has done some things for us that were very kind and helpful, so once when I came from France to stay with my mother, I gave the neighbour a gift of a bunch of beautiful French Provincial fabrics I spent a good deal of money on, because she is a quilter who collects fabrics.

    Some time later, I asked how she liked the fabrics, thinking she'd have some quilts hanging around the house with them in it to show me. To my shock, she replied, "Oh, they're wonderful...I've made six handbags with them so far and sold them for forty dollars each."

    Wow, I was blown away by that. It's one thing to do that, keep it secret, and say, "Yes, they're nice, thanks", and entirely another thing to actually tell someone you sold their gift that you spent no small amount of money on!

    I still have a hard time getting over that -- and my mother, who is far more critical of her, brings that incident up frequently. I try not to get so worked up about her, and have more patience. As strange and frustrating as she is, I know it's not helpful to myself or anyone else to hold these thoughts and continue gossiping about them. (I also need to have more patience with my mother, who frustrates me with her willingness to gossip about her. While I agree with her on most counts regarding the neighbour, I think it's over the top to go on and on about every incident. She's retired, though, and looking for issues in life to take on, so she's taken on this one among others and I should just let it go and not try to change her if it causes an argument.)

    This chapter has shown me that I can look at the incident in a different way...I gave the neighbour something that she liked to work with (fabric, which is candy for a quilter), and she watches her pennies so I gave her an opportunity to make some cash as well. I admit it's still hard for me to let go because she was so blatant about something I am taught to consider a big faux-pas, but I just need to keep on letting go, and keep on sitting.

    I often have a hard time accepting mannerisms, choices and actions of others when I consider it something that "you just don't ever do." This is just one example.

    gassho
    Julia

  29. #29

    Re: 7/29 Zen Seeds: Pg 15, 16 and 17

    What a fantastic story to share, Julia. I am thinking of oh-so-many examples in my own life (one in particular related to a state colleague who's driving me crazy) in which that judgment pointing outward seems absolutely right and righteous to me... and your story, of course, reveals the powerful source of the judgment (uh, me).

    Gassho for adding this great contribution.

  30. #30
    Senior Member Hoyu's Avatar
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    Re: 7/29 Zen Seeds: Pg 15, 16 and 17

    Julia wrote:
    This chapter has shown me that I can look at the incident in a different way...I gave the neighbour something that she liked to work with (fabric, which is candy for a quilter), and she watches her pennies so I gave her an opportunity to make some cash as well. I admit it's still hard for me to let go because she was so blatant about something I am taught to consider a big faux-pas, but I just need to keep on letting go, and keep on sitting.
    Great that you were able to overcome your initial reaction. Good practice!

    Gassho,
    John

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