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Thread: 9/16- Zen Seeds: Pgs 43,45

  1. #1
    Senior Member Ekai's Avatar
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    9/16- Zen Seeds: Pgs 43,45

    Nothing is to be Added, page 43

    In modern society we are rewarded for our fancy cars, big houses, acquiring the latest and greatest in technology and the dollar amount in our bank account. Our level of success is measured how large our salary is or status on the corporate ladder. Many believe happiness is found in the purchase of material items instead of appreciating the simple things like walking your dog in the evening while enjoying the sunset. The more we get, the more we want and the more we want, the more we strive to get. The gripping desire for money, power, fame, and status is like a vicious cycle that keeps spinning and spinning to the point of losing control and forgetting who we really are.

    The phrase "Money is the root of all evil", I feel is a myth. It our relationship to money that causes the problems, not money itself. We can choose how we relate to money and whether it is a positive or negative tool in our lives. When we cling to money and the need for more, it gives rise to greed, ignorance and delusion. When we let go of the desire for money, it creates opportunities to give for the sake of helping others and see the ordinary, but at the same time, the special things in our life.

    I am struggling financially, but it's teaching me to appreciate simplicity and be grateful for what I have. I may not be able to buy an iPad but at least I have a computer from work that my boss graciously allows me to use at home. Hunter doesn't wear costly brand new clothes from the corporate chain store, but we are able to take walks together downtown to the thrift ship and buy what he needs while helping a local business thrive. I may not have a lot money but everyday that passes, the lack of money allows me to see how rich I am deep down inside with the love and support from my family and friends. Nothing more really needs to be added.

    Question
    Describe a time in your life when you were struggling financially, lost some material items you really enjoyed or were forced to lose status in your career, social circle, etc. Where you able to truly see and appreciate the things that mattered in your life? What were they? Did you learn to more about yourself and dig deep to see your true nature?


    Beautiful Words, page 45

    Speaking is a mindfulness practice in itself. Cultivating awareness with our speech and being more mindful with what, when and how we speak creates the door for peace and feeling connected with others. Unskillful speech can cause harm to those around you and creates deep wounds that takes years to heal.

    Listening just an important as speaking in dealing with right speech. How many times did you find your mind wandering during a conversation? Or thinking about what to say next while the person in front of you was talking? Listening with the intent to really hear with our mind, body and heart creates harmony and shows respect for speaker. Being still in our minds cultivates the inner silence needed to feel empathy and allows the speaker to fully communicate what they need to say.

    Question
    Describe a time when you were able to be still and fully listen to someone in need. How did that help your friend or family member? Do you think they felt your full presence? How about you? Was there a time in need when you opened your heart to someone and their full presence felt healing? What did you learn about yourself in this process?

    Thank you for your practice,
    Jodi

  2. #2

    Re: 9/16- Zen Seeds: Pgs 43,45

    Question
    Describe a time in your life when you were struggling financially, lost some material items you really enjoyed or were forced to lose status in your career, social circle, etc. Where you able to truly see and appreciate the things that mattered in your life? What were they? Did you learn to more about yourself and dig deep to see your true nature?

    - I wrote about this with regard to another chapter, but I recently donated my car to someone in a bad financial situation. Since then I take the city bus to and from work on most days, occasionally sharing my wife's car. Since then I have really come to appreciate just how much of a luxury car ownership is. For a person who grew up middle class, car ownership was always something that was just assumed. I never even considered a situation where I wouldn't always have a car to drive around. Riding the bus has really humbled me.


    Question
    Describe a time when you were able to be still and fully listen to someone in need. How did that help your friend or family member? Do you think they felt your full presence? How about you? Was there a time in need when you opened your heart to someone and their full presence felt healing? What did you learn about yourself in this process?

    - Lately I've been working very hard on active listening, as I'm often guilty of not truly paying attention to people when they're talking. So much distraction in my mind that many times following a conversation I can't remember much of the content. I don't have any specific examples in mind, but I do have a growing awareness of just how important is this skill and how deficient I am.

  3. #3
    Senior Member murasaki's Avatar
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    Re: 9/16- Zen Seeds: Pgs 43,45

    I was really short of money during the summer as I awaited the disbursement of the next year's student financial aid. I hadn't planned well enough and was really squeezed for about six weeks. During that time, I had to become very clever and resourceful, and learn to ignore impulses like "Oh, I'm too tired, let's go out to eat." I was in need of clothes to start both a volunteer job and a part-time paid one, and had to wear the same few things over and over again. Sometimes, I wanted to get some new gadget or item to replace a worn-out, half-broken one, but had to patiently keep using the old one for as long as I could. My hair looked awful because I could not go to the stylist and get a fresh cut (it's very frizzy at the ends and I can't drag a brush through it when it gets bad enough).

    It was a real challenge, and kind of scary. But it humbled me a lot, especially since I was embarrassed that I'd handled my finances so poorly that I got stuck in that situation; I didn't want anyone to know, so I suffered in silence.

    As for the second question...since I'm a talker in any situation, it's statistically a lot more likely for me to say something ridiculous, useless, or hurtful. I have also been accused of not being a good listener. Most often, of course, we let "familiarity breed contempt" and sometimes say things or are not very supportive to those closest to us. My mother and I clash a lot because we both fall into that trap.

    Lately though, since hearing that my mother's cousin has passed away, I have been trying to put aside the emotional triggers that I pick up on some things she says, and just listen and give her support and the best advice I can give on how to handle certain family issues in light of this loss. I have to make a conscious effort to continue being supportive and not be sidetracked by things she usually does such as repeating herself for emphasis, which usually bothers me quite a lot. I have to just let her say what she has to say. I think when she has gone through the healing process and does not need as much support, I don't have to keep saying nothing every time something negative comes up, but I do have to respond to those things in a more positive and constructive way. For now, just observing "Yes, she has repeated herself thinking I did not understand" and letting it go, helps me stay clear-headed and not let triggers get the best of me, and I can keep doing that in the future and avoid so much clashing.

    gassho
    Julia

  4. #4
    Friends of Treeleaf Dokan's Avatar
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    Re: 9/16- Zen Seeds: Pgs 43,45

    Quote Originally Posted by jodi_h
    Nothing is to be Added, page 43
    Question
    Describe a time in your life when you were struggling financially, lost some material items you really enjoyed or were forced to lose status in your career, social circle, etc. Where you able to truly see and appreciate the things that mattered in your life? What were they? Did you learn to more about yourself and dig deep to see your true nature?
    Back in 1993 I was in seminary in California. (Pastor Shawn! Lol) My wife (at the time) worked as a manager at the mall, I worked the graveyard shift at a home for abusive/abused* kids. At times we had to buy groceries with credit cards and eat dinner after dinner at the inexpensive "Baker's" (I think it was called). However, what I learned through that experience is to not take what I have for granted as well as be content with what I have. I find myself now on the other side of the financial coin and while I still get sucked in on occasion for the latest gadget or book, I am mindful of the expense and make appropriate adjustments.

    What struck me in this essay was the statement "we do not feel pity when the fish dies." I read this three times while processing my reaction/feelings. Full disclosure, I am a vegan, not for dietary purposes, nor possible health benefits, but out of compassion. Why I had to read this a few times was because I think it really expounds exactly how I feel on the subject. If a person eats meat mindfully with an understanding and appreciation for the sacrifice, then I feel much better about the situation.

    HOWEVER! Back up two lines and pick up your stones. I am guilty of being a total hypocrite. How often have I ate my vegetables (tomatoes & cukes) and not done so mindfully, offering them to the Buddha, Dharma & Sangha!? Once again...I'm humbled to the floor.

    Thank you for your practice and for being my brothers and sisters in the dharma...

    Gassho,

    Shawn

    *Edit - Re-reading this today I noticed I said "abusive/abused kids". While they may have been placed in the home because of being abusive...in reality, the act of being abused sadly always came first. Much metta to them.

  5. #5
    Treeleaf Unsui Shokai's Avatar
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    Re: 9/16- Zen Seeds: Pgs 43,45

    Shawn;
    I had a small dyslexic moment there and read
    Back in 1931 ...!!!!
    :lol:
    Meanwhile back at your post;
    Thanks for sharing/describing the experience so clearly

    _/_

  6. #6

    Re: 9/16- Zen Seeds: Pgs 43,45

    Nothing is to be added

    This chapter really grabbed me. While reading the first page I noticed how I thought that Shundo Aoyama seemed to reject today's world with its all times available goods. I wondered whats wrong with that. Its not so that I desperately need such availability, but it seemed strange to me Aoyama seemed to be negative about it. But the more I read, the more it dawned on me: By fulfilling the desire of all-time-available, things become less worthy, less appreciated. And yes, there is also the greed for making profit involved, by those who fulfill such desires. I'm incapable of really describing how my whole perspective on today's amenities shifted. Actually my view popped back to where I started quite some times, thinking "hey, whats wrong with these amenities, its ok to have, no ?" ... but, its not only a win. Its also a loss, leaving us - as Shundo Aoyama says "an inherently lifeless world". Very impressive chapter.

    _()_
    Peter

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    Friend of Treeleaf Daido's Avatar
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    Re: 9/16- Zen Seeds: Pgs 43,45

    Peter said,
    By fulfilling the desire of all-time-available, things become less worthy, less appreciated
    Well said. It started me thinking about all the things I have and take for granted. I will try to be more mindful.

  8. #8
    Treeleaf Unsui Shokai's Avatar
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    Re: 9/16- Zen Seeds: Pgs 43,45

    Good point; the difference between wants and needs. Just in time stocking requires the transport to make 3,4 or more trips. whereas, if scheduled to needs, the overall use of resources is diminished considerably. It does require holding more inventory so the benefits are a trade off depending on the cost of transportation and storage space. (now it's getting complicated; especially if we want to factor in compassionate placement of manpower :shock: , etc.)

  9. #9

    Re: 9/16- Zen Seeds: Pgs 43,45

    Nothing is to be added:

    I'm 20. My friends are 20 (give or take a few years). My peers are 20. And what do I see? Sometimes I see WANTWANTWANTWANTWANT, new car new phone new computer new clothes new life new boyfriend new house new friends. Sometimes I see the exact opposite, people content with how life is, desiring nothing new (save a few toys now and then). So where does that leave my generation? Exactly where it is. And I'm not that worried, to be honest. (Well, today at least :P)

    Beautiful words:

    This struck home so incredibly hard. If there is one thing I need to be the most mindful of, it's my speech. It's incredibly easy to be sucked into a conversation because I'm excited to see a person, even if the conversation turns negative. Suddenly I speak words I don't necessarily mean, I critique others and as the words leave my mouth on near auto-pilot I think "Hey, wait a second, I don't ACTUALLY feel this way..." but too late, the words are said and the message is communicated. Nothing else more than my speech has left me with the feeling of "I haven't done right today." It's something to work on, day by day.

  10. #10
    Treeleaf Unsui Dosho's Avatar
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    Re: 9/16- Zen Seeds: Pgs 43,45

    Hi all,

    Nothing is to be Added

    I'll admit to falling into the trap of having so many types of fruit and vegetables available all times of year and it wasn't until I started buying organic more often that I remembered that not everything is in season all the time! It can be very seductive to be able to taste an apple or smell a flower whenever we chose, regardless of the growing season. And this definitely extends to otehr material wants like iPads, Kindles, the latest cellphone, etc. Since I don't make any money of my own right now and we are a one income family it cuts out a lot of the impulse buying, but even with the one income we can generaly buy something that is above what we truly need. And I try to remind myself of that whenever I am tempted. And I agree with Aoyama's concern about what such an "on-demand" world is doing to us as human beings and are separation from what it means to be human and compassionate towards anyone who is different.

    Quote Originally Posted by jodi_h
    Question:
    Describe a time in your life when you were struggling financially, lost some material items you really enjoyed or were forced to lose status in your career, social circle, etc. Where you able to truly see and appreciate the things that mattered in your life? What were they? Did you learn to more about yourself and dig deep to see your true nature?
    I have truly been blessed that such has not happened to me on a large scale and that any decisions about reducing my economic status were by choice and not because I was forced to make due. Teh ability to be a stay at home dad is a blessing and on teh most difficult days when I am exhuasted and can barely stay awake to finish the day that I am very lucky to be where I am. That doesn't mean I can't have some moments of "Calgon, take me away!" But I am blessed, that is for sure and I try not to forget it.

    Beautiful Words

    This chapter came along at an interesting time in my life when I had recently been asking myself this question: Are we responsible for the speech we use that, while not intended to be harmful, may have hurt someone's feelings, even if that person is especially sensitive? I tend to wear my emotions on my sleeve and there have been many times in my life, more in the past than in the present, that a joke someone tells that is in no way meant to be harmful did leave me feeling very hurt and sad. And I am sure that I have said things that hurt people's feelings that I do not know about because they never told me how it made them feel...I am certain of that because I'm human and make mistakes! But what responsibility do we have to guage the ability of other people to handle what we say to them, especially strangers or in the case of Treeleaf, people we have never met face to face and only communicate with on an internet forum? To be constantly monitorin ourselves with every person we meet would be near impossible I think, but I do believe we have some responsibility for what we say, even that which is never intended to hurt others.

    Question:
    Describe a time when you were able to be still and fully listen to someone in need. How did that help your friend or family member? Do you think they felt your full presence? How about you? Was there a time in need when you opened your heart to someone and their full presence felt healing? What did you learn about yourself in this process?
    To be honest, I'm not sure and at this moment I don't feel very good to say that! I will say that I strive to be there for my wife and kids every single day, but I can think of a number of times where I allowed my "self" to creep into the conversation and used my own needs as a criterion. I think of myself as a good listener, but I think you'd have to ask the other people in my life if I succeed at doing so. All I can say is that I try as hard as I can.

    Gassho,
    Dosho

  11. #11
    Senior Member Heisoku's Avatar
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    Re: 9/16- Zen Seeds: Pgs 43,45

    Well like most people I feel like I have struggled with money all my life!! I think where the problem lies in how much time we spend thinking about it. In my younger days other things were more important....friends, going out, travel, music, books, ideas and money was something that worked out in the end.. However the point of change was when I had more long term responsibilities to family and children. I was earning more than previous but I was thinking about payments and juggling non-stop. It was really hard to stop this almost frenetic state. I still have the same bills and life is less secure in terms of job stability but the reality of this practice has somehow placed REALITY back in top spot! In this respect I feel young again!!!
    I have lost everything more than once...job, friends, self-respect but this hurts only when money is the priority.
    I am not rich and I am not poor. I have a loving family with a home (not big, not small). I have all I want and I want what I have! A lucky man with much gratitude to the circumstances that lead to this!

    You are right Jodi about the importance of mindful speech and like Taylor I have found myself being carried away in the moment when communicating. I once wrote a postcard where I mentioned that 'I had received a call' from a friends girlfriend, when I should have written 'I received a card'. Two letters difference which cost me the friendship of both!!! Just lazy carelessness on my part.
    This was my lesson in how speech, context and understanding can get confused, exaggerated and twisted into something else. Just two letters!

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