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Thread: Fantasizing: Is it really worth it?

  1. #1
    Senior Member Ekai's Avatar
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    Fantasizing: Is it really worth it?

    Continuous fantasizing about the future whether they are joyful or scary dreams, takes us away from being here and now. Daydreaming is enticing but creates disharmony with the natural flow of your life. How many times have you created a fantasy in your mind set on auto-repeat that replayed over and over again? Did that fantasy ever happen exactly as you obsessed about it? Most likely not. In the meantime during the midst of a daydream, life kept going on while the mind was visiting Australia or some beautiful tropical island. Many times our mental energies are wasted on what could be or what you want them to be instead of experiencing life just as it right now. Living in harmony is being grounded and in tune with the present moment whether it's good or bad. The tendency to spin off is very alluring when things are undesirable but time is better spent being with the "bad" instead dulling the experience by letting the mind drift away. I know I am guilty of my mind spinning off to escape difficult and painful situations. Learning to let go of fantasies is an on-going process but definitely worth the effort.

    Who knows what will happen tomorrow, or in two weeks or even a year from now. Releasing and dissolving the mental stories quiets the mind and opens the heart to allow wisdom and compassion to shine through. If the mind exists in a world that may never come to fruition, awareness is lost and we may not see a friend suffering who is in need of help or we simply miss the beautiful sunset. If a fantasy comes up in the mind, gently and kindly let it go to create an open, spacious awareness and be who you truly are in this moment right now. For me, that's life worth living than being caught up in fantasies that may or may not ever happen. This is something I work on and let go of every single day.

    Just my 2 cents and senseless ambling.

    Gassho,
    Ekai

  2. #2

    Re: Fantasizing: Is it really worth it?

    Yes, I agree!

    I don't have so many expectations regarding the future anymore. It may sound pessimistic, but it isn't. On the contrary, it helps me enjoy the present so much more. You can still make plans and orient yourself towards the future, but accept that the flow of life can't be controlled and go with that flow without resisting it, jamming along with the jazz as Jundo would say! :lol:

    I do set some goals, but when they aren't achieved, it's no longer the end of the world. The earth keeps turning. How important was that goal really? I feel this goes hand in hand with not judging too much. When plans change, new possibilities open up if only we can see them. Even a crisis may in hindsight be seen as having played a crucial role in our development.

    When we dwell in the past, we don't live life to the fullest. And when we only focus on the imagined light at the end of the tunnel, we don't see the tunnel, that it's not a tunnel at all, but open, spacious, rich, vibrant life. This moment is where and when it all happens!

    Gassho,
    Pontus

  3. #3

    Re: Fantasizing: Is it really worth it?

    You mean I'm not going to win the Masters tournament or score the winning goal in the Stanley cup? Oh well I'll just have to accept reality. I was just thinking this morning eating breakfast how I have a habit of drifting off. And the food tasted so good. What a shame. But I don't beat myself up about it - just continue to practice.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Ekai's Avatar
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    Re: Fantasizing: Is it really worth it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Omoi Otoshi
    I do set some goals, but when they aren't achieved, it's no longer the end of the world. The earth keeps turning. How important was that goal really? I feel this goes hand in hand with not judging too much. When plans change, new possibilities open up if only we can see them. Even a crisis may in hindsight be seen as having played a crucial role in our development.

    Gassho,
    Pontus
    Sometimes new possibilities or unexpected outcomes ends up serving us better by taking us down a higher path that leads to deeper insight and stronger empowerment within ourselves. We just need to open and accepting with life's ebbs and flows to see the lessons presented to us in any given moment.

    Gassho,
    Ekai

  5. #5
    Senior Member Koshin's Avatar
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    Re: Fantasizing: Is it really worth it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ekai
    Who knows what will happen tomorrow, or in two weeks or even a year from now.
    Or what will happen in the next minute??? :wink: Oh yes, I am an expert on Fantasizing on the future...even worse, I now come to realize that I am an expert on fantasizing in the past, you know, "that thing never happened, what happened was this other thing instead"... everything to accommodate a series of events of the past (or future) to what my little ego wants or wanted ....Until recently, I was not aware how I was a person so obsessed with controlling everything going on around me (I am sure everyone else around me was aware of this :wink: ), and I even felt proud when everything seemed to go according to my plans .... Now, little by little, I realize the tiny, microscopic part that plays my ego and my plans and fantasies in the course and flow of the universe .... the funny thing is I do not feel bad, but it gives me enormous peace of mind. Now I begin to see that my ideas about the universe are just that, ideas, completely accidental, and therefore should not represent something so "hard and real" to cling on...I still need much practice to be done to live in the moment, with no fantasies of the future or the past, to let go....however, everyday I feel a little less anxiety about it, for somehow I intuitively know it's something I can not accelerate. Just Practice.

    Gassho

  6. #6

    Re: Fantasizing: Is it really worth it?

    Thank you for sharing, Ekai! Yes I am very guilty of this sort of senseless fantasizing at times. Although through practice I am better able to catch myself doing it. Even then, sometimes I"ll say "oh well... I like this fantasy...think I"ll keep it going." :P Very hard habit to break.

    Zazen is a great place to practice (nothing!).

    _/_

  7. #7

    Re: Fantasizing: Is it really worth it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ekai
    Continuous fantasizing about the future whether they are joyful or scary dreams, takes us away from being here and now. Daydreaming is enticing but creates disharmony with the natural flow of your life. How many times have you created a fantasy in your mind set on auto-repeat that replayed over and over again? Did that fantasy ever happen exactly as you obsessed about it? Most likely not. In the meantime during the midst of a daydream, life kept going on while the mind was visiting Australia or some beautiful tropical island. Many times our mental energies are wasted on what could be or what you want them to be instead of experiencing life just as it right now. Living in harmony is being grounded and in tune with the present moment whether it's good or bad. The tendency to spin off is very alluring when things are undesirable but time is better spent being with the "bad" instead dulling the experience by letting the mind drift away. I know I am guilty of my mind spinning off to escape difficult and painful situations. Learning to let go of fantasies is an on-going process but definitely worth the effort.
    Hi Ekai,

    I personally do not think that fantasizing or daydreaming is itself a bad thing at all (How else would one ever plan then to visit Australia if not dreaming about it first?). We humans are dreamers, and our best ideas start as dreams! However, one should fantasize or dream without becoming there prisoner, or in excess, or forgeting to allow and live in how things are right now. It is okay, for example, to be sick and to daydream about someday becoming healthy ... as long as one also totally embraces even sickness right now. All at once.

    I posted the below elsewhere today, but it fits here too.


    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo

    I often say that it is a great misunderstanding to assert that Buddhism or Zen are about learning to "live in this moment." What other moment can you or have you ever lived in? :shock: Also, it is very human and natural to remember the past (sometimes fondly, sometimes not), or either to long for or worry about something in the future. I do not think it very realistic to try to forget the past or the future, and merely live in the "now now now".

    Rather, I counsel folks that this Practice is about being "at one with this moment's way, however this moment is" ... which is not quite the same. If healthy in this moment ... be healthy. If sick and miserable in this moment ... be sick and miserable. In fact, if afraid for the future in this moment ... just be afraid. If sad about one's condition, just be sad. If regretting some bad conduct of the past ... just regret it and wish it would be some other way. If dreaming now about the future ... just dream away!

    Of course, we seek to not fall into excesses of fear or sadness or regret or dreams ... and all things in moderation, the Middle Way. But to feel such things in life is perfectly natural, and the very drama of life itself (The old Suttas are filled with stories of even the Buddha getting old and kvetching about his aching back, bad feet and indigestion. [And anyone who has ever picked up a magical Mahayana Sutra knows what great dreamers and fantasists the old teachers were])!

    And at the same time ... learn to drop all thought of past, present or future ... sickness and health, life and death ... things to fear and any little "self" to fear them ... how things "should be" or "we wish would be" other than they are. What results is a Joy sweeping in and out both happiness and sadness, a Peace of One Piece that holds all of life's sharp and broken pieces.

    All of the above simultaneously, At Once, As One. (one can experience life all these ways at once in Zen Wisdom)

    That is a little different than just trying to "live for the day forgetting about tomorrow".
    Gassho, J

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    Treeleaf Unsui Shokai's Avatar
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    Re: Fantasizing: Is it really worth it?

    Thank you all for this teaching. I too, being human, tend to build huge castles that never get built. I think it is healthy in its own way to purge the mind in this way. However, if at some time you begin to live in those castles without a thought for those beings in reality, you've got a problem. Don't fear those excursions into fantasy, it's all good; just don't live there.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Sydney's Avatar
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    Re: Fantasizing: Is it really worth it?

    I guess I have a multifaceted relationship with my daydreams. When practising zazen and discovering that a fantasy is dominant in my view, I try to gently redirect my attention to what's happening in my body. And surprise surprise, my body will turn out to have been engaged in the fantasy in its own way (at least that's how I read it). Various muscles will have tensed up in a way that feels connected to the emotional side of the fantasy, posture may have shifted, etc. I may adjust my posture, but I try not to get into a "pushing & pulling" engagement with the fantasy, which always runs its course eventually anyway.

    If I find myself engaged in fantasy while I'm at work, I may take it as a sign that I need a change of pace. Take a break, go get some water, check in with the boss, whatever. Then I tend to be a bit more fresh when I sit back down to work.

    Depending on whether I'm chatting with my significant other, riding my bicycle, or even just enjoying some daydream time, my responses will tend to vary. Sometimes the fantasies wind up in my writing.

    Fantasy may not always be appropriate, but it may be a gift to oneself at times.

  10. #10

    Re: Fantasizing: Is it really worth it?

    Often when I am riding my bike to work I get caught up in daydreams, its easy to do especially when their is little to no traffic and nothing for my mind to cling to. I'll get swept up in it and then suddenly come back to awareness half a mile down the road and wonder how in the world I got there when my mind seemed to be somewhere else completely. Anyway, the concept of being in this present moment has been something I have been pondering lately and I thank Jundo for his teaching on this thread and the others,

    Gassho,

    Jeff

  11. #11
    Senior Member Ekai's Avatar
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    Re: Fantasizing: Is it really worth it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    Quote Originally Posted by Ekai
    Continuous fantasizing about the future whether they are joyful or scary dreams, takes us away from being here and now. Daydreaming is enticing but creates disharmony with the natural flow of your life. How many times have you created a fantasy in your mind set on auto-repeat that replayed over and over again? Did that fantasy ever happen exactly as you obsessed about it? Most likely not. In the meantime during the midst of a daydream, life kept going on while the mind was visiting Australia or some beautiful tropical island. Many times our mental energies are wasted on what could be or what you want them to be instead of experiencing life just as it right now. Living in harmony is being grounded and in tune with the present moment whether it's good or bad. The tendency to spin off is very alluring when things are undesirable but time is better spent being with the "bad" instead dulling the experience by letting the mind drift away. I know I am guilty of my mind spinning off to escape difficult and painful situations. Learning to let go of fantasies is an on-going process but definitely worth the effort.
    Hi Ekai,

    I personally do not think that fantasizing or daydreaming is itself a bad thing at all (How else would one ever plan then to visit Australia if not dreaming about it first?). We humans are dreamers, and our best ideas start as dreams! However, one should fantasize or dream without becoming there prisoner, or in excess, or forgeting to allow and live in how things are right now. It is okay, for example, to be sick and to daydream about someday becoming healthy ... as long as one also totally embraces even sickness right now. All at once.

    I posted the below elsewhere today, but it fits here too.


    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo

    I often say that it is a great misunderstanding to assert that Buddhism or Zen are about learning to "live in this moment." What other moment can you or have you ever lived in? :shock: Also, it is very human and natural to remember the past (sometimes fondly, sometimes not), or either to long for or worry about something in the future. I do not think it very realistic to try to forget the past or the future, and merely live in the "now now now".

    Rather, I counsel folks that this Practice is about being "at one with this moment's way, however this moment is" ... which is not quite the same. If healthy in this moment ... be healthy. If sick and miserable in this moment ... be sick and miserable. In fact, if afraid for the future in this moment ... just be afraid. If sad about one's condition, just be sad. If regretting some bad conduct of the past ... just regret it and wish it would be some other way. If dreaming now about the future ... just dream away!

    Of course, we seek to not fall into excesses of fear or sadness or regret or dreams ... and all things in moderation, the Middle Way. But to feel such things in life is perfectly natural, and the very drama of life itself (The old Suttas are filled with stories of even the Buddha getting old and kvetching about his aching back, bad feet and indigestion. [And anyone who has ever picked up a magical Mahayana Sutra knows what great dreamers and fantasists the old teachers were])!

    And at the same time (one can experience life all these ways at once in Zen Wisdom) ... learn to drop all thought of past, present or future ... sickness and health, life and death ... things to fear and any little "self" to fear them ... how things "should be" or "we wish would be" other than they are. What results is a Joy sweeping in and out both happiness and sadness, a Peace of One Piece that holds all of life's sharp and broken pieces.

    All of the above simultaneously, At Once, As One.

    That is a little different than just trying to "live for the day forgetting about tomorrow".
    Gassho, J
    Thanks Jundo, your teaching is very helpful. Having a balance between living with things just as they are and our dreams for the future is key.

    Gassho,
    Ekai

  12. #12

    Re: Fantasizing: Is it really worth it?

    Hi Ekai,

    I like to daydream, I like to imagine and fantasize. I am still a kid at heart who likes to play make-believe sometimes. I like to dream about how life and this world could be, and I believe that "what if" is the start of possibilities. I not only see nothing wrong with it, I would hate to give that up! Taigu and Dogen, those poets, are also dreamers in their way too.

    So long as one is not a prisoner of one's dreams and fantasies, does not live only for or in the dream, and doesn't simply run there as an escape or hideout from life, I see little wrong with it.

    In fact, Buddhism teaches that all this life is something of a dream ... so what is the harm of sometimes adding another layer from time to time? In fact, Dogen called this life "a dream within a dream" ... a dream so dreamy that we best dream it well. Taigu wrote this recently ...

    In Japan, the kanji dream, yume, 夢, is often used and cherished by Zen teachers. Of course, it refers to the dreamy quality of our existence, to the fleeting and beautifully changing thing we call life, but it also celebrates the fact that you will meet what you have dreamt. The dream gives birth to what comes to you. You, in the dream within the dream, are actively producing what is around you. To wake up is not necessarily to wake up from the dream, far from it, to wake up is to clearly see that dream and reality are not two. Dogen writes deeply about this. And you may start now to experience it deeply.

    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...9474-the-dream
    Gassho, J
    Last edited by Jundo; 07-01-2012 at 01:00 AM.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Ekai's Avatar
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    Re: Fantasizing: Is it really worth it?

    I do like to daydream, just not in excess.

    Here are a couple of my personal daydream favorites:
    When Hunter starts taking martial arts with me. Hopefully my husband will join us but only if he wants to.
    Writing a fantastic martial arts fiction novel. Of course, a woman martial artist would be the main character. Silly me!
    Teaching a group of women self-defense for those who can't afford martial arts classes. Maybe those who have gone through trauma in need of gaining self-confidence while forming bonds with other women to encourage a greater sense of oneness with others and to create deeper healing.

    Gassho,
    Ekai

  14. #14

    Fantasizing: Is it really worth it?

    Yes, as humans we daydream, imagine and fantasize, but nothing should be done in excess! Those are not bad activities in themselves. Like thoughts, I don't think we should try to suppress them. Clinging to them is what causes problems, dukkha. Daydreaming may even be a sign that we are doing something right, that we are finally giving our mind some space, letting go of trying to control it. I used to suppress thoughts in Zazen, trying to control my mind. Now I let go more, which means I more often catch myself daydreaming. But I prefer that to the wrestling match against the mind that I used to practice.

    Creating a fantasy world, trying to escape from the real world, is delusion in my view. Dwelling too much in the past, trying to relive memories of the past, is also creating a fantasy world. Better to always face reality head on instead of trying to escape it (if we can), accepting what is and adapting to the circumstances we find ourselves in. Even the real world may be a fantasy, a dream as Jundo says, but it's the only reality we get. Nothing wrong with memories, as long as they are seen as just memories. Neither is there anything wrong with making plans for the future, as long as we are aware that the future is not real, not here yet, and don't expect it too be exactly as we imagined it. Still, this moment is all there is. We can't escape from it, but we can learn to be aware of it and appreciate it.

    Gassho,
    Pontus

  15. #15

    Re: Fantasizing: Is it really worth it?

    There's a time for dreaming and a time for doing. When doing just do it. I think I learned that after my second car accident :lol:

  16. #16

    Re: Fantasizing: Is it really worth it?

    I see dreaming and fantasy as essential to creativity and living a full and imaginative life.

    Children seem to have a natural balance concerning this - passing freely from joyfull play to the more mundane, essential and necessary aspects of being in the world.

    Very sad that our capacity for dreaming often gets crushed in adult life - I like to think that zazen frees up the mind to be more playful in each present moment of everyday existance

    Willow

  17. #17
    Senior Member Heisoku's Avatar
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    Re: Fantasizing: Is it really worth it?

    Very sad that our capacity for dreaming often gets crushed in adult life - I like to think that zazen frees up the mind to be more playful in each present moment of everyday existance
    I agree Willow that zazen helps free up the mind from whatever constraints you may find it comes up against, but it also helps free the mind into this big thing / no thing that we hear so much of here at Treeleaf! This big dream or as Dogen called it a dream within a dream.

    Tibetan lojong or Mind Training in seven points includes as part of its practice in one focus: 'In daily life, be a child of illusion'.
    See http://www.unfetteredmind.org/mindtraining/6.php.
    However all this as Jundo said depends on how attached we become to dreaming, freedom, being a child of illusion!

    One thing that I remember from my travelling days is walking home to Bondi Junction one evening and realising that I was actually living what I had always dreamed of doing and it was ....well just a contentment...I still had to pay rent, wake up early to go to work, eat! The basics don't change.

  18. #18

    Re: Fantasizing: Is it really worth it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rich
    There's a time for dreaming and a time for doing. When doing just do it. I think I learned that after my second car accident :lol:
    Hardcore wisdom! :lol:
    Thanks.

    /Pontus

  19. #19

    Re: Fantasizing: Is it really worth it?

    Quote Originally Posted by willow
    I see dreaming and fantasy as essential to creativity and living a full and imaginative life.

    Children seem to have a natural balance concerning this - passing freely from joyfull play to the more mundane, essential and necessary aspects of being in the world.

    Very sad that our capacity for dreaming often gets crushed in adult life - I like to think that zazen frees up the mind to be more playful in each present moment of everyday existance

    Willow

    Thanks Willow,
    Pontus

  20. #20
    Treeleaf Unsui/Engineer Kyonin's Avatar
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    Re: Fantasizing: Is it really worth it?

    Fantasy and daydreaming are basic needs for humans. We need them in order to improve our lives and to invent, to create new ways to solve problems and have better lives.

    Like all the wise folks here say, I think there's nothing wrong with fantasizing as long as you don't get lost in it and don't get confused on what's reality and what isn't.

    I used to be a huge daydreamer. Sometimes when walking down the street, my mind would play this fantasy about the future or about stuff like having super powers. Gladly I was never lost on them, but I've met some people in the past that they lost everything for a fantasy.

    Now I daydream sometimes and I do plan, but like it's already said, it's not the end of the world if the plan doesn't come to fruition.

    Thanks for this thread, Ekai.

  21. #21
    Senior Member Ekai's Avatar
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    Re: Fantasizing: Is it really worth it?

    Imagination and creativity are beautiful things to experience and enjoy. My career as a graphic designer depends on my ability to be creative and innovative at a moments notice. Like Pontus stated earlier, that it's the clinging to the dreams or desired results that causes suffering. Creating a healthy, balanced relationship between our dreams and reality keeps the mind open and spacious to accept things as they are and be flexible for change.

    Creating goals and visualizing them as already achieved is very helpful in manifesting daydreams of the future into reality. This is similar to what athletes do in order to perform at their maximum level in competition. I have done this a few times for my martial arts training. However, my Judo throw still are not as good as what I visualize them to be. ops:

    Thanks for all your posts and teachings.
    Ekai

  22. #22

    Re: Fantasizing: Is it really worth it?

    it is said that life itself is a pure fantasy.

  23. #23

    Re: Fantasizing: Is it really worth it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ekai
    Creating a healthy, balanced relationship between our dreams and reality keeps the mind open and spacious to accept things as they are and be flexible for change.


    Ekai
    Very well said. Thx.

    Becoming comfortable with this open, spacious perception takes practice. 10000 things can drag one into stress and anxiety.


    Quote Originally Posted by Jiki
    it is said that life itself is a pure fantasy.
    Is that why they say it is a dream within a dream? Whatever it is, it doesn't seem that dreamy when I'm doing all this stuff everyday.

  24. #24
    Treeleaf Unsui Daido's Avatar
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    Re: Fantasizing: Is it really worth it?

    Jundo wrote,

    "Rather, I counsel folks that this Practice is about being "at one with this moment's way, however this moment is" ... which is not quite the same. If healthy in this moment ... be healthy. If sick and miserable in this moment ... be sick and miserable. In fact, if afraid for the future in this moment ... just be afraid. If sad about one's condition, just be sad. If regretting some bad conduct of the past ... just regret it and wish it would be some other way. If dreaming now about the future ... just dream away!"

    Shunryu Suzuki said, "When you do something, you should do it with your whole body and mind; you should be concentrated on what you do. You should do it completely, like a good bonfire. You should not be a smoky fire. You should burn yourself completely."

    Jundo is this the same understanding?

    Daido

  25. #25

    Re: Fantasizing: Is it really worth it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Daido

    Shunryu Suzuki said, "When you do something, you should do it with your whole body and mind; you should be concentrated on what you do. You should do it completely, like a good bonfire. You should not be a smoky fire. You should burn yourself completely."

    Jundo is this the same understanding?

    Daido
    Hi Daido,

    Here is my feeling about when Zen Masters say such things, or college football coaches say things like "give it your all, or die trying"! They mean that there are times to do such, and times not to do such.

    I very much doubt (in fact, I pretty much know for a fact based on writings about him) that Suzuki (same for Dogen in fact, who often wrote like statements) was so "intense" and whole hearted about every single action of every single instant of every day.

    When sitting Zazen, eating Oryoki, working in the garden ... or perhaps washing the dishes, changing the baby diapers, making love ... do it with all one's all.

    At other times, kick back ... watch TV or the grass grow, eat popcorn, daydream, pick lint out of your navel. Relax.

    I know enough about Suzuki from his biographers to know that he was a master of all that.

    Gassho, J

  26. #26

    Re: Fantasizing: Is it really worth it?

    Let me mention too that, in our way of doing by letting go, we can often best "burn up the self completely" by just allowing. That is "that self burned from the start" too.

    But each of these ways of seeing or being are all just "tools (or non-tools) on the toolbelt" of Zen Practice. I sometimes quote this (quoting myself quoting myself ... )

    I sometimes describe the many perspectives and states of mind that we can master through Zen Practice as "tools (or non-tools) on the toolbelt". We may take them and be them at the appropriate moments, then replace them on the belt.

    So, sometimes we can be fully in the moment, no thought of past or future, no thought of other places to be or where we would better be. Such moments might include watching a sunrise, playing with our children, enjoying and experiencing just this one place and time of life. It may be pouring oneself into Zazen, Oryoki, Samu, Calligraphy, Archery, the Tea Ceremony.

    Other times, we might need to think of the project we have to do tomorrow, the place we have to go next, the many things we have to do on the "to do" list.

    Or, other times, we might think of something that happened this morning or many years ago, good or bad. It might be the sunrise we saw yesterday, or the fight with the wife 5 minutes ago, or what the boss said last year.

    Without the future or past, we could not live as human beings. I am reminded of the story of the man with the brain injury who had no past, no future ... and thus could not function in the simplest tasks.

    I believe, though, that even when we are in those "present moments" when we are thinking of the "must do's" and "what if's" of the future ... hold them lightly, be willing to let be what will be (even as you work you plans to turn the future your way). Even when in those "present moments" when we are thinking of the past ... hold memories lightly, be willing to let what was, just be what was (even as we learn from the past).

    So, yes, when driving the car ... probably a good idea not to be so caught up in the fight with the wife that morning that you fail to notice the semi-truck in front of you! :shock:

    I think that there are times to be mindful in our practice in that way, and great lessons are to be learned there ... drinking a cup of tea as the only and perfect act in the whole universe of that moment, the same for "Oryoki" meals during a Sesshin, "just being" in the moment, when washing the floor "just washing the floor".

    But the one point I really really really wish to emphasize to folks is not to be too idealistic about what "mindfulness" is, or set it up as some unrealistic goal. I described it recently when I said this ...

    [Folks encounter lots of Zen teachings like the one mentioned by Master Seung Sahn, "when you eat, just eat. When you sleep just sleep..."] But I think that Master Seung Sahn's phrasing, like many Zen books and expressions, can sound rather idealistic if it implies that we must be "mindful" or in "Zen Mind" 24/7. My view is more balanced I think, namely, "when mindful of one thing, just be mindful of one thing ... when distracted, overwrought and multi-tasking, just be distracted, overwrought and multi-task". There is a time for everything, and we cannot be "mindful" each minute. All of it is life.

    However, one of the great fruits of our Zen Practice is that, even when we are distracted, overwrought and multi-tasking, feeling completely miserable and off balance ... and even when "Zen Mind" feels very far away ... we can still know it is 'there' even if we do not feel it at that moment, the blue sky always behind the clouds. So I say, when feeling completely "miserable and off balance", just be "miserable and off balance" in that moment ... it too is a temporary state of mind.


    So, in other words, have a balanced and realistic view of life ... even a balanced view of sometimes or frequently being unbalanced, overworked, distracted and such.

    ...

    It seems to me that many people in Zen Practice have come to confuse "being present/mindful in the moment" (for example, "when drinking tea, just drink tea" ... a sometimes appropriate and lovely way to experience life) ... with "being at one with the moment" (allowing and merging with conditions of life "just as they are"). The two are not quite the same, and are often confused, and the latter is much more at the heart of this Shikantaza Path ...

    Gassho, Jundo
    Last edited by Jundo; 01-28-2014 at 03:09 AM.

  27. #27

    Re: Fantasizing: Is it really worth it?

    So is the one pure and clear thing my fantasy or my true self? don't know

  28. #28
    Treeleaf Unsui Daido's Avatar
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    Re: Fantasizing: Is it really worth it?

    Quote Originally Posted by chugai
    There's never been anything I fantasied about that once I got it or a reasonable facsimile thereof did it make me one iota happier, in fact, as I remember, it was always disappointing. Maybe fantasies about unobtainable scenarios play out different but obtainable ones, not so much. Or is it just me?
    This is not the case for me. I fantasized about having a family when I was younger and although not exactly what I thought it was going to be it was one of the best things I have ever done including the disappointing moments. At times beyond any happy I had conceived. Without this experience I wouldn't know I could experience this level of love to share. I hope that all can find something similar.

    Daido

  29. #29

    Re: Fantasizing: Is it really worth it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Daido
    Quote Originally Posted by chugai
    There's never been anything I fantasied about that once I got it or a reasonable facsimile thereof did it make me one iota happier, in fact, as I remember, it was always disappointing. Maybe fantasies about unobtainable scenarios play out different but obtainable ones, not so much. Or is it just me?
    This is not the case for me. I fantasized about having a family when I was younger and although not exactly what I thought it was going to be it was one of the best things I have ever done including the disappointing moments. At times beyond any happy I had conceived. Without this experience I wouldn't know I could experience this level of love to share. I hope that all can find something similar.

    Daido
    Hi Daido, When I was in the army as a single man stationed in South Korea I used to daydream while on guard duty about settling down once I got out, having a family and just enjoying it, nothing too specific, just the general idea, I didn't even have the slightest clue of who I would be settling down with. When I finally did get discharged, I eventually fulfilled that dream and my feelings are similar to yours, even with the ups and downs and what have you, I don't regret sitting in that guard shack daydreaming about a simpler life, even as I tended to my duties as an entrance guard.

  30. #30
    Senior Member Ekai's Avatar
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    Re: Fantasizing: Is it really worth it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Daido
    Quote Originally Posted by chugai
    There's never been anything I fantasied about that once I got it or a reasonable facsimile thereof did it make me one iota happier, in fact, as I remember, it was always disappointing. Maybe fantasies about unobtainable scenarios play out different but obtainable ones, not so much. Or is it just me?
    This is not the case for me. I fantasized about having a family when I was younger and although not exactly what I thought it was going to be it was one of the best things I have ever done including the disappointing moments. At times beyond any happy I had conceived. Without this experience I wouldn't know I could experience this level of love to share. I hope that all can find something similar.

    Daido
    Some fantasies realized left me disappointed. Maybe it was because of the hype created in my mind and expected too much from the experience.

    Other fantasies realized may not have turned exactly as I imagined it but instead resulted in a more fulfilling and beautiful experience. For me, my best experiences come from being a mother and a wife including all of the ups and downs. My husband and child teach me every day, they irritate me everyday, they love my everyday, they bring me joy and pain everyday and I wouldn't trade any those days for anything else in the world.

    Gassho,
    Ekai

  31. #31
    Senior Member Amelia's Avatar
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    Re: Fantasizing: Is it really worth it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ekai
    Daydreaming is enticing but creates disharmony with the natural flow of your life.
    I know this well, and yet...

    Waking up from a good dream and wanting it to continue, knowing that it never will... kind of like all the good things in life, too. I hope I am learning to drop things better...

    I write as a hobby, and sometimes in the midst of a great story, I stop, knowing it is not real and will never be real, and I feel agitated at this fact-- at my plain life.

    It's okay, though.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ekai
    How many times have you created a fantasy in your mind set on auto-repeat that replayed over and over again?
    Ah! So many times. My teen years were dedicated to it! So much suffering, too, as a result! (Anyone ever read I Never Promised You a Rose Garden, by Joanne Greenburg?)

    Quote Originally Posted by Ekai
    Did that fantasy ever happen exactly as you obsessed about it?
    Here's the odd thing-- it did (causing me to believe in some semblance of the Law of Attraction). But then, failing to rejoice in the loveliness of a dream come true, I built other dreams. Never satisfied... tsk tsk...

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    However, one should fantasize or dream without becoming there prisoner, or in excess, or forgeting to allow and live in how things are right now.
    Since Harry Potter has been quoted lately, here's another one:

    "It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live." --Dumbledore :mrgreen:

    Quote Originally Posted by Rich
    Is that why they say it is a dream within a dream?
    Be careful! Extractors might get into your subconscious and steal your secrets!

    Quote Originally Posted by Sydney
    Fantasy may not always be appropriate, but it may be a gift to oneself at times.
    Quote Originally Posted by Heisoku
    One thing that I remember from my travelling days is walking home to Bondi Junction one evening and realising that I was actually living what I had always dreamed of doing and it was ....well just a contentment...I still had to pay rent, wake up early to go to work, eat! The basics don't change.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    When sitting Zazen, eating Oryoki, working in the garden ... or perhaps washing the dishes, changing the baby diapers, making love ... do it with all one's all.

    At other times, kick back ... watch TV or the grass grow, eat popcorn, daydream, pick lint out of your navel. Relax.
    Thank you all for these bits of wisdom. _/_ And thanks to Jundo especially for going into some details in this thread that I needed to know.

    Great thread!

  32. #32
    Senior Member Ekai's Avatar
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    Re: Fantasizing: Is it really worth it?

    Quote Originally Posted by chugai
    I can see the family fantasy working out as a happy reality --- I myself never dreamed of a family, I thought I would remain unmarried and childless, made it until 42, then my fantasy of being a life long bachelor caved in!

    I dreamed of drugs, sex and rock and roll --- got it all -- nearly killed me -- was hard damn work, all of it, the sex parties, the drug taking and the r'n'r scene was a grind -- walked away by the time I was thirty --
    Walked away from the drugs and r'n'r yet dabbled in the sex a while longer --- Was a swinger and a exotic dancer so I was a man whore more or less, probably more but that's too much sex on demand and gets boring fast and you know what happens when a man gets bored with sex! I then dreamed of being a peaceful carpenter with a nice girlfriend at my side --- it too was a hellish rat race and hard work, nothing peaceful about it ... both being a handyman/carpenter and finding a "nice" girlfriend.
    Funny, I used to be an exotic dancer too, for eight years as a single mother to pay my way through college. That was a long time ago, about 12 years ago. I quit right at the beginning of my Buddhist path but also ended my career for many other good reasons.

    Ekai

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