TODAY'S SIT-A-LONG WAS PRE-RECORDED LAST WEEK BECAUSE JUNDO IS IN NORTHERN JAPAN TODAY, IN THE REGION HIT BY THE EARTHQUAKE/TSUNAMI/NUCLEAR ACCIDENT AND HIT AGAIN BY LAST WEEK'S BIG TYPHOON
Daily life is filled with many storms. They blow around us great and small, and the circumstances of life can sometimes knock us right off our feet! They blow within us, as the mind reactively rages and storms with emotions and thoughts about those circumstances ... fears, "what if's", anger, clutching, resistance, all manner of mental lightning and thunder.
Today's passage of the Xin Xin MIng counsels us not to become mentally entangled in the outside storms. Be serene, allow, 'let go', do not judge ... experience the wholeness of life, both clear and sunny times and storming days. However, neither seek to remain trapped in the calm, quiet, still, boundless "eye" at the center of the storm which Zazen reveals. Rather, know BOTH AT ONCE, AS ONE ... the calm that is the storm, the stillness at the heart of each and every chaotic gust, a subtle serenity and 'allowing' even when terrible and deadly winds rage within and without. Find the wholeness of 'Eye' and 'Storm'. Neither seek to be totally unmoving, stiil, frozen or passive, nor let life and the mind blow one around wildly here and there. Rather, live stillness in action.
Live neither in the entanglements of outer things,
nor in inner feelings of emptiness.
Be serene in the oneness of things
and such erroneous views will disappear by themselves.
When you try to stop activity to achieve passivity
your very effort fills you with activity.
As long as you remain in one extreme or the other
you will never know Oneness.
Sometimes I remember when we used the live in Florida, and some literal hurricanes came our way. One would try to take action while remaining calm and collected ... neither panicked nor passive, gathering water and supplies, battening down the windows. A time for action, yet hand-in-hand with inner stillness and balance, pre-storm Samu work practice! On the other hand, should we try to artificially "stay calm", try forcibly to hold down the mind, the thoughts-emotions might start running even more like a freight train! Instead, I remember spending a couple of nights huddled in a dark closet with my family, the walls shaking and windows breaking. Moments of fear might come and go, and thoughts of "what if the roof comes off!" ... the mind's storm reacting to the storm outside. However, one could also know calm and "allowing" amid the terrible noise and commotion, not entangled by the circumstance, calm even as the storm did its worst. I would sit Zazen there, and at some point just let the storm do what it would ...
... as if throwing out one's arms, merging into the sound, letting the wind carry one where it will.
Today's Sit-A-Long video follows at this link. Remember: recording ends soon after the beginning bells; a sitting time of 15 to 35 minutes is recommended