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Thread: 9/21 - False Fear p.64

  1. #1

    9/21 - False Fear p.64

    If there are one or two things to particularly remember from the previous chapter, perhaps it is the 'empty rowboat' story (please re-read that a couple of times ... it is worth the time) and this quote ...

    'The wonder of living with anything is ... what? It's perfect in being as it is. ... Now you may say that's all very well with things on this level, which are of course fairly trivial. What about serious problems, such as grief and anguish? What I'm saying is that they're not different ...

    ... I think maturing practice is the ability to be with life and just be in it as it is.'

    This all ties in with 'hitting the reset button', the theme of my talk Friday on the Blog. So does the following ... a talk on 'false fears'. Thus we say ...

    " I, I, I, I, I, I, I, I, I, I, I ...... am afraid! "

    Gassho, Jundo

    PS- I am wondering if you would like to stay with this book, or make a switch. We are coming to the end of the original reading list. I could switch to one of the other books that were suggested on the 'favorite books' thread of the Forum. Myself, I like this book ... even the 10% where her Zen style is a little different from my own.

  2. #2
    False fear eh? A good thing for me to be working with, I'm dealing with a lot of fear right now.

    I vote to stay with the book until we finish it, I'll read the chapter soon so I can get to commenting on it.

    But first I need to put the fiddle away, do some Zazen, and read some Tolstoy.

    Trying to keep myself busy watering the wholesome seeds.

    Joko's book in the morning with a cup of coffee --- looking forward to it.

  3. #3
    After I came home from work on Friday, I was talking to my wife about certain concerns I have about what I perceive are unrealistic expectations placed upon me as a teacher by my principal and perhaps other teachers. We were both getting pretty heated about the situation (not to each other). This is something I've been dealing with for awhile. I then went for a walk with my two sons, and I was just there with them. We laughed, ran, looked at the ducks, spoke to a neighbor. I saw that my work situation is probably 90% brought on by my false fears about what others think about me. In fact I have absolutely no indication that anyone at work is displeased with my performance. In fact, all evidence points to the opposite.

    I see that not only is this situation an empty boat, I've created the empty boat. After our walk, I went home, told my wife about Jundo's talk about hitting the reset button, went to my bedroom zendo, and did just that.

    Regarding “bigger” fears of disease, death, and demise, I can only keep practicing and hope that I can handle these situations in similar fashion.

    I have no preference regarding continuing with this book or starting a new one. Either works for me.

  4. #4
    I have seen the 'empty rowboat' story turn up in a lot of zen books. The last time I saw it mentioned, it was used to point out (referring to death) that if there is no one in the boat, it doesn't matter what happens to the boat,


  5. #5
    Good short chapter. Lot's to work with, and it expands beyond the concept of fear.

    The author talks about how we can make a change in our lives, and that by thinking, "Well I'm not going to be like this", and just choosing to be a different way is not the answer. Instead Joko says we need to merely observe ourselves when feeling or acting in negative ways, then by noting our present condition we can actually come to appreciate it and see that particulair state for whatever it is. . . becoming an active player not being carried away blindly.

    An interesting approach for dealing with those "negative" impulses or emotions. I've tried this in my own life and think it sort of correlated with the Buddha's teaching of noting emotions and states ---- thanks to Joko for pointing her finger to the moon.

  6. #6
    I neglected to point out the difference between the method of noting/observation she discusses and western self-help. Just as in Zazen, this practice is done without thought of gain or results. Perhaps, such a focus is beneficial because it does not continue the fear/attachment/whatever, just allows it to fizzle --- I dunno why.

  7. #7

    Although this chapter is a short one, I think it's also something that needs saying over and over and over, and with a little luck we can all awaken for a moment when we call it to mind. Regarding the book, I think there's a lot more to it than meets the eye on the first reading and it's great discussing it with everyone here at Treeleaf, so I'm happy to carry on with it if everyone else is.


  8. #8
    I really liked the part where Joko says:
    Quote Originally Posted by Joko
    We might suppose that once we see the game, the game will be over - but no. That's like telling someone who is quite drunk not to be drunk.
    Because one of the silly things I do to myself is: "If I were a better meditator, I wouldn't be bothered by these neuroses anymore." Which is quite a self-defeating outlook, no?

    PS - I vote we keep on with this book. I like it because I think if more people want to join the discussion, they can do so without worrying about "catching up."

  9. #9
    First, we must become aware of our illusion, our drunkenness
    Yes, but what is the second step? Is it
    Just feel it, be it, appreciate it
    It's the second step I find the hardest - how to get away from this I,I,I and the conditioning that makes me want to improve it to gain approval from others,


  10. #10
    Yeah the second step, "feel it, appreciate it" it seems rather counter intuitive why should we embrace a negative trait such as fear, lust, jealousy, ect, ect?

    I dunno but I think that by learning to appreciate these states which we all experience we not only learn more about them, we learn about ourselves --- it is just another example of removing the vale from our eyes.

    In my experience the understanding of the root of these states goes beyond anything that words can describe, but this feeling of them is a true description, when I allow myself to feel any of these mindfully they lose their grip over me.

  11. #11
    Yeah the second step, "feel it, appreciate it" it seems rather counter intuitive why should we embrace a negative trait such as fear, lust, jealousy, ect, ect?
    It probably only seems counterintuitive because we usually tend to avoid the negative things in our lives instead of staying with them as Joko is advising here. Pema Chodron wrote somewhere about a girl being haunted by dragons, but when she turned and faced them they just disappeared. Our 'demons' are really only thought constructs, aren't they? - habitual patterns of reacting in certain ways that usually causes us unnecessary suffering and should similarly vanish (though it might not be instantaneous) when we focus the light of attention on them.

  12. #12
    Great point, John all of these things are just our mental constructs, goes right down to the fact that we are each the architech of our own suffering.

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