Thursday, November 19, 2009

Under the bodhi tree

Buddha sat under a tree when he awoke. The story says he made a decision that day. He decided not to allow anything to detour his quest for truth. He said he wouldn't move for anything. The story says he endured many temptations. He decided to face his suffering. After all, how could he find a way to alleviate it, if he wasn't able to see it. No matter how big and frieghtning it became. And it was huge! It was real, and it wasn't giving up so easily.

When we sit, it's no different. You see, that story isn't just there as some fairy tale. For us to see and say, "Oh, how nice for him." It's there to tell us, this is what we need to do. Every time we sit on that cushion, we have the opurtunity to be the Buddha under the bodhi tree. And we won't have any real awakening until we do, face our suffering. If awakening, is what we are after. This is the proposition. Is this what we want? Do we want to take responsibility? Of course it can seem easier to just take up some sort of dogma. To shift the responsibilty to someone else, or some institution. But that comes with a big price. I am not saying we don't need forgivness. We absolutely need it. How else can we face our suffering? But we need to know what we are forgiving. The spiritual path is not embarked on by fearsome beings. Are you brave?

So if at all possible we can be greatful when our sittng becomes difficult. Because we are not hiding anymore. We are awake!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

On the edge of sanity

There is a rapturous quality that arises after sitting for a while. It can be quite intoxicating when the resistance of the refined mind is no longer present. The sound of a bird, the smell of an in scent. The stillness of the body, the space. The tick tock of the clock. The sense of being an emotion, rather than having one. The temperature of the room.

I have become interested in perspective. How we can define what is normal, from our point of view, from how we are used to feeling. And then become comfortable. How we can be used to suffering. See it as normal. Of course until it reaches a climax. I wonder, what is worst? To have suffered deeply, for a period. Or to suffer moderately for a life time. Of course no one wants to suffer deeply. But to go a life time without knowing your true, liberated mind. When it's always at your right hand. Because it's normal! What if, what we considered to be normal is the rawness of our mind? What if we took a look at our mind and stripped away all the additives, all the barriers, all the tension and resistance. And defined that as sanity. Of course all our conditioning is different. From one culture to another, all have their own forms of insanity. All of them have their own ideas of what is normal. But instead of asking what is normal, ask what is raw, what is unborn?

From the normal perspective the raw mind is weak, vulnerable. Which is some what true, but it is the ego that becomes weak. That is, the barriers, and the resistance. What are we so afraid of anyway? Is there a monster out there, we don't want to be? Can we allow for space, for freedom of mind? Though you may not feel afraid, or doubtful. That's because the resistance is in disguise, it is seductive to the intellect. The intellect has fun, and becomes addicted. Becomes obsessive. I think there is a call for complete honesty here. Clean that mirror, and watch it without repression, without self oppression. You might find you see something completely different. Something so strong, and present. You'll find yourself, your sanity. This requires us to show up at everything we do. Our practice is to be extended into all things we do. Formal, and informal. Our real practice isn't meditation. It's doing. But its not always easy to clean that mirror. Its because we can't see the dirt. Well actually we see the dirt, its just been so long since we've seen the mirror. We've come to think of the dirt as the mirror. Thankfully we have teachers out there.

The raw mind is sane. Though from the normal perspective, it may be viewed as insane. But I don't' care about that anymore. I am tired of my suffering.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Thorns in my flesh.

Who am I? Am I my ideas, and my thoughts? My ideas that tell me what I am, and what I am not? You may say to me. "Well, without my ideas, how would I function in life?" If we take a look at the world in a whole, we'll find it doesn't really function. Chaos, would be the word that more accurately describes it. So during zazen, we get a chance to revisit how functional our own mind is. What is it these ideas, concepts, and stories really do to our own sense of being? Learn how to remove them, and see what happens.

Ideas are like thorns in my flesh. When an object brushes against the thorns, they impede our ability to get a true sense of the object. Instead other things become dominant. The wound, the pain, the resistance to the pain. So we automatically blame the object. We can't see the thorn as the cause. Basically the ideas say, "I am not what I am experiencing". Which make us feel small, and limited. But all experiences take place in the mind. Are we not the mind? How much does the mind wiegh? Well, lets try removing some thorns, some ideas, and see what happens.

When entering the business of removing thorns, we don't want to be unequipped. What we need is a band aid, an anecdote. We need a simple affirmation. An affirmation that says we are EVERYTHING that we encounter. Yes, everything. If this seems to be to much for you, look at it this way. When we have an experience, the basic thing that is happening is just, neurons firing.

Is it possible to remove thorns? I say yes! So let's return to functioning. Let's rest, without chaos.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

No where to be found.

Raw mind is no where to be found. Meaning that if one were to look for it, they would pass it up. This is fundamentally speaking of course. Why would we look for it anyway? We are IT. Form is emptiness, emptiness is form. It is our view point of form that we must let go of. The naming, concepts, labeling, and stories. All of this creates an illusion, of a separate existence. A sense of identity. Which can also be seen as resistance, or suffering. But it is not the illusion that causes suffering. It's the belief in the illusion. The illusion can be fun when it is taken lightly. Zen is not about getting rid of the illusion, but working with it.

Here is a story to further explain where I am coming from. When I was on retreat, at the Open Mind Zen Center in Mel Bourne, FL. During the interview time, there is a white noise maker turned on and set outside the interview room. This is so the other practitioners won't be disturbed from the mumbling, due that it is a small center. I was sitting and listening to this noise maker. Examining my experience with it. First my inner dialogue was about the noise maker and its relationship with the the interview room. So I wanted to see if I could drop the story of it. Then I was imagining all the inner workings of it. So I dropped that. Then it was the naming of it. So I wanted to see if I could drop that. As I was chasing my mind looking for a place the naming came from, I realized. I am just creating more motion. So at that time I dropped all that and went into just sensing the noise. And I open up to very blissful experience.

So Raw Mind is really no where to be found, but dropping the ideas that support the belief of finding anything. And there is always plenty of material to work with.