Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Right Under Your Nose

May we use this time to remind ourselves that who we are right now is more than enough.

What we have right now is just fine.

The conditions of our life as they are in this moment are simply the way they are.

May we all learn to be content with what is right in front of us, since the only thing we can truly count on is that life will always be just as it is (nod to Charlotte Joko Beck).

Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Tidy Home, Tidy Mind

What Zen practice affirms for me is how important it is to have regard for our environment. While it may strike some as rigid and superficial to clean one's mat and cushion off every time a meditation session is over, it's really part of the practice of paying attention to what's happening right here and right now. My teacher Samu Sunim stresses this often. It matters that I stand dead center and right in front of my cushion each time I bow. It matters that the mats get cleaned before every Sunday public meditation service, even if no one shows up.

If we can have this kind of regard for every aspect of our life, this can have an impact on our practice and on our mind. Good habits on the outside are naturally part of what's inside, and vice versa. There is no separation.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Importance of Surrender

We constantly have to let go, we have to do this over and over again.

Snakes shed their skin, trees shed their leaves, and we must shed the multitude of beliefs and words and things we identify with if we are ever to end our suffering.

People who spend their lives working hard to restrict and repeal the rights of others might as well be chopping off their left hands with their right ones. People who see them as the enemy are like an ocean wave that believes itself to be separate from the foam at its tip.

Attaching to a legal status for some false sense of solid ground is futile, even for those that can take such a status for granted. Hoping for the day when a majority of people favor equal rights for all beings is a noble cause and one that should be fought for diligently, but in the meantime, it is important to surrender to this moment and to the way things are right now.

The only other option is to be blown around by the political winds of the moment, and to be elated or deflated by the twists and turns of our extremely slow-to-change social mores.

Throw it all away, focus on your breath, do your part to end suffering for all beings.