zen

Mindfulness meditation: Be like a cat purring

If you’re interested in a simple introduction to mindfulness meditation, search the Internet for a free, 25-page PDF booklet named, “Buddha in Blue Jeans,” by Tai Sheridan. Despite that name, the booklet has good, non-denominational tips about meditating and mindfulness (and only mentions the name “Buddha” twice in the main text).

Here’s a favorite quote: “Be like a cat purring. Follow your breath like ocean waves coming in and out.”

Do not let the behavior of others destroy your inner peace alvin May 18, 2017 - 10:21am

“Do not let the behavior of others destroy your inner peace.”

~ The Dalai Lama

Mindfulness lesson: Keep practicing, even when you don’t want to alvin May 18, 2017 - 6:12am

Today’s mindfulness “lesson of the day” (mostly for myself) is a reminder to keep practicing, even when you don’t feel like it. You don’t get to choose when moments of enlightenment happen, so the best thing you can do is keep practicing so those moments will be possible when the right circumstances (karma?) come into alignment.

What happens is that over time, both the mindfulness and the enlightenment bits change the wrinkles in your brain, change your perspective and attitude, and cleanse the environmental conditioning of whatever happened to get you to this point. With continued practice you evolve (think “metamorphosis”) into a new person over time — this time a person of your own choosing, rather than a person conditioned by where and when you were born and lived.

(And who knows, maybe one day you’ll break free from the endless cycle of karmic existence, if you’re into that sort of thing.)

Namaste. ;)

A definition of the word Namaste by Ram Dass (Polishing the Mirror) alvin May 16, 2017 - 5:53pm

I first posted this definition of the word “Namaste” in January 2015. With my aunt passing away, I’m reminded of it today.

I honor the place in you
Where the entire universe resides.
I honor the place in you
Of love, of light, of truth, of peace.

I honor the place in you
Where if you are in that place in you and
I am in that place in me,
There is only one of us.

That definition comes from the excellent book, Polishing the Mirror, by Ram Dass.

Namaste.

The correct mental state for Zen and mindfulness meditation alvin May 12, 2017 - 8:26pm

There’s a scene in the movie, The Family Man, where Nicolas Cage is sitting in a chair and trying to stay awake, because he knows that when he falls asleep his “glimpse” will be over.

The moments just before passing out are like that. Assuming that you’re not panicking, you’re vibrantly aware of everything around you — colors, smells, etc., because you don’t know if you’re just passing out or this is Game Over.

The end of a lucid dream can also be like that. You can be in the dream, know that you’re dreaming, and then know that you’re starting to wake up. You don’t want to leave, but you don’t have a choice, so you pay great attention to the environment because you know that you may never see it again.

To the best of my knowledge, all of those are also the correct mental state for Zen and mindfulness meditation. As Shunryu Suzuki says, “The true practice of meditation is to sit as if you are drinking water when you are thirsty.”

(Namaste)

Why we keep our eyes open during zazen alvin May 9, 2017 - 11:08am

“If we close our eyes (during zazen), the darkness may provide us some relief from visual distraction and give us a feeling of peace and calm. But in zazen, we keep our eyes open. If we want to close our eyes because we feel distracted by what our eyes see, we need to understand that it is our minds that are distracted, not our eyes.”

Trying to understand where the universe comes from alvin May 8, 2017 - 9:20am

My method for trying to understand this fundamental essence – the presence of “something bigger” than me – was to examine intellectually all the reasons I could think of for the universe to exist and to try to envision what had “existed” before the universe came into being.

On the one hand, if there was nothing before creation, how could the “something” of the universe come from “nothing”? On the other hand, if there was something before the creation of the world, it must have always existed, without beginning. But how could “something” have no starting point, no first moment?

I was frustrated by these questions, and by not being able to envision the timelessness that went with “no beginning.” As a boy, I was continually preoccupied by such attempts to explain the world rationally. I was unable to recognize or accept the limitation of my logical mind, its inability to understand the nature of life beyond concepts of solid objects and linear time.

(I had these same thoughts back in high school, but these words are from the book, “Zen at Work.”)

Feeling the pressure of being a Zen Master alvin May 3, 2017 - 10:00am

Zen Master Bon Haeng talks about feeling the pressure of being a Zen Master.

Staking out your inner experience, like a wildlife photographer in an exotic location, waiting for the moment to snap alvin April 9, 2017 - 5:13am

I like this description of the proper mindfulness technique: “Not judging what you see, not considering it good or bad, just seeing what you see, with interest and curiosity. Staking out your inner experience, like a wildlife photographer in an exotic location, waiting for the moment to snap.” It comes from the “Base” recording under the “Waiting Around” category of the Buddhify app. (Sorry, I don’t know the name of the speaker.)

The fundamental delusions alvin March 30, 2017 - 5:44pm

I saw this quote by Naval Ravikant:

“The fundamental delusion - there is something out there that will make me happy and fulfilled forever.”

and it reminded me of this quote by Zen Master Yasutani Roshi:

“The fundamental delusion of humanity is to suppose that I am here and you are out there.”