"Enlightenment of the wave". From the book, Zen Speaks, Shouts of Nothingness. The book is filled with wonderful cartoons like this.
Posts in the “zen” category
“Having a direct experience of seeing everything one looks at (including one’s own body) as moving subatomic particles alters the perception of ‘me’ and of the substantiality of what we regard as ‘normal’ reality.”
(I can’t remember where I saw this quote, but I think it had to do with some sort of computer system with monitors that allowed you to walk into this device, and see your body as moving subatomic particles.)
If you want to be free,
Get to know your real self.
It has no form, no appearance,
No root, no basis, no abode,
But is lively and buoyant.
It responds with versatile facility,
But its function cannot be located.
Therefore when you look for it,
You become further from it;
When you seek it,
You turn away from it all the more.
“Praying is talking to the universe, meditation is listening to it.”
(I’m sorry, I don’t know the original source of this image or this quote, but I like it.)
When I first started studying Zen and the Tao, I interpreted many of the quotes I read as “let things be just as they are.” For a while that led to me act as a doormat, letting other people do as they wished, in some cases even treating me poorly. I did that consciously, so even though I was acting like a wimp I didn’t feel like a wimp; I was just trying to practice what I was learning.
After a while I realized that was a wrong approach. Because I wasn’t demanding excellence at work, some employees weren’t performing up to their capabilities. Other people in my personal life were “using” me because they knew they could get away with it.
“Eventually we develop a continuity of awareness that allows us to maintain full awareness during dream as well as in waking life.”
~ from the book, The Tibetan Yogas Of Dream And Sleep
Albert Einstein often sounds like a Buddhist. I was very surprised to learn that he said this.
If you know something about Zen, you know that Einstein is writing about the “oneness” of the universe. Zen tries to teach us about this through techniques like Zen Meditation (zazen), and the concept of all things being interdependent.
In the third line of Alanis Morissette’s song, Thank You, she sings, “How about them transparent dangling carrots?” In this article I’ll take a little look at what that line means.
A song about enlightenment
Ms. Morissette’s entire song is about gaining enlightenment, and from that perspective, a transparent dangling carrot is anything that leads you to take a path of pursuing or gaining enlightenment. In the song she mentions things like terror, disillusionment, frailty, consequence (karma), and silence; each of these can be considered motivational “carrots” that are capable of pulling a person down a path where they want to seek enlightenment.
I can’t find the exact story or specific details, but it goes something like this ... after his initial work with Maharaji in India, Ram Dass came back to the U.S. and lectured on spirituality. As he says it, “I was supposed to be a spiritual teacher with no attachments, but the reality is that wherever I went, I had these nine boxes of things that were of sentimental value to me.” So he’d go from city to city lecturing about how to have no attachments, and all the time he was lugging these nine boxes around behind him.
One day he realized that he really needed to give up his attachments to those things, so he did his best to give everything away, but at the end he still had three boxes remaining. “I’m sorry, Maharaji,” he said, “that’s all I can do for now, this is killing me.”
“That was a few years ago,” Ram Dass said. “Now I have thirteen boxes.”
“You can meditate while talking to someone, while washing the dishes, while driving. As your experience grows, you eventually come to a point where you are so present that there is a kind of merging of inside and outside. When that happens, ‘focus’ becomes more than an extremely interesting and pleasant experience; it becomes a transformative experience.”
“Eventually a delicious figure-ground reversal takes place. In the beginning, meditation is something that happens within your day. Eventually, the day becomes something that happens within your meditation.”
“The same cosmic forces that mold galaxies, stars, and atoms also mold each moment of self and world. The inner self and outer self are born in the cleft between expansion and contraction. By giving yourself to those forces, you become those forces, and through that you experience a kind of immortality — you live in the breath and pulse of every animal, in the polarization of electrons and protons, in the interplay of the thermal expansion and self-gravity that molds stars, in the interplay of dark matter that holds galaxies together and dark energy that stretches space apart.”
~ Part of a quote from The Science of Enlightenment, How Meditation Works, by Shinzen Young
The best advice I’ve gotten for practicing mindfulness meditation while not sitting in meditation – i.e., in active meditation – is to make something of a game of it. When I wash the dishes it’s like, “How deep can I get while I wash these dishes?” Or when talking to another person, you both put down the cellphones and think, “Okay, we’re both here right now, how much can we focus only on each other and be here in this moment while we talk? How deep can we go?”
I was reminded of this when I read this line recently: “Finally, I got it! The menial tasks I had been assigned to around the temple were meant to be an exercise in meditation. Whatever I was doing, my job was to try to stay in samadhi.”
(That quote comes from the book, The Science of Meditation.)
“There is nothing intrinsically problematic about this ordinary perspective. The problem comes when it is the only perspective available to a person, which unfortunately is the usual case.
Enlightenment, or freedom, comes when we also have a complementary perspective that we can access at any time. To have this complementary perspective, we must come into direct contact with the third level of consciousness, the Source. When we are in direct contact with the Source, self is not perceived as a separate particle, objects are not perceived as solid, and space becomes elastic and can collapse to a dimensionless point, taking everything with it to the Unborn. And time is cyclic — self and scene arise from and return to that unborn Source over and over.
We can call this perspective many things, such as God, Brahman, the Tao, the Unborn, the Undying, the nature of Nature, Zero, Emptiness, Completeness. The words don’t really matter. What matters is direct contact.”
From the book, The Science of Enlightenment: How Meditation Works by Shinzen Young.
“To know love, be like the running brook, which deaf, yet sings its melody for others to hear. Feel the pain of too much tenderness. Wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for yet another day of loving.”
~ Kung Fu
You are not your thoughts.
As you learn in this meditation technique, it’s easily possible to sit back and observe all the crap that spews out of your brain. As you’ll quickly find out, “you” are the observer, and all those thoughts — I’m too fat, I’m not smart enough, I’m too sexy for my shirt — just keep spewing out of your socially-conditioned brain machine.
Observing the thoughts is the beginning of ending them.
Apparently I have sleep apnea. But during the day. During meditation.
When I was meditating this morning my body stopped breathing several times for more than a minute and a half. At first I observed and wondered about it, but then I just let it be. The new normal.
~ July 6, 2021
“When we do not expect anything we can be ourselves. That is our way, to live fully in each moment of time.”
~ Shunryu Suzuki, not always so
Inspired by a conversation with a friend recently about “trying to love everyone,” I dug into things a little more and found the following information from Ram Dass, Zen masters, the Maharaj-ji (Neem Karoli Baba), and Yoda.
As I keep trying to figure out what Ram Dass means when he says, “love everyone,” I dug through his book, be love now and found these two quotes: