more zen ideas

Zen 101  —  More Zen Ideas

This entry is part 2 of 10 in the series Zen 101

More Zen Ideas  —  learn­ing to act on our beliefs as opposed to just spout­ing them is the work of a lifetime.

Look­ing for more on this topic? 

Check out my book, Half Asleep in the Bud­dha Hall.

Wayne’s “East­ern” book takes you by the hand and helps you to find peace of mind. Half Asleep in the Bud­dha Hall is a Zen-based guide to liv­ing life ful­ly and deeply.

Wad­dya mean wake up! I am awake!
Why don’t you ever believe me?

More Zen Ideas

I once worked with a client, and much of what we talked about, and did in Body­work, was both fas­ci­nat­ing and pre­dictable.

  • Pre­dictable, because she con­tin­ued to make her life mis­er­able by repeat­ing the same dys­func­tion­al behaviors. 
  • Fas­ci­nat­ing because she was quite bright and total­ly “got” what we were talk­ing about.

Doing things differently? That’s another story.

At one point, she said, “You make all of this sound so simple!”

Dar­bel­la and I talked about that one after­ward. Dar made (as usu­al) a good point. Pay­ing atten­tion to the present moment is both sim­ple and hard, and is nei­ther sim­ple nor hard.

It only gets to “simple” or “hard” when we get involved with
thinking about doing, as opposed to doing.

Dar men­tioned a reac­tion she has to one of our Zen teach­ers, who often talks about how “hard” Zen prac­tice is. He sighs a lot. Dar’s com­ment was, “It’s not hard, and it’s not easy. It’s just whether, in this moment, you do it or not.”

How Zen of her.

One of the “rules about sit­ting” is: “WHEN you dis­tract your­self by fol­low­ing a thought, bring your atten­tion back (to the breath, to the moment, to noth­ing… to what­ev­er is “up” right then and there.)”

Notice the when, as opposed to if.

Think about it: if los­ing focus was some­thing we are sup­posed to get past, why the con­tin­u­al reminder to sim­ply pay atten­tion again?

One of the chief dis­trac­tions is grasp­ing onto a sense of “this is hard” as a way to stay the same. In rela­tion­ship coun­selling, “This is hard” is short-hand for “Why the hell should I have to change when it’s his/her fault?” 

Hint: because the only thing you have even slight con­trol over is your­self.

Con­tin­u­ing our count from the last article:

More Zen Ideas #4  —  Drop Judgement

Yeah. I know. Impos­si­ble. None-the-less, let’s hold this one as a part of the dis­ci­pline, eh?

Hard, easy, good, bad, right, wrong, at fault, inno­cent,
all are judge­ments as opposed to state­ments of fact.

It is 28 degrees Cel­sius today here in Álo­ra, Spain” is a state­ment. “Jeez, is it ever hot today” is a judgement. 

Deal­ing with aspects of life  —  birth, ill­ness, dis­abil­i­ty, death  —  is nei­ther hard, nor easy. What it is, is both pre­dictable and nec­es­sary.

Being present, using excel­lent com­mu­ni­ca­tion, releas­ing blocks, get­ting over one­self  —  again nei­ther easy nor hard.

It’s simple, though.

Once all of the excus­es are out of the way, there is this: am I doing it, or am I not? If I am not, I can start, or I can yell at myself.

See? Sim­ple.

More Zen Ideas #5  —  Awareness  —  Being Aware

Back in the good old days, The Haven pro­mot­ed the 4 As  —  Aware­ness, Acknowl­edg­ment, Accep­tance, Action.

They’ve since added an A and a B. (Breath & Appre­ci­a­tion.)

Any­way, I sus­pect that much of what we talk about here can be framed with­in the con­text of the orig­i­nal 4 As.

more zen ideas - meditation

Sit­ting in med­i­ta­tion  —  Zazen  —  is the one and only method for Zen prac­ti­tion­ers to achieve what might be called ‘sim­ple awareness.’

This is aware­ness uncloud­ed by judgement.

Most­ly, peo­ple are spec­tac­u­lar­ly unaware of any­thing beyond their sto­ries and judgements.

My prin­ci­pal goal is to get you to devote your life to aware­ness, which then leads to the oth­er three As.

Now, of course, with­in aware­ness is notic­ing my attempt to go non-present.

I call these NPMs  —  non-present moments.

Bare, or sim­ple aware­ness is aware­ness uncloud­ed by excus­es, ego, or blame. Items that come into aware­ness are ‘as they are,’ and are wor­thy of sim­ple notice.

More Zen Ideas #6  —  Acknowledgement

Acknowledegment sort of means to know you know.

The dic­tio­nary sug­gests, “admit­ting to know­ing some­thing” as a def­i­n­i­tion. Stress on admit.

The Zen prac­ti­tion­er, as she notices the aris­ing of thoughts, judge­ments, “dual think­ing,” freely admits to what is hap­pen­ing in the mind. But the essen­tial acknowl­edge­ment is this:

This is me, separating myself for the actual experience of the situation at hand (the moment,) as I turn my thoughts into something more significant than the situation itself.

As I notice (become Aware), and then acknowl­edge what I am doing, I find myself able to choose.

Sometimes, I really, really want to blame and judge.

There is noth­ing wrong (at all!) with any choice, so long as it is a con­scious choice, AND I am will­ing to accept com­plete respon­si­bil­i­ty (the con­se­quences) for my choice. 

We’ll get to action in a minute, but at this stop­ping point, let me be clear: we have almost no con­trol over what we think, and there­fore our thoughts are harm­less and blame­less. What we do with our thoughts is anoth­er mat­ter entirely.

More Zen Ideas #7  —  Acceptance

Reread the intro, and the “it’s hard” stuff. This is NON-accep­tance. This is how we get up into our heads and excuse our stu­pid­i­ty and laziness.

Accep­tance is qui­et­ly and com­plete­ly own­ing who I am and what I do, (i.e. have NPMs)  —  with­out judg­ing “hard,” “bad,” what­ev­er. As I accept that I do have NPMs repeat­ed­ly, I can have it, notice it, and let it go. As opposed to the relent­less search for the “rea­sons.”

Accep­tance is liv­ing with your­self as you are, warts and all, with­out judge­ment, blam­ing, or look­ing for the “rea­son.” “Why am I in this mess?” is a com­mon coun­selling ques­tion. The answer is, “Because of choic­es you made, and because, some­times, shit hap­pens.” Rumi­nat­ing end­less­ly is not help­ful. Accep­tance of the real­i­ty of this “now” is essential.

More Zen Ideas #8  —  Action

The first 3 As lead to action. 

Action, as I men­tioned last arti­cle, is of the “Chop Wood, Car­ry Water” vari­ety. Going into your head to make your­self more mis­er­able is not an action. Get­ting off your butt and doing some­thing mean­ing­ful, now, is what action is all about.

This is where the rub­ber hits the road, so to speak. All I can do is what I can do.

My actions need to be clean and pure, from within the container of my belief system.

Thus, my actions match what I say that I believe to be true. My only job is to bring myself under my own discipline.

This week, con­tem­plate your rela­tion­ship to points 4 to 8. Com­mit to see­ing the truth of you, and from there to being you by liv­ing and enact­ing you. Moment by moment, of course!

More Zen Ideas 
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