#109: Dealing with our own mortality.16MAY16

Zen is telling us “When you are living realize also that you are also dying”!

The vast majority of people who listen to this statement would react almost violently: “This is terrible, too pessimistic, too morbid.”

On the contrary Zen is simply teaching us to live our lives plentifully and to be aware of our own ineluctable mortality.

If birth occurs death will follow. No way out. Fear of death and aging are our most powerful fears and resisting or denying them is one of our greatest causes of anxiety at our subconscious level.

Death may happen anytime since our life and everything else around it is transient and unpredictable whether we like it or not. This is not a morbid and macabre thought, just the reality that we have to face and accept.

To avoid subconsciously this reality is pure denial and illusion based on strong ego generated self-preservation.


#108. Learning from water.9MAY16

The student asked “Learning from water? You must be kidding! What do you mean?”

To pay attention to water is a wonderful and peaceful exercise, almost a spiritual one. Being mindful to water puts everything in perspective including how lucky we are to be made of it.

Water is inside us, composing 70% of our total body weight, even ~ 77% of our brain. Blood, urine, saliva, digestive juices, eyes, joint fluids and sexual secretion are 95% water and over.

Without drinking around 8 ounces (2 L) a day of water, death is unavoidable within few days

Water is outside us: 330 million trillions gallons inside, on and above our planet! It is the same water for the last 4 billions years since no water is lost and none is created. Perfect recycling.

Yet, no one knows exactly how water was formed on our planet.

When we open our awareness to water, we realize what a miraculous substance it is.

  • It gave birth to the first life some 3.8 billions year ago.
  • It is transparent and yet can take on infinite colors.
  • It conforms to any container without resistance.
  • It can be vapor like cold clouds and hot steam, liquid like oceans, solid like icebergs, beautiful crystal like snow flakes.

If water gives and maintains life to all living being, it can also kill many of them during natural disasters and accidents such as drowning.

Taken for granted, we don’t pay attention to water unless there is a problem with it – toilet overflow, flooding, drought, poisoned water, hurricane, etc.

Student: “OK, OK, beside this philosophical statement, what is your point?”


#107. Is there a “Feeling good Zen?”2MAY16

This is a frequent question and the answer is simple: Zen practice is not a warm, cozy and fuzzy practice generating a “feeling good” state. The practice requires rigorous commitment, patience and discipline. It is designed, first, to help practitioners realize their genuine Self or True Self different from our social mind- controlled self. This so called realization should not mean achieving salvation or daylong happiness or a perfect, magical and holly state. This conception of Zen achievement is totally wrong despite what one can read in books and on Internet.