#301 KARMA Individual & collective Jan 26th 20

                 Karma: individual and collective

Karma is a Sanskrit word meaning “action”. The law of karma refers to the sequence: cause (intention) produces action, which induces positive or negative effects.

Every good/bad volitional thought or action will bring a certain good/bad result in the short or long term.

If my thoughts or behaviors are motivated by greed, hatred or delusion, I am planting the seed of suffering for others and myself.

On the opposite, when our acts or thoughts are motivated by positive intentions, they are creating positive karmic conditions for abundance and serenity for self and others.

The concept of karma or action is based on basic moral and ethical principles and it is found in every religion.

“We reap what you sow “says the Judaic/ Christian and Islamic scriptures.

 I will address the individual karma as well as the collective one specific to Zen and  as individual we cannot prevent .

In Zen Buddhist, karma specifically refers to volition that is the primary intention and motive with or without its action.  Our motivation behind our action determines and controls the consequences or effects.

Therefore, we can see the enormous responsibility we have to become conscious and paying attention to the motivation and intention that precede our actions.

If we are unaware of our motives or don’t assess them properly, we may act on them and create the conditions of future suffering.

When does the law of karma apply?

As far timing, the law of karma can be understood in many levels, which indicate the vast scope of its implications in our life.

Karma law is affecting all living beings any time not only during our “current” material life but also our previous and future ones. If one believes that our life’s duration is timeless and endless with an infinite number of cycles of material/body entities between birth and death, as Tibetan Buddhists believe, bad volitional thoughts during previous lives may affect our current lives or, even, our future ones if the effects did not occur already.

Many see this as pretty gloomy stuff, resignation and hopelessness.

Importance of paying attention to our mind intentions.

It is critical to always read our mind regarding the intention of our thoughts and before any action.

When we experience a mind state of comprehension, generosity, compassion and love not only the future effects will be positive. At the same time, feeling of serenity appears.

On the contrary, when we experience a negative state of mind of greed, hatred, in addition to negative future results, we will experience the painful negative energy and a restless mind.

Beside affecting me, can my intentional thoughts and actions influence others?

Yes. It is called collective or general karma. A good/bad action of one may affect all of us since we are all interconnected and interdependent.

There are many examples of this around us and there is nothing we can do about it.

Conclusion:

Our direct understanding of how the karmic law is working positively or negatively in each moment of our life is a strong motivation in developing skillful and permanent awareness of our motivations behind thoughts and actions. However, all negative impacts such as diseases, accidents are not necessary caused by the so-called “bad karma”.

This is why the practice of mindfulness meditation is important by learning to pay attention to our thoughts.

If we are able to assess efficiently our hidden ego-driven motivations that is to control our negative

and detrimental ones, we will experience a better sense of wholeness, peace and serenity.

If we live away from moral and ethical ground, we, then, will experience dissonance, confusion and suffering at different degrees not only for self, but also on others.

#300 SAYS YES Jan 20th 20

Saying YES

Introduction:

When you notice the impulse to disagree, to object or to judge negatively, consider whether it is really necessary. In this mind practice we learn to say yes to everyone and for everything that happens within the limits of feasibility.

Could we just nod, or even remain silent and pleasant? Whenever it is appropriate and not dangerous to you or to others, try to agree with others and with what is happening in your life.

This mind practice helps us to see how often we take a stance that is meaningless, negative or oppositional.

If we are able to watch our mind when someone is talking to us, particularly if they are asking us to do something, we can see our thoughts moving back and forth from agreement or counterarguments.

Can you resist the desire to disagree verbally when the issue is, in fact, not a big deal?

Not expressing opposition will help us to learn to let go our powerful and predominant self-centered views.

In fact, you will realize that our personal opinion is usually not so important after all, meaningless or is just wrong or upsetting.

It is surprising how often our disagreement with another person is actually totally unimportant to that person especially when your opinion is not requested. Beside, the subject of the argument can be totally meaningless. Don’t bother.

This behavior is ego-driven and only serves to increase our stress, upsetting or even suffering of those around us.

Saying YES or simply nodding can be energizing, since habitual resistance is a persistent drain on our life energy.

A point of caution:

The point of this talk is not to become hypocritical, aloof , antisocial or to be a  “yes man/woman”.

The point is simply not to waste too much energy arguing too often with whoever about whatever.

If you feel the urge to argue, just say something like : “I will think about it” or ”Yes, maybe”.

Neither the person or your ego will be hurt.

Just weight the pros and cons before reacting.

In Zen we say:” Swallow your words before spiting them out”. How many disasters did you ignite by doing the opposite?

Like anything in Zen practice, finding the Middle way can be tricky even when talking.

#299: Being on autopilot mode Jan. 12th 2020

         Being on auto pilot all the time

Airplanes have an autopilot mode allowing pilots to consciously not control the plane. Plane flies by itself. Wonderful for the pilots since they can do other things more exiting.

We, humans, have also an autopilot mode. In fact, we are, most of the day, on autopilot mode as soon as we wake up and til we fall asleep.

Being on autopilot means to do things automatically, without thinking too much about what we are doing.

The problem is that when our mind is not focusing on what we do, he is free to do whatever he wants a a different space-time.

Because what we are doing during the day is mostly routine stuff and therefore been perceived as boring, being on autopilot mode is an escape from being focused on these dull and tedious stuff. This is the only good news about being on autopilot. Imagine to be forced to be conscious, to pay attention all the time to everything you are doing every minute or to your incessant moving body or ongoing thoughts.

Zen has another view regarding being on autopilot and it is not a positive one.

It is called  “Sleeping zombie” or “Day sleep walking”.

The word “sleep” has 2 meanings:  

    Not paying attention to the current space-time, present moment, its environment and what we are doing.

    Having our mind in a different space-time (past or mostly future) and doing something else.

Therefore, not paying too much attention to what we are doing NOW means being totally under the control of our wandering mind. The problem of being on autopilot is to be trapped into 2 ways:

  1-  We spend most of our life in “doing mode” rather than “being mode”, missing what the current moment

         may bring to us such as the present, concrete reality and its content.

  2- We are prisoner all day long in our unstoppable 100,000 thoughts and feelings created by our  restless mind and most of the time useless.

 In fact, we become schizophrenic with a double personality: one being is what our body is currently doing and  the other being is where our mind is and what he is doing.

Thoughts, especially negative ones, have tremendous impacts on our emotions, especially when we believe that our thoughts are true and we do. All you notice is that suddenly, you become angry, upset, anxious, fearful, etc.

A subconscious thought gave birth to an emotion.

When we are on autopilot  — not too much conscious of what we are doing–, the mind has free will to do and go whatever he wants. We are trapped in this inner movie theater. This is our usual day-by-day scenario.

On the opposite, when we are not in autopilot— being mindful / paying attention to the current moment and what we are doing —the mind has no choice but to follow your body. We are not trapped anymore inside our self-generated movie.

This is the basic behind these weird and spooky Zen sayings:

 “ When you eat,  just eat”, “ When you walk,  just walk”

By bringing our mind in the current space-time, present moment and environment and on what our body is doing,  we become authentic “beings” rather than “automatic doers’.

Always pull your monkey mind out from his dream world to the present reality the current moment.

This is what “awakening” or “enlightenment” mean.

Is it fun to pay attention to your teeth being brushed?

No it is not, but that’s not the point. Your mind is telling you it is not fun because he does not want to be told what to do and prefers to fly away in different more exiting space-times.