#306 The MEANING of SERENITY by Angeline March 14th 20

                                                   The Meaning of Serenity

Serenity is defined as a state of being:

Calm, peaceful, untroubled, restful

Gentle, easy-going, quiet 

Free from disturbance or nearby state of agitation, unpleasant change, or violence. 

Having:

Little motion or activity

A disposition that is morally, mentally and ethically elevated.

 The word serenity refers to environments as much as people. 

A serene sky is free of storms.

A serene moon is shining bright and steady.

A serene expanse of sky, sea or light is unclouded.

 The sky and sea are continually changing.  Weather or violent explosions may agitate them into action for a time, but serenity will inevitably return.  It takes time and a steady current to wash away the debris.

Being human is like that.  We can get clouded by different life events, trauma, attachment and fear.  Time taken for loving self-awareness puts us in a cleansing current moment.

Serenity is transferable.  If I observe a calm stream, a bright moon, a clear sky, or a happy person, I’m likely to feel serene.  After a long walk in a natural environment that inspires reverence for life, I can easily extend that love to people I encounter. 

However, if while walking I hear aggressive honking, or a person cursing at another, I may feel reactive fear, anger or worry.  Even if nothing on my walk is shocking, I may carry with me suffocating sadness over loss I have or will likely soon encounter.  I can let stress blind me to the beautiful space I’m in entirely.  My mind is too cluttered with possible outcomes to see magnificent blooms pointed out to me.

With mindfulness, I can be objectively aware of my emotions, and the actions they ask me to take, knowing that it will all pass.  My response may be a little less impulsive or frozen than it would be otherwise. 

We train the mind with self-love in moments of meditation, therapy, exercise, nature, art appreciation, creative expression, and philosophical study.  Awareness weaves into our identity.  The ego aligns less with circling thoughts, and more with seeking balance.  Instead of reacting to what others are doing and thinking, we seek to observe and respond with mental calm.

If I walk along the lake on a sunny day, I can see many tiny sparkles on waves and nearby rocks.  The water surface isn’t still, but the depths are so calm, that I can see light shining clear to the bottom.

Serenity is like that.  Serenity isn’t a permanent state or place in time.  It’s not just freedom from agitation.  It’s the ability to be deeply clear when your life is unstable on the surface. 

#305: IS PERFECTION(S) ACHIEVABLE? Feb: 8th 20

                          Is perfection achievable?

Despite being a Zen Master I strongly believe that perfectionism is self-abuse of the highest order and yet every religion talks about perfections.

What are they? How to achieve and maintain them?

What will happen if you are unable to achieve them during your life?

Zen Buddhism is on the same bandwagon than other religions / philosophy when it is talking about achieving  perfections” called paramitas a Pali word. Paramitas also means spiritual completeness and accumulation of virtues.

In every Buddhist Temple around the world one of the evening chanting is dedicated to the 6 perfections and the vow is to achieve them during our present life or if not … during the next life.

Our True Self is perfect but our ego-centered “little self” is not… far from it. This is why

every Zen Buddhist practitioner vows to achieve and practice  perfection to others and for self.

Here is the list in non-specific order.

1- Ethical conduct / morality / discipline:

This is not only toward others and toward our environment but also toward self. This means having aproper life style, respecting our body in maintaining it healthy (diet, exercise, health maintenance,etc.).

2- Generosity:

Generosity toward others implies also love, compassion, forgiveness, respect, altruism, and kindness to all living beings.

Generosity toward self implies respect, tolerance and self-development.

3- Patience:

Includes resilience, acceptance, endurance, self-control and equanimity.

4- Perseverance:

Includes diligence, energy and effort.

5- Concentration:

Includes being mindful (to focus, to be “awake” in a non-cognitive way) to our body, to our mind, to what we do and to our surroundings (people, events, etc.).

 It Includes daily practice of meditation.

Contemplation is added here since to contemplate is an act of middle concentration with some analytic mind.

6- Wisdom/ insight:

     Being able to differentiate realities from illusions. Please click on the link for more information.

     Accepting that life and its components are what they are and not what we want them to be.

     Realizing that our ego mind so useful is also the main cause of our dissatisfactions.

    Recognizing that only the present moment NOW exists.

Now the obvious questions are:

 How many persons are able to achieve all of them”   “How often can anyone achieve any of them?”

I personally don’t know this person…yet.

The key here is to be mindful to these perfections inside self and to try our best to reach some of them for a week. If you cannot succeed, have compassion for yourself.

#304 Key words & short expressions in Zen philosophy 2-2-20

Key words and short expressions of Zen philosophy

In non specific order.

Suffering is part of life that we like it or not. It cannot be prevented but should be accepted.

     Acceptance to what we don’t want to accept is a big step towards serenity.

      Suffering is caused by attachments.

      Attachments are ego-driven and made of desire, hatred and mind-made “ignorance.”

      Being in control of our attachments is Nirvana.

Ignorance means being unable to differentiate concrete reality of the moment from mind-made fiction.

Being in control of our attachments & ego-driven mind is Nirvana

Nothing lasts including self.

Good & bad stuff are transient.

Almost nothing can be controlled including self (body/mind). Believing otherwise is an illusion.

Only now (present time)exists. Past and future are very useful inventions but remain illusions.

Life, people, events, things and environment are what they are and not what our ego mind wants them to be. Believing otherwise is an illusion.

No living being has a permanent, independent, unique, self- sustained separate self-entity. This is what Zen Buddhist calls “emptiness” or empty of self entity. We are all interconnected & interrelated, dependent of Nature & the Universe to survive.

Global consciousness is made of all living beings and each individual one has an incorporated  component of the collective one. Believing otherwise is an illusion. Some call this global consciousness God. Consider individual consciousness –you- as a wave and the global one as the ocean.

Our ego-centered mind is the main source of our illusions, unhappiness, dissatisfaction, suffering causing attachments, desire, fear, anger, resentment and negative emotions, etc. Meditation will help us to control this beast. Believing otherwise is an illusion.

To be mindful is tp ay attention moment-to-moment to what is real , like a mirror & reflecting things as they are and not as we want them to be.

To be mindful to our body, mind and environment is a non-cognitive skill. No judgment, no decision. 

We should not believe everything all our thoughts despite the fact that we are creating them.

Karma is the consequence of our actions and intentions. It is individual and collective.

Meditation is:

    Living in the moment & paying attention to our mind anchor and wandering mind.

   “Strait back = strait mind”,  “Still back = still mind”  as Zen says.

Life is endless in multi ongoing space-times. Its biological form – our body-mind-  is only one of them in a transient form.