#336 Ego on love, love on ego Feb. 28 21

                     Ego on love, love on ego

The #1 goal of Zen Buddhism is to minimize suffering. This is why Zen loves to talk about the ego because it is our main source of suffering……..even and despite when love between 2 persons is involved.

Without our ego, love between 2 people, will be in theory, pain-free, eternal in intensity and duration.

There will be no expectation, no grasping, no trade and no subconscious conditions.

We would likely love everybody. No need to pick and choose based on what our ego is looking for.

The reverse is also true, that is we wouldn’t see any reason a person shouldn’t love us.

In an hypothetic ego-free relationship, flaws and individualities would not be an obstacle nor threat to the other one.

Ego-free unconditional love does not exist because what we are looking for is mostly driven by our inner personality and this inner self is programmed by our ego……. that we like it or not.

We fall in love because we are expecting benefits from the relationship and not harm.

We are giving something that we think we have to offer in exchange for receiving something else that we are expecting from the other one. Pretty tricky trade.

Thanks to our ego, the scope of our love is not unlimited and we pick carefully, consciously or not, whom we will share our love with.  

Our ego maintains a tightly guarded inner circle that we open only to somebody that, we think will be a good match and make us happy.

During loving relationship between 2 human beings our ego, unfortunately, will open the door for potential painful events.

Unfortunately, when we first fall in love, we are, in a figurative way “blind if not insane” thanks to our emotional surge.

Example: you are texting to someone you are crazy about and are expecting a quick reply.

You will, unconsciously, time how long it takes for the reply.

Anything more than a few min. and you may start second guessing the love.

This is painful and this is a game of the ego but has nothing to do with love.

Genuine love is not painful. On the opposite, it brings mutual joy, compassion, assistance, patience, sharing of good/bad times, and many more.

As far Zen teaching is concerned, these are a few ways that our ego turns love into pain and we have to be mindful to the traps such as:

Ongoing demands and high expectations, attachment and grasping, growing self-centered behavior, poor control of negative emotions such as anger and lack of tolerance, etc.  

As we say in Zen:

“When love between 2 people becomes a permanent meeting of 2 egos that cannot be controlled, pain is around the corner.”

Quote from Eckhart Tolle:

“  What is commonly called “falling in love” is, in most cases, an intensification of egoist wanting and needing. We become addicted to the other person, or rather to our image of that person. It has nothing to do with true unconditional love, which contains no wanting and no expectation whatsoever.”

Thank you.

#353 Looking deeply into food Feb. 21th 21

                     Looking deeply into food

During lunch break, we are eating almost like a robot, even still in front of the screen.

Our body is eating whereas our mind is, as always, busy in different space-times doing something else. The body has a lunch break but your mind is running around.

This is, as Zen says:  “Day- sleep walking” at its best.

During serious Zen retreat since meals are taken in absolute silence, sort of spiritual activity.

The mind must eat, in a mindful way with the body, that is being aware of the food such as shape, taste, color, texture, temperature, etc… This is eating almost in slow motion. 

Even more: when you eat, take a short awareness moment to look into the food and drink as if you could see backward, into its history.

Use the power of your imagination to see where the food came from and how many people might have been involved in bringing this food into your month.

Then, thanks those people before your next bite.

When we become mindful into our food, we become acutely aware of our total dependence and interaction with Nature and other providers.

For example, if you pause to contemplate a single raisin in your cereal bowl and try to count the number of events and humans who were involved in the process of creation and delivery.

This number is significant.

If you go back to the seed of this raisin, its geographic origin, the energy needed, etc…this number could reach tens of thousands.

Don’t try because you have to go back to your computer.

How can we, at least for a short instant, acknowledge the fact that meals are not a given but a gift.

Can we, at least, honor Nature and human providers with our awareness and mindful moment of appreciation and even gratitude.

It does not mean that we have to take 4 hours to eat but 1 or 2 min. of genuine mindful eating- habit is enough.

Final words:

The Life energy of Nature and its many living beings flows literally into us as we eat.

How best to repay them?

Simply by being fully mindful as we eat and what we are eating.

It does not mean to analyze and judge every aspects of the meal including its genesis.

It simply means to express intentional awareness and gratitude of our food, the link between Nature and people behind the scene, and ourselves.

Thanks Arnaud

#352: Unfolding the wings of acceptance by James Feb. 14 21

Unfolding the wings of acceptance

We often talk about mindfulness and leave out compassion. In today’s talk I will talk about acceptance and how mindfulness and compassion work together.

We create suffering when we are caught in the trance of life. We often don’t clearly recognize or feel, what is happening inside of us. Our view of who we are, becomes our narrative. This results in our heart becomes hardened and our view of who we are becomes narrow. We turn sharply against ourselves. We thus cause pain.

We begin to become free when we let go of our stories of what is wrong with us. Acceptance from the heart and mind is the essence of the spiritual life.

So, what is acceptance? —— Genuine Acceptance?

Genuine acceptance is seeing clearly, by touching and holding our experiences with compassion, and mindfulness.

In Buddhism, mindfulness is being with what is, moment by moment, seeing it as it is.

Mindfulness is unconditional and open. Even if we wish the pain to go away. We cannot honestly accept an experience, unless we see clearly what we are accepting. It’s seeing and feeling the tingling in our body, the stress, the anxiety and recognizing all there is, without trying to manage the experience.

Compassion on the other hand is genuine acceptance. Compassion is the capacity to relate in a tender and sympathetic way to what we perceive. Instead of being or restricting pain. We embrace the pain with kindness, like a mother, holding a child.

Compassion honors our experience and allows us to be intimate to life as it unfolds. Its honoring acceptance and compassion. Its inseparable and essential in liberating us from the trance. The very nature of our awareness is to know what is happening. The nature of our heart is to care.

Genuine acceptance helps us heal and move on, free from the unconscious habits of self.

The prerequisite to true freedom is to decide that you do not want to suffer anymore, period.

One must decide that you want to enjoy your life, that there’s no reason for stress, inner pain, or fear. We fear that we are not good enough and that we will fail. As a result, we experience insecurity anxiety and self-consciousness. We create pain.

We are either feeling it or we are protecting ourselves from feeling it. When Buddha said that all of life is suffering. This is what he was referring to.

People don’t realize how much they are suffering, like a fish in water, because they have not experienced what it is not to suffer. Compassion helps us cultivate our capacity to hold with kindness, painful or intense experiences that are arising within us.

In summary, we look at compassion, and mindfulness, like the two wings of a great bird. They are interdependent so they can allow the bird to fly. This is when we begin to touch with our hearts what is happening with clear and kind attention. This is where compassion and mindfulness join to create acceptance.

Thanks, James

#351 Quantum physic and Zen by Mark Feb. 7 21

Quantum physic and Zen philosophy.

Physics is the study of nature, matter and the properties of energy. Over the centuries our understanding of physics has become more and more refined. It started out as simply logical deductive reasoning from Aristotle. Amazingly, little more progress was made over the next 2,000 years until Isaac Newton made his monumental discoveries of the laws of motion and gravity. We are all likely familiar with his 3 most famous laws: an object will not change its motion unless a force acts on it; the force on an object is equal to its mass times its acceleration and when two objects interact, they apply forces to each other of equal magnitude and opposite direction.

These laws perfectly describe our macro world, the world that we see around us. They are deterministic. Meaning, we can use the laws to determine the future movements of objects that involve motion and gravity with perfect precision. These laws are so exact that if, in theory, we knew the exact location of every particle in the universe and the forces acting on them, by applying Newton laws we can absolutely determine the future location of those particles. In essence, we could predict the future.

Newton’s laws stood unchallenged as the basis of physics for 200 years. That was until a group of scientists in the 1920’s and 30’s discovered quantum physics. This is a very complicated field but basically what they discovered was that Newton’s laws did not hold when they started to investigate the atom and its components. At this sub-atomic level all matter is essentially light. Newton’s laws of motion and gravity simply did not describe the world they were seeing inside the atom. These young scientists uncovered a new set of laws that were able to describe what they saw. But, there was a big difference between Newton’s laws and the laws of the quantum world. Newton’s laws are able to give us perfect predictions of the future, if we knew the exact location of matter and the forces acting on it. Quantum laws give

us no such certainty. The best description they give us is one based on probability. The location of an electron at any given time can only be predicted with some degree of probability. Another key law of the quantum world is that particles only exist in relation to each other. There is no absolute existence.

So, what does this all have to do with Zen philosophy? We know that a large source of our suffering comes from our tendency to project into the future and especially to strive for some sort of certainty about how our actions will create good outcomes. You can see how this sounds very Newtonian. If I make some good choices then I will have good outcomes. But we now know from the quantum world that these expectations are false. How can we live in the macro world expecting certainty when the most basic components of our matter behave only with probability? The universe is designed to disappoint those who seek certainty. This is a tough lesson to learn for many. Our continued practice of meditation and training the mind to live with uncertainty is properly aligned with how the universe is organized at its most fundamental level.

Thank you