#340 What is Zen ? Mar. 28 21

         What is Zen?

Zen is so simple that any attempt to describe it with words is doomed to confuse people simply because Zen means experiencing the concrete reality of the moment that is in the NOW.

Zen is made of:

What we are:

1) Our relative self is a daydreamer, experiencing fictional reality under the control of our powerful ego-driven mind in which daydreams to trap us continuously.

2) Our True Self/ Nature, experiencing, consciously, the surrounding and ultimate reality of the current moment, the opposite of daydreaming.

It cannot be revealed thru thinking but only by practicing awakening that is not being in a daydreaming state. It is achieved by experiencing current reality as it is, and not as we think it is or should be. Simply put: being conscious w/o thinking. Weird.

What we do:
By practicing mindfulness- based meditation during which we discover our True Nature as described and realize Awakening or Enlightenment.

   Mindfulness: to pay attention w/o analytic nor decisional process.

  Awakening means:

Not being trapped in a constant non-decisional daydreaming state but rather experiencing, in a mindful way, the concrete reality of the current moment that is in the NOW. It is achieved by bringing the mind where the body is and do.

Through a dedicated and consistent meditation practice, we realize that our genuine self has nothing to do with the ego-driven conditioned self, source of suffering from desires, hatred and the impossibility to differentiate reality from mind-made fiction (ignorance).

This path toward Awakening was achieved some 2,500 years ago by the Indian prince Siddhartha Gautama, who came to be known as Buddha meaning “Awakened one.”

His great teaching was that we can all achieve awakening regardless our beliefs.

Out of this realization flows:

   A natural serenity, wisdom, compassion to others and

   A peaceful and intuitively appropriate response toward whatever circumstances may arise.

Stop trying to get an intellectual understanding on Zen. There is nothing cognitive in it because

Zen is simply experiencing our non-dreaming state of the moment.

Meditation is a good example of it:

   Just breathe in with full awareness and appreciate it fully.

   Now breathe out, slowly, with equal appreciation. Anchor your mind to your breathing with or w/o

counting. Breathing with conscious awareness, on a regular basis, is the transformative profound and yet simple practice we call Zen. When we are focusing on our breathing, we are practicing

Awareness.

You discover the genuine reality of the NOW and not the mind-made fictional one of the past and

future which are trapping us continuously in a daydream space-times.

You discover that we are not a permanent, independent, unique, separate self-entity with a self-intrinsic life but rather interconnected and interdependent.

When you take a shower, use your 5 senses to invite your mind to join your body and share

this present and true real experience. You become Awake rather than a daydreamer.

This is Zen:  no brainer.

Thank you

#339 Taking our sadness for a ride Mar. 21 21

                                         Taking our sadness for a ride

Sadness is a frequent emotion to endure. When severe and persistent it may become depression.

Sometimes there is a good reason for being sad but, most often there is no reason at all.

We can wake up sad or happy w/o any obvious reason.  

If somebody near you is sad, there is little you can do to change her/his mood. Trying to help will probably goes nowhere because it could just frustrate you both.

So, what to do when sadness is controlling your mind?

3 options:

    1 You know the cause of your sadness and you can fix it: If so, rush for it.

    2 You know the origin but there is no solution.

    3 You don’t know the cause.

For the last 2 ones there is only one approach and it is the same for any unsolvable negative emotion meaning: “taking it for a ride”.

Recognize, accept and observe that you are sad in a mindful way that is don’t expect anything else such as analyzing your sadness.

It does not mean that you resign yourself to a life of recurrent sadness. This means that you acknowledge your current negative experience of sadness and say: “It is Okay”

Than, Excuse yourself from being unhappy. It means: self-compassion and self-forgiveness.

You are not super-woman or super-man.

Finally: decide to spend quality time with your sadness as long as necessary. It will not getting worse.

Taking your sadness for a ride” means just that: you are horse backing and the horse is sadness. If you are planning to take your sadness for an horse backing ride can give your horse a name: heartbreak, shittylife, loneliness, disease. You can call it John, Mary, boss, friend, weather, etc. When you give it a name, you will see your sadness as a visitor, a guest of your psyche.

You can treat it with respect and courtesy.

When you take sadness out for a walk you see beauty on your walk but don’t expect this beauty to make you happy or getting a break from your sadness. It is just beauty seen with sadness.

Take your sadness to yoga, shopping, meditation, Take it to therapy, exercise with it, feed it when you eat, fall asleep with it.  Horse backing is, in fact, having a date with your horse.

Do the same with your sadness.

When you are spending quality time with your sadness, be careful about how you treat yourself and the people in your life. Sadness often invites anger and anger looks for ways to express itself.

If being with your sadness causes you to hurt people around you then apologize.

If your sadness causes you to hurt yourself, then apologize and forgive yourself.

If you treat your sadness in a mindful way with patience, kindness and compassion, it will leave.  When it leaves, say goodbye. Thank it for the lessons it taught you.

Like most negative feelings sadness will come and go during our all life.

You might as well make a comfortable place for it when it strikes and be ready for the next horse backing.

Thank you all

#338 I don’t know but I know that…..by Harish Mar. 14 21

                          I DON’T KNOW BUT I THINK THAT….

This is a follow up on a recent Dharma Talk by Arnaud on building confidence during insecurity and incertitude.

Zen perspective is based upon trying to understand the mechanics of how the mind operates so that we end up controlling the mind, rather than the mind controlling our thoughts and actions.

There is an inherent weakness in human mind and intellect. One might call it “a manufacturing defect”. When the intellect cannot understand a thing in its right perception, the mind projects. In the Sanskrit it is called Maya. Ma means Not, and Ya means “that”. Thus Maya translates as “that which it is not”.  When one cannot understand a certain thing, you may say that “I don’t know”, but your mind steps in and says “But I think”. For example, if a new neighbour moves in your neighbourhood, and someone asks you what you think of the new neighbour, your reaction might be ”I don’t know, but I think he is a dangerous man because I have seen all kinds of strange people going in and out of his house”. Another example often quoted is that of a rope and a snake. In dim light, without knowing it to be a rope, your mind projects it to be a snake because of its shape. This causes fear in one’s mind. Once it is exposed to light, we see it as a rope. This knowledge brings the mind back to reality and the fear dissipates. Thus this non apprehension of the reality at the intellectual level which creates misapprehension in the mind together is called Maya Power.

Another trick that the mind plays is in how we misunderstand another person’s point of view in relation to the experiences of our own mind in the past. When someone is speaking to us, we may be hearing him, but our mind interprets the words of the speaker in terms of our own mind. For example, when someone talks about a trip he has taken, we are hearing this in relation to the trips we have taken. Misunderstanding can cause arguments between people. Psychologists will tell you that what you experience in your adulthood is a carryover of the unpleasant experiences you had as a child. Your mind sees every new experience in the light of your past experiences.

So how do we deal with this Maya Power? Over the centuries learned people have been saying that the best way is to develop a quiet mind which enables you to see the reality and not be swayed by the projections of the mind. The only true reality is your inner self. The body, mind, and intellect are but projections of the inner self. It is our involvements with the outer coverings or projections that create all our suffering. That essentially was Buddha’s message.

Constant meditation enables you to develop the equanimity and quietness of the mind so essential to our inner happiness.

#337 Is suffering really necessary? March 7th 21

            Is suffering really necessary?

During his 50 years of verbal teaching, the main message of the Buddha was that life is suffering. Suffering been understood in its generic meaning that is negativity. Was the Buddha a masochistic man? Not at all. In fact he was enjoying good times like anyone else.

Suffering comes from many sources but the main culprit is our ego that is our subconscious image of ourselves with its main purposes of survival, self-protection and self-enhancement.

Ego generates desires, hatred and ignorance meaning the impossibility to differentiate reality from fiction.

Is suffering really necessary in life? The answer is yes and no.

NO, suffering is not necessary:

Obviously we will answer NO. Who wants suffering?

Life will be wonderful w/o suffering. Perpetual joy and bliss from birth to death.

Search for happiness will not be necessary all the time nor to blame someone or something for being unhappy.

YES, suffering it is necessary:

“Where my suffering is coming from??”. “Is it causing by an external event that we don’t control or is it coming from inside that we may control?”

Most of us are blaming someone else or any other negative circumstances of life as source of suffering.

But is it so?

YES, suffering is necessary because it will give you the most likely source of it.

The necessity of suffering is not a pessimistic, fatalistic or masochistic view of life.

If we did not suffered as we have or will, there will be no depth to us as humans beings.

No humility, no compassion, no learning about sources of suffering and you will not be listening to this talk now.

So, the answer is yes. “Why it is necessary”? you may ask. Here is the rational behind it:

Suffering cracks open the protective shell of our ego and then, at this precise moment, comes the point where suffering has served its purpose.

When this protective shield of our ego is open during suffering we can see that the main attributes of our ego that is desires, hatred and illusion are the real culprits of our suffering expressed as dissatisfaction, anger, fear, guilt, and many more negatives feelings.

This awareness of the ego and its components causing suffering is a critical first step:

  To understand the ego driven genesis of suffering and.

  To learn to control its attributes causing pain.

Repeating again the above statement:

Suffering is the key to open the door of the ego’s safe inside witch the main causes of suffering are hidden tightly.

So, suffering is necessary until you realize it is unnecessary that is when the safe of the ego is open and we are able to be mindful of our ego-driven sources of suffering, to accept them and to deal with.

When you go through this process, there are no needs for a key anymore ……..at least temporally.

Remember this:

Suffering cannot be controlled without the awareness of its roots, which are desire, hatred, and ignorance of genuine reality, all of them ego generated. When you observe and accept the roots of our suffering you will become detached from them rather than their victim.