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#230 Enlightenment: demystification June 21 18

                                                Enlightenment: demystification

I am practicing Zen since 2002 and received the Spiritual Transmission from my teacher Yangil Sunim 5 years ago. It means I became “awakened” or enlightened and may teach.

To be awake in a spiritual way means to mindfully experience the existing reality of the moment inside and around self. Nothing to boast about, nothing to do with bliss, miracle or special divine power.

To find it is an inside job thru practice and not thru reading, Master or PhD degrees. (more…)

#229 Serenity vs. Happiness June 10th 18

                                                             Serenity vs. happiness

The following Serenity Prayer addresses our needs and the frustrations that arise when we don’t like, don’t want or cannot control how people, events and things are. It goes like this:

“O God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. Living one day at a time, enjoying one moment at a time”.

Very Zen but it was written by Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971), an American theologian.

Wonderful way of life. Do we follow them? (more…)

#227 Worried about worrying Sun May 27th 18

                                                         Worried about worrying

This email was sent to me: “I am worried almost all the time and about everything. How do I work against it?”

Anxiety is a growing mental state affecting all ages even the youngest ones. The causes are numerous and beyond the scope of this talk.

“ Working against it” is similar to “ Escaping from it and trying to relax”.

Anxiety and escaping from it or trying to relax don’t go together. In fact, the more we try to escape from it, the stronger the anxiety may become. (more…)

#226 SELF-CARE: spiritual & material May 20th 18

                                                     Spiritual and Material self-care

When we talk about self-care, we usually referring to proper diet, exercise and sleep. This is only part of global self-care.

In Zen, however, self-care is an oxymoron. Why?

A fundamental teaching of Zen Buddhism is the concept of “no-self”. No-self does not mean that we don’t exist as living being. This is absurd. It means simply that the self is not a unique, permanent, independent, separate self-entity with a self-intrinsic life. We are all interconnected and interdependent with our environment, which is providing life to us.

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#225 Breathing: our app to calming reality

                              Breathing: your app to the calming reality of the moment

Reality is what we are experiencing concretely in the moment thru our consciousness.

It should not be confused with virtual reality that our mind is producing. Thoughts and feelings do exist but are, by definition, virtual, fictional and the fruit of our imagination.

When I am looking, touching and eating an apple I am experiencing concrete reality.

(more…)

#224 WHEN BOREDOM becomes an opportunity

                                               When boredom becomes an opportunity

 We don’t like to be bored. When we are actively engaged in something, there is no boredom.

But when there is nothing interesting or mandatory to absorb our attention or entertain, it starts to hurt our self-image very quickly.

But if we suddenly become idle in our space-time, we begin to seek for something to do.

If not, boredom kicks in. We feel being in a vacuum, a no-body.

Our ego feels empty, useless or wasting its time and our self-image is wounded.

“Me, doing nothing: it is impossible, I should be busy”. Boredom can make us anxious

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#223 WHEN OUR EGO NEEDS HELP April 23 18

                                                           When our ego needs help

    Our ego or self has 2 faces. The constructive/positive and the destructive/negative one.

The good self is critical to grow, to survive, to have pleasure, and to function and interact properly.

No brainer here.

The bad self: Ego is our main source of “pain”, affliction we all have in common. Because of our restlessness quest to get this and that, to be better, smarter, stronger, richer, we are stuck by nagging feeling of frustration, weariness and self-doubt.

Too many desires, hatred, irrational expectations and illusions are all coming from our ego-driven mind. (more…)

#222 EGO: its role in our conflicts with difficult people

                                     Ego: its role in our conflicts with difficult people

Ego-self that is I, me, myself, and mine is absolutely critical for survival, identification, thinking, feelings, behavior at all levels and so on.

However also, ego-self is at the heart of many of our relationships

Because we perceived our ego/self as a single and isolated entity in or society, it may become very shaky and too often take a defensive or an offensive behavior. “ I am myself, then I am not you”.

These behaviors can make us difficult with others and the main source of acute rather than chronic conflicts.

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#221 EMOTIONAL SUFFERING April 7th 18

                                                               Emotional suffering

 Most of us start to practice Zen mindfulness-based meditation because of problems such as dissatisfaction, unhappiness, physical/emotional pain and disillusion or for any other specific reasons happening in life. These reasons are called “suffering”.

“Maybe Zen meditation is going to fix my problems and make me happy”.

Internet and books are full of this statement and I am hearing these words very often.

Unfortunately, it never works because we are mistaken about the true cause of our unhappiness and dissatisfaction. External causes inducing “suffering” do occur but they are minority and are transient.

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#220 The PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS by KRIS

                                                     The pursuit of happiness by Kris

Everything we do in life is driven by only one thing and that is to seek happiness and avoid suffering. But what is happiness? Happiness is not one thing but a continuum and evolves as the person evolves. For simplicity, we can consider this evolution to be made up of four stages of the emotional mind state and it moves from the gross to the more subtle. These four stages can be classified as Pleasure, Happiness Joy and Bliss or Serenity.

At the Pleasure level, the mind operates at the lowest level of the five senses of the human body. Even animals operate at this level of the five senses. However, pleasure is transient and needs constant inputs from external sources. For example, if one likes alcohol then regular inputs of alcohol are required. This is how our reward brain circuits work. (more…)