Tag Archives: zen

Love the ones your with

Heard this as a suggestion on working on compassion at a Buddhist talk, to try and love the people you’re with.  Also don’t separate yourself out from others, you’re always with yourself, try and love and be compassionate for yourself.

Reminds me of similar things I’ve heard from some Wiccans over the years, that some people are sent as lessons in understanding from the Goddess :)

Synchronicity Says Hi

So I was in the car today, driving back home from doing some shopping, my brain was dwelling on some stuff from the day and just sort of looping over it and I was letting myself dwell on things to a probably unuseful degree.

I flipped on the radio, and what should come on immediately but the infamous Let It Go.  I just about straight up laughed and nodded, yeah point well made Universe.

I’ve recently started back into Zen practice so this of course reminded me of The Muddy Road Koan and I did my best to put it out of my mind and go back to the present.

50% Meditation unlocked

So I intended to pick up some blog prompts today and failed because I was doing other things.  However today did feature some emergency work politics right at the end, just when I was planning on sliding out and heading off to do some zen meditation with the group on Campus.  I think I made the responsible choice of doing that and responding responsibly to emails before heading off to catch the second half of the meditation time (its normally two 15m blocks) as then I’d avoid rushing up campus and arriving out of breath and also interrupting others practice.

This seemed to work, I arrived in the break, said hi to people, then got to settle into my sitting in a less rushed manner without my autonomic system in a mess that needed to chill out first.

Must be said I’ve only been going for a few weeks but it is nice to be doing meditation with people in a group, I’ve done some stuff with pagans before but my zen flavour work is normally just by myself, and sitting with others really does make a difference and seems to carry over a little into my own meditation practice between meetings, so that’s something.

Frustration (Meme Response)

Because you so seldom, if ever, seem it, blog about frustration.

I do actually get frustrated, but its one of those emotions that I find to be less than totally productive. If I think about it I seem to define it as almost like an unjustified anger mixed with regret, where you don’t feel you can really blame any one in particular for it, it just seems to arise from interactions of a number of people.

This I think is the key to getting rid of it, I normally don’t notice it building up, frustration has this stealthy ability, it can creep into your mind as you go about the day being thwarted in your goals. I normally don’t notice until I’m cluching my hands into fists.

The first thing I tend to do is realise what I’m doing and immediately let out that frustration, hitting the steering wheel of a car is a good one as cars, travel and bad planning frequently lead to this emotion. Shouting is also good, sometimes the name of the person you most attribute failure or powerlessness too. The important thing here is that your body is a giant chemical sack, and its now full of anger. Let it out, find some method of release, jump up and down, laugh, whatever. Defuse yourself. There are rare situations where the energy of frustration is useful at driving you onwards but I find the way it clouds the mind often counter productive.

After this I take a good few breaths, there are a number of techniques for this but mostly just stop what your doing its not productive at this stage anyway. Stop and wait, breath in, breath out. Think about the breath not about whatever your situation is.

After this I tend to analyse whats going on, and I generally find that either no ones at fault, or that I’m at fault. Either way frustration seems to build if you’ve spent time fantasising about the outcome of your actions, of thinking about a success and building it in your mind only to find it dashed in real life. Sometimes I can attribute this to bad planning or organisation on my part, in which case I can’t take the anger out on other people. Oftentimes its just the way the universe fits together, the way society works, and just bad luck. These things happen to us all, breath in, breath out. Think about what you can salvage from the situation.

If you can’t win then you can’t win. This is the important thing to bring to mind. You can only do your best and operate inside your abilities, if you’ve done that and still failed then whilst its not the best solution theres is nothing else you could have done, don’t beat yourself up about it, don’t shout at others, just learn what you can and next time your in the situation you’ll think “Oh hey, this job will probably take twice as long, better get up earlier” or “You know what I really can’t get people to change their minds at this meeting about this issue, I wonder if I should prepare different material or just give up trying”.

Apathy is not the answer, doing the right thing, planning ahead or just failing is the right answer. Is it so wrong to fail? Do you really think you can win all the time? Is your ego so fragile that a decision going against you, that being 10 minutes late on an arbitrary deadline, that forgetting something you can bring the next day is really something you’d contemplate violence on a human being (yourself or another) over?

Anger happens, regret happens, frustration is a combination of these things. But thats life.

Yamaoka Tesshu, as a young student of Zen, visited one master after another. He called upon Dokuon of Shokoku. Desiring to show his attainment, he said: “The mind, Buddha, and sentient beings, after all, do not exist. The true nature of phenomena is emptiness. There is no realization, no delusion, no sage, no mediocrity. There is no giving and nothing to be received.” Dokuon, who was smoking quietly, said nothing. Suddenly he whacked Yamaoka with his bamboo pipe. This made the youth quite angry. “If nothing exists,” inquited Dokuon, “where did this anger come from?”

A higher affirmation

Shuzan, a Buddhist monk of the tenth century, once held up a bamboo stick before his disciples. “Call this a stick,” he bellowed, “and you assert; call this not a stick, and you negate. Now, do not assert or negate, what would you call this stick? Speak! Speak!” From out the ranks, a young monk ventured forth, grabbed the bamboo, and, breaking it in two, exclaimed to Shuzan, “What is this?”

Its not a secret that I’ve never really connected with my name, I used to not like it but over time its more faded until I don’t really care for it that much but it doesn’t bother me.

It doesn’t in my opinion define me, or connect me to anything (my connections to people and places are beyond that of a name) instead it limits me making me referrable to from a variety of sources (which is I admit useful), but an impersonal database reference could do this as easily.

I’ve always been interested in the other names I could have been given, by the nicknames that I accrue, but the titles I can be addressed by, by what friends choose to call me when a referral is required, but in the end it is the not the names that I’m interested in but what they point to.

This is what’s drawn me to both zen and magick, the quest for the understanding of the self and its interactions with (or its being part of the larger system of) the world, without concealing, asserting or negating.