Archive for May, 2009



It takes mindfulness to see the choice.
~Joe Vitale

house art 022


Haiku for May 27

i sit my ass down
mind won’t take a seat,  just walks
guess i’ll babysit


The Mindfulness of Sisyphus

Someone asked me about why I practice meditative processes such as sitting and mindfulness when things in life don’t really change, don’t get better or worse – that to live is  always having to deal with the good, the bad and the ugly.  His question reminded me  of Albert Camus’ take on the Myth of Sisyphus where Sisyphus pushes a boulder up the mountain only to have it role back down in which he begins the task again.  The ability to embrace the absurdity of life as it is, according to Camus  – allows a sense of freedom (btw, I am not an existentialist – I just find value in some of its teaching)

Camus is interested in Sisyphus’ thoughts when marching down the mountain, to start anew. This is the truly tragic moment, when the hero becomes conscious of his wretched condition. He does not have hope, but “[t]here is no fate that cannot be surmounted by scorn.” Acknowledging the truth will conquer it; Sisyphus, just like the absurd man, keeps pushing. Camus claims that when Sisyphus acknowledges the futility of his task and the certainty of his fate, he is freed to realize the absurdity of his situation and to reach a state of contented acceptance. Camus concludes that “all is well,” indeed, that “One must imagine Sisyphus happy.” (taken from Wikipedia)

Meditation practice for me has in its beginnings  an acceptance of the absurd, which is at the same time a “letting go”.  It is being present with the boulder as I push it up the hill or aware of my thoughts and feeling as I watch it roll back down. Not dwelling on past walks up the mountain or future walks down.  I don’t see certain forms of existentialism as pessimisstic; I find their views kind of honest and refreshing and a nice counter balance to pollyana optimism (although there are time I embrace the latter too).

Daily – I am NOT present.  I get lost.  I resist against the task of the boulder. So I meditate.  Here is a passage from Thubten Chodron, from Taming the Mind (Snow Lion) that explains the task of meditation for me . . .

The Value of the Present Moment

Recognizing that past turmoil and future rhapsodies are projections of our mind prevents us from getting stuck in them. Just as the face in the mirror is not a real face, the objects of our memories and daydreams are likewise unreal. They are not happening now; they are simply mental images flickering in the mind.

Reflecting on the value of our precious human life also minimizes our habit of ruminating. Our wondrous potential becomes clear, and the rarity and value of the present opportunity shines forth. Who wants to ruminate about the past and future when we can do so much good and progress spiritually in the present.


Being in the moment

newschimpEver get lost in the rules?
Me too.
Hope you enjoy this passage . . .

Seung Sahn would say, “When you eat, just eat. When you read the newspaper, just read the newspaper. Don’t do anything other than what you are doing.”

One day a student saw him reading the newspaper while he was eating. The student asked if this did not contradict his teaching. Seung Sahn said, “When you eat and read the newspaper, just eat and read the newspaper.”

–From Essential Zen, edited by Kazuaki Tanahashi and Tensho David Schneide


It’s your serve

I’m still throwing around the concepts of “being” and “action” like two tennis players in my head that keep smacking the ball of reality into each other’s court. 
Today’s post by Christopher Titmuss, from An Awakened Life has been a great volly between 2 experieced and qualified concepts.

Knowledge and theories about wisdom are like carrying books on the back of a donkey. We may carry around many ideas of worthwhile changes that we would like to make in our life.
To evolve, we must put those ideas into practice or they will become a weight for us. We need to look into every area of our daily existence. It would be a pity to live an unexamined life and only rely upon external voices of authority and our inner conditioning to tell us what matters and what to do with our life.
For consciousness to evolve, we must commit ourselves to living a conscious life. To know ourselves, to go deep into ourselves, awakens the mind.

–Christopher Titmuss, from An Awakened Life


time to go spelunking

The Challenge of Enlightenment

If the traditional realization of enlightenment is that everything is already perfect and whole, then why should anyone bother trying to improve themselves or the world? In the following excerpt from a classic dialogue between American Buddhist pioneer Roshi Bernie Glassman and EnlightenNext founder Andrew Cohen, these two teachers explore the potential danger of complacency and self-satisfaction on the spiritual path:

  COHEN: The challenge of enlightenment is that on one hand everything is already full and complete and already free and, at the same time, there is an overwhelming amount of suffering that urgently needs to be responded to in every moment.

GLASSMAN: Exactly. Some people experience that first stage and get caught there. They think, “There’s nothing to do.”

COHEN: Yes. And they may even use it as an excuse not to have to do anything. That’s how many people actually squelch the expression of their own conscience, their own humanity. That’s a pretty bad place to be.

GLASSMAN: That’s sort of where I started—trying to encourage people not to remain in that place. There’s a state in Japanese Zen that’s called the “Cave of Satan.” It’s that place where you just stay—because there’s nothing to do. And you can get in that state and it can be an overwhelming experience. But the point is to kick the person out of that cave.


Flipper meets The Bourne Identity


It’s just another day

a  thought arises
down the rabbit trail again
breathe in,  breathe out – here


I’ve been all of the above

There is a paradox between great faith and great questioning.
We need faith to anchor us and questioning to open us.
With faith only, we might stagnate and become narrow-minded, with questioning only we might become disturbed and agitated. These two qualities balance and support each other.

–Martine Batchelor, from Principles of Zen

I’ve been all of the above ~ John


We Get to Carry Each Other . . . One

One compassionate word, action, or thought can reduce another person’s suffering and bring him joy.
One word can give comfort and confidence, destroy doubt, help someone avoid a mistake, reconcile a conflict, or open the door to liberation.
One action can save a person’s life or help him take advantage of a rare opportunity.
One thought can do the same, because thoughts always lead to words and actions. With compassion in our heart, every thought, word, and deed can bring about a miracle.

–Thich Nhat Hanh, from Teachings on Love (Parallax Press)


The most dangerous


Another reason I sit and breath – it cultivates a new way of dealing with self criticism; the following is from a post by Brian Johnson.  Hope you have a great day re-framing your inner critic.  It kinda reminds me of my responses when I was an adolescent and hadn’t built up a lot permanent “shoulds” yet and let shit roll off my back (well except the response to criticism #1 below –  I may believe it, but it’s worded too damn “lala” for me, I’m too cynical)
And Samuel Goldwyn’s quote is fuck’n brilliant – pointing to the difference between being either caught up in OR being in denial. That fine balance of just being

Ah, the inner critic.As the Buddha says, “More than those who hate you, more than all your enemies, an undisciplined mind does greater harm.”

How true is that?!? How’s your internal dialogue? Are you even aware of just how much you criticize yourself?  It’s pretty crazy when we really start to notice what’s going on up there in our minds!!

And, of course, we face a barrage of criticism from the outside world. In her brilliant book, The Gifted Adult, Mary-Elaine Jacobsen spends an entire chapter walking us through the criticisms commonly thrown at gifted adults and provides some  alternative responses.

Like these:

CRITICISM #8: “Can’t You Just Stick with One Thing?”
NEW RESPONSE: “No, Probably Not.”

CRITICISM #10: “Why Don’t You Slow Down?”
NEW RESPONSE: “Going Fast Is Normal for Me.”

CRITICISM #1: “Who Do You Think You Are?”
NEW RESPONSE: “A Humble Everyday Genius Called to Serve.”

“The most dangerous of our prejudices reign in ourselves against ourselves. To dissolve them is a creative act.” ~ Hugo von Hofsmannsthal

“Don’t pay any attention to the critics-don’t even ignore them.” ~ Samuel Goldwyn

Live'n Aloha on Maui.
Lately just posting pics, artwork, vids, & music with just a headline (less seems to be more).
Into Wilber, Beck, Zen Stuffs, Spiritual Concepts, Philosophy and Humor (kinda geeky humor).
Currently attempting to strengthen my meditation skills (this has been a 20 yr process).
Thanks for stopp'n by and please leave a comment. Poz or Neg, all comments welcome.
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May 2009