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31 July 2011

Zafu in the Corner is me or mine or...

Last night and this morning's zazen sessions were bo-o-ring. My back today was aching. I felt it just behind where I believe my lungs to be. I noticed that when I was thinking about how I assume my cousin is really mad at me for calling her out on what I didn't agree with. I maybe shouldn't have done that. I was upset because she was being all hard core atheist. She was being ignorant and hurtful towards people that believe in God and I don't think that's really a smart way of going about the 'there is no God' argument. I think it is ignorant to be rude to someone for what they believe in. Is there really a difference in the way she was speaking about Christians and how she feels they treat or talk about her? I don't think so. In any case, I wrote that I believe anger + anger = even more anger and hate. I said that I welcome prayers from those close to me even if it is for my eternal soul and that I one day find Jesus in my heat, marry a man, and have babies. I love that they take the time every night to think about me. There aren't really that many people in the world that give me much thought in the evening and to know they are doing it just because they love me and want what they believe to be best for me - "fill your boots," I say. I welcome the love thoughts. :) Give me more. I know they don't agree with my "lifestyle" - but that doesn't matter. I am going to live how I'm going to live regardless of what someone believes in or not. They aren't hurting me. I can't change what they believe. All I can do is meet their concern with love and affection. 
So - my point - my lungs were hurting when I thought about my cousin this morning. I wasn't able to write on her facebook wall for her birthday, but other people I know were able to - so I think she's shut me out or something. I wasn't intending to hurt her feelings. I wasn't trying to start shit slinging. I'm hurt. I feel distant from her when I really want to be close with her. I don't think this is the first time I've challenged her thoughts. LOML tells me I should just keep my opinions to myself. Maybe she's right. I have a hard time holding my tongue. I guess that's obvious, I can't even keep my thoughts contained - they spill out here frequently. My lungs hurt - I wonder why. I put together the breath and family and soul (whatever that is) - to me - the breath that sustains the senses. Anger was creeping in a bit and then sadness. I had to sit up, sit up, sit up, and then sit up again - for 15 minutes every 45 seconds or more I was straightening my posture and adjusting my pose. I stalled getting up to do zazen in the first place. I did it though. I didn't even bother to try and sit half lotus even. I got lazy for no reason, but to be passive aggressive - sleeping in, not holding posture...and I'm here assuming my cousin is being passive aggressive...I guess that's why I'm so pissed - I am passive aggressive and there you have it - I'm triggered by her response because it is a familiar tool in my arsenal. 

Last night I waited until right before bed. It was fine. Nothing special to note. 

I did learn over the past two sessions - I  really do waste a lot of energy and space in my head on assuming the feelings and acting out the "what if" scenarios. Once I notice that's the case, I try to assume responsibility and move on. I know if I really want to figure out what's up with my cousin, I'm going to have to send her a private message and ask her what's up. I can't keep coming up with supposed scenarios. I mean, I can keep doing this, but it isn't getting me anywhere but crazy. 

30 July 2011

Day 2: Zazen-o-Rama

It's actually a 'zafu' not zafoo as I mentioned previous.




Last night I managed to get in the 15 minutes of sitting I promised myself I would commit to. I did it just after supper to ensure that I wasn't too tired therefore excuse prone. The evening wasn't too bad. I sat and recognized feelings in my body I hadn't noticed throughout the day. I felt a pain in my belly. I felt this pain when I realized the neighbours were back and I could hear my dog wanting to go outside. It took a lot for me to not yell downstairs to let the LOML know they were back and to make sure she was watching Moo (Mu, hehe) so she wouldn't venture over to their yard. I kept my silent sitting and just felt my feelings. Right there in the tummy. The emotion behind it? A bit of fear and anxiety. I was worried about Moksha bothering the neighbours and not being a responsible pet owner. I was also a little anxious because I don't know the neighbours that well yet. I was a little worried they would be blasting fireworks and maybe noisy when I had to get up for work today. They have never been really loud or crazy or any of that...just an unnecessary fear I was holding onto. I've only ever been annoyed with them leaving things right in front of our house...that's stopped so I'm not sure why I was carrying it. It was nice to finally see that I had been carrying it in my tummy. Hopefully I can just accept them there and carry on and not feel that pain. So, LOML ended up going outside with Moo and all is good.
My foot fell asleep again. I'm okay with that. I just walk it off after sitting.
This morning? Fuck I was tired. I took one snooze. I thought about lowering the time to just 10 minutes, but then thought...'if you're late, next time you won't sleep in'. I got up and did the 15 minute zazen. The time went by incredibly fast! I was constantly straightening my back, arranging to sit with dignity and good posture, lowering my head. I have a tendency to crane my neck up, eyes looking up. I'm not sure why I do this. So, I was repeatedly bringing my gaze back to level. I had to relax my abdomen and focus my eyes. My thoughts? I realized that I was making up all kinds of stories about 'what' the day might bring and I was focusing on what hadn't even happened. So, I was returning to the room and adjusting proper. When I tried to count my breaths, I didn't get past two this morning. I'm not even kidding. I have read that I will get better with practice much like running or any type of exercise. I'm sticking with it and we'll see where it goes.
I don't know if I'll write in here everyday of my experience, but I find I gain something by reflecting. I don't sit with anyone or know of anyone personally who is sitting everyday, so I don't know where to share my experience...so I'm doing it here. I was startled when the bell chimed letting me know that the 15 minutes had passed. I have a little reminder tone every three minutes. I find this helps to keep my thoughts from going to 'how much time has passed?' I thought I had only heard two tones and then it was over. Awesome.
I'm still tired, but I'm engaged and looking forward to the sitting tonight :) I will venture forth and eventually I won't have to think about when I'm going to do this, I'll just do it when it's time.

29 July 2011

Zazen Begins. SIT DOWN.



First evening and morning of zazen practice. I've read the books and know by now that everything points to zazen and essential practice. So, I finally set up my zafoo and blanket and I'm ready to study the paint on the wall.
First distraction? The shadow of my hair. My part is ridiculous. I'm not kidding. It looks really funny. At first I decided to try and ignore it. Guess how well that worked. So, then I thought I will look at it and accept it as there and move on. That was a more effective way of addressing the issue...hmmm...who would have thought that by addressing something instead of ignoring it would help dissipate distress?
That was the first evening. I could hear every movement downstairs and almost let that bother me to the point of getting angry with the person for moving during the fifteen minutes of quiet I had requested. I decided the annoyance was only with myself and the boredom that had begun to settle in. I got past it.
This morning - I stuck to my guns and got out of bed without waiting the standard three snooze minimum. I wandered directly into the office space, to the zafoo, and 'the wall'. I could almost feel myself falling asleep with my eyes open. I adjusted and straightened up. I noticed little spots on the wall until - until the entire thing sort of blurred together and I was left to notice the thoughts and the little pinch in my right foot and the creeping in of pins and needles. I was able to notice the little hunch forward and the relaxing and tightening of my belly. There was a slight pull of discomfort in my back near my right shoulder. I counted my breath. I don't think I got past 4 at any given time before I was distracted by thought or shadow or little nick in the paint. I did it though. I sat for fifteen minutes. I'm going to do it again tonight...at least that's the plan so far :) My intention in this moment is to go forward.

23 July 2011

Dogen said it best...

I really do like the quote as written below by Dogen. He was born 19 January 1200...just a day before me and a few hundred years prior I should add...in case you hadn't figured that out. 


"Enlightenment is like the moon reflected on the water. The moon does not get wet, nor is the water broken. Although its light is wide and great, the moon is reflected even in a puddle an inch wide. The whole moon and the entire sky are reflected in dewdrops on the grass, or even in one drop of water. Enlightenment does not divide you, just as the moon does not break the water. You cannot hinder enlightenment, just as a drop of water does not hinder the moon in the sky. The depth of the drop is the height of the moon. Each reflection, however long or short its duration, manifests the vastness of the dewdrop, and realizes the limitlessness of the moonlight in the sky."

Dogen Zenji (1200 - 1253)
I can't recall where I first read it and would hate to atribute wrongly...but I do know that I read it tonight in Brad Warner's, Hardcore Zen. He didn't quote the entire thing, but I read it in entirety somewhere else. It could have been in Dharma Road by Brian Haycock. Or it might have even been in one of the other books I read by Brad Warner. Needless to say (is it needless? why am I going to type it out then?) I have been reading a lot of Buddhist material lately. I started with Taoism what feels like a hundred years ago (because clearly I can remember 100 years ago) and more recently...the last twelve months, give or take, I started with Thich Nhat Hanh. I'll continue to read his stuff, but right now I'm interested in reading stories written in a way that I have an easier time relating to. I appreciate what "Thay" has to say, but he kind of seems like the monk for my grandmother or little sister. 

Where was I going with this? I quite nearly fell asleep just before 2200hrs. It is now 0006hrs and sleep appears to have alluded me for the time being. I hope to fall again soon into that slumber that will carry me an entirely too short a time to the alarm song at 0505hrs. Why am I still up? :) 

As I was in the - thoughts are taking over - place my mind so comfortably finds itself my common sensibilities lost the battle and I chose to get up. I had a thought I needed to write down - Here it is: Our memories (our past) are like little riddles I ponder and shuffle in an attempt to figure out who I am in this moment and who I will become in my future (does it really matter NOW?). The only problem with this angle of attack is the riddle is not riddled in the past, but in the moment and the memories are just merely distractions and illusions. The answer lies in the now (if there really is a now that is tangible). I guess to me I believe the past to be like those crazy annoying riddles I have read ... maybe that's what the koans are about...'if a tree falls in the forest' kinda thing. I'm curious about so much and Brad Warner seems to be presenting ideas presented  by Dogen originally (he got this from his teachers, not from Dogen himself...in case you hadn't figured that out) and my mind is totally blown...which brings me full circle...my brain/thought sense (patience, I'm new to this) is just as vast as the dewdrop that can handle the entire moon. I'm okay. Maybe now with thoughts laid out I can get cozy in bed and sleep away a few hours before I get up once again. Not that I think I've hit some kind of 'enlightenment' or anything, just a neat little realization I felt the desire to share.

08 July 2011

Really or are you just putting me on...

Ever hear a story from someone - okay, of course you have...ever hear a story from someone and think, "wow, are you serious? are you telling me this as a test to see if I will not say anything?" I have often wondered this exact thing. I have heard outrageous stories and have been desperate to share the utter seemingly imagined tales of others with someone and then my paranoia sets in - they know this is crazy and they know I will pass it on and they know it will get back to them and then I will look a fool for believing the story in the first place and an even bigger fool for passing it on. I have this sneaking suspicion that everyone around me is in on the conspiracy and are waiting for me to fail and share a secret I have committed to confidence.
So, last night after I had already written this little post - and still had to finish - I got wind of one such story. I'm still not sure if I wasn't being put on and then I heard myself share stories of old and my cohort began to question whether or not I was in fact putting her on with the tales.
The stories don't even matter. Just review them in your head before you share them and wonder. I guess because people actually write books and movies and other such things of "fiction" from a factual beginning I am starting to train my brain to believe seeming realities masked in fiction are impossible because of their title.
I will think on this post and try to figure out what's the meaning behind it all for me...really. Sounds like I could use a session of zazen.

05 July 2011

oh bother

sometimes I talk too much. sometimes I talk too much and then I think too much about all the nonsense I've said. sounds to me like I should really just let it all go to the wayside seeing as it has already been done and there is nothing I could do...well, short of inventing a time machine and going back...okay, true, I suppose I could go and invent a serum that will destroy all memory of what I said to those I said crap to. not that it was really anything that important or that much to really worry about...it is however keeping me away...okay it's not I am. So, here I lay it down for the night and off to sleep I go :)