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Posts Tagged ‘The Little Book of Zen Haiku’

Remember the moment you first touched the smooth skin of a new born baby, or the soft fur of a kitten or a puppy. In that moment the mind began to move quickly into a place of joy. Remember that winter moment when you saw the snow falling and its softness and silence swept you off to another place and time. Or remember the moment you walked on the beach and saw the beauty of the sun rising quietly over the horizon or when you saw the harvest moon hanging like a helium balloon in the heavens so close you could reach out and touch it.

Some say that people “touch” us in various ways as well. Some touch our hearts with joy, others with sadness, and others may raise in us fear, anger, or animosity. But touch us they do. It is through the power of touch that we live whether it is a verbal, physical, emotional, or mental touch we are affected by it. How are you affecting others with your touch? How are you affecting yourself? How are others affecting you?

Learning how to be “mindful” in all situations is a great way to discover how we touch ourselves and how we touch others. Let’s do an experiment today. How about taking the time to really focus on how we touch others (people/animals/plants) and things (objects) and how they touch us. When you touch your dog or cat how do they respond to your touch? How do you respond to them? When you speak to another with kindness and love how does that feel? When you speak to another with anger or condemnation how does that feel?

What does the spoon actually feel like when you take it from the drawer or raise it to your mouth to eat the food you have placed on it? Is it cold, hard, smooth, carved with a design? Are you being touched by the music you listen to each day? If so, how? Is it fun, fast, happy, sad, melodic, or disconcerting? Or have you paid so little attention to it that you cannot even answer the question?

I once heard a young comedian say that his father always listened to the music from the 60’s and it was so “happy” all the time. “Lollipop, lollipop oh lolly, lollipop, lollipop!” It was way too happy for him! Have you been “way too happy” recently? Have you been touched by your music in a positive way? If not, try listening to something that makes you happy! Life is too short to be touched by negative thoughts and feelings.

In Buddhism we work to stay in the moment and not grasp on to anything good, bad, or indifferent. Discover how you are being “touched” in each moment. Then accept the moment and move on as Buson writes:
Such a moon—
Even the thief
Pauses to sing [1].

Touch life, pause, and move on to the next adventure in the now moment. Let me know how that works for you.
In gassho,

ingassho

Shokai
[1] Mascetti, M. D. (2001) The Little Book of Zen. Fall River Press: NY, NY.

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Determination: Paramita #8 in our series on the 10 Paramitas

“The Gateless Gate”
The great path has no gates,
Thousands, of roads enter it.
When one passes through this gateless gate
He walks freely between heaven and earth. (Mascetti, 2001)[1]

This is life in the 21st Century.  How many of us see the thousands of roads, opportunities, challenges, joys, and frustrations and get so befuddled that we freeze up and simply stop in our tracks?  The challenge feels overwhelming, too much for us to take on, too much to think about, too much to do, and we become impotent.  And yet when we do move ahead and accept the challenge we find that we can succeed and overcome even the most demanding and mind boggling life’s situations.

Once we find that gate and have the strength and determination to pass through it we see that it wasn’t as difficult as we may have thought.  Or the reward at the other end was greater than we could have imagined.  Or if we do not succeed we find that life did not end, that failure was easier to accept than we thought, or that our desire changed and we decided that we could live without the thing, the job, the person, or the possession.  We may even have reviewed what we truly value in life and found out that it was NOT it.

Determination is something that all of the most enlightened creative  people that we recognize on this planet had—Jesus, Shakyamuni Buddha, Mohammad, Charles and Myrtle Fillmore (Founders of the Unity Church), Thomas Edison (inventor of too many things to list), Albert Einstein, Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks, and you. Yes, you!  You would not be reading this if you were not on your way to enlightenment or have not had some wonderful enlightening experiences through your determination to pray, meditate, or sit. Some of those experiences may have even come simply by accident. That great universal AH HA can sneak up on us at any time, and many times when we least expect it…so keep your eyes open—it just may be right here, right now!

Notice the word “light” inside the word “enlightenment.”  These people saw the light in something that was greater than them, they paid attention, and they acted on the light and thus changed the world.

And yet, sometimes we simply need to be determined to let things go, to stop pushing, trying, thinking, mulling, and running the show. As Osho wrote:

Sitting silently,
Doing nothing,
Spring comes,
And the grass grows by itself.[2]

Enlightenment is knowing when, and if, and how to do it, or NOT—to simply be determined to let go and let the spring know how to grow the grass all by itself.


[1] Mascetti, M.D., 2001, The Little Book of Zen Haiku, Koans, Sayings, NY: Fall River Press, pg.69

[2] Ibid. page 24

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