Sunday, September 25, 2011

Being Nobody, Going Nowhere

Lao Tzu, the famous Chinese philosopher accredited with writing the "Tao Te Ching" wrote how the life of a sage is one of daily diminishing, not adding. Bruce Lee also spoke of peeling back non-essentials of the martial arts in order to reveal 'the truth' of self-defence training.

Looking at ourselves, as a people, we love to gather certificates, diplomas, trophies. We accumulate things, like cars, houses, books, and so forth. Why? For most of us it is a sense of security through identity. Deep down, we don't know who we are or why we are here on this planet. In an attempt to find this security or identity we try to find it through 'outer things' such as titles, materials possessions and relationships.

As martial artists, most of us have studied about five to six different art forms looking for the 'the truth' or ourselves. And, guess what? They do satisfy, but for only a short while, because as you know, all things are temporary. So we keep searching.

If we would really listen to Lao Tzu, we can see we are like an onion. If you begin to peel back the layers of who you think you are, just like the onion, you will find when you get to the middle, that there is 'nothing' there. Yes, you are nothing, going nowhere! (LOL here!)

Being nobody, going nowhere is our truest is Ku or Emptiness. We are emptiness in form and form in emptiness. If you remember, Ku is the unfolding field of limitless possibilities only waiting for a thought to manifest into form. At your truest inner self, because you are No-body you are All things. You are infinite with unbounded potential. How cool is that!

So, as you look at yourself, Peel back the layers of who you identify as you. Throw away the labels, the security, the diplomas, the sense of importance and just watch. Meditate. Learn to just be and your inner self of Being Nobody, Going Nowhere is there. Then you can have a great laugh and play in this wonderful universal field of 'energy'...which is what I am off to do now.

Hands palm to palm,

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Got Gusto?

The impetus for this post comes from a conversation of mothers I overheard while at a coffee shop. In fact, as I write this I am at the coffee shop. The mom's had all just dropped off their young kids at school and were talking about how to achieve Zen calm, Zen happiness or this was 'zen' and that was 'zen'. 

I got to asking myself, "Do they really know what zen is?"  Well, actually, that is a loaded question, for zen can't be known, only experienced...which brings me to my point.

Zen is usually equated with calmness and serenity...but that is for those who see from the outside of zen practice and have not engaged in it directly. In the middle of Zen practice is angst, painful knees, doubt, suffering, peace, quiet, heaven, hell. The insides are always churning, while an outsider will see people just sitting 'peacefully' not knowing that perhaps this person is grieving the loss of loved one and in the midst of great turmoil.

Zen is about entering into where you are with 'Gusto!' Now, sitting on a zafu doesn't look like an activity full of gusto, but it is. When your asshole is burning cause you have been sitting on and off the zafu for six hours into the second day of a sesshin, the only way 'out' is 'in'....and with gusto. You must lose yourself only by pushing yourself in.

It's like training in Karate. You must enter in and embrace the battle. It is easier with an opponent in a dojo...more difficult when it is your own mind, body and emotions. In the dojo you push yourself to the limits till you 'lose yourself' go past the point of what you can endure and run on adrenalin and spirit. 

Same in zazen. Push yourself, Enter in till the self is lost and all there  In Karate we attack and defend with Gusto! Lotsa of screaming and grunting and laughing. In is quieter without physical movement...but the Gusto! must be there. Push, push, push till you can't push get to that point of letting go...this is Zen. Leave no trace of the Self...burn yourself out!!

When you cross 'the gap' in Karate to defend yourself it is an all or nothing adventure. If you go in with hesitancy or reserve or half-assed you will lose. You must give it all. You must die and leave no trace. Same in Zen...give it all! Give it Gusto! Leave not trace of the self....burn it to the ground. 

Gusto! Give all of your life's activity Gusto! Leave no trace. Zen looks calm from the outside...and it can be on the inside, but first there must be Gusto! The gusto of fire in the belly.

Wow...those Mom's sparked a fire in my brain. 

Hands palm to palm,