Sunday, December 23, 2012

The Ten Fetters (Fetter #6)



There are Ten Fetters that keep us from getting our Zen on.

This is #6: DESIRE FOR MATERIAL EXISTENCE (PASSION FOR FORM)

How can we keep from wanting Material Existence?  We have to want to at least exist, don't we?

Do we?

The human that is "you" (and the human that is "I") naturally wants to survive.  That's the survival instinct, and it exists in sparrows, badgers, and humans alike.

The "survival instinct" is really just your stomach saying, "EAT! NOW" and your skin saying "SHIVER! MAKE A FIRE! GO INSIDE" and your brain saying, "GET ALONG WITH THESE HUMANS SO YOU CAN MAKE SOME MONEY AND GET SOME FOOD."

Even the basest, non-aware person knows at least this.  The stomach, for better or worse, makes damned sure we get up in the morning and maintain our material existence.

But with practice, we can see that this person our awareness rides around in is eventually either going to:
  1. Die from old age.
  2. Die early by accident or violence.
  3. Die early due to illness.
These are the only ways out folks.

This sixth fetter manifests itself when the human (you or I) imagines and is attached to the idea that the human is in any way a permanent thing.  We are brief spasms of biologic activity.  This awareness, if that even exists, is a lucky manifestation of the universe.  There is no "you" or "I" to want to exist in the first place.

This fetter doesn't counteract or negate the survival instinct in all of us.  "Not wanting material existence" doesn't mean we go out and kill ourselves.

But wanting to be a separate and distinct "thing" separate from the universe, with its own form and substance, is the problem.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

There are two states of mind.

You can either be aware, or you can be distracted.

Choose.

Friday, December 21, 2012

THE MEANING OF LIFE (close enough anyway)


There is none, but there is a close, close approximation.

On this, the end of the world (?) {December 21, 2012} I am writing that yesterday, the day before the end of the world, I watched Monty Python's "The Meaning of Life" (1983).

I have watched this movie many time throughout my 46 years, because I am that way.  I think it is hilarious, and I have always thought, that at the end of the movie, they summed it up in an offhand way with this quote, which I had memorized for along time, being a Monty Python fan.  It goes like this:
M-hmm. Well, it's nothing very special. Uh, try and be nice to people, avoid eating fat, read a good book every now and then, get some walking in, and try and live together in peace and harmony with people of all creeds and nations. 
And for years, I thought this was a great summary of some good advice, but it isn't, of course the MEANING OF LIFE, as the movie title suggests, but just some sound advice, and it's funny because it is basically saying, "there isn't any meaning of life, just be nice."

But last night, watching the movie again, I finally found, after close to thirty years of loving this movie, the true nugget of the film.  It happens in a board meeting of corporate executives.  One of them starts off asking about "item six" on the agenda.
Exec #1: Item six on the agenda: "The Meaning of Life" Now uh, Harry, you've had some thoughts on this.

Exec #2: Yeah, I've had a team working on this over the past few weeks, and what we've come up with can be reduced to two fundamental concepts. One: People aren't wearing enough hats. Two: . . . this "soul" does not exist ab initio as orthodox Christianity teaches; it has to be brought into existence by a process of guided self-observation. However, this is rarely achieved owing to man's unique ability to be distracted from spiritual matters by everyday trivia. 

Exec #3: What was that about hats again?
This is the entire crux of the movie, and I have been missing it for thirty years.

Now this isn't the "meaning of life" as there is no intrinsic "meaning of life" but it is so close, it bears discussion . . .  { there's more, but this is a book excerpt from the book I'm working on.}

here's the clip:

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Tea "Time."


When it is in the teapot, it is "now."
When I pick up the teapot, it is "now."
When I pour it into the cup, it is "now."
When it is in the cup, it is "now."
 Is it in two places at once?

If "now" is the same time, it was in the teapot and in the cup at the same time.  But we see it as a sequence of events.  It isn't a sequence of events.  There is just the Present Moment, changing.

~ excerpt from the new book I'm working on.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Just raw existence.


Use every aspect of your mind for reflection of this grand universe we get to exist in, for this brief Moment.  It will be over soon enough.  No sappy sentimentality.  Just raw existence. Be kind to yourself.  Be kind to others.  Why not? Forgive yourself. Forgive others.  Our minds are just reactionary things.  The minds of others are also just reactionary things.  There is no human reason.  There is no grand design.  It is just your brain and the things it sees and hears.  The things it feels and tastes.  That is all there is in this entire universe.

Violins and bulldozers.  Galaxies and atoms.  Friends, strangers, acquaintances and family. Everything part of the Great Circumstance.  The One Result.  The Present Moment. To close your eyes, in the Present Moment, and breathe in.  Breathe in this One, True, Present Moment.  Everything has led up to this.

Monday, December 3, 2012

There are three conceits:




I am better than _______.
I am worst than _______.
I am equal to     _______.

All of these notions lead to the false idea that we are separate from the things with which we compare ourselves. Everything is one Circumstance.  What are the two things being compared?  Comparison is duality.

So conceit, as in, "I am better ... (than this or they or that) is out.

---

This is an excerpt from the book I'm working on, a follow up to my first book about Zen, Get Your Zen On.