Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Take a "Vow of Mostly Silence."

With Zen practice, you observe activity with more awareness. You speak less, because you have the presence of mind to see your mouth about to open and say something stupid. You are kinder to others; you will be more forgiving of their weaknesses because by observing your own thoughts, you learn about your own weaknesses. Empathy is surprisingly soothing.

You relinquish craving and aversion, but you still catch the Self as it tries to follow old habits, and you realize that habits like these exist in everyone else.

Although you change your mind and its habits, your responsibilities don't suddenly change. Don't act a fool because you've been meditating. Don't preach it, either, unless it makes sense.

Don't talk about it.
He who speaks does not know; he who knows does not speak.
—Lao Tzu 
Take a "Vow of Mostly Silence." In this modern world, you can't (usually) take a vow of complete silence, but you can take a vow of "mostly silence." Try it, even for an hour.

Monday, July 22, 2013

It can't hurt to be focused and aware

With Zen, if you have money problems, you're still going to have money problems. No one will pay you to be "enlightened."  But you'll look at it differently. You'll see it for what it is: the transient results. You'll let go of the results.

This doesn't mean you give up and stop trying. You still gotta eat. Everybody's gotta eat. But you'll see the ridiculous nature of human existence. The dumb way things are set up. And you will laugh. Eventually, with enough practice, it is possible that you will laugh at your own dumb circumstances.

Maybe not at first. Maybe not at all. Depending on your situation, you might be in desperate straights. But
it can't hurt to be focused and aware. Let go of results, stop grasping for nonsense goals, and realize you don't need as much as you thought.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

A little at a time

After Zen practice, you see the mind as it tries to re-construct that "self" illusion, and you put a stop to it a little at a time. Not constantly, and not always successfully, but that's why it is called practice.

With Zen practice, when you observe your thoughts, you see that a human mind is frequently a disorganized mess. An unreflecting mind doesn't realize it is a mess. It puts up one illusion after another to prop up and defend this illusionary "self," and that's what makes humans do so many stupid, harmful things.

You are a human, and as you meditate, you tear down this illusionary self.  You'll see the true nature and contents of that illusion. You might see your imperfect "past," all the nonsense traditions, patriotic jingoism, and myths your culture and background has created. It's all there. It can be pretty messy. It's like tearing apart an engine, or seeing how they make sausage.

Monday, July 15, 2013

New Book!

My new Zen book, Zen Happens, is available on Please feel free to order a copy.

Monday, July 8, 2013

New Zen Book

My latest (and probably last) book about Zen is coming out later this month. Thanks for reading!