friends on the path: weeding and tending the labyrinth. walking in awareness, aligning with intention, praying with our feet, moving into clarity and wisdom. nourishing ourselves and one another with laughter and good eats.
Tag Archives: Zen
on cultivating doubt
“When there is great doubt” says a Zen aphorism that Kusan Sunim kept repeating,”then there is great awakening. This is the key. The depth of any understanding is intimately correlated with the depth of one’s confusion. Great awakening resonates at the same “pitch” as great doubt. So rather than negate such doubt by replacing it with belief, which is the standard religious procedure, Zen encourages you to cultivate doubt until it “coagulates” into a vivid mass of perplexity…
Great doubt is not a purely mental or spiritual state: it reverberates throughout your body and your world. It throws everything into question. In developing doubt, you are told to question “with the marrow of your bones and the pores of your skin.” You are exhorted to “be totally without knowledge and understanding, like a three-year-old child.” To pose a question entails that you do not know something…To ask “What is this?” means you do not know what this is.
To cultivate doubt, therefore, is to value unknowing. To say ” I don’t know” is not an admission of weakness or ignorance, but an act of truthfulness: an honest acceptance of the limits of the human condition when faced with “the great matter of birth and death.” This deep agnosticism is more than the refusal of conventional agnosticism to take a stand on whether God exists or whether the mind survives bodily death. It is the willingness to embrace the fundamental bewilderment of a finite, fallible creature as the basis for leading a life that no longer clings to the superficial consolations of certainty.
~Stephen Batchelor, “Confessions of a Buddhist Atheist“
woman horizontal | the sound of him
he wakes whistling, thrilled by the zipping wind
he conjures and reshapes into sharps and flats
snaps a crisp unpatterned rhythm
with supple-skinned thumb and middle finger
(wiped dry between refrains)
flickering his wrist for triumphant emphasis
mutters a play-by-play commentary
to an imagined audience of rapt gamers
punctuated with shrieks, chides, wails and groans
jigs an exuberant popiscle-sugared dance
wagging his pineapple-cherry coated tongue
scuttling erratically to a giggle-inflected beat
oh! mustn’t leave out the slapping bum finale and encore
drills up and down 14 stairs,
thunderous heel-stomping laps
and cushioned drop-and-rolls,
parkouring over and around the furniture
a streak of joy unleashed
bumps and bangs precede whimpers and squealed tears
beckoning empathetic triage,
strokes of comfort and mild caution to remember,
in all this play, that his body is growing and does not yet know
the new dimensions marking where it ends and external objects begin
hides, hushed and stockstill in a closet
awkwardly wedged behind the vacuum and laundry basket
clamping back unruly titters, lodged between throat and strained cheeks
crackling with anticipation to jumpscare an absent parent now returned
tucks into the curve of torso reserved
for bedtime storytelling and goodnight prayer songs
mommy-kissed lids and curled lashes
shelter sleep-craved eyes,
burning from the effort to see through
one minute more of the darkening day
a puff of minted air,
humming ‘love you too’
before sliding into blessed dreams
monthly sit-together [8/14]: the stickiness of attachment
Relaxing our grip. Cultivating steadiness in the face of challenge and change. A timeless and always relevant topic was proposed for this Sunday’s monthly contemplation and discussion: Non-Attachment!
3 Jewels Yoga Sangha will explore the sticky dimensions of attachment — including in our exploration the relationship of Non-Attachment to Equanimity (steadiness or evenness of mind); the subtle differences we might experience between Non-Attachment and Detachment; and, what the 4 Noble Truths remind us, that suffering arises from clinging or craving.
The Second Mindfulness Training | Non-Attachment to Views
Aware of the suffering created by attachment to views and wrong perceptions, we are determined to avoid being narrow-minded and bound to present views. We are committed to learning and practicing non-attachment from views and being open to other’s insights and experiences in order to benefit from the collective wisdom. Insight is revealed through the practice of compassionate listening, deep looking, and letting go of notions rather than through the accumulation of intellectual knowledge. We are aware that the knowledge we presently possess is not changeless, absolute truth. Truth is found in life, and we will observe life within and around us in every moment, ready to learn throughout our lives.
- Lion’s Roar ~ www.lionsroar.com/sit-like-a-mountain-an-image-of-e…/
- Insight Meditation Center ~ www.insightmeditationcenter.org/…/articl…/equanimity/
- Buddha Net ~ www.buddhanet.net/ss06.htm
On The Four Noble Truths
- Lion’s Roar ~ www.lionsroar.com/buddhism-by-the-numbers-the-four-…/
On The Four Parameters of Clinging + Co-Dependent Arising of Clinging/Craving
- BuddhaSasana ~ www.budsas.org/ebud/ebdha284.htm
- Access to Insight ~ www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn12/sn12.002.than.html
- Vipassana ~ www.vipassana.com/resources/nutshell_paticcasamuppada.php
- Thich Nhat Hanh Dharma Talks http://tnhaudio.org/2012/12/02/a-new-teaching-on-the-twelve-nidanas/
- Access to Insight ~ www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/harris/bl141.html
On The Mindfulness Trainings (Plum Village)
- 5 Mindfulness Trainings ~ http://plumvillage.org/mindfulness-practice/the-5-mindfulness-trainings/
- 14 Mindfulness Trainings ~ http://plumvillage.org/mindfu…/the-14-mindfulness-trainings/
woman horizontal | unburdening
y’all finished or y’all done?
his guttery trill, gum-soled and sticky with wizened contempt
is instantly corroded by the viral ozone of tropospheric memes
earwormed into polyphonic cackles
relentlessly pursuing you — tubing through folded gray matter —
until the voice of God, remixed as a call for intercession,
is you finished or is you done?
you pitch a prayer for completion
petition mightily for all ordained wonders to be finished
from spark generated to diligence sustained
make a way out of no way,
leaving behind tattered limp-tired tropes
overused and out-of-season ideas
scratch-deep grooves committed to sameness, repeating the repeats
a good and proper farewell to stuck and fused people
prolapsed yet yanked back by histories tangled and cursed
But [then] the Lord says,
“Forget the things that happened in the past.
Do not keep on thinking about them.
I am about to do something new.
It is beginning to happen even now.
Don’t you see it coming?
I am going to make a way for you to go through the desert.
I will make streams of water in the dry and empty land.”*
in the etheric gap you become unapologetically i and make…
fueled on and centered by love, the emboldened claim to lift up:
what i value
what i wish to protect
what i wish to lead with
this way ’round, loudly and assuredly
a discerning heart supple-strong, free, open and clear
*Isaiah 43:18-19 NIVR
woman horizontal | how naked the heart
how naked the heart
when anointed for communion
transparent as skeleton leaf
veins quaking sepia-tinged curiosity
flexed impulse relaxing between Whys and Whats and Who Do Yous
where it embraces all and becomes tethered by the long gaze,
unwavering and tender
held there, ambient love soaks through gossamer-laced capillaries
and this aesthete,
quickening with meaty delight,
is transmuted into a vaporous contagion
pumped outward then upward,
to be inhaled anew
now sipped in and seeping
stripping bare the armor
to the raw once more
infecting it with the blood wet
murmuring of the proud and unafraid
woman horizontal | exhuming the empath
inspired by the indigenous navajo creatix spiderwoman, woman horizontal is a close-to-the-heart project that has held different shapes over many years. still an emerging work-in-process, below is one piece from my “pilgrimage of verse, image, and sound.”
in sanctuary, in pulp woven + pressed then printed, i found her waiting for me
she sang me in to the fourth world,
skimming the spiraling thread
between timeless times, liminal horizons, + the veils of imagined realities
cradled to her heart, stretched out + spun, belly up
laid to rest upon a loamy bed of earth
no beginning to nature, no end to me
the boggy creak of a frog camouflaging its bilge water song
that scampering chitter of black squirrels and petite chipmunks scaling trees fallen + splintered
a trio of lithe deer silently lunching in the marsh
flickering tails catch my eye
fawny brown smattering against thickets of green
damsel flies + redwing blackbirds
fluttering things, buzzing beings
alighting, pausing, taking flight toward perches high and low
cumulonimbus clouds thick as riverbanks
yield to an estuary of marbled blue sky wending through the atmosphere
a waking dream
a revelation of the universe within
i am absorbed,
arms fold me in and in
to the womb-depths of fertile soil
(six feet, a mere starting point an underdwelling to pause before the long journey back)
to seed, to cell, to atom, to spark, to notion, to curiosity
i am at rest
stretched out + spun, belly up
surrendering to legacy
a void, vacuum, vanishing point
a vortex of matter
no end to me, no beginning to nature
curiosity begats notion begats spark begats atom begats cell begats seed
a bare kernel
rising layer by layer
upward trailing through horizons of bedrock, clay, silt, sand, soil, humus
musky with the life scent of burrowing things, many-legged crawl-creeping things
clawing and boring tunnels around and through
a littering of decay and dis(re)membered things
exoskeletons, crushed stone, deep-buried hollowed bones of those forgotten things
digging up, up, up toward surface
exhumed by faith-magic and love
on the freedom of awareness
March Mindfulness 2016
It’s my fourth annual “call-to-action” to promote the practice of bringing skillful and compassionate awareness to how we engage, are impacted by, and then respond to the world around us.
March heralds the coming of Spring and, with it, a sense of renewal! Let us take a few moments to refresh our commitment to self-inquiry and spiritual self-care by tending to ourselves with loving awareness so that we may notice what moves, blooms, dissolves, transforms and even becomes reconciled within body, heart, mind, and relationships.
WHEN + WHERE:
MARCH 1st – 31st | RIGHT WHERE YOU ARE!
PRACTICE! PRACTICE! PRACTICE!
What can you do each day to foster
compassion, skillful understanding, authentic connection, inclusion, freedom, belonging?
No action is too small!
RSVP TO SHOW YOUR COMMITMENT ~
3 JEWELS YOGA | MARCH MINDFULNESS 2016
SHARE THE CREATIVE + THOUGHTFUL WAYS
THAT YOU ARE GENERATING COMPASSION
FOR YOURSELF + OTHERS ~
Submit stories + images to be featured on 3 Jewels Yoga’s site. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Post them to 3 Jewels Yoga’s Facebook page with the hashtag #MarchMindfulness2016
SPREAD THE LOVE + INVITE OTHERS!
#ZenThanksgiving: A Prayer for Remembering
i move along a rain-soaked path
pink tubular bodies stretch out
in full prostration across my trail, beckoning:
feel your heart into those feet,
so every step blesses the earth.
a few, once desiccated, now rehydrated, leave coiled graffiti-like impressions:
life wuz here!
keep it movin’!
gravity relinquishes its pull on my body, offering it up
into the ever-ready hands of spirit
briefly i levitate…
soles soar over a smattering of broken branches + wrinkled leaves…
i see nature’s clues
(autumn’s stand-in for rose petals, i joke)
and picture a young wood nymph pointing me to the altar
trees line the sanctuary aisle
as holy witnesses to my prayer
and as lofty pews
for curious squirrels who ring around the trunks to peek over at me
while jays, perched on high, trumpet my procession
i glide faster,
sweat and breath awaken
memories of land ancestors
i sense the hearts and spirits of
and stolen black bodies
thrumming life — once desiccated — nourished now by over-saturated clouds replenishing the soil
my waltzing cadence drums out the beat of their sacrifices:
tilled, toiled, kept.
loved, honored, bled.
harvested, shared, fed.
song penetrates deeply —
a systolic pressure burrowing
from head to ears, heart to toes
rhythm from beyond yonder
touching me touching the earth
because of them
i continue solid, whole, and free