STABILITY AND ZEN BUDDHISM

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THE SEEKING

     When I first started meditating I was driven to acquire something from meditation. I was immensely frustrated for a long time. I wanted to be stable. I wanted to change into a stable person. One that could take on the world and it’s constant variations and trials with some sort of equanimity. I was seeking to build a sphere of stability. I thought meditation would give me powers, kind of like a Zen Batman of Calm.

     I must admit I was caught up in my stories about the externals. I was attracted to the  way things looked, drawn to the cool and collected people who led retreats. I misinterpreted the few minutes I was in minimal contact with people. I thought that I “knew” who they were all the time by judging them in a tiny amount of time.  I saw them as people in control of every aspect of themselves.  (Later I was fortunate enough to meet Geri Larkin and Cheri Huber who are both very grounded. They are not interested in personality but focused on awareness, growth, and understanding. Plus, they are wicked funny.)  I wanted to join, I wanted to be admired,  I wanted approval, I wanted affiliation, I wanted a decoder ring and secret handshakes. I wanted to wear black and know stuff. (Like Batman.)

FINDING 

     I started looking for that master to throw myself at and give me the answers to all my questions. All I found was an ongoing procession of people. You know? Just people like you and I. People who were working to increase their awareness of being. No super people, no people with all the answers, no bright lights, no perfection, no voodoo insights. Nope. Just people. (Of course, I ran into a few folks who had a good act but Zen Batman they were not!) I was fortunate in acquiring some compassionate guides that led me back to myself. In reality I needed to realize that Zen, Tao, and Spiritual study was about the ordinariness of people. This was really important because, after all, I am a people. And, very ordinary. It came to me that what I was seeking was ultra ordinary. The every day, ordinary, miraculous, standard, ability of response and awareness.

FOUND

 Samudaya is the rising, appearing, growing, evolving path of everything. Unlike some classical formulations my  path relied on seeing the arising, not the focus on what was arising, just the movement of arising and growing. This applies to every action in my universe. Nirodha is the falling, the opposite and still part of movement of the rising and falling cycles. 

     Spiritual movement relies on how fast we recognize the rising (Samudaya) and falling (Nirodha) of each and every experience, thought, extract, and movement in our lives.  There is a continuous rising and falling movement of all awareness. Awareness of feelings is extremely important because we can be conditioned to react to feelings in a split second. So fast that it doesn’t appear that we have time to slow them down. But, we do, and meditation really shines a bright light on this if we pay attention to how our conditioned mind processes what comes to us.

EXPERIENCING

     My experience boiled down to knowing that when my energy levels arose too quickly. The velocity indicated that I was in conditioned mind and would be reactive. Reactive behavior results in increased suffering. It is based on information from the conditioned mind. It is built on old information, fantasy, and delusion. It relies on stories about what might be. No wonder it results in a reaction.

     My experience showed me that seeing the energy arising, being aware of being here, and embracing my energy levels, shortened both the time and intensity of the rising and falling. This resulted in the ease of responding to what I was experiencing. This responding became the process that I started to live. I wasn’t attempting to end anything. I was seeing the difference between a reaction and a response.  Once I was aware of how responding reduced suffering I gravitated in that direction as a choice.

     Awareness  was no longer about about Dukkha (unpleasant) or Sukkha (pleaasant). Awareness was being used to see my way of relating to everything that happened in my life. Dukkha and Sukkha are relative descriptions that depend on culture, social, religious, economic, and ethical variations. How we relate to the concepts of pleasant and unpleasant is far more important than what we label as pleasant or unpleasant. Relating to every happening means we can let go of labels and concentrate on our relationship and the energy levels that arise. We bypass the labels. 

     When we respond to events and situations we find that the energy level expended is lower and softer than when we react. It has nothing to do with the commitment to our response or the seriousness of the response. We simply honor and conserve energy by responding. The energy we save by responding can be applied and put to use in other areas. 

     I was fortunate to become aware of this system and cultivated the awareness to put it to use. I find that my meditation periods center more on watching the minds processes, noticing the rising and falling, coming and going of thoughts, and seeing that the areas of being comfortable in being are increasing. There is less need for a constant chattering in my head of labels, opinion, judgement, extracts, and the proverbial search for the “Better Idea.” At this juncture there is far more being with what happens and less thinking about what happens. It’s all so interesting!

What do you think? 

Gassho, 

Bryan

 

 

 

 

 

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