Flow with whatever may happen and let your mind be free.
Stay centered by accepting whatever you are doing.
This is the ultimate.
– Chuang Tzu
– Chuang Tzu
I have been away from it for a while, which happens with me, now and then. I’ve been sitting zazen since 1991, when I first learned about it and was taught by an old unofficial zen master who lived out on the land a few hours from where I grew up. I really took to it, because it was a common-sense extension of my meditative / contemplative practice, which was starting to take on a broader, more spiritually inclusive and ecumenical feel.
I have sat with intention since that time.
My personal pattern since 1991 is that I’ll sit daily for some weeks or months — sometimes for 5 minutes, sometimes for 15… sometimes only once a day, sometimes twice or three times. And it’s good. Then, for some unaccountable reason, I’ll stop.
And go do other things.
I get busy looking into what life has to offer me. Or I feel like just sitting is not what I need to be doing with myself for a while.
And I do other things.
Then I come back. Because I’m getting too reactive to things that I know are fleeting and will pass. Or I’m feeling off-kilter and getting pulled out of whack by everybody else’s stuff. Or I really need a sense of silent focus in the midst of crazy-busy times. Or I just miss it.
The times that are crazy-busy are the times when I benefit most from taking the time to sit. I can spare the time. Especially when I think I can’t spare it.
That’s how things are right now.
Things are just a little bit nuts at work. Everyone is in a state of turmoil, and I’m no exception at times. I know that my state of mind is not helping matters any. There is a lot of static flying around — gossip and politicking and undermining in the face of organizational upheaval. There are a million different things that can — and do — pull me off balance and really trash my cool. And I know full well, it’s because I’m not completely centered… not convinced in my heart that all is Well, and that all things — including this — are fleeting and will pass.
So, I’m sitting.
Whenever I can. In the morning when I wake up, before I get into my day… either counting or simply sitting.
During the day, when I can step away and just sit and breathe for 37 breaths.
In the evening before I go to sleep… sitting cross-legged on the pillows on my bed, the comforter pulled around me snug — because it’s still cold… breathing and sitting and counting, and just letting the day fall away to make room for the present.
It reminds me of who I am, of what I am.
It reminds me that nothing that happens outside of me is actually responsible for my inner state of mind, heart, body, and spirit.
It reminds me that at the core of my being there is a glowing coal of ecstatic wholeness that burns steadily and cannot be extinguished, even though I may allow it to be covered up by the many layers of anxiety, stress, strain, uncertainty, distrust, and plain old poor habits of thought and action.
It reminds me that I can peel away those layers — just let them go — and find once again the Truth of who and what I am, always have been, and always shall be.
And it is good.
Every work day when I am in the office, I drive 45 minutes to work. That drive takes me through some gorgeous countryside.I have been making this drive nearly every work day for the past three years.And yet…I rarely see it. I am either listening to music or lost in thought.
All this beauty rolling by, each day. And I miss it.
This week, I have turned off my music. I am looking around. I am hearing the sounds of the turning wheels of my car, watching the scenery pass me by, noticing the changes from day to day, smelling the scents of wood fires burning into the wintery Springtime, noticing how my posture can use some help as I drive.
I am seeing where I am.
And it is beautiful.
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