At practice last night, we were saying goodbye to Marika Ishmael and Mick Lorusso, two long time sangha members hitting the road to find their path. As a result, it made sense to sit with this koan:
I go out into wild places, searching for my true nature; Where [what] is my true nature?
We sat with the koan, poured tea, then played a simple but more focused game. We sat for only one minute, where we were asked to pay special attention to how we searched. What was that process like? Where did that go, how did we move?
Some people noticed a tension with the koan. One on hand, they felt like the "right" response was to say that our true nature is right here, on the other hand, they felt like they had seen great value in understanding their true nature when they traveled, or wandered. Many people started their investigation with a physical pain, or discomfort, then looked under that. People responded that they visualized the inside of their mind, and saw it as a jungle, with monkeys and noises and large looming trees. People reported that as they felt like they were closer in their searching, the more they felt like the searching might, in fact, be their true nature.
The interesting thing to me was that no one hesitated that they had a true nature, or that they knew where to look. Everyone had some instinct.
Then we went to Rocket Fish and said goodbye to Mick and Marika. There was sake and a really nice red wine (thanks C). We had sushi and seaweed, and peas and mushrooms. Mick dedicated some art to the zendo, which you can see when you come and sit with us. If you have to leave, it was a nice way to go.
As many of you are already aware, June 4, Wind-in-Grass will be presenting its 5th full day meditation workshop.
The theme will be Career and Meditation ("Zen and the art of making a living"?). Broadly, we will be exploring the seeming contradiction between a meaningful career and its responsibilities, and a spiritual practice and discussing how to navigate, and combine the two.
But I thought it would be an interesting experiment to give the Sangha the opportunity to shape the talk that affects us all (well, not you trust fund babies): What interests you about this subject?
This has been sent around internally. Some of the initial responses have been:
"At the end of the work day, I am all worked up, mind moving a mile a minute. Its a high, its stressful, its exhausting. After a day of meditation, its like the opposite- I feel calm, centered, relaxed. The obvious answer to resolving the contradiction seems to be "make work your practice", but how can really do that?"
"Things that come to mind are: -Are my life [work] and my practice two different things?- Obviously that is a stacked question, because my experience is that they're not. But I do still watch my mind create that distinction. and from here are all the little assumptions that arise from making that distinction: I need time to have a spiritual practice Practice is what I do on the pillow Wanting to make a living is somehow wrong This should look different blah blah blah...."
"Does awakening mean I am going to have to leave my corporate job?"
"Should I chase my passion or be happy with 'just a job'? Where's the balance?"
PLEASE use the comment section to build the discussion, even if you are not thinking of attending, your experiences and questions are what this practice is all about
“A Course on Koans” is the delusion-riddled work of Chris Kufu (“Wind in the Void”) Wilson, who began practicing Zen in 1967. He regards Taizan Maezumi, Robert Aitken, and David Weinstein as his root teachers. Each of them pecked at his shell until he “completed” the never-ending koan curriculum of the Harada-Yasutani lineage.
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