Monk In The World

To be a monk is to have time to practice for your transformation and healing. And after that to help with the transformation and healing of other people.

Thich Nhat Hanh

Saturday, December 4, 2010

"Zen is everyday life", Karen Maezen Miller

I heard the above quote during a radio interview Karen Miller did recently. It speaks volumes to a lay practitioner who does not have a sangha and continues to make the effort to practice faithfully. 

Where the rub is for me is to use this kind of thinking as a way of excusing my zazen at times. But I'm pretty familiar with my own mind games at this time in my life. There really are no excuses for me not to sit. It is a matter of choice. Truth is, zen can't be "everyday life" if it is not supported by zazen. 

Karen also mentioned in that interview that zen is not a belief, not a philosophy. This too is what pulls me so strongly to this practice. It is about doing the very next thing I have to do with awareness. And in doing life this way I am again embraced by that wonderful experience of INTIMACY. Obviously, a difficult daily practice.

I mentioned in an earlier post that I was reading Merton's Palace of Nowhere again for Advent. James Finley states in this book that "authentic religious expression" is the "highest expression of human awareness and desire." He states:

This becomes clear in reference to Merton. His writings are sometimes philosophical or theological, sometimes poetic or anthropological, but they are always religious. Indeed, his whole life was fundamentally religious. That is to say, all his actions, talents and ambitions were finally focused solely upon the goal of achieving  transforming union with God.
As he expressed it:
Whatever I may have written, I think it can all be reduced in the end to this one root truth: That God calls human persons to union with Himself with one another in Christ.

Whatever you may believe about God or about who Jesus was in this wonderful story, it still seems to me that the above thoughts also point to this INTIMACY.

Maybe "authentic religious expression" is the same as living life with deep awareness, seeking to be intimate with each and every moment.

Zazen is such a path. Being mindful is an expression of being in union. Why do we have to name it? Why not just experience it? As soon as we name it we have limited it!

Enjoy your "Everyday life" today!


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