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

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Cooking Mu!

Over at Wild Fox Zen, Dosho Port is talking about 

"... Becoming Mu through Prayer"

Today I'm in the kitchen cooking...trying to bring all these ingredients together to make a nice marinara sauce.



Sunday, September 11, 2011

Tilling The Field of Our Hearts


Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,
there is a field.  I'll meet you there.

When the soul lies down in that grass,
the world is too full to talk about.
Ideas, language, even the phrase each other
doesn't make any sense.

From Essential Rumi
by Coleman Barks

I offered Rumi's poem to my two granddaughters for reflection this morning on their blogs.

A beautiful image from Rumi but this particular field he speaks of does not just exist "out there" somewhere.

We can't meet each other in that field until we do the work of meeting ourselves and then do the hard work of going beyond that.

We have to work on the fields of our own hearts and minds.

And if we will be persistent and with all that mysterious grace is, maybe we will be able to actualize that field as our very lives.

The work begins here, not there!

Tears for the hatred that exist in this world!

Deep bows,


Thursday, September 8, 2011

Concentrated-Consecrated Life


Continuing with my conversation with my son, he has raised my awareness about the shape of my life.

One of his questions, in our ongoing discussion was about “community” and my seemingly lack thereof…

His words are:
If life is about love and relationships, then tell me how your practice has drawn you into better community with others on your journey.  I'm not attacking here, I honestly want to know.  My observation has been that, rather, it has made you more "alone" (not lonely).  I don't think that's who you really are.

One of my longstanding mantras to my children is:

“Life is about love and relationships. You can have many “things” in this life but if you don’t have those, you don’t have a life.”

So you can see why he would ask the question he has asked.

I don’t have what I would call a large experience of community that is likeminded. But there are regional factors that create that shape of my life, 

but he is right, I don’t have an active connection to any other large form of community. But that shape is by choice. I really don’t need that. 

So this “alone” shape he sees is by design, for the most part.

This got me to thinking about small vs concentrated.

So is my life small?


My life is concentrated.

This concentrated life gives me the opportunity to be in deeper, more intimate relationship with those who are closest to me.

Could I have a “bigger” life? Could I have a more active life? Sure!
But I don’t have the need for that bigger and more active life.

I like my concentrated life. It allows me to pay attention to what really matters.

And my kids know what that is.

A good friend of mind reminded me that Jesus had a concentrated life when it came to relationships.

I can't wait to break bread again with my family!



Monday, September 5, 2011

Just This

My son and I spent the last seven or eight days having a discussion about my spiritual path. We do that on occasion and as we have both gotten older, we do it in a reasonable way. There have been times when we both were too defensive, but mostly on my part.
He is 35 years old now and has a child of his own, Sweet Alice, my second granddaughter.
He is a wonderful father and great husband. He is married to a wonderful lady named Anne, my precious daughter-in-law.
I say all that because I mean it.

He has a lot of questions about my "path", genuinely trying to understand what it is that draws me to Zen practice. And I have a very difficult time trying to put all that into words.
But how wonderful this conversation is as compared to who will win the national football championship, albeit, it will probably not be his under grad Alma mater, Vanderbilt.

With his permission, I am offering this quote from all our discussion:

He had stated that I seem frustrated and I asked him if he could be more specific about that observation.
Here is his response:
I thought you might ask this, and it is difficult to pin down specific instances, but I just get a general sense - probably in the last couple of years - that you are more restless, more anxious, more fearful, and less at peace. It seems to manifest itself more in a temperament - I don't think you have allowed it to affect your relationships. We have always felt very very loved and cared for by you - it just seems like you have a battle going on between an internal demon, and that progressively that battle has become more superficial (in the literal sense of the word). Does that make sense?
It could just be my interpretation of what I observe - nevertheless, there it is.

Seems to me his observation is worth digging into.
I have asked him to point it out when he sees it so we can get to the root of this.

My gut is that this is just part of my getting older, having grand children and probably my own death, and my impatience with ignorance about what really matters.

But what a great conversation to have with your son.

Ah, intimacy!
Maybe between the two of us we can actualize the fundamental point.

And become one!

I love you son,
 aka Grampa

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Losing Your Sight

You see things so differently than the old ones 

around you. It ‘s 

your unconditioned self, your original face, 

original eyes, 

experiencing life, just as it really is.

You point to things, seeing. 

We go about labeling everything you 

point to.

You begin to lose your sight.

At some point those shapes and forms you love  

so much won’t be 

shapes and forms you are attracted to.

It will be a Christmas cactus.

It will be a green Christmas cactus.

It will be a green Christmas cactus with flowers.

It will be a green Christmas cactus with flowers 

that are red.

That will be the time you become blind,

Seeing like the old ones.

Baby and a plant.

Seeing with Caroline’s eyes,

All things become new.