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

Monday, May 30, 2011

Y?

TEN REASONS


Why do I do this thing that I am doing this very moment? 


1. It's an ego trip at times. 
2. It's a form of creativity (if you saw me draw you would be thankful I have chosen writing).
 3. It is a spiritual practice. 
4. It reveals things to me that I might not be aware of if I did not do this. 
5. It's the trendy thing to do.
6. I've always liked to write, whether it's good or bad, it is good for me. 
7. Sometimes I actually think I have something to say that is important.
8. I spend most of my day listening to others.
9. It is a great way to communicate.
10. It is a form of intimacy with this life I live.


Sorry but I have to add a #11


11. It is a form of solitude.


And again #12 (don't you like my flexibility?)


12. Just look at my other two blogs. Two other good reasons to say something (sometimes) that matters about this life.


Bows,
Alan

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Living Eliot's "...in all of our exploring..."

T.S. Eliot Quotes

T.S. Eliot
"We shall not cease from exploration and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started... and know the place for the first time."
- T.S. Eliot

This quote has meant a lot to me for a long time but 
even more so in my journey at present. I am, at 
present, reading for the second time Father Richard Rohr's 
book, FALLING UPWARD: A SPIRITUALITY FOR THE 
TWO HALVES OF LIFE. 
This is not just a book for Christians. 
It is a book for anyone who takes life, the spiritual life, which is 
this life, seriously. 
I'm not doing a review here but for those of you who have not 
encountered a wise approach to the Jewish and Christian 
scriptures, this book is phenomenal. If I were going to use a 
Buddhist description of what it is about I would say it reveals the 
path to becoming a true Bodhisattva or a true human being 
or to put it another way, a responsible adult. 
It has been refreshing to explore some of my roots again 
and to be able to "know" them for the first time, again.
 Another wonderful finger pointing 
to the moon!
Nine Bows to Father Richard,
Alan

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Zazen vs Living


Dosho Port over at Wild Fox Zen ask his readers a few days ago which is stronger. He phrased it zazen vs daily life.
So I'm sitting out on my deck with my wife this morning, doing my "daily life" of soaking up some 
vitamin D. 
The thought comes to me about my daily life and how my zazen has penetrated my mind in such a way that my daily life is different...at times.

So it comes to me that it is not a matter of which is stronger. It is a matter of when do the two become one?

Is that what it means to "actualize the fundamental point?"

Bows,
Alan 



Sunday, May 15, 2011

Reminding The Community


I had the grand privilege of baptizing my first grandchild yesterday, Caroline Jo Coleman. She has my daughter's baptism dress on and a sweet little bonnet her uncle Jason and aunt Anne sent her. Jason and Anne could not be there because they are expecting our second grandchild any day now.

I think the thing that stood out for me most was my reminding all those present about the responsibility we have for her life, both physically and spiritually.

I invited family members to speak words to Caroline.
 Four of her cousins. the oldest being twelve, shared quotes their mother had them memorize from Paul Foster ( teacher), Mother Teresa, Vincent Van Gough, and an African proverb. Grandparents, great grandparents, aunts and uncles all shared.
My words are shared on her personal blog post @ yourgrandpa.blogspot.com


Recognizing the community of love around her, I was reminded of the importance of knowing you have a place you belong , a community, a sangha, if you will, which is yours, where you experience love and guidance about the ways of this life.


A place to come home to when your world seems more than you can handle on your own. But also a place where you are reminded, if truth abides in that place, about the things that matter.


Some of us have this gift all our lives. Some of us have to go around the world to find it. Some never find it.
I'm in the habit of saying nothing is learned at birthday parties, mostly at funerals.


 Caroline's baptism changed my thoughts on that matter.
There is much to be learned when celebrating the beginning of a new life and the celebrations of the birthdays to come.


The next time you are invited to a birthday party of a child in the family and you can go, DO IT!


Community happens through skillful means. Community happens with intention, not by mistake.


Why do we practice?
Look at that sentient being in the middle of this picture.


Nine Bows to my teacher, Caroline,


Grampa

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Thanks Michael - Nice connection


My brother-in-law contacted me today and sent me this song by the great Lynard Skynard band. He said this is the way we would stay connected today.
I thought that was cool.

Here it is in acoustic by Shinedown

Enjoy!

And thanks to YouTube.




Just This! Which is Just This?






The Myriad Things

Somewhere it was said, "You can only be where you are, so pay attention to that place. That is where your life is happening.

BOWS,
ALAN

Saturday, May 7, 2011

CONSTANTLY LOOKING OUT





Surfing the web this morning and found this quote on the paintedpath.org. The quote is attributed to Rumi.

Don't go anywhere. I beg you; the Moon you are looking for is inside you. --Rumi


This quote reminded me again of how I have the tendency to keep looking outwards for whatever it is I am looking for.
I remember an experience I had at Borders book store several years ago. I was kneeling down in front of a shelf of books, lusting for one particular book. The thought came to my mind, "You won't find it in any of these books." I stood up and left the store.


 I could tell you that I fasted from reading for the next twelve or twenty-four months and began an intensive meditation routine and that I now levitate at will, walk on water and actually polished a stone into a mirror, but I won't.


I will tell you that I ordered a book by Rumi this morning and already have it on my kindle. I will tell you that I continue to struggle with disciplining my mind, my life, my practice, my everything.
I will tell you that I am an ordinary guy, looking for an ordinary mind.





Don't go anywhere. I beg you; the Moon you are looking for is inside you. --Rumi

Bows,
Alan

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Thanks For Sharing kate




Bodhisattvas


Bodhisattvas:
returning to
teach us again…
and again…and
not giving up.

Bodhisattvas:
not perfection
but openness…
not judgment but
encouragement.

Bodhisattvas:
invisible
to us sometimes
until we turn
around, look back.

Bodhisattvas:
yet now and then
we see them, hear
them, with the eyes,
ears, of our hearts.



                                                Kate Driggers
                                                04.30.11
                                                Visitation Monastery, Mobile
                                                gift before breakfast

Monday, May 2, 2011

Just This or Just That





Sometimes I wonder if I am missing my life because of my practice. Intellectually I know my practice is not separate from my life, but physically and emotionally it feels like practice is something I go and do and then return to my life.

I know this not to be the truth. I know the truth is that all things are practice, it's just we don't always show up where we are. John Tarrant's current piece at Zenosaurus, which is also in the new book, The Book of Mu, points to my dilemma when he says,

 " Adjusting our states of mind is a gymnastic work out that never ends. Our minds are still in beta and we live at some distance from our  actual lives"




There are times when I believe that what I need to do is to let go of all the reading, all the zazen and anything else that has to do with a "spiritual" life and just live my life.


But I know this is not the way either.


So, is it this or is it that?


MU to both.

It's both and none.


Bows,
Alan