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, October 30, 2011

Super-imposing/ Contemporary Filters?



This is my first painting using "zenbrush" app. The background comes from a drop down menu. Then I superimposed the the rest...

So Dosho,
Maybe I'm not just acoustic.

Bows,
alan

SHUT UP!!



So I'm reading again the book of MU. Trying to go very slowly with it on the second read. 

I know this is not how I will come to experience MU but I do have "great faith" in that this book will keep pulling me back down on the cushion.

I just started reading it again yesterday. 
In the introduction there is this line on page six:

"Don't believe anything you think."

So any concept of MU that I come up with immediately puts me one step away from the experience. 

I don't mean "one step" that I am closer, 

I mean "one step" that I am as far away from "it" as I can be.

MU is not a thought!

So why don't I shut up and sit down!

Bows,
Alan

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Monk Day



 This weekend I am alone. The wife has gone to see the grandchildren and I made the choice to spend a few days like this. The cool mornings have arrived here, finally, so I have declared this a monk day for me. So I will spend this day in quiet cooking, reading, maybe writing, sitting. I will try to make it a day of reflection.

Bows to this wonderful fall season, which always creates pots of soup, cups of coffee and stirs my mind to reflect on the things that really matter, stills my heart and just seems to beckon the monk in me to give birth.

Bows to the season
when the sap begins to fall.
Clear skies, cool mornings

Alan
(a monk in the world)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

A much abridged symptomatology of modern Nihilism would include: disregard and detachment of all values except the immediate satisfaction of narcissistic, individual and herd impulses…atrophy of all notions of relatedness and responsibility to other humans, to animals, plants, the earth…degeneracy of the sense of beauty, truth, goodness, humanness, hence total mistrust of disinterested service…degradation of all fellow beings to the status of Things…progressive debility of all the higher functions by unrelenting and total bedevilment by electronic noise and imagery, media trivia, spectator sports, laugh shows, quizzes, commercials, propaganda for whiskeys, presidents, celebrities, gadgets, space trips…Unavoidable consequences: alienation from self and environment…consumer addiction---identity crisis---existential vacuum---depression---mass psychosis---violence---sexual depravity---drug and alcohol addiction---teenage and all other categories of suicide, including our own collective incubation.Where the Dow replaces the Tao, all of Life becomes desecrated.

From:What Matters:spiritual nourishment for head and heartbyFrederick Franck

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Two Roads Diverged...



Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference. 
Robert Frost


The Dow or The Tao...

as suggested by Federick Franck

Bows to our daily efforts to choose the right path!

Bows,
alan

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Commentary/Reality


All of our commentary about our life is just commentary. It isn't our life. We can't do anything else with our life but just live it and be absorbed in it, in the moment that we are living it. After that, the rest is just description after the fact. 
Norman Fischer


Maybe David Loy is right, the world is made of stories. For sure history is made of stories.


But I love a good story and a good story teller. 


It's important then to have eyes to see and ears to hear.
But seeing and hearing don't really take place until we know for ourselves...not according to someone else's commentary.


And it seems all the old farts say that when we do know, it's probably not a good idea to try and put into words. But then that's how I know the old farts said this. What is there to do?


FINGERING POINTING


PRACTICE


MOON


Maybe Dosho Port over at Wild Fox has something to say about this.


Bows,


Alan

Friday, October 21, 2011

Just This

Too lazy to be ambitious,
I let the world take care of itself.
Ten days’ worth of rice in my bag;
a bundle of twigs by the fireplace.
Why chatter about delusion and enlightenment?
Listening to the night rain on my roof,
I sit comfortably, with both legs stretched out.
Zen Master Ryokan


Sunday, October 16, 2011

Practice of Letting Go And Seeing The Moon and Then Letting Go Of The Moon




Authentic religion is more about subtraction than addition, more letting go of the false self than any attempt at engineering a true self. You can't create what you already have. Contemplation In Action~ Richard Rohr, Center for Action and Contemplation

I remember clearly how much I enjoyed and was ecstatic about my learning opportunities while at Emory University.

I learned so much and wished I had had the time to work on a PhD but that was not to be.

And now I have spent the last 15 years, not necessarily unlearning, but letting go of preconceived ideas about reality, about God, about enlightenment.

Rohr reminds me there is nothing to create, only something to discover.

 My practice is to move out of the way, to let go of ideas, conceptions, get rid of the debris (some is debris), to look beyond the finger pointing (all that learning) and


SEE THE MOON.


AND THEN LET GO OF THE MOON!


I GUESS YOU COULD SAY IT IS A COMING BACK TO EARTH. 
COMING BACK TO THIS ORDINARY LIFE, THIS ONLY LIFE I HAVE AND THE ONLY LIFE THAT IS: JUST THIS!

BOWS,
ALAN

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Spirituality in the Kitchen

Authentic spirituality is intimately related to firsthand, direct experiencing. It may mature through various disciplines, as for instance structured meditation and verbalized prayer. To live in radical openness to pure experiencing in the kitchen, bedroom, subway, newspaper, that is:to everyday life, inside as well as around oneself may, however, be equivalent of both formal meditation and verbal prayer. It is the finding of one's path without being "bamboozled, confused, sidetracked," at every step.    


From What Matters:
spiritual nourishment for head and hear
Frederick Frank


All those pies were cooked on The Big Green Egg!
Brick oven flavored pizza pies!
Now that's spiritual!!!


Alan





Thursday, October 13, 2011

Getting Out Of My Head






"If you can’t show it and can only explain it, it is not yours"
From a talk given by Norman Fischer

Also by Frederick Franck


The illusion that discursive thinking may establish contact with transcendent Reality/Truth was an ingredient of Western culture long before Descartes imagined he was, just because he thought. This is not a plea against thinking, but for another kind of thinking, that "non-thinking thinking" which includes human intuition and feeling.


It is a plea for a logic in which the absolutely relative and the absolutely Absolute do not necessarily clash, nor are even separated, in which it is not "either this or that." but perhaps "both this and that" or "neither this nor that"which approaches the really Real.


When logic follows experience, it is likely to be valid. When experience derives from logic, it is bound to be self-deception: delusional, spurious, false.
(from What Matters: spiritual nourishment for the head and heart)


Happy October,


Alan

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Greg Sitting Zazen

That's my Big Green Egg, affectionately known as "Greg". Now just to look at that baby sitting there like a mountain, you would think nothing is going on but there is a pork butt in there with some apple wood and hickory, all trying to become one.
He looks cool sitting there but the fact is this:



He's cooking between 275 and 285 constantly.


Zazen is like that for me sometimes. I'm just sitting, JUST THIS, and it really doesn't look like anything is going on, but even when I don't realize it, things are cooking and maybe one day all the ingredients will become one.


But the metaphor has been stretched too far.


Nothing has to become, only realized.




Greg has a goal. That sitting is changing something on the inside.


My sitting is just realizing what already is and then actualizing it.


But I will still eat the pork when it is done.


That way Greg's sitting will be actualized~


Bows ,


Alan

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Tomas Transtromer

Found this on the web while looking for some stuff by the Nobel Prize winner in literature: Tomas Transtromer.


Seems to speak to what I just blogged earlier.



THE BOOK BENCH
Loose leafs from the New Yorker Books Department.
OCTOBER 6, 2011MIRACLE SPEECH: THE POETRY OF TOMAS TRANSTRĂ–MER Posted by Teju Cole


Two truths approach each other. One comes from inside, the other from outside, and where they meet we have a chance to catch sight of ourselves. (From “Preludes”)

Masks


October also seems to be about Masks.

Is zen practice the unmasking of the self and reality,
And finally seeing the "two" as "one"?

But "seeing" is not enough.

The eye that "sees" also has to be the
"one".
Seeing is believing but "being" is actualizing!

What profound intimacy!

Bows,

Alan

Monday, October 3, 2011

FEAR

Continuing with our October/Halloween theme:

FEAR 

The spiritual journey from beginning to end can be characterized as the overcoming of fear. A whole philosophy and methodology could be developed around this fact. Fear shapes the false-self and fuels its desires. Our preoccupation with fear is the greatest obstacle standing between us and the abundant life we might know.
As Rumi says, much of human life is really agony---disguised and unconscious, perhaps, but nevertheless a low-grade agony prolonged by fears and unfulfilled desires.The human condition is governed by fears.We are afraid of imaginary losses and difficulties that we may never encounter.A nameless undercurrent of fear runs through many of our relationships. One man may fear his neighbor's children; employers may fear the people they have employed; workers may be afraid of their boss; and the boss may be afraid of someone's lawyer , who in turn may be afraid of his son.
Surrounded by our material comforts and lulled by our imagined independence, we are unlikely to realize the extent of the fears that control us. Yet unconsciously we carry unreasonable and imaginary fears that not only wear away at our happiness but also prevent the inflow of spirit. The more our sense of identity and well-being is determined by extrinsic factors, by things that we possess or by what people think of us, the more we are unaware of our own intrinsic worth and the more we are enslaved to the fear of loss. 
Taken From:
Living Presence: A Sufi way to Mindfulness and the Essential Self
Kabir Edmund Helminski

 

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Actualizing

Three hours later on the Big Green Egg.
See the smoke ring!
Actualized!
Or is it realized?
Maybe I need to eat it and see...really see!!

Bows,
Alan

Non-Dual

This looks a little more saucy than it actually is but do we ever see anything the way it actually is?
May have to eat this to realize it!

In The Pot Before Tomatoes

For you beginners out there...you don't put the hickory chunks in the chili...
But then are we not all beginners...

October Chili Plus A Sock

So you already know about overalls and stuff.
Chili is a family favorite during the month of October. An even  better offering is to cook this big pot on the Big Green Egg with a couple of hickory chunks to infuse that hickory flavor into the chili.
The sock is just an artistic addition in honor of Halloween...BOO!
I'll be chronicling this preparation as the day goes on...like you had nothing else to do but watch me cook chili on the Big Green Egg...

Still just having fun this weekend...

To be continued...

Bows,

Alaln

Saturday, October 1, 2011

OVERALL MONTH


CONTINUING MY ENCHANTMENT WITH OCTOBER, I HAVE DECIDED TO DECLARE OCTOBER
"OVERALLS" MONTH.
I TOLD MY WIFE I WAS GOING OUT TO BUY ME SOME OVERALLS AND SHE SAID,

"THEY WILL MAKE YOU LOOK LIKE AN OLD MAN."



SHOULD I TELL HER I WILL BE OLD ENOUGH TO DRAW SOCIAL SECURITY IN DECEMBER?
AND DON'T YOUNG MEN WEAR THESE THINGS TOO?


WHEN I GOT HOME SHE STRONGLY RECOMMENDED THAT THEY BE FOR
"AT HOME USE" ONLY.



I DON'T HAVE A PROBLEM WITH THAT.






SO GO AND GET YOU SOME OVERALLS FOR OCTOBER...OR MAYBE YOU ALREADY HAVE SOME...NICE!
MAN ARE THEY COMFORTABLE!


SO WHAT DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH PRACTICE?


I HAVE NO IDEA BUT I SURE AM HAVING FUN TODAY!


BOWS,
ALAN

OCTOBER


We had our first cool fall morning on this first day of October. How harmonious of Mother Nature.
We are now entering my most favorite time of the year and it really does impress a peace on me that I can't explain. I am a lover of cold weather and have spent my whole life (except for four years) down here in the south, go figure.

I have these romantic visions of being in a little cabin in the woods, fire burning in the fireplace, sitting on the porch, watching the sun rise as the steam from my hot coffee rises around my face.

Like this one.
Of course, my survival skills are very limited but I guess I could learn.
After my morning coffee I would go and split some wood for about an hour. After that I would go back to the cabin and do some slicing and dicing, preparing a big pot of some kind of good soup or stew.
Back outside to haul the wood back to the cabin.
Next it's time to clean the cabin and straighten up things, check the soup or stew on the stove, add some more firewood.
Now I would make another cup of coffee and just sit on the porch awhile.
Like this one.
Time for a slow walk in the woods now, paying attention to the beauty around me.




Come back to the cabin in about two hours, check on the soup or stew, take another sit on the porch, just observing all that is around in silence.


Anyway, I have rambled.

Bows to October,

Alan