Don’t Fight Nature

Since the day we bought our house, some 14 years ago, I struggled to get plants to grow in a little triangular section of dirt by the front door. Everything died. Finally I just filled it with red rock and a cactus, calling it good. Lo and behold, a lonely little seed from an Impatiens that I had hanging in a basket on the front porch landed in these rocks, and has been doing nicely ever since it decided that was home. It hangs in there as a reminder to me not to struggle so much against the natural beauty of things, and sometimes it is just best to grow where you fall….

What’s Underneath

A student got discouraged because the higher states he experienced always passed. “What’s the use?” he asked.

Suzuki Roshi laughed and said, “That’s right, no use. All these states come and go, but if you continue your practice, you find there’s something underneath.

-Zen Is Right Here by Shunryu Suzuki

All the emotions…

When one first contemplates the vast spectrum of emotions that we are all capable of experiencing, it seems that the emotions are countless.  After having busied myself with sitting for a while now, however, I have come to believe that there are really only two emotions, happiness and fear.  I am not saying that we don’t experience anger, jealousy, hatred, and the like.  What I am saying is these are just specific flavors of the two emotions listed above.  Having had to sit with my anger before, I came to recognize it as always  being fear of something: fear of looking like an idiot, fear of being used, fear of being hurt.  I no longer strive to bury or extinguish the less than attractive emotions; instead I take them to the zafu with me. where they never fail to show me something about myself that I otherwise might never have realized.  It’s not enough to just say, “I’m mad,” or “I’m excited.” Always ask, “Why?” You may find growth if you have the courage to respond honestly.