Shoshin – The Beginner’s Mind

Sounds a bit paradoxical, but I can easily say that despite lessIknow45.pnghow much I’ve often thought that I knew throughout my life, or how hard-won that advanced knowledge came into being for me, the older I get the better I appreciate how little I actually DO know.

In truth it seems that with every passing day I feel this almost humorous certainty growing stronger within me: a certainty-of-my-own-ignorance—that jolting realization that what you once believed to be truth, actually wasn’t, and you may never know the REAL truth no matter how old or knowledgeable you become because that TRUTH exists in a realm that is incomprehensible to your present existence.

This body shock of awakening to our own innate ignorance can be scathingly honest and quite humbling.

It certainly was to my ego.

But to those who study Zen, this isn’t some new concept—some might simply call it ‘cultivating the Beginner’s Mind.’

What is Beginner’s Mind?  Here’s a good explanation first from Wikipedia, then from a Zen master himself.

Shoshin (初心) is a concept in Zen Buddhism meaning ‘beginner’s mind.’ It refers to having shozinbeginnersmind.pngan attitude of openness, eagerness, and lack of preconceptions when studying a subject, even when studying at an advanced level, just as a beginner in that subject would. The term is especially used in the study of Zen Buddhism and Japanese martial arts.”

Text source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shoshin

Master Shunryu Suzuki can explain it far better than I can:

“People say that practicing Zen is difficult, but there is a misunderstanding as to why. It is not difficult because it is hard to sit in the cross‑legged position, or to attain enlightenment. It is difficult because it is hard to keep our mind pure and our practice pure in its fundamental sense.

In Japan we have the phrase shoshin, which means ‘beginner’s mind.’ The goal of practice is always to keep our beginner’s mind…

For Zen students the most important thing is not to be dualistic. Our ‘original mind’ includes everything within itself. It is always rich and sufficient within itself. You should not lose your self‑sufficient state of mind.

This does not mean a closed mind, but actually an empty mind and a ready mind. If your mind is empty, it is always ready for anything; it is open to everything. In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities; in the expert’s mind there are few.

The most difficult thing is always to keep your beginner’s mind. There is no need to have a deep understanding of Zen. Even though you read much Zen literature, you must read each sentence with a fresh mind.

You should not say, ‘I know what Zen is,’ or ‘I have attained enlightenment.’ This is shoshinmaster.jpgalso the real secret of the arts: always be a beginner.

Be very, very careful about this point. If you start to practice zazen, you will begin to appreciate your beginner’s mind. It is the secret of Zen practice.”

Shunryu Suzuki
from Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind

 

So I acknowledge that here I sit in my own ignorance while trying to make sense of our life existence.

These are the very things I often write about: What is reality?—What is consciousness?—What are we doing here? Why are we here? Who benefits and how do they benefit from our incarnating here during this time period or ANY time period?

All those unanswerable questions come down to the battle in our minds over the relevance between our DOING and our BEING.

Here is a basic truth as I presently know it:  I AM.  I EXIST.  I EXPERIENCE.  I OBSERVE.

And I try like the dickens NOT to judge the value of what I am observing because to do so implies a comparative knowledgebase that I do not have—at least not from my humble human perspective.

the-older-i-get-the-less-i-know-by-that-i-mean-the-less-i-am-sure-of-i-view-p-403x403-nkb3nfSo each day I open my eyes and wonder what this day will bring to me. I wonder what new realization will occur to my sensing abilities. I wonder what type of sense I can make of whatever is happening to me and around me, but knowing full well that ‘making sense’ is a judgment in itself.

However, I also know that only through shoshinbeginner’s mind—can I simply observe all and note those observances without judgment or expectation—knowing I must simply allow all occurrences (and not labeling them as ‘good’ or ‘bad’) to flow along with the river of life into the great sea of consciousness that connects us all and patiently awaits our return.

This I also know:  Beginner’s Mind is not easily achieved nor sustained for long unless you willingly intend it.

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The VICTIM or the WORLD

“So the question is fundamentally, do you define yourself as a victim of the world, or the world?”  – Alan Watts watts meaing oflife56.jpg

Here in this short video narrated by Alan Watts,  he asks “What does it mean to spiritually awaken?”

video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7blUYJm6i-c

“So then, here’s the drama. My metaphysics, let me be perfectly frank with you, are that there is the central Self, you could call it God you could call it anything you like. And it’s all of us. It’s playing all the parts of all beings whatsoever everywhere and anywhere. And it’s playing the game of hide and seek with itself. It gets lost, it gets involved in the farthest out adventures but in the end it always wakes up, and comes back to itself. And when you’re ready to wake up, you’re gonna wake up. And if you’re not ready, you’re gonna stay pretending that you’re poor little me.”   – Alan Watts

Alan Watts is always interesting to hear; and his take on enlightenment is more direct and sometimes more cutting than the often gentle approaches of Eckhart Tolle or Deepak Chopra.  But Watts is usually pretty clear and concise in his talks.

watts univers quote.jpgHe gets to the point quickly, but with more ‘attitude,’ I guess you could call it, than the others. (Some might call it an ‘entertainer’s ego’. Others might say he simply loved to poke fun at others who claimed to be “enlightened,” as well as poking fun at himself for his “polished spokesmanship” on the many subjects that he discussed.)

His online biography is interesting and quite colorful. He died in 1973 at the age of 58, but his influence lives on in all the YouTube videos that are broadly shared throughout social media. He has presently entered a resurgence of popularity for his sharp frankness and critique of religious institutions in general.

His second video listed here is called “How to Wake Up”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iAQ4FuKlY9g

I personally find it helpful to sample all the flavors of enlightenment that others offer to us. Perhaps our own personalities respond best to one over the others.

To me as an energy worker, the feel of listening to Watts is not as peace-inducing as Tolle’s more soft and gentle approach.  Watts affect is more like stepping naked onto the shower floor and then turning on the water—where the first blast sprayed from the showerhead is cold and shocking before the warmer water rises through the pipes.

But in the 1960’s and 70’s—during the rise of the ‘Flower Children,’ he was the man to hear.

alanwattsoceanquote56.jpg

“If Not Now, Then When?”

(Thanks to Tao & Zen on  May 25  for this posting from Lama Surya Das in 1994)

(I personally align to no particular religion, but am open to quality spiritual thought. I like Buddhism for its psychological depth and self-examination aspects. I like Hinduism for its ancient Vedic Seers (as well as more modern saints) who were capable of parting the veil obscuring our perceptions on this life. I like agnostics who claim that we can’t possibly know God based solely on our limited comprehensions. And I especially like the wisdom of our own Higher Self aspects that define our life experiences within the context that this human vehicle is capable of understanding.  To me, this article expresses all of those ‘likes’ by simply discussing Dharma—the way of awakening to one’s fullest potential.)

“Buddhist meditation is the heart of the path of awakening. It is called Dharma… the way of awakening to one’s fullest potential, in Western terms.buddhamedpic5.jpg

‘Awakening from what?’ you might ask. Awakening from the sleep of semiconsciousness, the dream of delusion. Awakening to enlightenment, illumination, freedom, nirvanic peace, inner peace as well as outer peace.

This is a path that we travel. It is not a dogma or belief system that we need to accept. In fact, as a very wonderful wise friend of mine, an American lama, once said, “It doesn’t really matter what we believe. It only matters what we do and are.”

I found that interesting. In Buddhism we usually say it doesn’t matter what we do, it matters how aware we are. It shows that the outer and inner are totally inseparable. It is what we are that counts, but that is what we do, actually. Our inner state shows up in our behavior…

If we practice this path, we experience the fruits, the results. Each of us innately has that Buddha potential or Buddha-nature, enlightened perfect nature.

Not just in us, like a needle in a haystack, so hard to find; rather, it is us, just waiting to be realized fully, or actualized. So this path of meditative practice, of self-inquiry, of cultivation of awareness is a practice path that we travel ourselves. Not a dogma we need to believe.

This meditative practice is like a mirror to help us see ourselves, to better know ourselves, thoroughly — our true selves, not just our superficial personalities and conditioned social selves, our persona, but our true nature, our true selves. To unfold and realize that is possible. That’s what we call awakening the Buddha within.

An ancient rabbi, Hillel I think, said, “If not you, then who? And if not now, when?” If you are not the Bodhisattva, a selfless spiritual activist or hero serving the welfare of beings, who will be?

And if not now, when? This is a call to action–not just worldly, compulsive busy-body-like activity, but a call to Buddha-activity, enlightened activity, enlightened living… ifnotnowwhen7.jpg

Not just living wisdom from the eyebrows up, totally cerebral and intellectual. Rather, embodying truth and living it.”

~ Lama Surya Das ~ Excerpts from “Dharma Talk,” October 24, 1994; Cambridge, MA.

 

On Creating Your Reality

I really hadn’t planned to write today but when I listened to this interview with Wendy Kennedy from yesterday’s “Beyond the Ordinary Show” (April 3, 2018), I realized that wendykennedy4.pngshe was eloquently elaborating on what I have been saying in this blog about ‘creating the reality you desire by holding the energy frequency that makes it possible for that reality to exist.’ To get the message directly, use the link I provide, but otherwise I’ve paraphrased below as she spoke. (And yes, much of this is channeled info—just saying, if that bothers you. But channeled or not, it felt like TRUTH to me.)

https://www.beyondtheordinaryshow.com/replays/?inf_contact_key=8874ac10566758a7743475da9173ed503f445e7d6e05e4e054555eb4ef208abe

“Your reality is based on your belief systems. And you place yourself on a NOW moment that is aligned in that.  If you change your frequency, you change to different versions of your reality—so your reality is all of your own making.

It’s about you—not other people. It’s about what YOU are doing that creates your reality, not what others are doing. Put yourself back into personal power and build for yourself what you want to see in your life. You are NO ONE’s victim. Stand in your own power. Build it—but be inclusive—build your own reality—the reality you wish to live in.

WendyKennedyS14-main-graphic-1024x1024.pngYou aren’t separate from others and yet you are not dependent upon them for your Spirit growth, or for the reality that you create.

Work on your state of BEING. Consciously and intently, work on your state of BEING. Live in love, not fear. Live with the highest intention for goodness and light. BE that person you wish existed all around you. BE the love, BE the light. Hold that frequency you desire to create the reality that you wish to live.

You are inherently safe. But what you believe about your present reality is what attracts the things to you that you fear. What you truly believe about yourself and the world around you is what you attract to you.

This is a continuing process. This is not a one-time effort. Every day and throughout the day, you consciously bring yourself into that higher frequency of Divine Light and Love, and HOLD that frequency as long as possible. Then later in the day, do it again; then later, do it again.  Day after day throughout the day you keep doing this—keep raising and holding that higher frequency. You keep releasing your old limiting beliefs, now allowing yourself to feel your Oneness with everything and everyone.

Let go of the old. Dream a NEW dream. It is time for NEW dreams. Vision the New dream. Feel the NEW dream within you. What would it feel like to live this NEW experience? How does it feel inside to be safe and secure, to be loved and aligned with Spirit’s highest intentions? THAT is the emotional energy you hold in your consciousness to call that more desirable reality to you.thinkingfeelingreality.jpg

To create the NEW dream, you have to not only envision that future reality, but you have to feel the emotions of it as well—you must feel the joy of living it. Your emotional energies (these are the frequencies that your body generates) are what substantiate the reality that you call to you. …

Watch your attachment to the ‘form’ of how you think something should materialize for you. Instead, watch for the energy frequency that comes to you that matches the frequency of what you wanted—don’t be as concerned with the manifestation ‘packaging’ as to what is IN the package. Don’t discount the content because it didn’t come in the package that you expected it to arrive in.  caycerealitythought

Get quiet to recognize the frequencies that are around you and that you attract. You have to be able to read subtle frequencies, and you can’t do that when you are madly interacting with your environment.

Stop. Get quiet. And FEEL what is happening around you. Be ready to receive what you had requested, but be ready to receive something other than what you might have envisioned for yourself. Don’t look for the matching form of your desired reality—look/feel for the matching frequencies of that reality to know whether what you have requested has arrived. …”

***

Personally, I (RAH) thought this interview was worth hearing and only wanted to share the opportunity to do so with you.

What Does It Mean to Be ME?

ecktolle5.jpg

Going within, according to Eckhart Tolle, is to taste the essence of who we are at soul level.  Being a Presence—the recognition of Beingness—is the footprint of Spirit in physical form, and yet, Spirit exists beyond physicality. We are everywhere and nowhere, distinguished only by our point of singularity—or as Carlos Castaneda would call it in his many books, by our “reality assemblage point” positioned in our luminous energy field.universewitnessing.jpg

But back to Eckhart, when you are conscious of yourself, you are aware of what consciousness is. You are the object of your consciousness, but at the same time, you are still consciousness even without the object being conscious of itself.

 

If you are somewhat confused, you aren’t alone. I like Eckhart butthatiam6and his philosophical examinations on our Earthly presence here, but to speak fluent “Eckhart Tolle” is to turn phrases into circular statements. And yet, there is such profuse clarity in flipping our thoughts to reflect back to us their underlying intent—a type of perceptual juxtapositioning—that it feels like suddenly understanding the Zen koan “the sound of one hand clapping,” as when you smack your forehead with recognition of understanding the truth behind the ancient mystery.

What set this post off was that I listened to a short video of Eckhart’s on what it means to lightofconsciousnessgo within, https://www.eckharttollenow.com/new-home-video/default.aspx?free=/847159847/ and found that I understood more than what his words were implying, but at the same time, I missed the point of “What it means to be me” other than I am the metaphorical beam of sunlight looking back at the sun.

I get it and yet, I didn’t. Is that the whole point?

To be ME, must be to be confused—sunburned and blinded by the light’s intensity, but still confused.

The confusion part of ME-ness I understand very well.

This must have been a participatory exercise rather than a lecture.

It’s All in the Process

rainonbuddhaequally.jpg

While this posting could be on analyzing the importance of life’s journey vs. destination, it is actually more so about the importance of bringing awareness to how karma eventually unfolds for all, even when we doubt that it will.

When I saw this “raining on Buddha head” graphic I realized that I’m holding a concerned anxiety over the integrity of certain processes that are currently underway: processes like the democratic process, like the judicial process, like the equal law enforcement process for both rich and poor.

And while part of me—the shadow part that has NO patiencefears corruption at the highest levels of government will undermine our slowly creaking wheels of justice; another part of mewheelsofjustice.jpg recognizes that those wheels must keep turning on their own until all the cogs fall into proper place and the clock strikes the proper hour for judgment to be rendered. I might not be happy with the speed of justice, but the process is underway.

Justice is an ongoing process, although an often fairly slow one.

I’ve personally seen a similar slow-process-leads-to-eventual-resolution situation on a much smaller scale where those once in power positions were eventually toppled. However, it took far more time and hand-wringing by all involved than I would have believed possible for it to happen, but in fact, it DID happen. It is to that example of “the once powerful shall fall” that I keep reminding myself when I now want to shout at the television and pound my fist on my chair arm in frustration.

“His time will come,” I warn the uncaring images on the TV screen. “Justice will prevail. Democracy and our United States Constitution will hold solid and will right itself from this temporary tarnished upheaval.”  However, the television screen isn’t so easily convinced.

I truly hope it turns out that way—that justice does prevail and the guilty are punished. But pertaining specifically to the graphic statement above, no matter the pending justice dalailamakindnessor lack thereof in the current political mess, I had to ask myself in all honesty: “Where is my kindness in this situation?  Where is my kindness to all participants in this mock political drama?”

The only answer I had was that I’m not sure where it is, but I sure know where it isn’t.

So how do I address my inability to feel love and compassion to those demonstrating such blatant self-serving stupidity and such flagrant attempts at self-preservation at the expense of damaging the foundations of our democratic system of government? How do I feel compassion and show kindness (or even express kindness) to them?

First of all, I’m not Buddhist. I’m not anything other than me. I don’t follow any religion’s doctrines and dogma. But I am an energy worker, and from a pragmatic perspective, as an energy worker I know how important holding your personal frequency as high as possible is for all positive experiences around you to materialize.  The frequencies that you hold, are what you attract to you.lovecompassiondl.jpg

I know that holding kindness frequency—the love and compassion frequencies—are key to holding the space from which the best possible outcomes can emerge. You don’t get a lot of resultant positives from holding the low-frequency emotions of fear and anger—love and the highest frequencies of compassion and joy manifest those positive outcomes in our lives.

And yet in honesty, love and compassion really aren’t what I’m feeling over the present situation. How do I shift that energy in myself?

The non-rational, emotional part of me says, “I don’t. I feel what I feel. I have a right to be angry and anxious. It’s a genuine feeling.”  That may be true enough. Of course I can easily fret and fume and stew in my own negativity. But it’s pretty nasty energy, and it only ferments more anger and hatred in my mind and my life.

But the rational, practical energy-worker part of me says, “Don’t shoot myself in the foot over this slow-moving process. The compassionate stance may not be what I am feeling at present, but if I can shift my own perspective to the over-view of this energetic interaction—if enough of us can simply help to hold the highest possible frequencies of einsteinenergyfreq.jpgDivine Love and Divine Light for all of us in this mess, then the situation will resolve itself in the most harmonious way because disharmony naturally flows toward harmonious stability; like water, due to the force of gravity, flows to its lowest level of containment.

The solution for me in this situation (and likely for many of us) is really pretty simple: Hold the space for higher resolution to occur! Just hold the overall collective energy as high as possible without judgment for all of the participants. Allow the Universe to resolve this within Its own timeline, not mine.

Can I (or we) do that?

I sure hope so.

Silence Speaks So Loudly

During the most difficult times of our lives, there really are no words that sooth us as much as loving arms that hold us.

There really are no right words to speak when words are meaningless compared to actions.

Empathy is such a grace-filled quality—just being—just feeling—just knowing that only the warmth of another human body can calm grace.jpganother’s shaking.

With loss so deep there are few consolations that matter—even fewer wanting to be heard.

So say nothing other than your sorrow for such a personal vacuum.

And simply BE THERE for all who suffer.

BE THERE.

Silently.