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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Brigit Anna McNeill’s Prose on “Winter”

“We are approaching the threshold of winter.

Life is being drawn into the earth, painlessly descending down into the very heart of herself.

And we as natural human animaljessicaboehmanearthpic.jpgs are being called to do the same, the pull to descend into our bodies, into sleep, darkness and the depths of our own inner caves continually tugging at our marrow.

But many find the descent into their own body a scary thing indeed, fearing the unmet emotions and past events that they have stored in the dark caves inside themselves, not wanting to face what they have so carefully and unkindly avoided.

This winter solstice time is no longer celebrated as it once was, with the understanding that this period of descent into our own darkness was so necessary in order to find our light. That true freedom comes from accepting with forgiveness and love what we have been through and vanquishing the hold it has on us, bringing the golden treasure back from the cave of our darker depths.

This is a time of rest and deep reflection, a time to wipe the slate clean as it were and clear out the old so you can walk into spring feeling ready to grow and skip without a dusty mountain on your back & chains around your ankles tied to the caves in your soul.

A time for the medicine of story, of fire, of nourishment and love.

A period of reconnecting, relearning & reclaiming of what this time means brings winter back to a time of kindness, love, rebirth, peace and unburdening instead of a time of dread, fear, depression and avoidance.

This modern culture teaches avoidance at a max at this time; alcohol, lights, shopping, overworking, over spending, bad food and consumerism.

And yet the natural tug to go inwards as nearly all creatures are doing is strong and people are left feeling as if there is something wrong with them, that winter is cruel and leaves them feeling abandoned and afraid. Whereas in actual fact winter is so kind, yes she points us in her quiet soft way towards our inner self, towards the darkness and potential death of what we were, but this journey if held with care is essential.

She is like a strong teacher that asks you to awaken your inner loving elder or therapist, holding yourself with awareness of forgiveness and allowing yourself to grieve, to cry, rage, laugh, & face what we need to face in order to be freed from the jagged bonds we wrapped around our hearts, in order to reach a place of healing & light without going into overwhelm.

Winter takes away the distractions, the noise and presents us with the perfect time to rest and withdraw into a womb like love, bringing fire & light to our hearth.”

  • illustration by Jessica Boehman
  • words Brigit Anna McNeill

A Life Well-Lived

I knew him for a short time—perhaps a year.  Even upon meeting him, from the start I could see that he was near the end of his journey.  The years had accumulated around lesterfordobit.jpghim and were starting to weigh him down. His walk was hesitant; his navigation abilities less certain.

“You remind me of my sister when she was younger,” he once said to me. I smiled and said ‘thank you,’ having no idea what aspect of my appearance or demeanor was so similar. But I knew his sister was no longer in this world.

I complimented his always-dapper appearance at church. He would often wear the beautiful purple shirt and matching tie with his dark suit. His eyes would smile with delight. He was a compassionate but proud man, and he wore his humanity on his sleeve for all to see.

Yesterday, amidst the rain and snow flurries, he was buried.

During the funeral service, the most moving portions were the testimonials of three of his twelve grand-children—all were young adults—all claimed deep love for him and were clearly products of his careful nurturing. They told tales of grandpa’s many skills and helpful nature; of how he had pitched in during their home repairs and computer problems. Who knew, even in his advanced years, that he was such a computer technician besides being a woodworker and general handyman?

I smiled frequently during their choked-up speeches hearing of his many abilities and caring nature–and even of his earlier motorcycling escapades.  These were all aspects of Lester that I never knew—aspects that you didn’t see beyond his body’s more-current frailty during the short church services that I had attended with him.

After the service the large family all slowly filed past, following the casket as it was rolled out of the church and into the hearse to be taken to the burial area.  We sang “Amazing Grace” to their parting processional, and I thought—Wow, that is the true sign of a life well-lived—how deeply this gentle man had affected those around him, especially his loving, close-knit family members.

Other than peripherally, I may not have truly known and appreciated you, Lester, but your loving family certainly did.

Well done sir!

 

The Body of LIGHT

albertolightbody67.jpgI can’t recall how long I have known this to be a fact—that we are light-beings—and that we are far more energy than mass.

But then, time doesn’t really matter in this consideration because time is relative, as are we to some extent—relative to the dimension that we inhabit.

When I first explored the energy practices of Usui REIKI and Karuna REIKI, I quickly realized that there was more to me than I had first assumed.  Energy flowed through me and from me. Energy enveloped me.

But I wasn’t just a conduit of extraneous energy flow—I AM energy itself and I perpetually swim in an ocean of energy.

I AM (as YOU are) a sum of electro-magnetic lightwave-frequencies that can shift higher or lower at will—MY will.  For the most part, I can consciously control my own energy frequency.

In fact I constantly HUM with that energy universefractal.jpgfrequency.  It’s a high-pitched whine that stops suddenly when “something” interrupts/invades the boundaries of my energy field.

I even have an energy signature that is specific to me alone; and my energy signature affects the overall energy matrix around me in which I vibrate.

That energy signature vibration attracts sympathetic vibrations to me to resonate in harmony with my own energy-body frequency, or it repels those energy frequencies that cannot coexist with my own energy in my immediate surroundings.

If my personally-held frequency is high enough, I can raise the matrix surroundings to match my own frequency.  I can act like that fractal repeating multiple examples of its own pattern in all directions.

But if my surroundings are so low in frequency that I cannot raise them, then they can adversely affect (lower) my personal energy frequency to make me uncomfortable in that situation or possibly steal energy from me and make me sick.

This is why it is SO important to be able to hold the highest possible personal energy-frequency—we need to be able to support our own best growth opportunities, and be able to defend ourselves from lesser frequencies that may cross our paths.

lightdarkcandle.jpgPeople often talk about terms like ‘light’ vs. ‘darkness’ like they are moral judgments.  It’s not that simple.

I’m telling you those terms are simply misnomers for higher or lower frequencies that can positively or negatively affect us and our surroundings.

Higher frequencies are those most associated with love and compassion vibes. While lower frequencies are associated with hatred and fear energies.  True, hatred and fear are powerful emotions that can lead to violent actions and reactions.

But love—altruistic, unconditional love—is a frequency that can sooth the most savage among us. It is a very high lightwave frequency—and it’s very powerful, but in a completely different way from the energies of rage and violence.

Love can be life-affirming—life-appreciating. It is soothing and feels harmonious. We feel at peace with ourselves in this vibration.

Hate/fear can be life-disrupting—life-destroying. It feels skin-crawling and uncomfortable. It is the seventh-chord searching for harmonious resolution back to base. We feel disconnected and destabilized. We feel the need to strike out or release the pent up frustration that threatens to overwhelm us.  There is NO peace in this state of being. No violent action ever feels truly satisfying and final. Violence simply perpetuates itself.

Here’s the main difference between high frequencies everything_is_energy_quote.jpgand lower frequencies: Do you want to live your life in the frequencies of love and feeling at peace, or in the frequencies of hatred and feeling constantly fearful and distrusting?

My suggestion for the best possible life is to try and surround yourself with higher-frequency, natural surroundings to hold your own frequency as high as possible for you.  Then hang with higher-frequency friends who don’t need to steal your energy because they can generate plenty high-frequency energy on their own.  You’ll experience lots of happiness and laughter with those friends.  You’ll want to be around them again.

And if you can keep your own frequencies high as well, they in turn will want to be around you again also.

Funny how that works.

 

If You Can’t Say Anything Nice…

“If you can’t say anything nice about someone, say nothing at all.”

That’s a tough mother-ism to live by in today’s world.

monkeynospeak6I do think that silence is a blessing seldom appreciated. In fact, I could say nothing about many things and many people, and I would be the better for it.

But…. also in today’s world, saying nothing allows the more vocal hordes to flood the airwaves with venom and lies.

Democracies aren’t maintained by the silence of its members. It takes willing voices and willing voters to make serious changes in our world.

The next couple months will be a nasty time for impassioned outcries and claims, true or non.  I have my own opinions on much of what is occurring politically and in our government, as well as having my own thoughts on how best to change the current problems.

However, none of my opinions matter other than on Tuesday, November 6th, 2018 when we the people have the opportunity to express our beliefs on voting ballots across the nation. THAT is the day for expressing opinion. THAT is the day when what you think really matters.

So you can be as vocal as you wish—or as allowed by laws until that time—but the only time what you think really matters is on November 6th, 2018.

Vote!  It can be the single most important thing you can do for yourself, for your loved ones, and for the world in which we live.

VOTE  Tuesday, November 6th, 2018!votemontage

And if you are really impassioned with your candidates, then get involved in those campaigns and help others understand why those folks most appeal to you.

Those are things that you can do.

When it comes to the President of our country, I honestly can’t think of anything nice to say about him—NOTHING—NADA.   So I will actively promote positive changes for the people that I can easily speak well of.

Recognize that this is your chance to make a difference around you—get involved in positive change and work toward a better future for ALL of us—not just for the richest 1 percent, of which I will also say nothing good about, so they shall remain unmentioned.

Stand up—speak out—and organize your friends to make positive changes in our world. These are things that you CAN do.

1042703_1280x720.jpg

So just DO IT!

The Quest for What We Lack

For some strange reason, the Tin Man from “The Wizard of Oz” kept coming intotinmanwizoz5.jpg my head this morning, saying, “If I only had a heart…”    And I of course assumed my subconscious was referring to the large “Orange One” on stage with all his daily ranting and conspiratorial lunacy. Yes, if HE only had a heart instead of that huge black hole swirling in his voluminous body.

But, he doesn’t.

So then my mind continued the “Wiz of OZ” analogy with the Cowardly Lion, who must be Congress, right?  If Congress only had the courage to stand up for our democracy’s constitution.  Yes, if only.

wizoz70thannOkay by now I’m paying attention and trying to determine who the other main players are in this mind-game parody.  Who is left: the Scarecrow, Dorothy and Toto, the Wiz himself, besides the witches good and bad, and Auntie Em.   Cheering Munchkins and Flying Monkeys must be all the rest of us, I assume, maybe representing our good and bad angels.

To me the main message of “The Wizard of Oz” depicts the search for self-awareness—where all characters set out to find the qualities that they think they lack in themselveslike the quest for self-knowledge and self-actualization.  And if we were to carry this into our present situation, I’d have to say that I think the large “Orange One” is too self-consumed to ever be self-aware, so I’ll make the analogous connections for him.

Back to matching characters to our current situation, I think Toto—the little dog—is Dorothy’s subconscious trying to guide her back to safety and sanity.

The Scarecrow was looking for a brain, right?  Or did he just represent innocence and ignorance? Who could that be, eh?  I know who I think it represents but I hate to say it here, so you’ll just have to guess.sepiadorothy6.png

But who is Dorothy?  Dorothy who searches to find who she really is and to make her way back “HOME” –who does Dorothy represent?  I think Dorothy represents the American ideal of who we are as a people trying to find our way back to being compassionate human beings who believed in fairness, equality, and the right to self-determination.

Then what does the Wizard lack and who does he represent?  Hmmm.  Well, in the show he’s a con-man.  He’s a fraud.  He pretends to know all the answers.  He tricks people.  He wizbehindcurtain67.jpgruns a phony operation to gain respect and demand adulation, but he is basically insecure and impotent.  Hmmmm. Who could that be??????

Perhaps the Prez can play two parts in this mind-parody: Tin Man and Oz Wiz.

So that leaves the good and bad witches and Auntie Em left to assess.

The witch dichotomy is dependent on your political affiliation, so I’ll leave that for personal consideration, but Auntie Em, … the maternal figure who is Dorothy’s stand-in auntieemsymbol45mother during these harsh-life conditions—who represents the safety and security of a stable, can’t–be-blown-away-by-a-tornado HOME.

She could be the symbol of Lady Liberty—the American ideological standard bearer, don’t you think?  Auntie Em as Lady Liberty.  “Bring me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free…”  Yes, I can see that.

So, let’s bring it home here ourselves:  What is it that we the citizens of this once great country lack here, that we keep searching for in all the wrong places, …with all the wrong characters?

That’s a really good question.

characterscartoonwizozWhat do we feel that we aren’twhat do we feel that we lack—that we are trying so hard to make up for by being so gullible and naïve to believe a guy who stands behind the curtain, pulling levers and pushing buttons to make as much chaos as possible for us in our world?

Maybe as a nation of people searching for true, wise leadership, we feel that we lack genuine moral character ourselves and keep trying to find it in others who only play facsimiles of those roles on television.

[Moral character: The concept of character can imply a variety of attributes including the existence or lack of virtues such as empathy, courage, fortitude, honesty, and loyalty, or of good behaviors or habits.” ]

Yes, I think we fear that as individuals we do lack moral character and instead we look for quality leadership in others to help us make it through more challenging times, rather than believing in ourselves to rise above whatever difficulties we might face.

The main problem for many of us in today’s world is that we have no idea where the attributes of moral character and quality leadership can be found, but I’m pretty sure that they aren’t behind that curtain with the Wiz. youhadthepowerallalong6.png

Let’s look in the mirror instead, because I think the entire point of “The Wizard of Oz” show was to say that’s where genuine moral character and self-determination were to be found all along.

Sara Landon, May 30, 2018 “BTO Show”

I was cruising Facebook etc. yesterday,  while listening along to John Burgos onBurgosLandon5.jpg “Beyond the Ordinary Show,” and Sara Landon was on again. She had already talked for 1 hour and twenty four minutes, and honestly I was getting a bit bored and was about to flip it off and move to my next endeavor when I heard her (meaning “the Council” she works with speaking through her) say this, and the entire room around me shifted higher in energy frequency, so I simply listened, then went back and transcribed what was said. (This section below starts at 1:24:40) https://www.beyondtheordinaryshow.com/replays/?inf_contact_key=daa014533971cd291f48ae93111c0ca517351fa0df90e7d536aed718e2690163

Sara Landon—  “This is a window of time when you can take a quantum leap forward: The next 3 months of your time are preparing for a very important opening and window to literally jump into the next level of awareness in physical form….expanding beyond where you have ever been before. This is the time.  The door is open and it is time to go. …Your soul is calling you forward. landon68.pngAnswer the call of your soul to live the life you intended when you chose to come to this human experience.  Karma only exists if you believe it.  Limitation only exists if you believe it.  If you think you’re here to save a broken world, you will continue to see a broken world. If you think you are here to save everyone, you will always be saving everyone. That is NOT why you are here. …

The easy, effortless, harmonious way is what you are to adopt.  You can help, guide, and inspire others to make their world better, you can impact the world and inspire others from a place of influence, … but you cannot do that from a place of suffering. …Suffering is NOT life. Suffering is not necessary.  … Living, happiness, loving are all life.  Much you have explored, but now is the time to create what you truly desire. You can be everything you wish to be—anything and everything is possible for you.

This is the truth of you.  The limitlessness—the Divine Love, this is you—you are a stock of the Divine, you are a limitless source.  You are God expressing in form.  You are the ones bringing the love, you are the ones bringing the peace, you are the ones bringing the joy to humanity, you are …  and as you step into living your greatest calling, that love only expands, that abundance only expands, that feeling of Divine orchestration and miracles, only expands.  Your well-being is inevitable, when you go with the expansion of your vibration to becoming all that you are …and actually have been all along. “ …

(1:36:00) “Simply go deeper into yourself…surrender into this moment and accept the way it is, and you will feel peace in your heart;  but when you think this now should be different, you feel resistance and reaction.  Just accept what is NOW and feel joy in your now.   Allow the wonderful experiences to manifest for you….allow it to happen…don’t resist your good fortune…follow your joy and enthusiasm and allow it all to unfold.  ‘What do you really, really want, my friend?’   You want to feel the alignment to your higher self—the guidance will always available to you if you allow it. Feel congruent—feel integrity to your higher self.  That connection is everything. Simply allow it to connect and speak to you. Your soul is patient and waiting for you to listen and reconnect to it.

(1:37:40) “When you feel discombobulated, STOP and find your connection in this moment, and allow your HS to provide you with the knowledge and wisdom that you desire. “

(1:46:01) “Trust in Divine timing—trust in Divine Orchestration—my HS is orchestrating the future on my behalf because I trust Divine Timing and Divine Planning for me.   It is not a question of patience really—it is allowing the right time to present itself for your partaking. “

(1:48:50) “Never forget the truth of who you are and why you are here. You are the brave ones—you are the ones who came forth andlandon87.jpg took a body… never forget how loved you are, how magnificent you are, …how powerful you are and what is possible for you so that you can live the life that you intended when you chose this experience. We love you, we love you, we love you and with that we are complete.”

(This was identified as “The Council” speaking thru Sara Landon)

Again for my part, this was just a ‘heads-up’ to what is transpiring behind the scenes for us during this energy-shifting time we are all trying to wade through.  I did notice how much lighter and in better spirits I was after hearing her speak on this topic, so in my opinion, the energies coming through during that recording were pretty amazing.  That’s why I took the time to transcribe the words here, because words are codes of sorts, to activate dormant aspects of our consciousness. While listening to this, I felt it activating mine, and wanted to share that same effect with others.