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the contrast of nine years

A couple of days ago I had a day surgery for an infected skin cyst. It was minor but very painful. I couldn’t help but think about another previous skin cyst surgery…

looking back at 2020

I’m not entirely sure how accurate can a review post be, versus being a snapshot of how one feels at the very end of the year. Memories are always sort of fuzzy,…

Jarvis noticed sounds he’d lived with but never heard

Jarvis noticed sounds he’d lived with but never heard: the scrape of a food cart’s wheels along the corridor, the jangling rhythm of keys and handcuffs clanging off the belts of guards who passed his cell, the scurry of a mouse, and the babel of radio stations tuned to country, metal, and blues, wailing preachers and NPR. That heightened awareness filtered into his meditation. He noticed his surroundings: feelings, noises, smells. But even more intensely, he felt a new world of sensation inside his body. He discovered the tightness in his belly, the alternating tautness and slack of his lungs, the stress that throbbed in his temples, the pulsing weight of anxiety in his chest. When he described those sensations to Melody, she said he was discovering mindfulness, a form of meditation. “You become fully present in the moment. Experience it. When your mind wanders, return to your body, what you sense outside and inside you, and breathe.”

We have to become better acquainted with nature

We have to become better acquainted with nature. At the same time, we have to realize that we ourselves are intrinsically part of nature. It has to sink in that the environment we live in on this earth is not our creation, but a gift. All beings whose life has arisen from nature, including us, can only survive in and with nature. This awareness needs to underlie all our progress and development.

Zen discipline is not a staircase or a means of getting somewhere

Zen discipline is not a staircase or a means of getting somewhere; it is rather about the successive moments of life—of existence itself. It means being fully aware in body and spirit of the fact of your life, and continuing to cultivate and practice the best way to live as a human being. This is the meaning of Dogen’s words, “Dignity is itself the Dharma. Propriety is itself the essence of the house.”

the passageway

I moved out of my parents’ when I was around 19. For approximately 18 years I was renting, moving in and out of apartments every few years. Most of the time the…

The individual is becoming more able to listen to himself

The individual is becoming more able to listen to himself, to experience what is going on within himself. He is more open to his feelings of fear and discouragement and pain. He is also more open to his feelings of courage, and tenderness, and awe. He is free to live his feelings subjectively, as they exist in him, and also free to be aware of these feelings. He is more able fully to live the experiences of his organism rather than shutting them out of awareness.

When man’s unique capacity of awareness is thus functioning freely and fully

When man’s unique capacity of awareness is thus functioning freely and fully, we find that we have, not an animal whom we must fear, not a beast who must be controlled, but an organism able to achieve, through the remarkable integrative capacity of its central nervous system, a balanced, realistic, self-enhancing, other-enhancing behavior as a resultant of all these elements of awareness.

However, if our emotions are blocked

However, if our emotions are blocked due to denial, repression, or trauma, then blood flow can become chronically constricted, depriving the frontal cortex, as well as other organs, of vital nourishment. This can leave you foggy and less alert, limited in your awareness and thus your ability to intervene into the conversation of your bodymind, to make decisions that change physiology or behavior. As a result, you may become stuck—unable to respond freshly to the world around you, repeating old patterns of behavior and feeling that are responses to an outdated knowledge base.