All Posts Tagged ‘zen

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Lo Zu and Nowhere

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Four young people saw the elderly, willowy Lo Zu walking (as he often did with his trusty meandering cane). They asked him where he was going. Lo Zu replied, “I am going nowhere and I am coming from nowhere. A truly silent mind is of no place, so it is nowhere; being of nowhere it may, thus, be everywhere.” The sagacious Lo Zu — who had immense compassion for all living things — kept on walking, leaving the young students pondering. And though he left them, he was always with them.

Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head… Photo by Thomas Peace c. 2022
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Remaining in (and “as”) the past…

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When we consider things mentally we are living in the past.  Merely living in the past, in all actuality, is not truly living. Past structures past recognitions, past images and patterns are restructured and re-manipulated.  This re-manipulation may seem new, but if the components of it are of images and memories of the past — which they usually are — then what seems somewhat fresh is, for the most part, merely a restructuring of the same old stuff.

In psychoanalysis, looking into the past to get at the source of one’s fears usually isn’t treading new waters whatsoever.  It also is a continuation of the past.  This past is never truly liberating, for it is an extension of the remains of the stale, the old, and the accumulated.  Bringing up old accumulations doesn’t — in any profound way — produce anything liberating and fresh for the mind.  The mind that probes into its past is that past; and what it perceives with is dictated by (and actually is) the very past that it is desiring to look into.  In actuality, it is very much like a dog chasing its own tail.

Instead of trying to find out about the source of the fears that one thinks one has, it may be much more prudent to perceive that one is not psychologically separate from what fear is as it occurs.  Being in right relationship with fear doesn’t take time.  Probing into one’s past and psychoanalysis take time.  Time is not profoundly liberating in this… because like a dog that chases its own tail, it is a waste of energy.  Looking at the past with the past is, for the most part, often a waste of time.  

Trying to analyse fears takes time.  Trying to control fear takes time. (And trying to control fear presupposes a segment of the mind that is separate from fear and that is capable of manipulating it.)  Trying to suppress fear takes time.   Escaping from fear, though various forms of entertainment, for example, takes time.  Being in an intelligent relationship with fear (as it occurs) does not take time; there is no separation (i.e., no conflict) in that intelligence.  

Alien Spy Bot from the Planet Kepler-1606b … Photo by Thomas Peace c. 2022
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The Short Tale of Lo Zu and the Toad Warts…

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Lo Zu was sitting upon a meandering Oak log, as he so often likes to, silently gazing at the beauty all around him. His right hand — of course — held his splendid, sinuous walking cane. Three young students came by — in the hope of again gleaning some insights of wisdom from him — and they began asking questions. One of the questions, from one of the students, was, “What is the nature of the self?”

Lo Zu smiled caringly at them and said, “See those majestic mountains in the distance? Each one has a name. Each one seems different and separate from the others.” Just then a little toad hopped by, and Lo Zu remarked, “Then too, the warts upon this beautiful, little toad… each one seems separate and distinct from the others; the warts do not have names — as the mountains do — but nevertheless, they are quite similar.” “Kind of like those bird eggs that you told us about once, right?” remarked one of the students. “Exactly!” said Lo Zu.

“What are you getting at?” one of the inquisitive students fondly asked. Lo Zu then said, “The self, which each one of us allegedly has, is like one of those mountains or like one of those warts. However, the mountains are — in reality — all connected and unified by the ground beneath that supports them. Each wart, too, is part of the whole toad. We, as humans, however, get lost in the separateness, the isolation, and do not see the whole (which is the real truth and true reality). We were miseducated, and we accept the limited all too easily and mindlessly; one is conditioned to look at oneself as an isolated, separate mountain, or as a separate wart. We are not just one mountain; we are the whole range (and then some). We are not just one, isolated wart; we are the whole toad (and then some). Thought/thinking is usually limited and isolating. Transcending the habit of superficial thought/thinking may enable truth and unadulterated, holistic beauty to be seen. With (or ‘as’) such beauty, real compassion flowers.”

“Yes,” said one of the students, “but I see that I am separate from my own separate thoughts and I see that I control the thoughts and the thinking process.” Lo Zu answered, “We — over many generations and from early (in life) input from so-called others — have been taught that the ‘I’ is the boss and is the powerful controller of thoughts. But, in reality, it may be that thought itself has projected this image of ‘I’; in other words, the ‘I’ itself may be the product of thought/thinking and may erroneously be imagined as ‘being in charge.’ The more thought attributes power and control to this imaginary ‘controller,’ the more the mind becomes conditioned to take it for granted and accept its supposed controlling power (as reality). More and more of these associative occurrences further condition the mind. However, the alleged separateness and the alleged power of control of this imagined ‘I’ may not be truly grounded in reality. The wise mind that sagaciously sees this does not fall into disorder or disarray but, rather, functions beautifully in (and ‘as’) a most holistic, deep, and profound order (beyond mere ordinary control). Hopefully, the beauty of it can be seen.”

The students graciously thanked Lo Zu and went on their way… pondering deeply.

Individual Warts … Photo by Thomas Peace c. 2022

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On Becoming Whole

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Recently, within the last week or two, one of the regular blogs that i visited, as part of a rather poetic posting that it had about things to accomplish, mentioned — among other things — “becoming whole.” Not wishing to criticize here, but that posting — like so many blogs that are similar to it by well-meaning others — has very good intentions but (one feels) misses the mark (so to speak). (Unfortunately — for others — people who write about wholeness and mindfulness, but who have never actually gone through deep and profound enlightenment — though their intentions are good — are like blind men writing about the beauty of good photography.)

To have the aspiration of “becoming whole” may seem well and good but it may actually have the unintentional backfiring effect of being quite misleading and misdirecting. For instance, do any of us deeply question “what” or “who” is going to be “becoming whole”? If what purports to become whole is some illusory “center” that one has accepted (via miseducation) as some kind of core controller in the middle of consciousness that is (supposedly) orchestrating things, then one may be wasting time with fictitious, barbaric paradigms. Frankly, as one has pointed out in numerous blogs (previously), there is no legitimate “center” that is in control. (And do not misconstrue this; this does not mean, because of a lack of a true center, that one should get all depressed about a lack of security and eternity in life; nothing could be further from the case. Security, order, and eternity are there in abundance with right understanding.)

If there is no legitimate center, and there isn’t, then what is it that is going to psychologically “become”? One may become a better cook, a better gardener, a better photographer (over time). These all have to do with physical improvements over (and in) time regarding fragmentary and sequential frameworks… and in such frameworks, they are quite valid. However, wholeness — real wholeness, not silly mental constructs and fabrications about what wholeness is — may be beyond the framework of time. Time, thought, and everything in time (including thought) is fragmentary and sequential. Real wholeness is a timelessness beyond all of this. And an illusory, petty little “center” — that one has blindly accepted from society (from your parents and educators) as being legitimate — purportedly thinks that it can progress (in sequential time) to what it says is whole. It cannot. An illusory fragmentation (as an accepted image of something “central”) cannot become what is pristine and what is beyond sequential, time-oriented paradigms.

It would be prudent, before proceeding on a quest for truth, to do so without carrying a heavy load of preconceptions/presumptions (i.e., a heavy load of baggage). And without the psychological baggage, it may be that there would not be a false, fragmentary network seeking what it could never be. And there is great beauty in that.

Not an Electrical Array … Photo by Thomas Peace c. 2020

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Standing Alone

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I am not overly interested in the words that the Buddha allegedly said,
since, over long stretches of time, words and translations get distorted.
I am not overly interested in the words that Jesus allegedly said,
since, over long stretches time, translations go askew, words get added and distorted.
Even the early Coptic versions of the Gospel of Thomas (which many top scholars say preceded the other four gospels), and which the power-hungry Roman-appointed hierarchical bishops rejected, was not as pristine as the even earlier papyrus Greek fragments found of that cornerstone gospel.
I am not overly interested in the words that Lao Tzu allegedly said,
since, over long stretches of time, words and translations get distorted.  (And each of the many translations of the Tao Te Ching is different.)
I am interested in discovering spirituality on my own, and learning directly, without distortion, without merely depending on old words, organizations, translations, and ancient documents.
They tried to get Walt Whitman to alter his poetry; he wouldn’t.
They tried to get E.E.Cummings to alter his poetry; he wouldn’t.
They tried to get me to alter my poetry; i wouldn’t.
They like to stealthily insert their ideologies into the works of others,
to suit their own ends, to suit their own self-serving needs.
They often (over time) like to get their conniving, little hands into the works of others (and twist things around).  
    

The Monarch that stands alone. Photo by Thomas Peace c. 2019
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Meditation… (Multi-Photo)

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True meditation is never what one can decide to do.  Real meditation is only done without will, without mere knowledge, calculation, and methodology.  If will, calculation, and methodology are involved, something may be happening… but it is not true meditation.  Any uncouth person under the sun can purchase a yoga mat, sit on it perfectly (statuesque) still with legs crossed, and proudly say that they are “meditating.”  However, real meditation is too dynamic, living, profound, and immense to be what can be brought about by some inane, calculated, copied procedure.  What is truly dynamic and beyond a cause/effect continuum cannot (ever) be brought about as a mere “result” of some man-made patterns or practices.   Thinking otherwise is foolish… and, unfortunately, there are plenty of foolish entities out there.

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 Blossoming. (1) Photo by Thomas Peace c. 2015

Blossoming. (1) Photo by Thomas Peace c. 2015

 Blossoming. (2) Photo by Thomas Peace c. 2015

Blossoming. (2) Photo by Thomas Peace c. 2015

 

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And that’s why few ever do it…

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Real meditation does not involve going to an exotic mountain-top to meditate.  Real meditation does not involve getting the body in some statuesque, special, learned position.  Real meditation does not involve repeatedly chanting some so-called special (pre-programmed) saying.  Real meditation does not involve staring at or fixating upon some so-called special object or image.  Real meditation does involve breathing according to someone’s special technique or system.  Real meditation does not involve opening, concentrating upon, and mechanically traveling through fabricated chakras like some kind of zipper.  Real meditation does not involve learning some special process or methodology.  Real meditation does not involve living one’s life like most people do; yet, there is no “how” involving meditation.  To intelligently look without a blueprint, without separative symbols, systems, conflict, fragmentation, and procedures… does not depend upon others’ procedures.  No time is involved in it.  All methods take time.  Using time to get to the timeless is folly.

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Hanging from one's dinning table.  Photo by Thomas Peace 2015

Hanging from one’s dinning table. Photo by Thomas Peace 2015

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Not clinging to the apron-strings of experience…

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A truly aware and mindful human being often exists beyond petty details and, concomitantly, doesn’t need to depend on stimulus after stimulus to be attentive and content.  Though experience is often necessary, a deeply aware mind can sagaciously exist in (or, rather, “as”) a timeless domain beyond mundane experience (beyond the continuum of mere cause/effect relationships); or, though this may seem rather odd, it sometimes functions where experience is a minimal phenomenon that is sometimes secondary or “in the background.” If one is merely immersed in (and responding “as”) experience, one is merely part of cause and effect events (that are always partial, always conditioned).  A fluid mind that is not merely dependent on causal phenomena may be whole (and not merely dependent on what is fragmentary, conditioned, and partial).  Then, when such a mind is experiencing (which is often very necessary)… it does so with great sensitivity and care.  Its experiencing then involves a wholeness; experiencing involved with that wholeness has sensitivity which loves nature, the rivers, the people, and the land.  Then there isn’t a fragmentary, separate set of experiences that are only out for themselves.

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[Walking on clouds.]

Angelic stroll. Photo by Thomas Peace 2015

Angelic stroll. Photo by Thomas Peace 2015

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One can practice self-hypnosis…

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Meditation is never a practice. You can’t practice profound perception, deep awareness, and alive/dynamic wisdom.

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[Fossilized dinosaur bone, Jurassic Period, Southern Utah.  Dinosaur bone had chambers within it to store air from the lungs and was more advanced than what mammals had (and still have).]

Bad to the bone.  Photo by Thomas Peace 2014

Bad to the bone. Photo by Thomas Peace 2014

 

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Burdened and drained of energy…

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Thought is a necessary and extremely helpful tool; but it’s only a tool… not the true essence of the organism.  When the mind is cluttered with a myriad of needless thoughts throughout the day (as it is in so many, with their endless fears and habitual, repetitive imagery) … it’s, in a way, like a plant burdened with many insects.  However, don’t merely “try” to eradicate excess thoughts… because that would likely be some thoughts trying to eliminate “other” thoughts (accomplishing, in reality, nothing)… leaving the “plant” remaining rather “buggy.”  (Fabricating more bugs to chase away other bugs leaves one remaining “buggy.”)  Simply observe each series of thoughts without psychological separation (being aware of the space between thoughts as the thoughts perish and end)… and then a natural silence may beautifully occur without effort (i.e., without another fabrication trying to get rid of them).  That natural silence would occur without struggle, without concocted manipulation, without friction, without conflict.

(Of course, there are endless people who prefer to remain buggy!)

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[Aphid insects on a wild plant.]

Too much of a good thing.  Photo by Thomas Peace 2014

Too much of a good thing. Photo by Thomas Peace 2014

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Timelessness…

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True enlightenment — not all of that phony stuff — involves being beyond the “conditioned”; few ever exist in (and “as”) the timeless, the “unconditioned.”

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[A female Cabbage Butterfly resting.  They were introduced into the U.S. from Europe at around 1860.  Well… we’re used to immigrants!]

She's not a legal citizen... but I won't turn her in! Photo by Thomas Peace 2014

She’s not a legal citizen… but I won’t turn her in! Photo by Thomas Peace 2014

 

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It’s easy to imitate others and to copy… and be so-called “normal”! However, to really question things and to truly think is not easy nor…

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.      It’s easy to imitate others and to copy… and be so-called “normal”!  However, to really question things and to truly think is not easy nor often admired, but it’s the only way to “be”! . .    

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.   (That everlasting “long and winding road” is time.)   

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.     “The Long And Winding Road”                                              — The Beatles

.      The long and winding road that leads to your door
.      Will never disappear
.      I’ve seen that road before; it always leads me here
.      Leads me to your door

For a diminutive insect, it's:  The Long and Winding Road...  Photo by Thomas Peace 2014

For a diminutive insect, it’s: The Long and Winding Road… Photo by Thomas Peace 2014

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The teacher is the teaching; the criminal is the crime; the nurse is the healing; the woodpecker is the wood pecking; the arthropod is the…

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.      The teacher is the teaching; the criminal is the crime; the nurse is the healing; the woodpecker is the wood pecking; the arthropod is the blossoming.  

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Be open minded... not just closed!  Photo by Thomas Peace 2014

Be open minded… not just closed! Photo by Thomas Peace 2014

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Multi-Photo: The placid lake reflected his motionless mind… and the two, together, were one and the same.

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.      The placid lake reflected his motionless mind… and the two, together, were one and the same. 

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The stillness can sometimes reflect the whole!  Photo by Thomas Peace 2014

The stillness can sometimes reflect the whole! Photo by Thomas Peace 2014

Water Striders ... insects that walk and "skate" on water! ... photo by Thomas Peace 2014

Water Striders … insects that walk and “skate” on water! … photo by Thomas Peace 2014

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(Multi-photo): True poetic insight is graceful because its sensitivity crosses boundaries and perceives all as one.

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.     True poetic insight is graceful because its sensitivity crosses boundaries and perceives all as one.

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Don't count your chickens...       --- photo by Thomas Peace 2014

Don’t count your chickens… — photo by Thomas Peace 2014

... before they hatch! ----- (Robin Fledglings) ... photo by Thomas Peace 2014

… before they hatch! —– (Robin Fledglings) … photo by Thomas Peace 2014

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You might think she’s ugly, but…

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.      You might think she’s ugly… but she has tied a little webbing — on her rear leg to the cement — to remind herself not to leave any time soon… and (though rather emaciated and hungry) she is not moving; so she is a very caring and good mother.  That, my friends, is beautiful!

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.    (Fishing Spiders get quite large.  Some, legs included, can be over 3 inches long.  Some can dive underwater to catch prey, or they catch prey near the surface of the water, even minnows.  It is unusual for spiders to eat vertebrates, but these do!  Females guard their eggs sacs for quite a long time… often over a month, not eating while doing so.  The one below was on cement on the bank of a river.  It was rather strange about how i came upon it. While at home, i had a premonition that if i went to the river bank…  i’d see an unusually nice, large spider there.  I grabbed a camera and walked to the river bank; as i approached the bank, the spider could be seen from quite a distance and one realized immediately that that was what the intimation was about.  It didn’t budge while i took shots; then i politely left it with its highly precious orb.)

Dolomedes tenebrosus (Fishing Spider) with her egg sac ... photo by Thomas Peace 2014

Dolomedes tenebrosus (Fishing Spider) with her egg sac … photo by Thomas Peace 2014