Everyday Zen - Love and Work


How much do I want to read more? 8/10

Enlightenment is not getting but dropping something.
I like this approach. I libe this idea of being wrong my whole adult life, running after a job and a salary, and now about reading as much books as I can.
I like this idea that we are all we need.


Preface

Successful living means functioning well in love and work, declared Sigmund Freud.

There is another way of practice, which I call “working with everything,” including emotions, thoughts, sensations, and feelings. Instead of pushing or keeping them away with our mind like an iron wall, or boring through them with our concentration power, we open ourselves up to them. We develop our awareness of what is occurring moment by moment, what thoughts are arising and passing, what emotions we are experiencing, and so on. Instead of a narrow focused concentration, broad awareness is our concentration.

The point is to become more awake to what is occurring “inside” and “outside.” In sitting we sense what is, and we allow it to go on, not attempting to hold it, analyze it, or push it away. The more clearly we see the nature of our sensations, emotions, and thoughts, the more we are able to see through them naturally.

I. BEGINNINGS

Beginning Zen Practice

“If only I had this, or that, then my life would work.”
Most people who come to the Zen Center don’t think a Cadillac will do it, but they think that enlightenment will. Now they’ve got a new cookie, a new “if only.” “If only I could understand what realization is all about, I would be happy.” “If only I could have at least a little enlightenment experience, I would be happy.”

Our whole life consists of this little subject looking outside itself for an object. But if you take something that is limited, like body and mind, and look for something outside it, that something becomes an object and must be limited too. So you have something limited looking for something limited and you just end up with more of the same folly that has made you miserable.

There is “me” and there is this “thing” out there that is either hurting me or pleasing me.
We remain separate from our life, looking at it, analyzing it, judging it, seeking to answer the questions, “What am I going to get out of it? Is it going to give me pleasure or comfort or should I run away from it?”
If I were to scratch below the surface of anyone I would find fear, pain, and anxiety running amok.

Enlightenment is not something you achieve. It is the absence of something. All your life you have been going forward after something, pursuing some goal. Enlightenment is dropping all that.
The practice has to be done by each individual. There is no substitute. We can read about it until we are a thousand years old and it won’t do a thing for us. We all have to practice, and we have to practice with all of our might for the rest of our lives.

Zen is down to earth and very practical. It is about our daily life. It is about working better in the office, raising our kids better, and having better relationships.
Zen is not a discipline for everyone. We have to be willing to do something that is not easy.
There is no end to the opening up that is possible for a human being. Eventually we see that we are the limitless, boundless ground of the universe.
Zen is a lifelong study. It isn’t just sitting on a cushion for thirty or forty minutes a day. Our whole life becomes practice, twenty-four hours a day.


STUDENT: Would you expand upon the idea of letting go of thoughts that occur during meditation?