Life or Fiction, Which is Your Preference!

With palms together,
Good Afternoon All,

In the world of the everyday, we are prone to easily lose our grip. We think constantly, telling ourselves all sorts of things, creating worlds upon worlds of thoughts and feelings about the ideas we create. At some point we need to clearly understand that this world we create is not real, but rather, a fiction. It is a mental construction and truly means nothing. In fact it can become a hindrance to our life.

When we are living in the fictional world of our thoughts, ideas, and feelings, we are not experiencing our true, actual lives. When we live in a "belief system" that system organizes, colors, and frames our experience. This is not actual experience, this is filtered and distorted thought-as-experience.

How can we truly appreciate our life when we are so busy thinking about it?

When practicing Zazen we are experiencing our self. There is no other self. Just this self, just this moment. All moments past are seen as thoughts in motion. All moments future are thoughts in motion. Zazen clarifies. When we are on the cushion, present in the here and now, witnessing our actual self as it is, then we are Buddha.

Do we need to give up our goals? Do we need to stop thinking?

No! Of course not. What this means is that we practice to see clearly what is what. That is, what is in relation to what? Thoughts are thoughts, that is all. Goals are thoughts made into objectives with a plan to attain them, but they remain mental constructs. We suffer in direct relation to how closely we hold them and how we use them. If we hold them close, are highly invested in them, use them as some sort of litmus test for ourselves to assess our value, then we are giving them far too much power and are, in effect, using them to eclipse our actual, real life in the here and now. We do not need to supplant our actual life with thoughts and beliefs, living in hopes and dreams. We can live in this life, with this self, as it is, and appreciate it for the blessing that it is. We do this when we make sure we are our lives and not our mental constructs. Another way of saying this is to live deliberately with open eyes.

Be well.


jeff said…
thank you sensei, I would do well to read this post everyday. these truths are very hard for me to hold. my habits were escapist for so many years that they have gotten very strong.
Bruno said…
Dear So Daiho Hilbert-roshi:
My preference is to live life, but sometimes the fictions we create about certain thoughts or interpretations take over the rational thinking. I understand what you say about doing zazen, and that clarifies everything, but what to do in everyday life, in the car, etc, when be become involved with these constructions of fantasy....
Thank you
Hello Jeff, Bruno,
Escape is so easy and conenient, yet very destructive. Practice staying present! Bruno, "thinking" itself is fiction creation. Thoughts do not exist, ideas do not exist, they are merely filters through which we distort our perception. Re-read this post. Sit with it. What exists before a thought occurs?
Be well.
jeff said…
roshi, thank you again for this post. Earlier I started writing on another blog when I realized I was basically repeating your message. I don't think this teaching will leave me.

But just to make sure I re-read it again this morning. :)
Brunp said…
Dear So Daiho Hilbert-roshi:
Thank you for your insightful response...

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