Zen 101

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Zen of Disability, On-going

With respect,

Good Morning Everyone,

As many of you know, I have been suffering from a pulled back muscle and inflamed piriformis nerve This makes it very difficult to walk. Soku Shin has been a marvelous help while I have been unable to do much around the house. This led to a few thoughts and feelings about disability, something I have managed now for some 45 years. Being disabled is a curious practice point. Some disabilities are invisible, as were mine for some time. Of late, however, they are becoming more visibly evident due to the fact that my paralysis is returning. My leg and foot do not work well together and they certainly are not very connected to my brain. So, I stumble more and more frequently and the AFO doesn’t help as much as it used to. This stumbling inflames my left hip joint and sets off a cascade of neurological issues.

As a result I’ve noticed people looking at me as I try to walk in stores, stumble, recover, and continue to wobble. The looks are those of suspicion. Interesting, isn’t it, how we look at those who stand out as suspect?

Part of the challenge of disability, a big part, is how others respond to it. Where compassion ought be, resides instead, a prejudicial suspicion. We who are disabled are not your kin. We are suspect. Different. So it goes.

I have rarely, if ever, allowed my disabilities to have a place in my decision-making regarding how I chose to live my life. I decide to paint, I paint. I decide to run a marathon, I train and run a marathon. I always find a way to overcome the obstacles. Lately, however, it is becoming more and more difficult to find a way around or through my body’s challenges. Moreover, the time it takes to heal seems to be longer and longer. The result is I am left to ponder the possibilities of life with infirmities which must be included in the decision-making.

In a very real way, there is no such thing as a “disability.” Such words only point to our construct of “able” and this construct acts as a measure. Take away the construct and we have left only that which we do or don’t do. Zen is about action. It is being completely in the moment without regard for the constructs whether individually or socially.

After a massage workout with Cloud I am feeling a lot better and am able to walk again without a crutch, although I am using one right now to help me avoid re-injuring the muscles which would once again inflame the nerves.

It’s all good.

Be well.

Friday, April 20, 2012

April 20, 2012

With respect, Good Morning All,

It occurs to me that we are in a marvelous period of time. Of course all periods of time are wonderful, but we are in this one right now and that makes it delicious. Life is to be chewed on, savored, and otherwise deeply appreciated. This is hard to do if we are never exactly present in the moment we are alive. What moment is that? Whack! This one.

I am sitting in the dark of our living room in the early morning. I have already done my laundry, shaved my head (I cannot believe I let my hair grow out so much!), and made the morning coffee...some of which I am enjoying as I type. Today is packed with student interviews, a presentation at NMSU, and Zazen. I am looking forward to getting it done, one thing at a time.

In a week or two I will be packing up my motorcycle and heading east. I plan to visit a student or two and end up in Wilmington, NC to visit my son and hgis family.I have done several long distance motorcycle adsventures, but I am much older now and so this adventure will definately be at a snail's pace. I will post as I go. Sharing the ride with each of you.

Zazen on Sunday at 10:00 AM!

Be well.

Monday, April 09, 2012

April 9

With respect,

Good Morning All,

It is quiet here in the Mesilla Valley. Other than an occasional car, birdsong is all that breaks the silence. We have just concluded our Hanamatsuri Sesshin and just afterwards, Soku Shin and I took the Hugger to Hatch and back. The Hugger is our Harley Davidson Sportster. It is the 883 version, but still packs cool power as we took the secondary road to Hatch where we ate green chilli at Sparky's.

In honor of this new addition to our family, I bought still another copy of Zen & the Art of Motorcycle Maintainance, that wonderful book by Pirsig that asks us to slow down and pay attention. Pirsig offers a slow, delicious ride into the everyday while on a long distance ride with friends and his son. He calls these lessons Chautauquas and asks us to explore our world deeply. This exploration, however, is not esoteric or exotic, it is based in the everyday.

What can we know about anything without directly experiencing it?

Be well.

Friday, April 06, 2012

Mountains and Birds

With respect,

Good Morning Everyone,

This morning in the Mesilla valley

Amid the mountains and the trees

And, before the sun came up,

I sat outside and listened.

Birds greeted the dawn.

The air was crisp and the chatter raucous.

Flying and perching, flying and perching.

Their little bodies

Were full of themselves.


As for me,

My voice is not so raucous

And my body not so vibrant:

But I could sit still and join

The mountains and the trees.

Hallelujah, sun,

Here I am.


This evening at 6:00 PM we resume our Hanamatsuri sesshin. Please consider joining us!