Zen 101

Wednesday, February 06, 2013


With palms together,

Good Morning All,

This morning I reviewed the headlines on CNN, Huff Post, and Yahoo News, and I must say, the world is still there as it has always been, but why on earth did Monopoly get rid of the “Iron” token? I just don’t get it. Here was a piece that always reminded me of my grandmother’s ironing with one of those cast iron Irons heated on a cook stove. Pleasant memories of a time when people made do, worked hard, and lived in accordance with the natural rhythm of things. How very Zen of them!

For three years I lived like that at my Mountain Refuge, making a fire in the wood stove early in the morning, preparing breakfast from scratch, chopping wood, feeding my horses, and going to bed just after sundown as I had no electricity. Life at the Refuge was slow and in accordance with the natural cycles of the seasons. It was hard, but there was a sweet flow to it as I often spent time on the deck in the mornings watching the sun peak through the pines and having conversations with the stellar jays or hummingbirds. I think that time helped me a great deal to strengthen my practice, sitting Zazen alone as I did at my altar or on the slats of the wooden deck. I miss it very much.

Yet, here I am today with devices surrounding me, connecting me to a larger and larger world, but to what end? I know the connections possible with smart phones, PCs, and tablets can reveal our interconnected and interdependent nature, but I often reflect, as I scan through Facebook posts, texts, and email, just how much we seem to squander our time on the superficial and mundane. Yet, maybe this is necessary as it reveals our very human need to connect and share with others the details of our lives.

I know when I lived in the mountains far away from others, others seemed, as they were, far away. My connections there were to the maul I used to chop cedar, the alfalfa I fed the horses, and whether it was to rain that day demanding then a furious effort to collect the rain water so precious for survival.

It seems the common denominator, then, is connection. We human beings do not live as solitary individuals, we live in connection. It is my willingness to value those connections that seems most important to me. And maybe they are to you, as well.

Be well

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