Zen 101

Thursday, February 21, 2013


With palms together,

Good Morning Everyone,

Someone wrote to me recently and suggested that I might pause to find the joy in my life. It seems to readers, I suppose, that I have been dwelling on the pain and suffering of my life to the exclusion of my pleasure and joy. This is an important point. The truth is, however, I have a tremendous amount of joy in my life, but like many of us, I do not speak of it very often or very plainly. And that, my friends, is a serious omission. Let me recount just three of my joys.

My joy begins and ends (as each day does) with my fiancée, Kathryn, who has brought such light into my life that it is difficult to give it justice in words. I often watch her sleep and in this witness I am reminded of all things beautiful. She sleeps with such innocence and such peace. In the morning I sometimes cradle her until she wakes. As she snuggles closer I feel my heartbeat increase. This is life itself.

Sitting outside in the early morning feeling the chilled, moist air on my skin, I feel awake and alive: such pleasure in such a simple thing. Suki often joins me by slipping onto my lap with a stealth only dogs seem to possess. We sit together and scan the space before us. My mind is in the stars; hers rests upon the ground in front of us. I feel her warmth on my lap and am reminded that it is cold outside. We go in through the doors and the pleasure of the warmth of the house wraps around me and takes the chill away from my body.

Of course there is the pleasure of my motorcycle. What can I say? Each and every time I turn on the ignition and hear that engine fire up, I feel a sense of excitement. There are very few pleasures matching the feel of acceleration in the open air on two wheels. I love the feel of the gas tank, smooth, yet firm, between my knees as together, the bike and I roll out the drive and onto the street.

To quote once more, Rev, Okumura,”…nirvana is not something special, just an ordinary way of life.” We should take every moment and embrace it as if there is no other, because in truth, it is, indeed, the only life we have and this moment is where we reside.

I have learnt nothing from my practice of zazen if I fail to take my place in each moment both on and off the cushion, accepting life as it is.

Be well

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