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Becoming aware of the difference between words and reality

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Becoming aware of the difference between words and reality

Postby AwakeJake on Sat Aug 12, 2017 9:50 pm

Ive been practicing zazen on and off for a couple years. I havent really stayed consistent with it, but Im currently doing the best I can. I do notice that the more I do it the easier it is to eventually relax and sit there for longer periods of time without running away from the boredom and the frustration of not being able to let go of thoughts. A lot of times I end up just getting really tired and groggy and I cant sit there without losing focus and nodding off. Ive never had a teacher or gone to any group meditation. I have read a few books and I practice on my own mostly bc there just really isnt much out there where I live.

Anyway, my question is: what if I dont have any questions? Anytime I start wondering if what I am doing is right or wrong or if my practice is leading me in the right direction I remember that right and wrong and the end goal of some other state of being are just more thoughts to get lost in. I feel like I dont really know what I am doing or where I am going but then I feel like that is kind of the whole point, right? We don't have to do anything other than sitting there and we dont need to go anywhere other than where we already are. I dont even know how to talk to someone about something that cant be represented symbolically with words in the first place. I feel like I have a good understanding of all the philosophy and principles at play, but all of those concepts are simply objects in my mind that sometimes distract me from focusing on the experience of living this moment right here and now and not listening to all the mental chatter going on upstairs. The philosophical ideas that I have learned from reading and listening to speakers about Zen have been valuable lessons and have had a profound impact on my life, but Im starting to realize that they can really distract me from my practice of sitting bc as soon as I learn to think differently I start focusing on thinking instead of being.

Any thoughts, ideas, or advice are welcome.
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Re: Becoming aware of the difference between words and reali

Postby fukasetsu on Sat Aug 12, 2017 10:03 pm

Hi Jake, welcome :heya:

I can relate to what you say and I think most of us can, about appearing thoughts whether what you are doing right or wrong is a distraction indeed, yet I wouldn't declare war on distractions.

Another member said something similair regarding the "monkey mind" not long ago.
kal wrote:jundos hint, that everything is just perfect, even thoughts as a expression of that moment, was the last pointer that was necessary to let everything go just as it is..

viewtopic.php?f=64&t=11877&start=40#p190402

I could say a lot of things regarding your 'condition' since I recognize it, but I think it's best to ask a teacher right here on this forum in the "ask a teacher" section. For what I say would be the correct thing to say to myself, and teachers unlike me have the skill to say the right things to the right person in a minimum of words (unlike me) :lol2:

ps differences are in "mind" only, not in reality :daisy:
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Re: Becoming aware of the difference between words and reali

Postby Seeker242 on Sun Aug 13, 2017 12:42 am

AwakeJake wrote: I have read a few books and I practice on my own mostly bc there just really isnt much out there where I live.



What I found most helpful was traveling out of town and attending retreats. :)
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Re: Becoming aware of the difference between words and reali

Postby desert_woodworker on Sun Aug 13, 2017 12:57 am

Welcome!

Don't neglect physical practice (of all or any kinds). Yoga, running, bicycling, walking, hiking, tai chi, etc. All this will help one's health and be a great pedestal on which to enjoy further practice which you might learn from a teacher and practice together with a sangha, etc.

Zazen is indispensable but is only one of a Baker's Do-zen of Zen Buddhist practices.

For example, other related and synergistic formal practices are named by ZFI members in this separate dedicated thread:

best,

--Joe
Last edited by desert_woodworker on Sun Aug 13, 2017 3:15 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Becoming aware of the difference between words and reali

Postby Linda Anderson on Sun Aug 13, 2017 5:05 am

AwakeJake wrote:Ive been practicing zazen on and off for a couple years. I havent really stayed consistent with it, but Im currently doing the best I can. I do notice that the more I do it the easier it is to eventually relax and sit there for longer periods of time without running away from the boredom and the frustration of not being able to let go of thoughts. A lot of times I end up just getting really tired and groggy and I cant sit there without losing focus and nodding off. Ive never had a teacher or gone to any group meditation. I have read a few books and I practice on my own mostly bc there just really isnt much out there where I live.

Anyway, my question is: what if I dont have any questions? Anytime I start wondering if what I am doing is right or wrong or if my practice is leading me in the right direction I remember that right and wrong and the end goal of some other state of being are just more thoughts to get lost in. I feel like I dont really know what I am doing or where I am going but then I feel like that is kind of the whole point, right? We don't have to do anything other than sitting there and we dont need to go anywhere other than where we already are. I dont even know how to talk to someone about something that cant be represented symbolically with words in the first place. I feel like I have a good understanding of all the philosophy and principles at play, but all of those concepts are simply objects in my mind that sometimes distract me from focusing on the experience of living this moment right here and now and not listening to all the mental chatter going on upstairs. The philosophical ideas that I have learned from reading and listening to speakers about Zen have been valuable lessons and have had a profound impact on my life, but Im starting to realize that they can really distract me from my practice of sitting bc as soon as I learn to think differently I start focusing on thinking instead of being.

Any thoughts, ideas, or advice are welcome.


Welcome Jake. Thank you for sharing so clearly. I am not a teacher, perhaps you'll find one, or not. Your sensibility is showing you the way... a companion on the way may be helpful... but do not forget what you are coming to on your own. If you choose the path of zen, it implies a protocol which helps some. Only you can see if it is the path for your being. A good teacher can support what you are discovering.... accept nothing less. A few observations/responses....

I've been taught not to judge my meditation.... am I doing it right , etc. As you acknowledge later... concepts in the mind. You observed relaxation, let it happen without trying. Not knowing is the whole point.... it is the experience of being. I'd say, keep going.... you have a base to teach you. You will find a teacher if it works for you... don't accept anything less. Trust yourself. As the koans say, there are no teachers of zen, only zen. hold that lightly ....

all the best
linda

ps... what I have suggested is not conventional zen which says you must have a teacher, I'm simply responding to what you have expressed. Trust yourself. :Namaste:
Not last night,
not this morning;
Melon flowers bloomed.
~ Bassho
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Re: Becoming aware of the difference between words and reali

Postby TTT on Sun Aug 13, 2017 10:10 am

Hi Jake!
What i do when i am tired of sitting meditation is to go up from the cuchen and go chanting a bit or just walking. You can see meny things on a walk and it relaxes the mind too. Art lest for my, thet is.

Good luck,
with all thet etc,
When
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Re: Becoming aware of the difference between words and reali

Postby jundo on Sun Aug 13, 2017 3:38 pm

AwakeJake wrote:Ive been practicing zazen on and off for a couple years. I havent really stayed consistent with it, but Im currently doing the best I can. I do notice that the more I do it the easier it is to eventually relax and sit there for longer periods of time without running away from the boredom and the frustration of not being able to let go of thoughts. A lot of times I end up just getting really tired and groggy and I cant sit there without losing focus and nodding off. Ive never had a teacher or gone to any group meditation. I have read a few books and I practice on my own mostly bc there just really isnt much out there where I live.

Anyway, my question is: what if I dont have any questions? Anytime I start wondering if what I am doing is right or wrong or if my practice is leading me in the right direction I remember that right and wrong and the end goal of some other state of being are just more thoughts to get lost in. I feel like I dont really know what I am doing or where I am going but then I feel like that is kind of the whole point, right? We don't have to do anything other than sitting there and we dont need to go anywhere other than where we already are. I dont even know how to talk to someone about something that cant be represented symbolically with words in the first place. I feel like I have a good understanding of all the philosophy and principles at play, but all of those concepts are simply objects in my mind that sometimes distract me from focusing on the experience of living this moment right here and now and not listening to all the mental chatter going on upstairs. The philosophical ideas that I have learned from reading and listening to speakers about Zen have been valuable lessons and have had a profound impact on my life, but Im starting to realize that they can really distract me from my practice of sitting bc as soon as I learn to think differently I start focusing on thinking instead of being.

Any thoughts, ideas, or advice are welcome.


You should find a Teacher and discuss whether one is really on to something good that cannot be sought or tail chasing and complacency.

Dogen spoke of the non-thinking that is in both thinking and not thinking, something like a Big S Silence that fills and illuminates both silence and the harshest noise, words or no words. If one is merely seeking no thought and no words, and to avoid mental chatter rather than to see through such and realize the Wisdom that illuminates and is all chatter and lack of chatter, than maybe that is only part way.

Gassho, Jundo
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Re: Becoming aware of the difference between words and reali

Postby macdougdoug on Sun Aug 13, 2017 3:44 pm

Why are you sitting AwakeJake?
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Re: Becoming aware of the difference between words and reali

Postby Avisitor on Tue Aug 15, 2017 12:48 am

Swimming in the ocean without a star to go by
That is how it is without a teacher and/or sangha

Becoming aware of this or that is much like ...
Chasing the hen by using the fox
Both will be lost
Disclaimer: There is no intent to be offensive in my posts. None was intended and none should be interpreted as such.
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Re: Becoming aware of the difference between words and reali

Postby lobster on Thu Aug 17, 2017 1:19 pm

AwakeJake wrote:... I start focusing on thinking instead of being.

Any thoughts, ideas, or advice are welcome.


:heya:
Just being what? No questions? Why aren't you enlightened? :hugs:

Something has to change? Engage teacher, ask questions that can not be answered. Retreats or other practices as suggested. :daisy:
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Re: Becoming aware of the difference between words and reali

Postby desert_woodworker on Thu Aug 17, 2017 2:43 pm

I'd say, most important is to practice in closest accord with the suggestions of your teacher (first, find and align yourself with a teacher and sangha).

Just practice as the teacher suggests and guides you. This is what "does the deed..." .

Because, "Becoming aware of the difference between words and reality" then will happen naturally.

That is, if one practices correctly, there is no need of (nor any helpfulness in) any extraneous effort to "become aware of the difference between words and reality". It will happen, very demonstrably and definitively.

This is my experience, and not unique.

Best wishes for strong practice!,

--Joe
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