Friday, August 1, 2014

The Bubble of Fear

"I realized that none of what I feared was happening now, nor had it ever happened!"  --Being Zen by Ezra Bayada


In his book, Being Zen, Zen teacher and author, Ezra Bayada reminds his readers about practice with fear. While fear is a quite natural impulse, or emotional energy, often alerting and protecting us, it can be limiting and even crippling.
He writes, "…awaken curiosity, asking this practice question', What is this?' … Awakening a desire to know the truth of the moment through experiencing."

Noting that one cannot come into full awareness of the true so long as one engages in blaming, assuming, pouting or other non-experiencing behaviors, really avoidance behaviors in his view, he offers an alternative.
In staying with the moment, just this moment, asking, "What is this?' works with some practice 'like a laser in focusing on the experience of fear itself." He became increasingly aware that the pain generated through fear was simply due to his thoughts and his assumptions. He had 'burst his bubble' of fear, gaining clarity in the exchange.

"Unlike positive affirmation, this exercise is not a cosmetic overlay. It requires that we still see our thought clearly… It lightens the myopic and self-centered perspective that often accompanies the process of learning to know ourselves."

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Acts of Liberation

"We must not discriminate." -- Cultivating the Mind of Love by Thich Nhat Hanh



Writing on the Ultimate Dimension, Buddhist monk and teacher Thich Nhat Hanh points out in this book, Cultivating the Mind of Love, that there is a moment when, for each of us, we wake up to the moment, just this moment. We feel alive and vibrant.
 He writes about French author, Albert Camus who wrote in his novel, L' Etranger, that Mersault, in prison, condemned to die in three days, for the very first time, notices the blue sky. It was a sudden opening, a moment of mindfulness; he realized that he had spent a lot of time, as people sometimes do, feeling frustrated, imprisoned by anger, lust, or by notions that peace and happiness are out there, somewhere, sometime.
At that moment he saw, really saw the blue sky for the first time, it was a revelation to him. Life did have meaning; there were things that mattered to him. He could live his short time remaining deliberately, with awareness of sun and sky. His seeing deeply made his life real; it became his true life.

Hanh notes that many persons walk about in their daily lives as though they were dead, not noticing much or allowing the world close enough to be touched. He insists that these persons must be helped to realize that they matter; this realization is an act of liberation.
The Christian faith teaches that the Christ wears many different clothing; he has many disguises. Often others fail to recognize him in the sick, the poor or the lame. For Mersault God comes to rescue him with a sudden realization of the beauty of Creation in the form of a blue sky. Anything might bring us to awareness of the Avatamsaka realm, we may wake up to this moment, just this moment and see the beauty and peace of it all. "We must not discriminate," Hanh insists.