One misunderstanding I have followed in my Buddhist life is to take the instruction “exchanging yourself for another” as a prescription for not attending to myself and my own needs. To that end, I took “giving” and “giving service” to an extreme that left me burnt out. In the Zen world that I am familiar … Continue reading Radical Rest
Where is the inter-being between effort and non-effort? Too much effort and we are tight and constrained. Too little effort and nothing happens. Pema Chodron has a wonderful phrase: “Not too tight, and not too loose.” Practice is walking on the edge; adjusting our effort to meet the circumstances with a flexible mind. Practice Effort … Continue reading Walking on the edge of effort and effortlessness
I have been contemplating what “doing nothing” means. “Doing nothing” certainly goes against my achievement drive, or my idea of bettering myself, or my idea of attaining enlightenment. I know that “doing nothing” doesn’t mean simply “doing nothing” like a couch potato lost in the dream of TV. But “doing nothing” has something to do … Continue reading Doing nothing but being the way things are.
In early May, Tenshin Reb Anderson Roshi came to Clouds in Water for a sesshin. On the 3rd night, he gave a spontaneous talk on enthusiasm during the last sitting of the day. It was a great boost. I became enthusiastic about enthusiasm, one of the Paramitas or Perfections in Buddhism. Enthusiasm has been translated … Continue reading The Paramita of Enthusiasm
In practice, we are always dealing with the tone and depth of our awareness. First, of course, is the question: are we aware of what’s going on at all? In the beginning, this requires quite a bit of effort to bring the mind to the present. We need to have reminders everywhere and different types … Continue reading Right Effort and Letting Go
The serenity of non-doing First, one needs to understand the duality of effort and no-effort, or doing and non-doing. We can see how our unique personality presents itself. Do we lean towards over-achieving or being couch potatoes? Then, in order to achieve balance in our storied life, we can direct ourselves to one side or … Continue reading Non-doing as Serenity