Thursday, 31 December 2009

Can muppets ride motorbikes?

So I got all geared up this morning to go get petrol in the motorbike as it was low for a couple of days. It's takes some time getting ready to ride in the winter, with several layers being put on, gloves, scarf tucked up under the helmet, big socks, boots etc. 

I kissed my wife and kids goodbye, left the house, got to the bike, had forgotten my keys, went back into the house, got the keys, kissed the family again, went back to the bike, took off the chain, put the chain under the seat, got on the bike, started it, reversed out of the drive onto the road and was just about to start off when I checked the dials and saw that the thing was full of gas. I'd filled it yesterday. Mindfulness? I think not. 

Can muppets ride motorbikes?

Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Being the blue mountain and the cloud.

The thought of not being a 'perfect' Zen practitioner used to drive me nuts. I wanted to be a fully fledged monk, maybe even with my own temple in Japan. The robes, the knowledge, lifestyle and all of that were important to me, but now they're not. They're not because I have a better understanding, and that's infinately more important than all of those things I just listed.

This understanding is not of what I am. It's of those things that pose as myself, this ego and this thinking mind. They are not me. For years I lived under their total influence, their total power, thinking that they were me and I was them. They are no more me that this hand on the end of my left arm, or this arse at the top of my legs. Now, very often throughout each day, I find me beyond these things, observing the rambling of the mind. A space opens up between this awareness which is really what I am and the mind. My relationship with these things is becoming more balanced. They are being reigned in little by little.

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Caffeine use is no inhibition to practice.

So I went back on the caffeine. I'm not annoyed at myself and I don't think it's as bad as thought it was to drink caffeine and to practice. My initial motivation to stop drinking caffeine was that it stimulated my mind too much and my thinking became even more frantic than usual. However, I've gained a certain insight from direct experience which has lifted me above this misunderstanding.

I have been able to stand back from my thinking just as easily with my mind engaged in a caffeine rush as when I wasn't drinking caffeine at all. This has come about as a result of practice. My original self is growing in strength and my ego is weakening its hold on me.

Sunday, 20 December 2009

Pink steering wheels are OK.

I was driving home from work yesterday when I stopped at a set of traffic lights. A small Nissan car pulled up beside me driven by a young man. I noticed that the steering wheel had a pink cover on with red hearts dotted all over it. Immediately I scoffed at his crassness, his pathetic lack of taste. But then, as quickly as I had had that thought, I realised just how miserable my ego is that it wouldn't even allow someone such an innocent choice and how it seeks to elevate itself by standing on the necks of others. I want to be completely free of it. It has nothing to offer me or anyone else.

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

No music in my car.

Some time before I found zazen I realised that my thinking was too frantic to be healthy. I was in my car for the daily commute to work and by habit had turned on the CD player to listen to some music as I drove. However, I never did actually listen to that music, not beyond the first few bars. At this particular moment in the car I realised that I was just creating noise in my head and that my thinking was as much a part of that noise as was the music thumping away in the background (usually the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, hence the thumping reference!). I'm also pretty sure that whatever music was playing in the background was also effecting how I felt and thought.

Friday, 11 December 2009

Lost my way a bit. It's time to get back on the zafu.

I drifted quite a bit for a month or so. Barely sat at all and even missed my Sunday zazenkai a couple of times. Well, three times, but only one was because I just didn't want to go. The others were due to work commitments. I haven't touched this blog for weeks. I just lost myself in the noise of my mind, or, more like, let go and allowed myself to be deafened by it.

These last few days I've been labouring under a chest infection of sorts and I've lost a lot of sleep. Today I was particularly down and I knew why. I'm letting the world impinge on me, get the better of me. I can't hand the responsibility for my well-being over to my mind, or my ego. So right now, I'm making a start to get back onto an even keel. I'm going to have a shower, get dressed in my loose house clothes and take my zafu out from the cupboard. I'll sit for as long as it's comfortable and after that I'll get back to mindfulness in my daily living to the best of my ability.

I'll continue the Eiheiji blog as soon as I get settled. I want to tell you about the morning morning after the night before, Dogen style!