Tag: Zen-related

What The Bleep Do We Know!?

I know I am late on this but last night I watched the movie What The Bleep Do We Know!? and I loved it. The movie is an interesting mix, sharing knowledge and ideas but also raising questions.

The following quote stuck in my mind, it fits perfectly with my inquisitive mind.

Don’t be in the know, be in the mystery.

I got so interested that I have ordered the book which is an extension to the movie. In this case the movie came first.

This was originally posted at another (now extinct) blog of mine.

The way is in the heart

My yogateacher Cristiaana had an event on New Years Eve with a speech and yoga class. All of us also got an affirmation, she had written different ones and put them in envelopes that we got at random. I got this affirmation:

The way is not in the sky,
The way is in the heart.
Buddha

This is perfectly inline with my own thinking. I have been working with the book Your Best Year Yet – The 10 questions that will change your life forever and as part of the process you create guidelines. One of mine says “Trust my heart and inner truth”.

This was originally posted at another (now extinct) blog of mine.

Ganesha: Lord of Success – the Hindu Elephant-Deity

Three friends of mine have been in India and bought me a present. I got a small statue of Ganesh or Ganesha, the Hindu Elephant-Deity. I of course had to find out more about this god and what I found is very interesting and matches me in many ways.

Ganesh is the Hindu God of knowledge and the remover of obstacles or God of elimination of troubles. He is also called Ganapati (leader of people), Buddhividhata ( god of knowledge ), or Vighnahara (god to remove obstacles).

The son of Shiva and Parvati, Ganesha has an elephantine countenance with a curved trunk and big ears, and a huge pot-bellied body of a human being. He is the Lord of success and destroyer of evils and obstacles. He is also worshipped as the god of education, knowledge, wisdom and wealth.

It is interesting to read about the Significance of the Ganesha Form. I also found an image that lists the symbolisms.

I believe in life long learning, gathering and sharing knowledge. Both as coach and healer I work with removal of obstacles and elimination of troubles.

There is also a Ganesha Mudra (hand yoga) that “can be employed whenever you are struggling. Symbolizes strength when facing troubles. Eases tension.”

Read more:
Ganesha at Wikipedia
Ganesha: Lord of Success

This was originally posted at another (now extinct) blog of mine.

Sat Nam

Today my yoga teacher talked about Sat Nam, an interesting topic which makes me understand why she called her website “Truth is your identity”.

Wikipedia said this about Sat Nam:

In Sanskrit, “sat” means “truth” and “nam” means “identity”. There are many differing interpretations when you put the two together – some websites have given the following interpretations: “truth is my identity” and “The essence of God is within me”.

Other common interpretations include: “in name there is truth” and “the light shines in you”; light being a metaphor for truth just like in mystical Kabbalistic teachings. The words themselves have a soothing and centering quality due to their monosyllabic nature, similar to sounds made by babies.

The Kundalini Yoga website lists SAT NAM among mantras:

SAT NAM is the Seed Mantra or Bij Mantra and it is the most widely used in the practice of Kundalini Yoga. Sat means the Truth; Nam means to call upon, name or identify with. Sat Nam means Truth is my identity and I call upon the eternal Truth that resides in all of us. Chanting this mantra awakens the Soul, and more simply means “really”. It is pronounced to rhyme with “But Mom!”

Both “truth is my identity” and “The essence of God is within me” are powerful statements.

This was originally posted at another (now extinct) blog of mine.

Past lives, Consciousness and Oneness

Tom Stine has an interesting blog called “Living from Consciousness” which “has as its primary focus the never ending journey of awakening to our true nature as pure consciousness”. There are interesting posts and great discussions in the comment sections.

Tom wrote Past Lives Ain’t What They Used To Be, about past lives or reincarnation. I joined the discussion and wrote:

The concept of One does not exclude the concept of unique souls with their own memories of past lives. It is similar to fingers on a hand, each have their own story yet they are part of the whole.

Tom answered and wrote:

You are quite correct: the concept of One does not exclude a concept called unique souls. However, in my experience, that is just a concept that doesn’t match experience. When you know yourself as the One, then you realize that there are no unique souls.

Which made me write that:

Using the word concept made my comment too soft..

“In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, in the expert’s mind there are few.”

I am not an expert. My own experiences of oneness, to know yourself as (part of) the One, are different from yours. It allows for souls and past lives.

To which Davidya added his thoughts:

The key thing to realize about Oneness – it is inclusive. It includes everything – all perspectives, all time, all space, all expressions, all beings. Indeed, the entire universe is but a pearl on the necklace of Brahm.

I would suggest that both Tom and Bengt are correct. If we can experience it, it is an aspect of the One. We can look upon ourselves and see one consciousness flowing through all beings. We can look again and see all beings, each with a past, present and future and unique experience, all within the one. We could say they are just different resolutions or levels of detail.

In the One, you are an individual expression, you are an expression of the whole, and you are the whole expressing through all individuals. You are the doer, the vessel, and the creator. You are the seer and the seen. The free will and the determinism.

You are the silence and light, you are the evil and darkness. You are life itself, moving in all things.

There is no paradox. It is inclusiveness alone.

Davidya commented in Tom’s blog but also wrote at his own blog “In 2 Deep”. I like his comment about the blog name: To, Too, and Two are 3 words that sound the same but have different meanings (homophones). The name of this blog is a play on this with 2 implying “into the deep” and “in too deep”.

This was originally posted at another (now extinct) blog of mine.

Zen and me

This is a short introduction to Zen and me. I have no formal Zen training, I have arrived at Zen along a different path. Much in Zen matches my own experiences which is why I use Zen as a reference.

There are Hardcore Zen and Zen Lite. Over at Taoism.net I found What is Zen? which has a definition I like and share. There it says that:

The closest we can come to describing Zen in words may be as follows:
• Zen is more of an attitude than a belief.
• Zen is the peace that comes from being one with an entity other than yourself.
• Zen means being aware of your oneness with the world and everything in it.
• Zen means living in the present and experience this reality fully.
• Zen means being free of the distractions and illusory conflicts of the material world.
• Zen means being in the flow of the universe.
• Zen means experiencing fully the present, and delighting in the basic miracle of life itself.

I exclude Buddhism from my definition of Zen, I am currently not interested in that part.

This was originally posted at Zen And More, another blog of mine.

What is Zen?

I have read the book What is Zen? by Alan Watts. The book contains a selection of Alan’s talks and the four parts are about:
• A simple way, A difficult way
• Zen reconsidered
• Space
• Zen mind

I like the book, it is easy to read yet it makes you think and feel. My purpose with buying the book was to learn more about Zen, to be able to put the pieces together in my own view of Zen and mindfulness.

In the first part Alan writes that “Zen is a method of rediscovering the experience of being alive”. He brings up the concept of “ten thousand formations, one suchness”, there is simply one energy.

From the second part I select some quotes about the present:

If you understand fully that it is from the present that everything happens, then the only place for you to be, the only place for you to live, is here, right now.

If your plans are flexible and adaptable, and if you are here when things happen, you will always stay balanced.

Alan also writes “Anything that you can do without a great deal of thought becomes a perfect form of meditation”. That is the same as is said in The 5-minute Meditator.

The third part about the book is about space, how empty space is considered more important in the East than in the West. Alan mentions that Zen represents a simplified way of life and that the personality of Zen people is the uncluttered mind. He also says that “The beginning of Zen is overcoming the fear of death”. That is what made the samurai interested in Zen, as a way to become fearless.

The fourth and last part is about Zen Mind. Alan says that “The understanding of Zen is intuitive”. A final quote from the book:

The whole point of Zen is to suspend the rules we have superimposed on things and to see the world as it is – as all of a piece.

This was originally posted at another (now extinct) blog of mine.

The 5-minute Meditator

I have finished a book written by Eric Harrison and titled The 5-minute Meditator, I like it a lot. It is the perfect book for people who ‘have no time to meditate’. The book has about a dozen ‘spot meditations’ lasting from half a minute to five minutes. Short meditations are just as effective as long ones, that suits me perfect since it is easier for me to do several short meditations than a long one.

Meditation is about choosing where you direct your attention. If you focus on something that is simple and sensual, you relax.

The basic instructions are: focus on the sensations of the present – sight, sound, taste or touch – and let your thoughts pass by in the background.

Eric writes that just a few minutes of deep breathing each day can make a difference to our well-being. I do a simple practice of three deep breaths that works very well for me.

You do not have to make yourself relax. You just stand back and let it happen. Meditation is the art of doing nothing. Your body and mind will naturally settle if you give them half a chance. The less you try to do, the better it works!

That sounds easy but it takes practice before it works. Eric says this about staying present:

To stay in the present, focus on one thing in the present. We call this the meditation object. It is your anchor, it is what you persuade your mind to return to when it wanders away.

One thing to focus on is our breath, easy and always available. Eric mentions that a visual object can be much easier to focus on than the breath so your mind is less inclined to wander. The choice is yours, pick an object that is available and do a short meditation.

I work as a coach and I use a short meditation before sessions to unwind, relax and become focused on the session to come. It helps me become more present.

This was originally posted at another (now extinct) blog of mine.

Way Of The Peaceful Warrior

I was recommended to watch the Peaceful Warrior movie (IMDB) which has a site of its own at The Peaceful Warrior. The plot can be found at Wikipedia.

I decided to instead get the book the movie is based on, “Way Of The Peaceful Warrior”. The author Dan Millman is a former world champion athlete, university coach, martial arts instructor and college professor.

Blending fact and fiction, the story relates an odyssey into realms of light and shadow, romance, and mystery. Guided by an eccentric old warrior named Socrates, drawn to an elusive young woman called Joy, Dan moves toward a final confrontation that will deliver or destroy him.

This classic tale, told with heart and humor, speaks to the peaceful warrior in each of us, moving readers to laughter and tears — even to moments of illumination — as they rediscover life’s larger meaning and purpose. Join Dan on the peaceful warrior’s path. Find out why this book has changed lives.

I picked some quotes from the FAQ-section at Dan’s website that are relevant to my comments:

Life, literature and film overflow with such pairings (a struggling student and mysterious mentor): Arthur had Merlin, Frodo had Gandalf; Mitch had Morrie; Luke Skywalker had Obi Wan Kenobi and Yoda. And I had my Socrates.

According to an old proverb, “Art is a lie that helps us see the truth.”

The student – mentor setup is great, the focus is on the life of Dan the student with Socrates the mentor there to help in the spiritual process. I like the book for its spiritual teachings, they are similar to what I have learned from my mentors. But I would have preferred less fiction, sometimes Socrates gets ‘superhero’ abilities and that is strange to me. Still, the book is well worth reading and gave me some new insights.

I have picked some quotes from the book, pieces that stuck with me.

  • Everything you’ll ever need to know is within you.
  • You do not see your prison because its bars are invisible.
  • To rid yourself of old patterns, focus all your energy not on struggling with the old but on building the new.
  • Once you make your choice, do it with all your spirit.
  • Responsibility means recognizing both pleasure and price, action and consequence, then making a choice.
  • You are rich if you have enough money to satisfy all your desires. (Get more money or simplify life.)
  • It does not matter what you do, only how well you do it.

This was originally posted at another (now extinct) blog of mine.

Zen and the Art of Harmonica

While surfing around for harmonica information I came across David Harp and an article at Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health. The article is titled Zen and the Art of Harmonica which sounds really interesting to me. This means I can combine my new harmonica with my interest in meditation and mindfulness.

The article starts like this:

Some people might consider the harmonica an unlikely vehicle with which to explore and transcend that mysterious and often mutinous entity known as the human mind. But as we’ll see in this article, the unique qualities of the harmonica are particularly well-suited to those in pursuit of a healthy, integrated approach to life. From its direct relationship with the breath to the fact that you can’t play a wrong note, the harmonica offers a pocket-sized key to meditation and mindfulness.

This was originally posted at another (now extinct) blog of mine.