Silence, Space And Stillness

Whenever we become aware of silence, space and stillness we connect with something deeper within us and all around us.  This silence, space and stillness is what many call God. It is not nothing, it is actually life energy before it forms into sounds, light, movement, thought, etc.  It is the unmanifested.  Everything else is the manifested (form).   If you look around there is mostly space between objects, and if you listen carefully there is mostly silence between and around sounds. Continue reading

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Acceptance Is Key

No matter what spiritual practice you follow, at the core is acceptance.  Acceptance is very difficult with our normal state of mind, as we have been brought up to label, judge and believe we are separate from everything and everyone.   When in fact we are all connected. With Zen practice we go beyond mind and therefore beyond the thoughts that separate us.  Going beyond the “ego”, as many would describe it. With this state of mind you are in acceptance, you are saying Yes to whatever is.  You are accepting your thoughts, feelings and anyone or anything that is around you.  Whatever this moment brings, you accept it fully.  Even if it is something you don’t like.  With this acceptance comes peace and all the other benefits of Zen.  From that state of consciousness, you can then make wiser decisions. Shunryu Suzuki says: Continue reading

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What Is Zen?

Zen is the practice of awakening out of the dream of form and living in the present moment fully.  One of the great Zen masters, Shunryu Suzuki in his book Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind says:

There is no need to have a deep understanding of Zen.  Even though you read much literature you must read each sentence with a fresh mind.

To do this, you need to go beyond the mind.  Meaning, you are no longer lost in thought and instead very alert and connected deeply to this moment without the mind labels we usually have.  This Zen state is often referred to as ‘no mind’.  This does not mean you can no longer think.  But it means you are operating on a level above or beyond thought. This is the state of consciousness that Zen practice is.  This is Zen.  It is not achieving something, it is experiencing life in the Now – connected to the formless essence that is in everyone and everything.  You can experience this state of Zen or “Presence”  Now.   There are a number of ways to do this, one is to sit up straight, pay attention to your breath. Suzuki says “To take this posture (zazen posture) is itself to have the right state of mind.  There is no need to obtain some special state of mind”. He says this because our concepts or ideas of what presence or Zen or enlightenment is, is not it.  Direct experience is. Continue reading

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