Zenny

This website and blog tool in combination together are aimed towards information, experience and technique exchange about shared spiritual journey.....
”Namaste - may the light in me, honor the light in you…”

Space To Heal, Thuy Nguyen

Healing requires space. As we plow through day to day life, we dream about finding a time when there will be space to heal, rejuvenate and refuel. Some of us are holding off until the weekend, while for others the breaks are fewer and farther in between. When we can’t find that space in time, we fall sick. Then we are forced to have some bed rest, some space, some time to heal. Sometimes it is just a few days we are in bed, sometimes it is much longer than that.

We think of space as if it were a far-off destination or something we create. But really, space is ever present and everywhere. A room crammed full of stuff doesn’t have less space than an empty room, It just has more stuff in it. We are not creating space when we take stuff out, space is already there. There is nothing but space.  
Inside us is space as well. Like our external space, our internal space can become crowded with stuff that might impede our ability to move around and do things efficiently. Our internal space becomes more and more crowded with thoughts, beliefs, and judgments that keep us from healing, movement, and growth. Much like a hoarder who crowds his life with material things because he fears he may someday need them for survival and well-being, we hoard and crowd ourselves with unnecessary beliefs and judgments.

“Should” thoughts and “can’t” thoughts and “have to” thoughts and “never/ always” thoughts are dis-empowering and create impossible conditions for our healing, depleting us of our energy. Thoughts like “I will never have enough time, space or resources to fulfill my needs.” Or thoughts like “the only way to feel better is to have or do x, y and z” set us up for failure time and again. These thoughts crowd our internal space and become externalized in the form of judgments of others and the world.

We have the internal space to heal. We only need to be willing to let go of some of the discordant clutter and noise of our minds. We need to trust and accept ourselves enough to let go of the stockpile of unnecessary thought weapons and defenses that are weighing us down every day, every moment. This acceptance in and of itself creates space and expansion. A spacious and trusting internal world can positively affect both internal and external environments in subtle and miraculous ways. De-clutter some outdated thoughts right now. Replace them with: I have the space to heal, I have the capacity to heal, this very moment....
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Welcoming Fear As A Friend, Gerald G. May

The basic lesson is this: Fear is not an enemy but a friend. Fear is something good, something alive, alert, and wild in us. Fear may be a response to danger, bur fear itself is not dangerous. On the contrary, It is nothing other than life-spirit standing on its toes right here, right now with clear attention, sharp senses, ready body, flared nostrils, bristled hair, poised muscles, pumping heart, clean breath.

The immense gratitude I experienced when I was most afraid was for feeling so incredibly alive. In untamed fear there is a profound sense of something that is me going through the experience. It is personhood without definition, identity without identification, selfhood without attributes. And it has an immense steadiness to it, an almost eternal quality. Here is this life, this being that is deeply myself, having this experience, being in it as I have been through every moment of the past, as I will be in every moment, to come, no matter what. In this strange way, fear brought me an ultimate reassurance.

I understand how people can become addicted to fear. I have known some who were hooked on their own adrenaline, compelled toward danger, driven to dancing with death at the edges of life. I doubt that will ever happen to me, for I have no desire to seek fear. But neither am I interested in protecting myself from it. When fear does come, I no longer want to cope with it. Let me neither tighten myself against what I'm feeling, nor become paralyzed by it, but let me live into the bright, sane responsiveness that fear makes possible. Let me welcome fear for the friend it is, for what it teaches and how it serves. When I feel the hairs on the back of my neck bristling for no reason, when I sense an unexplainable tremulousness, I never again want to deny it or call it neurotic. Instead, I want to welcome it, go into it, see what it is trying to show me.

People who have been assaulted sometimes say they had a premonition of danger but dismissed it. They judged their fear as unrealistic, denied or coped with it, and forged ahead. They were afraid of being afraid, and they got hurt. I have to disagree with Franklin Roosevelt and so many others who have said that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself. I would turn the phrase on its head and maintain that the only thing we have to fear is our fear of fear....
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Seeing Is Not Thinking, Jeanne de Salzmann

The question is not what to do but how to see. Seeing is the most important thing—the act of seeing. I need to realize that it is truly an act, an action that brings something entirely new, a new possibility of vision, certainty and knowledge. This possibility appears during the act itself and disappears as soon as the seeing stops. It is only in this act of seeing that I will find a certain freedom.

So long as I have not seen the nature and movement of the mind, there is little sense in believing that I could be free of it. I am a slave to my mechanical thoughts. This is a fact. It is not the thoughts ­themselves that enslave me but my ­attachment to them. In order to ­understand this, I must not seek to free myself before having known what the ­slavery is. I need to see the illusion of words and ideas, and the fear of my thinking mind to be alone and empty without the support of anything known. It is necessary to live this slavery as a fact, moment after moment, without escaping from it. Then I will begin to ­perceive a new way of seeing. Can I accept not knowing who I am, being hidden behind an imposter? Can I accept not knowing my name? Seeing does not come from thinking.

It comes from the shock at the moment when, feeling an urgency to know what is true, I suddenly realize that my thinking mind cannot perceive reality. To understand what I really am at this moment, I need sincerity and humility, and an unmasked exposure that I do not know. This would mean to refuse nothing, exclude nothing, and enter into the experience of discovering what I think, what I sense, what I wish, all at this very moment.

Our conditioned thought always wants an answer. What is important is to develop another thinking, a vision. For this we have to liberate a certain energy that is beyond our usual thought. I need to ­experience “I do not know” without seeking an answer, to abandon everything to enter the unknown. Then it is no longer the same mind. My mind engages in a new way. I see without any preconceived idea, without choice. In relaxing, for example, I no longer choose to relax before knowing why. I learn to purify my power of vision, not by turning away from the undesirable or toward what is agreeable. I learn to stay in front and see clearly. All things have the same importance, and I become fixed on nothing. Everything depends on this vision, on a look that comes not from any command of my thought but from a feeling of urgency to know.

Perception, real vision, comes in the interval between the old response and the new response to the reception of an impression. The old response is based on material inscribed in our memory. With the new response, free from the past, the brain remains open, receptive, in an ­attitude of respect. It is a new brain which functions, that is, different cells and a new intelligence. When I see that my thought is incapable of understanding, that its movement brings nothing, I am open to the sense of the cosmic, beyond the realm of human perception. ...
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Planting Twin Trees, Robin Wall Kimmerer

There was a custom in the mid-eighteen hundreds of planting twin trees to celebrate a marriage and the starting of a home. The stance of these two, just ten feet apart, recalls a couple standing together on the porch steps, holding hands. The reach of their shade links the front porch with the barn across the road, creating a shady path of back and forth for that young family.

I realize that those first homesteaders were not the beneficiaries of that shade, at least not as a young couple. They must have meant for their people to stay here. Surely those two were sleeping up on Cemetery Road long before the shade arched across the road. I am living today in the shady future they imagined, drinking sap from trees planted with their wedding vows. They could not have imagined me, many generations later, and yet I live in the gift of their care. Could they have imagined that when my daughter Linden was married, she would choose leaves of maple sugar for the wedding giveaway?

Such a responsibility I have to these people and these trees, left to me, an unknown come to live under the guardianship of the twins, with a bond physical, emotional, and spiritual. I have no way to pay them back. Their gift to me is far greater than I have ability to reciprocate. They're so huge as to be nearly beyond my care, although I could scatter granules of fertilizer at their feet and turn the hose on them in summer drought. Perhaps all I can do is love them. All I know to do is to leave another gift, for them and for the future, those next unknowns who will live here....
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Create a Loving Support Group

Dharma talk by Thich Nhat Hanh on August 16, 2001 at the University of Massachusetts during a retreat with the theme, “The Practice of Peace and Nonviolence in Family, School, and the Workplace,” from August 13-18, 2001 in Amherst, Massachusetts. We begin with the creation of a loving support group in the classroom and then continue with teaching on consumption.

These students are my continuation of mine and should create a loving support group in your class or school. We can then begin practicing peace and happiness in the class. We can understand the suffering so we can then transform. Suffering is there. A little bit everywhere. Including in our children and in the classroom. Recognizing this is the first noble truth of the Buddha. The group can propose a session of deep listening that includes the teacher, so the teacher can know about the suffering of the children. If we have such a group in the class, then the group can support each other. You can practice the Third Mantra: I suffer, please help. Thay shares how a student can communicate to the teacher by using loving speech. We can also learn how to address being persecuted by another student. How do we practice this? How do we help children feel happy when they think of school? How does the teacher feel excited to come and teach?

The children should be able to express their difficulties. We don’t need to be cruel to create happiness. Many sessions of deep listening may need to be organized. The schools should allow this to take place. It is about ethics and should be an aspect of school life. Thay tells the story of Henry, a mathematic teacher in Toronto, who came to Plum Village to learn about mindfulness.

At this point we shift away from the children and Thay begins a talk on anger. Anger has roots in the body and in the consciousness. The Five Skandhas: body, feelings, perceptions, mental formations, store consciousness. What is a formation? Anger is a feeling and a mental formation. Anger is in every cell of our body. All our ancestors are in every cell of our body.

To illustrate, Thay teaches about chickens. Mindfulness can help. In particular, mindful consumption. Thay shares a report on meat eating, food production, and deforestation. We then turn to the Discourse on the Sons Flesh. Bringing toxins into our body. Nourishing compassion can by looking deeply into the food we eat. Sangha is where we learn to generate compassion. Sangha is a way out. Everyone can be a Sangha builder.

We turn to the Four Kinds of Nutriments and it starts with edible food. Then we turn to sensory impressions. We need a collection he awakening. When you listen to a dharma talk, then you don’t consume poisons. But thinking too can be consuming. Our elected people also need to be awakened to consumption. Some discussion of the Five Mindfulness Trainings. Practice with a gatha to help us with our consumption.

We conclude with a discussion on the third kind of nutriment. Volition. Your deepest desire. That is a type of food too.

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