Zen Blog

This blog collects various internet feeds aimed towards information, experience and technique exchange in support of our shared spiritual journey.....

”Namaste - may the light in me, honor the light in you…”

"The River and the Clouds" by Thich Nhat Hanh

She began by being a joyful stream of water, a spring always dancing and singing as she ran down from the top of the mountain. ...Our river thought that life was not worth living, for there were no longer any clouds to chase after. ...That night the river had the opportunity to go back to herself for the first time. ... That night was the first opportunity for her to hear her own crying, the sounds of water crashing against the banks of the river. ...She had only been interested in clouds, and she had missed seeing the sky, which is the home of all the clouds. ... As she saw the vast wonderful blue sky, she knew that her peace and stability would never be lost again....When the cloud wanted to go away, she would wave to him or her happily and with loving kindness. ...When she opened her heart completely to the evening sky she received the image of the full moon - beautiful, round, like a jewel within herself. ... There is a very beautiful poem in Chinese: "The fresh and beautiful moon is traveling in the utmost empty sky. When the mind-rivers of living beings are free, that image of the beautiful moon will reflect in each of us."...She received the image of that beautiful moon within her heart, and water, clouds, and moon took each other's hands and practiced walking meditation slowly, slowly to the ocean.
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[Part 2] ------> "The High Price of Success" (excerpt) FIRE IN THE BELLY: ON BEING A MAN by Sam Keen

When we mold ourselves into commodities, practice smiling and charm so we will have "winning personalities," learn to sell ourselves, and practice the silly art of power dressing, we are certain to be haunted by a sense of emptiness....Many of the personality characteristics that have traditionally been considered "masculine"—aggression, rationality— are not innate or biological components of maleness but are products of a historical era in which men have been socially assigned the chief roles in warfare and the economic order. ... Some feminists, who harbor a secret belief in the innate moral superiority of women, believe that women will change the rules of business and bring the balm of communication and human kindness into the boardroom. ... It is often said that the public world of work is a man's place and that as women enter it they will become increasingly "masculine" and lose their "femininity." ... Economic man, the creature who defines itself within the horizons of work and consumption, is not man in any full sense of the word, but a being who has been neutralized, degendered, rendered subservient to the laws of the market. ...Remembering Dr. Faust, it might be a good idea to pause and ask ourselves how much of our psyches we will trade for how much profit, power, and prestige. ...When I dress in my suit each morning I feel like a knight going forth to battle, and I love to fight hard and win in a hard bargaining session with a publisher and get the best deal for my clients."...Even when I subtract the long hours, the fatigue, the uncertainties about money, the irritation of having to deal with a million nit-shit details, the long hours in the limbo of jet planes and airports, the compromises I have to make, the sum is overwhelmingly positive. I don't know who I would be without the satisfaction of providing for my family, the occasional intoxication of creativity, the warm companionship of colleagues, the pride in a job well done, and the knowledge that my work has been useful to others.But there is still something unsaid, something that forces me to ask questions about my life that are, perhaps, tragic: In working so much have I done violence to my being? How often, doing work that is good, have I betrayed what is better in myself and abandoned what is best for those I love?
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[Part 1] ------> "The High Price of Success" (excerpt) FIRE IN THE BELLY: ON BEING A MAN by Sam Keen

As the Dow rises to new heights everyone seems to have forgotten the one prophetic insight of Karl Marx: where the economy creates a class of winners it will also create a class of losers, where wealth gravitates easily into the hands of the haves, the fortunes of the have-nots become more desperate....But finally, stress cannot be dealt with by psychological tricks, because for the most part it is a philosophical rather than a physiological problem, a matter of the wrong worldview. ... We, human beings, can survive so long as we "make a living," but we do not thrive without a sense of significance that we gain only by creating something we feel is of lasting value—a child, a better mousetrap, a computer, a space shuttle, a book, a farm. ... The second kind of burnout is really a type of combat fatigue that is the inevitable result of living for an extended period within an environment that is experienced as a battle zone. If the competition is always pressing you to produce more and faster, if life is a battle, if winning is the only thing, sooner or later you are going to come down with battle fatigue. ...The poet Robert Bly, who is as near as we have these days to a traveling bard and shaman for men, says we have raised a whole generation of soft men—oh-so-sensitive, but lacking in thunder and lightning. ...I suspect that if men lack the lusty pride of self-affirmation, if we say "yes" too often but without passion, if we are burned out without ever having been on fire, it is mostly because we have allowed ourselves to be engulfed by a metabody, a masculine womb—The Corporation. ...Here are some of the secrets they didn't tell you at the Harvard Business School, some of the hidden, largely unconscious, tyrannical, unwritten rules that govern success in professional and corporate life:...As a nation we are proud that only three percent of the population has to work on the land—get soiled, be earthy—to feed the other ninety-seven percent....In the brave new world of the market you may speculate in hog futures without ever having seen a pig, buy out an airline without knowing how to fly a plane, grow wealthy without having produced anything....Or to put the matter more poignantly, we succeed in our professions to the degree that we sacrifice wide-ranging curiosity and fascination with the world at large, and become departmental in our thinking.
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"Walking Closer to the Bone" (excerpt) THE EXQUISITE RISK by Mark Nepo

All that you taught me to help me in life Is no longer true, unless I find it so. ...More than anything she might say, I think it was her complete attention that affirmed my small efforts to thin whatever I'd thickened around my heart and eyes....Given enough time and chances, we each discover the center of the earth, one at a time, and just seeing the center burn under everything changes the way we look at the stars, the way we hold the wood we gather. ...I am fifty-three, have been lifted and battered by love many times, have survived cancer and a cold mother, have tried to hold on to friends like food for twenty-five years, and all that has fallen away. ... And, at times, I am scared that, after all this way, I will come up empty, like a man who thirsts for the water running through his fingers. ... If we rip them up—no, Jane would simply set them aside—if we set them aside, there is nothing between us and the next moment about to happen....And I marvel at how deeply practiced she became at living at this root level, so much so that curiosity and courage became the same thing. ...It's meeting people like Jane, who speak in tongues that know the Source, that makes me believe there is a common heart beneath all human longing that burns like that fire at the center of the earth. And despite the weight of living, there is, within each of us, a luminescent heat from that fire that can be blocked but not contained.At Jane's memorial, there were friends who knew her for fifty years and a woman she had met just once. ...And more than books or flowers or thoughtful gifts that show I know you, the dearest thing I can give is to surface with the sheen of my spirit before you.
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"Down By the River" by Chang-tzu

He knew he was not popular with certain segments of society, those pedantic logicians and the like who used words as a screen to hide behind or else brandished them like weapons. ...Still, his fame had spread lately and he was continually being bothered by people seeking the ultimate truth, as if such a thing could ever be conceptualized and put into plain words. ... Still others' flowed fast and furious like the rapids he knew were up river, then at other times it grew sluggish and heavy like the part of the river that flowed past the village downstream. ..."We have been sent by the great lord of this province to bid you come to his castle so he may humbly prostrate himself before you and beg of you to share some small part of your great wisdom with his lowly household."...How they loved to confuse and conspire with endless torrents of words-words with no spirit, no real energy behind them, words which clouded the mind and induced a narcotic, hypnotic effect that numbed the mind to the true reality of the Way. ...After all, he would be paid well for his efforts and he would be wearing much finer clothing than the old rags he presently wore and be enveloped in much richer surroundings than this mosquito-infested, muddy riverbank...."We do have a great and ancient tortoise shell which, as you most assuredly know, great sage, is used for divination at certain times of the year. ...The great lord would not want to know about the floods, the many farmers going hungry, the diseases and the pestilence that would be visited upon the common people that year No, the great lord would want to hear how beneficent and wise he was, what a great ruler of men he was, what a generous and compassionate father to his people he was. ...If the tortoise himself had been given the choice between being slaughtered for his shell to be venerated for hundreds of years or to be left alone to drag his tail in the mud, what do you think the tortoise would have wanted?"..."I suppose," he said slowly, "that if it were truly up to the tortoise, why of course he would rather have been left alone to, as you say, drag his tail through the mud." "Then that is precisely what I intend to do with mine, ' said the old man and abruptly turned his back on them, his muddy bottom winking obscenely He gathered up his fishing line and trudged down the bank, singing an old folk song at the top of his lungs.
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