knowing myself, better

Lately I've been thinking a lot about a passage in "Everyday Zen: Love & Work" where the author says that situations where we find ourselves confused about what to do arise because there is something we do not know about ourselves.

Today I was talking to a friend about an "everyday" problem I have: how serious I want to be in a current relationship. I felt tired and confused. I remember what Joko Beck said, and I thought that I'd like to meditate. Right then and there. Then, hopefully, I would "just know" what to do, naturally.

But of course you can't just plop down on the floor for 30 minutes every time you feel confused about something.

There is a scene in the film "Fight Club" where the apparently crazy character Tyler Durden pours lye on the hand of apparently sane main character's hand. As the chemical burn sets in, the main character closes his eyes and tries to go into a protective trance (complete with chanting). However Durden slaps him across the face and says, "NO! Don't tune out like those losers do! This is the best time of your life, and you're off... somewhere else!!"

If I haven't mentioned it before, "Fight Club" is my second most favorite Buddhist film (after "Groundhog Day"), and this scene is especially zen-inspired.

In this scene lies a tip for my earlier problem. No, I don't need to plop down on the floor and meditate when I'm unsure of what to do. Meditation practice is important. But I also want to carry elements of what I do on the cushion with me throughout the day. I want to be more aware, more accepting, and live more in the present. I want to know myself better, and to practice without practicing.


Paul Lynch said...

Beautiful post, thanks. You are right, correct meditation is how are we keeping our mind, moment after moment after moment. We find in our approach to Zen by using the hautou 'what is this' can help bringing us back to this moment and paying attention. This is why we call the sitting meditation 'practice' because it is practice for what we do when we get up from the cushion and walk out the door.

Nicely said and a very good insight. Thanks for your hard practice.


Paul Lynch said...

by the way, Harold Ramis who wrote and directed 'Ground Hog Day' told me that he wrote the movie based upon conversations with his mother-in-law who lived in and practiced at Zen at Dharma Zen Center for the last twenty years of her life. It is one of my favorite movies as well.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Paul, great info. I really like the hautou 'what is this' idea.