When you plant lettuce, if it does not grow well, you don’t blame the lettuce. You look for reasons it is not doing well. It may need fertilizer, or more water, or less sun. You never blame the lettuce. Yet if we have problems with our friends or family, we blame the other person. But if we know how to take care of them, they will grow well, like the lettuce. Blaming has no positive effect at all, nor does trying to persuade using reason and argument. That is my experience. No blame, no reasoning, no argument, just understanding. If you understand, and you show that you understand, you can love, and the situation will change
“Is there a real you?” - Julian Baggini eloquently presents a very powerful view that goes way back and is increasingly supported by modern neuroscience; what you think of as “you”, isn’t a real “self” the way we intuit — we are empowered, changing processes. This idea stretches back to the early days of Buddhist thinking, and has been echoed by modern thinkers, like Albert Einstein and Buckminster Fuller.
Fuller, in fact, on the verge of suicide in his youth, was suddenly struck by the realization that his life was more a part of the whole universe than something he owned, and decided to set out on “an experiment to discover what the little, penniless, unknown individual might be able to do effectively on behalf of all humanity.”
stop thinking this is all there is… Realize that for every ongoing war and religious outrage and environmental devastation… there are a thousand counter-balancing acts of staggering generosity and humanity and art and beauty happening all over the world, right now, on a breathtaking scale, from flower box to cathedral…Resist the temptation to drown in fatalism, to shake your head and sigh and just throw in the karmic towel…Realize that this is the perfect moment to change the energy of the world, to step right up and crank your personal volume; right when it all seems dark and bitter and offensive and acrimonious and conflicted and bilious…there’s your opening.
Psychotherapist Fritz Pearls said:
“Anxiety is the gap between the now and the later.”
Where is your attention? Do you live in “the later” more than the now?
Then you are trapped in your thoughts, because what is the future other than a thought in your head?
Only your thoughts can make you anxious!
Bring your attention to the now. Seeing, listening, breathing, feeling the aliveness inside your body. Welcome home.
Zazen, and Buddhist practice in general, helps us to become aware of the emptiness (shunyata) of all phenomena, including mental phenomena. We open up to the empty ground from which thoughts, memories, intentions and feelings arise. It is important, indeed necessary, to realize that thoughts, etc., are not the product of an ego-self but just the opposite: one’s sense of self is constructed by the ways that the thoughts themselves interact. The ego-self does not create thoughts, it’s a product of thought. The “mind stream” has a deeper origin. With meditation practice we become aware of this groundless ground. Awakening, kensho, is like the bottom falling out of a bucket. It’s realizing that thoughts, etc., arise from a much deeper place.
David Loy, a Buddhist philosopher who writes on the interaction between Buddhism and modernity. He has been practicing Zen since 1971 and is an authorized teacher in the Sanbo-Kyodan tradition of Japanese Zen Buddhism.