October 2nd, 2004, Serial No. 00980

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but it's craig as i think i'm going to i think we're all children so oh and speaking to the children but actually i'm going to be speaking to to everyone and
so i'd like everyone to do these things so let's a one of the things about this practice this put this what kind of sets
this place apart
as a as a kind of a place of it's a place that reminds us about some things that are important and one of the things that's really important is our breathing and there's sometimes we don't even notice it or think about it so i'd like to start by having us all pay attention to our breathing and a really good way to do that is to actually
they feel your breath to put your hand in front of your nose and take a breath

and just just feel just notice your breathing notice how you don't really have to do anything it just it just happens
and the other thing you can do it and put a hand on your chest or your stomach and also notice your breathing that way

you can it's just another way of noticing
noticing who you are noticing what's happening noticing what
what are you what do you feel when this happens when when you're just when you're feeling right now what's it like what's it like to be here what are all the things that are happening for everyone

well as as some of you know i'm i'm always looking for an excuse to sing here in the buddha hall even not that not for me to sing for you to sing i can't say but i thought because the children are here because the children are here
we could all sing a song together and the song that
seemed most appropriate to me which i hope many of you know is is a shape and old shaker song tis a gift to be simple and i thought not only could we sing it we could also kind of move to it
so the to how many people know this song hop why okay enough to help
so the were the words are it's tis a gift to be simple to the gift to be free to the gift to come down where we ought to be and when we find ourselves in the place just right will be in the valley of love and delight it's a great song now they're really fun part is the next verse and this is one where i think anyone
who wants to which i hope most of do to stand up and and act out this next part
i see after i have to try to remember it right because winter when true simplicity is gained this is a very this is a perfect song you'll see in a minute why to bow and to bend we shan't be ashamed to turn turn will be our delight till by turning
the turning we come down right or come round right either one is just perfect and the that's what else do we need to say so anyone who can or would like to children i hope you guys who are like was so let's stand up haven't heard but he stands up

and i'll start and please join in and it's the words are simple and and do whatever you think is the appropriate movement to these works ok here we go without hurting each other this is that gentle mood gentle slow compassionate movements okay you too
give to be some boat is the give to be free to the give to come down where we ought to be and when we find ourselves in the plays just ride will be in the valley of love
and did you lie can get ready to move when truth simplicity is gain to bow and to bend we and be a shame to turn left turn will be lied to by turning to
the we come down and right
the
so did everyone come down in the right place
it looks like it
so that their dizzy i know that's why i didn't do it i'd be i'd be lying on the floor
so that's that's that's what i had in mind for the children with i mean they're welcome to stay welcome to go whatever you want to do do you want to stand walk
well well said djibouti yes
the
yes sir

how you then
the

well good morning once again
i hope that helped everybody wake up
but now that the now that the children are gone i thought we can talk about sex
the actually that's not that's not really the topic
what i really want to talk about and there is the some relationship
that the subject is a destructive emotions and also as as many of you know this is the beginning of a three month practice period here at city center and the theme for this practice period is living the life of buddha that to have a right and
i contend that from the me that there may be no other practice than working with our emotions and that being our full unhindered emotional authentic selves is what buddhist teachings are about and the practicing practicing with our emotions is buddhist teaching is
our our life teaching
and i thought to in particular address this topic i wanted to use a a case or story from the from the ooma com and it's a woman kind of a collection of forty eight columns forty eight stories
collected in china more than a thousand years ago and the one i thought was really appropriate for talking about was many but this one i liked in particular for talking about the subject of destructive emotions and living the life of buddha is it's the forty six case and it says how do you step from the top of a one hundred foot pole
it says you can sit on the top of a one hundred foot pole although you have entered the way it is not genuine take a step from the top of a pole and the entire universe is in your eye

so for me with this with this comment saying is that we're all we're all on the top of our lives are like we're all on the top of a poll we we have to do something we have to say something whether we're sitting in zazen in conversation with our spouse family lover friend people at work there's no choice
there's no choice but to speak or to act
we are and there's no choice but to be there with our full emotional life
and the starting point the starting point for
understanding this life for understanding our emotions living the life of buddha working with these with his con
is what i would call investigating reality and there's a word that that's often used was mindfulness practice as a word that we use a lot and i'm really liking this term
investigating reality it has it has more a little more initiative and action and kind of responsibility and
pract it's the practice of really looking at what what are you really feeling there's a my friend and my good friend and teacher norman fischer
but one of the practices that he often advises is that you often throughout the day stop and ask yourself what am i what am i really feeling and what's behind that feeling and what what's behind that feeling
and other questions i thought of some questions that this this cohen reasons for neighbors sitting on the top of a poll what am i afraid of where does my fear come from
what am i not saying are feeling that needs to be said or felt what stops me what conversations do i need to have that would deepen the quality of my relationships of my life why have i been putting these conversations off i remember once someone said to me that you know often when you
ask someone how they're doing they say fine and that fine stands for feelings inside not expressed

as some of you know i i recently left a work situation that i was in for fifteen years that i started a publishing company called called breast aunts and i i
i had become very identified with the company with the you know the role of the the kind of leader ceo role and had become identified with the company and in many many ways and this is a very new for me that i that i've left and right
emotionally i'm in this place where i'm noticing and i'm both very much grieving i'm still i'm still going through this grieving process of having done something started something and then having left it it's a little bit like the grieving of a a father whose child goes off to college because this this child of mine that i started and has grown as grown up and as
now left me and also i feel this great sense of relief and joy in that it's off on its own and that and that i'm i'm not doing something else it was about two years ago that i was having breakfast with one of my one of my board members and meant
jurors a woman a woman who's quite an extraordinary woman is that i know
somewhat older than me and has a lot of business experience and also a lot of spiritual experience this was two years ago at a breakfast meeting where she looked me in the eyes and said it's time for you to leave brush dance she said you need to spend more time with at zen center more time practicing more time teaching
she said you have there's more that you have to accomplish in the world than being oppressed ants and i remember my first reaction was i didn't believe her i thought oh she just doesn't think i'm good at doing this she's just trying to get me out and and and i realized that
that wasn't it at all that she was really being sincere and kind of tears came up in my eyes and was really interesting to see my reactions and
but still even hearing this i kept i kind of kept at it for a couple more years and i realized looking back that in some way my body had decided that this was not the right thing for me to be doing anymore and that ah
the day to day activity what i was actually doing what's not in it was not nurturing my heart was not really what was most essential to me and that i continued to find ways of avoiding those feelings the the emotions and feelings and what i knew to be what i knew to be true
i remember right after i read after i actually left the company i i had lunch with a good friend steve weintraub who lectures here often and i i sat down and and i mentioned to him that i had just left brushed dance and steve leapt he leapt out of his chair and came and hugged me it started twirling me around
and it made me it made me realize that i had been conveyed to him for years that i wanted to leave and and he knew he knew it so well and some and somehow i had managed to hide it from myself
there's an expression i saw recently that i really like it says trust completely trust your intuition don't always trust the operator trust your intuition
so zen practice and our practice provides a map and say to cut through being attached being caught are being driven by by fears beliefs and what we we form these amazing survival strategies that may have worked for us at some point that that's too
i'm working
from a buddhist point of view all emotions that keep us from seeing things as they are or emotions that pushed us push us out of our state of equilibrium can be called destructive our practice is to become intimately familiar with our intuition with our deepest intentions as well
including are messy unexplainable feelings and emotions and to find a way to go beyond these labels and return to our authentic free and an amiable nature's the cohen says that in order to do this we have to take this step from the pole
i saw this some great up there's a quote by annie lamont that i saw this morning where she says reality is unforgiving the complex and i would add to that that reality is unforgivably simple
ah
and i think of i think of these things as reasons why in addition to in addition to having a meditation practice and zazen practice why working with the teacher and being part of the community is so important
no matter how much meditation we sit
sitting clearly seeing clearly can be really tricky business sometimes it's like we're like fish in our own tank and the water might be actually getting dirtier and we don't see it were too close to it it takes a teacher or a friend or sometimes it takes a community in my case and see
take all of those together to help me to see what what it is that i'm that i'm not seeing that's up there might be obvious to others around us and stepping off this poll is one way to describe it is just pay really paying attention truly investigating reality really listening to ourselves
inquiring about our feelings and emotions and really being open to our teachers friends family people we work with and learning from everyone around us
there's
there's a a book that i i highly recommend and it's called working with destructive emotions by it's by the dalai lama and
and daniel goleman it's actually transcripts of a conference held in india with the dalai lama of a group of scholars and scientists and spiritual people monks and nuns from from around the world
and in this book one of the things that they come to is that there's a distinction between our feelings and our emotions that feelings are kind of of a more first level reactions reaction and response and then emotions are more of a collection of events that's how we
put these these feelings that come up together
and buddhism speaks of there being eighty four thousand kinds of negative emotions fortunately they also speak buddhism speaks about eighty four thousand doors to the path of inner transformation and these all of these destructive emotions can be boiled down to five five
hatred desire confusion pride and jealousy and in this conference one of the conclusions they they reach is that the more you examine these emotions the more you look at the source of the of the human mind that is that these emotions begin to
fade away that at the core that at the core of the human mind is clarity brilliance something that's not harmful in any way but that the way the way their the path there is to understand these fully understand and transform these negative emotions
i was looking at a way that that suzuki roshi that the founder of these temples the way he talks about emotions and there's a a chapter in the book not always so in which he says our emotions are like a movie
and he says people are so interested in the movie that they tend to forget about the screen and so are our feelings and emotions and all of the the the things in our lives that we didn't do have to do all the dramas all of that is the is the movie
but that an order to really enjoy our lives we really need to see that there's much more than the movie that there's the screen
and that screen as i think what in this
this brilliant core settled mind that settled being that we all have
i thought about i wanted to describe a
what for me was a kind of up a an emotional aha experience that i had just a couple of days ago in talking with my wife and i thought of this in because it felt it felt like seeing things as a moot in a movie but in a slightly different way than i think similar but slightly different than what it says
the curiosity was talking about
i noticed as i was having this i was just having this slow careful conversation with my wife and suddenly i i noticed that
there was a part of me that was really focused in to her facial expressions and that my and that as her that that i had without even knowing it trained myself to read what i thought she was feeling and thinking by just the way her mouth was chaired or the
are the muscles in her eyes and i could i could see it was as though for me
the frame of the my movie was slow down and i could see that i was having feelings and emotions that in a way we're going through central you know that i i wasn't conscious of them but yet i was having all of these feelings and reaching all of these conclusions
that were pretty much unconscious and could see the way that
that i do that and in some way we all we all do that we all are we all are so sensitive and so tuned in to what other people are thinking and feeling effect where there's this book
ah it's called a general theory of love that describes from the buy it from a scientific and biological viewpoint the way that we are it's part of our human condition that we we have this amazing
genetic biological equipment to read other people's energy and feel other people's energy which is a huge huge
positive amazing ability that we have and at the same time it can get it can it can cause our emotions and our and our lives to get way out of equilibrium if we are not really aware and transform this disability

at this conference in this book they describe three where they call three essential strategies for working with these destructive emotions

right the first the first method is applying antidotes so if you're feeling hatred than practice love and compassion if you're feeling jealousy then practice kindness enjoy
know there's many many buddhist practices can be can be used as antidotes there's the the first four of the six parameters are your generosity patients energy and ethical conduct there is also what are called the for him measurables your compassion
and equanimity empathetic joy and loving kindness and there's i think the what's important i think it's to choose a practice and do it and when i would recommend the when i'd recommend is empathetic joy and what this means it's
pretty simple but it's amazingly complex is that if someone else is feeling happy someone else is feeling joyful share in their joy know they they're happy about a relationship they're happy about
something that has anything to there there's something that that arose for them that brought up happiness how often if we really we really look do we feel jealousy or feel like oh i wish that but i wish that happened to me or or what if it's someone who we don't really like someone who we have some we we feel out of ally
i met with or that they were someone who hurt us in some way and and they're feeling happy and joyful how do we how do we fit the practice the so the practice would be to start with someone who start with someone who you really feel good about and love and share in their happiness that's fairly easy but then there's a neutral per
can you know someone who you don't know if someone's laughing you see someone on the street laughing the practice would be to share in their happiness to feel their happiness and then you know again than the hardest one is someone who you're not feeling so good about you're having some difficult feelings around and and just try
yeah it and i would suggest actually trying it as a practice and try it for a week or tried for a day and see see what happens
the second
the second method the second strategy to for dealing with emotions is
meditation practice or or meditation practice the practice of emptiness the practice of impermanence meditation helps us to see just to slow things down and understand and see this the spaces in our thoughts the spaces in our emotions we can it's
the tool to deeply investigate reality to just watch to see the subtler levels of our of our own conditioning that ambit the ways that our feelings become embedded and we can we we can see that emotions themselves are not are not a problem i'm not i'm so we
our the
having a rich and full emotional life is what i'm suggesting not that we'd not be emotional but that we not but that we not
act in ways that are destructive and that we not be attached to our emotions in meditation we get a taste of impermanence we can see how short our lives are and know that that living in denial in safety or mediocrity
is destructive is destructive to our hearts and we get a taste a real taste of emptiness we can see that for me emptiness is very simple it means that to work that the world is empty of separation that we're all intimately connected to everyone
i i had i had an amazing experience a few weeks ago
which i felt like i got a big hit of impermanence when i was walking i was walking by myself in the hills above green gulch as it was getting dark and
came face to face with a with a mountain lion
and
i
i was in denial for about a minute
i thought who is that a german shepherd
or sure is a big coyote
and
but there was no owner there so no knowledge or not a german shepherd and it was about three times the size of the coyote and it was it was sitting on it was sitting on a hill and
just staring at me and i could em and i can see that i was i was game that that it had really in a completely and i
i was trembling i was saying i was kind of saying my goodbyes and and then i remembered oh you're supposed to look really big and tough and so i looked as big and tough as i can possibly muster and and i also remember that if said we're supposed to not lose eye contact
and i did not lose eye contact with this i felt myself really tuned in
and but it was it was writ it was some and continues to be transforming to to feel
the of impermanence and the sense of how lucky we are to be alive how it made me appreciate my own my own breath my own aliveness
the third method
which is often said to be the most difficult and the most effective is to transform our negative or destructive emotions and they use this analogy of saying that there's some
that there's three ways to deal with a poisonous plant read the first way is to uproot the plant that's like applying this antidote method the second way right this is to pour boiling water over the plan this is like applying emptiness the third is like the strata
g of the peacock who eats poisonous plants and it said that the more poisonous plants the peacock eats the brighter more colorful feathers become and so this is this is saying that we need to turn towards our emotions and really know them expire
against them fully and then i think i think that practice zen practice is doing all three methods at the same time the antidote practice emptiness practice and transformation
investigating reality i exposing our feelings in ourselves our feelings to ourselves practicing meditation practicing with impermanence and emptiness and being willing to take this step to taking the step from the poll by turning towards what's really do
a cult
in a in a practical

in a practical day-to-day way what this means to me is if what you want if what you want from your friend or your spouse lover whoever if you want more openness acceptance and love then you go first you practice
you'd practice and demonstrate more acceptance openness and love
if you want to be if you want the other person if what you want in your life is to be
more vulnerability more sharing more risk-taking that's what you want from someone then you do it you you demonstrate it you go first
your app so this is a way in which your actions i feel like this is an example of all three practices at the same time this is this this kind of behavior is acting as an antidote it's having the courage to see
the connections that we have and it's turning towards what might be the most difficult thing for you to do which is to actually act on a move toward what you most what you most want
seeing that everything is impermanent and not separate can be a great encouragement and because our lives are so short it doesn't mean that our actions and relationships are unimportant in fact i'd say it means just the opposite since our lives are so short everything we do is quite significant
and the fact that we're not separate from others doesn't mean that we shouldn't take things personally fact i would say just again just the opposite everything is personal take everything personally take everything as important
this cohen says it doesn't say
wait for the other person to step off the pole first it says stepped from the pole
i think what makes our our most intimate relationship so challenging is that they demand that we apply all three of these methods working with emotions
for many of us are relationships
we find ourselves in situations that push us outside the limits of what our meditation practice has taught us into territory where we bump into these ingrained habits of responding of thinking and of linking together feelings and responses these most our most intimate really
friendships have a way of touching our deepest and in great views
sometimes these strategies again these strategies we we bump into the ways
that these strategies are so ingrained that their survival strategies that we need to transform and again the way to transform them turn towards them act with what you really want
and i think again i think of suzuki roshi and the term he uses the term beginner's mind and
again i feel like that's a word that's been so overused that it can stop having meaning but
what really is beginner's mind what would what would it really mean to take our meditation practice in into the world to take that kind of risk taking
with the people that were most close with with people were most intimate with
stepping from this poll
in some way means to step out from behind ourselves and from our habits this doesn't mean stepping away from pain and confusion but again stepping towards it
we can ask we can ask the people who we care most about
is there a way is there some way that i'm hurting you is there a way that my words that my actions are causing you pain please tell me please let me know how i can support you and be there for you how can i express my love and care for you why is it why is it so difficult
to say these words to talk to others in this way what kind of armor do we have on that prevents us from being this real and this disclosing
what is the treasure that we're protecting
and the idea that some idea that we have that we need to be safe
it that we are afraid to shake things up by coming out from behind ourselves
what do we think we'll lose
what would it take what would it really take for us to stop fooling ourselves to breathe to relax
and to step take the step from this poll and leave our armor protection behind

when we penetrate and uncover and transform these emotions we can see that we've already stepped we've already stepped from the poll here we are altogether
working working with our emotions working with how to live the life of buddha and how to live our own deepest authentic selves are think authentic lives
so i am
i wrote down a maybe this is the maybe i should have been a school teacher because at the end i wrote down the key points to remember
the for myself keep what here's the key points to remember if you if you fail us like i i often sleep during lectures so if you've been sleeping is here's here's what i said
it's great especially this this is the only this is the only
that's the only place in america where you can talk and it's a good thing to be looking down and not at the speaker known it's it's kind of it's okay
the points i ropar there's no other practice than working with emotions start by investigating reality
we all need meditation practice and we need to work with others teachers and a community
since life is so sure everything is important
since we're all connected take everything personally
choose one practice and really do it and and report back empathetic joy as the one that i recommend but there's lots to choose from and notice your armor and put it away again and again
and i want to finish
i want to finish with a a poem by rocha
which i thought was just right for this topic

since i am to alone in the world and not alone enough to make every minute holy
i want to unfold i don't want to stay folded anywhere
because where i am folded there i am a lie
and i want my grasp of things to be true i want to describe myself like a painting that i looked at closely for a long time
like a saying that i finally understood
like a pitcher that i use every day
like the face of my mother
like a ship that took me to safety through the wildest storm of all
read that again yeah
i should say i'm cheating a little bit here this poem this is the first line of this poem and then i took out it's it's a long poem that i took the first line of and a piece of but
and these put this is from
it's a robert bly translation collected poems of wilco we probably haven't here in the bookstore and towards the beginning i think like they're numbered this is like number seven or number aids somewhere in and around there
i am to alone in the world and not alone enough to make every minute holy
i want to unfold i don't want to stay folded anywhere
because where i unfolded there i am a lie and i want my grasp of things to be true
i want to describe myself like a painting
that i looked at closely for a long time like a saying that i finally understood like the picture i use every day
like the face of my mother like a ship that took me to safety through the wildest storm of all
thank you very much