Re-reading Power vs. Force by David R. Hawkins, M.D., Ph.D., (c) 2012 Author’s Official Authoritative Edition, I was reminded that it was time to “raise my sights” from choosing joy to choosing enlightenment.
While both joy and enlightenment are in the “extraordinary outcomes” pinnacle, why stop at joy when there are still two higher vibrations levels available?
Today’s senryu: Levels of Consciousness
getting past my self
we perceive a greater truth:
May we all be happy, productive, without stress and synchronistically extraordinary.
The Tibetan singing bell invites us to relax … the facilitator invites us to be calm and quiet our mind … and then the trip begins.
when was the first time I meditated? Oh yeah, 8th grade, Sister Del Rey, at that parochial school in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, what was its name? …. Oh well, can’t remember everything …
it was a homework assignment: find a quiet place and let your mind float …
I remember a green jade Buddha statue floating … I wasn’t attending a Buddhist school … ha!
was it 30 minutes, I’m sure I’m exaggerating, probably only 15 at most … must write down what thoughts come and go during this experiment … I only remember that floating Buddha today, but I also remember feeling refreshed afterward even after all these years …
thoughts come and go like clouds on a windy day … oh, Thay’ you made this Zen Buddhist thing so easy for us
it was maybe fifteen years later that my significant other (now my second wife of many years) invited me to try TM … transcendental meditation … that was a nice experience … I even purchased a mantra … did that for a while but
something about Zen Buddhism … Thomas Merton … D. T. Suzuki … Thich Nhat Hanh … sangha … bellmaster …
“As Dylan’s first release during his “gospel” period, “Gotta Serve Somebody” was met with divisive reviews;John Lennon famously criticized the song and wrote a parody titled “Serve Yourself” in response. Nevertheless, the single won the Grammy for Best Rock Vocal Performance by a Male in 1980. … Cash Box said that the “bluesy instrumentals” were the song’s highlight and that “Dylan avoids a preachy tone with humorous asides.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gotta_Serve_Somebody
Yesterday’s blog Living In-Between was a difficult message directed at myself. It is something I needed. I shared it with you in case it might be of help to someone you know.
Upon second thought, I realize that some messages are best kept to oneself, at least until you’ve had more time to consider the possible consequences for putting those words out into the world.
Here’s two more thoughts on yesterday’s blog:
Thich Nhat Hanh taught that it’s important to look deeply before speaking lovingly. In his book, For A Future to Be Possible, (c) 1993, Thay’ says, “We only need to choose our words carefully, and we can make other people happy. To use words mindfully, with loving kindness, is to practice generosity.” p. 41
For some reason, my favorite verse of this Dylan song is #5. It always makes me smile 🙂
In the book, Interbeing – The 14 Mindfulness Trainings of Engaged Buddhism (Fourth Edition) by Thich Nhat Hanh (c) 2020 by Parallax Press, Thay’ says:
“The Fourteen Mindfulness Trainings were born in a sea of fire in 1966 in Vietnam. The situation of the war was extremely hot. And we know how hot the fire of fanaticism can be. That is why the very first precept is about nonattachment to views, openness, and tolerance, because we see that attachment to views, narrowness, and fanaticism is the ground of a lot of suffering.” p.30
The First Mindfulness Training – Openness
Aware of the suffering created by fanaticism and intolerance, we are determined to not be idolatrous about or bound to any doctrine, theory, or ideology, even Buddhist ones. We are committed to seeing the Buddhist teachings as a guiding means that help us learn to look deeply and develop our understanding and compassion. They are not doctrines to fight, kill, or die for. We understand that fanaticism in its many forms is the result of perceiving things in a dualistic or discriminative manner. We will train ourselves to look at everything with openness and the insight of interbeing in order to transform dogmatism and violence in ourselves and the world.” p.29
Similarly, Richard Rohr speaks of “solidarity instead of judgment.”
In the book, The Universal Christ – How a Forgotten Reality Can Change Everything We See, Hope For, and Believe by Richard Rohr (c) 2019 by Center for Action and Contemplation, Inc., Richard says:
“A mature Christian sees Christ in everything and everyone else. That is a definition that will never fail you, always demand more of you, and give you no reasons to fight, exclude, or reject anyone.
Isn’t that ironic? The point of the Christian life is not to distinguish oneself from the ungodly, but to stand in radical solidarity with everyone and everything else. … Humans were fashioned to love people more than principles.” p.33
In the book, The Essential Rumi – Translations by Coleman Barks, New Expanded Edition (c) 2004 HarperOne, Rumi, 13th-Century Persian poet, Islamic scholar and Sufi mystic from Iran, says:
“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass, the world is too full to talk about. Ideas, language, even the phrase ‘each other’ doesn’t make any sense.” p.36
Here is my humble senryu to these great teachers:Nhat Hanh, Rohr and Rumi
If your black, indigenous, or another person of color (BIPOC) and are looking for a place to learn more about building a Beloved Community and/or the Plum Village Tradition of Zen Buddhism then check out ARISE at https://arisesangha.org.
If you’re not BIPOC but are interested in learning more about being an ally, like I am, then we can check out, join and support ARISE as well.
Dr. Larry Ward is a senior dharma teacher in the Thich Nhat Hanh Plum Village Tradition. He is a noted author and co-founder with his wife, Dr. Peggy Ward, of The Lotus Institute (http://www.thelotusinstitute.org).
A beautiful writer and poet, Dr. Ward has a strong physical and metaphysical voice which informs us of our opportunities for learning and sharing a deep, fierce love.
Our teacher, Thay’, Thich Nhat Hanh, died one year ago. Below are two links for more information on this fierce and gentle Zen Master.
I especially appreciate his poem displayed below which includes the phrase: “birth and death are a game of hide-and-seek”
May you experience his continued presence of peace and joy.
Contemplation on No-Coming and No-Going
by Thich Nhat Hanh
This body is not me.
I am not limited by this body.
I am life without boundaries.
I have never been born,
and I have never died.
Look at the ocean and the sky filled with stars,
manifestations from my wondrous true mind.
Since before time, I have been free.
Birth and death are only doors through which we pass,
sacred thresholds on our journey.
Birth and death are a game of hide-and-seek.
So laugh with me,
hold my hand,
let us say good-bye,
say good-bye, to meet again soon.
We meet today.
We will meet again tomorrow.
We will meet at the source every moment.
We meet each other in all forms of life.
Change is difficult, for us and for the collective. Unfortunately, when we make progress, it’s easy to assume that it will continue without our continued effort. No, we must not give up. Our efforts to sustain the progress is needed today and everyday going forward. It takes all of us to make a Beloved Community.
Today’s senryu: Tomorrow is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
Richard Rohr describes how speaking truth to power is an essential part of the prophet’s mission:
One of the gifts of the prophets is that they evoke a crisis where one did not appear to exist before their truth-telling. In the 1960s, Martin Luther King Jr.was blamed for creating violence—but those who had eyes to see and were ready to hear recognized, “My God, the violence was already there!” Structural violence was inherent in the system, but it was denied and disguised. No one was willing to talk about it. Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, and others said, “We’re going to talk about it.”
Prophets always talk about the untalkable and open a huge new area of “talkability.” For those who are willing to go there, it helps us see what we didn’t know how to see until they helped us to see it. That’s how we begin to recognize a prophet—there is this widening of seeing, this deepening of a truth that was always there.
Prophets generate a crisis, so it’s almost understandable why they’re usually called troublemakers and so often killed. They generate the crisis because while everybody else is saying the emperor is beautifully clothed, they are willing to say, “No, he’s naked.” We’re not supposed to say that the emperor has no clothes!
It’s the nature of culture to have its agreed-upon lies. Culture holds itself together by projecting its shadow side elsewhere. That’s called the “scapegoat mechanism.” René Girard, Gil Bailie, and others have pointed out that the scapegoat mechanism is the subtext of the entire biblical revelation. It’s the tendency to export our evil elsewhere and to hate it there, and therefore to remain in splendid delusion. If there isn’t a willingness to be critical of our country, our institution, and ourselves, we certainly can’t be prophets. 
When the prophet is missing from the story, the shadow side of things is always out of control, as in much of the world today, where we do not honor wisdom or truth.
It seems the prophet’s job is first to deconstruct current illusions, which is the status quo, and then reconstruct on a new and honest foundation. That is why the prophet is never popular with the comfortable or with those in power. Only a holy few have any patience with the deconstruction of egos and institutions.
The prophets are “radical” teachers in the truest sense of the word. The Latin radix means root, and the prophets go to the root causes and root vices and “root” them out! Their educational method is to expose and accuse with no holds barred. Ministers and religion in general tend to concentrate on effects and symptoms, usually a mopping up exercise after the fact. As someone once put it, we throw life preservers to people drowning in the swollen stream, which is all well and good—but prophets work far upstream to find out why the stream is swollen in the first place. 
 Adapted from Joan Chittister and Richard Rohr, Prophets Then, Prophets Now (Albuquerque, NM: Center for Action and Contemplation, 2006). Available as MP3 download.
I sometimes wonder if all humans are sentient beings (i.e., able to care for self and others). Some human behavior can appear sociopathic (i.e., lacking empathy with little or no remorse).
I rarely wonder if other-than-human animals are sentient. Companion animals, especially, will often demonstrate a variety of feelings and they are able to communicate those feelings without words.
Below are five references I recommend for learning more about sentient beings and how we might be more sentient ourselves.
“A sentient being can feel, perceive and sense things. They have an awareness of surroundings, sensations, thoughts and an ability to show responsiveness. Having senses makes something sentient, or able to smell, communicate, touch, see, or hear. All sentient beings have an awareness of themselves they can feel happiness, sadness, pain and fear.”Jenni Madison, What Is a Sentient Being? @ naturesheart.org
“Humans have long insisted on believing that we are different from other animals, and somehow better. This idea, however, is slowly starting to change. Animals have moved into our homes as companions. We spend hours watching their antics on social media. We throw birthday parties on their behalf and spend millions every year on their care. And while our relationships with our pets are changing, research is also increasingly demonstrating sentience in nonhuman animals, challenging the idea that humans and animals are separated by an insurmountable gap.”Grace Hussain, https://sentientmedia.org/sentient-being/
Based on award-winning scientist Marc Bekoff’s years studying social communication in a wide range of species, this important book shows that animals have rich emotional lives. Bekoff skillfully blends extraordinary stories of animal joy, empathy, grief, embarrassment, anger, and love with the latest scientific research confirming the existence of emotions that common sense and experience have long implied. Filled with Bekoff’s light humor and touching stories, The Emotional Lives of Animals is a clarion call for reassessing both how we view animals and how we treat them. https://www.amazon.com/Emotional-Lives-Animals-Scientist-Explores/dp/1577316290
Zen Master, Thich Nhat Hanh died last January, 1.22.22, yet his impact on the world continues. Below are a couple of quotes from his book The Art of Communicating for your consideration:
“Every human and every animal communicate. We typically think of communication as the words we use when we speak or write, but our body language, our facial expressions, our tone of voice, our physical actions, and even our thoughts are ways of communicating.
Every time we communicate, we either produce more compassion, love, and harmony or we produce more suffering and violence. Our communication is what we put out into the world and what remains after we have left it. In this way, our communication is our karma. The Sanskrit word karma means ‘action,’ and it refers not just to our bodily action but to what we express with our bodies, our words, and our thoughts and intentions.” The Art of Communicating, Thich Nhat Hanh, Parallax Press (c) 2013, p.139
May our thoughts, words and actions contribute more compassion, love and harmony today.