Zen Ocean Therapy

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On The Immortality of Animals

UnknownIf man’s life is immortal, so also is the animal’s.

The difference is only in degree and not kind. The amoeba and I are the same.

The difference is only in degree and from the standpoint of the highest life, all these differences vanish.

A man may see a great difference between grass and a little tree, but if you mount very high, the grass and the biggest tree will appear the same.

So from the standpoint of the highest ideal, the lowest animal and the highest man are the same.

If you believe there is a God, the animals and the highest creature must be the same.

 

From the highest to the lowest to the most wicked man, in the greatest of human beings and the lowest of crawling worms under our feet, is the soul pure and perfect, infinite and ever-blessed. In the worm, that soul is manifesting only an infinitesimal part of its power and purity, and in the greatest man it is manifesting most of it. The difference consists in the degree of manifestation, but not in the essence. Through all beings exists the same pure and perfect soul.

—Swami Vivekananda

Mindful Writing Workshops: OR How I Learned to Stop Worrying & Love My Work Again

Many of us long to return to that original love that we once had for our art. As we get older, our excitement and delight that is often eclipsed by over-thinking, comparing, worrying, procrastinating and countless other forms of resistance.

Writing is always going to be challenging work, but it is possible to completely revolutionize your process by re-thinking your relationship to your work & learning a few quick and easy techniques that can help dissolve your blocks and make your writing/creative process way more joyful and productive.

Check out these two mindful writing workshops I am offering in September: 

SATURDAY SEPT. 20 1-4: Introduction to Mindful Writing

Drawing from literature, contemporary psychology and Buddhist texts, this class will explore how:

The concept of “no self” can revolutionize our relationship to writing.

Simple mindfulness meditations and techniques can calm fear and neutralize negative self-talk and perfectionism

 Mindful writing can give our writing and our lives a deeper sense of purpose and pleasure

 SATURDAY SEPT. 27 1-4: Maintaining your Mindful Writing Practice

 Using simple 3-minute breath and yoga techniques, this workshop will give writers valuable tools to:

 Maintain a mindful writing process by shifting focus from thinking to breathing

 Create purpose and momentum in the artistic process

 Generate creative energy and increase mental clarity and intuition

 Gain confidence

 Quickly overcome creative blocks

 $35 per class or $60 for both

4949 Hollywood Blvd. 

Los Angeles, California 90027

 Sign up or Just Show Up!

For more information contact:

Jocelyn Heaney

kinfauns2@gmail.com

 If you ever feel like this man when you sit down to write, mindful writing workshops can help.

 shining_writing

Shark Toilet, Shark Totem

SharkToilet

This shark toilet is so grotesque that I feel obligated to balance the horror with a little spirituality.

If you’re obsessed with sharks like I am, you might have wondered why they manifest in your dreams, plague your waking thoughts and perhaps even haunt your toilet.

Check out this fascinating discussion about shark symbolism.

It may inspire you to start a new religion.

The Path of Playing Cards (Or the Gospel of Salty Junk)

On Tuesday afternoon, walking to the parking garage after work I passed a perpetually trash-strewn patch of plants and stopped to free a Macy’s bag impaled on a  thorny branch. Grumbling with fatigue, heat and misanthropy, I snatched the bag and tossed it in a trash can, not feeling quite self-righteous enough to recycle. 

In the trash barrel, I noticed a tiny card from a children’s game. Delighted, I snatched this vintage treasure from the bland refuse that surrounded it. The illustration showed a fisherman hauling a net of blurry colored trash from the edge of an unseen sea. I found the title vaguely obscene: Salty Junk. I couldn’t imagine where the hell this old sod had come from. All I thought of was a haunting story I’d read in the New York Times about the debris field left by the Malaysian plane that crashed in the Ukriane, how the writer reconstructed passenger stories through objects: Bali guidebooks, passports and a scattered deck of children’s playing cards. 

I tried to engineer a reverse synchronicity in my mind to make the discovery feel inevitable. Hadn’t I just been thinking of how I’d make all of these entries into a book?  Hadn’t I just been thinking, how much I’d actually enjoyed cleaning the little piles of dead balloons and tar balls off the beach, especially when my friends came with me? Could the universe, my throbbing narcissism insisted, maybe be acknowledging me for my own modest harvests of salty junk? 

My love for piles of free and abandoned things aside, I don’t know why this little card had the force of revelation to me. I dug through the can, but found no other tiny red cards among the Subway wrappers and coffee cups.

The Wednesday walk to my car was similarly uneventful. But today, past the trash can where the concrete sidewalk curves up the hill, I found another tiny red card  face down on the ground. I turned it over as if awaiting a revelation from the Tarot. There she was: Wacky Witch like some emissary from childhood classrooms dressed up for the New England fall, the green faced dime-store hag with cat, owl and cauldron, her leering face somewhere between a comic strip and a tribal mask.  I scanned the brush for more cards, but found nothing. To what scattered and abandoned game these old icons belong I will never know. But I sensed their odd, intermittent path was something I was meant to follow. 

saltyjunkWackyWitch

Day 355 6/25/14: The Power of Hopelessness

images-3This excerpt is from Pema Chodron’s book “When Things Fall Apart.” It’s a longish read, but worth it. 

If we are willing to give up hope that insecurity and pain can be terminated, then we can have the courage to relax with the groundlessness of our situation…Begin the journey without hope of getting ground under your feet. Begin with hopelessness.

….We are raised in a culture that fears death and hides  it from us. Nevertheless, we experience it all the time. We experience it in the form of disappointment, in the form of things not working out. We experience it in the form of things always being in the process of change. When the day ends, when the second ends, when we breathe out, that’s death in everyday life.

Death in everyday life could also be defined as experiencing all the things that we don’t want. Our marriage isn’t working; our job isn’t coming together. Having a relationship with death in everyday life means that we begin to be able to wait, to relax with insecurity, with panic, with embarrassment, with things not working out. As the years go on, we don’t call the babysitter quite so fast.

Death and hopelessness provide proper motivation for living an insightful, compassionate life. But most of the time warding off death is our biggest motivation. We habitually ward off any sense of problem. We’re always trying to deny that it’s a natural occurrence that things change….

….Can’t we just return to bare bones? Relaxing with the present moment, relaxing with hopelessness, relaxing with death, not resisting the fact that things end, that things have no lasting substance, that everything is changing all the time -—that is the basic message.

….Giving up hope is encouragement to stick with yourself, to make friends with yourself, to not run away from yourself, to return to the bare bones, no matter what’s going on. Fear of death is the background of the whole thing. It’s why we feel restless, why we panic, why there’s anxiety. But if we totally experience hopelessness, giving up all hope of alternatives to the present moment, we can have a joyful relationship with our lives, an honest, direct relationship, one that no longer ignores the reality of impermanence and death.

 

 

 

Day 340 6/10/14: A Simple Answer to an Eternal Question

I admit it. I don’t wake up every day thrilled to be again experiencing the gift of life. But if I listen to a dharma talk by Thich Nhat Hahn, I always feel more calm and clear–I am “returned to myself.” I like that he does not answer this question about how we can love ourselves by analyzing the past and possibly getting tangled in thought, but by emphasizing breath, body and awareness.

Let me know what you think of it!

Day 328 5/19/14: 58 TV Commercials from 1977

The flu + youtube= a melancholy meditation on pop culture

58 TV Commercials from 1977

When did sagging, bulbous bologna become happy baloney:

slang sung by children peeling sweaty circles from the lunch bag’s caress

Who in the schoolyard knew of crazed pigs chewing each other’s tails off?

Who had heard that the runts were slammed to death against the slaughterhouse floor?

Or that a pig that met such a fate was known by another childhood name: Thumper.

We loved the oblivion of mayonnaise.

We learned to laugh off those surreal familiars: leg, shoulder, breast, wing

as we forgot our longing for an ecstatic father

who ate Golden Grahams in a tent

or drank Nescafe from a transparent globe.

I trace the inception of pre-adolescent dread

to my inability to reconcile disco and earthiness,

transparent lip gloss and false ferns

I blame the crackling aftermath,

the lingering shot of the silent game board

or cake mix in lengthening shadow.

That tension between ultra-sheer understatement

and memory yarn,

the shame of instant milk.