From: Phaedrus Wolff (PhaedrusWolff@carolina.rr.com)
Date: Sun Jan 02 2005 - 22:32:28 GMT
I think I may have thrown you off with the words " . . . where your total
focus is on the moment." By moment, I don't mean a point in time, but a
moment in focus.
Think of it this way. When you meditate, you focus on something; your total
focus is on that something. You quiet the mind; everything else is out of
focus. When you attend a task with all of your focus, you quiet the mind.
It does have the second benefit of which you feel I am speaking of, the
benefit of making you better at what you are doing, and from becoming better
at what you are doing, you master your static patterns to a point where they
become second nature, which frees you to experiences of a higher plane.
But, what I am speaking of is not the benefits of mastering the static
patterns, even though that in itself is a way to free yourself from the
static patterns, and open yourself to the dynamics. What I am speaking of is
a meditating experience. When you run, once you hit that point of exhaustion
where you leave this world, a runner's high, you open yourself to a mystic
experience. The same is true with hiking, mountain bike riding, fly fishing,
and riding a Harley. These are all a form of meditating. As you can see, I
placed riding a Harley (not a rice-rocket) and fly fishing (not tournament
fishing) in there as well. These do not exhaust you to the point you are
open for some grand mystical experience. A mystical experience does not have
to be grand IMHO. You do not have to go insane to have a mystical
experience. You do have to train your mind to 'Shut up.'
When you are concentrated on that hole-in-one, or wifey's words, or your
child's homework, these are everyday tasks -- static patterns; the same
would hold true for sweeping or mowing the lawn. These are all everyday
tasks, and as everyday tasks, you don't place your heart and soul into it.
When you don't, you have your mind on other things. When you have your mind
on other things, you are not meditating. If you go through your life never
meditating, then you don't give your mind a chance to reach the intuitive,
inherent knowledge that comes from within.
Yes, it does mean become fully aware of the 'objects' that are in front of
you, and it doesn't involve asking "Are these objects real?" It simply means
There are Zen teachings that involve spending years meditating, but there
are also those that claim you can open up to a mystic experience while
washing your bowl. This involves the idea that a mystic experience does no
have to come once like a lightening bolt that knocks out all the static
patterns of culture out of you, it can be mystical experiences (meaning many
as opposed to one) that build up through your life experiences of everyday
mundane tasks if you do not concentrate on the mundaneness.
Meditation can come in many forms. You must learn to focus to meditate,
however you choose to do so.
And, this is not to take away from anything you are saying. Yes, you do have
to rid yourself of the dualistic modes of thinking that are forced upon the
Western mind, as well as the idea of 'Self' layer by layer.
Like I said, keep those thoughts coming. I do enjoy reading what you have to
----- Original Message -----
From: "David Buchanan" <DBuchanan@ClassicalRadio.org>
Sent: Sunday, January 02, 2005 2:10 PM
Subject: RE: MD Is the MoQ still in the Kantosphere?
> Chin, Sam, msh and all:
> Chin said:
> "But when the mind is quiet and still . . . " you can engage in your
> homework without distraction of what happened at work today, or wifey's
> being pissed off at you because you forgot the milk, or whether or not you
> will be able to make that hole in one tomorrow.
> Inversely when you engage in your child and her homework, on wifey and her
> needs, on that hole at the other end of the green, or work, through the
> attitude of a child, where your total focus is on the moment, that thing
> right in front of you, you have quieted your mind; you are open to a
> mystical experience; you may be in it."
> dmb replies:
> I'm all in favor of paying attention to things without distractions and I
> have a wife and child too. But I also have to say that what you have
> described here seems alot more like "concentrating" or "focusing" the mind
> rather than making it quiet. Or more simply put, what you've said here is
> real nice and all that, but its not what I'm talking about. In fact,
> talking about conventional behaviour in the static world and this is
> much exactly what I'm NOT talking about. See?
> Also, I have to take issue with your suggestion that being a husband or a
> dad is a mystical experience. This seems to trivialize the matter and it
> tends to undermine what ever clarity might have been produced by my
> I very much doubt that this is your intention, but I believe this is the
> effect of your Rockwellian Zen.
> Let me explain in a more specific and substantial way. It seems that the
> heart of your point is pretty well summarized by saying we ought to be
> engaged, to get to the point "where your total focus is on the moment". So
> let's think about that for a couple of minutes and break it down in terms
> that blindspot I keep refering to, eh? There is most certainly an emphasis
> on the "Now" in philosophical mysticism in general and particularly in Zen
> Buddhism. And it is more than just related to what I was actually trying
> say about clearing and quieting the mind. Its at the very heart of it.
> Keep in mind that we are talking about the mystical experience here. In
> Pirsig's terms we are then talking about an experience that comes before
> intellectual divisions, before such things as subjects and objects are
> percieved, before rationality or cultural values are used to shape and
> define that experience. And one of the things that's easy to forget is
> time and space are among those divisions. Time and space are concepts just
> as much as subjects and objects. These elements are all tied together in
> web of static concepts that constitute our world view, our common sense
> perceptions, our idea of sanity in the everyday world. Forgetting this, or
> more likely, never examining the assumption in the first place, the
> mind hears about the "Now" of Zen and thinks of it in terms of his
> worldview. And this is where the blindspot comes in to do its damage. The
> Westerner can't quite shake the idea of the self in space and time and so
> imagines that being in the "Now" is a matter of maintaining one's focus on
> each successive moment as it passes by, as a matter of paying attention
> through each tick of the clock.
> That is the misconception. If that's what's in your cup, pour it out.
> The actual idea of the "Now" is more like eternity, timelessness, the
> infinite. See, if we are talking about the apprehension of the
> pre-intellectual and undivided reality, there is no such thing as time or
> space. There is no such thing as things. That's why we call it
> not because it is black emtpy space. No, "black", "empty" and "space" are
> concepts that come later and are part of the divided, static world.
> And I should add at this point that this is why I think its such a huge
> mistake on the part of theistic religions to think about God and salvation
> in terms of a historical drama. That confuses eternity with what goes on
> the field of space and time. Its really quite a catastrophic
> misunderstanding. We metaphors refering to spiritual realities are taken
> descriptions of historical facts, there is no way they can be properly
> In the same way, the word "eternity" does not refer to linear time going
> and on without end, it refers to an undivided reality where there is no
> because time divides. There is no space because space divides. In the
> undivided experience, there is no thing. Its not that there are things
> there" and we are forever prohibited from knowing their true nature. No.
> There is no in or out, observer or observed, just experience without any
> such divisions. Its hard to imagine because imagination is nothing BUT
> divisons. And that's exactly what we're trying to overcome in the mystical
> As Alan Watt's puts it, we have to lose our minds and come to our senses.
> Its like taking off the cultural glasses we normally use to interpret the
> world and looking at it directly for a change.
> But, by all mean, kiss your wife and nuture your daughter's young mind.
> That's a good thing. It just so happens to be off the topic and beside the
> point, that's all.
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