you’ll know it’s an exacting discipline."
Getting It Together
In 1976, I learned from Reverend Gyomay Kubose, my first Zen teacher that heart, mind, and spirit are actually the same word in Japanese. Derived from a Chinese character, the word shin makes no distinction between these three realms of existence. Our bodies, our minds, and our spirit are a seamless whole. Although we can conceptualize them as distinctly different, in Reality they are one. So is everything else that is, has been, and could possibly ever be.
Conditioned as we are in society on materialistic overdrive, it sure doesn't feel that way for most of us much of the time, right? We experience ourselves as separate, isolated beings, our bodies doing one thing our minds another. In our heart of hearts we aspire to be a certain way, and yet we stumble ahead doing the opposite. It's disheartening. That's what led me to meditation. Following a deep yearning in my heart of hearts, I was intent on "getting it together"to live a life of Integrity.
With Practice, both on and off the zafu, I began to get a handle on how to slowly and gently become the person that, in my heart of hearts, I yearned to be.
Then, at a certain point in meditation at Zen Mountain Monastery years ago, I realized that I actually AM the person I yearned to be--and always have been! At that moment, in a torrent of tears, I knew that with all my flaws, with my abundant neuroses and conditioned patterns, that I was absolutely perfect as is--and so is everybody else!
Nothing had really changed. I was still sitting there in the meditation hall with sunshine streaming through the windows. But, everything had really changed.
It Just Takes Practice
Zen Master Suzuki-roshi once said: “