Monday, October 3, 2011

The Search Continues

I had promised I would continue where I left off in my book "Everyday Zen", love and work, by Charlotte Joko Beck,.  She is a Zen teacher addressing her students who are practising meditation:

"If we cease looking, searching, what are we left with?  We're left with what's been right there at the center all the time.  Underneath all that searching there is distress.  There is unease.  The minute we realize that, we see that the point isn't the search, but rather the distress and unease which motivate the search, but the magic moment-when we realize that searching outside of ourselves is not the way.  At first it dawn on us just a little bit.  And it gets clearer over time, as we continue to suffer.  See, anything that we search for is going to disappoint us.  Because there are no perfect being, perfect job, perfect places to live.  So the search ends exactly in one place which is.... disappointment.  A good place.

I we have any brains at all, it finally dawn on us:  "I've done this before."  And we begin to see that it isn't the searching that's at fault, but something about where we look.  And we return more and more to the disappointment, which is always at the center.  What's underneath all that search is what?  Fear. Unease. Distress.  Feeling miserable.  We're in  pain and we use the search to alleviate that pain.  We begin to see that the pain comes because we are pinching ourselves.  And just this knowledge is relief, even peace.  The peace we've been searching for so hard lies in recognizing this fact:  I'm pinching myself.  No one's doing it to me.

So the whole search begin to be abandoned and instead of searching, we begin to see that practice (meditation)isn't a search.  Practice is to be with that which motivates the search, which is unease. distress.  And this is the turning around.

It never happens all at once.  Our drive to go after things is so powerful it overwhelms us.  No matter what I say, after we all leave here, in five minutes we'll all be looking around for something to save us.  As the vow says, "Desires are inexhaustible." But you won't exhaust desires by searching; you will exhaust them by experiencing that which  underlies them."

I'm typing this from the book, so I hope I have not missed anything.   There is a bit more so I'll post that under another day.   Of course you don't have to be in a Zen Center to be doing this practise of being with what is, but it does take  discipline to push yourself through your self-created illusions.   

Thank you for reading.

Alice xox

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