Boiled down into its simplest terms, the problem of people is the minds physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual insecurity about its existence; on a spectrum. Every day people open their eyes. Oftentimes it's after agitated, or restless rather than restful sleep, many logging-on to the proverbial website of "The Human Condition dot Com," that in far too many instances is an existence of benign self and other neglect. Imagine a plant that needs attention, sunlight, and water... and then not caring for it in a consistent way. Notice and observe the results for the plant. It's oftentimes far less than what it could be if properly supported and nurtured.
One of the basic differences of humans as opposed to other animals is that we're "Soft-wired," instead of "Hard-wired." Soft-wired systems are more adaptive in physical environments than "Hard-wired," systems. We also have the advantage though many Zen masters would argue is a disadvantage, because people can be so flaky. It's known as, "Reflective consciousness."
We can think about our thinking. And in fact, we can think and project, about thinking and projecting, by additional thinking and projecting what's artificially created in our head. The Buddha cautioned people about this more than 2,000 years ago, essentially saying 'Look out for mental rabbit holes manufactured by self and others! You might not come back out of it, having created some unhealthy shit based on twisted human instincts of an untrained ID and/or Super Ego.'
It's similar to old-school "Pagers." People used to walk around with what were pretty much one-trick-ponies. That's especially true when compared to our Smart-phones. What makes a smart-phone smart is based on the operating system... a kind of soft-wiring, that makes us able to turn it into whatever we want and use it in nearly any way that we'd want, with few limitations. Strangely, that ability, with a person that's neglected care of their physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being can easily be turned from a useful tool into a full time addiction, where people are having the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual aspects of self managed like a puppet at the other end of a screen... errr I meant to say, string. My bad!
Going from here, cause it's going to get rough, I'm going to point at my personal way of being, and own it. I'm not saying that I'm right. I'm not saying I'm wrong. I'm saying, this is how I live and my experience, and the ultimate point of my post today. I'm offering a keisaku stick... the waking stick.... to challenge people out of sleepiness.
I'm conservative on some things, moderate on other things, and liberal on the rest. It's possible to be all of those things, and not a walking contradiction. I freely admit I'm locked in one particular principle that I like to camp out with... as a matter of Goodwill, Love and Creative action, how do I help myself and others to live fully whole and wholly free; to the best of our ability in This moment. I care about experience, not opinion. I was raised and grew up in Twelve Step Recovery, and that's how we're "SUPPOSED," to roll; though I've seen far too many people violate that principle, and share stuff that has zero basis in experience. When someone begins a sentence with "I think...---," I often stop people and ask, "Do you think, or do you know?" There's a significant difference between the two. But then again these are sad times and people lack a certain amount of harmonious intellectual rigor and conscious contact with our intuitive nature, and the ability to utilize them as a complete package.
Okay that out of the way, here we go!
To live in the extremes is bullshit! I did that all day everyday, not just in active addiction, but for the first 10 years of being 100% clean and being about 40% in actual recovery. As my sponsor used to say... "Wow! You can be your own crisis creator when the disease is masquerading as Recovery." Oy Vey! Addiction-land, and not our society in general through various means has been turned to the land of extremes. As one of my friends recently put it, "The wider the ditches get and the more committed we are to riding in the ditches, whether it's on the right or the left, can make it really hard to find the middle of the road, to get a better and smoother ride. It sucks when we die there." He didn't just mean physically. My Buddy meant mentally, emotionally, and spiritually dying too. I sometimes refer this way of being as "Bipolar." I don't mean this as a clinical diagnosis, but as one who is into fighting, dominating, consistently and unnecessarily contentious, and lacking the ability to hold care and sympathy for not only one's personal position, but that of others, with a sense of depth, compassion, and altruism.
Hyper-conservative fanatics have united to bring dystopia to existence and experiences near all of us. Innumerable facts, reality, and lived experiences have been bent, twisted and mangled into what it's not; out of their profound physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual insecurity; hyper-energized cynicism by manipulative algorithms projected through screens, and generational maladaptive conditioning. It's been a monolog of gaslighting... downsizing... minimizing... conjecture... mistrust... declassing and canceling... invalidating... ridiculing... diminishing... demonizing... degrading... mocking... manipulating... use of structural and systemic violence... discarding conversation... straw-manning arguments... whataboutism without acceptance of responsibility for personal behavior, conduct; twisting and bending reality into what it's not. For what? Very simple some version of money, power, property, prestige, that attempts to fulfill the insatiable desires and fantasy of ego. To have everything exactly the way they want it, in a world that's forever changing.
The cumulative activity is entropic... meaning destructive breaking apart... not just to oneself but others... community as a whole. In Buddhism, which can be translated as the creative activity of living as a wave of Universal Identity of Loving Presence, on the vast ocean of being... I live as oceanic presence with you, not without you. Oceanic presence is "Centropic..." meaning a being together in the whole... as a matter of unity... solidarity. In recognition of these important values, in the practice of Buddhism we have what are known as Bodhisattva vows. "Bodhi" means "Mindful Presence," and "Sattva," which mean "Whole or wholesome..." or put as I mentioned it before... "fully whole, and wholly free, as a reflection of goodwill, love, and creative action." In Sino-Japanese we say:
Sho Jo Mu Hen Seigan Do,
Bo No Mu Jin Seigan Dan,
Ho Mon Mu Ryo Seigan Gaku,
Butsu Do Mu Jo Seigan Jo.
In modern English I could translate it as:
However innumerable all beings are, my commitment is to manifest though goodwill and creative action, care for all encountered; to the best of my ability.
However inexhaustible my delusions and illusions are, my commitment is to see through them all; to the best of my ability
However endless the teachings of Reality are, my commitment is to apply skillful means to master them; to the best of my ability
Wherever this path of Universal Loving Presence may lead, my commitment is to harmonize and ride within It's current; to the best of my ability.
And so what is Zen? True Zen... Daijo Zen... is a practice, not a religion. Strictly Zen means "Unification," and Zazen means to sit... sleep... walk... work... create... eat... care for each others... as a meditative... and contrary to popular belief... contemplative and dedicated friendly action with our self and so-called others, for mutual support.
Zen Master Kodo Sakwaki once said: “We live in group stupidity and confuse this insanity with true experience. It is essential that you become transparent to yourself and wake up from this madness. One at a time, people are still bearable, but when they form cliques, they start to get stupid. They fall into group stupidity. They’re so determined to become stupid as a group that they found clubs and pay membership dues. Zazen means taking leave of group stupidity.”
It's within this framework and other practices that we can turn towards the minds physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual insecurities... that it has about itself... You... so-called others... Life... and of course death... that we can feel, deal, assimilate, integrate, and heal this fractured sense of self, that is often the source of suffering to self and others. Please confirm this through your own efforts. Zazen, Zazen , Zazen, Zazen... Buddha... Dharma... Sangha... Gratitude... Universal Identity of Loving Presence.... Grace... Community... Appreciation... Self... Higher Power... Service... Society... However that mean look and be fore You as authentic YOU.
--We Are the Practice Itself