“Being watched by zazen, cursed by zazen, blocked by zazen, dragged around by zazen, every day crying tears of blood— isn’t that the happiest form of life you can imagine?”
―Zen Master Kodo Sawaki
Who are you? Who are you... really... truly.... authentically... that's not the conditioned... domesticated... fabricated... coerced... Blue pilled Thomas Anderson'd... just another brick in the wall'ed You as genuine YOU? Will the real You as YOU please stand up? This is the deep end of the pool question that's meant to be answered through Zen meditation. The stillness... the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual harmony of Zazen is a tried and true portal to noticing our Truth... the real truth, rather than the one that's handed to us. Please wake up! You've been sleeping a long time, making balloon payments on the mortgage of your life! The interest rates are so high, you'll never get out of it. When you die, you're creditors even then will continue to seek payment, and what they think that they're due!
“Being watched by zazen, cursed by zazen, blocked by zazen, dragged around by zazen, every day crying tears of blood— isn’t that the happiest form of life you can imagine?” Indeed! Indeed! Indeed!
Last evening, I co-facilitated a practice for the monastery, online. It was profound for many reasons and on many levels. The initial question presented by the co-facilitator was, "Where are you from, and where are you from, from really?" (1) That is a vital "Red," pill question that anyone who's seen the movie, "The Matrix," could understand is a pill that's designed to disrupt the input/output of conditioning that in a certain way has been an individual and shared trauma on a spectrum, harming all of us; whether we understand we're apart of a very elaborate simulation or not, using a fascinating power source. It's like asking an Indigenous person who first populated this land, "What's your government name, and what's your true name in the context of your people?"
Those answers can be extremely different, changing the nature of the interaction powerfully. For me it's like taking of a kind of meme we end up wearing as people, being co-conspirators of mindlessness, and transactionalism, that's the true religion of most.
We cannot be free ourselves from what we don't know is holding us captive, until we expand the range of our awareness to experience ourselves in and as the True Reality of our lived experience, rather than the conditioned and fabricated simulation society has us trained to survive in to suit its need.
Here! Now! Clear! Decisive! Direct! This is the value of Zazen. We can use the four postures of Zazen, without the mind still, and calm, even if the body itself is in motion to experience ourselves with clarity. Zazen is doing Zazen... Driving is doing Driving... Working is doing Working... Being is doing Being... Laughing is doing Laughing... Eating is doing Eating... Shitting is doing Shitting... completely... nothing and no thing left... without the constructs of distance, space, or time. Sononomama (そのまま)... Reality as Reality truly is, before we started bullshitting ourselves and others as a result of conditioning, and programming that renders I'm me, you're you, and because of this projection I have to potentially fear you because you will quite possibly harm me for the construct of money, power, property, and prestige, and it's endless artificial manifestations which divert us from our primary purpose... to Love fully whole and wholly free. "Where are you from, and where are you from, from really?" Do you know your real TRUTH outside the conditioning, experientially rather than intellectually or theoretically?
The co-facilitator of the practice said something interesting, that was actually one of many, in the wake of the practice we lead. "The noticing is the noticing of being policed. If we don't know or understand we're being policed, we cannot have meaningful conversations," because they're literally conversations taking place within a shared simulation... a dream. As Ram Dass put it's, "The delusion of Somebody training." We can be so finely tuned and molded we don't know who or what we authentically are, and so we suffer.
A great example is when practicing with people, one of the things that I intentionally do, is try to create openings, to see if they can hear themselves and what they're saying. So many times, people will say: I feel this... I feel that... and then I ask, how is that a feeling? It sounds more like a thought? Are you sure? 9 times out of 10 they pause long enough to internally interrogate what they said, and out comes... "Holy shit, that was a thought, not a feeling!" Which then leads me to point out... the mind has us turned upside, down shaking our pockets out, we don't even know our feet are actually touching the ground. This is the reason... “Being watched by zazen, cursed by zazen, blocked by zazen, dragged around by zazen, every day crying tears of blood— isn’t that the happiest form of life you can imagine?” Practice seems a daunting, but only to a mind that wants to keep us enslaved, and obstruct our natural freedom.
In my Zen training, there was a koan given to me by my teacher. It's in the Gateless Barrier. It's called "Zuigan calls, Master!" It goes like this:
Every day, Zen Master Zuigan called out to himself: `Master! Master!'
Without hesitation he replied to himself: `Yes! Yes!'
And after that he added: `Are you as YOU awake?'
Again without hesitation he responded: `Yes! Yes!'
Pausing... he'd then say with great Presence, 'Please do not be deceived by others.'
`No I will not! No I will not!,' he answered.
A Sherpa's Comment: Old Zuigan verifies things are not as they appear, nor are they otherwise. We know real gold by how it responds to fire. Zuigan holds up an avatar of a representative self. He uses one mask to call `Master' and another that answers the master. Another mask says `Wake up' and another, `Don't be cheated by others.' If anyone clings to any of these masks, they are mistaken. Controlled folly! If we imitate Zuigan, we will make ourself a caricature. A phony is phony. Authenticity is authentic. Which are we Being in a This moment? We know not by what we're saying but rather what we're actually doing.
Some Zen students do not realize that We in this very moment, without even trying are naturally, the True person and Master of ourselves. Conditioning has us caught and putting on masks, without usually realizing it, because we mistake personality before principles, feeling for thoughts, and thoughts for feelings; as being so-called 'Real.'
"Where are you from, and where are you from, from really?" Sawaki roshi, saying “Being watched by zazen, cursed by zazen, blocked by zazen, dragged around by zazen, every day crying tears of blood— isn’t that the happiest form of life you can imagine?” It may sound like Zen gibberish. But only to those who don't have a consistent and sustained meditative practice. When we can embody both where we're from, and where we're "From, From..." then... ahhhh. We can finally breathe... we can finally live with authenticity, and integrity which is my personal definition of what some refer to as "Enlightenment." Please practice with consistency and confirm for yourself. It could be nice to live our Truth, before we die. Please do not die a fugitive from your authentic nature and who You as YOU authentically are. That would be a waste, of an extraordinary gift.
―We All Share the Same Sky
1) citation: "Where are you from, and where are you from, from really,” is a question connected to a practice question from Radical Dharma: Talking Race, Love, and Liberation by Jasmine Syedullah, Lama Rod Owens, and angel Kyodo Williams