Friday, December 30, 2011

Saying Goodbye, Saying Hello

enjoying a tea ceremony hosted by JB
Placitas, NM[1]

Dear All, 

I needed someway to get ready for the New Year on our blog, and I found a wonderful librito put out by my friends at the Three Stones Sitting Group (aka Ordinary Mind Group) in Albuquerque, NM. The little book has a number of statements about Zen practice collected from Joko's writings, like these below answering the question: What Is Practice? The TSS is informally organized in the tradition of Charlotte Joko Beck although their connection is more figurative than literal if that makes sense. They sit every Wednesday night. If you're in Albuquerque, please join them. It's a trip. 

Happy New Year to you all. May we all bea blessing to your communities. And I thank you for your continuing practice.
--Bobby Kankin Byrd

Practice is about experiencing the truth of who we really are.
Practice is about being with our life as it is, not as we would like it to be.
Practice is about the clash between what we want and what is.
Practice is about the transformation of our unnecessary suffering.
Practice is about attending to, experiencing, wherever we are stuck, wherever we're holding, whatever blocks us from our true nature.
Practice is about turning away from constantly seeking comfort and from trying to avoid pain.
Practice ultimately deals with just one thing: the fear at the base of human existence—the fear that I am not.
Practice is about willingly residing in whatever life presents to us.
Practice is about seeing through our belief systems; so even if they remain, they no longer run us.
Practice is about turning from a self-centered view to a life-centered view.
Practice is about learning to be no one; not giving solidity to any belief system-just being.
Practice is about learning to be happy; but we will never be happy until we truly experience our unhappiness.
Practice is about slowly increasing our awareness of who we are and how we relate to life.
Practice is about moving from a life of drama to a life of no drama.  

Practice is always about returning to the true self.  
Practice is about fmally understanding the paradox that although everything is a mess, all is well. 
Practice is about learning to say "Yes" to everything, even when we hate it.
Practice always comes back to just the willingness to be.

--Charlotte Joko Beck

[1] I took this photo using a 10-second time delay on my camera. JB, who had recently finished building his adobe teahouse in Placitas, had invited me to a cup of tea—and a remarkable introduction to his version of the tea ceremony. As he made and served me tea, he told me the history of the tea ceremony. It was quite a remarkable event. If you visit JB's page, you'll find other links to tea ceremony documents, plus a variety of other odds and ends.

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