Zen Buddhism

Waking Up... Who are you?

Who are you anyway?  Having a "Right View" of the human experience is the first step in the traditional teachings of the Buddha and an essential foundation to a successful course of psychotherapy or coaching together.  Our journey actually just begins when we slow down enough to look inwards and admit to ourselves that we do not know who we actually are.  How mysterious. Are you your thoughts? No!  Are you your feelings? No! Are you your stories and your history? No! Well then who on earth are you?  Finally we arrive at "not knowing" which enables our truest most open learning environment to be recognized.  This is "Beginner's Mind". When all of our views and belief systems have been seen through, we can take in new information beyond the realm of our thinking, emotions and sense perceptions.  We become keenly interested in integrating our Cleaning Up and Growing Up with Waking Up to our True Nature.  Finally... we are Nobody!

Buddhism 101... The 3 marks of existence

Shortly after the Buddha became Enlightened he noticed and articulated "3 marks of existence".  1) Impermanence.  There is nothing in our experience that does not change or is not subject to arising and disappearing, birth and death.  When this is fully realized, we stop pushing away the unwanted and grasping to the pleasant. 2) There is suffering.  Inherent in the fabric of existence, there is dissatisfaction and pain due to all of the reactive conditioning we unconsciously play out.  Understanding this experientially, we accept pain but do not add to it with our reactivity.   3) No self.  There is no actual substantial core self to anything in existence, especially ourselves!  There are definitely causes and conditions which come to fruition (karma) but to solidfy anything is ironically our false ego self simply "selfing" which is only a process, not anything inherently real.

In our work together we cultivate "Right View" via an appropriate philosophical framework and through silencing the ego-body in mindfulness practice.  You will see for yourself that there is no "seer" and that the entire process of your clinging to some things and pushing away to others is rooted in the fabrication of "me".   This self conscious separateness is based in fear and tries to find ground where it might take rest, only to realize that resting exposes it to it's greatest weakness... fear of dissolution.  And so round it goes, running from fear yet creating more of it and generating all kinds of symptoms such as anxiety, depression, addiction and cycles of shame and anger.  We are here to Wake Up and break the entire spell!

Mondo Zen... emotions are information and wisdom.

Mondo is an interactive meditation process, originally developed by Jun Po Denis Kelly from the Rinzai lineage of Zen.  He distilled the essence of over 1000 traditional koans- enigmatic questions given to awaken a student- into just 10, leaving us with an opportunity to experience and stabilize Awakened Mind expeditiously.  He then added additional koans to work with our emotions from an awakened perspective. You may download the manual free of charge at www.mondozen.org for more information. Here is a video of the process:

 Our emotions are home to some of the most fertile and difficult aspects of the human journey.  We can not imagine life without them and yet we know so little about what they actually are.  Can you drop into Beginner's Mind right now and "not know" what emotions are and perhaps see them from a totally fresh perspective? Mondo Zen is the discovery and stabilization of the Awakened state which is then directed to work skillfully with our emotions.   At the very root of anger, shame and disconnection we discover a more primary experience which is fiercely awake and compassionate. At last, we understand that negative emotions are wisdom!

I continue to practice Mondo Zen and meditation under the guidance of Doshin Roshi and to serve the Integral Zen community as a priest of the Denver sangha. The gift of his clarity to me is his vision that the complexity of our western minds is best addressed by both non-dual, ego transcendence practices alongside contemporary modalities that help repair and develop our relative selves.  Today's full enlightenment includes developing the Holistic Self which is another way of saying our freedom hinges upon Waking Up, Growing Up, Cleaning Up and Showing Up.

I offer Mondo Zen free of charge, please contact me to schedule.  Donations to Integral Zen are very much appreciated.