With palms together,
Good Morning Everyone,
We have a our friend's dog Zeesa with us. She is a really beautiful golden retriever mutt. She and Tripper have had many playdates and Zeesa has spent days with us before. The three dogs are gathered around me as I try to write this morning. Words seem difficult to come by.
Zeesa's owner's are struggling. He has oral cancer that is worsening; she is making changes to deal with this. Then there's Mumbai. The economy. The wars. And now, shoppers trampling to death a worker; shoppers shooting other shoppers. We need to practice.
The sea is getting choppy.
I am, as some of you know, studying a text on "Mussar" a Jewish spiritual path that has startling similarities to Zen. In Zen we talk about paramitas or perfections. In Mussar, the word is middot. Middot are soul traits, sort of like habits of the heart, that we develop through practice, just as we develop ourselves through paramita practice. A sample list of middot includes: patience, generosity, gratitude, trust, honor, and enthusiasm. Compare these to Zen's six paramitas: generosity, patience, morality, diligence, meditation, and wisdom.
One of Mussar's Middah is "Equanimity." We Zen Buddhists share this with Judaism. Equanimity is a practiced centering. Its the ability to be in the middle of a storm with choppy seas and still float like a duck. We develop this skill through the practice of zazen which includes a willingness to increase the space between the flame and the fuse.
We practice to create a certain distance between our thoughts, feelings and behavior so they are not soooo automatic. We develop the ability to deliberate and act to meet the actual need of the situation.
Have you noticed a moment when you interrupted a thought to feeling to behavior sequence? How did it turn out?