The Koan of Your Life
MONTH 5: Perfection of Virya & Mourning
We shift to healing now. Before this we've taken our practice and their results (esp. with building capacity to be with suffering) and place it on our own lives. Last month, with remembering: This takes courage and it takes forbearance kind of energy. And, in many ways was on the WHAT. With Viryaparamita, the perfection of energy, we place our attention on HOW & WHERE we/I want to use our energies NOW.
Healing as reclaiming your volition; to having control of your life-force/ what nourishes you/what helps you to stay open to life.
Part of healing is to acknowledge as much as possible what we’ve lost. Dealing with loss takes a lot of energy. Mourning is part of the process. Often we spend our energy resisting loss/grief. To be with it is mourning. To stay with it takes energy.
To touch; to be with our grief is to mourn. In being with it fully (in abreacting) our sense of self can be “deeply rooted and radically expansive” = “the true person of no rank”. As is my premise from last meeting:
The ordinary become more-than-ordinary with trauma. --- Amplified. A drastic change to this being’s world-view.
With this framing, to HEAL is to RETURN to an ORDINARY Life; an ordinary world-view for this being again. Where the “ordinary” is connections, love, safety, peace, well-being. –When there can be connection,….
With Virya, we SHIFT our ENERGY to reclaiming our lives. To be “the true person of no rank” is to fully allow/accept/process fully (as-possible-now) our PERSONAL circumstances (our own koan) and its resulting energies AND to KNOW we can SHIFT our ENERGY to something/somewhere BROADER (where WE want it to be NOW; not what we’re “made” to place it.) Again, to be “deeply rooted and radically expansive”
Use Sylvia Boorstein’s ENERGY MEDITATION (pp. 142-144)
Reclaiming/Reconnecting with the energy of my/out life-force: Virya Healing Exercise
DUE by Tuesday, 3/12:
Write up of your months’ practice; sent out the everyone.
Next meeting is at my house on Wed., 3/20, at 6 p.m.
MONTH 4: Perfection of Kshanti & Remembrance
OFF the Cushion/ Month’s Practice:
Asan’s Rooster koan from The Hidden Lamp, Caplow & Moon
WHOLENESS Points: Kshanti / Tolerance / Forbearance / Patience
The ordinary become more-than-ordinary with trauma. Amplified. A drastic change to this being’s world-view.
When framed like this, to HEAL, then, is to RETURN to an ORDINARY Life. To RECLAIM an ordinary world-view for this being again.
Where the “ordinary” is connections, love, safety, peace, well-being.
“The Middle Way of Trauma” (?):
How to find ourselves within the Window of Tolerance (WoT)?
Not too high. Not too low.
No extremes in responses, also
Or, to know better the boundaries of our WoT at any given moment? And when can they be / are they flexible?
Hidden Lamp questions:
1. Is there a single thing in this world that would not be qualified to awaken us?
Is there ONE aspect of your koan which you can find some way to “set down” now?
What part of it YOU have had enough endurance and/or forbearance with so that you can make a move to the 3rd: Allow / acceptance of the/a truth(s) about it (yourself [how you were?] or the other [person or situation])?
How has wisdom and/or compassion (for whom? [self or other(s)]) been a part of this?
2. If so, what would disqualify it from such a holy task?
What are you not willing, not able, or do not want to “set down” yet?
What are you wanting, or needing, to endurance and/or forbear before you can/may be able to “set it down”? (No judgements :?)
What aspect(s) of wisdom and/or compassion (for whom? [self or other(s)]) can be a part of this?
3. (Why is it that the most ordinary everyday experience, like washing dishes, can one day suddenly be extraordinary?)
How do we return to / reclaim this IS the question; our practice in Wholeness
Be prepared to talk about your reflections & realizations on these questions at our Zoom meeting on Wed. 2/20
ON the Cushion:
Use Boorstein’s framing of the implied teachings on Kshanti from Shantideva’s A Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life
“Wait”: Find stability / concentration & centeredness
“Think it over”:
Investigate: What is being “endured” or “forebear”?
“Drop in” some aspect from “off the cushion” exercise above. For example: What aspects of your koan can it be “set down” HERE and NOW? How do you know/feel this?
MONTH 3: Stabilization (con’t)
MONTH 2: Perfection of Meditation & Stabilization
ON the Cushion: Use the same meditation. Now, you’ll focus more on turning towards whatever comes up. Keep on noting and being with what’s “in front” of you.
OFF the Cushion:
Make sure you’ve read the “Philosophical Meditation” part of the Wright book (pp. 196-201)
Interview a family member around 1 - 2 themes of your koan. The intention with interviewing them is to see how much of WHAT or HOW you’ve arrived at said theme(s) may have been formulated by family and/or generational dynamics of coping. —- Here are the questions from Soma Rebukes Mara with added reflections:
What do you say to the voice that tells you, “You aren’t ready yet?”
Whose voice is it? How much of the way you’ve dealt with this “koan of your life” is truly “yours”? How much (or what part[s]) of it was influenced and/or shaped by familiar or generational patterns (of coping)?
What exactly are you “readying” for?? —- And, again, how much or what part(s) of it is “yours”?
What happens to delusion when it’s recognized?
How is it “empty” in the sense that it’s from causes and conditions? —- Talking with a family member is to try to bring “open inquiry and “critical questioning” to your sense of how this/these patterns of yours arose.
By Tuesday, 12/4: Please send me a write-up of your koan and the questions you’re going to ask your family member.
Find (or frame your current) a body practice (eg: yoga, movement, walking, qigong, etc.) which supports the-koan-of-your-life practice.
The intention of this exercise is to support awareness of being in your body more.
What comes up — or, how does your awareness change or becomes more clear — when your koan is “dropped-in” (or is incorporated with the body practice)?
MONTH 1: Perfection of Values & Safety
Please do this meditation for this month. (listen 1-2 times at minimum). Bringing awareness to patterns is always useful towards WHAT and HOW you are with your experiences now. Being with and knowing what’s “up” now is needed to condition how you want to be.
Take the 3 questions at the end of Anoja Seeks the Self koan and apply to one of your target issue. (To the target issue you most want to bring attention to during this course.)
What do you seek, truly? (— with or oppression target)
What did you lose? What felt like it was taken from you?
Which value(s) or PRECEPT(s) apply most with your target issue?
What are you willing to renounce for it?
What is no longer needed now? What’s more important now? —- And, therefore, can or needs to be let go (relinquish, eased, cared-for)?
Is it necessary to leave “your home” in order to find what is within you?
What patterns are familiar yet no longer needed? What feels like it “worked” or “helped” before yet is no longer useful or in-service of how you want to be now?
What aspect(s) of your target issue have been “the koan of your life”? — What themes keeps on surfacing; arising; presenting itself/themselves; maybe, even, insisting? Could be in terms of topic, people, energies, etc.
For WEB-MEETING on Wednesday, 11/14:
You & your kalyannamitra will together present each person’s reflection, or discoveries, from the above to the rest of us; including a KOAN if possible.
BOTH person presents some aspect of the other person’s stories/koans. —10 minutes for each person. (Yes, 20 minutes for each pair)
HOW you 2 want to do it is up to you. — ie: FORMAT is co-determined; break up the 10 minutes how you want.
HIGHLY ENCOURAGED: An in-person meeting with your kalyannamitra BEFORE web-meeting. Get to know each other thru the exploration of the stories of your life, including the one(s) that have become ”the koan(s) of your life”. — (1 is enough…And, if there’s really 2-3, ok.)