zen e-course // day 13 – the body in practice

Written by arnokroner on . Posted in studies, zen

Lesson: Emotions and sensations are included in the realm of thoughts and thinking. Just as you train yourself to not chase and elaborate upon thoughts, you also practice not chasing after emotions and sensations. Let us start with sensations in the body: an itch, a hot flash, chills, pain. The practice is to simply just feel the sensation. It is all dharma. Just as with thoughts, when a sensation is present, be aware of it and return to the breath. When it is particularly intense, you can shift your awareness towards it. Just feel: before you name it, what is the feeling of this energy in your body? Meet the sensation directly, without a gap between your experience of feeling it and what you may think about it.

Practice for today: Today, be present to the sensations that are arising in your body. Can you directly experience a sensation? Are you using thinking to move away from so-called unpleasant sensations?


I experience sensations from the body very directly. As they are.

For me the body is a practice tool. I practice through endurance sports. The training generates a higher awareness of my body, its workings, pains, joys etc and there is a clarity that arises from the effort and repetition. An opening. Like a mini sonic boom sometimes. But very silent.

Through this practice I realize that I’m not ‘entangled’ with my body. It does what the body does. Being some-body. It has started its aging a while ago and we all know where it’s going! For me the body is a source of learning about the self and everything else.

Last year I crashed in a race and I was smiling and happy. It did hurt but so what? Pain was irrelevant and just pain. I didn’t have to let go of anything. I let go somewhere before I had to let go. I received another lesson from this situation: after I decided to abandon the race another competitor pulled up to me and offered me the bike part I
needed to continue and maybe finish. Many bows to his generosity and mindfulness. I finished the race. But it didn’t matter it was all the same, going through situations aware and responsive. That day cleared a lot of confusion I didn’t know was there. It changed my awareness in many directions. I don’t mind the scars.

Running, swimming and biking: pretty much what children do on vacation with their bodies! It’s very primal and repetitive and whole — like a mantra for the body. It brings a lot of gratefulness for this body and life. There is also a unique connection with others in endurance events. Being together doing the same repetitive thing. Fast kinhin
somehow! A marathon really feels like a big human stream. All of us part of the whole with our own units that are the same. Sharing the same pain but still smiling at each other and treating each other with amazing qualities of warmth, compassion, kindness, joy of just being there doing that. Just like the brain the rest of the body communicates with me, it’s my friend too. And like any of my friends I try to listen and not engage unless it’s necessary.

The body also inspires quite a good sense of humor. Otherwise whoopee cushions wouldn’t be funny!

In gassho

arno

zen e-course // day 12 – what’s in a name?

Written by arnokroner on . Posted in studies, zen

Lesson: All of your life, you have been conditioned to think. You may be very good at thinking, and perhaps even highly rewarded for it in your work, through reputation, money, or self pride. In zazen, however, we develop the spaciousness and the stability to discern the mechanics of the mind. When you see through the machinery, you become no longer invested in the tales or stories you have been telling yourself all these years. In fact, the artificial world you have constructed with your thoughts is seen for what it is: a shaky thought-constructed fantasy world. Non-thinking means that you give yourself over to life as it is — to the life force itself, fully inhabiting your own breath and skin. Breathe in the whole universe; breathe out the whole universe; being breathed by the whole universe.

Practice for today: Notice what arises for you as you shift away from the tales you have been telling yourself — and believing. But are these stories true? Cast a detached and discerning eye on even your most pervasive and long-lasting tales.


I woke up this morning and I realized I hadn’t REALLY done my assignment for yesterday… after reflection about the stories and what is my biggest story it arose that it’s actually my name that I have been clinging to the most and constantly. Nice ego tattoos that I wear there! Since a child I have been very happy with my first name and my last name.It’s all ego frosting, nice tales to live by… my work is all in my name, my website is my name etc. It’s become a brand (although I’m clearly aware that the brand isn’t me, there’s still grasping, my brand, my brand, it’s good, buy it, buy it again!).

One reason I didn’t take jukai after precepts training is that I didn’t want a dharma name which I equated to something new to cling to (or not! as I see dharma names as tools of practice too now). That was some time ago. After this recently found awareness about the name, maybe I should surrender to a name that is a clean plate and is free of attachments from the start. I vow to reflect on this.

Awareness of this grasping is the start, I have to surrender and let go. I see this. If only I could be the person with no name identified as the person formerly known as “arno kroner”… (thanks for this great idea Mister Ego!). A quote from Trungpa Rinpoche just came to me: “Renunciation is letting go of holding back”. I’m going to carry this along today.

And throw it away. Again.

Bow and thanks for this space of practice.

arno

zen e-course // day 11 – children of thoughts

Written by arnokroner on . Posted in studies, zen

Lesson: By now we see that in zazen, it is very natural for thoughts to come and go. This includes every kind of thought that arises. However, when you grasp onto any thought — grasping means you believe it or engage it or judge it, or chase it, or develop it as an idea, or create a fantastic or terrifying story — you are not doing zazen, you are thinking and telling tales. Do you find yourself believing the tales you are telling? “Not-thinking” is to let go of thoughts that arise. “Letting go of thought” is refraining from pursuing the thought that arises. Of course, thinking is important and has its place in life, but in zazen, you shift to not thinking, or un-thinking.

Practice for today: In your practice today, distinguish between thoughts that simply arise and pass by in zazen and the act of thinking in zazen. When do you slip into thinking, into developing a thought? Notice the energy and feel of grasping a thought.


Children of thoughts

the brain
– eggs
the brain on thoughts
– eggs

running barefoot
– touch the grass
running barefoot
– don’t touch the grass

the thoughts
– bubbles
the children of thoughts
– bubbles

the brain
– bloodthirsty organ
the brain
– playing the flute

the forest
– no thoughts
the forest
– no afterthoughts

MU!

In gassho

arno

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