How I Deal with Challenges and Barriers

If there's anything that will kill the inspiration/motivation to meditate, it is trying to do too much too soon, and what is too much, too soon will mean different things to different people.  As a general guide, I invite my clients to begin meditating for 20 minutes each day.  I get their commitment to do this every day until their next appointment, which is preferably a week away. Some clients though are better suited to 10 minutes and feel that is all they can do. In my experience, if a commitment becomes established, a client will meditate longer more often and even begin the practice of mindfulness in his/her day-to-day life.

What I have found though is that if for instance, a client is unable to return in a week's time, a fortnight tends to be too long, and very soon my client would have abandoned the idea and more than likely will cancel his/her next appointment, or even not bother turning up without cancelling. They are simply not ready to face the Zen-like challenge and may or may not seek an alternative path. 

This phenomena tends to be such as shame because meditating is very a valuable process that just by practising it, a person can become more centred and expand consciousness and awareness. But commitment is needed.

Daily meditation is a discipline and can be very challenging to the ego-mind as it exposes the "inner politician" - named thus because politicians are famous for going back on promises and commitments! I am talking here about the politics of comfort seeking, and personal/spiritual development tends not to be very comfortable, because old beliefs and personality traits have to be challenged and transformed, if a person wants to experience the empowerment that Zen practice can bring.

If there is no way for any reason, that a person can arrive for a weekly appointment, I introduce another "tool" - the telephone. I get him/her to commit to phoning me on  a specific day, at a specific time, a time when there is no doubt with that person that he/she will be able to make such a call. Now that home computers are in practically every other home, the use of e-mail is also used.  Stating what one is committed to by phone or using the written word over the internet, has been found to be a great support. It brings into external reality the act of giving one's word, be it spoken or written.

Listen Carefully.

In zazen, it is far better to observe and accept whatever comes to consciousness than to analyse or look for meaning.  Things are simply so, right here, right now. What is so right here, right now, is truth, for it cannot be anything else.  Analysis of truth is just that, analysis and not truth itself. Analysis tends to come from conditioned thinking, memories… and that is of the past, not now.    The analysis is the interpretation of something that is so. Something that is being communicated from the spirit via the nerves and other "messengers" in our vehicle of experience - our body, is so.  Listen carefully!

Silence and Pain

Silence within is where I can be at peace.
Where I will reflect on myself and witness what is going on.
Silence is the only permanent thing in life; the only unchanging thing.
Silence is silence, always has been, always will be.
It existed before the beginning, because all beginnings have an end,
And the journey is endless. 
Silence is always there even in the midst of the marketplace.

The Moon reflects on the water.
The reflection is silent.

When there is pain or loss,
Listen to its silence closely. 
This is the art of true meditation
It can be like a built-in healing phenomenon
Keep focusing allowing the silence to absorb it completely
Into completion.

I want this higher state of awareness.
I opened the gates to it through my Zen,
And I know that this pain and that pain happens to many Zen practitioners..
But I need to remember the art or non-resistance.
Be with what I am with. This is it.
All truth is experience and all perception is of the mind
And all that mind stuff...
Is merely an interpretation of what I am experiencing.
The truth of what I am experiencing comes from experiencing it.
Without judgment.