Friday, September 24, 2010

It’s So Simple, Really.


For whatever combination of unknown reasons I’ve had the opportunity to give a number of interviews lately. They allow me to do something I really enjoy, which is to pare down my expression of practice to the bare essentials. This isn’t a workshop or retreat with a theme that I try to adhere to, a series of exercises and experiences designed to provide a participant with a particular perspective. This is an hour of “so what is Zen awareness practice and why is it important?”

After one such talk the interviewer and I agreed that while it would be lovely if our exchange were helpful to others—and we really hope it is—it didn’t matter because we, at least, got to where we wanted to go through the process of conversing. Focusing, asking, looking, responding, seeking clarification, finding words to express brought each of us, through the direction of our attention, HERE, where we want to be.

We have fingers crossed that the new book is going to arrive in time for the Bridge Walk. This afternoon I’ll record the guided imageries that go with the book. This one captures, I think/hope, as perfectly as June and I can manage, the essence of Zen awareness practice as offered through A Center for the Practice of Zen Buddhist Meditation (yes, that’s the official, legal name of this organization). The book lays out those bare essentials I’ve been speaking about in the conversations with the interviewers (and pretty much anyone else who will stand still long enough for me to tell them.)

What are they? There is nothing wrong. Period. LIFE is all there is. Separation is an illusion. There is nothing real that suffers. We can stop identifying with the illusion of a self that is separate from life, from its imaginary suffering existence, and end suffering in any moment we choose. All suffering happens in a conversation with the illusion of egocentric karmic conditioning/self hate. Drop that conversation, turn your attention to HERE/NOW and you are free. (You will be the judge as to its efficacy, but the unique aspect of this book is that it lays out the “how” so clearly.)

The Buddha taught it. Jesus taught it. Sages and awakened adepts around the world throughout recorded history have reinforced this understanding: Just as life is, life is perfect. Just as you are, you are perfect.

How can you know that? Stop indulging egocentric karmic conditioning/self-hate. Get out of that conversation about what’s wrong and what’s lacking. Get HERE/NOW. With fresh eyes and mind, SEE! You will know.

Yes, you will see that there is nothing to know and no one to know it—and you will know that! It’s quite magical. It’s the mystery we keep hearing about.

The fact of the matter is, when you’re looking through the magic it is crystal clear that there is nothing real in the universe that wants you to suffer. There’s nothing to fear, nothing to regret, nothing to feel bad about, nothing wrong and nothing lacking. Turn your attention to “yes” and “thank you” and feel life’s joy. Might sound corny—if you’re listening to conditioned mind—but that doesn’t mean it isn’t true.

In gassho,


  1. Thank You for everything.
    I have no complaints, whatsoever.

    No struggle.
    No argument.

    No hope.
    No despair.

    Deep bows to the ancestors
    who have preserved the Dharma.


  2. I tried recently so hard to write about this but boy do I enjoy suffering,and even writing this adds logs to that karmic fire to be burned.Thank you,many things easier for me are said than done.Sneaking up on that cushion is like Cato in the Pink Panther movies,and the voices go on,however,I think it's hiding in a in closet right in front of me?

  3. Thank you for this wonderful post, Cheri. It was a great reminder of the workshop I attended with you at Mount Madonna last August. I'm looking forward with great anticipation to the new book!

  4. Hello Cheri
    Though I enjoy your writing, the little I've read so far, I think you speak a little too simplistically about getting out of one's "ego-centric" mind with certain emotional conditions. Despite my many yrs learning/actualising Buddhist practice, there have been times when I have been so frustrated with my Black Dog swings/anxiety/diabolical wishing to be off this planet mental state/agony. Only someone who has truly experienced it can know how difficult it can be, in spite of knowing the how-to, to get out of one's mind. I couldn't help feeling somewhat guilty at my ineptitude, or for taking so long (ie months) to get back on track. The Buddhist explanation that depression is simply a selfish act is rather a cruel assessment & judgement, in my opinion, and doesn't help when trying to get off this merry-go-round. I appreciate that one shouldn't pander to it either. It's a fine balance, and not easy for those people in the orbit of such a person.
    With best wishes, Shanti