6 Episode results for "Greg Creech"
Everyday Buddhism 45 - We're All in the Same Storm But Not in the Same Boat
"Welcome to every day Buddhism making every day better by applying the proven tools found in Buddhist concepts. Welcome to episode forty five of Everyday Buddhism making every day better. I hope everyone is finding places of peace or at least stability in the continuing uncertainty of our lives. And as I've been sharing in many of my most recent episodes, I've been trying to find ways to deal with many of the troubling emotions that have arisen for me during these times. Just like I'm sure you've all been doing. And as I, shared with you in the last podcast episode I started writing poetry again to help process. Some of the trauma was previously holding onto. And that I was in that was slowly. Being revealed to me by pandemic politics. You know it helps in that it brought. Many repressed emotions to the surface for me to look at into find ways to hold them tenderly so that they wouldn't rise up and strike out at others. I'm not saying. I'm there yet because I'm certainly not. I'm still struggling with all that, but at least i. now know what's really hiding underneath. The TRAUMAS and hurts haven't been completely cleared and released, but now I recognize them for what they are. But also more recently committed to a more consistent daily meditation practice. I always meditated sometimes more all. How shall I say disciplined than others sometimes using different techniques, sometimes, saying Oh, I will always do it every morning. Always whatever evening but I really started a nice focused. Focused practices for the last about twenty one days. I think twenty twenty one days and you know what they say about twenty one days in the. Creating a habit so I've actually deepened the commitment to this meditation practice because I realized I needed to do something other than focusing on the horrible outside and inside of myself. I needed to take action to positively change the direction of my personal boat, rather than sitting in fear and horror as I watched the storms continuously roar and threaten all of us and myself. And this leads me to the focus of this short. Episode, Which is also a promotion for the next episode, and it contains a request for you. The listeners to get involved Sakib listening. So I reached out to my teacher and friend Greg Creech one of the leading authorities on Japanese psychology about a week ago to ask him to be a guest again on the podcast I felt that if there was anyone who could help, be a beacon to guide us through all these storms these continuing. Storms it would be greg. We had a nice conversation about uncertainty and about transitions. And in that conversation he said something that was like a wack across the back of my head From a stick, by then, Roshii he I asked him what advice or practice he could offer to podcast listeners, as we weathered these storms and looked into the future with great uncertainty. He said something like. Well it's not a mass issue. It's your personal situation and attachment. He went on to say that everyone is dealing with losses, but ultimately it's an individual thing. And that really struck me because I realized that. Up until the time I actually committed to that meditation, practice and May. Yeah the meditation practice. I had been more looking at what was out there. That was so bad or what was inside me. That was so bad without Without, taking individual responsibility for where I would go next. And! This reminds me of a talk. I gave to the Open Sanga the Free Open Sanga on Tuesday afternoon at the beginning of June. I talked about how the waters we are in our uncharted and rough. And we don't see the horizon. We, don't see where we're going. We don't see what we can do to even get to the horizon. And we don't even know if we will. But we still must keep going. You may have seen them facebook. Instagram meam or all the means that twitter mean about the pandemic? It's the one that says we are not all in the same boat, but we are in the same storm. I heard. People say that I heard people say. Well, at least we're all in the same boat. In fact, I think I have said it. But you know the pandemic quickly exposed the hard facts that, despite dealing with the same storm quote, unquote. We are all riding it out in very different boats. Summer and yet! Some fishing boat, and some are hanging on for dear life as they fly roughly down a series of rapids on an overturned canoe. We are not in the same boat. You know some are enjoying a pause in their frenetic lives. binge-watching net flicks some are still employed, and maybe even T- making more money than before, but others are working two jobs and trying to home school their kids. Some of already buried loved ones and others are still fighting for their lives. And some are fighting for their freedoms. Some are zooming happy hours with friends every day and others are watching their child through a pane of glass at the hospital or waving from a sidewalk to a loved one in a nursing home. Some are angry. Some are board. Some are lonely. Summer terrified. Some are trapped inside with someone who is abusive. The pandemic quickly exposed the deep inequities. People live with every day. INEQUITIES! Of Income. Education. And Opportunity? Inequalities that fall disproportionately on those of collar are black and Brown brothers and sisters. As a white person I do not pretend to know how the constant challenges caused by having another skin color can change the way you're able to live. Can, take opportunities away. Can threaten your ability to make a living threaten your health and your life. But all these things that are swirling about us right now in this. Swirling see of uncertainty. Are Questions really and I? Don't have answers. And as we teaching Buddhism, it is about sitting with the questions sitting with the uncertainty. Sitting with fear. Anger and even rage every day during these unbelievably awful times I realized I am becoming a different person. Each new experience I sit with is a learning moment for me to grow and change and be challenged to evolve. Is learned to meditate in the morning every day, breathing and feeling my body and mind alive in what is in my own present moment. Listening to birds at sunrise, and enjoying the smells and sounds of the morning in the yard and garden. In doing that, I realized I was happy and grateful. Yet the pandemic still exists yet yet civil unrest -rageous You may have heard this quote by Tibidot Han. WHO said quote when the crowded Vietnamese refugee boats met with storms or pirates? If everyone panicked, all would be lost. But, if even one person on the boat remained calm and centered, it was enough. It showed the way for everyone to survive unquote. These are the questions to ask ourselves during these times. Questions to help us remain centered, and that picked up and carried off by fear anxiety. Anger. Rage ask yourself. What does it mean to you to be calm and centered? ASK YOURSELF IN TIMES OF TROUBLE? Can you embrace what you are feeling? Ask Yourself. How did you survive a fearful experience or one of complete? Before. I heard a Dharma talk by. A celebrity. This this summer earlier on quote being with uncertainty in these times. She read the poem. Blessing the boats by the Lake Port, Lucille Clifton Black woman. I'll read it here. Blessing the boats. At Saint Mary's. May the tide that is entering even now. The lip of our understanding. Carey you out. Beyond the face of fear. May you kiss the wind. Then turn from it. Certain. That it will love your back. May you open your eyes to water? Water waving forever. And may you in your innocence sale through this to that? I think the last line in this poem was what Greg Creech was getting at. This the line. May I sail through this to that? This is about finding away for each of us individually to sail through this to that. It's about finding a way to sail. Not Struggle This is the practice of staying with the discomfort and allowing it moment by moment. As? Life, life. From this to that. The blessing of permits, which is the movement from this to that? CAN Spark a growth of equanimity. By remembering the big picture, the bigger perspective. As. My teacher Reverend Clayoquot Bossy says. Keep going. This means we each need to do what we have to do to keep sailing and for each of us. That's a little different. Depending on the boat were in. and. This takes us back to Greg creech and his comment about despite the fact that we are all dealing with uncertainty with loss with anxiety with fear with confusion with depression and anger. These emotions are ultimately our own, and we each need to find a way to coexist with at all. So stay tuned for the next podcast episode when Greg Creech will join me and offer some ways based on Japanese psychology of coping in these uncertain times and of finding ways to transition into the next. Whatever it is of sailing from this to that. And as promised earlier in the episode we would like. You podcast listeners to send your questions about. Questions you have personally about how to cope with these uncertain times and please be as specific as possible while keeping your questions as brief as possible so I, can read them on the podcast with Greg. Please e e mail them to Wendy Shin Yo. That's W. e., N. D. Y.. S. H. I. N. Y. O. AT EVERY DAY DASH BUDDHISM DOT COM. With the subject line quote. For Greg Unquote. I will put this information in my show notes for your help and remembering. Now, we will be recording this episode on Tuesday August Fourth Two, thousand twenty, so please email your questions no later than Sunday August second. We look forward to hearing from you. And that's it for this episode. I told you it was a short one and as a reminder, don't forget that there are many ways to join me and others in either. Our private donation supported everyday Sanga every other week on Thursday, evening, seven thirty PM, US, eastern time or on our free public open Sanga, which is also virtual. Every, week alternating on. Tuesday afternoons at two PM US Eastern time with either me Wendy Shaw. Or Rob Cagno Sense. And then the following week Wednesday evenings at seven thirty. PM With Levi Shinjo Sensei. So until next time, keep finding ways to make yours and everyone's days better.
Everyday Buddhism 47 - Building a Resilience Bank Account
"Welcome to every day Buddhism making every day better by applying the proven tools found in Buddhist concepts. Well come to episode forty seven of everyday. Buddhism making every day better I'm back. I took a few weeks off as is obvious from the. Missing podcast episodes that usually are there every couple of weeks? Just to sort of rebuild. rebuild. My strength my optimism and sort of developer. Resilience Bank, which is what we're going to be talking about in this episode. You know and I just. Explained what I was about to do on facebook post about three weeks ago I shared was probably more about four weeks. Now, a shared a post and a link to an article called your surge capacity is depleted and it's why you feel awful. It's an article written by Tara Haley. and. Shared my personal facebook page, and also the everyday Buddhism group I wrote I'm sure many of you have already hit the point where you're surge capacity is is totally depleted either just recently are months ago. And in the last few weeks, so this would have been. About a month ago I faced up to the fact that I'd been feeling off and awful for days on end. And feeling that way is something I am not at all familiar with as nearly incorrigible glass half full person. I totally identified with Tara, Haley's description about what she's going through and how strange it was for her being a high achiever to feel what she described as a quote anxiety tainted depression mixed with on we that she couldn't kick. And it was also along with the complete inability to concentrate. And I read that it was exactly the way I'd been feeling. So those of you in my everyday Sanga in everyday. Buddhism membership community know that I recently did face up to the fact that I needed to give myself a little break. And in in the article Tara Haley points out that expecting less of yourself is exactly what you should do to help yourself go the distance in this pandemic even though we don't know how long distances or what we're gonNA find at the end. Her article talks about this thing called them big use loss and it's why we feel so bad. And how it's news for Motif for many of us. and how we have no coping skills. Much like my recent everyday Buddhism podcast called six steps for coping with uncertainty with Gregg creech healy asked the question. How do you adjust to an ever changing situation where the quote new normal is indefinite uncertainty So, it's been a little over a month since I released the episode with Gregg. Creech and it gave myself time to think about. Writing, content having ideas for content or recording content. I. Also took time away from hosting the Everyday Buddhism Sanga or which we call the Everyday Sangha with gratitude for volunteer hosts from the Sanga who took over for me. Just a few weeks prior to recording the episode with Greg We lost our dog Bella. She was fifteen and the last dog in the House since we lost her litter mate brother back in April of two thousand nineteen. So I did realize that I was personally was dealing with a mix of this thing called ambiguous loss as well as the more tangible loss and grief of losing Bella. You know a while ago. I expected to snap out a feeling awful within a week or two into this past month of my break. But I'm here to report that just giving myself a little break wasn't a magic solution. I did what seemed to be all the right things I took more walk spent more time outside read more and. Let Myself. Sleep in. But it still seemed harder for me to focus and get motivated to do the things I needed to do. But see it's Haley's article She she she points out that this is very typical. she did interviews with an masten, PhD Pauling boss, PhD and Michael Madhouse md.. About. Our adaptive surge capacity that we call on in response to a short term stressful situation like a natural disaster and it's that adaptive surge capacity the it's it's met for the short term situation. So therefore, it has limits. And in this situation that we'RE DEALING WITH WE'RE WE'VE depleted that surge capacity because our emergency is no longer short-term, it's now chronic. And I've been hearing from friends family and Sanga members who feel the same way he in the Article Pauline boss emphasizes how are solution oriented culture and way of thinking is actually destructive when faced with the problem that actually has no solution. This time of ambiguous loss causes feelings of helplessness and hopelessness and a better way to deal with these feelings is not through trying to think our way out of them or find a solution because there really is none but it is what Michael Madhouse promotes, which is this resilience bank account. Now, Resilience Bank account is about gradually building regular practices into your daily life that will promote resilience, and this requires creating new habits to replace the old solution achievement oriented ways we depended on in our pre pandemic lives. It's matter of starting small and slowly building your balance so that you will eventually have something to fall back. Now, some of the actual practices are more sleep, better nutrition, more different exercise, more meditation self compassion, and I'm emphasizing that gratitude also emphasizing that and connection. And saying, no, we don't feel like we can do something. But. There's a big picture framework that holds the hold these practices, and it's like a framework of attitude adjustment. And they are they consist of a certain steps which I will. Share with you here, the first step is acceptance and I've talked about this a lot talked about a lot from the framework of Japanese psychology. I've talked about a lot from Greg creatures books and in Interviewing Greg Creech. Acceptance is a dynamic thing. It's not a giving up or. You know that that feeling of I guess I have to accept it I can't change it but Blah no acceptance can be a powerful force. It's a force of taking control of your own mind and looking into reality instead of pushing it away or escaping from it. Instead. Of like exaggerating it or avoiding it that's sort of the push pull phenomena of the second noble truth. Buddha talks about both of those things pushing and pulling are clinging. If you're pushing it away, you're actually clinging to it because you keep thinking about it if if your pulling. Putting the you wouldn't pull the actual pandemic towards you but you would pull your wishing for your old life back to you and that's all sore clinging clinging to something. That is no longer there. In acceptance we accept that life is different and when we stop fighting reality, we can apply our energy towards more constructive activities. The second attitude adjustment is expecting less from yourself, expecting less and replenishing more. It takes more if it takes more than a half a day to get focused and complete one task. Okay. That's okay I. It's totally out of what we normally except for ourselves totally out of what we think is right for ourselves as we push ourselves through our days. But everything about our daily rhythms and times are different now and we need to slowly build. Let's face it. We're building a new way to live. The other attitude adjustment is recognized the different aspects of grief. We are grieving actual lives, lost sicknesses the loss of being able to visit others we are grieving are lost way of life we are grieving. The fact that we have an uncertain future now, the stages of grief that they talk about are typically refer to as denial anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Now, one thing about stages of grief is that they're not letting year. And they can surprise us when they arise. And Flare Up. And then settled down. And then they are flare up again and settled down again, we expect to Sorta like go through these stages of grief and be done with them. That's not how works. Grief is a shape shifter as I've talked about before. The way to accept our new normal and understand the different aspects of grief is to understand the fact that we will always feel a little off balance because one minute we may feel fine. The next minute will feel that anger again was we thought we shook off. Another attitude adjustment is experimenting with both end. thinking. Like hyphen both end thinking. This means to face reality also change our perception of it. At. Least sometimes. This is the avoidance of storytelling, which is that creates at second aero from the Buddhist parable. You know we have this thing that's happening to us that feels crappy but the more stories we tell ourselves about it the more we just shatter selves with the second narrow first aero may be the pandemic. The second era was is are moaning and groaning about it. Sue Life in the pandemic Ken feel and be crappy but at the same time. You can also feel peaceful and free as you take a daily walk. You can feel peaceful and free in your meditation if you're opening your eyes and your ears to the sound of nature around you or just the sounds of your house. There there's a slowing down in an openness that can make you feel peaceful and that can happen right in the middle of the pandemic that is both and thinking. Another attitude adjustment is looking for new and old activities to fulfill you. You know many of our pre pandemic normal activities of self care are no longer possible. We've accepted that I think. We don't go to the movies. We don't go out to dinner unless it's sitting outside. there's there's many things that we can't do anymore. We can't even visit our relatives in nursing homes but. We can look for new ways that make us happy or provide self care or make us feel relaxed or makers zone out. Activities that help us get in that mindless timeless. Flow. And and some of them could just be tackling a household project now I know everybody talked about Oh now I can do all these household projects now that I'm stuck here at home and then we didn't do it because we weren't motivated, but the key was. I think is overcoming that problem solving activity that will okay. Now we have to get all these activities done. No, we really don't. You know do practicing self cares about okay. What would I be interested in doing of all these projects that I had on my list? Let me just pick one and do it for like ten minutes. That's it ten minutes. So we could tackle household project for ten minutes, which could stretch to thirty minutes or an hour or two hours or could be ten minutes one day in ten minutes. The next day we could play games. put down our phones I don't mean games on your phones but playing games with each other. No chess checkers backgammon whatever. We could do art even if you don't do our do art. Grab a coloring book. We could get physical in the yard or garden, and I realized to that in the Northern Hemisphere. Our time for doing that is probably shortening here but you know there's leaves are falling. We rake and rake is meditative. Another attitude adjustment is focusing on maintaining and strengthening important relationships. Helping others even through foam. Quick phone call check in how you doing. What are you doing over there? We all know how helping others is ultimately a selfish activity because it makes us feel good and makes others feel good to you know some of us may be living in neighborhoods. We didn't even know who our neighbors were, but now people are taking walks. so on your walk smile make eye contact sale. Oh, asked them their name asked them their dog's name. You can do that while maintaining social distance. And that is is an important thing. We are social creatures and we can't be the the way we used to be pre pandemic but maybe we can stretch our boundaries a little bit. And I'm going to add a tip of my own to this article on building resilience. Account. It's a personal thing that I've used a method that I've used before as part of meditation incorporating a meditative perspective in every day. But you know sense the pandemic when I feel fearful judgmental or angry thoughts closing in its go for me. And that attitude is just this. That's it. Just this when I'm looking for certainty and instead find myself tangled and thoughts and feelings circle round and round I pause for two minutes. Close my eyes and feel my breath rising and falling. And and listen to the birds and squirrels, and then I say to myself either quietly internally or out. Loud. Just this. That single moment of allowing to be as it is. At that moment centers me in my body in life as it is now. In my awareness. And it stops obsessive thinking. Immediately try it I. Promise You. It will stop that obsessive thinking. Now, the reason I'm sharing all this up in this episode is first of all personal and. Selfish, it's a way for me to just jump back into my writing and recording after my. Month plus hiatus that actually felt about a week, and it's also a way of introducing to coming podcast which podcast episodes which I promise will come. Sooner rather than later. Okay. So those podcast episodes I have a feeling we'll help boy who for an hour or a few hours or a few days as we all continue to struggle to keep our heads above water and are feet unbalanced ground. You know since the pandemic I happen trying to adjust the podcast content to meet the needs of the moment. I head other guests waiting in the wings since last year. but to do an episode with them based on. The books they wrote or or their philosophies. Seemed tone deaf to the suffering all around us. Interestingly enough even though I had intellectually accepted that even by April I thought okay this is going to go on for Awhile I. Think I kept expecting to move on to these other topics and other guests I had in the wings for my podcast just like I kept half expecting to be used to this whole pandemic thing by now or maybe that should it should be over by now. But now here we are. And just that's it. Here we are, and we all need some upgrades to our support system to keep us going for as long as we need to go. However long that is. We are living in confusing times and we cannot expect or cling to some sort of clarity that isn't even there. There is nothing about these times that can be figured out. Absolutely the end is an insight, but you know that doesn't mean we need to give up. It means that we have to find ways to keep going. In planning my next podcast I. Hope they will help become your support upgrades for you I hope they will help build up your resilience bank account so that you can keep going. So. Stay tuned for these upcoming podcast episodes will which I will do a brief overview about right now. The next podcast episode I have lined up which I have already quarter recorded by the way is. Guest special guest interview with one of my podcast listeners. This and this is a feature that I want to emphasize here it's a feature I'd like to continue. As we walked through this uncertainty together, I thought it'd be great in helpful for me and helpful for all of you. To reach out to my podcast listeners and ask you. To. Write me an email and share some of your own coping skills. Some of the ways you are supporting yourself and your family and your friends. Some of the ways you may be using resilience building practices are activities that can be to store other spiritual or otherwise. Anything that you've incorporated in your lies lives that you've that have helped. You Walk through the Trouble Times word I'm sure all of our listeners would like to hear what you're doing. Connect with me and I will invite some of you to be guest on an upcoming episode. I will share how to connect at the end of this episode, and also, of course, post the details in the show notes but the first, the very first of these special. podcast listener guests interviews is with. Everyday Buddhism podcast listener David Farley. If you listen to episode forty six with Gregg Creech, I mentioned David and read a bit of his article about uncertainty that he shared with me. He reached out said he was a longtime listener and wanted to knew we were going to be talking about uncertainty in wanted to share his article. So I thought an interview with David is coping would be a good way to start since he did originally reach out to me. A little bit about David. He's a New York based writer with a focus on food travel and also Buddhism, he's also a certified meditation. Teacher. His righty he is writing regularly appears in the New York Times The Wall Street Journal Newsweek National Geographic the BBC and other publications Farley as the author of two books. One underground worlds, a guide to spectacular subterranean places and the other an irreverent curiosity in search of the Church's strangest relic in Italy's of town, and that actual book was made into a documentary by the National Geographic Channel and by the way I will post links to his websites and to. His articles in the show notes I thought it was might be pretty appropriate to hear what David had to say about how he's dealing with a pandemic since he is a food and travel writer in New York City just think about that the pandemic kits what can't you do you can't go out to dinner you can't travel and he lives in New York City, sort of like the hot spot, the the ground zero of the pandemic in the early months. So it was a great podcast episode and look forward to it. I will probably be releasing within the next week or ten days. And after the upcoming episode with David Farley, which is episode, we'll be episode forty eight and it's entitled A. Missing Future. I have a recording scheduled with Kimberly. Brown, she's the author of steady calm and brave twenty five practices of resilience and wisdom in crisis. This book and I have read, it is a wonderful little handbook to keep as a companion to our lives during this. How I mean it's an awful time. Right enduring this awful time of pandemic plague. Whatever you WANNA call it racial unrest. Political divisiveness and the ravages of climate change fires, hurricanes, and flooding. Wherever we go were met with the challenges of how to be steady how to be calm and can we be brave? Kimberly gives us practices that will help. She's a meditation teacher and writer based in new. York City. She teaches meditation at Mindful Story Ah the Rubin Museum Shanti Dave Meditation Center, and she's also a guiding teacher in the interdependence projects. Mindfulness. Teacher Training. program. I look forward to my upcoming discussion with Kimberly and can't wait to share with you but don't forget. What I'm looking for from you guys. All My everyday Buddhism podcast listeners is for you to write to me and tell me how you are how you're coping. Where have you found support? What are some of the resilience? Practices or activities that you have incorporated in your lives that have helped you walk through these times. Please please please email your insights or comments to Wendy Xinyu. That's all lower case W. E. N. D.. Y. S. H. I. N. Y. O. Wendy Shinjo at every day. Dash. BUDDHISM DOT COM. An e mail them with the subject line how I'm coping. I will reach out to schedule a time to talk with you after I've received your email and then possibly schedule a podcast interview with you and a couple of other listeners or we can schedule a few podcast episode. It all depends on how many. Emails that I received from my listeners. So chip in I think you just be contributing to a a few wonderful podcast episodes or at least one that will help others I look forward to hearing from you. So. That's it for this episode and as a reminder as always don't forget that there are many ways to join me and others in either the private donations supported everyday. Sanga which meets every other week on Thursday evenings virtually via zoom at seven thirty PM US eastern time. Or are free public open Sanga, which will now be held every other month I'm no, I'm sorry. Now held every month instead of every other week every month on Wednesday evenings at seven thirty PM tentatively with Levi, Shinjo Sensei we'll get back to exactly. But tentatively, that is scheduled for. September. Thirtieth Wednesday night with Levi Shinn sense I'll keep you updated if something changes were in process of figuring some internal logistics out right now. So that's it. Again for this episode until next time, keep finding ways to make yours and everyone's days better.
Everyday Buddhism 46 - 6 Steps for Coping with Uncertainty with Gregg Krech
"Search. Welcome to every day Buddhism making every day better by applying the proven tools found in Buddhist concepts. Welcome to episode forty six of every day Buddhism making every day. Better. In this episode, I talk with Greg Creech, one of the leading authorities on Japanese psychology in North America about Japanese psychology Buddhism and how the two work together to help you through. Challenges Getting stuff done deepening the practice of acceptance and gratitude and particularly for today's Times, how to deal with the ongoing uncertainty we all live in and how to deal with the transitions it's causing in our life. Greg has been a virtual teacher to me for more than ten years through his books distance learning programs, the to- Institute and the Toto Institute's Journal Thirty Thousand Days. They've had a significant impact on my spiritual and psychological development for the better I was first introduced to Greg and his work during my training with the bright dawn lay ministry program in two, thousand, seven to two, thousand eight. And His Book Nikon Gratitude Grace and the Japanese art of self reflection served as the basis for one of our learning modules during that training and during that time we did a month long Nikon retreat where we shared our insights with class members, it was a very special time and It's it. It's time that grounded me in a Japanese psychology and opened my eyes to different ways of looking at the world. Since that time his books and virtual classes have been an anchor for me during challenging life situations and also for using his daily reflections. Plus as a coach, I've shared what I learned with my coaching clients I have discovered and my clients have consistently remarked that the practices of Japanese psychology have been more effective in working with persistent issues than other more common psychological methods like cognitive behavioral therapy and neuro linguistic programming and. Other approaches to dealing with issues in day to day life. Greg is an author and editor whose work has been featured on public radio in the sun magazine, Tricycle Self utne reader counseling today cosmopolitan, and experience life his book Nikon gratitude, Grayson the Japanese art of self reflection one, a spirituality and Health magazine award for best books of two, thousand two and has been translated into five languages, his book, the art of. Taking action lessons from Japanese psychology is an Amazon Bestseller, he and his wife Linda our the founders of the Total Institute a nonprofit center in Vermont that uses Japanese psychology as an alternative to traditional Western approaches to psychology. His work is a blend of the psychological, the spiritual, the practical based on values such as purpose, gratitude, mindfulness, compassion, and constructive action. Or active acceptance, which we talk about quite a lot during this upcoming conversation, he is a member of the North American icon council at Editor of The quarterly journal Thirty Thousand Days a journal for purposeful living. I will post links to his books and his website thirty thousand days on the everyday Buddhism website under the podcast. Episode and I hope everyone does check out the total institute. It is a gold mine of resources to help make your days better which is what this podcast is all about. And with that, let's get to the conversation with Greg. Let's not delay another minute as the months of the pandemic drone on and on and with it the continuing uncertainty finding places of pieces becoming all important focus of life for many of us I. Think. In I shared with you in the previous episode that I've committed to a more consistent daily meditation practice as a way to take positive action rather than focus on all that is wrong in our country in the world. And the other thing I did was to reach out to my teacher and friend Greg Creech. One of the leading authorities on Japanese psychology to talk with me on this podcast episode about uncertainty and transitions. When we talked on the phone about what advice sir practice he could offer to podcast listeners as we whether this time of great uncertainty he said something that really struck me. He said it's not a mass issue. It's your personal situation and attachment, and then he went on to say that everyone is dealing with losses but ultimately, it's an individual thing. and. So with that brief lead in I want to welcome greg to this podcast once again. Hi, Greg thanks so much for joining me. Are Wendy thank you for having me. It's nice to talk to you again. Okay. So Great I would like us to focus much of the conversation today and I think I mentioned this when we talked on one of your recent articles coping in the garden of uncertainty. And also, if we have any time left, maybe you could talk about your recent series focused on the challenges post posed by this a pandemic, which was life not on hold right is that correct? That's correct. I though, if you could unpack what I just shared from our recent conversation which I hope I quoted you correctly even if you remember what you said it's not a massive issue at your personal situation, an attachment and then everyone is dealing with losses but ultimately, it's an individual thing. So can you talk more about those concepts Greg? First of I do think that it's an unusual situation because in terms of the pandemic that the whole world. Is suffering from this and obviously Some people are suffering in different ways or more or less but but we out all are exposed to the situation and. and. So I'm not trying to suggest that that there. Is Anything but a global. Threat to our lives into our health and but I think in terms of how we cope with it. It it really is very much an individual issue has to do with our own practice. It has do with what presses are buttons It has to do with what We. Miss that gives us a sense of impatience and agitation because we have such a strong desire to have X. and we can't have it right now because the conditions of of our lives in the world. So in that sense, our ability to work with the situation to cope with it. To find a way to accept what we can't change for example. Though those kinds of things that are coming up our individual issues and the kinds of things that will which your buttons or agitate you or. Frustrate you. At an extreme are probably not necessarily the things that are going to have that effect on me but I have my own things and so to that extent, the the. Solutions that were looking for while we can talk about vaccine as a solution to medical problem but the solution to our practical and spiritual issues that we're facing in our own minds really is a question of of coping with that as an individual and I think of it similarly when I think of coping with the issue of death. All right. Right. That We we all will die It's a given but But how we die in how we face in cope with our own individual death is something that we can't share with anybody else right it's something that we have to work with. As individual. And I think net sense the situation we find ourselves in now. Is is somewhat parallel to that. Yeah that is that's really a very good point because I was trying to I was trying to think of a parallels it to to what you were saying because I I really couldn't find one in the average everyday life but I overlooked the biggie right death and that is that that's absolutely true in in you know in your article, you actually quoted a Ziegler Congress ricochet which I really love this and I would write delete redefined first paragraph from the quotation because I think it says it speaks to a lot of what we're talking about here. We could be helped us jump into it, but and and. It's the. Sense of having these ego bubbles that keep us sealed in a false sense of security. You know all the. This is the quote all of us whether we want to or not live in a bubble. This is our own version of reality created by our EGO, which is always turning away from the open ended nature of how things are while trying to mainstream maintain the familiar most of the time we are able to keep the sense of familiarity and tax everything in our bubble is fairly predictable and seems to make sense even if we're going through a hard time at some level were able to hold it all together unquote. Now I. Think this is this really gets to the heart of a lot of this, and it actually speaks to how people deal with death some people bubble themselves or away from the concept and avoided altogether in our society. Of course, makes it all too easy to do in that death is hidden in most cases her and life is prolonged at all costs but but I think this emphasizes the are inherent ignorance and I mean ignorance from the Buddhist term not that we're all stupid or avoidance of the three marks of existence you know impermanent suffering and no self or non-self. And I'll add emptiness to that because that is sometimes included in this overview but you know life is made of these things but we choose to create disposable anyway or version of reality as Rupa shaped said that keeps US protected in an illusion that those three marks aren't true. We just tend to forget it or don't don't WanNa even look at it and what this quoque gets at in the last sentence that quote even if we're going through a hard time at some level were able to hold it all together. And that is. Kind of referring to most of our daily challenges with impermanent suffering and lack of a discrete unchanging self or discrete unchanging reality, and so we are confident like it lend and everything will go back to normal and yet in this current, you know co mingled crisis of pandemic economic collapse and social unrest. Divisiveness and conflict we're faced with a mix of uncertainties that I think are far worse and unlike anything most of us have faced in our lifetimes. So can you say more about these bubbles and then maybe we can get into what we can do now that all of our bubbles have burst. Well. You know I think that. The bubbles are kind of our bubbles are kind of a form of. The. The KARMIC result of all of the years or decades for some of us that we have spent trying to make our lives comfortable and trying to get them to fit with how we want to live. Right right and so he spent you know everything. You by plant Oh. It looks better on the shelf and it has over here. and it's where we choose to live in terms are homebound I've lived in the country I love living in the country around birds. coyotes, nights, and things like that and and so So we tried to kind of create this little nest and. And for many of us, you know it, it becomes more comfortable to be in that bubble. Or that nest that to be out of it and I think when the of pandemic kind of a hit us. I've thought about this in terms of a bubble as a metaphor that it depends didn't really burst our bubble it kind of slowly dissolved it, right? Yes. Khloe happened over a period of time and it's still happening over a period of time and So it's not like we were sitting in her Bowen suddenly sewn to pin bursted balloon. It's kind of just like melted. Hey. and. Suddenly, it's not there anymore and what's not there is the lifestyle that we had right being able to see our friends being able to see our family being able to. Go out and go shopping without a mask on being able to eat dinner in a restaurant and as most of you know I could go on on the description of what's different now. And what's different now is what we have instead of the bubble that we built. And so So, our challenge now is figure out how to cope in a situation where that bubble has to to some extent or great extent kind of dissolved and it's left us with this right get. This is different for all of us That's what is left us with and so we have to try to. Adapt. To the change, the impertinence of life Kinda showing up and saying we're GONNA make some big changes very quickly in in whole world that just in your life, but in the whole world, but of course, our life is is the one that's in this particular bubble, and so we have to adapt now and how are we going to do that and how how much suffering are we going to create for themselves on his suffering? We're GONNA create for people around us how open are we to acknowledging that we're not the only ones who are suffering not the only person the only person who's suffering that there's great suffering in the world right now. So, all of these things come up for us, which becomes essentially the the foundation of our practice. Our practice really has become our our daily life and and it's a challenge for most of us because Things. Often. Win something even even big happens in our life get diagnosed with cancer or. Someone, we love very much dies, but but a lot of the rest of our life is anchored the way that it was right? Right. We have some anchor but in this case kind of like the anchor just got cut off right and it's hard to find a place that we can anchor ourselves. So so we find ourselves in a real spiritual quandary of of what can we grab onto Pemba children by the way the quote you gave from Cigar. Ripple Shea. For those of your listeners who aren't familiar with him he's a Tabet Buddhist teacher his often referred to has by payment children as her teacher. But she talks about this concept of groundless, right? Right. we come up against moments in our life, and for many of us these past few months may have had some of these moments where there's just nothing to grab onto. Right right. We just he just can't have on anything that really gives us a sense of security and control and I think the kinds of themes that have come up for. Me and in other people that a familiar with some of my students are themes like control seems like attachment seems like security right These are all things that have come up because our buttons have been pressed and and so what happens when we we feel since like we're losing control, our natural response is often to try to get back control. And how we do that? We use more effort that we make more of an effort. But in many cases, effort is not the answer to getting back control and getting back control is not the answer to having lost control. So. Some cases that that respondent natural response of trying to regain control works against us and I think that that's the the challenge in terms of of wisdom is how can we separate the situations that are life right now you just mentioned you know the economic situation, civil unrest, the political conflict going on and the the virus itself. How can we separate the different elements of this whole? Set of conditions are into those, which which we can actually assert some control or influence and those in which we simply have to accept that what we're facing is really outside of our control puts and that's that's a really great question for us to be seeing with as we look at the different. Problems and challenges that are coming up their life for it now. How can how can we separate that? That's an interesting And you're right. That's that is sort of our. Main challenge if you will is is to maintain our daily life as as some sort of a productive active practice, well, separating ourselves from that but. The word separate kind of struck me because I know. This. To me, it almost sounds like an I. know you're an eastern psychology person rather than a western psychology person. So you know don't jump down my throat that I'm using western psychology terms here but. It's like compartmental if you will. You know and and some people say compartmentalization is a can be. It can be a negative thing or a deterrent to a good life. I find compartmentalization in my life is is a pretty good skill sometimes But to me, it means just not. In a way, it's just not focusing on all of that all the time, which is I, you know some people have talked talked about it. What is it disaster scrolling when you scroll through twitter or facebook for all the latest disastrous things, and that seemed to be everybody's first instinct during the beginning of the pandemic is is looking for all the new information until we realized that none of it was any of it meant anything anyway. So so yeah, there that compartmentalization in my way of thinking of things is that that One is at I'm trying to deal with it is to is to. Put it in a closet, sound a lot of the stuff in a little closet. I only begin once in a while and then shut the door when I find myself getting agitated is that what you're referring to Kinda? Well I would say that let me let me use a one of our own maxims Japanese psychology, which is this Max experience of life is not based on your life on what you pay attention to. Right on your experience of life is not based on your life but on what you paid attention to and I think it's a really wonderful maximum of for these times because We part of what we have to in addition to trying to influence or change things that are changeable is to basically maintain her own sanity giving sand. And somebody WHO SPENDS Every waking moment scrolling through the news and scrolling through twitter feeds and facebook events and everything and reading Every every possible perspective on every element of suffering that's going on is going to have a tough time maintaining their sanity and so and so one of the things that we want to do is to be start working with our attention, which means in the beginning to become aware of where we're putting our attention, right? and I think that that that in itself. we could spend the whole conversation and more just talking about this issue of working with our attention under these kinds of conditions as a if. If. You. Get up in the morning and the first thing that you're aware of I'll give you an example from. My own situation which is. Less January's about eighteen months ago I had replacement knee surgery for my right knee and for years prior to that time I am an only had pain but my my knee wasn't actually incorrectly kind of bid out instead of the way supposed to to bend him. So I had difficulty just getting up and down stairs. And things, and now I get outta bed and when I walked to the bathroom even though it's been eighteen months, I'm so aware of of what a wonderful thing is just to be able to walk to the bathroom for my bed thout without even having to be conscious of any any difficulty or pain or discomfort in my knee and so most of us when we get out of bed and walked to the bathroom probably don't think I'm so glad my knees are working right But. If you if you have any problems like like I did and like many people do. One of the things you're doing is you're getting out of bed and says you stand up your? and He. It's a really wonderful. Example of what happens with our attention when something isn't working, we pay attention to it and when something is working tended notice it and we tend to not notice it because we noticed something else that isn't working. So, So we have a Who who's kind of a neuroscientist? Kind of characterization, I would have us his work. He's term negative bias. We have this advice in our attention. It's it's the way our attention in our brain actually works. So if we don't do something consciously. To work with our attention and to counter that negative bias than this becomes essentially our day just noticing one thing after another that is undesirable. That's unpleasant that it's painful. That's uncomfortable as causing problems, and that becomes our experience of life. Go ahead well. I I'm familiar with Hansen's work in the negative bias because that is so true and once you're aware of it it. It really changes everything how you look at things once you're aware of that that you have that negative bias you don't think that that's what's going on but that's what's going on and the other thing I will say is I was diagnosed I have chronic illness systemic lupus. So I'm also immune compromised, which makes the situation even more scary for me and plus I'm over sixty five and all those other things but one of the. Wall, some people have asked me what about the chronic illness I said it was the greatest gift that I was ever given because I was. Just like you said about your knee is like the days that I get up feeling well rested and ready to go are like the Christmas, right? They're they're they're they're awesome and have being able to see the other side of that. Not only increases your COMPA- compassion, but increases your ability to have gratitude for like the smallest smallest things. And and so I think US. I wouldn't I don't use the word compartment lies, but it's it's fine and but I think that The only way that we encounter reality is is moment by moment, right? So we don't we don't encounter. The world, we don't encounter the DEMOC right. You know we we encounter this particular news article we encounter the coffee maker enough in the morning or our car doesn't start. So reality kind of encounters us. You know we have, we have our our meetings with reality out of moment by moment basis and and how we use our attention in those moments and whether we're consciously working with our. Attention and directing our attention or or whether we're just essentially allowing our attention to kind of do whatever it wants to do and kind of run wild. You know we we just my daughter WHO's twenty twos living with us and She finally got me to agree to allow her to adopt a puppy ono fourteen week old puppy his sweet sweet wonderful puppy who is just wild. House and and what happened and I love dogs I I've had two dogs in my life who are like children to me but it's changed our bubble. Having this puppy in our bubble but I. Think of the mind where we aren't trying to work with our attention as this while puppy mind, right? Those were WanNa go you can call it doesn't listen to you. You know if you don't if you don't basically notice it constantly, it's chewing on the couches. It's eating you know your tax return that you haven't filed yet or something and our mile. Our minds are like that and working with our attention means that we begin to consciously direct our attention to this instead of that. So that moments as we encounter each moment we're actually having some. Control over how we encounter that moment and what by by controlling what we pay attention to and when we talk about, for instance, the issue gratitude that gets us into this practice which I know you're familiar with called Nikon which is a. Japanese of self reflection and it's something that my wife and I doubt now we have a little morning routine that we've been doing for years, but we're actually more. Committed to it. Now, since the pandemic and one of the things we do is we do about five minutes self reflection on each other which keeps us sane and it keeps us from killing one another. So but it's a wonderful relationship practice in which we we thought. We get our attention to focus on these questions what that I received from my wife. Linda but give to her and what troubles and difficulties that I earn. We just look at the previous twenty four hours, and then we express that to one another and the whole process we spend three or four minutes reflecting. And three or four minutes expressing and ten minutes or less every morning. But it's one of the most wonderful things that we do because it really shift our attention because in many cases when you're living with someone particularly in in a situation where you're much more confined to your of space that you're sharing you your attention begins to to gravitate towards what this person's doing. It's really aggravating you. Or what they're not doing. That's really aggravating you those are your. Two focal points and I think having this. Practice in which you're consciously directing your attention towards wha what did do yesterday that actually supported me right and and what did I do? That caused her trouble problems inconvenience that's not a question by attention normally goes to So so Nikon becomes one of the ways that we actually shift or control of our attention and it changes our experience in a relationship it. Changes our experience of of the relationship So I think there's lots of ways to work with our attention that really are wonderful way of anchoring ourselves not anchoring ourselves in. You know how much money do we have in the bank or or you know material find comfort but anchoring ourselves in the reality of what life is actually like a because it's not all suffering. To take. Used to always remind us decades ago when I when I spent some time with him traveling, he's always remind us that. Yes. In Buddhism life is suffering but suffering is not whole. There is yes we have to under these circumstances be able to find those little windows of suffering is now older is. Well I love. Well, I loved everything you said, but a debt, you gave such positive steps or actions. and. That's something that you you also teach is about action but that not using Nikon at this time. Oh. With the people you're living with an I am definitely going to adapt because I have been finding that our partnership is more challenged. Because you know even though we we both worked at home we were always together anyway there was somebody was always going somewhere you know and there was time away and. was you know that there's a whole different thing I it it's amazing. Really. I've reflected on this ally how amazing is that? I never thought that any we never really went anywhere a lot but it it really did change the whole the energy of how the day goes. Strangely. So I liked that starting the day that way like is real is really good thing because it, it's a great reminder of to be looking out for those things all the next twenty, four hours right for for your for your next morning session. So that's wonderful on and I'm glad you shared that. So maybe everybody can save their relationships way. Back. But also you know in that article that we were referring to You, you suggest acceptance and you've talked about this previously here as strategy and then went on to list some capabilities in some of these. You. Mentioned in some of the things we've been talking about you went onto listen capabilities that If we dug deeper, we could find that would help us if we would actively apply them during his time. So I'll list them, and whether you remember this the details of the article or not I if if that, you know. Tell me and I'll read a little more of its own a good remind you a list them but I talk a little bit more about active acceptance. I, know you've already sort of. Talked about this a little bit or refer to it in your. You know the previous things you've been talking about, but you know. I've I've talked about this a lot in my podcast and I think we talked about it I in the previous podcast episode I had with you but you know acceptance is most people really have. In the west of really really rotten connotation around the word acceptance as resignation and and I think a lot of people actually are think the pandemic sort of. De That's that resignation type acceptance is what they're dealing with but their acceptance in the way you refer to it in the way I refer to it as much more active So if you could talk a little bit about acceptance and then move onto the first capability because I think they may be tied of the list in your article was waking up our face and. I call that the F. Word on this podcast because so many people come to me I of the secular route. So they kind of have maybe have a a bad relationship with that word, but I think there's a lot a lot of good that could be talked about here. So if you remember those two things, I'll even up to you. Okay what me say something about acceptance and then You can. You can remind me about the F. Word after. So so another method of Japanese psychology that I know you're familiar with wendy is Morita therapy and where he to therapy was developed by Japanese psychiatrist in the Early Twentieth Century and it's kind of rooted in some degree in in Zen principles though it's not religious at all and it's sometimes referred to as the psychology of action because it's much more about taking action than it is about talking. However the The underlying. Principle in Meritas work. Is. Really this term in Japanese at this hour, Gama Haruyama and translation into English would be something like to accept things as they are things just as they are right and that's really a a state of in in which Morita is trying to lead you write a state to be in a state of Oregon UvA and it's very similar to the kind of core structure of Meritas work it. In some ways similar to the serenity prayer because it does have you look at you know. What do you need to be able to accept the serenity to accept and what you need to have the courage to actually change in an influence on and and how how can you have the wisdom to know the difference? And so So on the acceptance side of Meritas work is this concept of are about to accept things as they are but it it's not as the -sarily where you have to stop because that's acceptance is in. in my opinion of exclusively passive, right right. So but it's where you have to start. And in many ways you can't really take action at least effective action until you have. Accepted, the reality of the situation you're in. So see think about. would be a good example. Let's say being diagnosed with a a serious or chronic illness, right? And It's not that you accept it and you just say, Oh, well, now I have this illness I guess I'll just just kind of lay in bed into dot. And it would be a different term, which is resignation. We just resign ourselves that we have an illness and we're GONNA die. But acceptance is really the acceptance of the reality of the situation K. that I have this this disease I have this illness. This is the state of my health. But. Then it you know it opens up the possibility of, is there something that I need to do? Right and in some cases, and maybe in many cases, there is something you you can or need to do in some cases. There isn't right if you're faced with the death of a loved one, for example, there really isn't something you need to do if you're faced with a threat to your health and your life from a deadly virus. And the things. To do when you go out is remiss core social distance or go to supermarket what is we city? and so there are things that you can do but ultimately. You're still faced with a situation that's that's uncontrollable but have to start by accepting the situation and I think that part of going on in the US with the virus and I'll be just very upfront about my own views about this is that we have a large or not large significant. Portion of society who has not accepted the situation. Absolutely. And there's a difference between accepting the facts of the situation and accepting. Judgments of what course me need to take. and. So when we look at the number of infections when we look at the rate of of infections for people who are tested when we look at the number of deaths Those things are facts when you look at the level of contagion ages miss of the disease those things are fix and so this this virus is not a hoax in the sense that we've we've already had over one, hundred, fifty, thousand people die from it and an. Expected there'll be a more so so accepting that this is a contagious disease that can kill people that even when it doesn't show people, it can leave you with short and long term health problems right? These are all all that are facts of the situation that I think we need to accept. And we do have a portion of society that just doesn't accept this situation. Now for those of you who? Do Accept the situation is easy to look at those people and say, well, there's there's this fools. The situation but I also I think the situation is more subtle because What I see is a number of people now who are responding to the situation also the same, the same people who say, yeah, this is a serious. Problem this virus and you can get sick and you can go to the hospital and you can die can have long term health effects. But the impatience that we have. With the time it's taking for us to figure out how to resolve this health situation. That impatience is often stimulate people to make choices and chair and do things in their life that really aren't conducive to the threat that's being post absolutely, and and so even those of us who are saying we've got to yeah, this is a real situation. It's not hoax we need accepted in a more subtle ways. There's things that we aren't accepting why because we don't like it. Because we're impatient and because we're attached to having be a certain way and we don't like the fact that life is a different way So most of us if we really were able to examine our own conduct, own preferences are. Are Attachments with find things that were having difficulty accepting it's always easier to see that in other people's always harder to see those. But most of us if we're honest could actually find some of those things. So that's that's a huge challenge. On is to start with acceptance and I'm just using the. The the pandemic isn't as one example of that right and and there's many other things going on we could bring in isn't an examples but it's not a passive situation because opens up the question now that were anchored in the way things things are accepted it is there's something that we need to do, and that's the active energy that comes from acceptance and we're much more likely to be effective once we've accepted something is reality and then then looked at how we can take action much more likely to be effective than if just essentially ignoring or denying that reality and just kind of doing with our lives as if the situation doesn't exist. That's so true and and that really was A. Wonderful how you distinguish between the two sort of parts of you know the first the first acceptance of things as they are and then and then Then the sort of the the serenity player prayers twelve step analysis kind of thing is can I what can I do about this if anything, and if I can well actually a master shanty Davis said that I think in his book the same thing there's something you can do about doing if not and don't don't dwell on it right and that's pretty much it and you one thing you mentioned that. Caught me is that and I've noticed this more on following the trend of people's comments on social media. Is that even those that did did accept it as as a true factual thing and that that did and then took all the right actions are now starting to It's like pointing to the other person, why are all these other people going visiting families and why are they having cookouts and how come I'm still doing stuck at home? It's kind of this is you see where the acceptance level is breaking down right? They're starting to look outside and blaming everybody else for the fact that they're still stuck inside. When really if they looked at it, they should know that that's still the right action to take right. So I've seen that drift in the last maybe. Two three, four weeks. And I think that No there's first of all there. There's a lot of pressure at comes from basically watching people do things that we would like to do that kind of pulls us in that direction, and there's a lot of pressure internally that comes from the sense of impatience Wanna be able to go out and you know you're a restaurant and listen to music I wanna be able to to eat out I, WANNA be able to see family and friends and not, and not just basically walk with an with six feet apart right from us and a so. So part of what we see here is this idea of acting on her fingers and it's another aspect of meritas therapy with marina zero. P. Suggests that is not a good idea to make your actions primarily or exclusively based on your feelings state. So When you whether it's impatience whether it's anger whether you know it's Despair or depression of it's not a good thing to be making choices based on strong emotional state because as we all know, typically, if you're if you're working with some kind of practice that feeling state can change dramatically one minute to another I and we don't want to make important decisions when we have strong emotions and feelings that are kind of coursing through our our minds and. Hearts of and so a but but it's very were were seduced into doing that when we feel impatient with something that we really want and we see it out there we see other people getting advice think I want that I want to do that I want to be able to have that and so we can easily make choices that may not necessarily be wise choices as we academic. So. Having those feelings is fine but we want to essentially succumb to simply reacting to those feelings are in terms of how we live. and making bad choices. Exactly. So now we're GONNA circle back to the I two off track with that but the first thing on your list was waking up our faith the F. Word. So can you say a little more about that first step on if you want me to read more of your article about that I'm happy to do that if you can't remember what would you wrote? Almost. Never remember I wrote. I, and that's what I kind of don't remember people I say you know in your book when you wrote about this, it's like. Tell me what did I say? Did you sometime sometimes if it's if what I wrote at if you're someone read it, I think and sounds like it's actually pretty good I think. Wow I wrote. Or my case sometime it's like, oh, I wrote that. If they're if there's something that you want to share from what I wrote I would I would be happy to have you will you actually on this? You just said, we need to wake up our faith and so that's why I need you to talk about it was really sort of succinct and and because it included the F. Word I thought maybe it would be nice to have you explain this and what you mean. So My own background in Buddhism is is. Both in zen practice as well as. Shin, Buddhist practice or in practice, and they're very different. In, terms of how they look at the world although I'm I do have a sense that they. Try to encourage you to get to ultimately the same place but very different paths and You don't see a lot of discussion about faith in than Buddhism, but you do in your Orlando Shin Buddhism right on. and so ensuring Buddhism There's a term called. Xinjian. That used to be translated as faith. But the more accepted translation in the past twenty years or so is a true entrusting That true entrusting I like the idea of having the word trust in there right rather than the term faith because. Faith tends to be get us to think about things from a Christian perspective right I. Don't think that that's really what Buddhism at least Buddhism is is asking us to understand about that term. It's more about trusting right at an. The first thing I think that comes up when I think about is true entrusting or or faith is that It isn't about this idea of having faith that I'm going to be okay. You know if you if you have an illness, there's an accident. If something there's some tragedy in your life, you know that it's the faith that somehow some higher power. God or Buddha or something is going to take care of you and you'll be okay. To me this true entrusting. Is more of a sense of. Trusting that the world will. The way that it will unfold. Things will unfold in the way that they are supposed to or need. Fold. and it's not something that you have to always be manipulating and specifically anchin Buddhism I remember this reference I can't quote a S- county way but the idea. That Shit. Run the founder of of. Jochen Shoe Buddhism, that he he talked about the idea of kind of our efforts to always manipulate the situation to to you look at a situation and you just you're trying to figure out well, how can I get this to work out best for me right right and and so you know when you're when your kids are young in the tickets to the to the fair, you know our half price if your child is is under twelve. Just turned twelve yesterday you know and so you begin thinking about well enough. I, just tell them. My child is is still eleven than I can pay half price among right and this in. So many different ways that that we face situations when we think well, this is how I want the situation to play out. So what can I do if this to happen and and like becomes like an escape right always tried to figure. Out The best move so that you can end up winning the game, and so she gene or entrusting to me is is almost like the opposite of a chess game is that you you stop playing chess you know you you work with the sense that that life will unfold and it will unfold in a way that that's okay that necessarily in a way that will make me happy or even healthy, but in a way that's okay. And and so we learn how to relax into the unfolding of life instead of the tension it comes with always trying to figure out what our next move is to try to get the outcome that we're looking for. And If I ever finished this book, I've been writing a book for probably about ten years now has had different names, but the name that has at this moment is something about that uses this phrase, the softer side of Buddhism, and that's the way that than I look at certain traditions like Shin Buddhism pure land Buddhism. Because it's this idea of able to relax into the unfolding market of life instead of having to always try to get this to work out the way you want them to work out. Now having said that I have a little plaque that was given to me by. Zen. Center. Twenty years ago I gave a talk. That's a a nice little poem from the Zen Monk Yukon That's all about this idea of. Alexiy into. So again, it's not like there's this is clear separation between Shin Buddhism and and then Buddhism. But Shin Buddhism tends to talk more about this issue of of trust and true entrusting and faith and. Being okay with allowing the life to unfold instead of this this sense that if we don't take care of this, the world's GonNa fall apart and if you're parenting, you have children, you know exactly what I'm talking right? It's like Oh my God my kids got a problem or my kid's in trouble and if I don't do something to fix the situation. Their life is just GonNa fall apart, right? Right. Right and even if you don't do it you, you have many of us have that energy. We feel the energy of wanting to intervene and keep them from dealing with the unfolding of life. And and when the unfolding of life is that there's a truck coming down the road they're standing in the middle of the road. I'm not arguing that you should jump out and grab them and get them out of the way. Right I'm talking about the other ninety, nine percent of the things that happen to your kids right here where there's this option trusting life that look that life as a teacher is teaching each of us including children right and and not necessarily always intervening whether it's it's an lesson at least. Trying. To teach me or lesson slice, try to teach my children or other loved ones or family members or or just other people in general and when I am grounded in this idea of true entrusting or faith I, find that I'm so much more relaxed and at ease with my life as it is and in the moments where I'm on the other side of the world and I feel like I gotta take care of this or fix this or if I don't things are GonNa fall apart I am tense anxious agitated. Completely different state and so there's a great. I think beauty you know in this aspect of Buddhism. That allows us to cultivate the sense of true entrusting or faith and I. Think particularly in situations where we are up against the things that we really can't control or even influence very much. Yeah it's you. Will you know as you know I came from the right dawn lm method of teaching, which is pretty much shins in hybrid because it comes from both the trainings of both. Revenue both and his father go make Abbassi who trained in both things and this a very strong true Lan Jochen shoot influence there although it's not always. It's emphasized more through everyday teachings rather than emphasized through the scholarly traditions but it was when I came from Tibetan tradition and went to and then was I call it my born again Buddhist moment when when I was exposed to Shin Buddhism and it changed everything for me It was in fact, the true entrusting part of it that changed everything for me and it was in a talk. At the time of. Reverend. Al Bloom the late Reverend Bloom talk to our class And I had. That's when I had. My born again should moment moment because I asked him. please. Explain more about self power versus other power because I really had a terrible misunderstanding about it and thought of other power as sort of like. The God thing you know and it was it. You know it was very confusing for me and and like reese pig like I would get it and then I wouldn't get it. Then I would get it and I wouldn't get it in and he gave all these little anecdotes and when one of which was a and I've told this story before but is that there was a woodpecker on a tree and and he was pecking away pecking away picking way but he had no idea there was there were loggers below and and then all of a sudden the tree was felled and he said, well, I did that. So. So that was like a a loose dating moment for me that life will unfold the way it will unfold and sometimes it will be good for you. Sometimes, it'd be bad for you, but it's still just like folding and that's the true entrusting really helps you not be so first of all, focused on what you can do about the situation or what you can't do about the situation and also not so focused on The direct outcome of whatever you do. So thank you for for that story and and for elucidating the F. Word to And the only thing I want to add to it is that again there there's no There's nothing that that prevents you from taking action because it's it's not right that life in in the state of faith or Truman's trusting is today passive life and when I've talked about this in front of Shin. Buddhist audiences I doubt that the the founders, the leaders of this form of Buddhism were really active. People you know and. So it's not that it prevents you from taking action it. It simply means it's much more of. Taking action because it's important for you to do that. But there is a sense that that there's not an attachment to the Tom and even when you. Get an outcome that maybe you prefer were desire you you see that in large part as a blessing or good fortune, you know that comes from not just your own efforts but basically from the world's collaboration with the effort, right which was the the the the lumberjacks and the woodpecker that's exactly right and just thought that was beautiful story. This the second one and and we're probably hit the click through these if we want. but you're doing I'm loving this because you are really. Giving direct actions. Mrs What I think people are just. Really needing in wanting at this time. They just they don't know where to turn really. And and you know I've done a lot of podcasts sort of like. Being You know it's really bad. You know and and trying to give a few little things but there's always we always I always want to give them more than that. They could they can act on or work. So the one of the things now after after the faith is a sharpen our skills of reflecting on ourselves and noticing how are conduct expects others you sort of hinted at this a little bit with your new more. Active Nikon practice with your wife in the morning But if you want to say a few more things on this topic, that would be great. Well, I think that People can read it in detail about Nikon but really the core of it is really these three simple reflective questions in the first is what have I received either from the other person or from the world is a you know the world itself when you do just daily Nikon reflection. Second question is what if I given in the third question which is the most difficult is what troubles and difficulties caused and When people talk to me about kind of the the Western version of like a gratitude journal. Is really the first question icon. There's nothing wrong with a gratitude. What's the great thing to do? But what it doesn't. address is this issue of seeing how what I'm doing is affecting other people and Ryan the world around me not just other people but animals nature global warming everything, right? Right. Right had is this third question of looking at how have I caused trouble difficulty that really addresses this issue and potentially gives birth to compassion for others because. The only way we can successfully answer this question of how how did I across trouble difficulty to someone is by putting ourselves in that person's shoes and so what is it like to be Wendy interviewing me? What is it like to be this little puppy? Running around the house. Trying to have fun and having to deal with me when I'm trying to get ready for a podcast. We put ourselves in the other person's or puppies, shoes and and we try to think you know what is it like for that person? What's their experience of dealing with me? Right. So in a relationship I'm always looking at, you know what is it like for me to be married to my wife right as the natural thing that comes up for me Constantly but the question of what is it like for my wife to be married to me Today that's not a question that comes up naturally and when I actually ask it out loud is a scary question. Yes. Find myself being very uncomfortable with it because because we argument today and I don't like to think about what is it like for her to be very have to deal with me So it's it's a really important question because it's a question that up a opens up to understanding and even compassion for others. So I'm so being able to cultivate the skill of self reflection is one of the ways that we can cultivate. Good relationships with nudges the people in our family but people in the world, even non people and and. These trees nature's puppies and the health of the planet by basically trying to see things from not just our own self centered perspective, but the perspective of that which we are reflecting on. So in a in the current circumstances this, this is extremely important. Otherwise, we just all kind of poor stoves in and just harden our own perspective on on. What the problems are that the world is causing me the world being this person in person the person at the grocery store president in where mask and all these other people, and we ignore the fact that I'm leaving behind my own KARMIC. Residue as I go through my day get. Yeah. That's so good I haven't done a strict Nikon practice in a long time but boy I do remember that third question. That's just so so so hard because even when you know what you need to do to get there you're. You're very resistant I found myself always very resistant to that question and I look back my old gratitude, my old Nikon Journal when we did, we did it as a deep practice with burr bright on and I. Noticed that there was all this talking all this writing on the other ones in the third one was like like maybe two sentences I really I really had trouble with it and that's the honest truth. And and for for those of you who practice includes the The Buddhist precepts that third question becomes the process for reflecting on the precepts on that I actually went through this process in in Japan is called Juju Qingcai? But involves looking at each of the precepts and looking at how you violated their precept. So. So as a reflective practice, if you're working with the precepts becomes looking at the past day how? How I commit y.? Yeah like commit stealing. how'd I commit intoxication and as I was trained to work with those precepts? Not Any liberal way? with some guidelines so When I I was s reflect on the precept of intoxication which had intact occasion with drugs and alcohol had never been a problem that I had really had in my life answer I thought this'll be easy right. But then I'm told what intoxication include being intoxicated with your own ideas and I thought now I've been a lot of. Toxic aided with all my idea is so. It'd be. Yeah. So so as we work with those precepts, but again, it's this idea of. Being able to use. Some of our energy within the this kind of environment to to reflect on ourselves to reflect on. Howard thing Howard treating other people hauer conducting ourselves and and what kind of legacy you know our day to day life is leaving behind and I think that that's really an important thing to do. I, think we we want to I think many of us. If we think of it this way we want to be able to look back at this period of time whether five ten twenty years from now and be able to look honestly come and say that I, I live through this time. It was integrity, right? Yeah. I conducted myself with integrity. but we can't conduct ourselves with integrity unless we're reflecting on it during this period of time and looking at how we're not conducting ourselves with integrity. So this is the time to essentially create your history. You know as you think about this twenty years from now by being able to to reflect on yourself. In an honest kind of way now so that you'll be looking bear. Period and a very different kind of way. In that reminds me and I hate to drag San longer but it's just I I read this guy a long piece about the nineteen eighteen pandemic, which is you know the closest thing we you know that's That's you know that's all we have a hundred years ago and in one of the pieces said the reason you. This piece with one of the reasons why you don't read much about the pandemic which you don't it. It's really from a literary point of view. The it's very sparse is as talking about you can find the history and but was very sparse and one of the reasons this this this person Postulated. Was that because? Excuse me so many people were. Embarrassed or did not like their attitudes during the pandemic because they acted selfishly most of the time rather than compassionately that that no one wrote about it because it was it was embarrassing and then I read this other article and the recent article more recent article about how we sh we should be keeping journals about the pandemic So and I've I've I'm sorry I did I'm doing that and I'm trying to be as honest as possible about my outrage A. Non Mask, wearers and everything. because. I think that is exactly. That's the kind of history you know history is not just history in facts. It's it's how people doubt with it because it can be very instructive with how people deal with other hardships in their life. So I I really took your point there on that. That's really an interesting way to look at it. I think. From Them I think we want we need to write about this pandemic and not just complain on facebook. Right. So the next one of yours was and I think you've already covered this bit but if you wanna I'll just. put it out there because I'm GonNa Post, this article I in a link to the article in my show notes. But in the next one of your point was to recognize the blessings that we encounter throughout the day. That's that's pretty much the gratitude practice and if you if you wanted to add something you can't. But I think this is kinda been covered through all the other ones. The only thing I would add is I think it's a great way to look our day is That one of our tasks is defined moments of joy. Joy It doesn't mean that the whole days joyful but Not One of the things that I did when I was much younger is I spent time working in refugee camps on the border of Cambodia and Laos, and I work with refugees who were living in. A huts that had dirt floors, no plumbing and and and yet they were able to find joy in their lives right children in those camps who had never existed outside of camps in some some cases were able to play in find joy in their lives and so on. Even the most difficult circumstances don't have to prevent us from at least finding moments of. Joy In at the end of the day if you can think of one little experience that you had, that was a joyful experience that made you forced smile or laugh or just gave you this this nice feeling about about your life that that may be all that you can can do. But I think it's a question of looking for it. Right? Actually. To find those moments of joy this really important. Yeah that's that's that's that's really that's really great and and you have a puppy. So you've got moments of joy. Also moments of frustration I understand it's a, it's a mixed bag but. I we had two puppies and. We just lost our last of the sibling. your puppy talks making me very sad right now, I'm making me WanNa, go adopt a puppy, but I'm not going to do it so So, the next one of your your. Tasks that you suggest we take up is to it's like a two parter was to act constructively in compassionately in the face of fear at anger and develop a sense of empowerment by taking action I. Think you will. You've also covered this I mean in in in your good. Answers but anything you WANNA ADD Just that I think that there's there's a great. curative power. That action provides us in fact. Joan Baez. Action is the antidote to despair. And And so being able to look at a situation that we're in any situation, and even if there's only one small thing you can do. Any you never know what will come of that right? We never know we can't. But even if there's one small thing you can do if you do it, it gives you a sense of empowerment. It gives you a sense that you you did something right but he don't do anything. That's what leads us with the sense of powerlessness. That that, we faced the situation was difficult it was challenging. creating all kinds of problems in suffering, and if we don't anything it, it gives us the sense of of being powerless and that. Sends US right down this path of despair despondency or should all these these? D- words. Words right. So I do think that you know we shouldn't as Buddhist who? Are So. Saturated with the idea of quiet. Reflection Meditation and sitting quietly we shouldn't underestimate you know the active side of this and that action actually can be very purposeful can be very healing could be very spiritual entire Bahgdad Guitar one could argue is really designed. As an epoch that talks about the importance of knowing who you are and taking action based on who you are, and so I think there's we sometimes when we pull wisdom from the east, we sometimes don't give enough attention to the action orientation they active side of that wisdom because I think. We've so much needed the the side of things that have to do with with meditation and in quiet but the action side is is also very, very important. Yes. That's so true it and it it. It does it. You know just just the mere fact of it when you do anything. I know and you're taking action course. It's I remember the phrase lead with the body when you do anything So, many times we sit around saying well especially in this pandemic I wish I could do this I. Wish I could do that I wish but there's still a lot of things you can do. Right. So just just lead with the body do something like that. You always wanted to do I told somebody said how come that here I am I'm not working. I always wanted to clean the basement and how come I haven't cleaned the basement and it's Because know probably because they didn't lead with the body I what I said, just go down and like take one box and do something with it. That's all you have to do right and you'll feel better. So that's good. Thank you, and then the last one was to find something purposeful and meaningful to live for each day and probably not cleaning the basement but you. Yeah and again You know how within the circumstances were in How do we find meaning in our lives? Right and The person I always, if you want to read something I, always people to Viktor Frankl because he. He talks about doing this within the within a Nazi concentration. And is challenging our lives may may be, we're not a I don't think any of people listening to this ever living in Nazi concentration camp. So it's very possible even if you don't have a job or you've been laid off even if you're separated from your loved ones, even if you're facing difficult illnesses to continue to find meaning in your wife and I think that's really important because it gives us something to wake four in the morning something that that gets our energy going in. Japanese we use this term Iki. Guy. Right. Guy Is like you know that the reason for living with the purpose of of living So so sometimes when we're going through this kind of situation where everything is changing we have to find a new purpose or different purpose right and When you have a death in including the dog I've gone through that myself you lose that purpose that you had in in caring for the animal you have to now find some way to find purpose. To use that energy for right yeah. Some people it's it's another dog and for some people at something. But a retirement is the same kind of thing. Right? You have your purpose in one of the most interesting things about transitions. And this actually comes from Tsa Elliot is he said that you know that Transitions begin with endings. Right we think of of things beginning with beginnings, but actually transitions begin with endings. And and so as something ends that essentially opens up the doorway to a transition in our life and and that's the point at which we have to think about What's my purpose in this situation? What can I be doing with my my energy and my life in my time that will give meaning to this to this time period of my life. It's it's you know probably the most fundamental question that we've asked today, but it's it's very important because it it makes the suffering worth it, right? Yeah. If you don't have something meaningful purposeful, it's very hard to accept the fact that you're suffering. But if you do you still suffer but but it's worth it to suffer because what you're doing is meaningful. Yeah that's that's so true and and it was good to to. To mention Viktor Frankl because he is he is definitely an inspiration and I think people should read it if they haven't so go and do that and then I wanted to share something from an article. David. Farley who just wrote to me this week when he heard you're going beyond the podcast I asked for and instead of asking a question, he shared a he says he's an avid podcast listener. Thank you David but he shared with me an article that he wrote for Newsweek he's a he's A. award-winning food and travel writer, and he writes for Newsweek New York, times and Wall Street Journal. He lives in New York City and he wrote the relief of uncertainty now Muses One New Yorker for Newsweek and great piece and I'm GonNa post a link to it on the show notes here. But in his article, he quoted Camus who wrote everybody knows that pestilence is have a way of recurring in the world yet. Somehow we find it hard to believe in ones that crashed down our heads on our heads from blue sky unquote and then David went onto right We're not used to living in an uncertain world where the possible near future outcome is death. But in these ambiguous unlit times, there's also a huge opportunity year. It's key to accepting that we don't know how long this is going to last, and that we very well might end up contracting the virus and even dying from it because even before this outbreak nothing in life was ever certain. What's different now is that we've actually pulled back the curtain on the wizard of Oz. We've shed the misconception of certainty. We didn't know what the future held for us a few months ago and we don't know now either in this sense were more grounded in actual reality today than. We were in pre pandemic times. The only certainty in this life is impermanent and because he was inspired by you being on the show because he said, he loved the show with you earlier by the way. So shout out to you So as I said, it's a great piece of writing. But when I think it brings up something very important that I wanted to ask you about and he said the best way is that we're were more grounded in actual reality than we we were in pre pandemic times Do you really believe in I? I'm not sure where I stand on this I think I'm hopeful but I'm not I I also think. I shouldn't be but do you believe that this will help many of us be more grounded in actual reality than in pre pandemic times as David wrote or? Has It infiltrated the mass consciousness with a sense of right view in a Buddhist way or does it just cause more fear divisiveness or a sense of running way through Netflix binges? I mean. Where do you think this leaves us I mean, and then asking you to predict. But yes, I am so. We'll do to hear another our our no. To give your, Gut Quick. I love the way he phrased that and Asu would love to re read the his article but I think his his phrasing of that is wonderful and I think that. The the question is you know, will we learn from this experience? if we learn from this experience, we move into whatever this transition is going to take us to. We move into that next piece of our lives wiser and I am better prepared to actually live well right But if we see this simply as a blip, if this uncertainty is simply a blip and then there's a vaccine and six months or a year two years whatever it is from now you know we're not overly concerned about this and there's not that many people dying and we're back you know kinda hugging people and eating restaurants and things, and we don't learn anything from it right then then we haven't really. been able to get much value from it and I think that that the way he phrased it to me can simply become this is our challenge is is to take with us. You know what this the sense of uncertainty and be able to. Hold onto it even if if life begins to appear to have more certainty. Even if the bubble starts reforming around us like going back to the first part, and then you suggest that I asked my listeners for questions and. You know I have a lot of listeners thousands of them, but I only received one questions from one person other than David's response which I thought was just awesome. But I received two questions from a listener named I. Hope I get your name right Olympica. who also said she's an avid listener. Thank you. I hope I pronounced your name correctly but she asked two questions one was How does one navigate the uncertainty of not knowing what exactly their ideal career should be best becomes all the more complicated when one wishes to align narrow life purpose with their profession. Now jump in here because I was crear coach and and suggested that. Because this is so career focused a limp suggested Olympica. Listened to two of my podcast episodes episode to what is your Wi, which is about what your life's purpose and how you can channeled into career action or any kind of action and episode. Ten right livelihood is what you think about what you do rather than what you do do you have anything to add on that her question? The one thing that I would say is There's a Tibetan Buddhist story about A student who is preparing to go into this room that's completely dark. And is going to be a filled with demons. To find their way to the other side of the somewhere on the other side of this big room with demons there's a door to get out. And and the teacher tells there's two things you need to remember. and. The first thing is that the the demons aren't real. But I guarantee you. Once you're in the room with the demons, you'll forget that. So I'M GONNA. Tell you the second thing which is really important because you're gonNA forget the first thing and that is keep your feet moving. So as long as you keep your feet moving eventually, you'll get to the door. Right? Right. You don't WanNa do is just stop and end up and stopped moving. So you know my sense about trying to navigate your way through is that it's much more like sailing. Tacking back and forth there's no direct route, but I'm just keep keep on doing things you know. With this try this you know go go to another country and try you know being a Baker in Provence France or something like that. As you know because as you do things you'll learn what you like and what you don't like and you can't learn that from thinking. Yeah ultimately, you have to get your hands dirty this am I think a lot of the people I work with who are very smart have this idea that you can figure things out in your mind and so So my suggestion is. Don't try to figure it out of your mind just keep your feet moving and just keep doing things and trying things and and ultimately you'll find something that at the appointing your life we will. You'll say it's like trying on a coat while this release. This is a good fit. Yeah. And it's like I, Tell my career coaching clients is all the time is like what you said about tacking back and forth is is S- people people tend to look on people's careers as wow you know they always knew they were doing they look look where they ended up and it's like I. I always I've worked with thousands of people over decades and I can tell you not one of or very rarely there's you know sometimes prodigies and stuff, but very rarely does somebody actually end up doing the thing they thought they were GonNa do in it's like this thing leads to that and it's just this checkerboard kind. Of thing and it's just or or like it's a quilt made up of all these different patches and when when as a career coach i. also do their resumes where they're linked INS or whatever is it's my job is to tie a thread through the whole thing and make make it look like there was a plan but most most people didn't it wasn't a plan, it was just jumping from one thing to the next and find out where you fit. Right. So that's that was good. Good advice there. I didn't even think of that. So and her second question was, how do we know which is some like what the? I think. How do we know we are taking the right decisions especially when in the past things have not always turned in your favor can we still remain confident and keep peace with the fear of making mistakes? And my first response is keep making mistakes what's your response and now I think I think that's a great way to do it. Just just many mistakes as you can. Yeah. And you you don't you don't need to have you shouldn't have confidence right? You don't need confidence in shouldn't have confidence and as Wendy knows you know I I'm a a blues pianist and I written about the story for time years ago when I actually decided to stop playing in my living room or at least not any and actually get up on stage and as I was walking up to the stage I had no confidence whatsoever no Ryan. Now playing in bands and we have outdoor. We just had an outdoor concert last weekend the. So, you don't. You don't have to have confidence to move forward and it's it's fine to make mistakes So don't don't be distracted by by an ideal that somehow you need to be calm and confident and have equanimity and be able to handle things well and and make sure that the outcome is beautiful and elegant that all imaginary ideal that many of us compare ourselves to think, oh, I can't be like that. So don't even try to be like that that that's that's perfect. Perfect perfect answer. Absolutely I. Remember just a piece of that for my experiences. I remember when I wanted to start this podcast it was like this. Bug I had had and actually a lot of people family members and said, you should do podcasts. You should do podcast because I came from broadcasting so and I was teaching Buddhism. So it seemed like a good fit and and so finally the bug got to me and bit me and I thought I should do a podcast and then when I when I started playing around with the podcast and testing my voice and doing all this stuff, you know I thought I am not at all like these Buddhist podcasters they had these sweet little voices and the sound like a meditation cushion and I'm this wild just really loud mouth per search. And I thought no I can't be a Buddhist podcast or so there you go I did it and. And I'm happy. So and but I wasn't confident and I also thought I was doing it. All wrong. So there you go and and I am from our standpoint you're doing a great job. Had you know you are doing the best job of being a Buddhist? Wendy he'll podcast. Anybody in the universe this. You've got this down. And and and I think Olympic will get hers down whatever it is she needs to do. That's right. So we better wrap this up before we before we go just two things. Is there anything I didn't ask that you would like to add? no I think you you great questions and I think a really appreciate just being able to have the conversation with you me too. I always love talking to you and the other thing before we close would you like to share with us some of your upcoming online classes, our workshops, you know the plug zone Dan here's calls this the plug zone I'm GonNa plug some things on on the show notes like your websites and and but if you want me to plug in upcoming class or workshop, feel free to talk about that. Well, one thing that I can can mention that is interesting is that I've been win been running a Certification Training and Japanese Psychology which I've been doing now for over thirty years, and it's a residential program on that people would come to toto in student. It's nine days long, and this will be the first time in probably thirty two years that we're not conducting that program, our residential program, and instead what we decided to do is to conduct the first third of the program online with the idea that then hopefully next year people will come for six days and do the other two thirds of the program, and that's going to take place in September. and includes three morning sessions on weekends and also three individual sessions one on one sessions that you'll have, which is also part of the way we do the training. So you don't have to be a mental health professional, but if you're interested in really understanding and working with and practicing in your own life with with a method of psychology that's kind of grounded in several different forms of Buddhism. Then this is the first time we've ever offered an opportunity to do that online. So I would encourage the the best thing to do would be to just contact me directly Greg G. R. E. G. G.. Institute Dot Org. So I think when do you have that address? Yeah I'll put that on there and he just send me an email. I'll send you a link ride consent more information about that but we'll be doing that in the second half of September. That was that was good. Actually I have been looking at that because you know I've always wanted to take your man had one wasn't able to get away and maybe maybe if I, start maybe it'll happen. Keep my feet moving right so Greg as always. Wonderful. Thank you so much for being on the show again and. I know this is going to be very helpful for so many people. Thanks again. Thank you. Thank you so much for having me Wendy and. It's always a pleasure to talk with you and You know there's been less thing I'll say to the audience out there is the nobody really knows what's going to happen with anything. However. You know in the history People, have been faced with extremely. Challenging situation situations appeared hopeless. When a when I did a Webinar recently on transitions, I use Lord of the Rings as as my example of of transitions in one of the reasons that I love Tokens trilogy is because throughout the entire trilogy the whole situation always seems hopeless. Right, exactly it's it's like the to me. That's the main underlying theme of his trilogy is the situation is hopeless and yet. People keep pressing on in the forward and If you haven't read or seen the movies, I will tell you how it ends but but basically it means we can. We can come out of this and. I I have my ups down woman but I have have yet to despair that somehow humanity will will ultimately come out the other end of this so Just keep your feet moving. Get keep going as reverend coil says to. Say it. Same same message. So thank you so much greg once again you wendy thanks again to Greg for joining us today. I thought that was a special episode and I'm sure everything every I'm sure most of you got something out of it that was. Actionable tips, and in each of those tips were like a detailed overviews of of how to think about them, how to apply them in your life So you know suggestion maybe to revisit this podcast a few times as we continue on during this time of great uncertainty but that's it. That's it. For this episode as a reminder, don't forget that there are many ways to join me and others in either our private donation supported everyday. Sanga. which meets every other week on Thursday evenings virtually at seven thirty PM eastern time or are free public open Sanga. At currently is meeting every week alternating Tuesday afternoons at two pm us. Eastern time also virtually with me Wendy Shaw or rob. CAGNO sense. hosting on Tuesdays and on Wednesday evenings at seven thirty PM with Levi Sanyo. Sensei stay tuned for announcement about this because we may be stretching out the time between these open song `as and making them more like once a month but will make sure you know about that. that's it for the housekeeping at the end of the session, and until next time, keep finding ways to make yours and everyone's days better.
Everyday Buddhism 25 - Pureland Buddhism with Satya Robyn
"<music> tom welcome to every day buddhism making every day. Better by applying the proven tools found in buddhist concepts welcome to episode twenty five of every day buddhism making every day better. I'm excited to the share the fourth in a series of episodes talking with the buddhist teachers that nat only educated me in the dharma but shaped my life for the better. One of my first teacher said everyone is your teacher because everyone is a buddha and that is true but but there are some teachers who come into your life and have a major influence on you. I'm thrilled to have another one of my teachers reverend sacha robin a priest in the immediate order joining me for this episode where we talk about how the whole of messy humanity is met by the divine when we relax our sense of control and know that life accepts us just as we are those are such as beautiful words. I know you'll delight in sach is gorgeous descriptive ways of communicating the heart heart and soul of spiritual practice buddhism pure land buddhism refuge and yes the f. word faith so here we are at episode twenty five of every day buddhism making every day better and the fourth in a series stories of episodes where i will talk with my teachers teachers that helped shape. My life is a buddhist practitioner and a better person. I think like greg creature couple the episodes ago. I may be your surprising to hear that i she. I consider her a teacher. <hes> never told her point blank but maybe hinted around a few times uh-huh <hes> so in this episode. I am talking with such a robin. Sacha is a shortened version of her full buddhist name name such vanni which means eloquent communicator of the truth. I just found that out today and researching you <hes> i i sliver chilly met sanchez a student of david brazier sense as books and teachings and as a student of the vowel twenty two who program through the immed- academy of zen therapy <hes> and as a friend of the immed- order. I don't even know about twenty two still exists but there you go hooks up plug <hes> i went on to explore her small stones writing programs and learned so much from her as has not just a buddhist teacher but a writer <hes> a writer who helps you stop and look at things around you and turn that into a buddhist practice and i found that her buddhist name eloquent communicator of the truth to be spot on actually were just talking about that in our little chat prior <hes> <hes> where she can be painfully honest in a writing and i think you will enjoy that uh sacha is for people who don't know who you are. Dr sacha is a buddhist priest to runs a pure land buddhist temple associated with the amita order in malvern in the u._k. And she runs it with her husband kosta. She's also a psychotherapist in private practice and a successful author of both fiction action and nonfiction. I don't know how she does it all but she and her husband cast but also used to run writing our way home offering mindful writing courses i. I don't think they do that anymore but it was one of the things that i so enjoyed <hes> but i have a sneaking suspicion if you ask a a sacha who she is. I suspect her answer would be that. She's an ordinary person. In fact she would probably answer that she she isn't an ordinary fullish person so in the introduction to her latest and just-released book plug unplug plug coming home refuge in pure land buddhism she puts it this way quote. I am an ever shifting mixture sure of light and dark deluded an enlightened and i know that i am acceptable. Just as i am and that you you are also a mix of awful and wonderful and you are also illuminated by the light of love so i think that from sake is a wonderful way to introduce both her and pure land would assume so welcome statue and thank such thank you for joining me and he say why judgements <unk> wonderful introduction. I can't say anything that's fat now. We're gonna we're gonna have a lot of time mm to fill them up. I'm going to ask a couple of questions and then you're up so are so how would you answer the question who who are you. I just did it for through the words of you. Are yours your own things over a buddhist priest writing a temple a psychotherapist an author people who don't know i know her as a facebook friend i know she also looks after a vegetable garden and cats and bunnies end soon soon to be a new puppy so i think she's in for so who are you. Sacha yeah start with a small question. They don't do anything easy so yes. It's an interesting question. Isn't that <hes>. I think that they're all scenes in the various things that i do <hes> so i once some poet in england cool selima hill i went on a cool ones and she said that's nipping as poet one of the by products of living as a poet is poems parents kind of salafi swath of you like and as a result o- being in relationship with the world in a particular way and and so i guess the one of the ways of looking at the different things that i do <hes> is that they're all kind of a byproduct of some <hes> central co on. I guess some some things that i brought to this world and that needs to be investigated. There's service would i'm. I think it's defined gotten. If you've heard the anger donald h yeh grazie talks about all the vying. It's like some millions of the world with <music> an everything that we do revolves around it somehow <hes> trying to work something else something three and i would have said said why the guy that might providing my my central cohen was something about us being able to tell the truth so in my books novels often foul people who are finding waves speaking. Something hasn't found a space to be heard <hes> as a therapist. I'm helping my clients to find our interest rates it or bring into it. Bring into the world's <hes> as a buddhist priest the same but i think the kobe gives you a different nonce now which is more about coming me into relationship with the divine i think wow <hes> and the the that's my job as a little may and also hopefully can help others to to do that never way <hes> wherever the divine is for them he might be the bushehr might be something entirely different wiping nature. That's that's something that the that remains important tanned. Yeah is a thread that runs through. You know that's interesting because i think that's what it for those of you who run out and get such as book. I think that's what you'll find. There is the it's sort of a it's a i. I love this kind of thing. As sort of a of a hack put myself is is the juxtaposition of like the real earthy goofy awful stuff and the divine and sacha has a wonderful way of kind an inner weaving although so much so that it's like <hes> you know there's sometimes there's no transition and i think that i think that puts the people who are very linear and you know and i mean it's like the bottom off. I'm not saying people are put off by writing. I'm saying it can be confusing to people who don't have that sense of okay. I'm just gonna you know it's like i had a friend. I introduced a book into a book to her. It was delight inside the dark. You know the book on tura yet yes one of my favorite books of all time and i introduced it to a friend who was leading workshops at a high corporate level in xerox and i told i told her that this might be a good it was the sort of the learning forum or something i forget what was called and i suggested that that might be a book that she she would never have thought of and that she could. She might try try it and she she read the book and she said oh my gosh this thing reads like a river so i think that's what i'm trying to say. They long winded that you write like a river and in and it's sorta like you know. It's not the same no matter where he is step in yet yet. It's still the river and and in unless you're willing to kind of go with it. You might get a little lost so nice. That's interesting and ye saying that makes me think of look. As i really admire i come the more you you vice yeah yeah and <hes> and richard war. I think it very well well. I remained shapiro. I really appreciate those office who are able to really bring the whole of them messy humanity to the title. Yes the messy humanity. That's the thing you do that so well. Ask the expense of yourself. Most of the vitamins wait a minute. You kind of kind of blind out what books this is now well then once you see it in writing. How does it feel for run so you know too. Many people like in the u._s. And even possibly other countries you know that sort of mix of buddhist priests and psychotherapists many they seem a bit conflicted sort of on this whole sort of realm of the messy humanity and <hes>. I think to a lot of people especially in the u._s. Where psychotherapy is little bit different than it is in the u._k. Because of the licensure and so forth and it's it's structured in such a clinical and clinical qualifications. I think the thought of a a psychotherapist and a buddhist priests might seem czar to people in our country and maybe offering so you know in episode twenty three the one before this one i talked with greg creech about buddhist psychology wiped the master of japanese psychology <hes> which was a wonderful time with him but can you talk to us a bit about being both a buddhist priest and you sort of touched on it but maybe up with more buddhist priests and psychotherapists and so for you what makes compatible it might be the divine and what is the driving influence for you serving in both of those roles great question so i came. I became a psychotherapist before i became a buddhist. I was an atheist when i when i became as like terrapin which sounds more <hes> for most people's head. I think they've the long way from that. Use your have <hes> originally. I think psychotherapy was just a way old. Follow <hes> helping people discover the truth. I guess and speak it helping people to comment relationship and i'm beginning to notice with me. What happens happens for them. Nation ship with others with the world and i did the buddhist psychotherapy training with with dhamma pitcher david brazier and that influence that was that was hugely helpful in terms of personal transformation <hes> the probably the biggest thing in by inc also that training was ski show sankara's <hes> model of the therapist krist that decline basically being someone who's low on faith and the therapist someone who has more faith. I'm still the therapist and boris percents sits with them and so some of the and find their own again and leaves at least he's that's the kind of the endpoint so says that mobile really resonated with me that that way of thinking about will appease <hes> and i think that still is probably the easiest way of speaking about the link between my book in my religious role in my work in in a road of of <hes> secular healing. I guess uh-huh is i am grounded in my faith and that allows me to be present with clients. You have lost have lost that sense of feeling held by something i space. It's possible for today's positive than to to emerge in a way that safe. That's so <hes> that's so so pure land and for we'll see we're going to go into this more but for those because i'm sure if not half more than half of the people who listen to me could never have heard of pure land buddhism latte or yeah or if they did. They may have a really strange range impression of it is so strange to be honest. I think those of russell follow it. Maybe are a bit strange. Maybe that's we can only speak for myself. I don't know the but i i i always i have the sense of my listeners but my audience grow so i don't wanna know who my listeners our but i have the sense of my listeners from the beginning inning as being way more secular because that was the sort of the hook based on the name of the podcast so i i always always try to explain things. You know probably deeper than my guess would like to go. I'm reading with you because i think that's something that's. I'm glad you said that because it's really important to me that if we use language that come over trigger for people like the f. word favor to get into cadets. I'm i've got targeted by help and it's not the f. word that people think we're talking. It's helpful to do a little bit of translation around around that so so as not to exclude people who don't feel that we're speaking about their experience is my experience of life is it's. It's the two levels the broader a tour. It's about it's a steadiness. It's a sense of things being cave. No i don't know what's going to happen. Could you know those those kinds of things that to me. That's his that's. His faith needs so yeah. That's you know so. Let's get get to a this is a great opening. We'll go into later. I think will in a little more depth of you know to plum here unless talk about up pure land buddhism sent your book is titled coming home refuge in pearland buddhism and sort of a primer or intro to pure land buddhism. You had another book about that too but we'll talk about that later. <hes> so in the west like i said i hinted at i believe it may be both the most invisible and the most misunderstood if it is. I'm the buddhist paths zen and tibetan buddhism here in the west are very well known but the practices involving <hes> mita me taba you know the boot of infinite lied however you wanna term it have been you know although prevalent in east asia and maybe widespread even in <hes> <hes> southeast asia and some in tibet because they also practice <hes> the visualization sutra and they do have a practices actresses around amata in poa and so forth so <hes> so that there is it is there but i still think it's really not a widespread knowledge so i'm gonna hit you with another toughie a two part question first. How did you find pure land buddhism a._b. How find you that's been my best question. Because most of us i interview on this. Show seemed to answer that way and next. How would you describe it as priest and a practitioner okay. So how did it find me me. As i mentioned earlier. I grew up in atheist. I'm a very <hes> self-sufficient capable confidence getting things done kind of person so i've always been very odd. That was my my security came from being able to look off the myself to they decided to do things and do them. <hes> and that worked pretty well for me for a long time and then i was in a relationship with they're an alcoholic and that pushed me to the limits of my <hes> my self sufficiency and my ability ability to handle things and i found myself in a twelve step group saw people here in relationship with alcoholics at that point. I started noticing that the people in rim who saw talking have something that i didn't have and i really he didn't know what it was but i liked it and wanted they were very <hes>. They were happy some of their lives. Lapsley chaos a horrible things happening but they were loss thing. They were happy. They were honest about themselves. They were home bo and they tool to bow golden into about higher power notes on so i didn't i was doing and and i decided to begin to trust that. They might know something. I didn't and i was told by my sponsor who was also a not. She wasn't christian but she used the word gold quite happily. She said that she used to hate. The word gold's made me feel better that made me feel more and she just showed me that the the the the most important that the wisdom that really changed ta <hes> hang from <hes> spiritual place i guess and that wasn't hey knowledge that was hard bodies whole kind of knowledge and she allowed me to she. Somehow help mate mate open lionheart to manage. I haven't seen before <hes> and that was the beginning <hes> and then you fossil which will be held on time to time when i was ready to leave that relationship and i was looking for a therapy training and i tied buddhist therapy into google and what came up was the house inaugura on pitcher david brazee's with his ex life caroline brazier and that both they used to do <hes> used to run a training program for their his <hes> they all pilates so i went the training and i was already interested in buddhism but probably more from a kind of a secular kind of you know i like the idea of a system of being enrolled at the more of more of the same who i was doing self development techniques <hes> <hes> i went to their services which they run and they were really strange. We'll roundup ribero chauncey and you you get those strange words and i just it was really odd and there was something about the people who went to the services that i recognized her nice. People in twelve steps had some things i wanted to do and so i just kept going services and i kept landing. I and my cats and my skeptical came along with me for a long time and slowly relaxed. I was grabbed by anita. He died by by whatever it is that we're in relationship with and you as as a practitioner and a priest. Do you see those roles as differerent or do you see them more like you know like what you said about psychotherapy is that you're just you're there as a model of having face and and and those who need it can borrow it you know or learn from it is or do see those. Do i mean that's kind of you. You know it's complex question and i'm not sure even i'm getting the group of it here but i have an idea. I have something in my mind that you know. I've always thought that you know practitioners shinners in in in in the bright dawn school of oneness buddhism reverend troy okubo say always that those of us is teachers. Our the goal is to strive to be perfect students. <hes> i love <hes>. I wonder how you see that you know. Priests slash practitioner practitioner yeah. That's interesting <hes>. I i think the as a priest they're all some different brin roles and responsibilities are parts of the kind of the job description <hes> <hes> so when i'm being practitioner i just get to really shy and i get just you know mike and mike stuff. I want to express justin's brexit. Whatever when i'm in the role of priest i'm aware that people oh mates meet be right <hes> <hes> i'm standing in for something by on on just shoving having people safi. I guess yes so that that turgeon <unk> part right is the not just an intangible alos a. b. sacha but i'm just as an example. If i'm if i'm being practitioner i i i'm not i'm in the sharing circle soap nope about some if i'm if i'm by finding the priest you won't do that. I might i might well up desk some some emotion but i'm not going to completely break down. Also it depends on who's in the sack. Absolutely i've got an extra an extra such responsibilities abilities when i'm in that role as priest and i only see that road is i'm the one who happens to be wearing the verb could could play that role over this this <hes> this whole saddleworth expectations and responsibilities a bit like being mom gas. It's bit like being anything we put on all these even though we're we're trying to get rid of that self identification as buddhist noticed right we put on all these different <hes> play these different parts yeah and and you know when you're my mom you can't fall apart art and when you're a weenie depends on it depends on your children and how they are going person. Please kind the making those judgments which we wouldn't be making if we were out with friends or whatever yeah so so in a way it's the same just satuev ranko <hes> mhm. I am conscious of having different hats on different people at different times. That's cool <hes> <hes> another question yeah no totally did and here's another two part question and then i promise i'll stop with these two parties but you go to the composer last month but never mind. How would you describe this. Is peter lump them. Oh yeah you're right here. You're doing better than me. I back yeah. I 'cause i said what did you you know yeah. What is purely buddhist well. You can do that here because my next question. Russian can can kind of lead into that 'cause i was gonna say. Can you say more about the practice of the boot. Sou- which is the practice it one of the main if not v. made practice <hes> but it's one of the practices of a pure land buddhism in for those of you're going to tell them more but i'm just going to give a sneak peek <hes> saying the name of amita buddha is is the number two. We're actually just saying the name aim of boots who expressed in six syllable typically japanese phraseology nama will mean a buddha or sanskrit is namo namo buddha and there's all different ways korean and chinese and so forth and you guys do it a little differently again you take the now mood blue and make it now mo <hes> and then you take the su- off of it and just do namo amita boop a net sort of peculiar particular particular to the immed- order so can you say more about this practice nan then you can then talk about pure land buddhism wraps us and that will link back to that question. We forgot yeah so i want the whole history appeal but his six people can come and look out there interested but writing the central practice for as you say repeal boost is embedded sue numbers. Let's you maine's remembering the buddha and names powerful. When somebody says all name precarious out from you're like ooh <hes> well when someone says the word chocolates slug named the powerful they already unconscious something of the objects for us so but in the most powerful object is putin on the most powerful names good his name so one way of bring the bitter is to say the buddhist name and what i love about puritanism is it simplicity is is available to anybody regardless of how much time they have available how clever they are how ethical life is and anybody can say mamduh and insane the name even if we don't understand what's happening fine where opening little portal between us and the the loves on compassion and wisdom of the john and even if we don't really know what butcheries still wax it's one of those mysterious things that it it it it it creates <unk> connection and different people of course different religions dude i in different ways pure numbers to by saying the name of the book <hes> so the the services that we run here in the templar actually quite complicated japanese so redo bowing and there's lots of ritual literally jay will that kind of stuff some but really none of that is important. The only important thing is that we open a hall to be influenced by laugh of what he wants us out. Can you send then dig deeper into for those who don't no no we said we can make certainly can look it up but this amita might be throwing people off. If people are all right <hes> the when so when we say the buddha what people usually mean when we say the shock you muni buddha who lived in india two and a half years ago became lights and and <hes> i made a mythical existed a long long time before chapman buddha and jackie many buddha told oh the story of mita to his attendant and and there were lots of elements of the story of very similar sorry amita producers who also began his life as a prince who was very sort of privileged and met an enlightened beings by inspired by i wanted to become enlightened himself and then vowed that he would he would do that he would perfect checked himself in order to help all living beings and <hes> so there's a whole kind of mythical story or you can see medical. You can see as having having actually happened to <hes> but it's it's really it's. It's a way of it's a way of describing driving a reality that people experience i would say ooh religious stories as ways of talking about things already <unk> who will yes and and go ahead and exploring things difficult about being inspired my exactly exactly. I was just gonna what i was going to say. It's the that story <hes> it's what i think turned my head in and and made me more of a well. There's another story too and i'm going to tell later and we're going to ask about another thing but the the story that in in in the sutra that were referring to there's a little part of the sutra little mini part a little breakout part referred to as the ambu gay or ten boots gang saying <hes> and it is the most beautiful thing in the world in my opinion <hes> because what it's talking about i think think in essence is what you were describing about what you saw in the people in the twelve step program and then again and a media this thing the radi man and you wanted that and the two kemba those who gave the samboja gay is that story and it's a universal star. It'll seem all mythical and weirded out to people people who are used to not reading stuff like that especially if they read it in the in in in sort of the whole larger pure land sutra. It's really an amazing acing experience. If you wanna take the dive but that just that that part where you're inspired by something you see in someone's on space that you admire yeah. It's it's like love but better right. Yeah you radian fakes. Thanks yeah you're ready. Yes last of morning brighter than the sun right yes right and different translations but we united we know the story. We know the structure. We have different translations. I studied both translations. 'cause i studied in about twenty two with your with your home tonight so but but not spots on it and and you know i think although this sounds all spiritual mystical mystical and mulu for somebody who's coming at it from a secular perspective. This is no different than admiring someone and trying to be more likes like some right what and an for the better of yourself and that is kind of catching. I always i think confectionaries percent say says <hes> immediate catches you or something like that. I think he uses the phrase. I can't remember it exactly but i love it. Why forget the does he use something like that. Yeah you're not you're yuda. You're caught by amita or something like that <hes> so but as some listeners i probably don't know there's a pluralism within pure land thought was just like there is within you know everybody thinks there's like one buddhism like i i did this podcast at what the what does buddhism say about and and my answer was the answer was maybe because his it really there are so many lineages schools traditions and hanging up on the culture. There is no one thing you can point doc to and say okay. This is absolutely buddhism and this is absolutely not but just like to betton buddhism with like five different schools. There are multiple schools within in pure land thought and practice including not just the followers of honan which is sort of what you follow where the joe shoe <hes> but the followers of shimron which is where i sorta got hooked <hes> which is joe toshikatsu. I don't think it's a huge difference. I think it's like <hes> very subtle. Title and most people wouldn't even notice it but it does. It's all founded on like no matter how big of a demo q._r. This is okay. This is a thing you can do you know because an american term. I refer something else i don't know but you you can do this to to win. It'll work for you. <hes> so the amita order is a pure land or jodo shoe based order correct. I think we'd probably say that. We're inference by by who and on children yet because you do talk about shimon maybe be more hunting but the the does influences from rebecca's beppo great feeling teaches yeah great and you know as you know i'm affiliated with the bright on center of buddhism which is a nonsectarian carrying presentation and so we don't like say were aligned with anything in particular officially aligned with that with a hit you aren't either ask emphasizes more the individual spiritual growth as an and we don't really have liturgy. We don't have priests. We're all just a bunch of bumblers i guess and but it but it does have its origins in the broader mahayana traditions yet japanese unease mahayana tradition of both shin and zen so i come to this from a shinzan perspective but i remember when i was first introduced to russian school of buddhism <hes> actually my first introduction was through the writings of your teacher david brazier yeah <hes> i was at a bookstore. This was <hes> i was practicing tibetan buddhism at the time and actually <hes> in a <hes> dragoon congo kogyo <hes> school here in <hes> was is a center right here in rochester and i practiced with them as a member of their song <unk> actually taught buddhism basics for awhile but i was in a bookstore back when we had bookstores right on the edge in a bookstore one of the bigger ones like borders or barnes and nobles or something and i was of course in the buddhist section and this book fell down and it was the feeling buddha oda okay i am so i picked it up. I thought the feeling buddhist started looking through that that book had a significant again impact on me and was instrumental to my spiritual path and i had it fell down at the same time i had started started studying the larger pure land sutra a because i was turned onto it by an another a british teacher at i forget where it was from. I found a podcast or were. They didn't call them podcast. I found some teaching then and so i was all in this sort of the thing that was happening to me and i've always thought it was a meet a bop-in me over the head and but it was instrumental to my spiritual pass it in a huge way so what booker particular teaching his head data sort of mcewen ahead influence on your life in in question wow. I don't tend to live with his books like quest confession. I love app. <hes> you know this obviously lots of wonderful teachers out that but the books that have really changed me tends to be a <hes> christian books because the christian books talking about something i reading recognizes appear on buddhist yes christian mysticism right sort of breath mysticism actually across the boards. You know roomy right. I think that i think the mystical edges of all traditional religions on rejoins jones towards <hes> so is an example interesting bookshelf now so this is one of my favorite books of all time which is written by quaker on holding out but began on see no no it is well. Please do so a testament to of a testament devotion by thomas <unk> which is just his description of being in connection with the divine yeah they'll say brother lawrence <hes> oh yeah richie richard rohr yeah you're hitting my favorite kind of rights a twelve step the <hes> big book of a pattern has a big effect so main basically does the same thing so i guess there was there was a buddhist book for the the knocked me onto the buddhist path which was <hes> zen mind the zen mind beginner's mind signed yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah that was also very important important and that she was able to biography of suzuki regime yeah oh well well. That's great but yeah yeah because then it felt like her reading met him somehow yeah. I liked that so for me. I kind of fall in love with his head over heels. The only thing that i just full completely enough for them and i think i just the best and enter into quite intense relationship asian shipping and then i saw you know a bit cooler in realized the perfect but gentleman may often reading law recently. He writes out diction grace yeah i could. I couldn't choose one. I think his my show on no but that's really good because it actually it hits me i before i well. I was still discovering my buddhist self back. You you know i toyed with buddhism when i was a kid and then left it and you know the long story short <hes> i when i came back to it i came back to the christian mystics in a big way and unlike meister eckart and <hes> and the and the desert fathers and reserve of yeah and they they had a huge influence on me and then and so there was always a conquer at passo. I still feel they kinda always like bright there. Now we when it but it was the feeling buddha i introduced me to that feeling truly felt sense of other power are which we really haven't talked about or regency and something beyond myself something bigger than me in didn't really attached me to a face that i saw on my mother who was christian and that i never actually had because i i guess i was just to <hes> contradictory and intellectual or something at you know what you do but i didn't even know what other power was at the time i just felt it in that book it you know the feeling and i think that's what captured me and but like you know like honan and shimmeran at the time i was struggling with right practices being being in tibetan tradition i was going through and i don't know if you know anything about this but i was going through noon. Grow which is this intense practice of hundred thousand prostration than offerings and you've probably heard it and i was feeling overwhelmed exhausted and defeatist and so i really identify with own children because that's how i and my tibetan teacher who is still my friend <hes> and i had him on this series too. I he seemed to think it was the noon grow that brought me to my right practice and and was doing so in other words. I that was all self power that was jury and then then the other powers to riki <hes> so so this all long story short and we won't get into the other parts of powerless you want to go there a little bit but at least me to the word refuge which he has at central actual place in your writing in this specially and it's a key concept in that book coming home so what is refuge sacha gotcha well. I think it's one of those words when we speak it. The we know i think people know what refuges and i think that people will say no that some rush each is better for us than others hm that we all take refuge in things like television and trashing holes and gossiping the kinds of things so the which which go from scattered if you know a bit too much chocolate all the way to her in addiction and the violence and we will take refuge in order to feel safe areas to be alive and we do things in go places and manipulate the world in order to trying to feel safe <hes> and when we are seeking refuge with being driven by kind of quivering israel talks about that kind of quivering restlessness <unk> on so refugees anything that makes us feel safe but buddhists would say that there are only three refugees the all safe the permanent and they are relationship with her relationship with the buddha's teachings. It's my honor relationship with the community and the those three are the only wreckages the overnight everything else. Susan prominent is <hes> is unreliable in we might be able to get it to stink for why we worked pretty hard to manipulate things but as that's a that's an inevitability of to the disintegration refuge and as pure bruce we add in all school we <music> absopure and we add to that list of three and we also have the pure land which is the place where he lives this any of these influence so have fielded influence sick coming into refugees coming into relationship with these findings and do you you feel in your personal experience as a practitioner the pull of one of the three treasures more than the other nice last question i fail emotional kind of rush will bush more from songa from when i when i threw three people people connect me to the quite quite often connects with the three people through nature actually maybe we cleared in some got some house the sanger the the natural world <hes> and i will say i arena connecting with with yeah yeah <hes> so at the beginning we mentioned <hes> that pure land buddhism was understood in we circled around the f word and i think that's another concept we need to go back and clear up a little bit <hes> <hes> you know we talked at the beginning that it's nice nice to sort of introduce concepts but take months deeper that might have introduced some confusion so i think the concept of refuge that we're talking about is sort of at the heart of the misunderstanding of pure land buddhism in some ways because i think it is even though we all have refuge. Nobody don't think thinks of it. A a person who has no faith is agnostic atheist would think of the refuge we're talking about as blind faith or possibly even worship of the buddha or or a mystical kameda no when i speak with secular audiences or people who come to me who want to understand more about about buddhism i typically used the word confidence in talking to the more so audiences. It leaves me cold old in some ways because i don't think faith has i mean confidence. Has that heart thing that i don't know how to describe evident than the heart thing. Okay <hes> so i also use the word faith now it. When i get to know who i'm talking to then i can tell how far i can go one way or the other but the thing about it is is what i always try to explain to people in in that as we all have faced and like you said we all take refuge agents. We all have phasing something like we have faced. The sun's gonna come up every morning and then there's gravity keeping us from flying away into space the <unk> the seller will be under our feet when we stepped out mom and that faith is just faith is not blind faith. I don't know why we always have to say blind faith. It's fan and so to me. Faith in buddhism is the cornerstone of my life. <hes> the the promises of buddhism can be proved by doing buddhism right. You're but you'll have to sort of do it. You can't expect we talk about like a media guide us and all that stuff but you sort of have to start somewhere you take that first step somehow and you know you have to have some first of all aw belief or faith that if you take it for step is going to pay off all right so that takes having having someone or something a teacher a book or something that demonstrates its benefits. That's sort of like the tembu again something that shines shines edison says hey this could work. You said what it was for. You in the beginning was being part of their services when you were there learning psychotherapy but what was you know and you've said they had something they had something. What was it that they a hair. They gave you faith yeah yeah. I think that when we get to this kind mind very rates were language sauce failing. Absolutely that's why i gave you the question <hes> i'm i completely completely agree with what you just said and i think that's <hes> i think that's why it can be more helpful all to just give aw- analytical brains just awesome to step back for a little while and into just go with the experience say saints as an experiment and if you meet someone and you kind of think oh this class and <hes> shiny and they seem to lock hello and enjoy life and i wonder what it is that they've got just hang out with them and you'll find out yes the austin to explain it because i wouldn't get very fall because this is beyond language. This is beyond <hes> beyond intellect elect yes. It's that explaining that gets us into the all that trouble you know where we start disagreeing with. Everybody and we have you know it was. Was it category where she said we have to say something. We have to say something. I've just written a whole book. Yes and there's quite a few pages ages are looking at it now and holding it up myself and there's quite a few pages that talk about fades national that we have we have to try and say something thing and <hes> the best way. I think to investigate these things. If there is a little party that's kind of failing curious that just go along to something. Try and try and listen to the universes whispering ignore it and just become open to being led light light you lead when the book it was quite close on the floor in front of you but the funny thing is whenever i tell this story i actually just put it back and then i started walking to get the book that i was originally looking for and then my my my subconscious or whatever for over road my intellectual linear brain is at you better look at that. We're back to find it. Beautiful example becoming oaten the power is thinking about on the power is is something is beyond us right it bigger than us it nice better than we do and oh. My god is hard for me to take it's hard. It's hard. It's hard to take in but boy. It's an experience that once you've had taste of it so much more you get very rarely ventured. It's such a relief. I don't know everything in con- control the roles right at at some days. It's a relief days. It really bugs me and that's why i think the appeal buddhism is such a hard sell in it was we have been brought up. <hes> being told the way to be happy is to control ourselves all cells into control our environments in order to get something and actually my experiences as the opposite. It is really hard to go. If you the way you've stayed safe for unite in what sorry to read god i love it needs to people who are coming to the templates basics knee. I'm in control as you were and i'm wigging to ask you to lean back into something that you don't even know it exists on us exactly i i use i use i use that symbolic a symbol all the time the metaphor of where you fall back into someone's arms 'cause you that what that little practice you do with teams and stuff which is so silly really after awhile because you know there's always gonna be somebody there but the big thing is when you don't know there's going to be somebody there and that's what we're talking about. That's what for me. Religion spiritual spiritual practices such personal thing that we can never presume to know what will announce his experience. Isn't it so important that people go out there in pace that greenness skeptical long about causal seventy welcome and they you know that just take little tiny steps and curiosity. I love that you said that is like go at your own pace and bring your skeptical parts. That's so wonderful because very welcome because you know people do ask a lot. You know i have this facebook group that i launched off my podcast and i know you're a facebook person. So you know how this goes. Sometimes you get overwhelmed with a bunch of little questions agents at <hes> and you wanna take a ton of time to answer a proper way but you don't have a ton of it so you don't quite know how to answer but so so many times it's what how should i start. You know practice. That's such a tough question. <hes> and i always say sort of like you just start art. Where you feel called start. Were in were like makes you feel happy inside. You know don't start where someone told you you should interest trust yourself and sometimes you do need to go the uncomfortable guinea to go into the uncomfortable so he's no fills gray but bit. You need to somehow feel safe enough to do what's right because you can't always just plunge into twenty minutes of meditation. You know that's what everybody thinks and then then everything that's going to be okay. The world's gonna open up and your microphone so you know that's. I'm gesturing wildly here so all right so can you tell us another another thing <hes> and this is a plug for another one of your books more about being just as you are because this is a typical theme in orlando buddhism talk about it in here in this book but also you have a whole book that you co wrote with your husband casa called just as you are buddhism for foolish beings. What does is just as you are. Indicate yeah so haba but ov- infinite light is known us being the buddha of all acceptance so when we say the name of me to bhutan reconnecting with the quality of a <hes> being who is able to see inside us and see exactly why we do the things doing and really gets it really really gets that the things that we do however harmful they are to others are driven by fear driven by retightened asian and top really feels for us really gets it and really feels for us and accept that that's how we all and that's what we're doing so so that it's it's almost impossible to imagine but it's it's that as an absence of judgment and yeah and the idea is that when we come into relationship with something that is not judging us but failing warm towards us and i often see a major with a kind of a wry smile owner. She urged again during nothing that really many of the statues when you have that smile that play fun. Da vinci does a very good roy smile. It's kind of that phones. Roy smiles <hes> <hes> when we come in tonight energy when we bathe in the energy. We want to be bets on. We know that we're seeing. We know that we're getting it wrong. We i just want to beat vets that is much more healing than coming into relationship with something that says you shouldn't be doing who i don't like that they do you should do you should be different so perfect so perfect. It's like yeah. That's why it really ballots me. Sometimes that people come to buddhism specially newcomers to buddhism carbonate they think of the you know the the the freedom freedom vows and the precepts and may stay focus so much on what they're not supposed to do and you shouldn't do that and judging others for doing that that they're missing off. It's good all the good stuff you know. That always bothers me. If they're clearing union yeah could ah the top marks who want to the achiever enemy disease that he saves the <unk>. Some of that might vatian doing that. Stuff is really selfish. I think a lot of ways most of it is you could be the best buddhist ever yeah so that's really important parts of being appeared on but this is about knowing on some level. I'm accepts it just as i am even if i don't feel being very much exactly and that's what i wished that would that's why was pure was more in the mainstream because it would make such a difference thank for people if if they wanna titians would be able to kind of say made a mistake that can i just make here. She's really good point. That's a thing we have forbid. We hold any you know we can't we hold everybody up up as some sort of spectacle as perfection and then when they blow it. We're all over them that they're not perfect. You know it's amazing if we could just all open up and say okay. We're all a bunch of jerks and someone loves us anyway right league each other in that way we frequently in. I know we only have a little more time. I don't know if you have like a couple of minutes left but <hes> i wanted to just mention mindful writing the practice of small stones because it was another of the things that attracted me to you as a teacher if you will <hes> i think it's a practice so many of us could benefit from specially in this sort of <hes> mick mindfulness culture. Were every you know mindfulness as on on every street corner every every book every everywhere. It's all about mindfulness. There's nothing wrong with that. I like it. I'm not criticizing it but <hes> <hes> i think just listening and seeing and experiencing and then trying to get it written in down in like five words or something is is such a profound experience it to me. It's less like writing and more like spiritual took practice <hes>. Can you send anything about that that would and i know you don't run those workshops anymore so we'll have to give them a place to go but hey can. You say anything about the small stones yeah. They small stein's is as he say it's like salima health <unk>. It's the by cordect of paying proper attention to the world so we pay proper attention. We open nola sentences and then we try and describe what we've experienced. I'm i spoke to damage belts. It last year could go. I said i have this theory that may be small stains were when embassy and he agreed <hes> the very way of of of cooling out reaching out to the world of the world's reaching reaching back will be met by the world so it's it's again it's just a little stitch awakening <unk> channel between us in our small whittles back skin and everything and and it so easy to reach each appoint where we've protected ourselves so much that we just need just not in touch with it anymore and the little things we contagious due to just opened ourselves off of this bit help us to to to connect back. That's wonderful you brought it even deeper and broader than i hadn't even thought you know beyond mindfulness and into the reaching out and being held and the greater connection action <hes> that's the inner connection if you will that you know you're nature point of buddhism a major tenet of buddhism if you will so that's wonderful wonderful and is a great place to end because in this interconnected world where we're gonna end with us just little small stone. That's what we're going to end so sacha was so wonderful for you to agree to be on this podcast today. It's it's i. I will put your book <hes> <hes> links on my website <hes>. I'll probably have to put feeling boot up there since i gave it such a big plug to. I don't want to one that we recommend commend people read i if they're interested in indulges writing good good yeah definitely and by the way that was part of our curriculum in bright on the feeling yeah and and david brazier sense a talk to our class <hes> so that's how i i can have some nice links. We have fun. We use the <hes> jamaica abrasive. Tom brady at kim. We use the book sometimes in also cool oh running all his his his his a break on where he was talking about running by the lake <unk> enough n._f._l. Shop in yeah it is. It's it's absolutely it's great. It's beautiful so thank you so much such a pleasure to have view here <hes> and hopefully we can all talk again. <hes> in it'll be wonderful. Thank you can deep bow and he said what she's a real privileged to to have this conversation and opens things up. You feel like you'll be so things. We've talked about spending around the rim right. Now i'm in here. That's it for today's episode. Thank you for joining me as promised i will post links to such as books coming home refuge huge in pure land buddhism and just as you are buddhism for foolish beings and also dharma video david braziers book book the feeling buddha which we discussed in this episode i will also post links to the amita mandela buddhist temples website and facebook group where where you can learn more about pure land buddhism the amita order and even joined virtual practices as always thanks to everyone who listens subscribes rates and reviews the podcast comments on my website or the public facebook group and also obviously thank thank you so much for donating to help keep the contact content written produced and distributed. You know i'm still thinking of more ways for us to to connect our private facebook book. Study group is is going right now and it's a bit a wonderful experience with lots of sharing so that initiative was a success. I hope to soon introduce a zoom video hang out or sanga where where we can discuss our practices and serve as supports to each other meanwhile. I'm hard at work on my book making every day. Better everyday buddhism tips and tricks applying the buddhist four noble truths in eightfold path to everyday life. I hope to have that published and available by early early to mid summer and i will keep you posted so until next time. Keep making your everyday's better.
Begin the New Year by Reflecting on These 3 Life-Changing Questions
"If you're on the road and listening to this it doesn't matter where you're going across town to run errands or cross country with family with jiffy lube. Anywhere is possible. Your skilled technicians are huge. Change oil plus so much more and they're committed to keeping you and your vehicle moving forward so you celebrate from anywhere work from anywhere or connect from anywhere checkout jiffy lube dot com to find a jiffy lube near you now more than ever anywhere as possible with jiffy lube brett mckay here and welcome to another edition of the art of manliness. Podcast as year ends another begins. Its natural reflect on both passed in the future who we were who we are who we want to become. My guest day offers three questions that can help make that self reflection truly fruitful inciteful and possibly even life seem as greg creech. He's executive director of the todo institute which promotes principal psychology based on eastern traditions and the author of nikon radha to race. The japanese artists self reflection reaganite beginner conversation with nikon is and how this structured method self reflection could hold a mirror to your life helping you gain greater self awareness in see reality and the way people perceive you or clearly greg then walks through nikon's three rich incisive questions and how to use them to help you discover how you really show up could operate in the world winner conversation without incorporate these reflections into your daily routine and even make it a special ritual with which to ring in the new year after shows over. Check it or show. That dot is slash reflect and greg creech. Welcome back to the show. Let's get to be back. thanks very much. So is your on the show. Think a year ago may might have been two years ago. It's time has flown. I've lost my sense of time and twenty twenty s completely messed up but anyways we had you on to talk about morita therapy and your work with it which is a type of japanese psychology in today. I want to talk about something that's adjacent to that. Which is a practice that you work with and help people work with. It's called nikon. Another japanese practice. So let's start off. What is nikon. Who developed it. What's it's backstory well. Nikon is a method of self reflection that was developed in japan was developed by a man by the name of yoshitomo to sheen back in the nineteen thirties. Nineteen forties was really kind of time when it first started to arise but it was preceded by kind of ancient tradition of self reflection called michigan ave which went back hundreds of years prior to that and was affiliated originally with a form of buddhism called shin buddhism which is actually the most popular form of buddhism in japan today and it's an interesting form of buddhism. Not a lot of americans know about it. But it's based are grounded in a concept called toddy in turkey means something like other power so we can look at for instance in the personal development arena. You hear a lot of things. That are based on judy key. Which means self power as opposed to tie which means other power and power is kind of message that we give to people you know. Look if you want to change your life you gotta do it yourself. Nobody's going to do it for you. And it's a healthy message. In a lot of situations taty is the message that you can't do anything by yourself. You cannot do anything by yourself because anything that you try to do requires the support of other people other objects forms of energy money. And so you're really dependent on other things in the world for being able to just live for example or make any changes in your life so it's a very different kind of conceptual foundation that you find in nikon than the other form of japanese therapy that we talked about last time. Which is morita therapy. So for those who have heard that episode just high level. What is morita therapy. What's the basic story behind it when rita therapy is often called the psychology of action. And he's also from japan but it really is a very purpose oriented type of approach the psychology which has people focused primarily on what they can do and what they can't do accepting what they cannot do but really putting their energy into what's control what they can do and i think it's. It's probably the most popular approach that we teach in in the book that i've written about. It is the most popular bestselling of the books because most people particularly going into a new year are thinking you know. I wanna be able to accomplish my goals this year. I wanna get more done. And so morita. Therapy is a really good tool for helping us to deal with the psychological obstacles of accomplishing. What we wanna do in getting things done in our life and how is nikon related to morita therapy. Is there a connection there sometime in the development of nikon there really isn't historically much of a connection they were really kind of developed from separate paths. Morita rita is is also connected in a informal way to buddhism through zen two different form of buddhism but they kind of came together in japan in a man that i trained with david reynolds really pulling together. I think they complement each other very well. One being kind of the action oriented side of this material in the other being the reflective side of this material. And i think we need to have both in our lives right. That's that's also you see that in the west through the the dichotomy between contemplation and action like aristotle talked about that too. So let's talk about nikon. What is the goal of nykanen the self reflection that you're doing there while i think the the goal is simply to really see reality more clearly and it sounds like something that we wouldn't have to make any effort to do because most of us go through life feeling like we've already are already able to kind of see reality in specifically cr conduct in terms of how living very clearly but i like to think about nikon is kind of tool. It's like a mirror so if you're getting ready to go out to work for the evening most people probably spend at least a moment in front of a mirror. Just kind of see what they look like to see if their heroics okay or if. They're clothes are presentable. You kind of glanced things. You might spend more time than that but that gives you a reflections. You actually can see yourself because without a mirror. We're actually very limited. i can. I can see a good part of the front of my body up to maybe about below my neck but i can't see my face i can't see my head i can't see almost any part of the back of my body so i really need a mirror to be able to get a fuller look fact if you go to barbershop or hair. Stylist often use the second mirror right. So you can kind of see how your hair looks in the back. After it's been cut nikon is kind of mir allows us to really see more clearly what other people see often what we think of our cells how we think we're looking in the world how how people are proceeding us is not the same as other people are actually thinking of us so nikon actually is a way of using this method. It's method of self reflection to kind of get a sense of what it's like for people to actually have to deal with us whether it's at work or members of our family were in a professional capacity and that's not a perspective that we naturally have. It's a perspective that we actually in order to take. We have to actually step back from our normal perspective to put ourselves in somebody else's shoes in say what is like to deal with with craig. As for instance his wife or his daughter in what is it that we usually miss that other people are seen. But we're not seeing well. It really varies from person to person. But i think one of the things that we miss is often. How much other people are doing for us because we're often not paying very much attention to that in has to do when we talk a little bit about the reflective questions we can discuss that further but one of the things we miss his really the level of support and care people are providing for us but another thing that we miss an. It's really very hard to get in touch with. Is how what we're doing is causing trouble in difficulty to others hauer inconveniencing others howard requesting problems for others. That's often something that we overlooked. We focus a lot on how other people cause us problems and if we're driving to work on the highway somebody kind of cuts us off and goes in front of us in almost causes. An accident in trenton gets peaked and we walk into the office. We tell everybody in the office for almost had an accident on the way to work because the district kind of cup right in front of me but if we cut in front of somebody else which we probably did accidentally at some point. We don't usually tell anybody about it and we usually just dismiss it in our minds by saying oh. I didn't i didn't see that car. They're right Then we're kind of done with it so one of the things that we can look at becoming more aware of is essentially how were causing trouble in difficulties to others which is a much more constructive type of information than looking at how other people are causing us trouble. And what the goal they so the whole goal nikon get a better idea of what reality really looks like. How are you perceive us. Not just what we see and what happens when we do that. What's the what what supposed to happen. Well i think said i would say that one of the foundation or main goals of this process of self reflection is really to shift from a complaint based life to a life of genuine appreciation so a complaint based life is something that many of us are familiar with probably because we've seen other people live their kind of way and we know what it's like to be around somebody who's constantly complaining but of course there are times when were that person and we're constantly complaining and even when we don't complain out loud we may be just going through the litany of complaints. About what a terrible day. This was so glad to stays over or in this case when a terrible year swabs right can't wait to have the this year end. Get onto the next year and i think as we reflect on her life in the world around us and the people around us and we get a clearer sense of. What's really going on that. We're able to see we're much more likely to develop a really genuine or authentic sense of appreciation for our life. So it's therapeutic. Sounds like what some people to do with cognitive behavioral therapy in one of the issues. That that's trying to solve in the west is wrong thinking or just thinking that's not doesn't see reality and most times what you do is you start. You see you only see the negative and cognitive behavioral therapy uses logic to be. We'll know things aren't as bad as you think they are. Sounds like nikon. Self reflection icon. That's another way to get at that problem. Yeah i think that we're not actually trying to change our thinking we're actually trying to change are seeing more specifically trying to change where we're putting our attention and there's a maximum that we've developed that says your experience of life is not based on your life. It's based on what you pay attention to. And so he just think about being at the end of a day or again. Let's use the example since the timing is approaching the new year the end of the year if what we're paying attention to most of the time is the infection counts in the virus statistics in the political turmoil in our personal troubles in difficulties than our experience of life is really painted by that kind of information that coming to things that were attending but when we actually pay attention to the other parts of life which is that in my case you know. I have not gotten sick. I have a car that drives Drives me round in the works. Fine i have food in my refrigerator. My daughter graduated from college this year. Even there wasn't a ceremony when we start looking at more complete way. We're much more likely. I think to develop a genuine sense of appreciation was digging into the self-reflection nykanen. An it's really. It's just three questions but you can go deep with each of these questions so the first one is you. When you do it nikon self-reflection you ask. What have i received from blink so with this question well. I think the question of looking at what you've received an there's a a movement in positive psychology towards looking at how to develop more gratitude and seal see this whole idea for instance of gratitude generally putting down the things that you feel grateful for this question. Very carefully worded. Because it's not asking you what you feel grateful for. It's asking you to identifying more factual way where he received. So if i used that question right now i'm receiving the use of this microphone and i'm speaking in to the use of the technology that you're using your show to record our conversation. I'm receiving your attention and your invitation for me to be your guests on the show today. I'm also receiving electric wifi. They quiet room to basically sit and talk to you in a got a window in the room. There's some sunlight coming in by high site is working pretty well. I could go on and on with a list of what. I'm receiving just right at this very moment and the reality is that most of the time for instance is i go through the day. I'm not aware of most of those. Things are not aware that for instance. I'm receiving fresher in Infusing my along isn't allowing me to breathe properly and so when we pause we do this kind of reflection. We essentially expand our awareness of how the world is supporting us carrying for us. And there's a neuroscientist by the name of rick hansen. And he he developed. I think a great metaphor for why this questions important. Because he talks about our natural tendency infect he attributed to the way our brain is actually wired together from neuro scientific standpoint and he talks about the natural tendency we have to really notice problems challenges threats difficulties in our life and those things tend to stick with us in a way that he connects with the image of velcro. You know the way piece of velcro sticks to the other side of it itself but when things are going on like we have fresh air to breathe or we have a cup of coffee drinker. We have hot water in the shower carson. The morning we tend not to notice those things and so that's more like teflon so we can think of this tendency that we have which goes really into the way. Our brains are wired. The difference between velcro of noticing troubles and problems in our life and teflon. Which is the way that the things that are actually supporting caring for us tend to just kind of get noticed incidentally and then kind of slide right back off to become invisible so i want to reiterate you're not this isn't based on feelings as court. This is kind of like morita therapy with maria. You're not really focused on. Your feelings are focused on action. You can take same with nikon. You're not you're not thinking about what you feel grateful for. You're just thinking about. What are the things that i received from different people organizations or even just the earth itself universe itself on a daily basis. Yes it's actually very objective in. It's one of the things that that i think is a common denominator marie to nikon is. They're both what i would call reality. Based therapies in both cases. You're trying to see reality clearly and the fact that i'm receiving oxygen debris th right now is just simply an objective fact of my existence in the fact that i have why fi i'm using in order to have this conversation with you is just effective my existence and so those facts remain whether i feel grateful for those things or i don't feel grateful for them. When reflecting on this question how do you go about it. Do you just think about things in general that you received that day or do you. Do you focus on relationship. Ford you focus on. I mean what's the best way to go about this when you reflect on this question because i mean there's so many things you could spend hours thinking that all those things receive on a daily basis. Yeah which which is actually a great thing to do. Every once in a while particularly if you're feeling a lot of self pity or depression is to really spent a couple of hours and see how long of the list you can make but there are different ways to use this question and you can direct the question towards kind of the world is a whole which is which is to some extent where i've been doing in the examples i'm giving or you can directed towards a specific person and my wife. Linda and i have been working together for twenty five years or more. Have we use this as part of our morning routine in we whole thing this part of it takes probably about five or six minutes and what we do. Is we sit down. We say let's just reflect on each other for the previous day so we have probably three minutes of silence in. I'm thinking of in part the first question. What did i receive from linda yesterday. And i'm thinking well you know. She got me a hot cup of coffee and she made a really nice healthy sale at for dinner. She kept the company on walk that we took it lunchtime so i could get some exercise in. She picked up the mail from the post office and she listened to some music that i was trying to compose gave me some feedback. I'm just coming up with a very practical list of what i received from her the day before and she's doing the same thing in her three minutes. We're using these other questions as well and then we actually just share that with each other for a couple of minutes and we find that. It's a really great way to start the day that we look back at the previous twenty four hours and and importantly we found that using this process keeps us connected to what the other person in the marriage is. Actually giving to us. And i would say without exaggerating that if it wasn't for this process over the past twenty five years. I'm not sure it would still be married. This really has kept us from falling into the trap. That i think is very easy in relationship or marriage where you start getting focused on what the other person isn't doing. You really want them to do or what they are doing. That really aggravates you. And that's where your attention goes. And that's what you experience. Mirrors starts to become so this is kind of an antidote to that and and even by taking a few minutes in the morning. We're able to kind of rekindle a sense of appreciation for one another and you can do this with relationships. That aren't intimate. I mean you can do this with anonymous relationships or transactional relationships right like the example. I came here. We're in the pandemic. You order food from door dash from payday right and it gets magically arrives at your door. Looks like a lot of people involved. That made that happen. There's the door driver. There's the the people. I pay way that cook the food. There's the the systems that were developed. Allowed you to order online order with a click of them. You know thing on your screen. Their smartphone who the food pick the food. I mean you can really just keep going back and back and back and like real scene boy. A lot of people made this a pad. Thai possible that that's right and i think what you what you just shared with us in terms of starting net lists is just an example of taking a particular incident or event righteous receiving food being delivered from a restaurant and you begin to see the endless roots of what it took for you to get that meal. And if we don't do that then we can get pulled in the direction of the only thing that we notice. Is that the food is into hot. Is we wanted. And and that becomes our experience like what's wrong with these door dish people you know it took him so long to get here and now the food's cold and now i have to heat it up and so again you look at this idea of how you make that shift from a complaint. Based life to a life of genuine sense of appreciation. I think reflection and attention are kind of two basic ingredients in that recipe. When what i've done. I've i've done this reflection and follow the instructions like don't think about things that you feel grateful for just focused on the objective things. I received what i found was the natural result with as i started to feel grateful yet. It's just. I think that and again that may not always happen. That's okay too because that's not what we're it's not the goal in a sense. It's kind of like the. It's a benefit that just arises naturally and so ironically. We actually can get to the point where we realized that actually just feeling grateful is something that we can be grateful for because it's not something we're controlling. It's kind of happening to us. But the idea that we go through that process of looking at how our supported whether it be by food delivery or whether it be by our partner in in our relationship and then we just allow gratitude to rise naturally or not to rise naturally. There's no effort that's involved in order to try to get to feel a particular way. I really liked that. Because i've tried the gratitude journal in that the question what do you. What do you feel grateful for like the first time you do it. It's like i can come with a whole bunch of stuff then after a while. You're like man. I can't i don't feel like i can't feel anything anymore. I've just it's not there anymore. You just think about okay. What have you received. May i just every day. I can just keep listening stuff through three hundred sixty five days of the year and and i think that it's a great practice because for instance. I'm wearing a timex. Watch right now. That was my dad. That's washed he. He died about six years ago. And has this watch onto me. And i wear it almost every day and anytime i'm reflecting. I almost always remember to to think about how many times a day. I've looked to see what time it was and i've looked at this watch received from him so in a way this gift remains alive for me and his kindness in my memory of him remain alive. Because i'm doing that kind of reflection and noticing it by just being able to say i received the use of the swatch which allows me very easily to tell what time it is at any any given moment in the day in beyond just recognizing and sort of seen reality for was by recognizing the things that you receive from different people throughout the day. Should you go and tell people like go people publicly and say hey you did this for me. Thanks so much. I think that's a great question. And i think again. There's nothing in nikon that suggests that once you see that somebody's done something for you or you supported you that you have to do something for them or say thank you. But in many cases it just arise as a natural response so if we compare it to the twelve step program. There's a whole process for instance of making amends to one of the steps. That after you've done this inventory yourself. And i mentioned the twelve step program because it's very consistent even though it's a different process it's very consistent with nikon and there's a number of people who have been involved twelve step program within also been working with nikon and found the to be very complimentary but in nikon you've reached the end point when you've actually seen the answers to these questions and then whatever feelings arise is just what arises naturally whatever actions you decide to take and i can give you a quick little example which is highlighted in this rural community moncton vermont and they they just put up a community dog park fenced in area if the fields just about two miles from where we live and happened to be living with my daughter who just graduated from the university who just got a puppy and so the timing of this was great and we take over there. She can kind of run around in this huge fenced in area. Other dogs come they play. And and so in recognizing that in reflecting on how valuable that's been. I just decided to write a letter to the found out who was on the committee that got this dog park built and just wrote a letter both congratulating and thanking them in offering to bake a loaf of bread for each member of the committee. And it's not because there's some something in the process that says should do something in return is just because i just have this natural feeling this natural response of wanting to do something in return in order to give something back to these people put in a lot of time and energy to get. This thing developed a quick break for awards. More sponsors gentlemen. Have you heard of the criminal. Oh barbara greybeard experience. It's criminal companies line of barbara. Great beer chair products designed specifically for the unique requirements. Facial hair these the same products from the top. Barbara's across the countries in their yours to enjoy at home. 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Find your dream time piece when you might hand off your kids or grandkids at ebay dot com slash authentic watches today for domestic sales only ebay dot com slash authentic watches and now back to the show or so that first question. What have i received from. I mean that if someone just did that question for their self reflection today like i think they'd get a lot out of it but it doesn't stop there. The second question and i agree with you if i think that you know sometimes people will so on time and he just if you just spend five minutes and just do that first question i think it you get a lot out of it but as we'll see i think if you take some time to do the other two questions it actually begins to build on the first question. The second question is what have i given to fill in the blink. So what's the purpose of this question. What are we trying to do. So this is just the reverse right. We're just looking at the. We're just changing the direction. If we use your example of jordache we're thinking what will. What did i give you know so i paid for the meal that was given to me. It was a fee added. I gave a tip to the driver. Maybe so we're looking at what you gave situation. And so when. We look at these two questions side-by-side we we. Now see the give and take of our lives either during this period of time or in relation to this particular relationship. So if i was to do this you know somewhat thoroughly could in relation to my wife for twenty four hour period for yesterday and she was to do the same thing. I would basically see all the things i received for and i would identify what i had given to her. And that is a wonderful reconciliation to look at because you see the credits in the man who developed by nikon yoshimoto. He was a very religious person but he was also very successful businessperson and he wrote that he developed these two questions. Kind of working from a accounting where business framework. Because he's company which made official leather for japanese cars back in the sixties and seventies that his company would send out a statement to their clients. Saying here's how much product we shipped you and here's how much money you basically paid and either you have a credit or you owe us money right. And he saw this kind of more of a spiritual reconciliation based on our life. You know so. I went through the day yesterday. This is what. I received from the world food from the refrigerator. Air to breathe by car worked. My wife mennonite salad holistic. Things a hot shower. And here's what i gave. I walked the dog said the dog. I helped my daughter with a particular question. She had about the computer. And now i look at these things side by side and for me personally and i always encourage people to do with freshly but for me personally almost all the time what i find no matter what i'm looking at is that i received more than i gave when i first went to japan to do my first training in this material is been two weeks going through my entire life sixteen hours a day just reflecting on my life these three questions and looking at every relationship in the same way. What did i receive from this girl. I dated when. I was in high school for those two years. What have i give to her. And in every single case. I found that i had received more than i had given. So one of the things that happened is i changed my self image kind of change because it had to change because i'd always thought of myself as a very giving person but in reality it was more accurate to say. I was receiving person or some people would say. I'm a taking person. But i received much more than i was giving in all relationships and that astounded me and it made me on the one hand. Feel kind of guilty that i wasn't giving more or doing more but on the other hand it made me feel more cared for and supported than i ever felt in my entire life. This is when. I was back in my early series. It's over thirty years ago now and think when we look at these two questions side by side. We begin to get a sense of the balance or imbalance In are receiving end giving hand in situations where were receiving more again. There's often this natural sense that that i wanted to do something more for my wife do something more for the community. I wanted to something more for the planet. Whatever it is that we're kind of looking at and it's not based on some commandment that i should be a better person in be kinder to people. It's based on just a natural sense that rises in me. That i wanna do more for others because i feel like my life has been so blessed in conjunction when you were talking about this question. What have i given to you quoted this article for like the nineteen forty four article. It's called try giving yourself away and is really. I've been thinking about it a lot since i read about it. What's the big idea there. How's it connected to this question. Of what have i given to you. Well it's it's It's an interesting article in nearby. This man kind of going back into the forties where he just really tries to look for opportunities for how he can do things when he's out and about how he can give things to other people including just feedback or advice in situations where that's called for. And he. he tells a lot of stories in that book. And i think one of the things for me that really has got me to see. Is that even in situations where i'm making a special effort. Not use example of baking bread. Even though i haven't done done this for these people yet but let's say tomorrow. I bake a loaf of sourdough dough bread for one of the people on the dog park committee and i delivered over there and i think you know that was kind of a nice thing that i did you know they. They made the dog park. But at least i did something in return. But here's the question. Of what did i receive in order to do that right so i'm trying to actually do something that's nice. I'm trying to respond to my natural sense that i wanna do something to help. Repay these people for what what they did. Has benefited me. But in order to do that i needed to get flour. I needed to have a baking board. I needed to have a good oven. And i needed to have water. Fresh water for the bread. Salt all those ingredients. I actually needed to have sour dough starter. Which was now that. I think of it. As we're talking was a christmas gift from my daughter from two years ago still have the same sour dough starter that i've kept for the past two years in the refrigerator so that went into the bread and i begin to see that even in my efforts to try to give something or do something for others to try to give myself away. I'm dependent on all of these other people and things in forms of energy just to be able to do that so i'm very humbled by the process. It really makes me feel very humbled to think about that. Even in a situation where. I'm doing something that seems kind and giving i have to receive so much to be able to do that. Really shows the interdependence of of relationships. And i think that injured interdependence that principle which is very easy to comprehend intellectually and exists i think in virtually every spiritual tradition in the world. But when you actually do this kind of reflection you start learning about how. That's working in a very mechanical way in a very practical way in your day to day life and it's a very different thing. I think to experience it practically than it is to just consider it to be like. Oh this is a a beautiful spiritual principle or reflecting on what have i received from and also in conjunction with what i have i given to you know. There's no you know in game with with with nikon therapy. There's no there's no a goal they you're supposed to do something but one of the natural is that you're gonna wanna do more you maybe want to serve more. Maybe just be more helpful or useful to people and i love in the book. You give different suggestions on how you can do. That doesn't have to be big. An email of encouragement -tective encouragement picking up litter. I mean really small things that serves its purpose. you know. sometimes i'll get an email and you probably had this experience. You get an email or even a short message just saying you know. I really love what you're doing. I loved to show where i loved your book and goes into a little bit of detail and it makes your day to get that kind of feedback and you think about what was the cost of that to the person who wrote it you know about maybe two minutes or three minutes of their time in pressing the send button on their phone or computer so we're capable of actually spreading a lot of of joy and happiness and gratitude in the world with in many cases of very small investment of energy. Okay so we talked about. What have i received from. What have i given to this third question. Which is what troubles and difficulties die. 'cause blink so what are we doing with this question. Well this is the hardest question in this. Is the question that people question most often. Because it's not a question that makes usually feel good. And i often tell people that the process that of doing this kind of reflection is not a process. It's designed to make feel good. It's it's a process designed to help us see the reality of our lives and so we're looking at this question you know. How did i cause inconvenience problems. Troubles to my wife to my daughter to just other people that have been around for a certain period for the past day or the past month and it's a difficult question to look at but the best example of of is affective is. I can go back to studies that they did in japan in the nineteen sixties where they use nykanen in the prison system over a period of years and they did research and they had people who were in prison who were convicted of crimes and cases. Serious crimes they had people spend one week just like you would in a retreat doing nikon on their lives and going through their lives with all three of these questions. Including what troubling difficulty did i 'cause and you can imagine somebody particularly if they're a career or lifelong criminal. What it would be like for them to actually. Just sit and do nothing but think about all of the people who suffered as a result of the crimes in the criminal activities that they head involved in their life and what they found is is they then looked at the recidivism rate and they found it in every prison that was doing this the number of people after they left prison that were rearrested was dramatically lower than with the people who hadn't gone through this process of nikon reflection so again it wasn't like it was attached to any moral commandment the says when you get out of prison. We want you to be a good citizen but this process itself just influenced people to essentially make changes significant changes in their lifestyle once they had really seen the difficulty suffering. They've caused the same guy to research exists with people in japan who alcoholics terms of looking at how they're drinking cause suffering in difficulty to other people so if we're willing to be honest in to how're our causing problems and difficulties and it doesn't have to be the kind of things that you would see if you were in the japanese mafia. It could just simply be. I left my dishes in the sink and my wife ended up washing them where i left my saxon floor in the bedroom or i was half an hour late for a lunch appointment in the person had wait for me but when we see those things we begin to put ourselves in the another person's shoes what is it like for someone to be. My colleague have to work with me in. What is it like for my wife to actually have to deal with me. As her husband were for my daughter to have to deal with me as her father and some of the most profound and emotional reflections. I've had have really been doing this third question and looking at people. I was very close to my family and close friends for for years in and seeing essentially some of the really selfish things that i have had done to cause trouble and difficulty to those people but i would argue that. That's incredibly important. Because whether you see it or not it's part of a page of the book of your life that's already been written right so your choice is really do. Want to be conscious about how you've lived your life or do you want to essentially blind to these elements that how you live your life in in the interest of of living a good life and in the interest of our own spiritual rations. We should try to be more conscious of basically our living. Yeah this questions useful because you said earlier. We tend to overlook the things that we do. We tend to focus on what other people do that. Inconvenience us right. The guy that cuts us off man. We're talking about it to our wife when we get home. This guy's such a jerk but we tend to overlook when we've done that the past in this question says no you do this stuff to you gotta see reality for what is your you cause inconvenience just like that guy. Cut you off. I think we. I think most of us have gotten a lot of practice and therefore developed a habit of complaining about other people and in some cases. It's this whenever i think about it. This way. voice come surprised but it's almost more natural when you get together whether this with your partner or your roommate or a group of friends for dinner. It's almost more natural to complain about all the problems in your life than it is to talk about all the things that are going well or all the ways in which life is actually helping your supporting you and so people often find that if you if you work in an office setting with other people that complaining is actually the norm in that social experience and if you were to go into the office and say well let me tell you what happened to me on way to work this morning. You know first of all my car started like the first time is just amazing turned. The keys started right up. And i looked at the gas gauge and it was fully. Apparently my husband must've filled up with gas yesterday. And then i'm driving down. The road and traffic is backed up. And there's a truck painting these yellow lines you know on the road so that you know which lanier in so that people don't crash into each other. Isn't that fortunate that somebody's out there doing that. And if you said that people would look at you like you're nuts but if you go in and you just run off a litany of complaints about the traffic in the news in the political situation people just shake their head in and agree with you. And then then they basically share their own experiences about the same things so complaining become a bunch of norm in our social experience right. This questions helps you be less complainer. I mean you even recommend that people spend about sixty percent of the reflection where they're doing nikon on this question. Yeah and that's really what was recommended to me in my own. Training in japan is that this is really of the three questions. This is really important question because it allows us to see ourselves again. This idea of using a mirror in a way that we wouldn't otherwise see. And when i when i talk about the idea of putting ourselves in the other person's shoes question your what is it like for linda. He married to me that that process of of doing that. Psychologically is really. The foundation of empathy is the foundation of compassion is the foundation of understanding so our ability to see things from the other person's perspective including ourselves is really one of the essential elements. I think of a healthy relationship with anybody so when we're working with our members of our family so if we can do that we really increase the chances that we can. We can basically have healthy relationships in our life as opposed to a conflict and kind of resentment towards others it. How do we not let this exercise. Delve into self loathing. You think man. I just i inconvenienced because so many people so many problems this i'm a terrible person. Like how do you avoid that. I think that it comes up a lot where particularly from therapist will say well. Do we really want people who are already struggling for instance with depression anxiety looking at themselves and looking at like it in a way that just makes them feel bad about themselves but if we think about it is feeling guilty about specific actions or specific conduct. Is that really a bad thing. I think it's a very. It's an actually a natural response of compassion. When we look at something that we've done that his cause trouble to someone to feel bad about that. I think that actually comes from a compassionate part of us. And i think to not to do something that has caused suffering and not feel bad about it is is to some extent pathological. It's not really healthy. So the key thing is kind of in your question is we. Don't want to get caught up in that kind of self loathing. What we wanna do is use as information as feedback from reality for may be how we can change our lives or make some changes in our treating other people in the way that we're living and also it's very humbling. That people who are successful people would have written selling books and have successful businesses in our ceo's. It's very hard for people who have any success in their life. Not to begin to feel a little bit arrogant or self righteous or kind of above others and i think for people who are successful looking at how they've caused trouble in difficulty in problems to others on that path to success is actually very humbling and probably very good in terms of helping them to stay away from going in the other direction which is to get get caught up in a sense of self righteousness and arrogance. Right is the opposite of what you'd mentioned originally which is getting quite in a state of looking at other people thinking why can't person just get their act together white where they messing up their lives like that. So i think being humbled for many of us is actually very healthy experience. So the three questions again. What have i given to whatever i received from. And what troubles devos die. 'cause it's on the blank. Can you imagine you just do this on a daily basis. You can do this morning before you set out the door at night before you go to sleep. Yes i think that you're the i've mentioned this taking against six or seven minutes with my wife linda in the morning where we do. This is just kind of part of our morning routine. I think you can dedicate blocks of time to this in the same way that you dedicate time to getting physical exercise by going running or going to the gym working out some way. I think we dedicate time to self reflection. If we don't do that it's very hard. Have i think any balance in our life. Most people are very active hand. We're busy people. Most of us are busy. S people how are you in the end so busy and we go from one thing to another. Get two point one day where we say okay. That's it done. And then we shift from action to some kind of passivity which could be looking at facebook watching a movie watching a sitcom surfing the internet passive activities and so so we have action. we have passiveness or acidity. But what's often missing from. Her life is reflective. Which is what we're really discussing today and actually building time. It's your day even if it's just for a few minutes before bed for in the morning to just be reflecting on your life using this kind of method or even other methods that may lead you to the same type of contemplative approach to your life are so you do nikon daily. It doesn't take very long but you also in the book talk about you can set aside periods like especially on days where you just do nikon reflections make it sort of a ritual and one way you talked about you can do that is using the new year to do special nikon reflection so we're about to start a new year ending a twenty twenty five star twenty twenty one. How can folks modify nikon so they can reflect on the year that's passed in the one that's about to come. Well it's it's a perfect time to actually be doing this at the end of the year and going into a new year and i encourage people to spend even a minimal amount of time doing some type of reflection on the year before you get into setting your goals or making resolutions because in every case you both personally in people. I've worked with when you do that. It informs what you end up doing in terms of moving forward in your life. And i think that's one of the real values self reflection. Is that doing this reflection. Informs moving forward in your life so for years there was a woman upstate york that used to actually hosted event where people came sometimes from several hundred miles around and we spent the last eight hours of the year. Doing quiet self-reflection up until midnight on new year's eve and then we kind of toasted head a nice meal together but it's a great way to end the year and this year where people are less likely to have social engagements new year's eve parties. I would really encourage people to think about using that evening news evening and just sitting back and doing some reflection and we actually have a booklet that i developed than have updated every year for about the past ten years colin guide to new year's reflection. And if you think it's okay britt. I'd be happy to give people an email address and we'd be happy to send them a link so that they can download that in use that if they want to some reflection on new year's eve but it's a great way to end the year and also offers you a different perception of the year. Most of us think of this year. Twenty twenty what. A crazy terrible year can't wait till the year is over. Get a fresh start the new year but if you reflected or at least for me personally i found that there was some really great moments in experiences of joy. Great times that. I really connected for instance with my daughter who's living with us during the lockdown the pandemic period of time. There's a lot of positive things that happened in the year from even though there was also a lot of losses and so it gives me a much more balanced view with a year to kind of look at it specifically using this kind of reflective process than just kinda might gut sense of of it being really iran year. And then after you do that reflection you can then start setting your goals for the new year based on what you thought about. Yeah i think and again. I teach a course in the beginning of the year of took it a mentioned this code living on purpose which is really designed to get people started off in the right direction of the year. And it's really the idea of of looking at. How can high be very clear about what's going to give my life meaning this year. You know those are the things that i want to elevate in terms of the energy that i'm going to put in. We have certain amount of energy that we're gonna available to us if if we live a whole year from now and we want to have those things that are really going to be meaningful and important to us to get a lot of that energy i think if we start thinking about it that way the hard thing of course is sticking to it once we kind of get going. And that's where the rita therapy piece of this material comes in once. Were actually in the process of doing things and the taking action we shift. We can shift into this other motives psychological support. But i think the idea is that there is a very natural process of reflection and contemplation that leads to than redirecting our energy goals and the things that we want to achieve in the coming year. Or greg this has been a great conversation. Where can people go to learn more about the book nikon in the rest of your work. Well we have a website that has lot of our material. There is called thirty thousand days dot org dot. Org in its to spell the word thirty thousand days all together and if people want to send email us at the address. Te'o dio to do at tokyo institute dot org than will be glad to respond in and give you link so you can download this new year's booklet but you'll find a lot of resources on our website. And i've been doing this for thirty years in recent that i've kind of continued doing this for thirty years is because i really believe. It's a great alternative to some of the more traditional western therapy in western psychology. That is really common in the us. And i think for people who are inclined to look at approaches from the east whether it be acupuncture or yoga or chinese medicine martial arts. I think there's some great wisdom that we can take in also in the area. Psychology or greg. Creech extra time. It's been a pleasure in happy new year. Well thank you bread. It's been a pleasure talking to you. And i hope you have a wonderful new year in a great year next year. My guess was great creatures. The author of the book nikon stable amazon dot com. You can find out more about his work at his website todo institute. That's t odio institute dot com also check. It are shown as aol dot is slash reflect. Ring finding links to resources ring delve deeper into this topic thinking well. That wraps up another edition of the podcast check out our website at rs dot com find our podcast archive of articles written over the years. And you late enjoy ad. Free episodes the podcast on stitcher premium. Head over to syria. Premium dot com. Sign up use code manliness at checkout for free month's trial won't you signed up download this trap and android iowa's and you start enjoying at free episodes. The podcast and you have done already at appreciate you take one minute. Here's reviewing apple podcasts. Or stitcher helps out a lot done that already. Thank you please consider sharing the show with a friend or family member who you think would get something out of it as always the continue support telex times brad. Mackay reminding other lists podcast but put what you've heard into action.
Everyday Buddhism 51 - Steady, Calm and Brave with Kimberly Brown
"Welcome to every day. Buddhism making every day better by applying the proven tools found in Buddhist concepts. Welcome to episode fifty. One of everyday Buddhism making every day. Better. In this episode, which is a special guest episode I talk with Kimberly Brown. The author of a new book called steady calm and brave twenty five practices of resilience and wisdom in a crisis. This is a book that can be helpful handbook as we continue to navigate through the pandemic and all the related an additional traumas that two thousand twenty has heaped upon us. Now. Kimberly is no stranger to trauma coming from a painful childhood as an adoptee and growing up with an alcohol alcoholic parrot. And this led her to discover healthy ways of dealing with anxiety. Feelings of UNWORTHINESS, panic attacks, sadness, and anger. As she puts it. She quote recovered her natural state of well being by practicing both traditional Buddhist techniques and modern psychotherapeutic model these unquote. Practices that she now leads others through in. And Mind Body therapy. And she calls that. Leading them to deeply engage with all aspects of their experience for integration wholeness and authenticity. Kimberly is a certified mindfulness teacher and student of Buddhism and she's based in New York. City she has been leading classes, workshops and retreats since two thousand eleven with a teaching focus that incorporate body based mindfulness and self compassion practices. You can find out more about her at her website www dot meditation with heart dot, com that's meditation with heart all lower case and all strung together and of. Course I'll post a link to her book and her website in the show notes on my website. But with that, let's get to the conversation with Kimberly as I mentioned in the episode introduction. Kimberly. Is a meditation teacher in New York City who teaches at multiple groups and centers and she released her first, Book Steady Common Brave Twenty five practices of resilience and wisdom in a crisis this July. You. Know I knew we were kindred spirits immediately when she quoted Chantal David from a guide to the body as way of life on the first page of her book prior to the table of contents she quoted the off off quoted May I be the doctor and the medicine and may I be the nurse for all sick beings in the world until everyone is healed? Will healing the world at this moment in time seems like an impossible job just as the four great vows or body sat vows are seemingly impossible even though many have signed up for that job. So to speak, it's does seem impossible but we keep going and that's what Kimberly seems to want to do in her the way she's contributed to it to the body sat fa path with her book. Later on her book in the preface, she explained what Grove her to write this book with those words she cemented her intention in one of the essential truths of Buddhism that everyone is interconnected. We are all inter- being as not Han refers to it, and with that she is encouraging us to look within defined find strength, and to find the acceptance we need to keep going the word she wrote were quote when I saw my. Students friends and neighbors and family afraid disheartened and sad I wrote in hopes that will not only help them and you reduce stress deal with difficult emotions and care for yourself and your loved ones during a painful time. But it will help you recognize your gifts, your deep wisdom, compassion and courage these gifts you words your actions in presence can help reveal are healthy and equitable world. Remember only everyone can save us and we're everyone unquote. Kimberly offers some practical yet powerful medicine for all of us shaken and unsteady from the events of the two of two thousand and twenty in her in her book which I consider a true body site for offering. I will read one of the glowing reviews of her book and this one from the venerable. Rabin. Korten. Quote here is grounded kind kind advice from a good spiritual friend. We need wise ways to think especially now in these times because by helping ourselves, we can then help others and so with and without further delay my part, let's get to the conversation with Kimberly. Kimberly, thanks so much for joining me on the podcast, Wendy hello what a beautiful introduction. Thank you. You're you're welcome. As I mentioned, excuse me in our chat briefly. Before we started recording I told you I, Read Your Beautiful Book and I have practiced with it too. It has been a help and a frequent goto aid for my practice. So thank you. and in one of your BIOS I, read that as a meditation teacher, you emphasize the power of compassion and kindness meditation which I love and that you call on your studies in both Tibetan and insight schools of Buddhism, but you also incorporate body based mindfulness and self compassion exercises as a certified mind body therapist. So can you say a little more? Not about the Monica mind body therapist right now. But you can get into that. We can focus on that a little bit later but a little bit more about your general sort of winding journey. In life to where you are now, and what brought you to say, Buddhism, and what brought you to teach Buddhism. Wendy yes. Yes. It always is little winding mind is like most You, know where the I find to be a psycho analyst years ago I did not finish the program. I felt that it was too narrow in its diagnosis of humans and he would behavior. and in psychoanalytic thought it's believed that we all have you know these negative tribes that were born with aggression. Sexuality Violence, and the best we can do as adults is manage our neurosis. And it just never seemed. I was helped by it. I had had a psychoanalyst for years who really did help me unpack a very difficult and chaotic childhood. But then about I guess it's about twelve fourteen years ago now, I? was began having panic attacks. And they are very serious they I was having intrusive thoughts. I really thought perhaps I might have to be. You know in an institution for a bit because I was so unsteady and. I realized that I could tell you wendy all the reasons why it was happening from all of my it psychotherapy I had learned all of that but I had. Almost zero tools to deal with it. And that is what led me into meditation and then Buddhism. The first reason being there a couple reasons. First reason being is that these techniques really can settle your mind and your body. in and I started to learn how to work with thoughts and how to. Be With body sensations and be with difficult emotions in And though sensation to sort of build a bigger container so I was not so overwhelmed and I don't have pennock. So often anymore, I would not say they're gone. It's just that I'm not so afraid of them and when they happen I feel I have tools to manage them. In a way that I didn't before. The second reason I teamed to to go to some his You know it's almost the opposite of what I described that in psychoanalysis and all, and at least for a long time in psychological thought in the western idea model, it was just that we had all these negative qualities. And the best we could do is. Manage. Those negative qualities. Now, Buddhism really turns it upside down and they say, well, no, that's crazy. Born with these beautiful qualities and then they get up cured. Conditioning struggles, defense mechanisms, really cover up the fact that we have Immeasurable qualities love wisdom Choi in compassion. And that really drew me especially Shanti Dave. Oh. My goodness the way he writes in a we all all of us could be the greatest Odi staffers not outside of our reach and that really is inspiring to me and it's such a more hopeful and I believe a more accurate. Description. Of My experience of myself and of other people. So that led me into you know studying and Practicing Buddhism and. I knew I wanted to teach because I really just. It had been so helpful to me and I really just wanted to live in the Dharma. and. So I started teaching, I started learning how to teach went through a training program, and soon, I found that one of the biggest obstacles for my students was you know they could learn mindfulness learned to just be mindful and. And they could learn. Information you know like all of the lots of teaching they could retain all kinds of knowledge but there was still this piece of unkindness themselves like I shouldn't be meditating I didn't do that yesterday. This was a terrible. Sit You know it was bringing that same? That same relationship to their practice. So I realized for me I really wanted to. Help others. Reorient that and re released to themselves, and so I began to focus more on offering self compassion practices, and Metta, meditation, or by Tree Meditation and the Sanskrit meditations to recognize are beautiful qualities to gladden the mind and then at it just reminds us of our insurer dependent. So. I mean, I know you're from Zen, Wendy Wis you notice wisdom and compassion. They're the same coin they're just different sides. You know you you get one without the other. So you know practicing compassion will the wisdom starts to Arise O. I'm not so fixed. Oh I'm connected everybody else right it's an so that's one way in and I have found for for myself and for Students said, it can be really It, it can be a useful way at entry point. There's a lot unpack here I, have I have a million thoughts and I'm trying to try to sort them out and try to hit them one. By one I want to Greg. I'm actually not a from then I. It does it does it. I do maybe that when many people get that confused I'm from. I actually practiced practiced for for probably close to twenty years in the Tabet tradition mostly the the Gupta tradition I studied with in for a long time, and then I practiced and taught in a at a dragoon you center in Rochester So I do have strong Tibetan background, and then I took my ministry training and teacher training with a group called a breakdown center of Oneness Buddhism, which is Japanese Mahayana with the with an overview of was kind of the combination of mostly Shin which is a very. Little known if. Almost unknown School of Buddhism Shin. Joe Shinshu and. Combined. So yeah, there's a little Zan in their not primarily. So just wanted to we have more in common than maybe what you say. Yeah. Wendy. Thank you for clarifying that I've made an assumption that bright John Center was zen center and I don't know much about. Shin Buddhism I believe center opened in New York of five years ago. Oh. Yeah. Yeah. It's like I. said it's IT'S A it's little known if almost virtually unknown in this country even though is one of the first. Buddhist. Teachings of Buddhism to arrive in this country it it. It even beat than okay. Because Japanese immigrants came and settled in Hawaii and then settled in the West in did farming and and then when they got round up with a great internment that they spread around and and some of them are opened up centers and my the teacher who the center, which I practice with came from my teachers father who end up the Chicago Chicago Buddhist temple, which one of the first Buddhist temples in the Midwest it actually it was a they made it. Like a church so they would look it was because it was right after the internment, and so they wanted to look like they weren't a a Japanese temple and they wanted to look like a church So that was the we won't go too far there. But one of the things I really wanted to touch on is is how you explained how you got to this compassion oriented practice and and how Shanti Dave is a as is is is sort of like a inspiration for you because actually shanty David in the way the body sidefooted reading that. You can see he's very much in touch with all the ugly stuff that Western. PSYCHOANALYST's topics about right. He's very much in touch with that but he knows that he can. He can. He can rise above it because he has the tools and just like you said, we aren't given the tools and not to put down West, Western But. That it is similar just western psych psychology and Western medicine similar they. They're great scientists and they know what's What's not right with you? Potato always I out of fix it if they can't fix it with a medicine or something like that and one of the people that I want to another one of my teachers is Greg Creature. I don't know if you know him, he's a, he's a great teacher with a in eastern psychoanalyst's eastern psychology and Morita therapy. I don't know if you're familiar with that but he emphasizes that too and so I love your your focus on that but you know what? I really loved about your story. Kimberley's is that. You talked about how you came to Buddhism through It sounds like trauma and I think many people do come to Buddhism in my experience and my experience as a practitioner and as and teacher as well. Many people come to Buddhism through trauma I did to similarly and and you talked about panic attacks I. also had panic attacks but what I loved is that you said they're not gone. But you. There was that that that that sense of Active acceptance, which is a term for Morita therapy active except it's in other words, it's not like avoidance it's not like Oh, I just have to put up with this. It's much more like this is how it is like you know the first you know the first of the eightfold path seeing things as they are right the right right view So you can tell that the Dharma is right there and it is your primary tool and I wish more people. Could could could get to this. You know like you you hit on that they they meditate and then they say, Oh, I can't do this I'm off Ladda So do you want to say more about what your experience has been in teaching through this through these techniques and through this methodology and through your honesty? Yes. Yes. Well when I first started teaching I stuck with kind of a mindfulness and Practice Awareness of Breast Abia you know Shamata and maybe opening up a little bit too mindfulness practice and and that was great and we did that for about four years of my teaching toddle out of beginners I feel at successful and people reported. Feeling more relaxed, feeling less stressed bureau many started to have more of an interest in their minds right and Buddhists thought. And then as I. Practiced. Compassion Meditations, which was not my initial Practice when I first started learning Buddhism I learned Like I said a Shaman to meditation through Tibetan School, you know I you learned to steady your breath and your minds with kind of a focused awareness right and then I was learning visualizations So I was teaching mainly just the the one point awareness breath meditations, and is I then about five years into my practice adopted. Batte or loving kindness practice. which I learned from Sharon Salzberg that teachers shall channels and I started practicing it and I started to see a softening in myself. A softening toward who I was toward the feelings I had and this word or this phrase acceptance you know it's very beautiful that that notion. I've heard it said allowing. Or meeting with right but that not fighting with ones experience. A teacher once said not going to war with yourself. That that was so unknown to me even throughout my practice and that started to occur just sort of naturally through the compassion practices and. Then, I began to feel confident enough to offer them to students, and what was a mazing to me is people would be transformed very quickly and what I mean was. Unlike, teaching just breath meditation. Concentration or mindfulness when people came and did met to practice with me. I I had one man come in. He was in a break-up. He was so filled with hate toward the person who broke up on him. Non meditators came to a teach every Friday night in the city. Third Friday night he came up to me and said. You know I just want you know I do not feel it's hateful I did. I saw Oh. That's wow that to me. That's amazing. I've never heard that in in mindfulness practice. Now I don't know how concentrate his mind was or anything like that, but it didn't matter to me because somehow he was you know healing and relating to himself in the world in a different way. Had One student who was very stressed outs and why you student a very young man maybe twenty. and again, he was at the Friday nights and if maybe his third session of Friday night. When we practice matter my tree practice the conventional way the traditional way from the Buddhist. Canon. Is that you offer these phrases to yourself to someone you love to someone who's been good to you to strangers and to enemies. So. We practice all of them news Friday nights and a student. Maybe it was his second session. He said, you know I can't think of a stranger. Now we live in New, York City and he was going. Right. What I realize later after getting to know with him, he was so stressed out is so anxious like he couldn't even see anybody around right So about six months, he stayed for a long time and about six months into it, he said to me today I really saw the stranger I really felt like, wow, I'd like to help you. That's to me. That's amazing. So these practices all all of the Buddhist practices are. Useful and great tools and you know they say they're eighty four thousand doors, right? So I am not suggesting one way is better than another just saying that this particular practice has been super helpful to me and for some people can be a real way in. Yeah and you know I do think of, although share Salzburg seems to be the master teacher of a Meta. Practice. It in my mind I. I mean there could be many many others but I think she popularized it in a way that many have not and I still don't think and I could be wrong but from my just. Just you know. Brought Observation it's only been recently that Meta hazardous started to leak its way into. The conversation about Buddhist Practices Right Most people. To get. Bliss Stout. Or they have this sort of a weird image of what a meditators, a Buddhist meditators or what a Buddhist is an and it's all you know sitting there blissed out, and then when they try meditation, they're there the farthest thing from blissed out But even if they get to the point where they are a meditators and it's working for them Meta practice I think in maybe it's our culture I'm not sure I'd like your thoughts on this is Why my experiences that Meta Meta practice is like kind of uncomfortable. For people. In the West. Yes you see yet. You're totally right Wendy, and your I believe you're absolutely spot on that. It's only in the last few years that you you hear a little bit warmer about it. I know that I came to it. I don't know like a dozen years ago fourteen years ago and immediately thought well, this is the real deal. The real deal is. Like I'm going to learn visory on a practices. That's the real. The are I'm GONNA. I'M GONNA DO NATURE OF MIND And so I really had a bias against it and I think it was because it may be uncomfortable. I remember feeling like well, this is stupid. Why would I wish myself well, when there's all these people struggling no And in many places, it was also taught as as sort of the diminutive. practice yeah. You notice that too Wendy like not explicitly. No not explicitly but I do think especially if you come from browser. Yana, which we both do was all about nature of mind or you know you know achieving net oneness with the with the Guru in your visualization and so forth and and it was all about being something other than you in my mind. That's how it felt I know I'm misrepresenting it so I understand I similar wendy. Yes. I don't want all the vaseline on a practitioners to jump down my throat here but. That's how it felt to me, and in the feeling I never could get past it. Truly. That's one of the reasons why I left visor Yata, and now I see it is not about visor Yana was about me. You know But yeah, I think it is sort of was or was thought more or taught as a diminutive or you know lesser than practice of than the nature bind or even even insight meditation of the Pasta So yeah, it's weird I have had other people say actually I even her Dan Harrison ten percent happier you familiar with this cup. He he he learned a Meta practice from Sharon Salzberg who I think is one of his teachers on his APP but. He talked about how weird it was how weird it felt to like wish himself. HOPE MAY BE HAPPY RIGHT Is like how uncomfortable that felt and the more and more you practice with it the more comfortable got but you know some people I think can never overcome that first weirdness of it. Right? I think so too or they like me I practiced other things and then keep back to it. You know and realize Oh okay maybe there is something here for me. In that practice. But yes, and sometimes you know I would go to sits with different teachers in the city and they would lead a mindfulness and then end with a few minutes of Meta. So it was just always like. Well, this isn't you wouldn't really do this as you practice. and and it's interesting. You say about the being comfortable because I think that is that's a big part of it, and that discomfort is it's a warning really that it you know we're living in a society in which we are uncomfortable offering ourselves you know wishes of happiness. Wishes of good hells, which is of you know having a peaceful life there's a problem. Yeah, that's so true I. Mean I never heard a term that way but that's you're you're spot on you actually opened my mind to this. It actually blew the doors open exactly right that that is probably A huge warning flag I remember one of my one of the. Llamas that I took teachings with us to talk about the American. Mind and how different it was from. The Tibetan minded. One thing I was struck me as somebody asked a question about It was in question answer period after a group of teaching San Suu Somebody in the group asked a question about what about if you have You know problems with your own self image, and and that that you you you don't feel good about yourself You Know How would you address that and I remember the Llama saying it's very ego centric. It it made people nuts in in in in the group, but I think that's also related to this like. We are so focused on improvement right even in in our work culture and in our actual personal culture on you know Getting. On the PELETON. And and in a performance metrics within within corporate organizations and. Is the goal you know. COMPA- compassion and Kindness, is wouldn't even enter into into the equation. Yeah Yeah exactly and that idea of it being ego centric, it's as if. We either are thinking. We're so great were so grandiose were so narcissistic. That's one way to. Just be. Caught up in self or were the worst were terrible. We need to get better I. You know I'm not fast enough smart enough rich enough, and that's it's just again of an other side of the coin in this. Right yeah. I in working with the great creature who I mentioned earlier Greg I'm sorry I keep digging you here today but and working with Greg Creech. I asked him about perfectionism because I have problems with perfectionism and he said. He said that's that's a subtle sign of egoism and you gotta get over yourself and it was such a slap in the face but it is it. It's just what you're talking about and boy you know this all I know we're kind of going around circles on this but one thing I want I sort of want to. Grab the tail of this in drag it somewhere else and say, okay, here we are in the middle of this pandemic and I I think many people have learned a lot of lessons in the last cheese how many months has been seven months seven hunts out yeah. Yeah. It's scary So and seven months you know one thing we certainly learned about is that we have we'll or maybe we've learned or were trying to learn. is getting comfortable making friends with uncertainty At that and like it's like what we're learning is three marks of existence, right? Not because we asked to learn because of being forced down our throat in these last seven months, right? So it's like we were learning in permanence, you know and we're learning interdependence, and we're learning that on nothing is as discreet and steady as we thought, it was or emptiness including ourselves. So there know we have to learn that the futures unsure certain or that there is no future in the way that we think it is so grabbing what we were talking about pulling it into what we're dealing with in these last seven months One thing that really has helped. If we can do it although it doesn't look like people are doing it because of the divisive nature of our country right now, and maybe it's because of the election. But one thing that I think some of us are learning is to open our hearts to the other. I do Wendy and I think I think is this pandemic continues and the United States is does dad have a pro and appropriate response to it? I believe the people just ordinary people are seeing how this divisiveness is preventing all of us from taking care of each other. Yeah. Right we're all affected when the, president gets. The, you know the Krono virus everyone's affected by. Ants we can all see it, and if we're going to be divisive about it and either deny it and say, it's not happening or. Most of US know that's not true. Almost all of us and that digging in our heels and and saying, you're right. You're wrong who's to blame. It's it has not been an effective response and a lot of people are set. We're all suffering some really badly. So I I agree with you in the I think there is has been a shift toward opening our hearts. Also, people feel very grateful right now. Grateful. If you didn't get sick grateful if you did and you recover grateful of a job. No yeah, Yeah Jen, and grateful for the small things that we do have that we took. We took advantage of when we were rushing around doing all the other things that we can't do now. Yup that. Granted. Yeah I've had so many people tell me that they actually noticed a change of seasons in a way. They never noticed it before like the the green around them in the trees in the spring I think even mentioned that in your book now that I didn't. Kids. and I've had a lot of people telling me that because they never had the time to look at, they never had the time to see the beauty of it, and also it's like one of the things that hit is taught a lot of people I know it's taught me you know we're always learning everything over and over again one of the things that's taught me is that it's it's like I I read a a a counselor say that you need to be able to hold hope in. One Hand and despair in the other I, and we are living in a time where we're holding both of those things and and it's it's it's it's really a disconnect the mental disconnect yet at the same time if you look at how you're living your life is like so you can be freaked out you can do be doing dum dum scrolling during the night you cannot have any sleep but the next morning and get up and take a walk and feel completely filled with gratitude and bliss. Is So. Yeah. It's It's it's some people I think are noticing that I don't know I think of. So now I want I know earlier. I mentioned that I have been practicing with your book. and in practicing with your book, I was particularly struck by the wisdom that. Really I that's the word wisdom guiding the chapter choices for the twenty five chapters and practices they were all. So spot on. So applicable to the fears and insecurities and anxiousness that almost all of us feel except for maybe the most disenfranchised who are just. Traumatized by it all. You know I've written a book and I know from experience that organizing and structuring the writing was the most challenging part of getting the book ready for release except for editing of course, I'm sure you will agree with me on that that was the worst. But how did you arrive at these particular practices and your insight into the issues they address especially since? In my think, it must be thinking it must have been so early into the pandemic to Ha- to enable to have this book released. Four months into the virus arriving at the united in the United States. How how did you? How did you come up with this? You know when it is one of those moments where you hear authors or artists say you know in the work field itself I almost didn't write it. It was a moment like that I. had been for the last couple years working on what I in my head call my real meditation. Book. It's a you know a much larger book in it. You know gives a history and about different techniques and Buddhism, etc. so I've been working on that book for some time with an editor and we were in the process of Doing the proposal and then the pandemic kit, and it somehow didn't even seem important. You know how we all In March and I set it aside and then about the end of April. Thinking Gosh I. I have to maybe I'll share what I'm working on. You know and I asked that same editor who's been such a how. And, she said Yes why don't you write a little something? You know maybe it'll be like a tiny little bulker PDF or something. So. You know I sat down to write it and what I wrote. Was Not so much instructions for others but sharing. My own experience and how I used these practices and how they might be useful. You know to others to friends, family readers So I really was sort of in a moment of writing contemporaneous Louis. exactly. What was happening to my experience almost like a reporter And then compiling it into a book a friend kind of helped me order it and I say Wendy that we had a a real deliberate way. We just sort of organically now this was at the end of May early noon when the book was finished and BEF-, right before editing. And so at that time. There was a sense like, oh my gosh maybe this is all GonNa. Go Away. For that, but it was like right towards the end of May or early June it's like, wow, well, yeah it's might just be all ripped up by the end of summer and I remember thinking well, maybe the woke will be obsolete very quickly. Well. Sadly, it is not an it's it's continued. But I don't I can't speak to exactly, and I'm glad that you found that it was helpful. The way you know the the way the chapters are laid out one of the things alice the. Editor said to me was you know what Kim you can make it. So people can just open it and they can go to chapter six. If they're feeling filled with dread, you know that they the people could skip around and use it as just a toolkit. They're actually that's how I was using it. That's exactly how I was using and that's what I love because in Europe table of contents you you know you gave it a, you gave it a chapter title but you Dan gave the practice a title which really was cool. I thought like I'm going to read a few of is giving too much away if I renowned Wendy how wonderful Okay, it's like you know just chapter one, it's harming healing and then was the chapter title, and then the practice title was gladden your mind and then when you feel helpless was one chapter title and then it was opening your heart and then one of my particular problems which I kept referring to was when it's us against them. And then us and them was the practice I think that was just wonderful because it's just sort of like, Oh, here's what I'm feeling today. Maybe I should practice with this this morning So I just love debt and another thing I want to do if you don't mind is highlight a one chapter as a example of how down to Earth and real it was and I see now how come that was is because you were just reporting as a reporter on your own life. Really was yes. You're well, chapter three is called when your family is making you crazy. And The associated practice is I see you anger just reading the titles gave me Giggle but it is so helpful. And you start the chapter with this and I wanna I wanNA share this quote with others because I think they'll get a sense of how real and fund this book is fun yet helpful because I say it's fun because it's so honest and and and to me honesty is like a a high level Buddhist attainment right? So. You Start Your chapter with this quote about three weeks into the pandemic after being at home together twenty four hours a day I realized that my husband is the most annoying person in the world unquote sorry husband, and then you go on to say that quote when you finally sat down to talk to each other about this he told me he thought I was the most annoying person in the world on quote. And this led to lead you to suggest some practice. Abet ski around private time for yourself and for your partner and for other family members while offering the reassurance that it's normal and perfectly okay to get angry under these circumstances. In you know up until the point that you're actually screaming at each other and the practice you offered was brilliant in teaching how to how mindful, how to be mindfulness of anger and how it arises in your body and how it feels in your body, and then your practice added the phrase from Han quote. I see you anger at I'm not going to leave you on quote. So this then leads just back into hone in on how you incorporated both self compassion. And or metaphor yourself and body awareness into all of your practices maybe not all of them but most of them there was it was a strong emphasis on body awareness. Can you talk more about what seems to be your focus? We know we touched on a little at the beginning of both of those areas of Self Compassionate Body Base. Mindfulness. I know those are essentially the primary they seem might be putting words in your mouth of primary focus of your teachings and Did you incorporate this body based mindfulness more because you were speaking to an audience was essentially going through trauma or is this how you pretty much do it now this is how I pretty much do it now. Earlier I mentioned that students Often will approach their practice it as Something they have to do, and they're not doing it right and they're not doing it properly and yet they're very good at. Bringing in information and knowledge. And part of that I believe stems from being out of touch with the body. In part because. To. Be. Embodied I mean, that's that's part of the point of of Buddhist practice. The mind body is it they're not separate. And the body gives us information. About what we're feeling, what we're thinking it's it's wisdom to know what's happening. There's an old zen saying that sesame like. Wisdom is eating when you're hungry and sleeping when you're tired well, how many of us do that? You know? and so one way that you can quickly tap into your hungry or tired is to just start to pay attention to your body and I think when the that in our modern life we've lost touch with our body I would guess that twenty six, hundred years ago when the Buddha was teaching or a, you know a thousand years ago when Tibetans then people were training that they were not so far removed. life was very different. So but now we've somehow become very heavy. You know all the information and much of what we consume has to do with stories and news and information, and we plus we really value it. So really out of touch with our bodies I think I have been and with something I really needed to learn and a lot of people I know struggle with it. So that was one of the reasons for this. Especially, this book and what was going on is a lot of what I was feeling was super embodied. It was a terrifying time and it's still is in many more ways even now. And to one way to demonstrate compassion is to simply be with what's arising and what you said earlier about that phrase active acceptance active acceptance and has to also be applied to body sensation. No that's part of it to being a big big enough container. Oh, yeah. I have anger and I could sit with it and feel what that's like but I don't have to throw it at you. Because, I can't sit with it. You know. Right right. Well, you know I'm wondering and this is just an idle thought that I just had an and so we don't have to go too far. But just because you per you shared your personal experience of having panic attacks and I had panic attacks to where. I can. Empathize entirely Did you think you've got more and you may not have an answer to this because I don't think we always know the trajectory of our lives as if it was a logical thing to figure out but did you do you think you went into sort of this mind body practitioner area along with your mindfulness practitioner and Buddhist teacher area because of listening to your body during panic attacks? Absolutely Wendy. Absolutely, and it's you know teacher told me years ago something like. If you can heal a suffering that you have. Then you could help someone else. He'll that same suffering and he said something like if I broke my leg I could you don't give you good advice if you broke your lake, you know how I went through how right how I managed it how I did my physical therapy But if if I didn't have that suffering, I couldn't really help you with it and he was talking about our own. Personal struggles, and that as a teacher, we can use what has helped us. He'll help others. So absolutely Wendy. You know I had been very It had given me a lot of power and wisdom and compassion for me to come into my body when as someone who had had a trial traumatic childhood I wasn't really in it. Right right because we're running if we have trauma. And I know not all panic attacks are caused by trauma. I don't know that perfect I don't know anything check but I mean I'm guessing not all panic attacks or caused by trauma but I think many many are Were typically when we have stuff like that, we run away. The last thing were. We instinctively do is go in there. And look at it. Right YEP YEP A. So yeah. I remember my I was working with the psychoanalyst when I had attacks and I only had looked back at this now, right like when I had some trauma re-triggered during the pandemic and I only looked back at her advice during that time and this was a long time ago I was in my twenties and you know I'm I'm almost sixty eight now and I remember her advice is clearly as if it was yesterday. She said when you feel a panic attack coming on, don't don't fight it. Okay. Don't fight it except that in I mean. Wow, that was so wise. Why's flint? Yeah. She said go with it and then she would tell me she said then. Go out the door and run around the block, take a tennis ball and throw it against the wall. Just do something with it don't run away from it. And what beautiful advice because it made a huge difference although she put me on some drugs at the same time anti anxiety drugs but what a huge difference. Ditch that little technique that she gave me. To us to, and that was like embodying right embody absolutely at the funeral advice Yup. Yeah. So so yeah, that's So I have had experience with that but you know that was so long ago and I I'm. I found myself totally distant from it more recently, like you said, we're just not in touch with their body we're just not in touch And I'll tell you another little story and and BE I. Share this with everybody and I I don't mind making fun of myself. So you can make fun of me too if you'd like I'm push. Body based mindfulness is not something I'm too familiar with impersonal. Buddhist, or meditation practice like I said even though I had that experience, it wasn't with me today and so at the risk of sounding like Dan Harris of the ten percent happier podcast fame who talks about things being mu right I have. I have felt a little uncomfortable a little woo doing practices like putting your hand on your heart and talking to your inner. Child. You know I had a good experience with that about the same time. I was reading your book using one for connecting with safety if feeling triggered triggered by old trauma. So actually I really thought it was in your book, but I couldn't locate it. But same point you talk about throughout your practices about putting your hand on your heart while doing the guided meditations in the book can you talk more about this? Yes, and and that made me laugh Wendy because you're not alone in feeling like Oh this is woo I i. guess this was about. Almost ten years ago it was one of the first students I worked with privately and. Someone called me the wife of. Corporate lawyer partner a law firm here in New York in his fifties. His wife was knew me through yoga. She said, could you give private lessons to my husband Scher? He comes over. And from start to end it was it was terrible. It was a good lesson in how to be a teacher because he was he sat down and he had his blackberry and he kept looking I kept sending messages to people. Then he kept rushing me then I guided him through a meditation and at some point I said. place your hand on your heart. I think our place your hand on your heart center and he said what the Hell's a heart center what are you talking about? then he proceeded to tell me he was going to be doing his meditation while he was in the steam room. So he I just have to say as a young teacher that really taught me a lesson. I, you know to. If any teachers out there listening take your seats. Tell someone to put their phone down take charge when you need to But in any case, I realized very quickly that saying those sort of things or asking people to even touch themselves by it seems strange or Wu, e or weird you know. For that reason a I say we'll just try it or don't do like either way is fine but the reason behind it is it gives you if you're feeling anxious. Well, if you're feeling anxious that means you're generally in your head, you're caught up in thoughts about the future that may or may not happen. and touching yourself feeling your feet taking a breath. All of those will bring you a little bit less in your head and more embodied and to be embodied is to be in reality right? You can't breathe yesterday or tomorrow you're breathing now. I love their at but and it's true but our thoughts get us you know I mean you know you know how powerful like be you know and the body can really bring us out of that tool. Now. In in your psycho. Psycho what was what were you trained to be cycle analyst? Okay. Okay. in that training. You were probably furlough enough along to get to those sort of techniques, right? It was more like an all cycle analysis which I was studying. They didn't have those kinds of techniques. Right was about There were wonderful techniques in it. You Know Mirror ring, your patient there was a helping them gain insights transference. Men It was really wonderful. There was dream work a lot of unconscious work. But in that particular fields of psychology, there was traditionally there's not so much body based work. Right because. By. Its very nature Western psychoanalyst's is all about the head. It it really is even if there was. Trauma that was related to the body. It's still was all about the head and processing in and and that sort of thing and I I think the beauty Buddhism is that ability or that that The teachings of disconnecting from stories. You know it's like the second Arrow right? You know it's like it's not it's not what happens to you that causes suffering suffering happens. It's how you deal with it and and it in your your ability to like keep bringing it home in every one of these practices and I have my my guess is anybody who? Found the the first heart over a hand over the heart way to woo they man and they look ahead and they see it's all over the place. They may never go forward. But like you said, just try it. How could it hurt? You write? It can't hurt you if you're you just need to try it. Yeah just need to try it and it's also noticed your judgments. You know that's just another story they're all stories. Yeah you know and we're all just defying our stories all the time well, if you can take a deep breath and. You know focus on right now. Right the sounds entering your ears will now you're not in a story. Right since what's a? Right I remember teaching someone last year this is prior to the pandemic. reliving trauma from from an accident and in in. Just. No Way to get her to not keep telling stories you know. Sort of like your your your your your guy that you just talked about on his blackberry, but she just kept saying but what about this person? Who said this but what about this person I was I just couldn't get a rope back into the now. Right. So I I asked her to like look at the sky and tell me what she saw and then she started describing cloud and then she started and so I was Ta- teaching her how to bring that in in internally no matter where she was in the thought of the sky in, which is Kinda. The typical Tibetan practices, open sky that kind of thing and so I was teaching that and I remember her saying. In this crack me up, she said, you mean, this is like meditation. And I was like pretty much. Yeah. What you just did was you aware of your thought but then you got you got centered in in the president instead of your stories you you'd let them go. You let because what stories do is they come in and they will go away all by themselves. You don't you know as long as you don't hang onto them and and take him for a ride. Right? Have them take you for a ride she was so shocked and I and this is a person who's was quite worldly and. Who considered herself relatively spiritual but I think this is so typical and sometimes it it makes me sad. Because, I think people don't approach Buddhist practice because they think it's like they can't do it or or yet. Would it really is. So down to Earth do you ever feel sad like ten? As I agree with you there are so many pervasive misconceptions about meditation in general and certainly about Buddhism Buddhist Meditation, and the idea that somehow we would have this blank mind with no thoughts. You know that's one I hear a lot I can't do it I too many thoughts or right or that or they're. You know as you just experience with this student, it's about the quality of attention about holding your attention about being able i. mean hard of freedom is choosing where you get to place your attention. Most of us that's what conditioning does and habit. It just brings our attention back to the same place, but we can rewire that. and that is by learning how to direct our attention. That's beautiful at someone just to look at the sky it's right there. So media, it's happening. Right. Yeah. That's really wonderful that and that embody she right away. It doesn't. You know what you just said is it gives something about it it. It gives you hope because you can at any time redirect your attention and that that was just the. Antidote to my sadness. Thank you. Because you know Buddhist Practices Philip Antidotes because it's the doctors as we talked about. Shanti Davis said but you know. This this makes me feel great because I do think it is very hopeful and you know in in circling back to the pandemic bit because I think we do need to acknowledge it as as that. You know I think there's this sort of for me. There's like this grand potential for people to find this out this the you know even in their own selves even if they don't re- Buddhism or anything but I've had a lot of people who've written to me said, they discovered my podcast because they were looking for something to make themselves feel better during the pandemic and that's the kind of thing that gives me hope it's like your book it's like. People, people may come to this through the pandemic and look back and say, wow, what a wonderful experience that pandemic was like if we if and when we get past it wherever we end up when we do Right I mean it's like your trauma in essence brought you to where you are. Now you're traumatic childhood and your and your later panic attacks. So this may be the blessing you know one of the silver linings absolutely Wendy I mean this is. I mean. From voters point of view everything's an opportunity right every moment even terrible loss grief sickness is an opportunity to practice your attention your compassion using your wisdom like you said seeing the. The what's real? impermanent Israel emptiness Israel suffering his real cause and effect are real. And I was as you can read from my book I was distraught is everybody else And it took me a wild me a few months into this pandemic to say Kim this is where you are. This is where you live. This is how it's going right now and your opportunity is you know what? It's probably unlikely. You're going to be in your house as much as you are right now as long of a period of time. So how can you make that worthwhile? In your work in my practice, you know it's like a retreat. Yeah right and you know I'm very lucky. It's not that I'm stuck in my apartment and someone's tormenting me or I'm hungry. I'm I have a place to live in. It's fine. So for me, I really had to learn to shift my My relationship to it, I kept trying to get out and right good. On A. Base level. That's what Duke is right suffering. Were trying to get out all the time. Experience and there's nowhere to go this. Is it That's that that that's the perfect place to end this conversation because you wrapped it up I mean that that is it's all about grasping, right? It's the first noble truth. It's trying to get out grasping it's pushing away right We're we're still we're still focused on it, but we're pushing it away and the only way out is to acknowledge the fact that we're here. And find a way to deal with it right except what is active acceptance accept what is and as my teacher says, and then keep going just Falko. Exactly. Beautiful. now Kimberly did I is there anything that you want to say that I didn't bring up or any anything you'd like to it up with You know the I do want to quickly just touch on Karma and I'm saying this because Oh. My goodness you've probably noticed lately everybody's talking about people getting what they deserve and. And all the Bitch and oh my gosh, my hair stand on end so. One of the things that's part of reality is the cause and effect are real. Right. Every word you speak all your thoughts are your behaviors have outcomes, and that's what Karma means. Doesn't mean you do something good you get something good. Doesn't mean you do something bad you get something bad. It means that you affect yourself and others through your actions. And when you're deluded. Your actions will be harmful and cause harmful effects or most likely won't be and when you're not diluted and you're in reality, then you can use your actions to benefit people and not harm people. That's that's all it Karma. Means I. Guess I just WanNa say that because people have such a misconception of it. Oh I'm glad you brought that up and yes. If if you spend any time on facebook instagram twitter lately, it's Yeah we know what you're talking about. We won't go down that political Alley but I it's so true that you know there's certain things that do drive me nuts and I done podcast about this first of all a when people say how Buddhists think about this and it's like Oh, for goodness sakes. Buddhist. PUT US don't have anyone way of thinking about anything first of all and Zach. They mean, they think about it however however there Karma makes them think about it right what the causes and conditions that create their thinking and and also to open that up a bit because I think you're I'm so glad you brought it up to open that up a bit. It's like. I keep telling people because because of the divisiveness I I was a crazy nutcase angry in a person about anti massacres, right? I will admit that I could I could not get it out of my head was like I was obsessed and angry and I, and I had to deal with that anger. and one of the ways I doubt within anger. Well, I'll tell you quickly I have a systemic lupus which is an autoimmune disease. So I am severely immune compromised so I don't go anywhere and so to see people. Casually not wear masks always felt like they were out to kill me. Chew was very personal to me and and I had to deal with and one of the ways I doubt with at is is is from a sort of a grand karmic overview a review. If if if I was brought up the way, say this crazy anti-massacre with a q. an-and t shirt on and you know waving a flag and with trump bunker bumper sticker. If that person if I was brought up with the same exact causes and conditions, I'd be them. So I have compassion for them. How could I not I? Right. So. Thank you for that Karma. Karma Karma Karma. Yes So? Is there. Anything else you'd like to bring up or no I just want to thank you. This is really been such a joy should oh yes up with you. When you YouTube Kimberly I I so much enjoyed it and everybody's got to get that book steady calm and brave twenty five practices of resilience and wisdom in a crisis, and also we all look forward to the masterpiece that you're working on that you put aside because of the pandemic I'm sure at some point you're going to be back at it if you're not added already now now that this thing is an overwrite. Off So. Thank you so much kimberly and. It was a joy to have you on the show. Wendy I everybody I hope you enjoyed the conversation with Kimberly and we'll check out her book. If there was ever a time, we needed to learn how to be steady calm and brave. It is now. And don't forget I'm looking for input from everyday Buddhism podcast listeners on how you are finding ways to be steadier. Calm her and braver I've received a few emails but would love to hear from more of you about how you are coping where have you found support? What are some of the resilience building practices or activities you have incorporated in your lives that have helped you walk through the troubled times we're living in. Please email your insights or comments to Wendy. Shinjo. At every day DASH BUDDHISM DOT COM. That's Wendy Shinjo all strung together lower case at every day Dash Buddhism dot com with the subject line. How I'm coping I will reach out to schedule a time to talk with you possibly and then possibly schedule a podcast interview with you and a couple of other listeners. I look forward to hearing from you. And so that's it for this episode and as a reminder as usual, don't forget that there are many ways to join me and others in either the private donation supported everyday Sanga which meets every other week virtually via zoom on Thursday evenings at seven thirty PM. US. Eastern time or are free public open Songo which will now be held every month meeting virtually via zoom on Wednesday evenings at seven thirty PM with Levi Shinjo. Sensei. In until next time, keep finding ways to make yours and everyone's days better.