Shikantanza

Who is just sitting?
It is not me, or is it,
here on the cushion.
Who is asking the question?
Nobody really knows that.

13 JUN 2024

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This Moment of Now

In a moment’s span
life expands to fill the void;
a flower blooming
is a gentle breath of air:
earth and sky come together.

04 JUN 2024

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Thisness

I think, therefore I am not being.
When I am, I don’t need to think about it;
How does a raindrop perceive itself,
either forming in the cloud,
dripping down the sky,
or disappearing in the ocean?

It is only wet.
There is no deep dive required.

30 APR 2024

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Sprung

Just when the flesh is willing, then the spirit becomes weak:
our words bubble up easier, but they’re harder to speak.
So often, much less useful when determining one’s fate,
and many times, just wasted, once the hour becomes late. Then when the spirit’s willing, the flesh can tend to fail:
there’s steam to blow the whistle, but rust built up on the rails.
The reflex meant for rolling gets caught up, its aging gears
left toothless and un-oiled, neglected for so many years.We spend our spirit carelessly in worship of the flesh:
admiring how a thing performs based solely on its dress,
and burning out our bodies chasing bright and shining mist;
extravagantly wasting wealth on what doesn’t exist. And when the flesh is worn and old, we try to lay the blame
on time and chance, forgiving of the player, not the game.
Then spirit tries to rally, but the best that it can do
is play the sad curmudgeon for a last season or two. 24 APR 2023

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15 AUG 22

What is our conversation now,
in this new world of self
where all our time and energy
just builds a cluttered shelf
for trophies that we give ourselves
and prizes we amass
to demonstrate a sense of worth?
It seems a little crass
to focus our attention in
so tight a frame and sphere,
while worrying our waking hours
that we might disappear
without that click-and-clack applause
from friends who use our name
to sell their own inventions,
in a never-ending game
of who said what and when to whom
and why should someone care.
We all pontificate and cast
our notions on the air,
expecting a contagious wind
to drop them here and there,
in pockets of sunlight and shade
where they will die, or grow;
and give us more to talk about,
or nothing. I don’t know.

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The beginning of something

It’s true in companies as much as in society: evil flourishes when good people do nothing to stop it. That’s particularly true when both building and destroying evil are not absolutely binary, but tend to creep in, their gray shadowy influence working by osmosis rather than immediate absorption. The little things, both positive and negative, slip in unannounced, unnoticed. You can be as mindful as possible, and still the busyness of getting through the day distracts you from the weeds breaking the soil surface that unchecked will choke out your roses.

We all wax philosophic about excellence, quality, continual improvement. Our focus is on managing up, building engagement and momentum, developing leadership traits, and putting our best feet (and attitude) forward. 

But at the same time, regardless of our efforts to be our best selves and organizations, discord sets in. It’s human nature to be suspicious of change, after all, even beneficial evolution – which requires long-term wide angle vision and not myopic self-concern to appreciate, anyway. The lullaby of “we’ve always done it this way” is like a siren’s song that draws many a corporate ship on the rocks. And there are those among us, as Alfred from Batman noted, “who just want to see the world burn.” 

How do you fight against an enemy you can’t see – a particularly passive-aggressive guerrilla fighter who pops out of the jungle when you turn away to sow the seeds of discontent and dissatisfaction? You have to pay attention to the naysayers and Cassandras, if only to get a sense of the weather. And you learn more from mistakes than victories – so you’ve got to lose. As if there were a choice. You don’t get the 10,000 hours of experience required to build expertise by making all your free throws. At the beginning at least you probably miss quite a few. 

But it gets better. So long as you don’t think in terms of “forever,” like “Will I have to do this forever?” You really have to remember the old saw, “This too shall pass.” It may seem like an eternity, but it isn’t. Nothing, you included, good or ill, has unlimited time. Everything else has limits, too. We occupy a finite space that only exists right here, right now. There is only so much each individual can change – directly. But good, like evil, grows by osmosis, by contact. 

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6 FEB 2022

If what is real is unseen by the eye
and what surrounds us each day is a dream;
if striving is just filling time with try
while waiting here to die in vain, it seems

a pointless waste, a useless, crying shame
pretending our investment is worthwhile.
Who cares who wins or loses at this game,
or if the victor chooses skill or guile

with which to gain advantage? In the end,
if all is merely ghosts and make believe,
why bother with imagine and pretend
that we arrive, and killed by time, we leave?

Because. Because the journey is the point.
Enjoy the view; it does not disappoint.

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