Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Our minds buzz like bees

I am totally out-of-sorts, beside-myself, not-in-my-right-mind, not-myself-today, of-two-minds; every year I grow older I see the turning word, the koan, in these self-referential complaints my parents used. All ways of saying not in harmony, riven, dislocated.

Ikkyu managed his robust life in the arts [and the brothels] because his foundation was zazen, "just sitting." The practice of being of one mind. The iron cow of zen, the heart of the matter. Just sitting. Just sitting, watching thoughts and feelings, the stream-of-consciousness bearing cognitive and affective dinghies and tugboats, the occasional freighter [cancer, divorce, job loss] passing by. Health mending and deteriorating. Problems shaking you silly, then ameliorated. Breathe in, breathe out. Simple, right?

Our minds buzz like bees
but not the bee's minds.

There's the rub. Being out-of-sorts, what sort am I? Once, maybe a dozen years ago, I referenced my *unconcious mind* when speaking with Dharma Field head teacher Steve Hagen. He said, with an improbable confidence, "Jesse, there's only one mind." What is this mind that is buzzing, put upon, unsettled?

I write this now as my head is abuzz, foul and out of sorts. I have had several reversals of fortune this winter, with my health and my finances and other matters of consequence. That will clarify the buzzing mind, or gradually drive you stark raving. Usually the latter first.

Zen is "just sitting", sure. And "just acting", before the buzzing resumes. I have been hostage to these reversals, and need to return to zazen.

When hostage to the twins sisters of bum-fuckery, ambivalence and procrastination, just sit, just act.

don't wait for the man standing in the snow
to cut off his arm. help him now.
~ Ikkyu

Our minds like bees
but not the bee's minds.
It's just wings not heart
they say, moving to another flower.
~ Jim Harrison, After Ikkyu and Other Poems


William said...

I hope there will soon be a turnaround in your bad fortune and I strongly suspect there will be. It's been an awful year for just about everyone I know, employment loss being the worst consequence of all.


jesse said...

Thanks, Bill. Yes, tough all over, pervasive gloom this winter.
I am trying to keep a focus on sanity, that is the spirit of zazen.