Jundo: BEING MODERATE on "BEING IN THE MOMENT"

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  • Jundo
    Treeleaf Founder and Priest
    • Apr 2006
    • 39272

    Jundo: BEING MODERATE on "BEING IN THE MOMENT"


    I am a moderate on this "be in the moment" thing, which is a wonderful practice ... but also DENIES LIFE in a way and is OVERBLOWN by Zen folks. There are proper times to "just do one thing in one moment," for example, when looking at a flower, just to see the flower and not be thinking about some better flower somewhere else. When I am playing with my kids in the park, it is best to play with my kids ... and not have my head thinking about work or politics. Sometimes I just wash dishes, and pour myself into that, not pondering the tea that comes after the dishes. There are moments too when we pour ourself so fully into washing that self is fully washed away, this pouring water and pouring world and pouring self just a single stream.

    HOWEVER, what need or reason to be such way all or most of the time? When washing the dishes while thinking about baseball or the shopping that needs to be done for dinner, just wash while thinking about baseball and the groceries. THAT TOO IS JUST THIS MOMENT of washing while thinking about baseball and groceries. When sometimes looking at the flower while thinking that there is weeding that must be done, just look at the flower while thinking about the weeding. WHEN HAVE WE EVER FAILED TO BE "IN THE MOMENT" if we just realize that we are ALWAYS in the moments of this life?!

    I work to assist someone who suffered a brain injury by which he is forced to be, always, truly in just the present activity in which he cannot recall or think about the past or future, and must give his full attention just to tying his laces or eating his soup. While we honor everyone's life as truly precious as it is, there has also been loss of important abilities. Human beings were meant to sometimes do one thing doing one thing, sometimes one thing thinking about three things, sometimes doing three things at once.

    Of course, balance is important: If one finds oneself going to the other extreme of ALWAYS multi-tasking, too frequently overwhelmed in thoughts, never able to "be in the moment, just doing one thing" when one wishes, well, that is not good either! Do not simply abandon all opportunities for "just being in the moment, doing one thing, one practice, in one moment!" These are priceless, precious, not to be missed, a gateway in Zazen to the dropping of bodymind! My point is merely that not every moment of the day need or should be so. Please know when to do one thing, and do one thing ... please know when not to do one thing because, to the wise, "doing three things" is also one thing.

    I do not know where the idea started among Zen folks that the 'goal' of this practice is to live the first way every moment of every day. If anything, our practice should not be about "being in the moment," as much as about allowing each moment of life ... happy moments and sad moments, calm moments and busy moments, up moments and down moments, doing one thing moments and many things moments ... to be just that precious jewel of a moment. Please know the timeless stillness that is the heart of each moment, even the most tumultuous moments in life.

    In my view, all of the above together is truly balanced, "mindful" living. That is "being the moment" as each moment comes and goes ...

    Gassho, J

    SatTodayLAH

    Sorry for running long, taking up some moments
    Last edited by Jundo; 09-14-2021, 02:04 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE
  • Kendrick
    Member
    • May 2019
    • 250

    #2
    Thank you, Jundo.

    Gassho,
    Kendrick
    Sat

    Comment

    • Shade
      Member
      • Aug 2020
      • 162

      #3
      Thank you for the post, Jundo.

      I've often wondered about this myself, especially after doing some of the Jukai readings which highlighted the importance of bringing awareness to our mental activity and learning how this activity can propel our behavior. I think the stillness, both physical and mental, that can be briefly experienced during zazen also helps us to understand the connection between our mental activity and behavior.

      However, I'm not sure if we need to be so hyper-focused on one solid thing/activity all the time. I'm glad Jundo mentioned this notion of denying life because I think if we tried to treat every moment of our life like our Zazen practice, it wouldn't be pretty. Well, it wouldn't be pretty for me, anyway.

      That being said, for Ango I've been trying to incorporate opportunities for Samu while doing various kinds of work around the house. Typically I would do this while listening to an audiobook, but I'm trying to just pour myself into the activity of the moment without my headphones. But you know, even when I'm working around the house and listening to an audiobook, I still get caught up in my mental activity and have to bring myself back to the moment of vampires, magic, space lasers, or whatever else I happen to be listening to. So even when we're doing two to three things at a time, perhaps there are still opportunities for bringing our awareness back to the unfolding activity of doing two or three things.

      Sorry for going over three sentences.

      Gassho,

      Shade

      ST

      Comment

      • Jundo
        Treeleaf Founder and Priest
        • Apr 2006
        • 39272

        #4
        That being said, for Ango I've been trying to incorporate opportunities for Samu while doing various kinds of work around the house.
        Yes, do not go to the other extreme and ABANDON all opportunities for "just being in the moment, doing one thing, one practice, in one moment" either! These are valuable, important, not to be missed. My point is merely that not every moment of the day need or should be so.

        Gassho, J

        STLah
        ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

        Comment

        • Anchi
          Member
          • Sep 2015
          • 556

          #5
          Lovely ! Thank you, Jundo.

          Gassho
          Life itself is the only teacher.
          一 Joko Beck


          STLah
          安知 Anchi

          Comment

          • Bion
            Treeleaf Unsui
            • Aug 2020
            • 3734

            #6
            I feel people mistake “being in the moment” for mindlessly obsessing over one particular action at a time. Every moment is a bunch of things happening at the same time, and being “in the moment” means being with ALL OF THAT! I can “be in the moment” eating, while I also check an urgent email and hear music from the neighbors and a dog in the backyard all the while keeping an eye on my kids... Life is everything happening at once and that is just fine!

            Sorry for the length!

            [emoji1374] SatToday
            "Stepping back with open hands, is thoroughly comprehending life and death. Immediately you can sparkle and respond to the world." - Hongzhi

            Comment

            • Bion
              Treeleaf Unsui
              • Aug 2020
              • 3734

              #7
              Originally posted by Shade
              Thank you for the post, Jundo.

              I've often wondered about this myself, especially after doing some of the Jukai readings which highlighted the importance of bringing awareness to our mental activity and learning how this activity can propel our behavior. I think the stillness, both physical and mental, that can be briefly experienced during zazen also helps us to understand the connection between our mental activity and behavior.

              However, I'm not sure if we need to be so hyper-focused on one solid thing/activity all the time. I'm glad Jundo mentioned this notion of denying life because I think if we tried to treat every moment of our life like our Zazen practice, it wouldn't be pretty. Well, it wouldn't be pretty for me, anyway.

              That being said, for Ango I've been trying to incorporate opportunities for Samu while doing various kinds of work around the house. Typically I would do this while listening to an audiobook, but I'm trying to just pour myself into the activity of the moment without my headphones. But you know, even when I'm working around the house and listening to an audiobook, I still get caught up in my mental activity and have to bring myself back to the moment of vampires, magic, space lasers, or whatever else I happen to be listening to. So even when we're doing two to three things at a time, perhaps there are still opportunities for bringing our awareness back to the unfolding activity of doing two or three things.

              Sorry for going over three sentences.

              Gassho,

              Shade

              ST
              Actually, I do think the zazen mind should be applied to every other aspect of our life. The zazen mind is simply unified and aware… it is not excluding or judgmental, dismissive or obsessive. If the state of zazen is, as Dogen says, the king of samadhis, then carrying it to apply it to our other “daily samadhis” or to convert other actions into samadhi, is a true accomplishment.

              [emoji1]

              [emoji1374] SatToday
              "Stepping back with open hands, is thoroughly comprehending life and death. Immediately you can sparkle and respond to the world." - Hongzhi

              Comment

              • Tairin
                Member
                • Feb 2016
                • 2733

                #8
                Well said. Thank you Jundo


                Tairin
                Sat today and lah
                泰林 - Tai Rin - Peaceful Woods

                Comment

                • Shoki
                  Member
                  • Apr 2015
                  • 580

                  #9
                  Thanks for this, Jundo. I've always been cautious about focusing on being "in the moment" so much for reasons stated. It's become a sort of catch-all, stereotyped misunderstanding like the whole "Mindfulness" thing that is always being pushed.


                  Gassho
                  STlah
                  Shoki

                  Comment

                  • Seibu
                    Member
                    • Jan 2019
                    • 271

                    #10
                    Thank you Jundo . Shoki, I completely agree with what you said.

                    Gassho,
                    Seibu
                    Sattoday

                    Comment

                    • Rob Parisien
                      Member
                      • Sep 2021
                      • 14

                      #11
                      Originally posted by Jundo
                      If anything, our practice should not be about "being in the moment," as much as about allowing each moment of life ... happy moments and sad moments, calm moments and busy moments, up moments and down moments, doing one thing moments and many things moments ... to be just that precious jewel of a moment. Please know the timeless stillness that is the heart of each moment, even the most tumultuous moments in life.
                      Thank you Jundo! This is excellent teaching and just what I needed to read right now (!). I was thinking of this very issue today and just like that it shows up on the Treeleaf forum...

                      Rob
                      sat today and LAH
                      “Be humble; you are made of dust. Be noble; you are made of stars”

                      Comment

                      • Rousei
                        Member
                        • Oct 2020
                        • 118

                        #12
                        Originally posted by Bion
                        I feel people mistake “being in the moment” for mindlessly obsessing over one particular action at a time.
                        Gassho.

                        I also feel like this is how I often read this phrase when people use it. Or at least as if the present moment itself becomes the minds obsession, a clinging state.

                        However I've always read this phrase as Avalokiteshvara talking to Shariputra "HERE!". It is in this moment that we dwell so that we do not obsess on the illusory. This does not mean that we cannot think about past present or future. It simply means that we do not dwell within them and allow them to effect us. This is what being in the moment means to me, it is as we do in practice: a letting go of obsessions.

                        It is not a clinging to of the moments obsessions.

                        Gassho
                        Mark
                        ST
                        Last edited by Rousei; 09-13-2021, 09:12 AM.
                        浪省 - RouSei - Wandering Introspection

                        Comment

                        • Bion
                          Treeleaf Unsui
                          • Aug 2020
                          • 3734

                          #13
                          Originally posted by WanderingIntrospection
                          Gassho.

                          I also feel like this is how I often read this phrase when people use it. Or at least as if the present moment itself becomes the minds obsession, a clinging state.

                          However I've always read this phrase as Avalokiteshvara talking to Shariputra "HERE!". It is in this moment that we dwell so that we do not obsess on the illusory. This does not mean that we cannot think about past present or future. It simply means that we do not dwell within them and allow them to effect us. This is what being in the moment means to me, it is as we do in practice: a letting go of obsessions.

                          It is not creating an obsession of the moment.

                          Gassho
                          Mark
                          ST
                          [emoji3526] [emoji1374]


                          SatToday [emoji1374]
                          "Stepping back with open hands, is thoroughly comprehending life and death. Immediately you can sparkle and respond to the world." - Hongzhi

                          Comment

                          • Ryumon
                            Member
                            • Apr 2007
                            • 1693

                            #14
                            Originally posted by Jundo

                            I do not know where the idea started among Zen folks that the 'goal' of this practice is to live the first way every moment of every day.
                            I don't know exactly where I first encountered this idea, but I that Thich Naht Hanh talks a lot about this sort of thing. He's one of those who promotes "mindfulness" as this idea of being in the moment. Here's one example:

                            There is only one moment for you to be alive, and that is the present moment. Go back to the present moment and live this moment deeply, and you’ll be free.


                            I've always felt that this was artificial; that the moment is perfect no matter what we're doing, as long as we can realize that the moment is perfect, but that we don't need to constantly tell ourselves that the moment is perfect for it to be perfect. If we assume that only "being in the moment" is perfect, and that the rest of life is imperfect, then we spend all out time judging rather than living.

                            Gassho,

                            Ryūmon

                            sat
                            Last edited by Ryumon; 09-13-2021, 08:17 AM.
                            ---
                            Ryūmon (Kirk)
                            流文

                            SAT/LAH

                            I know nothing.

                            Comment

                            • Kaishin
                              Member
                              • Dec 2010
                              • 2322

                              #15
                              Originally posted by Jundo
                              I do not know where the idea started among Zen folks that the 'goal' of this practice is to live the first way every moment of every day.
                              Ryumon beat me to it... came here to say, probably TNH. He's constantly talking about the importance of mindfulness. And his books are hugely popular and influential.


                              Originally posted by Ryumon
                              I don't know exactly where I first encountered this idea, but I that Thich Naht Hanh talks a lot about this sort of thing. He's one of those who promotes "mindfulness" as this idea of being in the moment. Here's one example:
                              Thanks,
                              Kaishin (開心, Open Heart)
                              Please take this layman's words with a grain of salt.

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