Grass Hut - 34 - "Relax Completely"

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  • Jundo
    Treeleaf Founder and Priest
    • Apr 2006
    • 39271

    Grass Hut - 34 - "Relax Completely"

    We now come in a relaxed way to the second half of Chapter 27, "Relax Completely" ...

    The author describes a very roundabout way to relax ... which is not trying so much to relax! He describes how we often try to relax in counter-productive ways, with drugs or drink, violent movies or video games. If we are not careful, any of these can backfire.

    He say that in our Zen Way, our way "is about being completely here, with what is - not withdrawing into a transcendant place." He speaks about not trying to relax "from a selfish place". It describes how what is happening within the mind is more the key, rather than some idyllic setting or expensive vacation package. He speaks of "letting go" and "not trying to contol." It is not about trying to force the mind to be at ease, but rather "to allow things to be as they are". He was opened by the words, "Let go ... let go of letting go".

    Question: How skilled are you at such ways to relax?

    Gassho, Jundo

  • Shinzan
    • Nov 2013
    • 338

    As Pema says, no big deal.........
    Plans for the day thwarted, no big deal. Old age and wrinkles, no big deal. Mr K's experience of dying with every breath, no big deal. Beautiful autumn leaves, no big deal. Skilled/unskilled, no big deal. Exhales should equal inhales........
    _/st\_ Shinzan


    • Mp

      Thank you Jundo,

      For me, in some moments this relaxation comes natural, sometimes is doesn't. What I have found for myself is, when it doesn't become naturally it is because my mind is at the controls - once I recognize that, again that state of relaxation comes naturally. =)




      • Joyo

        Thank you, Jundo. I will admit I am several weeks behind with The Grass Hut. I will try to catch up this week.

        sat today


        • Ongen
          • Jan 2014
          • 786

          Hi all,

          Usually I find it quite possible to relax with what is, like Shingen says when I recognise that my mind is controlling things. I must admit that there are moments though where I find it less easy,
          like at this very moment after a week of hassle and only a few hours of sleep. It's still easy when my surroundings are calm, and a continuous daily meditation practise does a lot for that.
          But at this level of physical tiredness it's also very easy to lose the watchful attitude.

          To be honest, I'm quite looking forward to next week when I am relaxing in a (sort of luxurious - there's an open fireplace and a proper bathtub!) holiday home in Germany without the kids. But mainly because it gives me a chance to catch up on my sleep, do a lot of meditation and hiking in nature, regain composure and the strength and restedness to keep that composure going.

          The kind of luxurious holiday with mixer drinks in a luxurious hotel and a lot of partying I think only leaves you yearning for more of that same superficial relaxation


          Sat Today
          Ongen (音源) - Sound Source


          • Risho
            • May 2010
            • 3179

            You can never relax if you continue to run from your life, and you run from your life by not treating distraction as distraction.

            Before I practiced Zen, distraction was distraction, important things were important things.
            When I practiced Zen, distraction was no longer distraction, important things were no longer important.
            Now that I'm done practicing Zen, and really practicing Zen, distraction is distraction, and important things are important things.

            I really enjoy a good video game. I've been playing games since I was 4. I started with Pong at my mom's friend's house. Then I played an Atari 2600; then my first system I owned was the Atari 5200. Then the first system that I partially bought with my own money (paper route and birthday ) was the Nintendo Entertainment System.

            I really enjoy games; I still play time permitting. I enjoy the music, the coverbands that play the music, podcasts about retro-games, the history, the developers. I really like new games too. I love the creative geniuses behind good games. Brilliant minds like Shigeru Miyamoto or Hideo Kojima.

            So when I think about video games, I don't know that I think about relaxation, but I think that also has to do with Zen practice.

            I think relaxation occurs when we face what we don't want to face. I like Zen because it's gritty. After staring at walls long enough, you face your darkest parts that you don't want to face. you think about death. You think about your fears, anger, the scenarios that bother you over and over. And because you learn not to grab onto them or push them away, you learn to be with them. And you realize, they aren't anything but paper tigers.

            So, if anything, I think about video games as diversions; very pleasant diversions, but diversions nonetheless. They can be relaxing, all of life can be relaxing; I really believe that.

            Now, by relaxing I don't mean easy, or gettign into a mindless, zombie state. I mean alive, electric, real; all of it has to do with engagement. Engaging life rather than floating through or trying to avoid. By avoiding situations or trying to push away what I don't like or grasp what I do, I feel the tension; it's the opposite of relaxation obviously. I'm not saying good things are bad. When things are good (seem good to us), enjoy them; when they are gone, let them go. When things are bad, try to use that as practice. Why is it bad? What is this is a classic Zen question, and I think it makes sense; I think we just be with both states and practice. We engage them.

            Real relaxation is when I'm at work, and I have to do paperwork I don't want to do, because I'd rather engineer something, and I dig in and drop the separation and the not wanting and the pettiness.

            Real relaxation is allowing my colleagues to take their own approach to a problem even though I'm itching to solve it myself.

            Real relaxation is not giving unsolicited advice, or not adding divisiveness to a conversation when everyone is rallying against some "other", "wrong" individual.

            Real relaxation is feeling the anger, finding the source of anger, not feeding it with imagined scenarios.

            Real relaxation is metta practice for people who we don't think deserve good.

            Real relaxation is being there: open, listening and not waiting to talk.

            Real relaxation is listening to a friend's heartache when his significant other just betrayed him or when someone close to them died.

            Real relaxation is not pushing against, not pushing away, it's not avoiding.


            Real relaxation is not lying down and giving up; it's fixing your car, painting your house, working out, doing all that you can without the thought of gaining -- just being here

            Real relaxation is just being here, striving for the best we can be, even though there is nowhere to go.

            Jundo said it best here: (Jundo -- please make this a sticky link -it's a classic)




            • AlanLa
              • Mar 2008
              • 1405

              Zen helps me relax by teaching me that I don't have to defend every position or decision or fight with every trouble that comes my way.
              Zen helps me relax by teaching me to let go of right/wrong, this/that, black/white thinking.
              Zen helps me relax by teaching me that the complexity and simplicity of life are not at all as mutually exclusive as they otherwise seem.
              Zen helps me relax by teaching me that my troubles start at the word "my."
              Zen helps me relax by teaching me to let go of "my" self so that life's troubles diminish.
              Zen helps me relax by teaching me to practice off the cushion what I also practice on the cushion.
              AL (Jigen) in:

              I sat today


              • Rich
                • Apr 2009
                • 2596

                No skill.

                Being with nature is relaxing.

                SAT today
                無 (MU, Emptiness) and 氷 (HYO, Ice) ... Emptiness Ice ...