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Do I Know What I Mean

Meaning is an interesting word and possibly now so more than ever. Meaning is something we tend to take for granted, as in you know what I mean. Actually used this way it is more a barrier to understanding somewhat like the phrase: "everybody knows that!" I suggest that Zen is meaning in a more usable sense:

"Even though waves arise, the essence of your mind is pure; it is just like clear water with a few waves. Actually water always has waves. Waves are the practice of the water.. To speak of waves apart from water or water apart from waves is a delusion. Water and waves are one." -  from Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind by Shunryu Suzuki-roshi.

Taiun Elliston-roshi , Abbot of our Silent Thunder Order, puts it this way:

At first, our Zen practice is like a comma in a sentence. We interrupt the normal flow of our daily activities from time to time and pause to meditate. Briefly, like a comma, or for a longer time, like a semicolon; or coming to a full stop, like a period. Afterward, we resume the sentence of our lives. And of course, we encounter a lot of question marks??? And the occasional explanation point! These latter are what keep us going: those eureka! or aha! moments. We are living out the sentence of our life, whether behind bars or not.

Conditions today focus us on Covid-19. This means other issues are shifted downward on our priorities. It also means Covid-19 expands our sense of "what is meaning to me right now?" The moment means most when it might be our last but alas it is always the case and only highlighted when we are faced with severe uncertainty--know what I mean?

In Zen we practice facing each moment as it is, knowing that it is impermanent, it is always interrelated to other people and things, and living is fluid not fixed.

How do we use this Zen stuff in today's conditions? Here are some thoughts:

  • This thing is real

  • The name of the thing is uncertainty

  • It affects us all even if we all are not infected

  • We can have physical distancing but be closer by phone, online or even writing to one another

  • We know how important love is

  • We want to express our love, gratitude, thankfulness now and not wait.

  • Beauty pops unexpectedly

  • We have cleaner hands

  • Zen cleans the mind (Matsuoka-roshi)

  • We are stronger than we thought and even more so knowing we are on the same conditional page

  • We call _______ more than we use to.

  • You can always call me 404-702-7646, or Email:

Know what I mean?

May we all be well


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