How My Zen Practice & Energy Practice Beautifully Merge
Here is one the best examples of how my Zen practice and energy practice so beautifully merge support one another to the benefit of both.
Exploring Grief by Stephen Levine Some believe they have no grief. This is another aspect of our rigid denial and self-protection. Some indeed may say, “I haven’t lost anyone–why should I be grieving?” If only it were that simple. Most think of grief as a momentous sadness but it is a lot subtler than that. Everyone has grief. Everyone seems to have some unbalanced tally sheet with life, some unfinished business. An incompleteness with the past and with ourselves, a fatiguing self-consciousness, the predominant theme of the unfinished symphony of our mind’s yearning.
Our grief manifests as self-judgment, as fear, as guilt, as anger and blame. It is that insistent mercilessness with ourselves and a world which we hardly let within. Our grief is our fear of loss, our fear of the unknown, our fear of death. Grief is the rope burns left behind when what we have held to most dearly is pulled out of reach, beyond our grasp. At the most microscopic level, one sees that the tendency of the mind to hold, to cling and condemn, to judge, is an aspect of grief. A feeling of “not-enoughness” that longs to become otherwise.
As we begin to direct the energy of kindness to ourselves and others, voices may arise that try to block that way of giving and receiving. These voices tell us that we are unworthy and useless. It is where we feel separate from ourselves. We wonder, looking into the warmed mirror of our self image, why what is reflected back seems so distorted, so unacceptable, so unwhole and unlovable. But even grief is workable. Opening the heart to the mind’s pain, we find space to explore mercifully. Then, instead of constantly appraising what looks back, we observe, we begin to look directly at what looks.
We watch the watcher. We enter the eyes of discovery. And gently approaching the long-accumulated density of our grief, so long reacted to with aversion and disgust, we discover the unexplored territory between the heart and mind. And we acknowledge how often we have distrusted what we feel. Examining what we feel, not analyzing why, we discover the labyrinthine patterns of our grief and unfinished business, the skeletons of so many moments of life which became lost by the wayside. And the darkness of a thousand moments of helplessness and hopelessness is illuminated in clear awareness. That which has seemed so untouchable in the past is cradled in the arms of compassion, and the armoring begins to melt.
The path to the heart becomes straight and clear, recognizing how this exploration of our grief, of the way of our old suffering, opens the path to joy. Those who know their pain and their grief most intimately seem to be the lightest and most healed of the being we have met.