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May 05, 2006


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I've just discovered your blog and would like to add my support. After being raised as a Christian to my teens I realized that Christianity was full of corruptible ideas and just not really the way for me. I explored other religions but never really found any that stuck to me, and often found myself just being a spiritual person without any religious declaration. I found it enlightening to be able to follow my own flow and not be stuck to anyone else's ideas. I could still base my opinions off of others, but I didn't HAVE to, which I found very liberating. The only problem is I felt alone. Any acquantainces I made who didn't follow a specific religion were just non-spiritual people. I began to feel like I was the only spiritual person who didn't declare a following to any specific religion. It just dawned on me today that there HAS to be someone else out there, so I did a quick search for unorganized religion and the first site I landed on was this one. Thank you for your insights, I have been reading for the past several hours. Before I landed here I envisioned creating my own religion and urging people to follow me, however after reading your posts I see that would even be a bad idea. Again, I thank you, you have no idea how much.

"Big waves aren't dangerous." How big are we talkin' about, surfer dude? I may wish to take issue.

My tai chi teacher always told us it was good to do the form with someone watching. Helped our concentration she said.

Chip, thanks for the kind words. They mean a lot to me. To echo you, you have no idea how much.

Randy, I stand corrected. When I said "big waves" I was thinking of Napili Bay-type big waves, which are vastly smaller than the North Shore-type big waves you're so familiar with.

You're right: a big wave that sucks you under water and keeps you there for a long time can kill you, even if you never hit a rock or reef.

What I was thinking of is my experience with not-so-big big waves that just thrash you around underwater before letting you back up. If you go with the flow, you're fine.

Of course, it could be that one of those "roller" sorts of waves could turn you upside down and smash you against the ocean surface and perhaps hurt you.

But in my boogie boarding experience I've never seen anyone hurt that way--by a wave without hitting a rock or reef. It's always been a hard thing that sends them bleeding into shore, not a soft thing.

Yes, I agree about doing Tai Chi with someone watching. I didn't have trouble with my forms on the beach, aside from coping with the soft sand.

But I've taken to doing my Tai Chi routine in a open space in the athletic club weight room where I work out. I figure that other people roll around on big balls and what not, so I should be able to roll around Tai Chi style so long as I don't run into people.

Some of the Nautilus-type machines face right at me when I'm in my Tai Chi spot. A few times I've become aware of someone seemingly looking at me and gotten self-conscious. Then I'm prone to stumble or forget a move. Interesting.

If I tune my consideration of other people out, while being aware that they're in the room, I do fine. It's thinking, "what are they thinking about me?" that is the problem. Like you said, public Tai Chi does help the concentration.


I have read some of Suzuki's works and admire several aspects of Zen but a couple things in the sections you've quoted seem almost scary. I understand 'going with the flow' but to always do as one pleases and to wield a sword and strike a man down without knowing (until, perhaps, afterwards) doesn't seem like the best social behavior. Yes, those are illustrations but from the quote itself it appears to have actually happened (granted, I would assume, during the days of the samurai) but the principles are still promoted.

From following your meanderings, isn't your goal to 'know' God/The Ultimate/The One? If one lives constantly from the subconscious, wouldn't that forfeit actively 'knowing'? What if the subconscious isn't motivated toward enlightenment?

Steve, I assumed that the swordsman was conscious of the threat facing him, which had to be dealt with, but acted spontaneously and naturally--not from his conscious thinking self.

Haven't you ever said to yourself, "Wow! I can't believe I did that!" In an approving sense, not a chastising sense. Athletes call it "being in the zone." Zen seems to just take this to another level, where you, the zone, and being all are one, so you're not even aware of being in the zone--though you are.

Regarding living from the conscious vs. the subconscious, Suzuki says: "But I must remind the reader not to take me for an anti-intellectualist through and through. What I object to is regarding the intellect as the ultimate reality itself. The intellect is needed to determine, however vaguely, where the reality is. And the reality is grasped only when the intellect quits its claim on it."

Ramana and others say that it is like using a stick to stir the fire and get it blazing, then throwing the stick into the fire. Makes sense to me. How can you realize the One if you are two?

It comes down to faith, in my opinion. Not faith in any particular concept or dogma, but faith that the Ultimate can be known if you relax your hold on the non-ultimate and sink into it.

I do believe that the subconscious is motivated toward enlightenment, as the Buddha taught. All beings desire an end to suffering. That drive leads us to learn what causes suffering. I'm not saying that we need to accept the Buddha's answers--just that our own quest for release from suffering will lead us in the right direction if we're honest with our questions and the answers that we directly experience.

Thanks for the clarification on waves. Glad someone is in Hawaii! If it rains you can watch some surfin' here. http://www.surfsessionreport.com/index.php It's free. I don't surf but I like to watch. Boogie boarding is the right idea. Also, if you haven't read Eddie Would Go, it's good Hawaiian reading.

Like Taoism, going with the flow is not for sissies. Detachment means unhooking the intellect from results. Understanding the threat and facing it with one's whole self means the distinct possibility of dying.

Because the flow includes non-being.

Attachment in this example could be selecting non-rigid thought because of some intuited danger. IMO Suzuki points to the flow of life as sufficient, exactly because it is strong and profound and doesn't require intellectual "additives."

One possible world is where analytical thought is practiced as tai chi forms: fist of decision, clouds of data mining, the snake climbs down deconstruction. You can perform this kind of self-defense in a class, in public place, and then move on. It is a good idea to have someone watch, to give feed back and to make sure you don't hurt yourself.

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