Like Words Together Reflections from the deep end of Practice.


Absolute Beginner

I feel really resistant to the practice of writing tonight. I really don't want to write and am relying upon the "practice" part of this to get me going. I'm tired physically and mentally. My emotions still feel right up at the surface, unsettled. Maybe not as bad as last July, so some progress, but like my going up hills on bicycle, it feels slow.

AM and I, as well as CK and I, have been talking about going to the NVC (non-violent communication) class being offered by our Zen community next month. Learning how to more compassionately express our needs and emotions to one another. I am looking forward to this chance to learn really useful skills together although it is tough since right now my emotional stuff feels so present and big.

I'm listening to Absolute Beginners right now and there's a sweet irony to it. My feeling so inadequate these past few days, all the emotions and challenges that my family relationships bring up, fits with the idea of a beginner in one view. I don't feel very comfortable being a beginner for the most part. In most everything I do there's some level of anticipatory-anxiety, dread.

There's the other side of being a beginner, the state in Zen described as Shoshin. Shunryu Suzuki was known for saying that in the beginners mind there are many possibilities, in the experts mind there are few. My mind in the state of beginner sees endless possibilities for humiliation, retribution, anger, shame, and utter failure. My inner critic summons up wild waves of fear and blinds me to any other outcomes. The work in retraining my mind is to see the possibilities for joy, for success & accomplishment, pride, happiness, and peace. Not to try and eradicate the thoughts based in fear, just to achieve parity in vision so I perceive the thoughts based in peace equally.

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