Wow! Quite a while since I blogged. Work has been pretty awful lately; I can't wait for this economy to turn around. Although I imagine half of the people I work with will bail as soon as the job market picks up. To cope, over the past several weeks, I have gotten back into meditating on a more regular basis. It's been great! Helps me maintain my sanity in the middle of all the ridiculous crap going on.
I have begun working through Mumonkan (The Gateless Gate) in English. It's one of the key koan collections in Zen. It was written in 1228 by a Chinese Zen monk named Mumon Ekai. These koans are quite a bit more challenging than the ones I was working on before. The koans in Mumonkan are the real deal; some of them are just completely impenetrable. So I give myself as many sessions in zazen as I need before I move on to the next one. I really feel the need for a Zen master sometimes, but since that is not really an option I must continue as best I can on my own.
Something has been happening lately that I'm not sure about. I've found that I've been able to reach samadhi in ordinary life without even really trying to. It just sort of happens. I'm pretty sure it's a good thing, as it suggests I'm learning how to export some of what I'm experiencing in zazen to my everyday life. The bad thing is that it may be making it harder for me to reach samadhi when I'm actually in zazen. It's almost like zazen has become an artificial act. I'm convinced I just need to be more disciplined, but it's got to be a pretty commonplace conflict. It's a disconnect between the pure and clear experiences I have in samadhi and how I deal with 'normal life'.
For now, I'm just going with it and we'll see where it leads.