Posts Tagged ‘Asilomar Retreat’

the way to the way

January 18th, 2011    -    5 Comments

Ordinary life fits the absolute as a box and its lid.
The absolute works together with the relative
like two arrows meeting in mid-air.
Reading words you should grasp the great reality.
Do not judge by any standards.
If you do not see the Way, you do not see it even as you walk on it.
When you walk the Way, it is not near, it is not far.
If you are deluded you are mountains and rivers away from it.
I respectfully say to those who wish to be enlightened:
Do not waste your time by night or day.

– from The Identity of Relative and Absolute, 8th century Zen poem

A limited number of scholarships are now available to the Plunge at Asilomar, my next retreat on Saturday, Feb. 12. If you or a friend needs assistance, you’ll find the way here. Please leave me a private message via my Contact page.

Photo: The way to Asilomar.

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The long curve of kindness

January 5th, 2011    -    50 Comments

Love is kind. 1 Corinthians 13:4

There is a lot of talk about love. There is a lot of talk about kindness. There is a lot of talk about something we might think is a high-potency spiritual blend of the two called lovingkindness. Oh, that’s the kind of kindness I want!

Everything we say about these things is one degree removed from the thing itself. But here I go in my infinite unkindness.

Lovingkindness is the absolutely emptied, undisturbed, vast and open state of mind we realize through meditation practice. Here she goes about practice again. I’ll find my brand of kindness somewhere else!

There is nothing else.

At the bottom, beneath it all, without any intention or elaboration, is lovingkindness. It is what we are; it is what everything is, as it is. When you actually experience it, not just talk about it, you find out for yourself. These days some people in the “help” business might sprinkle the mumbo-jumbo of Buddhist lingo on top of their talk to give it a little spiritual flavor. But unless you practice, the language alone is unfulfilling. It is inauthentic. When you serve it, no one can taste the truth. What is true?

Being is love; being is kind.

It is immediate and eternal. It is ever-present, absent the insidious self-centered spin we persist in putting on things.

Kindness is the long, gentle, never-ending curve we walk on.

Kindness is what we breathe. Kindness is what we eat, when we are not swallowing the bitter aftertaste of our own unkindness. The kindness of real food is what nourishes and sustains life, which is an act of love. read more

The myth of multitasking

January 3rd, 2011    -    27 Comments

This is the first in a series of posts that I am reprising in the spirit of Asilomar, the breathtaking patch of Northern California coastline which inspired them in the first place. It is my attempt to motivate you to join me there on the Monterey Peninsula on Saturday, Feb. 12 for the Plunge at Asilomar, my next one-day retreat. Read more and then register to attend. In the bustle and fury that accompanies the first working day of the new year, I suggest you allow yourself to do just one thing at a time. You will be amazed at what you get done in no time at all.

I would have written this post earlier but I had a million things to do, and I did them one at a time.

I am a monotasker. By that I mean I do things one at a time. I used to think I was a multitasker. Now I’m not so sure that anyone is a multitasker, although many people think they are quite good at it, and even want to give people advice on how to become better at it themselves.

Learning how to be a better multitasker seems to me like learning to speak another language so you can have multiple personalities. An interesting process but you still end up insane.

During the time in my life when I considered myself a world-class multitasker, I was the head of a company. I worked all the time, doing a lot of different projects, for a lot of different clients, with a busy staff of people. It felt like I was doing everything, all the time, all at once, but I ended most days feeling like nothing got done! Sort of like this:

I suppose because we have more than one hand, we believe that we can do more than one thing at a time. But the brain doesn’t work like that. We have only one brain, and it pays attention to only one thing at a time. You might argue that you fold laundry while watching TV, two things at once. But if you could slow your mind down enough to follow the focus of your attention, you’d see that for one split-second, you were folding the towel, then for the next split-second, you heard a snippet of dialogue. Everyone’s mind is quick and facile, but only focuses on one thing at a time. You took longer to fold the towels and you missed the punch line. The fact is, we are so distracted so much of the time, so overstimulated and preoccupied, that we aren’t paying attention to much of anything at all.

Being a monotasker doesn’t mean you do things slowly. It means you do things singly. And that’s what gets them done. As a mother, you are a megamonotasker. You do a million things a day, one at a time. Your job is to focus your attention on what is in front of you, and let your attention do the job. Attention can do anything, because attention is love.

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a retreat is like this

December 5th, 2010    -    3 Comments

Everything comes out in the wash.

The Plunge at Asilomar
Saturday, Feb. 12, 2011 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m.
Asilomar Conference Center, Pacific Grove near Monterey, California
Registration $100 per person

Sign up on the Retreats page.

P.S. Gone on retreat. Be back when I’m soaking wet.

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