223-11-23-Gil-Attitudes (4 of 5) From Self-Preoccuption to Gratitude
12:55AM Nov 28, 2023
So I want to share with you kind of story of gratitude. Net comes from a one of the one of the very significant scholars of religion, professors of religious studies in the United States named Houston Smith. And he was, he did a great amount of work, spending a lot of time living in different countries, entering into some of the major world religions and participating that in them and studying them in a very deeply appreciative way, and having deep kind of personal relationship with people in all kinds of religions over his very long career. And, and he tells the story of practicing Zen in Japan, at a very strict Zen monastery. And he was there for a month engage in this practice and ended with a week long intensive Zen retreat, where you get some like three hours a night of sleep, very intense, and it was certainly challenging for him. And but then, at the end, when he was going to leave, he went to pay his respects to his teacher, his the Abbot, go to a Roshi and and he was a bit stunned by what he was told. He had been working so the Rinzai monastery and working on kāma ons, he's indig Matic questions that you struggle with. And I had been meditating a lot. And the abbot said to him, colons these agnostic questions can be a useful exercise, but they are not so then. So he thought he had been doing Zen. And sitting in meditation he went on, that is also not Zen. So I think uses MIT was quite stunned and surprised and what what he'd been doing he came to study Zen and some of our shows a much of it was meditation, intensive meditation and, and then these colons and those aren't Zen. So what was he doing?
And so the, the Zen Master then said to him, so you'll be flying home tomorrow, right? And and then he continued, don't overlook how many people will help you get home, ticketing agents, pilots, cabin attendants, those who prepare your meals. He bowed, placed his palms together and about and deep gratitude. Then he did this vow of gratitude to me. And he said, make your whole life. unceasing gratitude. He said, What is then simple, simple, so simple. Infinite gratitude toward all things past infinite service to all things present infinite responsibility to all things future, have a safe journey home. And he gave me a wonderful smile and said, I'm glad you came. So here are the seven master identifies the heart of Zen, with maybe with gratitude, and for all that we receive. And maybe Zen is not meditation. But maybe Buddhism is not the meditation. But meditation it would make clears the heart to clears the mind. So that we can see and feel and experience this life from a place where we're not self centered, self preoccupied, self concerned. So it's so easy for us to be pulled into the world of self concern that everything is referenced in relationship to me myself in mind. We are thinking about ourselves, we have an attitude of self preoccupation, an attitude of self concern, and not just it's reasonable to have self concern. Reasonable take care of ourselves and know where we are and what, what's going on. But when we have an attitude of it, it means part of our mind is always preoccupied with self, always preoccupied with what's in it for me, or I'm not enough, or I'm a problem, or I deserve more, or I, you know, I need to make myself safe. And, and there's an attitude of that. So set a lot of emotions that are centered around this self a cluster of, of preoccupations, that centered around a fundamental attitude that we carry with us a mood or a state that's referencing everything to me myself in mind. And it involves tension, it involves shutting down and involves not really being able to connect fully to the situation. And So meditation is a way to kind of quiet the self concern, the self preoccupation. And a lot of the reasons meditation is distressing is because there is less self involvement in meditation. And so, the source of stress is not operating so strongly. Unless we bring it with us into the meditation self concerned, am I doing well enough, am I concentrated, I need to get do better. So all this game of self that goes on. So letting that that selfing mind become quiet, that attitude decrease, and then it can be replaced, or it can be filled in with an attitude of gratitude. Great, grateful, thankful. There's a Zen saying that to move forward, asserting the self is delusion, to settle back and receive all things is awakening. And there's so much that we are receiving all the time, just to be alive. So many people who are working, just like maybe house, many of you are working in a way that supports other people. So our lives are working to support are supported by so many people. And every day those of us living in, you know, the modern United States, driving on roads, you see electricity, taking water out of a tap in our kitchen. The having maybe insulated homes, having our heater heaters systems in our homes, keeping it warm. All that has been put in place by countless countless people, the food that comes to our table has a whole series of people have had their contributed to bringing it to from the ground up into our kitchen. And, wow, there's a lot that's we receive. If we're self concerned, it's easy to complain. There's not enough, we want more it should be different. It's been said that when we have an attitude of gratitude, we can be happy anywhere. If we have an attitude of complaining, we would complain even in hell, even in heaven. That there's no the CIO to enter into maybe this day. By appreciating that the lowering of self concern, self preoccupation, at least. Where we're preoccupied where we're not good enough. We don't. We're not enough where the situation is not enough for us is not right for us. That for us, it should be different. That's quieting that so no matter what the circumstances we are, to appreciate the goodness of it, the gift of it. Not being able to appreciate the gifts that we receive, I think makes spirituality impossible. Because the spiritual states spiritual freedom, the awakening, that practice of mindfulness, that the deepening subtleness the is really a gift. We can't demand it. We can't assert ourselves do it. If we can't, can't really use it, to build up the self, because then the beauty of this life, the beauty of our hearts, the freedom of heart, the freedom of world is not really available. So to see spirituality is entering into a world of gift receiving. We receive so much and perhaps in receiving those gifts than in the present moment, we can also give, give our smiles give our well wishing, give our deep appreciation for others and who they are. And in our gratitude and appreciation, we can have a vision for a better tomorrow. They we contribute to make for all of ourselves, all of us, not just ourselves. May our gratitude by our deep appreciation, help us work for a better future better tomorrow. No matter how difficult it gets. Let's step forward to contribute in such a way that in the future people have reasons to be grateful for us before we do so thank you very much and I look forward to one more day on this topic of attitude. And I hope that this day goes well for you and and and if you have the ability to meditate extra this day, this is a great day to turn into a mini retreat for yourself. Thank you