December 30, 2012
For concentration practice, I use the two main koans from Mondo Zen: "Listen" and "Know/No." I particularly like "Listen" because I parlay that directly in to deep, active listening with people, and it serves all my relationships well. In daily life, I like to use whatever I can as a reminder to live from Selfless Awareness. Nature's beauty is one, and me getting uptight about stuff is another. In 2013, I realized I could no longer make excuses not to sit every day. I committed to sit every day in 2014, aiming for 30 minutes per sit, but allowing even 5 minutes to count. That way I could build momentum. I sat every day in 2014 and 2015, and now can't imagine not sitting daily. My new daily goal is 45 minutes with 30 minutes as the back up. More importantly than minutes and goals, my life is different; I see myself living in a meditative state more and more. My life experience has become so much more graceful and peaceful... and real. I hope you'll give yourself the same gift.
Like all of us, the initial drive was to get free from the noise in my mind, "find peace" and truly wake up. Sufficiently out of the brambles, I simply want to lead a life that serves Earth and people with as much clarity and quality as I possibly can, and to support people establishing and sustaining an authentic meditation practice.
Many and not enough. As Junpo says, "The first one hundred retreats are the most interesting." I highly recommend a minimum of one per year as a #1 life priority. The years that I could attend three retreats were among the best years of my life.
I've attended 26 Hollow Bones week-long retreats since May 2002, and ordained as a priest in 2011. I train with founder Junpo Denis Kelly and his dharma heir, Doshin MJ Nelson. I practice Ashtanga yoga as well.
I appreciate everyone coming today, and for the opportunity to share this practice that has so beautifully transformed my life. I make no pretenses about how "awake" I am or not, as my monkey mind chatters while practicing zazen, and I am grateful for the chance to collectively support one another in remembering and living from the Pure Awareness inherent in us all. I look forward to sitting with you again. Wishing everyone strong and clear practice, Paco