Tag Archives: zendo

The Lights Go Out and the Ball Gets Dropped

“I make mistakes, I am out of control and at times hard to handle. But if you can’t handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don’t deserve me at my best.” – Marilyn Monroe

Last Wednesday night, the electricity here went out for a good 18 hours. There were hurricane like winds and I guess shit got blown out.

Obviously, I wasn’t able to post for a day or two. However, even afterward, I was out of the habit, and it’s taken me this long to get back on the horse.

Since we’re looking at the past, let’s look at how the past weekend went:

Thursday

I got bored sitting at home with no electricty, so I went over to King Lear’s. Toegether, we were bored out of our minds and decided that we should take advantage of the relatively good weather and take a stroll across town. He brought his camera and we had an adventure. We saw some people we knew, met some new people, checked out a few lesser known sites of the city, it was all around a good time.

Around 8:45 we headed to the bar.

Nothing of note really happened, outside of TeacherGirl making an appearance. I had met TeacherGirl last week and thought I really hit it off with her, but when I called texted her at the number she gave me later that night,  it was the wrong digits.

When she said hello, I didn’t mention the wrong number because maybe I’ve read too many PUA texts and generally they said that would be a bad idea. Still, I had a hard time masking that I was angry at her, so much so that she came back later and said that I seemed angry at her. I told her, “no, not at all.” This was a complete lie, because of course my feelings were hurt. But that was how I WANTED To feel.

It’s hard to put the ego down sometimes. It feels like, no matter how hard I try, I am still very much attached to this world. The point is to stop trying, the enlightened buddhist might say. I am thinking too much.

Anyways, I tried to chat her up, but after like a minute she interrupted and told me she had to go. Very awkward exchange. Part of it is because King Lear was rude to her. The next day I pondered whether she had just been in error in giving me the number or whether she had intentionally given me the wrong number. If the number she typed in was error, then she was probably pissed that I never called.

I guess I’ll never know. If I see her again, I COULD confront her about it, but even if she did, she’d probably deny it, and I’d get the number out of pity.

I am THINKING too much. Fuck, I am a chode. I am going to assume good faith, and if I ever do see her again, tell her that I think she mistyped her number into my phone and that’s why I never called. It’s honest and non-accusatory, I like it.

We went to after hours later and somehow made it like 14 hours of drinking constantly. I had a nice buzz going, but I wasn’t drunk because I didn’t want to repeat last week.

****

Friday:

I didn’t go out on Friday for the second week in a row. It’s hard when you put in Thursdays like that. Not this week though, I am going to do all three days this weekend.

****

Saturday:

I went out by myself.

No one I roll with wanted to go out, and I had stuff to do until around 11-11:30, so I went to a nearby bar where my friends were spinning and they had *gasp* a pudding wrestling competition.

Now, there are a number of a reasons a pudding wrestling competition doesn’t appeal to me. Firstly, I went to college and I was in a frat, so I’ve seen many pudding/jello/plain wrestling competitions in my day. Secondly, in an over-sexualized society where I can see Ava Devine get blasted in her vagina and her asshole at the same time with a few clicks of the mouse, something as tame as a pudding wrestling competition isn’t going to do anything for me. Lastly, I go out to talk to girls, and pudding wrestling didn’t strike me as a place to talk to women.

I stayed until the first round was over then I headed to another bar.

I ran into HipsterGirl at the next bar. HipsterGirl is the one I ate mushrooms with not too long ago. I come in just as her friends are leaving. We talk for awhile about whatever.

She tells me at one point, “I really like hanging out with you…” while staring into my eyes, which would have been any self-respecting man’s invitation for a full makeout session, but nope. I dropped the ball.

We head back to the pudding wrestling because she wants to, but the nights over. I don’t know why I wasted our time. After that, we went to a random house party where she kinda knew the people living there. She started talking to this dude she knew and I felt out of place so I left.

She asked me at one point, “Should I be leaving with you…?”” And I simply said, “No, stay.” I think my ego was bruised at this point because she was paying more attention to this guy than me, but there is this feeling inside me that I just didn’t care if she came back to my place or not. Maybe I am just not attracted to her like that.

Maybe it’s, like I said before, that I was looking more forward to seeing Ava Devine get blasted with two dicks than actually bringing a girl home myself.

Sad.

*****

SO HERE WE ARE AT A NEW WEEK!

Routine-wise, I hope to pick up where last week left off. I have been exercising, meditating, and writing rhymes every morning/afternoon, depdending on when I wake up. I want to add a little running at some point – that’ll happen this weekend and eventually, move my meditation up to 30 minutes. Twenty minutes feels so short!

Most importantly though, I want to put down the porn for a little while. I don’t watch it nearly as much as I used to, but I still feel like it ruins my experiences when I go out. A once a week binge would be good.

The problem is, that I don’t get excited about sex. I get nervous about it, because I am not sure if I’ll be good in bed or not. For porn however, since I am not dependent on anyone, I am totally in control.

Ah, I’m thinking too much again. I need to assume that I’ll always perform well, and enjoy sex as sex. Live in the present moment, motherfucker.

One day it’ll click for me, you’ll see!

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Return

“Tomorrow is often the busiest day of the week.” – Anonymous

I returned to the zendo today for the first time in a month. I had been meditating daily since Monday, and figured this wouldbe a good time to go back. Of course it was blistering cold outside and the sidewalks were littered with slippery ice. I still trudged onward because I knew that the benefit was greater than the cost.

Before, I used to fret about the opportunity cost of time or whether I was really getting anything out of going to the zendo. I would end up not going and find myself loafing around on the computer for hours on end. Now, I feel like I actually did something with my day.

Before I left, I was reading Steven Pressfield’s The War of Art, which gave me motivation.

The sitting was HARD because I hadn’t been there in forever, and my practice at home is only for 20 minutes as opposed to two sittings for 30 minutes. At times, I tried to keep my thoughts from racing. Other times, I simply tried to let go and let them pass. Both gave me the same measure of success.

Afterward, we learned about a man named Kuike who was the credited with bringing Zen Buddhism to China. We are reading the Transmission of Light, which are short stories about the first fifty-three Zen Masters in chronological order.

I enjoyed the story told today about Kuike, a man who was first rejected by the Bodhidharma, but later accepted after he cut off his own arm. Bodhidharma stressed that having an attachment to the body is not desired, and thus Kuike was well on his way to enlightenment.

Kuike was later executed by his government, wrongly accused by an overzealous monk, much in the way Jesus was.

All in all, I am glad I went, and look forward to keeping up with this habit on a weekly basis.

***

Going back to The War of Art by Steven Pressfield, the beginning pages speak of an interesting concept called Resistance.

He says that we all, as humans, have two kinds of lives. The Unlived Life (our potential), and the life that we are actually living. In the middle is Resistance. Pressfield personifies Resistance, calling it evil, and entity that much be fought at all costs. We know that we have succumbed to Resistance when we think about not doing something that we feel that we should do and anxiety or unhappiness begin to manifest themselves.

I haven’t read past Book One, but maybe I’ll talk about it a little more as I get further into the book.

The Best Year of My Life (part 3)

“If you’re walking down the right path and you’re willing to keep walking, eventually you’ll make progress.” – Barack Obama

First, some thoughts about yesterday.

Yesterday was a historic moment in our nation’s history. While I don’t think Barack Obama will the savior that many people are looking for, I do think that he will be a more effective president than the man we had in office for the past eight years.

Furthermore, it is hard to ignore the symbolic value of Barack’s presidency-he has broken down what might be considered the final color barrier for minorities in America. Does that mean he has single handedly ended racism? No, racism or discrimination for that matter will always exist in a ego-fueled society. Barack Obama has pereservered in spite these barriers. I think that is very powerful and inspiring.

I am disheartened when I hear or read about people who say that they could care less about what happened. Yesterday was one of the most remarkable events of our lifetime, whether you agree with the mans views or not. His middle name is “Hussein” for crying out loud. It goes to show, that no matter the odds, no matter the, if you have the will, YOU WILL SUCCEED.

David Wygant has a very inspiring video related to yesterdays inauguration:

Onto the goals update.

Without further ado:

I realized yesterday that in following my New Deal Plan, it makes more sense to have daily, weekly, and overall goals. I am going to list my weekly goals here at the beginning of every week.

– Find a new job – It looks like the job that I thought I had gotten has fallen through.
– Finish song.

Overall goals:

1. Write on this blog everyday

21 days and counting, no stops. There have been a few close calls, but honestly I really like writing this blog everyday. It is therapeutic, and helps me get my thoughts in order.

2. Cut down on watching porn

I am surprised that this is going so well. I have cut down IMMENSELY on my porn watching, and have even skipped days. Having women in my life helps cut down on this a lot. Also, I have made watching porn much more of a ritual-I watch one full scene, and practice my Stalin technique throughout. It is much more of a practice of restraint than pleasure.

3. Meditate Everyday

I am on a once a week average with meditation. I meditated yesterday but was interrupted by my Father calling, I actually thought it was the alarm sounding to end the session. Tonight, I plan to return to the zendo depending on when my date with the redhead is. I will probably miss out on the Transmission of Light reading, but I am not sure that I get much out of these readings.

4. Exercise/Eat healthy

The Hamburger Helper is gone, so my eating is a lot healthier. I have been splurging on KFC every Sunday, but I think that will end once football is over. This morning I had a chicken salad, which is probably what I will also have for dinner.

I have to save the money for the gym membership because I am now unemployed. Although, a few pushups and sit ups to start my day wouldn’t be bad.

I need to come up with a morning routine!

5. Apply for new job/Graduate School

Applying for new jobs is now a necessity since I am unemployed and have no money saved. I made a rash decision to quit my job and am now dealing with the consequences. I made an appointment with a temp agency for Monday, but what I’ve been doing for the past couple of years.

I am going to start working on grad. school apps starting today.

6. Meet More Women

I fell off pretty bad this weekend. Thursday I didn’t do anything, Friday I was embarassed by the redhead, Saturday I didn’t do anything, and even on Sunday I was introverted. I am in a slump right now. Too much inside my head.

This weekend will be different, mainly because I will be cutting down on the alcohol since I am now broke. But I will also be returning to the top 40 clubs, which I haven’t really gone to since the fall started. I am just going to have to step up, be a man, and not be outcome dependent.

7. Learn How to Drive

Going out to practice with Hero in about an hour or so. Will schedule test in the next week or two. Since I am unemployed, there is daylight, which means there is time to practice!

8. Finish Rap Album

I finished a verse yesterday, I just have to fix it up. A good hour a day or so will help. I really enjoy writing, it’s stupid that I don’t do it more often!

9. Better Management of $$$

This has me pretty nervous right now. I have no steady stream of income coming in as of today (my last paycheck was received). I have enough to pay my bills and enough food to last until the middle of next month, but my social life will suffer dearly. I am confident I can whether this storm and make better decisions in the future.

Best Year of My Life (part 2)

“Mission is at the heart of what you do as a team. Goals are merely steps to its achievement. Mission has an eternal quality. Goals are time bound and once achieved, are replaced by others.– Patrick Dixon

It’s Friday. I had the day off because I was fired yesterday. It hasn’t been the most productive day, although I did get some things done. A lot of it was spent texting Red from Wednesday.

Without further ado:

1. Write on this blog everyday

Haven’t missed a day yet, sixteen and counting. There have been a few that I have technically finished the next day, like after midnight, but I am going to count it as the same day as long as it’s finished before I go to sleep.

It takes me a lot less time to write these posts now, and I think that I am improving grammar-wise. Hopefully, there aren’t any tense shifts in my posts anymore.

Good job!

2. Stop Watching Porn Cut down on watching porn

I amended this goal a little bit- I have simply cut down on my watching, only at the end of the day after I have accomplished all of my tasks. Doing this has actually made me lose the zest I once had to watch porn. There were two days this week where I didn’t watch any porn at all. Even last night, I put some on, and just wasn’t feeling it, so I turned it off.

I think that the reason I watch porn is because I have self-esteem issues. The times when I go off on some crazy binge and download and watch nothing but porn all day are when I feel the worst about myself. Conversely, when I have women in my life, and I feel that I am accomplishing things, it is the first thing that goes out the door. I know that it’s bad to use women as validation, but that isn’t necessarily the case with me. I find that I stop watching as much porn if I simply OPEN and talk to women, no matter if I get played or not.

3. Meditate Everyday

I meditated once this week, and it was a bad experience.

I was very anxious throughout the whole sitting, wondering when it was going to end. I didn’t even last the full 30 minutes. Instead of going to zazen at the zendo this week, I went on the date with the redhead.

It’s not that I don’t want to meditate, but when I get home I think about all of the things I have to do and meditation is always the first thing cut out. Meditation has a TON of benefits for me, I am going to make it more of a priority.

When I get home from work, I am going to meditate, even if I am hungry.

4. Exercise/Eat healthy

I have the $$$ for the membership to the gym, but since I got fired prematurely, I am going to have to save that money.

I ate the last of the hamburger helper this week, too. I told myself, when the last box is done, no more of that for you. I made some pasta tuna salad which has lasted me a couple of days!

5. Apply for new job/Graduate School

It looks like that new job is falling through, so I am going to get on the ball with this very soon. I will call the temp. agency on Monday and start applying for permanent jobs  next week.

As far as graduate school, no movement on that front. I need to make a plan of recommendations and get ready to write the best acceptance letter ever. I am afraid of failing, that’s why I haven’t done this yet.

6. Meet More Women

Met the redhead last Saturday, and talked to a few more girls that night, but I did nothing last night. I need to write down my goals for each specific night in my notepad before I go out, just like PUA Sinn says.

Honestly, I really like the redhead. There aren’t too many girls that I can get along with on an intellectual level. It might be cool to get serious with this girl. I don’t know, I’ll have to see how it goes. Part of me thinks that this is a cop out to stop sarging. I am conflicted.

7. Learn How to Drive

No progress here this week, although if I’m not working next week, getting some practice in during the day could certainly be helpful. I’ll have to schedule a test in the very near future.

8. Finish Rap Album

I wrote a little today, but not enough to finish a song. I hope to complete a song either tomorrow or Sunday. I want to complete one song per week.

9. Better Management of $$$

Much better on this front this week, I stuck to my budget and didn’t spend too much eating out. Getting fired changes things though, I am going to have to conserve and cut things out until I get something steady.

I am sure that this will be the best year of my life.

Description of the Practice

“When you sit, you will sit…” – Shunryu Suzuki

When I arrived home from work today, I sat for the first time in a week.

It was hard.

Whenever I sit at home, I get this nagging feeling that I have set my alarm incorrectly and that I’ve been sitting for too long. This stems from an actual time when I sat for 50 minutes because I mis-set my alarm.

As such, every so often I will stop meditating TWO minutes before my scheduled 30 minute goal. There are times when I get disappointed with myself for stopping early, “why couldn’t you just stick it out for TWO more minutes???” I would scream at myself, but this does no good. Today, when I stopped early, I told myself that I was thankful to have lasted 28 minutes, and that next time the full 30 would be well within my grasp.

When I sit at home, I sit on my bed and stare at a wall. I don’t have the space for a zafu and zabuton, so I make do. When I go to zazen at the zendo, it makes for an uncomfortable hour because I am not used to sitting in seiza position. Oftentimes, my foot will fall asleep.

I learned long ago not to expect anything out of my practice. If my mind wanders, I simply let it wander. I know that if I start thinking thoughts like, “no I should not be thinking about that, I shouldn’t be thinking about anything!” It will lead me down a path of frustration. My practice is a much more enjoyable experience this way. It is filled with brief periods of what I would consider to be no-mind, I lose consciousness of everything-to the point of when I come to, I am startled and have to remind myself where I am. It is like waking up from a sleep but in actuality, I was wide wide awake.

When I was practicing on a daily basis, I started encountering very brief periods where I felt light headed, and was overcome by a tingling sensation. The word “calm” is the best way to describe my emotion in these situations. It’s like I understood or maybe even no longer cared about all of the problems and issues in my life. Even if just for a second…

A guy at my zendo said that as I practice more, I will begin to add new things onto my practice. I don’t know what he meant then, but after that experience, I think I have at least a cursory understanding.

There are also times when I practice that I find myself fighting off sleep. I implore myself to struggle through these times. I try to concentrate on my breathing. Slow, deep, breaths…

More often than not however, I skip meditating altogether. The usual reason is that it is taking up to much time during my day. I simply have too much to do. It’s at these times I forget how beneficial sitting can be for me. First, you mental benefits that doing an acivity consistently brings, but when you meditate, you also, at its most basic level, have a 30 minute reprieve from the world. Your problems, they are out there, in the world. When you sit, all you have are your thoughts. Nothing more.

Happiness is Right Here, Right Now!

“Try to be happy in this present moment, and put not off being so to a time to come,—as though that time should be of another make from this, which has already come and is ours.” – Fuller

I should be at the zendo right now, meditating.

Instead, I am here at the computer, writing this blog.

I started off well intentioned. I get paid on Wednesday, and I have NO food in my refrigerator. I wanted to avoid eating out for lunch tomorrow so I ran to the supermarket after work. It’d be closed after zazen and study ended. When I got home, I had maybe 15 minutes to unpack the groceries, get ready then run down to the zendo.

That wasn’t happening.

I could have been late, but being late for zazen is plain rude. Walking through the zendo, setting down my zafu and zabuton and getting myself situated, it made no sense.

There will be next week.

Next week, I will plan my grocery shopping for the day before or after. It’s all a matter of working out the kinks.

Just like the tortoise, I will prevail in the end.

Since I’m home now, I can work on that assignment that I’d been meaning to do for the past couple of days.

I want to talk about some ideas in things I read or listened to in the past couple of days

A recent post on Erika Awakening’s blog, Awakening from the Dream, talks about overcoming emotions:

In an ever-shifting world, how do we keep our inner game rock solid? The best way I have found is paying attention to my feelings, literally moment to moment.

This is also a concept that Eckhart Tolle features pretty prominently in The Power of Now. Once I become aware that I am experiencing a negative emotion, I will become detached from it and easily get over that negative emotion.

At the zendo, we often have philosophical discussions, and someone will always say, “it’s okay to be angry, but it is important to just let that emotion pass through you, do not let it linger, let it pass through you.” This is exactly the same thing.

It is important not to identify with negative emotions, to not let them become a part of you. Sometimes I will hear people sometimes refer to themselves and say that they are “an angry person,” which they don’t realize is something that they choose to be!

I bring all of this up because today I was at work talking on chat with this one guy who was fired maybe two weeks ago. I was bitching about my job to this dude. I was pretty riled up at the time. Then, at one point, I took a step back and was like, “whoa, I am pretty angry right now, and there is no need to be.” I apologized, changed the subject, and felt 10x better!

When experiencing a negative situation or emotion, there are two things to do:

1.) Change the situation.

2.) Accept the situation fully.

In the case of my job, I have to accept the situation fully, because I simply cannot afford to stand up and quit. I am applying for other jobs and am pretty close to getting one as we speak.

Today, I was listening to David DeAngelo’s Man Transformation (can you tell that I love this guy??? Mancrush!) and heard this affirmation:

“Happiness is right here, right now.”

…which perfectly sums up the ideas I have just expressed. There is no, “I can’t wait until…” NO! Happiness is in what I am doing right here and right now. If I am not experiencing happiness, then I must either change the situation or accept it fully. The trick is to remember this when in a heated moment. Man, I should get a poster with that affirmation put right on my wall! My friends are going to think I am some weird self-help geek, but whatever!

Other notes:

– Notice how I started using the first person instead of second in this post. That is a topic for a whole OTHER post, my friends! Until tomorrow! 🙂

– If you haven’t already, check out Erika Awakening’s blog, Awakening from the Dream. She has some good articles for the PUA’s out there, from a females perspective, along with some insights on A Course in Miracles, which sounds interesting. Remember what David DeAngelo said about fully understanding another person?

The Importance of a Full Nights Rest

“To be nice, I sacrifice things like no sleep…” – Canibus

I went to bed at 2:30 AM last night.

I usually like to go to bed a little earlier, 12-12:30 at the latest, but there was so much stuff to do that I didn’t make it until then.

This led to me waking up at 8AM this morning.

I thought I could make it up bright and early this morning, I even set my alarm for thirty minutes EARLIER, but no, I got into that nasty habit of turning my alarm off. All of the sudden it was 8:10 and I hadn’t gotten out of bed, yet.

Getting out of bed in my cold apartment was not fun. I kept telling myself, “oh just stay under the covers a little longer!”

I didn’t have much to eat during the day. I had bought a steak and potatoes pizza on Sunday but didn’t realize I only had one slice left and no money for lunch. By the time I got home from work I was exhausted and hungry.

I skipped meditation, ate some dinner and here I am writing this post, trying to make the best of the rest of my night.

Here goes an already used quote: “Failure is the opportunity to begin again, more intelligently.”

I read Zen Habit’s Leo Babauta’s blog about becoming an early riser and got some good pointers. It has become apparent that this will not be a goal attained automatically, but slowly over time. As long as I keep hacking away at this blog daily, I will be reminded of the destination and keep trudging forward.

Tomorrow is zazen at the zendo, I will be sure to make it there. Gotta remember to set aside some good socks, no one likes sitting and smelly stinky socks!

More of David DeAngelo’s Man Transformation today at work. Nothing really of note on the third disc outside of an extended debate between audience members on whether a man should have try to have sex with a girl as soon as possible, or should he wait to have a lasting relationship?

The actual point of the debate was for the two audience members to actually understand what they were saying. Too often we get caught up in our opinions and don’t try to understand opposite points of view.

Now that I think about it, it’s actually a great point to make. I know that I often get caught up in my own opinion and don’t try to understand where others are coming from.

Another reason for the exercise might be that the reason some men don’t have the success they want with women is because they don’t try to understand women-they have very limited contact with females and therefore base their whole perception on either that limited contact, or the hypersexualized image they see in the media.

Anyways, this kid made an affirmation in the third disc, and I am going to make the same here on my blog.

“I take 100% responsibility for EVERYTHING in my life!”

There, I just stood up and yelled it.

Yeah, that felt good.