Hi ED :-)

Well, firstly, I have always felt a deep love of and connection to nature- I 
have never felt separated from nature, or that humanity is separate from 
nature. Also my temperament has always tended to the artistic and intuitive. I 
don't know if that's genetic or not, but it certainly wasn't a matter of any 
kind of training, it's simply the way I naturally am.

The rest I think is simply my experience of zen. Perhaps what I have described 
above could be likened to the soil, and so "my" zen grew this way, as a tree 
will grow according to the conditions of the environment it finds itself in. 
(?) :-)

For me one of the most important parts of zen is to stop putting overlays 
(concepts, judgements, ideas, etc) on everything - to simply EXPERIENCE things 
as they are. That is, to stop the *mind* from overlaying everything with its 
own chatter of ideas, etc. To experience reality directly instead of ideas 
about reality, if you will. For a long time this was part of daily practice for 
me. To me, this is what is meant (in the zen stories and koans) by "polishing 
the mirror", or "keeping the dust off the mirror". Well, in my experience, 
after doing this dusting of the mirror for a long time, the mirror itself 
disappeared, or maybe it was never there in the first place, maybe it was just 
another concept I dropped. Or maybe the process of "dusting the mirror" became 
"automatic". I honestly don't know. But this experience is not unique to me by 
any means, it is written about in much of the zen literature I have read, from 
the old Chinese masters to modern day practitioners. As many others before me 
have written, the experience can be very very difficult to describe in words.

Other things that may contribute to my experience are the fact that I pay very 
little attention to "cultural media"- I rarely watch television, read magazines 
or newspapers, listen to commercial radio, etc. I have no interest whatsoever 
in what my culture tells me I "should think about reality". Or how the culture 
defines reality. This is why, as I said in an earlier post, I have no interest 
in religion or "spiritual movements". To me, what all these things are, are 
someone else's (or the entire culture's) ideas about reality - to me they most 
emphatically ARE NOT reality itself. 

Lastly I want to stress that I'm not "special". I have attachments, 
projections, concepts, judgements, etc, like everyone else. If there is a 
difference, it is that I have learned to recognize them for what they are, I no 
longer think they are real, and for the most part I don't pay any attention to 
them, I let them go. If you don't give them any attention or energy they go 
away by themselves. ANYONE and EVERYONE is capable of this, it's just a matter 
of individuals finding what works for them.

As usual, I hope I'm being clear and making sense :-)

Artie



--- In Zen_Forum@yahoogroups.com, "ED" <seacrofter...@...> wrote:
> 
> Artie,
> 
> If not of genetic origin, how did you train your mind into this
> felicitous mode of experiencing the external world?
> 
> --ED
> 
> 
> --- In Zen_Forum@yahoogroups.com, "roloro1557" <roloro1557@> wrote:
> >
> The morning mist glowing with that soft, soft, subtle, rainbow light of
> pearls,
> even as the sun burns it away...
> 
> The mewing of the stray cats as I put out my leftovers to feed them...
> 
> The rolling, flying dragon clouds playing in a piercingly blue sky at
> midday...




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