> [Bill!]  Why does this attitude of other people make you sad?  If what you
> say is true then your very life is providing them with an example of a
> content human being.  You can do no more unless they specifically ask you
> for guidance.

Because they can not understand I am (usually) content.  How is one an
effective example to others when others can not see?  I suppose I am an
example should they want to see.

I tried to have a relationship.  But monks didn't really do that, did they?
 After all these relationships I've had over the course of my life, I think
I've finally learned that for me to have a relationship with someone, they
really need to occupy the same mind as I do.

> [Bill!]  You correctly see that 'gifts' that are given with an expectation
> of reward - like a thanks, are not truly gifts.  They are pre-payments or
> bribes.  You cannot save them from being miserable.  You can only save
> yourself, and by doing can set an example for them.  If they are interested
> in your example they'll ask.  Otherwise there's not much you can do.

That is an excellent way to put the issue of "gifts".

[Bill!]  You can teach by coddling and nurturing or teach with 'tough love'.
> Zen is mostly known for the 'tough love' approach (leaving a prospective
> student to sit at the entrance to the zen master's cave for a year before
> he/she has shown sufficient mettle to be accepted as a student), but some
> historical zen master's have used the more touchy-feely approach.  In this
> era most zen masters/teachers have a more soft approach - at least in the
> beginning.

I don't believe I have much coddling and nurturing in me to teach with.  It
simply does not come naturally except for the random instance of no-thought
compassion.  Someone who expects coddling learns best from not having it.

> So I ask: How do you interact with the people in this world?
> [Bill!]  That would depend on what role you want to play for them, or if
> you
> want to play a role at all.  If you want to play the role of teacher to
> them
> I'd advise you to develop teaching skills that cover the entire spectrum of
> 'tough love' to 'grandmotherly nurturing'.  Then you adapt YOURSELF and
> your
> teaching style to the particular student.  If you're not interested in
> being
> a teacher then it really doesn't matter how you interact with others as
> long
> as it is genuine - no role - you are not better off for your happiness and
> they are not worse off for their materialism.  You are just you and they
> are
> just them.  I've often said zen is the ultimate WYSIWYG (a computer term
> for
> 'what you see is what you get'.  Just be Lana.  That's more than enough.

If I were to choose to be a teacher, I would not choose the people in
question as students.

> If 'just being Lana' causes YOU discomfort (as you've described above) I'd
> suggest you continue to re-examine your situation to try to determine WHY
> this discomfort exists.  I can't tell you WHY it exists for you, but I can
> tell you the discomfort is created within you, not forced upon you by
> others.

It exists because I am connected to everyone on the mental plane yet there
is no one on the physical plane for me to truly relate to.  The people I
interact with on the physical plane are lost, they do not wish to learn.  I
guess this is one of the few worldly desires I have left - to be physically
close to another person.

> Of course I do this with zen practice - mostly zazen - but as you've
> pointed
> out at the beginning of your post this is not absolutely necessary.

I realized tonight that I have indeed been practicing forms of meditation
all my life, yet I never considered them such until I gained the experience
of zazen.

When I was really young, I could not fall asleep fast.  It would sometimes
take me hours to settle, which didn't work well with my extremely high sleep
requirement at the time (10-12 hours).  I realized the culprit was thought
and started a bedtime "journal".  The thoughts would fall away from my mind
as my hand conveyed them on paper - I no longer analyzed, I simply recorded.
 I did this for many years until I no longer needed the pen and paper to
quiet my mind.

For a long time after that I achieved a quiet mind by reading fiction (still
do, from time to time).  I don't know if there is something particular in
how I read, but I simply "observe" what goes on in the book, I don't think
about it.  Errant thoughts that pop up while reading I sit back for a moment
to let them pass then continue on.

I have always had a high requirement for nature.  To see trees, grass,
mountains - my mind naturally harmonizes with them and I find I am too
caught up in observation to think even when I want to.  When I was really
young, I used to lean against a tree trunk and visualize it anchoring me, my
spirit flowing down it's roots and feeling the cool dirt - I no longer need
that focus to empty my mind in the presence of nature.

Over the last year or so, I have found I can have that no-mind even when
working.  I trust my mind, having practiced my profession for so many years
and resultantly my job is very intuitive (I simply know what is wrong with a
computer).  I walk around most of the day in no-mind, fixing broken
computers and setting up new ones.

And in the last few months I have discovered I can have no-mind while doing
chores too.  That is a beautiful thing.

So while I don't sit zazen regularly, I certainly spend a large portion of
my time in the above forms of moving meditation.  And perhaps that explains
why I've been stuck with this discomfort recently - I tried to have a
relationship with people who didn't realize the importance of these everyday
tasks to me.  I tried to appease them, but in doing so I was thinking, and
in giving up some of my above mentioned "meditation" time, I set myself
worse off for it.  Thank you for opening the path to my understanding on

> Welcome to the Zen Forum!
Thank you, Bill.

> ...Bill!

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