The Coldest February On Record!

buddha This week at the sitting with the Toronto Zen Community, the teisho was the “Master Ma is ill”. Hekiganroku Case 3, Sun-faced Buddha, Moon-faced Buddha. I was almost moved to tears. A little about what is going on for me. I have occasional bouts of depression that are very physical. I ache all over and it seems that sad facts stick to me like tissue paper does to polyester when the air is too dry. This trek to “the dark mountain” has been accompanied by various concerns and the coldest winter on record. I have succumbed to this state where I plod through my day as the winds of too much thinking and too much pain swirl around  accompanied by Winston Churchill’s Black Dogs barking and Hannibal Hector’s favourite play list.

Now when I say “almost moved to tears” I need to say, we sit in Zazen during the teisho, neither looking left or right, eyes partially open and not focused on anything in particular. The posture of Zazen is not severe, it is pliant and strong and ultimately the best way to be present and avoid sinking into the mutterings of rumination. Tears are not usual but not a problem while sitting. You just let them fall without concern. They often are followed by a a clarity that is very, very good, and if nothing else, I can blow my nose and clear my sinus!

So, What is “Sun Faced Buddha”? What, or who is “Moon Faced Buddha”? Things get very simple when you are in pain. There is no separation between the day and night. One Buddha might live a long, long time, another, only a very short time. But Buddha arises, from where we sit on this ball speeding through the cosmos?

Free from suffering, each sits up as Buddha.

It is not about not feeling, not thinking. You don’t “Zen out”. It allows me to realize a context larger than that which can perpetually obsess one. For this I do Zazen. Not to escape or mellow out, but to be open, to be unafraid, to be helped up with Sun Faced Buddha, Moon Faced Buddha, as I am pitched two and fro in this little boat on this vast ocean that is life.

Last Year I tried to come up with Ten Things to Beat the Winter Blues

I think I quit after six. 

This year we have NOT had the power go off nor have we been without heat for several days. We did NOT have a tree fall on our shed! I have not gotten the flu, an infection or been bitten by a dog. We do not have to replace something expensive like the chimney liner. Things are going pretty good.

So why do I feel like the sky is about to fall on my head?

TEN THINGS TO BEAT THE WINTER BLUES: Fan-freakerific!

Thing number one: Find inspiring stories of creativity and post them in your blog!

This guy, does stuff in the snow that is mind-blowing! Seriously, check it out! I’m told this is why the Aliens won’t destroy the planet. This link comes to me via a professor, a doctor of English, but she has written a lot about Science Fiction, like the popular series Star Gate, and appeared on a documentary about it. I feel that this makes her tremendously qualified to make that assertion!

I am heading into the S.A.D. days of winter. That means I will post, intermittently things that I am checking out to beat my seasonal affected disorder. I don’t know if S.A.D. is recognized as a legitimate disorder but I like that the acronym spells how I feel for several weeks each year.

Is there anything sadder than a sad clown, of course…

I have been SO DEPRESSED and so have not done much more than the bare mimimum.  It is really bad when it takes a zombie apocolypse to get you to leave the house…

So I went to the AGO, (Art Gallery of Ontario) with a friend (Dee) who kindly bought me another year’s membership.  Look who we stumbled upon:

Pat Smith  Yup, Patti Smith doing a sound check for her performance that night.  I don’t know if you care.  She seems pretty chill.  Maybe it doesn’t matter if you care.

“If a tree falls in the forest and kills a mime does anyone care?” – Gary Larson.

I know Neil Young (not personally, he is Canadian so I am sure I have been at the same awards thing or something at one time…) and apparently they hung out back in the day, but other than that, not so much.  My friend went home and did an astrological chart for Patti Smith and found out they have things in common planet wise.  I mean, we all share the same sense of fashion and we were all at the AGO at the same time so it figures…

Her Polaroids which were on display in the west gallery were tiny and I found the whole thing oppressive probably because I am struggling under a major depression… I am trying to think of who I would get really excited to see right now and they are all dead, which is apparently what is going on for Patti these days.