The "Zen Thing"

If you do woodworking - because you enjoy it - you've probably experienced the "Zen Thing". You get into doing something this "thing" happens where stuff just happens and you're just part of whatever "it" is. Evertyhing does what it's supposed to do effortlessly - just so. Ambient noise just disappears, time stops, things just happen - and though you're a part of whatever this thing is - you're just that - a part of something - somehow linked to something unimaginably larger- and older - though relative time, or time itself is anything other than a human construct to mark our individual comparitively brief existence.
But the "Zen Thing" is like a dim star in the night's sky. If you try and focus on it and really try and see it - you can't. But - if you can put it in your field of vision - but not focus on it - it's there to see - but not directly.
Most of us live in a night environment filled with streetlights and signs and car lights, man made attempts to conquer darkness, to impose our will on our environment. The price tag of course is that often those lights hide the wonders of a clear "dark" night's sky - and all the amazement of all those little points of light out there - and perhaps the realization that what we can see is just a tiny part of an inconceivable whole.
For me, it's when "I" get out of the way "we" tap into something that can't be explained but only experienced. It doesn't happen very often, but just often enough to act as a reminder that Me/Not Me, Them vs Us keep me from being part of that Zen Thing. And that carries over into other daily things which makes life, this manifestation of a minute part of the whole, fun.
charlie b taking off his robe, hanging up his meditation beads and heading off to play WITH some wood, make a Shellac Shake - and maybe, just maybe Get In The Zone - again.
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For me, not Zen but "Flow," the state of mind described by Mihly Cskszentmihlyi.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mih%C3%A1ly_Cs%C3%ADkszentmih%C3%A1lyi
S.

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charlieb wrote:

It's kind of funny that you posted this on the day I returned from a Jack Kornfield retreat. <G>
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wrote:

CharlieB:
Check out a much studied Psych phenom called, "flow".
Not that it explains all, but there is a developed language.
Regards, Tom.
Thos. J. Watson - Cabinetmaker http://home.comcast.net/~tjwatson1 / tjwatson1ATcomcastDOTnet
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wrote:

Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi.
"In his seminal work, 'Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience', Cskszentmihlyi outlines his theory that people are most happy when they are in a state of flow a state of concentration or complete absorption with the activity at hand and the situation. The idea of flow is identical to the feeling of being in the zone or in the groove. The flow state is an optimal state of intrinsic motivation, where the person is fully immersed in what he or she is doing. This is a feeling everyone has at times, characterized by a feeling of great freedom, enjoyment, fulfillment, and skilland during which temporal concerns (time, food, ego-self, etc.) are typically ignored.[citation needed]
In an interview with Wired magazine, Cskszentmihlyi described flow as "being completely involved in an activity for its own sake. The ego falls away. Time flies. Every action, movement, and thought follows inevitably from the previous one, like playing jazz. Your whole being is involved, and you're using your skills to the utmost." [2]
To achieve a flow state, a balance must be struck between the challenge of the task and the skill of the performer. If the task is too easy or too difficult, flow cannot occur.
The flow state also implies a kind of focused attention, and indeed, it has been noted that mindfulness meditation, yoga, and martial arts seem to improve a person's capacity for flow. Among other benefits, all of these activities train and improve attention.
In short; flow could be described as a state where attention, motivation, and the situation meet, resulting in a kind of productive harmony or feedback."
(Of course some people are just more...viscous...than others.)
Regards, Tom.
Thos. J. Watson - Cabinetmaker http://home.comcast.net/~tjwatson1 / tjwatson1ATcomcastDOTnet
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charlieb wrote:

I have tried to discuss this very phenomena with many people. It is true of music also. When the groove happens, it is cosmic, man!
What did the Bhuddist ask the hot dog vendor?
Make me one with everything.
--
Robert Allison
Rimshot, Inc.
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But when the Buddhist asked about the rest of his fiver, the hot dog vendor replied, "Change only comes from within."
And yes, flow it is, not zen. And yes, flow is a great place to be.
--
"Keep your ass behind you."

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Australopithecus scobis wrote:

Actually it is the Tao, not flow. And with Tao, you can't help but be in it, you just sometimes can't see that you are in it.
As a wise man once said; The Buddhist god is so powerful that he does not even need to exist.
--
Robert Allison
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*flicking on my Allan Watts CD*
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Robatoy wrote:

That's Alan Watts. Ain't he a hoot?
--
Robert Allison
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Whuh.... is there an Allan Watts? Ohhhhhhh... I get it!!!! You got me on a typo!!!!! Squeeze your little fist! Now you are RICH!!
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Robatoy wrote:

When do the checks start arriving?
I was trying to help with others that may be trying to find his books. Start with; "The Book", also known as; "The Taboo against knowing who you are".
--
Robert Allison
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An answer to What is the sound of one hand clapping? is obvious to any bald person (he said, clapping one hand on his/her forehead/ five head/six head.
A young zen buhddist monk is given a coan by his master, not knowing that by intent, the question has no answer. It's purpose is to wear out/wear down the ego enough to get it out of the way of enlightenment.
The young monk meditates for an entire week - no sleep,l no food and only a sip or two of water each day - the whole time he's really leaning into it trying to come up with The Answer.
At the end of the week he asks his master for permission to commit suicide, having failed so miserably and disgracing his master, his monastary, hhis family and village. His master suggests he try again - just for a day. If, by the morning of the second day, he still hasn't gotten "it" he would be permitted to jump of the tall monastary water tower - at sunrise.
The young monk returns to his cell and redoubles his effort to answer the coan. As each hour passes he strains harder and harder, stretching his mind and body beyond what he had thought were their limits. Nothing.
In the cool crisp morning air the young monk begins his climb to the top of the water tower - meditating for all he's worth trying to come up with an answer.
Sitting on the edge of the water tower, waiting for the first morning rays of sun to crest the mountains on the far side of the valley from him he meditates for all he's worth - covered in persperation and shuddering in the chilly air - grateful for the slight breeze which cools him a little. The sounds of the village below begin to reach him as the first cock crows, anticipating the sunlight by moments.
The young monk tries desperately to find The Answer, realizing what he's about to give up - to no avail.
And just as he's stepped off the tower - he got it!
- end of Zen joke -
As science explores the very small and the very large it's becoming more and more apparent that Everything Is Everything might actually be true - different manifestations of the whole.
So when one's ego gets sidetracked - and out of the way . . .
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"charlieb" <wrote in message

Let me guess ... you're not from Texas?
;)
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Swingman wrote:

No, but I spend two or three weeks there every couple of years working on a friend's place in the outskirts of Kyle, near Austin. And after a couple of hours manhandling a Ditch Witch in that concrete stuff just under the dirt my brain tends to turn to mush. Not quite a Zen Moment - but close enough.
Also learned that there can be TWO bulls in the same pasture. Not a good thing to discover when you're standing on the nearrow at the top earth dam for the stock pond and notice a 1200 pound bull on each end - staring angrily - at each other - or maybe you. Not a Your Life Passing Before Your Eyes thing, but I sure hoped a) that stock pond was deep and b) that these bulls weren't good swimmers. Figure swimming with cotton mouths was better than getting sandwich between two Someday McDonalds Burgers - with attitudes.
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One of my favourite songs:
You say you're not from Texas Man as if I couldn't tell You think you pull your boots on right And wear your hat so well So pardon me my laughter 'Cause I sure do understand Even Moses got excited When he saw the promised land That's right you're not from Texas That's right you're not from Texas That's right you're not from Texas But Texas wants you anyway That's right you're not from Texas That's right you're not from Texas That's right you're not from Texas But Texas wants you anyway See I was born and raised in Texas And it means so much to me Though my girl comes from down in Georgia We were up in Tennessee And as we were driving down the highway She asked me baby what's so great How come you're always going on About your Lone Star State I said that's right you're not from Texas That's right you're not from Texas That's right you're not from Texas But Texas wants you anyway That's right you're not from Texas That's right you're not from Texas That's right you're not from Texas But Texas wants you anyway Oh the road it looked so lovely As she stood there on the side And she grew smaller in my mirror [ Find more Lyrics at www.mp3lyrics.org/6Ogx ] As I watched her wave goodbye Those boys from Carolina They sure enough could sing But when they came on down to Texas We all showed them how to swing Now David's on the radio And old Champ's still on the guitar And Uncle Walt he's home with Heidi Hiding in her loving arms That's right you're not from Texas That's right you're not from Texas That's right you're not from Texas But Texas wants you anyway That's right you're not from Texas That's right you're not from Texas That's right you're not from Texas But Texas wants you anyway They're OK in Oklahoma Up in Arkansas they're fair But those old folks in Missouri They don't even know you're there But at a dance hall down in Texas That's the finest place to be The women they all look beautiful And the men will buy your beer for free And they'll say that's right you're not from Texas That's right you're not from Texas That's right you're not from Texas But Texas wants you anyway That's right you're not from Texas That's right you're not from Texas That's right you're not from Texas But Texas wants you anyway So won't you let me help you Mister Just pull your hat down the way I do And buy your pants just a little longer And next time somebody laughs at you You just tell 'em you're not from Texas That's right you're not from Texas That's right you're not from Texas But Texas wants you anyway That's right you're not from Texas That's right you're not from Texas That's right you're not from Texas But Texas wants you anyway
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charlieb wrote:
<<Snippage>>

Have you ever read "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance"?
Your zen joke is in that book.
--
Robert Allison
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