The Four Reminders

Dear Sangha,
downloadWe didn’t quite finish the book yesterday because we began talking about depression. Pema tackles this concept as she looks at the second reminder,  impermanence. “Why sit when I’m depressed?” she imagines someone asking. “How do we stop the habitualness of our process?” she asks. Well, that’s why we sit she goes on. We look carefully. We pay attention to details. My teacher Sokuzan says, “Go down under the concept. See what’s there.” Suzuki Roshi says, “Sit still. Don’t anticipate. Just be willing to die over and over again.”

In other words, as I read this, eventually we may quit trying to “solve” depression and simply be with it. Our expectations may begin to die. My first teacher Shinzen used to say that when we sit very still with something that our mind wants to call fear (or depression), our lizard brain, that never listens to reason, begins to realize there’s really no direct threat.

imagesPema goes on to talk about the third reminder, karma. When we really understand that every action has consequence, we will live differently. “Every time you’re willing to acknowledge your thoughts, let them go, come back to the freshness of the present moment, you’re sowing seeds of wakefulness in your unconsciousness,” she says.

Join us next Sunday at 5, when we almost certainly will finish this book. I’ve made copies of a chapter of a book by Rodney Smith, as a break between full-length books.