Getting Stuck

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thank you
hello everyone
how's the sound great
welcome welcome to everyone you know every month in these little boxes i see faces i've never seen before so i want to especially welcome you if you're new to be see
i hope you're all staying well and your loved ones as well
and i wanna take a moment just to take out of all the people here in our communities and around the world who are suffering those whose lives have been up ended
the difficulties of the times that we're living in
the unevenness of the resources to help support so many people and bring them relief
and as an extension of that i wanna say that what i say today about how i practice with difficulty it pales really when i think about all that's going on in the world today so i just want you to know that i know that
i wanna talk today about getting stuck
what that is
how being stuck may pull us away from what's right in front of us and how zen practice helps us to ah actively choose how to respond when that happens
last month our family took a backpacking trip into emigrant wilderness which is adjacent to yosemite and it's similar in its kind of great beauty of open granite terrain we returned to a ripped the
but victor and i had done a couple of times some twenty five or thirty five years ago and
we wanted to return
it follows a long canyon a long deep kid and the cherry canyon and under different climate circumstances a kind of roaring river the cherry river the cherry creek it's called but it's really more like a big river
driving in the last thirty miles there was evidence of a fire that happened in two thousand and thirteen that earned a large girth of yosemite and emigrant i remembered the grandness of the trees in that forest along the road they were gone it was gone
gone and in their place there was this crisscross of logging roads and bare dirt for miles
still there was a kind of sense of hope i felt by seeing that there were hundreds and hundreds of little tiny trees springing up everywhere new growth that happens after a large fire
when we left sonora that morning for the mountains it was one hundred and five degrees we were happy to be driving into the mountains because we thought inevitably it will be much cooler it wasn't
it remained in the nineties all the time we were out there but we were grateful for clear blue skies and no smoke
a couple of days into the route
and the trail just disappeared it was obvious that it hadn't been maintained for a long time at first it wasn't a problem because we knew the route we remembered the route
and the route followed the base of the canyon along the river and the river was very low so it may walking easy
we've done a lot of bushwhacking over the years we have good map skills lot of experience so we weren't worried
normally there would be lots of water coming off the mountains there was none
there will be tributaries i'm streams feeding into the river all would dry completely dry
there were many downed trees and trees that it then obviously struck by lightning and started small fires the evidence of the drought was really clear and ever present there was even a sign at the trailhead that weren't hikers should be careful where they pitched their
tense because there were so many dry bread old trees that were being recorded snapping falling over just unable to stay rooted
the effect of the drought on the natural environment was far greater than i hadn't remembered from blocking last summer
despite all this there was great beauty there plenty of nice swimming holes and camping spots clear sky is no when silence you know the enjoyment of our time together out there
but somewhere towards the last couple days of the walk the route shoots away from the river and up over a large mountain
it's not possible to walk along the river at that point that it comes back down to the river and then it goes back up through along forest leading eventually back to the road and the trailhead
we will never lost but we got stuck many times over those last two days we could see where we were going
but repeatedly we couldn't seem to get there
it was extremely hot
we had to turn back several times and try different routes
there was a point where we stopped to scandalous long climb again one where we'd been stuck more than one time and our daughter lee hong turned to me and she said mom are you mad i must have hurt really serious i know i was very quiet all of us were looking back and
for over the mountain looking at possible routes not really sure what to do
map didn't help us very much because there was so much overgrowth and change from what we had remembered
i've walked in the mountains for decades and ah i've been in dangerous situations probably while several times but i've always known what to do have the training to know what to do i've never been
when or felts dark
i said to and i'm not mad i'm scared i can feel the adrenaline coursing through the body and i'm just trying to manage it so i don't do or say something stupid

the west part of the walk on the last day was miserable ble we had to find our way through what was obviously burned at some point and was now completely overgrown sick with brushed it was taller than we were and most of it had
these long spines prickly spines on the bushes we tried several ways to get around this parts and in the end we just had to kind of slowly go through these spiny bushes we were sure that the road was on the other side i'm but actually
at this point we just also we're not sure
that morning at daybreak we thought we'd be out by noon because really the walk out was only about four or five miles we were already i think imagining drooling over the ones we'd be eating in sonora when we got back
when we finally got through all that overgrowth we walked through a nice older forest of trees and on the other side of that was the road it was seven thirty at night
we had all been wondering where we were going to sleep that night realizing that we might have to backtrack again and go back down to the river and try again the next day so we were really relieved to find the road
since then that was about a month ago since then i've thought a lot about what does it mean to be stuck anywhere
out there in traffic and crowd on the highway on barred in a relationship then practice in a pandemic
to be stuck and is a tendency to kind of devalue value being stuck instead of seeing it and just what's happening
what do we sometimes unnecessarily add to the situation through mental or emotional formations that can make it worse than it actually is
and water our best practices to meet what arises when we're stuck
these are the questions i've been pondering and exploring with my family i wish i could say to you that my experience was one of continuous are being continuously curious in this totally new experience you know a being open and feelings
solidly grounded in this is just what's happening it wasn't like that
at times i was fearful frustrated fatigued
that serve wishing my way out of a situation that i didn't wake
wanting to play something or someone for being stuck
and yet i can also say to you that in retrospect there has been what i'm calling a curiosity seed planted
a tiger balm i guess you could say an unexpected positive outcome of that experience because i'm asking
how can we really be open and curious moment to moment i was any experienced that we have any different from being on the saffron
there we learned we bow to stay in a moment
to meet the moment it's our intention and we keep returning to that
so how do we do that in the every day difficult situations we find ourselves and how do we actually follow our best intentions

dogan says to forget yourself for now and practice inwardly
but we can't access buddha's teaching through having ideas are not having ideas
he talks about how the mind and cure practice and i think cure means are simple and sincere
the pure practice is the way
bringing that forward
then the body and mind can experience calmness and when there isn't ease in the body and mind there will be stuck places
i'm to put it another way my zoomy rose she encouraged his students to be one with it to meet all of life with attention and openness and curiosity no matter what we're doing to practice
life in this way every day to be deliberate in carrying this attitude of sand into all of our everyday activities so that sounds really good to me but how do we do this in the midst of those thorny situations we find ourselves in
i've been studying our case nineteen of the gate was skate which i think offers a bit of insight hassan also reference this case while saturday it's a famous case or the mary mind is the way
and it's the ninth century chinese teacher nonsense
and his disciple
joe shoe discussing how to be one with it
jos you as nonsense what is the way
ordinary mind is the way nonsense replied so i tried to seek after it jokes you asked if you try for it you will become separated from it responded nonsense
and sojourn rose she translated this as if you run after it you stumbled past if you don't stagnate
joseph persisted how can i know the way unless i try for it nonsense said the way is not a matter of knowing or not knowing knowing his delusion not knowing his confusion when you have really reached the to way
beyond doubt you will find it as vast and boundless as outer space how can it be talked about on the level of right and wrong
so this last question how can it be talked about on the level of right and wrong this seems key to me
non son is asking joe joe's you why are you trying to put ordinary everyday mind into the realm of opposites good or bad
confident or afraid
clear or confused frustrated or settled start doing that
ordinary mind is really vast and it's inclusive everything is part of it so stop trying to divide it all up
it's just naturally full of all these opposites
maybe like the sky or the ocean
maybe like the diversity of plants and animals and humans
we can't reduce everyday mind to the opposites of the thoughts and judgments and healings and activities and ideas that we have
the wages isn't white fat
nothing is separate
nothing's distinct from ordinary everyday mind
it really includes everything try as we do to separate it all up

everything rises and falls away everything comes to wife and dies that's obvious there isn't one without the other i think it takes us a long time to really see an experienced that to trusted to believe it as the way it is
when we have preconceived ideas and only a limited view of the way life is in particular moment it makes it difficult to stay in the moment with some kind of freshness when there's a situation we don't really like
out there on that walk we had the memory of the way it used to be in our minds and our experience of that and it was pretty different out there
when we got physically stuck actually that's all it really was
sometimes we added something extra our own particular place where we went went to in the mind or the emotions for the body
we were lucky because of the training and the experience we have being out there and because we had been in that particular place before even though it looked different also looked familiar
and we were lucky because of the relationships we have with each other the trust so we didn't go into panic mode nobody lost it
for me how i dealt with the situation was a direct result of being a student
and i want all of us each of us in this lay practice to really consider the ways were all able to take our practice right out into the world of everyday life no matter where we are
this is a great contribution to the world around us in all of the difficulties that so many people are facing right now

so feeling afraid because there was some perceived danger was not really a problem
and being physically stock at times wasn't a problem either
but what about
be taken away by a mind of imagination or do what do we do when we feel stuck
the practice to remembering
two reminding ourselves that we know how to practice
we know what to do
we don't know the outcome but we know what to do we can return to the brass and the pasture me turn to just this just this moment
do what's right in front of us keep doing that not get taken away from the moment and when we are taken away when we see that we are than we can return
i think that's about as good as it gets perhaps we're all human we fall off the stocks and time and time again and we return
the mind the emotions the body states are not places of finality that define us that way we return that's all we do
many years ago i asked so room she about how to practice with the gaps in practice you know i was feeling that okay sometimes i'm practicing but types i'm really not practicing how do i practiced with those yeah
and he said oh yeah the gaps don't worry about him just come back to practice
then right before he died i was at his house one day sitting out in the backyard with him and i asked him the exact same question years later
how do we practiced with the gas and he said there are no gaps they're all it's all connected
he said don't harp on when you're going to be released completely live your life continuously one moment at a time everything can be seen as an opportunity
so all this sounds pretty good to me too
and yet we still might be left with the practical question that comes back to go question how did we put all this into practice in our lives
norman fischer asks it this way he says how do we activate practice how do we access it how do we understand it on a moment to moment day by day basis wherever we are in whatever situation we find ourselves in
and he says we need to consider both attitude and activity the attitude that we learned to cultivate in zen practice is essential really to how we've chosen to live on this path so
so we learn to pay attention to it
it's not a must win our way through kind of attitude
it's realizing that a barrier reface in straight here
wherever we are
it's right here it's not external
so an emigrant wilderness we were physically stuck at times but the real barrier
with the mind the mind that followed a story that went to fear and distaste and worry
norman says undoing releasing falling apart not holding on not building anything up throwing things away not adding something extra these are ways our way of
returning to i'm just doing this there's no way to do it that i'm just doing it and letting it go and not worrying about what happens
hours then attitude is about gradual development over time
and i think that's kind of key gradual development over time it includes our devotion
our dedication to the practice how faithful we are to the practice
our trust in the practice the practice itself even when we might not trust ourselves or each other's
and this is something that we can't really produce
because it just happens it takes time it evolves over time walks of times showing up staying with it when we're bored
or even content
every day showing up
suzuki roshi seems to say nothing special
being no good at it realizing i can't really do this
realizing i keep making mistakes
realizing i'm tired
realizing i don't want to go any deeper
realizing it's not what i thought it was going to be
over time just during the practice norman says the practice itself pulls us and shows us what to do and we don't even notice it
in this way we come to learn that the practice is right here it's always with us
so that's the attitude of our practice what about the activities the activities of course include regular zazen
and this also over time becomes a really natural part of our life you know like brushing our teeth
the activities also includes studying talking with others supporting others you know developing our song practice coming together as office as we can to sit
we sit for and with each other and this kind of helps us to remember that this practice is not for me
sometimes we stood alone the way we are now as a result of pandemic and if we come together again and sit and practice in our temple it helps the practice extend and it helps the practice grow
though because the body to body practice is very encouraging to one another
over time the development of our sanga relationships are song your friendships to our teachers into each other they grow and i think they flourish
they're important because they're about relating to each other as both buddhists and also as ordinary everyday people who made mistakes
norman fischer status
in least spiritual relationships we put the buddha foot forward
i like that phrase the buddha foot i think the buddha foot holds the person on me foot
yet it's broader
in steeper it holds more it's why i didn't panic up there on the mountain when i was afraid
the practice of coming back to the breath is what came to me when i paused i trust this practice completely
just that short pause helped me returned to the buddha foot instead of to the susan put it wanted to get away
norman says if we train ourselves by putting the buddha foot forward
it helps us establish wave relating to ourselves into others in which we discovered that all relationships are special
so then we want to take care of each other not panic or lose it be there for each other in the an extend their outward
then there are the zen temple activities of bowing chanting cooking serving dish washing cleaning size and instruction gardening
help us learn to pay attention to being right there right there in our life with all of its ordinary activity
this is pretty basic to zen practice
when we get stuck when we do we turn towards the difficulty because we know it's only one of many parts of our full experience as a human being we can cause
knowing it's probably not a good idea to make a decision about something from a place of anxiety or fear
our anger or frustration
in that simple cause there's a place of stillness
no words
no repeating thoughts that kind of allows are not emotions to wash through us or move through us more quickly than if we'd take them up with story making
so we choose not to fuel them with words or ideas we noticed the story emerging and practice interrupting those habit thoughts dropped them
we offer ourselves encouragement
instead of berating ourselves
and then that way i think we learn to do that with others
we write we mind ourselves in our practice that there's something so much bigger than this me myself my mine
this takes practice and time
we decide to set an intention
you start small and we build that muscle to include more
as our strength grows we learn to do this in our practice together
we're not perfect someone we make a mistake we learn to remind ourselves can return to our buddha foot the grounded foot everything is not always so personal
so road he said often that mistakes are just a fact of life and that our response to mistakes how we respond is more important than the mistake itself
most important may be
we remind ourselves that our life is the mix always a mix of opposites that worked together in some kind of mysterious way
though we can learn to include both
like the foot ahead in the foot behind and walking
we can stop trying to push away one side for the other
and we remind ourselves that we have this possibility of being curious keep planting that seed
stop berating ourselves when things aren't the way with like and instead we can marry the opposites
pema chodron the cells that we're neither dude nor completely free
that's a great little phrase were neither doomed nor completely free but we are creating our future she says with every word every action and every thought so we need to remember that it's not an end it's a practice
i asked our daughter about this topic
as it related to as it relates to dancing because that's what she does
i asked her to say something about how she sees getting stuck or not staying in the moment in the world of dance
oh she said it's really important to stay in the moment when you're dancing and you have to be prepared for what's next
so i asked him so how do you do both of those things and she said well it takes a lot of repetition so you know the moves in your body and you don't have to think about them they are just right there and they unfold so i asked her what about getting stuck
she said well so far i haven't felt stuck in terms of not being able or willing to move i always want to move but sometimes when we're learning or a piece of repertoire she said it's possible to feel stuck because i
can be i can feel bored with the peace
so i asked her how do you deal with that and she said we practice bringing something fresh to each time we do it so that it's new every time because it's not really the same piece it's not even the same ah
movement every time you do it so you have to develop that attitude that it's new no matter how many times you do it
well that sounds to me a lot like how we also train ourselves in our practice how our attitude grows and develops in zen practice
so jin rose she used to tell us that no matter how many times we sit zazen and we think we're doing it in the very same way it will always be different so stop trying to repeat it or get something

could we think we are at the personal relative level
it's a very limited where he knew who we really are in the buddha foot
when we practice with our direct experience of right now when we're willing to practice being present to that maybe were more able to contact more spaciousness
for that pause
and in that an ability to choose more wisely in our lives what seems key to be here is this notion of being willing
how do we strengthen that willingness
and i think that comes right down to the training
this is what said practice offers us a training in how to just stay with justice
whatever that is
on the other hand when stopped and without practice we can quickly move into some kind of holding on pattern
or create false assumptions and some kind of orientation towards me
and then that can lead to wanting results or an outcome
we can feel like we're not getting anywhere
i certainly felt that way at times on the hike i described to you
at some point that healing of not getting anywhere it becomes the problem
and this itself in pairs the possible solution
habit energy compulsive actions me activity
all those can get triggered
being stuck
can really lead us into a feeling of uncertainty for sure
but i think it's right there in that place of uncertainty where we can experience something new some space
because it's the place where we have a choice to be open to it or not
and i think the more we practice this place in zazen
the more will be able to see it appear in all the other daily ordinary experiences of our wives that will just pop up oh yeah i am again and was very uncertain situation
so when it's a choice of between feeling sorry for herself or berating ourselves or judging ourselves and allowing that story line to grow
really deliberately returning to the training of our zen practice what are we going to choose
i think the answer to that question really evolves over time

our training kind of offers us a union i guess i think of it of the hand you know the sensing mind and the care the empathy of the heart and
the groundedness of the body right here in the present
when we choose to come back to that union the way we do in zazen then that's a moment of practicing buddhists way
kind of pure and simple
and not so simple
and i think that's really what
taking zazen out into the world needs
the world really needs that we do this practice
he sojourn row she says it's it's how we learn to respond instead of react
it's how we learn to take care of things that need to be taken care of
it's how we learn to do what's right in front of us
and honestly i think that really that's enough
it looks like we have a few moments for comments or questions maybe we could just take a minute to pause and see what comes up and then he go will
the questions thank you all very much for being here today
thank you very much using for your inspiring talk everyone please that major and or send a chat and i will read your question thank you

okay thank you we have a question from sean
please go ahead shine and ask your question that me start by you here
i sean
hi susan
i just want to really thank you for your talk
i i don't have a question am i just wanted to say that and be very timely and it it seems that pretty much anytime i ripped open a page and beginner's mind or ah
you know it's always told my head
how is it to be time with and absorbed gonna take what you said with me through my day and
i'm probably will look for recording and played again and i might just really want to say thank you
thank you stan i like what you said about a a timely that's a good thing to remember today

isn't we ever a question from nathan britain and he asks how is ordinary mind different from big night
that's a great question
well the way i think of it and you know this is just
as a a small perspective he the others can say something is that includes everything so it includes small mine and big mine and that it's all there together so we don't want to push smart you know
it mind includes small mind ordinary mine includes both small mine at big mine we just don't want to be called around by small mind we included but we don't want to follow it so much
what do you think

ah no words
thank you season and now we have a question from randy or charlie go ahead bound to your charlie higher on the entirely artist susan
i am
i've got out there were were you were not exactly where you are but i've gone through but brush shin you know i understand when he went through up there
ah even the best map and the greatest counter stone solve all your concerns but i wanna ask you did you say about what was left to the donner party when you remember
in africa
i did not the thought never crossed my path
well that's where they came through that's good gap
you know the thing the reason i didn't think of that honestly the point of this top is that
how much it became much bigger in the mind and it really was we had options
you know when there's a lake below the or cherry lake where that damn is at the very least we could have gone there and followed the road out across the dam there were options so i don't know about the daughter group
they give me your question
thank users are saying settings for the tar
and you try to we have a question now from the please go ahead melody how can i wonder are a citizen thank you so much your wonderful talk as you were speaking i kept having a flashback when you were speaking about the the element of choice in our
practice always the element of choice of a ticknor nhat who used to talk about that we had our intention and his words pointing ourselves toward the north star and when we fell off the path that we would notice that we had done that and
come back back to the path again and reset the intention and there's something in that for me that was a is a very gentle practice and so it's a forgiving as a when they're gonna be a lot of places where we muddle up but you were also referring to an
and then what and then what do we do with our choice in the next round of that so that's what triggered from me i don't know if you have a response to the a quite a question but it could be a question now i like thank you i like eat what you're saying i just think you know when we i love the readings i
i love the suitors but you know in all the flour really flowery language and instruction
there remains the question of okay sounds good but how do i absolutely do that yes so i think i don't always have an answer but i think that that question is something that increasingly as i get older i carry around with me all the time okay but how do i actually do
do that than the question is far more instructive than any answer and comes like is always changing that is you know yeah
he'll thank you thank you
thank you his heart now we have a question from nick robinson please go ahead make
hi nick
please i new yourself you should thank you
six years old a modern day off work with fear god our human history the immersion more few or i think that that would really be shown and thinking about charm
well i work with fear
in my life
this a challenging and i wonder if there's no way to i'm gently approach a fear and ions are mega as a compare ah and to make sense for them
the what do you think i think that's wonderful advice you know that the instruction is not to push anything away not to think that i'm gonna get beyond it it's never gonna happen again never to enough to keep coming back to whatever is that i don't think that the
the instructions study don't feel it
the instructions they don't react to it don't be reactive but feel to feel he was deeply and i think it's only through feeling it deeply that it shifts
and you know the kind of fear on talking about is nothing like the town of fear that people are feeling all over the world in the situations
the people less fortunate than us are in but in my own experience of fear it it it's important to feel it
an an and just that and not to go not to follow the story that may arise you know
how do i want to deal with that is so much more important then why do i feel it
why can't i feel something else right so yes i felt to out there but honestly you know this is why song is so important in the trust that i feel in my family i could express that you know i could feel it and i could express that we can talk about it
and then we could go forward so i think in our song a relationships that is very important for us to share our feelings with each other as we develop trust me
thank you thank you
thank you nag nag nag we now have a question from stephanie
please go ahead stephanie hi stephanie
i wanted to thank you for your inspiring talk and when i think of what you went through out there i can see and appreciate the depth of your practice that you were able to get access
the to the faith and trust that you must have in yourself in order to have done that
it it's a practice set in times i've had
a lot of difficulty and not known where how to get through things and i keep coming back to the practice
it's a simple and not easy thing to do so i i appreciate your humility and willingness to give the stock thank you so much and what i want to add to that though is that it's really important to remember i'm watching all of you
you know this is how we've learned from the day we start in the temple we learned by watching one another
so to me it's not it's not about i'm confident in someone else isn't it's about seeing that being inspired by that in one another and learning from that oh i can do that today just such a wonderful a humble practice in that way
thank you
thank you stephanie

i'll just stay i remember very early on and said practice i i had some particular problem i can't remember what it was but i went to ron who was one of the you know senior practice leaders and told him about
about it and you know in practice discussion and he said
how long have you been practicing i said and then he said oh yeah i remember that happening at that point in practice and i just can't tell you how helpful that was i mean i just want to encourage people to talk to
those who have been practicing for a long time there are people i go to have would have
you know the experience and the arm
the patients the kindness to
to coach us and to say oh yeah i went through that and here's what i did try this and this is what we're all here to do with each other

i'll ask the question we have a question here from joe wagner joe hi susan
so they're a fun trip
you know in retrospect it was really fun there and even on some parts of you know actually a lot of parts of it yes were fun but you know maybe the the greater point is it was a mix
when i came back and someone asked me how is your trip by the was carol and i said well it was a mix
three prepared for that when you go out your kind of thinking this kind of thing might come up or the kind of tone of surprise
honestly i didn't think that would come up i mean in i'm always prepared for mostly is whether you know like getting caught in a lightning storm or or you know a better shows up at your campsite but i'm
yeah i hadn't thought about
being stuck that way ever so that was that's good
thank you thank you joe we have that one last question i would guess from my sue ocher please go ahead through high so hi susan i just love this targets than some meaningful and moving and sense for me
i i started reading kathy gas weights fifty things that aren't my fault which is a very funny and very and a book full of suffering with exactly the kind of
i'm not world shaking but daily things that scare us or scare me you know the embarrassing things like going into a dressing room and trying on a bathing suit that is a taxa still for women since the beginning of swimming and bathing suits
or going into the ladies' room and being totally defeated by the automatic water or toilet flush were hand washing that they don't recognize you as a human being and it's like the other side of life threatening but totally life or
affirming habits of mind and i really appreciate your talk as a way of reminding and tack to sing with
what's the choice point here when those little things does nagging little things happen and so thank you for reminding us of thank you for those examples you know i'm the more we can get in touch with our habit energy the more we can access choices right