Way-Seeking Mind Talk

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started practicing at the berkeley send center in nineteen ninety and he took the precepts in nineteen ninety five he received lay entrustment in twenty four t i moved he he moved to colorado springs with his young family
in two thousand and four and has been practicing with the springs mountain sanga in the zen cohen tradition since then and he has fled classes and study groups on dogan and cohen's there in colorado
we are recording this talk clay okay thank you so much for being with us on and it's good to have you back at least on zoom and thank you for speaking
well cared thank you for asking you to speak ah it's really did a wonderful for me to reconnect with the book presents on a community and realize that i'm part of his family even though i moved away seventeen years ago
i realize a number of view i have never met before so i thought i'd use part of it they taught today on
ah just to tell you a little about my life and colorado springs
there's a couple people on the zoom screen from colorado springs which is great my window and karen
and about my practice here
and then really i was i was thinking about the talk convicted about my days in berkeley on i wanted to share some memories about those days and those especially about what i became disabled was very debilitating back and neck pain and how i managed to come back to practice and
back to sub-saharan adam who helped me do that so on

so i grew up in colorado springs on about a mile from where i live right now and my family did a lot of outdoor things so i spent my time capita climbing mountains and skiing and backpacking and that's kind of my element
cities are not that comfortable and so it explains good about why we moved on my wife and i
had two kids who were kind of going into element at elementary school on when we decided to move and we decided we wanted to raise them out here instead
and back
those kids have gotten a little bigger
our oldest and our oldest ally as twenty four she's been teaching english the last two and a half years at an elementary school in madrid so she's seen the coven academic from that perspective
our middle child hannah is twenty one and she is a senior at grinnell college in iowa she's going back for her final semester on distant a couple of days
we adopted after we moved to colorado
ah ah

it is but much more man has been cheaper for entire career and i'm a couple years ago she decided that she will good

clay i think breaking up a bit
i've missed and support of your sentences
right turn off your video is it was something i can do about that
hassan said turn your video off give that and try do it we all turn off or video might make his less bogged
oh so other people should turn off their videos
the ads that's a suggestion so we can still see your face
yes let's give that a try if everyone would please
cut your video
and then clay why don't you start i think we lost it a little bit after you are introducing xander
so he's fourteen it can hear me better now
i believe so yeah let's keep rolling
so he's in his first year of high school and he loves swimming
but also add is a in a teacher for her whole career and she is now looking for a job and investors pads or look persevere or color color
i work part time is a blurred and property nature it's a job that keeps me moving around which good because i don't sit them very well and we own fifteen rental properties and i take care of though
there's a foundation in my family and so a lot of nonprofits
work through the foundation with grantmaking and that's a real privilege and them
learn engaging thing to do
in terms of practice
has been a a n practice community for about twenty five years it was started by sarah bender and it is in the boat kyoto lineage so the summer children
is a hybrid lineage between soto admins i said
it does it our main study is a cohen study though so i've been doing cohen study out here for about fifteen years
and i'm
you know you do that a lot one on one the teacher but we also do it and groups and we do it openly for open discussion
and the project of this lineage and car in in the united states is too
ah just to innovate and open up from the process of cohen work and can go and understanding and bring it into everyday life in america
what part of what's called the pacific the institute which was founded by john tyrant and joan sutherland
and am
pacific san is kind of pretty strong and california the a group is a large and has a lot of teachers out there and one of them i've worked with for long time who's david weinstein some of you might know because he lives in oakland and i've worked at him over the phone mostly for fifteen years but he also came the car
springs and he used to do retreats with us and that's how i got to know him
i would be happy to talk with anyone about cohen work and come on study and that kind of practice it can be a long discussion but for today let me to say that puts it's very lively and responsive and expressive as he tried to express her understanding and and it really helps you get close
to the vastness and emptiness

are going back many years i took the precepts and nineteen ninety five
we had a large class but stand dewey was in that class and so as soon ocher and susan marvin i'm and it's great to see you guys still we're still practicing after twenty five years together that that's pretty cool
so in a
that was in nineteen ninety five i started practicing and nineteen ninety ninety ninety seven my life changed very dramatically not all of a sudden but slowly as and dramatically so i was working as a researcher for uc berkeley i'm in awe in
natural resource management i just gotten the a master's degree how sort of to my working with some professors and i was doing a lot of driving around the central valley in my back started hurting
so i then started working for you stay mud as a natural resource management specialist and my back continued hurting and i had to start working half time because i i couldn't just sit up and look at a computer your and and do stuff i just started to make all these adjustments
in the meantime i was getting a lot of medical treatments doing a lot of physical therapy seen a lot of doctors
although none of that really seem to be helping and my condition seem to be getting worse and after about sixteen months i was on total disability and i was not able to work at all
ah i thought i would just be able to heal up no stress of working get better and things would be gonna to get him that we offer my wife and i decided to have a second kid
that as good for the family plan but it was it was not good or for working on that actually caused a lot more stress and cause my my pain levels to go up
l out than most with degenerative disc disease in my binder
i had all it and in the first five years i promise saw about twenty different kinds of specialists and doctors and alternative therapists
and at that point they told me that there was nothing else we can do for you you just need to get honest or lives and do the best you could and one doctor said your job now is to take care of back
chocolate was kind of liberating and and also kind of depressing but at least i wasn't my calling out this great hope that i was going to get a lot better with medical sites
a few years after that when i was in colorado springs on one of my doctors said me you know you're pretty active he do a lot of stuff and that's not that common for people with mechanical back pain with bulging disks and that sort of thing so looks to me like you are more of a
fibromyalgia patient that i'm a mechanical back pain patient
i'm so fibromyalgia is a neurological disease that checks and kind of small pain signals coming from your body and turns them into much more significant pain
the and in my case for a disabling pain there seems to be lots of different levels of fibromyalgia in terms of how bad you have it i would seem to have a pretty bad case
but i was probably ten years into my disability before anyone mentioned that is a possibility for me
and in my own looking around in research fibromyalgia has a strong correlation with personal trauma and
at that time in my life when i developed this condition i i went through a tremendous amount of personal trauma
and had to do with mental illness in my family
severe mental illness and my sister who was four years younger than me and my brother who was teeters on admitted
so naples
develops to mental illness and one in the twin on thirties and a both since passed away from the effects of bipolar disease and schizophrenia
the right in the middle of that happening my mother had a brain and years and died suddenly
and three months after that happened i started at my mom died i started to have happening so
there isn't like medical science or
substantiate this i'm in terms of what's causing my condition but i don't really have that great of an explanation in terms of
physics of what's happening my body so a neurological explanation and the fibromyalgia mix little more sense to me it's kind of the best
best explanation i have at this point
the medicine the the medicines that i take of the one that's most important and most effective of a medicine for my fibromyalgia it's got a neuropathic pain liver
and just to describe you sort of what mine what what i found what i live with and what i move around i feel better and when on stationary i feel worse and my sort of tolerances are about a minute for standing still about a ten minutes
for sitting still and about twenty minutes for lying down still
before kind of more my my condition flares up when i start out more pain
does bets on a good day so lizard good tolerances on the day
i want to say to there's a difference between acute pain and discomfort and and chronic pain and usually i'm gonna more in the discomfort zone than in the the pain zone and for people who ah
i've had
the current accusation
so i went through this when i was
this happen and even i was thirty four started and am
i just want to say it few things about
i'm practicing at see
i was there
stuck at home for awhile and these first few years on my kids were going to daycare i couldn't take care of them
i was in a great deal of despair and i didn't know what my life was gonna be like lost my job and my career
and i hadn't been going to zen center whole lot because i was in graduate school before that and had kids but somehow maybe scott heard that i was not doing well and am i knew were pretty well at that time she started to come by my house and visiting
once a week and we practiced together and sat together and a t and conversation
the meditated
two male died in two thousand and two from cancer
i'm actually just shortly after this time but i'm talking about
she way of helping need really see my situation for what it was
and my she was a very no-nonsense clear high person
and she had this big penetrating eyes they were either i can't remember if they were blue or brown but and she had these classes and one day she looked at me she was leaving our house my house that she said you know clay
chicken might be good if you came to the zen center and gave a monday morning talk about your life better
hello i just thought to myself you are nice lady
but she was right you know a good thing is is i was just stuck in my own my own spinner she saw this to delay for me a break out of pathetic
on t was a very hard person
to deny my experience it
i'm so dumb
and i talked about my life i dragged us big pad i was using them and had this ugly brown sheet on it if i laid down and i and i talked to the saga for a while and some questions and
mel commented on my embarrassment which was accurate fun
but the thing that that helped me do is it started to help me
see that i could reconnect with the world and a new way i'm working with chronic pain and on and that was a lot better than staying at home all the time and it still was a lot better than stain on all the time and she asked me basically the like show up and and share my suffering
and that helped me alot and and apparently and helps others on me do that too
so i started coming back to zen center and am
it was tough i had to take up three spaces when i would lay down because that's what i would do for most of the period and when i am
started going to sessions ah i couldn't walk during tinian i had to walk around the block is walking slowly to flared up my aim
and during retreats which were bigger challenge i would take whole period to just walk as walking and exercise helps you feel better
sometime during this time allen said to me
clay just tell us what you need and we can work with him
but if you don't tell us what we need what you need we don't know
and this has been a really important lesson for me and my life
i'm working with paid and working with all kinds of situations the i
don't other people won't know and other people don't know what i mean
i i say elena that this is then
the other lesson that you've taught me has been to just be direct you know and go to the source of the problem or issue and his talk directly to people and that's been a huge help for me
i wanted to say a couple of words about sojourn
an earlier and other conversations i've shared about how we walked in the hills together because i couldn't do interviews and in the ducks on hut there was enough room for me to lay down so mel at one point said why don't we go for a walk you like to walk right and he liked to walk then because he was trying to lose weight
so we walked in the hills with under greiner lot in those days i just felt so privileged because he's were like to my mentors who had studied with suzuki roshi him they were invited me to go for a walk with them that was just wonderful
but you know mel mel he was demonstrating to me to how to be flexible and how to be innovative than how to like take your life or what it is and then if you have to change the circumstances to work with that
and am

he is to serve the having taught me that my desire practice was the most important thing and i could figure out a way to do that you know didn't have to sit upright and the zendo like can do that he we work at all in other ways to go
the thing i want to say mainly about mouth since he's passed away and on
just had this question and that that is the used to seem it
he and over for i think
you saw my life and adam
he saw my my humanity and and my love of practice and my my dharma
the question that i've just had his you know
he's not here anymore so can i see that in my life and my practiced can i see my life and can i see my guess

you know you know how these problems
he he just wasn't that concerned with the lot of the things that seem to worried
make it a good impression on orphan

being successful
having a career
it has seem to trust me for who i was on pad and are he was okay with that
and that's kind of my question is can i trust myself just for do i am

that was enough for him you know
i'm gonna that was what i cherished about him
so i think i will stop there and on my to in time for questions
thank you for the time
clay thank you so much for a beautiful full talk and compelling questions it's so nice to have you back on so
we can use our usual digital methods for raising hands through the participants box or the reactions box we have a number of people who've already raised their hands i will call on you please try to be concise because unfortunately we don't have as
lot of time ah ross would you like to unmute yourself place thank you karen a hick late
thank you so much for bringing yet the point of a recognizing the light in or itself ah with soldiers passing i've been thinking about that a lot myself and whenever he was around i always felt him as a mirror and that he's not around i'm seeing i'm still seeing him
and i'm still getting validated when i remember those meetings that we have not really hope that you can tap into that energy and a enfield my question is
you're leading dogan groups and i'm wondering how you got a
curious to study that and how that class study is going for you beg you
i'm you know it was just going back to my roots and realized that i loved suzuki roshi and i wanted to learn more about dogan and there are some people here who i'm also wanted to do that
i haven't led a dog and group specifically in a little while
currently i'm reading now i'm a on group with the a few students so that kind of i'm thinking the i i would like to do another one in the future because it so i get a lot out of it fandom and
disperse here beg you could they do
chris evans would you please a new yourself and speak
ah thank you thank you for your talk
veer ah corn ah is it more like the what we're familiar with under
with guidance from sojourn and numb and more discourses our is a more like rinzai zen where it's a school the sort of of a riddle and then he time for a second question to see any differentiation or distinction between dogan and his teacher routing and their the central teachings please
thank you pay
so arco on study is sort of both in conversation and open to discussion and it's also more one on were what and one intense work with a teacher which can in which he try to express and the ways you can your understanding what to go on
names for you in your life
and dumb
in terms of routing and dogan i'm afraid i don't know enough about that to answer that question
but thank you
thank cute chris
before i call on to oh sure i just want to mention that clays email is in the chatbox if you would like to follow up with him after this so sue hoster would you like to unmute please
thank you can and clay thank you so much sayer on thier talk on
you you are a part of us i feel connected teal i'm always glad when you show up an eye on
i was looking at your maps that was under the time for years and use you are a part your map
was my connects and do you spell lot of years after you move to colorado springs so thank you very much for your talk
a suits than great practicing with you all these time years and
other people have told me them not as reminded as them with me as well so i'm glad i had a long way
and i think that as far your light that's what i think sanga and fence and for to remind us that are light is shining when we forget it
thank you around the corner of fighting
and now our final question michael shank tourists would you like to unmute please and asked a question
oh gosh quickly thank you for all your practice and am it's wonderful to be in contact with the heart mind space that you create life and my morning in many ways
i am cohen practices really actress on way to engage with the world how has colon study and
in embracing pain as a cohen played out in your life
oh well
you know mel is owners or sojourn
as always said you know that it's the kind of everyday life what is your everyday life know how do we find meaning in our everyday life for everyday activities and am
i would say the pain for me has more fallen into that category of cohen work like how do i just work with my life today right now right here before what it is
it played into lots of the cohens that i've worked with them in the curriculum
but i'm
i think the the on curriculum in a sentence kind of
it takes you beyond that as well it takes me like beyond your personal circumstances as well as sometimes making your perfect personal circumstances we come vividly alive so that it can do both and
yeah sometimes i just have to forget about it and other times i have to go into it more
thank you for the question that sounds like a good call on right there and was really coins or popped to mind a that you worked with the head pain that came up related to them
quick i was gonna say all of them but i'm a mature about act
if you'd like to talk some more about it i'd be happy to do that by phone or by