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Friday, April 06, 2007

Working with Where We Are

When people start to mediate or to work with any kind of spiritual discipline, the often think that somehow they're going to improve, which is a sort of subtle aggression against who they really are. It's a bit like saying, "If I jog, I'll be a much better person." "If I could only get a nicer house, I'd be a better person." If I could meditate and calm down, I'd be a better person."... But loving-kindness--maitri--toward ourselves doesn't mean getting rid of anything. Maitri means that we can still be crazy after all these years. We can still be angry after all these years. We can still be timid or jealous or full of feelings of unworthiness. The point is not to try to throw ourselves away and become something better. It's about befriending who we are already. The ground of practice is you or me or whoever we are right now, just as we are. That's the ground, that's what we study, that's what we come to know with tremendous curiosity and interest.

--Pema Chodron

James: It's so difficult sometimes to just accept who we are already isn't it? We constantly yearn to be something else, something better--anything other then "us." Yet we can't be any better then we are in this present moment because this is the only moment we have. Radical acceptance is such an important lesson to learn in our spiritual journey.

~Peace to all beings~

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PeterAtLarge said...

I love Pema Chodron's matter-of-fact voice in talking about things that are extraordinary and difficult. She makes it all sound so... possible. So within reach. Thanks for the post. Cheers, PaL

... ./|\. ... said...

pema chodron rocks. i hope it's ok to link to this in my blog so i can refer to it when i get down on myself...which is all day long at this point.

They call him James Ure said...


She cuts through all the mumbo jumbo are really hits the nail on the head I agree.


Feel free to link to it.

No worries.

Greenwoman said...

Geez. I don't remember her saying that in her book when I read it. Obviously wasn't ready for the concept yet. *shakes head* As poke me where I live in a terrific way. Gonna sit with this one awhile too.

I love your meditations. Thank usual!

Tex69 said...

Another great find James. thanks for sharing.

jundo cohen said...


I hope it is okay if I pass this on. If you know someone appropriate, please let them know.

Gassho, Jundo



We would like announce that the doors are 'officially' open on our ONLINE ZENDO & SANGHA, and our VIDEO-BLOG. We also soon will begin LIVE online-video broadcasts of weekly Zazen sittings, talks and multi-day Sesshin :

The website, blog and broadcast sittings are meant for people who cannot travel to sit and be with others, perhaps due to health concerns, or not driving at night, having to take care of kids, or their living in a place without a Sangha close by. Our Zazen sittings and Sangha will always be close by.

For now, we have recorded Zazen sittings and talks, such as this "Sit-a-long Zazen":

We also have online and Ipod-ready Zazen timers . Although our online Sangha is meant mainly for people who cannot travel far from home, we hope anyone and everyone will feel free to use and download our timers and broadcast sittings. They are our gift to everyone who finds them helpful (for example, who might wish to use the Ipod/Mp3 version for some Zazen at work).

We are a Soto Zen Sangha in the lineage of Gudo Wafu Nishijima, with teacher Jundo Cohen (who resides in Ibaraki, Japan and, sometimes, Florida with wife and son). Our focus is on a very down-to-earth, 'Just Sitting' Zazen practice (not much for ceremonies, statues, beads, costumes or other bells and whistles).

We hope to establish a true community, and questions or comments can be sent to Jundo at any time, or posted on the blog or community forum (

If you know anyone who, due to health concerns or the like, cannot commute to sit with others, please introduce them to our site.

Like life and the universe, it is all Free! Everyone is always welcome, and there is no being "far away."

Gassho, Treeleaf Zendo

Tracy said...

Greenwoman, I just wanted to thank you for putting into words something that I find happens so often:
"Obviously wasn't ready for the concept yet."

They call him James Ure said...


You're always welcome. This one poked me in a place that needs poking from time to time as well.


Yw. I bow to the Buddha within you.


Yes, it is o.k. to pass this on. Bowing _/I\_

isaiah said...


Gave you kudos at my site and posted this, there. Hope you don't mind.

The State Of . . . said...

Pema is the bomb.

They call him James Ure said...


Yes she is. She is a great teacher who has a wonderful ability to explain the Dharma for western Buddhists.

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