Transcription of a OZS Dharma Talk – We Use Words

Edited Transcription of a OZS Dharma Talk – 03-22-2023

After the retreat at Myakka State Park

After the ‘Retreat’ at Myakka River State Park.

I have no words. There’s nothing I can give you that you don’t already have. There’s nothing I can add to what you already are.

In our ignorance, we’ve forgotten who we are. We walk down the road of habit energy, it drags us along like a chain, and we struggle. As we go down the path of getting to know ourselves, we discover that there are options for us that we didn’t know we had. It could be as simple as the way we approach our habit of sitting to meditate or walking around the zendo. When it becomes a habit, we are no longer conscious of what it is we’re doing, we lose sight of the direction our lives are going, and we struggle. We may ask, “Why is it like this, does it have to be like this?”.

There are all these different ways of approaching self-improvement. One of the discussions that happen is about mastery. What is mastery? It is relaxing into what is, just this. When you have mastered anything, there’s no tension. A master wood carver, a kung fu master, flower arranging, whatever it is you’ve mastered, there’s no struggle. It’s just as it is, just this.

Relaxing into what is. Usually, when we think of relaxing, it’s getting away from it. Just getting away from it all. Going on vacation. Actually, we’re always going on vacation from what’s actually happening. Why? ‘Cause, we’re afraid to look at what’s actually happening. We have this idea that we should have some sort of security, that things don’t change. But obviously, they do, so we create a habit that boxes us in. We subscribe to some idea that we think will make us feel secure and comfortable.

From the view of our original nature, there’s no struggle. There is correct effort and there’s an effort that doesn’t serve us. What would the correct effort be? What would we be leaning into? Just this, just the way it is, right now, at this moment. In our practice and in all the different spiritual traditions, often we talk about freedom and liberation. Liberation from what? What do you wanna be liberated from?  I’ve been finding joy lately, in undoing old habits. Pretty amazing. Having moments of these little insights. “Oh, there is another way, it doesn’t have to be this way!”

I’ve said this many times, that I’ve learned the most from my root teacher in silence, no words, just sitting. Tell me, the Mind, where is Mind? Where does it begin and where does it end? So I have no words, but I keep attempting to let these talks lead to some insight that can liberate us from ignorance.

I’m really grateful for your energy, your presence, your ability to sit and be here, and that you have taken a path that brought you here. It’s amazing actually.


Thank you for all that you contribute to OZS.
Abbot Will Rauschenberger
Ordinary Zen Sanga Inc.

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Posted in Dharma Talks.

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