Why don’t we skip the introduction. I want to hear your question, please.
Why don’t we skip the introduction. I want to hear your question, please.
Near the place where Zen Master Hakuin lived there happened to be a food store. The owner of the food store had a beautiful unmarried daughter. One day she was found with child. Her parents flew into a rage. They wanted to know the father, but she would not give them the name. After repeated scolding and harassment, she gave up and told them it was the Zen Master. When the child was born they ran to the Zen Master, scolding him with foul tongue, and they left the infant with him. They said to him: “Take care of this child as you’re the father.” The Zen Master said, “Is that so”. That was his only comment.
He accepted the child. He started nourishing and taking care of the child. By this time his reputation had come to an end, and he was an object of mockery. Days ran into weeks, weeks into months and months into years. But there is something called conscience in our human life, and the young girl was tortured by her conscience. She finally disclosed to her parents the name of the child’s real father, a man who worked in a fish market. The parents again flew into a rage. At the same time, sorrow and humiliation tortured the household. They came running to the spiritual Master, begged his pardon, narrated the whole story and then took the child back as they said to him: “You don’t need to take care of this child anymore as you’re not his father.”
His only comment was: “Is that so.”
(Taken, with light editing, from Reps, Paul; Nyogen Senzaki. Zen Flesh, Zen Bones: A Collection of Zen and Pre-Zen Writings)
We walked the streets of San Francisco, we visited Alcatraz, we played at the Montaña de Oro dunes, we hiked to the top of Cerro San Luis, we played at the San Luis Obispo rock climbing gym, we kayaked in Morro Bay…
But the most important part was that we were together.
Maya, Tad and Eduardo messing around in California … See my Tabblo>
The trust that has been placed on me by my teachers
I shall not defraud
You may know I have a son. His name is Tad, and he is about to be 14 years old. He is a handsome, emotionally put together young man. A couple of months ago I told him:
You are coming of age. It is time for you and I to take a trip together, through which we will bond, and we will both expore how is it that one may come to live a meaningful life.
The old forgotten rite of passage. Machelle and I had talked about that this time would come. It was time. Tad tells me that at the moment he thought I was going to take him out to the wilderness for a week, or take him to the middle of a lake and throw him there and see him swim back to the shore. I said, instead:
He was strangely relieved. I asked him how he felt about that, and he said he would do it.
What you will read in the upcoming posts is his own account of how the weekend went for him. He wrote the text you will read as part of an assignment he had for school, about community service. His take on it was that being a facilitator of The Work is a form of community service. Enjoy.
Byron Katie Workshop: Day One
May 4, 2007
At the Byron Katie workshop, we got a folder that had many sheets of paper. As we went along through the workshop Katie would invite us to get a certain sheet of paper and write the answers to questions she would ask us. The most unique sheet of paper was the yellow card. The yellow card had the following words on it:
These four questions changed my whole life to a different view and that of many others who were there at the workshop. We used these four questions for every problem we worked with. I will show how each step works using the following sentence:
I am angry at Brandon because he is mean to everyone.
This is a stressful thought that I had. To work with it I first shortened it to:
Brandon is mean to everyone.
Number one: “Brandon is mean to everyone, is that true?” You shut your eyes and think. If the answer is YES, you go to question number two. If the answer is NO you skip to number 3. In this case my answer was YES.
Number two: “Brandon is mean to everyone. Can you absolutely know that this is true?” Shut your eyes again. “Is he mean in your thoughts?” “Does he act mean to people in your point of view?” “Does he act kind to some people?” Those questions that I just typed are the things you should be searching for in your mind. My answer to this question is NO. He is not mean to everyone.
Number three: “Brandon is mean to everyone. How do you react when you believe that thought?” “I feel sad that he treats people with disrespect. I feel like it is my fault that I can teach him not to be so mean if I hang out with him but I don’t want to because he is mean.” That was an example of a common answer. The answers tell how you feel and how you treat yourself and others when you believe that thought.
Number four: “Brandon is mean to everyone. Who would you be with out the thought that Brandon is mean to everyone?” “I would feel safer. I wouldn’t have to worry about him in his long run. I would hang out with him more. He would be a better friend to me.”
Turn the thought “Brandon is mean to everyone” around. A turnaround could be: “I’m mean to everyone.” Now find three statements in which that could be true. “I have been mean to my sister. I have been mean to my friends. I have been mean to my parents.” Now find another turnaround. “Brandon is not mean to everyone.” Now find another three statements in which that could be true. “He is kind to his nephew. He is kind to his sister. He is kind to most of his friends.” The turnaround is a way to learn about myself and the world from the judgments I have about others.
Now we have done The Work. From this I found out that Brandon is similar to me because we are both mean in some ways. I learned that he is not mean to everyone. I want to say he is so that I can be right but that does not prove anything. After doing this work on Brandon I felt better. I felt like I could understand him more.
Byron Katie Workshop: Day Two
May 5, 2007
Earlier this day I shared with the group about how we all are living so we can die happy. After I spoke everyone noticed Eduardo and I. Many people came up to us and said hello and told us how amazing it is for a son and dad to come and do something like this. They kept on saying “I wish my son would come and do this with me.” I felt really good that I did this and how great of a father I have.
Katie invited us to read a worksheet that we did on someone we were frustrated at. She had us pair up with someone and it was the first time I had paired up with anyone so I paired up with my dad. We did The Work (used the questions in the yellow card). I started to get the hang of it. It was entertaining and it started to make a lot more sense. After the exercise that we just did, Katie played a poem off the computer. I forgot who it was by but it was the most well read, most terrific poem I’ve ever heard.
After the poem ended I found myself struggling to open my eyes but I just couldn’t. So I sat there in a moment, joining the rest of the silent symphony.
The moment ended and she dismissed us for an hour and a half for lunch.
Byron Katie Workshop: Day Three
May 6, 2007
In this workshop I learned that other people go through similar things that I do. That made me feel better about myself and how I look at things. I also learned that some things I go through are very common and not as bad as what others go through. Like this man who said “I am angry at my brother because he killed his wife.” He later said that his brother had killed her by strangling her. Whoa! It was so vicious and not as bad as my problems. The brother did The Work and he handled his problem very well. He just gave a few tears. Katie later told him that “Crying is the same as smiling with a little feature, tears. It’s alright to cry. Nothing is wrong with how it is.”
Katie’s words are wonderful, influential, and touching. She never gets angry. She says she doesn’t know why there is a reason to be angry. Things are the way they are. She used to be really depressed. She was depressed for 43 years. She lived in a halfway house. But one morning she woke up on the floor of her bedroom. As she says, “It’s like I woke up as a whole other person.” People noticed that she was not her usual self. She gave the most stunning advice to anyone. People ask her if she was enlightened but she gave the simplest response “I’m not sure.”
It may go without saying, and let me say it anyways: I was very moved by Tad’s account of his experience at Katie’s Relationship Workshop. I loved being there with him. My experience was just as beautiful and personal as his. I post these experiences in my blog in tribute to our wanting to learn together how to live in love and in peace. What more as a father could I possibly want?
I truly can’t think of anything better than this.
One last thing. Past the astonishment of reading Tad’s experiences at the workshop I told him: I don’t remember hearing Katie say to that man that “crying is the same as smiling with a little feature, tears.” He said: “Yeah, she didn’t say that. I made that part up.”