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January 26, 2009


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Yes, that is the most precious gift of Zen in my eyes. It allows one to observe and understand oneself in a manner unlike anything else. It is this understanding that leads to not reacting to emotions situations but responding from a place of calm and wisdom.


It's easy to be this way on the cushion. It's carrying it over to the everyday world as we go about our business, that takes work


"Our families and close friends already know when we're lost in emotional reactivity, even if we don't. Imagine the relief they would feel if we exposed the truth of what they already know."

My husband always picks up on the subtlest reactive vibe from me, even if I think I'm doing a good job hiding them. Before, when he would ask me what's wrong, I'd alienate him further by saying curtly "nothing!" But practice has since helped me to be more honest with my feelings, and I am getting more courage to articulate my emotions without the (passive)aggression. Just plainly say what's bothering me. Usually, my reactions come from a misunderstanding on my part, my wrong-view, so right then and there, the honesty clears the air and irons out my confusion. It also helps greatly to have a level, big-minded fellow for a husband. He's a real fire hydrant.


"I recently heard someone say that Zen practice involves suppressing or eliminating emotions."

Vulcan Zen?


Thank you for sharing Barry.

It seems the more I practice, the harder it gets to lie to myself.

Take care,


Thank You
I too have heard people report that they think the idea of "emptiness" or "being" as non emotional state. Like a Stepford Buddha - with a salt peter smile and a new age word of blessing.
I never knew just how many emotions I actually had until I began sitting.
Endless. Like surfing the channels on cable tv


Yes, sometimes our practice is like being Batman!

Thank you, Barry! Great post.


It is funny all the ideas one has of "Zen" before practising! Of course the ideas of "Zen" one has while practising can be rather funny also! Beginners mind anyone? ;-)

I like the metaphor of unfolding - because it is often precisely emotions we don't want to own up to that keep us folded up (crippled even!)

Thanks for your wonderful contribution Barry!



Hey Barry,

You have the best cartoons on this blog.


Suicidal Zen would be even better.
Nothing at all. He,he,he.
Embrace your pain!
It means you’re alive.
Be loved!


Thanks for this post Barry. I think that is a common misperception about the practice of meditation. That you can just stop thinking. And I know one or two who have tried meditating but gave it up because "it didn't work for them", or it "was too hard, or "produced anxiety" because of the thoughts. Congratulations I say. It is working.

Barry Briggs

Hi Taru, thanks for your comment! I dunno about calm and wisdom - sometimes the truth might be more volcanic (but not Vulcan). I dunno...

Bob, thank you for your comment. If we're going to be genuine people - out in the world - then we've got to be really clean with ourselves. And the world calls upon us to live in this way. It's daunting...

Thanks for your comment, Alice. Few people can teach us as much as a committed partner. For me, these are the hardest lessons.

Jordan, you make me LAUGH OUT LOUD. I auditioned for that role...

Thank you for telling the truth, Yamakoa.

John, that's wonderful! Cable television with countless channels - where's the remote?!?!

Thank, Uku! Where do you get your costume?

Yes, Puerhan, I've been working with the notion of "unfolding" recently. That's what it actually feels like in this body.

Thank you, Greg!

BofH: Being alive is sometimes being suicidal, sometimes being in love. As Zen Master Seung Sahn used to say, "Only go straight!"

Thank you very much, Molly. Yep, when it gets hard, it's working!


2buddhaofhollywood: words of harm rarely bring peace.

fighting fire with gasoline indeed of little use. no gasoline - no fire.

a rock is always at peace. not because it hides or suppresses anything. :)

good luck.

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