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Zen and Mindfulness and DC in St. Louis

10-25-07 - Sittin' here in Manchester waiting for a flight and reading what some folks have writ about mindfulness. Below are some revelations by a few Zen friends. But first a few idle comments by DC.

10-15-07 - In eleven days I'm giving a talk in St. Louis at Washington University on Zen and Mindfulness. What should I say? What can be said about... what are we talking about? oh yes - mindfulness. What do you think? I've misplaced my notes and am dizzy from just having banged my head on a low beam and aching from having tripped over my own feet which led to a nasty tumble. Mindfulness? Huh? Help. Write me now at <>, share your thoughts and save me from the humiliation of staring at the eager assembly, mouth agape, occasionally mumbling "Duh." - DC

Friday, October 26, 2007, 7:00 PM 20071027T000000Z
Washington University
Brown Hall
1 Brookings Drive
Saint Louis , MO 63130-4899
On Friday evening, Oct. 26 at 7:00 p.m., David Chadwick will speak on
Zen and Mindfulness. The talk will take place at Washington University, in Brown Hall, Room 100. This event is co-sponsored by the Buddhist Council of Greater St. Louis and the Department of Religious Studies, Washington University in St. Louis.

So I'm giving a talk on Zen and Mindfulness. What should I say? Write me now at <>.
That's Brooks Hall where this auspicious event is transpiring. 

RSVP here with the St. Louis Buddhism Meet-up Group

10-25-07 - Sittin' here in Manchester waiting for a flight to Chicago then to St. Louis as is explained above this post and reading what some folks have writ about mindfulness, spurred on by my request also found above. Meanwhile, below are some revelations by a few Zen friends. But first a few idle comments.

On the way to St. Louis MO. Left Glasgow Scotland this morning at eight or so after a brief stay in Edinburgh with Katrinka - great old cities with magnificent smudgy stone buildings and castles and pubs and all. Was there cause this is where I was for a good deal of this fall. Since Katrinka is managing that place we had a few nights as guests here as well. Katrinka managed this neighbor of Green Gulch Farm for ten years. Loved being at Taychreggan. A sort of heaven realm - peaceful, quiet, few people, an office where I'd go at four in the morning. Gotten a lot of work done on this Tassajara alumni Event and had a great walk just about every day with Katrinka.  But that's behind for now.
Didn't sleep last night so I'd sleep on the plane. Katrinka flew to SFO. Bye dear. Alone again. Most spectacular crimson sunrise above the cloud cover on the brief flight to where now am stuck in Manchester Airport waiting for flight delayed four hours which means a seven hour wait. Hadn't prepared well enough which I blame on the Bush administration.
Needed to get into computer to get phone number of St. Louis sponsors and try to email them to let them know I won't be there at SLO when they expect. Had to buy an adaptor so laptop would plug in cause the battery is good only for moving from one plug to another. Bought it here for $14 - over twice the usual price. But it was duty free - had to show my boarding pass to have the privilege of paying extra. No problem - it's airport reality. Then discovered it was against the rules to plug in anywhere.
Compassionate and distractingly cute airport employee told me where I might find outlet with minimum chance of security personnel noticing. It worked - now I'm sitting in a waiting area longer than a football field, wide as volley ball court - gates 44 through 56 I think - hard to read way down there. Sitting by what looks like a slot machine with flashing lights - plugged in behind with shoulder bag and jacket covering the cord that runs from behind the machine to my computer. Paid 10 pounds for 24 hours of t-mobile-UK wireless access - was hoping that they had Cloud cause the 24 hours I paid 10 pounds for last night won't be up till nine or so tonight. That's about fifty-five dollars to get my cyber fixes for an 18 hour period. Must realign. Become a hunter-gatherer again.

Looking more into this mindfulness thing. Here are four emails on Mindfulness I got from old Zen buddies as a result of my plea as seen way up top.

Loring Palmer:

thank you for throwing this out to those of us in the choir. because it inspired a pervasive contemplation on this subject for me. i'm probably too late to weigh in, and i'm still not clear on which way to go.

it's interesting that mindfulness is next to the last in the order of the 8 fold path, just before right meditation. so i feel that unless one is clear on one's view being on the mark, the subsequent truths will be baseless---not less true but without foundation. yes, it's important to be consciously aware of where i put my keys, be aware of the hole in front of me, and remember a name. this is basic mindfulness.

for buddha, right view is the understanding of transciency/emptiness, the 4 noble truths, leading to the 8-fold path. to me, the right view is clarity of intention, wanting to be Free more than anything else. if i'm clear about this and freedom is my numero uno, then i'm inspired to do what it takes. and mindfulness is the cultivation of awareness, to face everything and avoid nothing. because the big obstacle to freedom, to big mind, to buddha nature is narcissism, ie, big ego. the mindfulness necessary to face everything and avoid nothing will undercut ego's wily ways to see oneself as separate and special.

another aspect to mindfulness is the fact that we all need to be nicer and kinder to each other. we can learn a lot from the japanese about being mindful of not wreaking havoc upon those around us with our inner problems. our outer demeanor can be polite and dignified no matter how we may feel inside at the time. this requires a willingness to accept feedback if we want to grow up in this important stage of mindfulness and awareness. we all have the ability to turn a situation around or not return aggression with further aggression. we can make another's day for them.

perhaps you could post your talk on, along with some of the significant posts you received. it's a great topic.


Andrew Atkeison:

Mindfulness, in practice, is about remembering to be conscious in an impartial way or in Buddhist terms, in a non-attached way.

Mindfulness is about being conscious of consciousness itself, awareness of doing, thinking and being.

Mindfulness as a cognitive process uses the cerebral cortex area of the brain.

In theory, mindfulness pre-supposes that un-consciousness is the default state of mind.

It can be beneficial in many ways to be mindful of ones thoughts and ones behavior.

There is a circular relationship between one's thoughts and behavior and vice versa. Mindfulness of a behavior can lead to uncovering the unconscious thought processes behind the action.


Lane Olson:

I talk with my women friends about this all the time. Mindfulness is a key technique in maintaining an embodied spirituality.

Taigen Dan Leighton:

Sorry, I'm in the middle of leading sesshin myself, and I can't remember what mindfulness is. - tdl

John Steiner suggests:

Make it fun...make it ordinary...say whatever you say when you're there...Ask questions first...who's there...who knows anything...ask they what they know. Who meditates? ..... Let them just ask you any questions they have...maybe the whole thing...a few minutes to warm them up and Q&A...Stand up there and don't say anything for awhile and see if anyone will say something...

Next: What some folks in St. Louis have said.

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