December 07, 2010

The Great Heart Way

"If you bring forth what is in you, what is in you will save you. If you do not bring forth what is in you, what you do not bring forth will kill you."

Gerry Shishin Wick, Roshi, quotes Jesus in the Gnostic Gospels to steer us along "The Great Heart Way," a deep exploration of the contents of our consciousness and habitual patterns that typically dominate our thinking.

Soft-spoken Berkeley physics doctorate Shishin Roshi had hoped during his days as an academic to get to the bottom of things. The study of physics, he says, was his first spiritual pursuit. But physics, as enriching as Shishin found it, took him only so far and, he ultimately concluded, would not lead him to realization. Around this time, Shunryu Suzuki showed up in San Francisco, and eventually, Shishin found himself reading The Three Pillars of Zen.  In time he found himself studying under Soto Zen teacher Maezumi Roshi, abbot of Zen Center Los Angeles.

In his first installment of his current online retreat, he describes his progress on the path of meditation:

"Jung says Meditation seems to be the royal road to the unconscious. We can use meditation to bring [the unconscious] into the light. I found that I need to work with feelings to complete our meditation practice."

"When i first started sitting," he continues, "I'd read—probably in the Three Pillars of Zen—to hold your mind like a great iron wall against all thoughts and feelings. And that's how I sat for a few years, just holding everything out, which is a difficult practice. Then, after doing that for a number of years...I realized that I could just let everything come in and then transform it. Instead of an image of an iron wall I visualized the ocean, which allowed all the streams to flow in—thoughts, feelings, judgments, opinions and projections—and let them become the one taste of the ocean, the one taste of the dharma, the one taste of true self as we are, without adding anything extra."

To participate in this online retreat, become a Supporting or Sustaining Member here.

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