Extend Your Gaze

I spent a great deal of time this summer studying Zen.  Reading books by various spiritual masters like the wonderful Buddhist monk, Thich Nhat Hanh.  One of the primary themes running through this field of study is the need to go beyond self.  So I’ll be spending the rest of this year, 4 months, looking at this concept more deeply.  After all, we are a “quick change” world that rarely pauses to consider anything for more than a few minutes.  But SunnyRoomStudio dares to be different.  What is really gained from blogs that change focus every 10 seconds?  Less is more.

  • Besides, lasting wisdom resides beneath the surface of life, and practicing “mindfulness” requires us to focus, to slow down and avoid running to the next thing in a mad dash as if we will somehow be rewarded once we get to the next moment.  Yet, I seriously doubt we will discover our inherent spirituality by practicing inattentiveness.

Most blog posts, unless I have a Studio Guest, will be quite brief, and I will close comments during this series.  While I greatly enjoy connecting with kindred spirits via comments, I also view this initiative as a unique online spiritual retreat that is mostly about “practicing” or exploring the ideas presented.  Besides, if we are going “beyond self” — comments might be an actual hindrance or at least superfluous.  Instead you may decide to keep a journal, because I will open comments at the close of Beyond Self 2012 so we can share what we discovered along the way.

While I’m not a big fan of highly structured retreats, I enjoy following a spiritual thread to see where it leads.  So please enjoy this series that will take us up to 2013, because “now” is the time to pursue your spiritual path.  Not tomorrow, not next week, and certainly not next year.  We must be the change we envision.

I hope you enjoy this creative journey beyond self.
And thank you, as always, for being part of SunnyRoomStudio.

WEEK ONE: Beyond Self 2012

But how can we see our consciousness in a flower? The flower IS our consciousness. Perception means the coming into existence of the perceiver and the perceived. The flower that we are looking at is part of our consciousness. The idea that our consciousness is outside of the flower is deluded. It is impossible to have a subject without an object. It is impossible to remove one and retain the other.  ~ Thich Nhat Hanh

  • The next time you gaze at something lovely, a flower, a skyscape, a work of art, consider Hanh’s words.  Try to view the world as interconnected in every way — try to release the notion of “self” and see where that lifeline takes you.  I often feel we are all caught up in some kind of “mad world” that focuses on “what can I do for self today.”  But that’s a superficial approach to life and can be extremely limiting, even tiring.  Instead, extend your gaze — see how everything is interwoven, sometimes in mysterious ways.  How many aspects of the universe impact your life each day — can you even count them?

Welcome to Beyond Self 2012. 

No need to sign up, pay a fee, or even show up every Friday morning for each new post in this online spiritual retreat.  Here when you need it; here when the spirit moves you.  Thanks so much for just being here!  I hope these weekly prompts will be useful catalysts in your spiritual journey.  Keeping a special journal might be a great way to join in.  And at the end of this journey in December, I’ll open comments so we can share our discoveries and insights during this special time.     

Blog posts by DazyDayWriter @ work in SunnyRoomStudio: all rights reserved.