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nothing special

Up with a jolt — a nightmare perhaps or acid reflux or because I’d suddenly remembered something. Wide awake and dazed at the same time; not unlike most waking hours, really :-). Now I sit at the keyboard and look out the window. A grey morning, the usual cars parked across the street, Tibetan prayer flags hanging limply. No one walking past: no white earphones, to-go cups, or hand-held devices. All’s quiet. Not even gulls, nor the usual crows. So what is this? Nothing special. How amazing that I’m able to see all this.

“Awareness can take in a multiplicity of things,” writes Joko Beck, “just as an eye can take in many details at once. But awareness itself is one thing only. … Awareness is completely simple: we don’t have to add anything to it or change it. It is unassuming and unpretentious; it can’t help but be that way. Awareness is not a thing, affected by this or that. When we live from pure awareness, we are not affected by our past, present, or our future.”

So there “it” is. Being aware I see what’s outside. Expanding awareness inward: bare feet touching the carpet, left ring finger aching, right eye lid touching frame of reading glasses, left shoulder itch, slight thumping in the brain, a lightness of heart. All coming and going.

“Because awareness has nothing it can pretend to, it’s humble. It’s lowly. Simple.” [and] “Practice is about developing or uncovering a simple mind. …. It is not easy. It takes endless practice, diligence, and determination.”

The place and time to practice, it seems to me, is always now. Seize your activity this moment … and become aware of what’s around and within you. Notice when the mind wants to add a judgement, an explanation, a preference. Stay with pure awareness a little longer.

source: Beck, C.J. (1993). Nothing special: living Zen. HarperSanFrancisco, p. 255. image:


2 responses »

  1. I love Joko Beck. Her Everyday Zen is one of my earliest Zen books and very well thumbed! I also love Ezra Bayda, one of her students. Both are so clear and their writings so practical. Thanks for today’s inspiration!

  2. Ezra Bayda’s books were of great help to me during personal loss and grief a couple of years ago.

    See: Bayda, E. (2003). Being zen: bringing meditation to life. Shambhala.


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