Cherry Garcia Zen

I may have mentioned previously that since I have been back the girls have been more interested in sitting with me. To the point where last night Iris even came to me and said "Daaaadeeeee, isn't it time for Zazen?" Last night I let her run the block, bell and keep time.

This morning Hannah had her turn. This is cool, but not the main point of the title.

Allowing the girls to run the timer and bell has allowed me some space that I guess my practice needed.

While typically when sitting I am wrestling with all kinds of monsters like: how is my posture, why is the dog barking, ugh the cat is tearing up the tatami mat again, why is the TV on so loud? And other zen koans. Today was different and I was able catch a whiff of bliss. *note this is not a "Goal" of practice. It just happens from time to time and it too just arises and passes away. It is just nice scenery to have from time to time.
But I was discerning enough to really observe it this time. A first for me, usually if and when this happens I just kind of bliss out. And what I observed was just the sensation of the bliss and I tried to explain it to myself. The first thing that popped into my head was Ice cream. Bliss feels like cream. Not just any ice-cream, but Vermont's own Ben & Jerry's Cherry Garcia on a hot day. Not the sweetness or the coldness, that isn't the point. It may just be the endorphins or dopamine released into the brain housing unit.

Now, just because I wrote that please don't go seeking out bliss experiences. Because just like eating to much of Ben and Jerry's tasty ice-cream is not healthy, Dropping into bliss states in Zazen, or more specifically directing yourself too them is not so good for you either. It is just another ghost cave you can get trapped in. So nice to visit, but don't stay there.


Ben Howard said...

Dear Jordan,

Thanks for a suggestive post.

One rarely hears Zen teachers, ancient or contemporary, speaking of bliss. However, they do speak of such wholesome states as gratitude, compassion,and respect, which we can cultivate through chanting, bowing, and zazen itself.


Ben Howard


SlowZen said...

Hi Ben.

You are welcome.

Best of luck with that cultivation of wholesome states.

I have not heard of any states begin cultivated in all of the Mahayana sutras or the extensive zen cannon. Only them being passed through and dropped off. I hear gratitude, compassion, and respect as action.

All the best,

gniz said...

Hi Jordan,

The funny thing I've found about "bliss" states in regards to meditation--or life--is that they absolutely MUST pass away no matter how much we chase or attempt to stay with them. Lord knows I've tried.

It only leads to disappointment to try to hold on to them--a lesson in and of itself.

Understood that you do not even bother trying, but regardless--those who do try inevitably fail!




SlowZen said...

Hi Aaron,

I have heard practice decried as a succession of failures.

I think I can denitrify with that.

Thanks for dropping in.


Lauren said...

I'm on my seventh pint... no bliss...WTF

SlowZen said...


Anonymous said...

Love your metaphor, careful you don't get the brain freeze that can go with a Cherry Garcia.
I don't quite have th ediscipline of day-to-day blogging / journalizing but, I'm going to add you to my follows to see if it can help.

SlowZen said...

Hi Digger, thank you for the encouragement.

I don't worry about discipline or day to day blogging so much. What is important is radical honesty with your self and your readers. I've added you to the blog roll and I will take a look at your efforts.

All the best!

Thanks for looking!