Practices that stretch us

 

There is nothing I dislike

Linji, died 866, founder of the Rinzai school of Zen

In Zen,  koans or phrases such as this are taken on and allowed sink into consciousness to challenge and stretch us and provoke responses other than our habitual ones. Two commentaries by different authors might be useful:

What does that mean, to dislike? Dislike could mean that you are feeling a strain between how things really are and your story about how things are.

John Tarrant, Bring me the Rhinoceros (and other koans to bring you joy).

‘There is nothing I dislike’ rearranges us profoundly, when we offer ourselves to its energy, its scrutiny, its disturbance in us. This practice is not about tidying up the world and making it clean and bright; it’s about recognizing the world as it is and finding right there the radical freedom of being. The alternative is a kind of carefully scaled-down life. One that is still extravagantly rich in detail and variety and shot through with beauty despite all our efforts, since we live on the blue-green planet, but a scaled-down view of what it was we really wanted while we were here, so very briefly.

Susan Murphy, Upside-Down Zen

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