The most important thing we can do

Non-doing has nothing to do with being indolent or passive. Quite the contrary. It takes great courage and energy to cultivate non-doing, both in stillness and in activity. Nor is it easy to make a special time for non-doing and to keep at it in the face of everything in our lives which needs to be done.

Jon Kabat Zinn

Just being with

Once or twice a year the abbot at the San Francisco Zen Center, Tenshin Reb Anderson, comes to speak with the hospice volunteers.  

One night he gave a talk that included the best advice I’ve ever heard on caregiving.

 He said simply, “Stay close and do nothing.”

 That’s how we try to practice at Zen Hospice Project.

We stay close and do nothing. We sit still and listen to the stories.

Frank Ostaseski 

See yourself with kindness

9th century Zen master, Tozan Ryokai, attained enlightenment many times. Once when he was crossing a river he saw himself reflected in the water and composed a verse, “Don’t try to figure out who you are. If you figure out who you are, what you understand will be far away from you. You will have just an image of yourself.”

Actually, you are in the river. You may say that is just a shadow or a reflection of yourself, but if you look carefully with warm-hearted feeling, that is you. You may think you are very warm-hearted, but when you try to understand how warm, you cannot actually measure. Yet when you see yourself with a warm feeling in the mirror or the water, that is actually you. And whatever you do, you are there.

Suzuki Roshi, Not Always So: Practicing the True Spirit of Zen