Min Tanaka

We are walking emotional energy fields.

When I came back from Japan, and Teresa was pregnant with Rose, we were living on a little herb farm in a cottage.  Some friends from the monastery were visiting one evening, and we were talking about what was next in our lives.  For me, it was a moment of, what does all of this Zen stuff boil down to in the end?  What is the take home as we entered a new phase of life?  Sitting there in the candle light, I told everyone there, “I just want to be honest.”

My training had taught me that if I were honest, the moment would guide me how to align with it, align with a greater truth.  I saw that if I were not facing myself, being brutally honest to how I was feeling, that I’d begin to clog up internally.  This is what we referred to as stuck places.

I saw that the more I could face the moment, without my preference for it, my internal world would clarify, I could find the truth of each situation.

So, it was either honestly aligning with the present moment and feeling filled up with it, or being disconnected, and out of the flow. This is not an idea, but a felt sense.

This honesty was at once completely liberating, as I felt that I had no real choice but to be honest, and also very frightening, as I could not manipulate or control my life and be honest at the same time.  So, it was like being naked to the world, living without a filter.

The most astonishing part about living a life of honest vulnerability, is that if we are truly doing it, we are completely free.  Something mysterious opens when we are not guarding ourselves.  We are these walking emotional energy fields.  One moment has joy.  Another deep sadness.  Still another, great wonder.  But equanimity emerges shockingly from a place of letting go.

Opening up all of my senses, not defending myself, Not wanting the moment to be different than it is, relaxing, baring all to the moment, like a shell cracking, this is the life for me.  This is the internal alchemy which paints my life.  This is my expression of true nature.

When I am being honest, the energy fields of my body, my entire being, feels connected with something greater.  For me, this has always felt like grace.

Even with kensho. Even with Satori, enlightenment experiences, we are walking emotional energy fields. The process can’t end with those transformations. We have to spend the rest of our lives honestly integrating them.

These days, you’ll find me walking down the beach, engaging with this honesty, drinking down the environment, removing the barrier between self and other.  Doing this, I feel like a dancer of life, no need even to call it dance or spirituality or Zen or art.  But something prior to that.  Something primordial.

In this way, I have no idea what I’ll be a minute from now. I might be crying or laughing or jumping around excitedly.  It has to be that I give up, become this moment completely, and what emerges is something free, something unimaginable.

I love breaking down these ideas, I love discovering what is essential, something uncreated.  Discovering what is true in each moment, listening to God, making friends with this huge moment.  Marrying the inside and outside.  It feels like being born.  This is not something conceptual.

I wish to dance what I am…the non-existent self…that which is not found in my memory.   Min Tanaka

Thanks for reading.  Lots of love!