Zen Wisdom 142

It is not the same. With Ch'an you are aware of what you are doing or thinking or saying. It is just that you detach yourself from your problem. That is the method to use. Most problems are due to attaching to a view of self or a recurring thought. If you ignore the thought and do not respond to it, eventually it will cease to come up and bother you. For most problems coming up while meditating, ignoring them is the best method. If you have another method for dealign with problems, then use that method.

If during retreat you encounter problems and don't know how to deal with them, it's probably best to ignore them. Or, you could ask me for guidance. I may also tell you to ignore the problem, or I may give you a method to deal with it.

STUDENT:

Should this way of dealign with problems while meditating carry over into daily life as well?

SHIH-FU:

If you meditate on a regular basis, yes. I am not saying that people should go through life ignoring and denying their problems and difficulties, but most problems are not very serious. By dwelling on them, we blow them out of proportion. These minor problems are best ignored. Problems that have been around for a long time and show up in many forms need to be addressed. Such problems need special attention. If you need help, I will listen and perhaps offer guidance, or you could go to a therapist.

STUDENT:

Psychotherapy usually deals with neuroses, not psychoses, so things like demonic obstructions usually don't come up, although I'm sure there is a lot of stuff from people's past karma that comes up and influences problems.