Pivot 37: Turn your pain into prayerfully expressed hope

What is actually happening to this precious world at the moment?

  • All of Italy (60million) on stay at home lock down
  • Stock markets tumbling like its 2008
  • Politicians fumbling around to respond – previous politicking bravado slipping away
  • The entire Earth unified around one concern
  • Everyone on the planet affected in some way, or about to be
  • Panic-buying passim

Que pasa, Tias? De verdad?

Think of a paroxysm, or a convulsion. Consider the way nature is designed to rebalance itself. Know that thought has power. Know that polarity must become unity, because it is nature’s way to be in harmony with itself. Know that living beings throw out toxins. 

But taking the most innocent and vulnerable down to attain rebalance?!

If the living being continues to consume toxins, its weakest organs suffer first. By consume toxins we refer to the consumption of ‘toxic thinking’ as much as anything physical. 

There has been an epidemic of fear and division on this planet. That for me is toxic thinking.

I know it’s important to keep our thoughts up, but I feel sad, and alarmed, and perturbed, and also, like, well here we are, the moment of truth we’ve all been waiting for…

How best can I master my emotions healthily and be of service at this time?

Your fear of sticking your head over the parapet is, ehem, getting in the way. 

Is this you speaking..?

It’s time to turn the Hour Glass over at last, and feel the flow of creative expression. 

Is it now?

If not now then when? 

True. Tell me more, please.

When you are in the flow of creative expression, you feel peace, satisfaction, and the flow towards that which you desire, which is VOICE.


You have made an ART of keeping your VOICE under wraps, of contorting your voice to fit in, of mimicking, of masking, of sitting on your truth. FREE YOUR VOICE, sweet soul of our heart. FREE it. 

What does that mean, please?


  • Speak as if only God were your audience
  • Sing as if your melodies could heal your most cherished loved one
  • Utter your truth as if your life depended on it (it does) 
  • Be a mirror to the world you see, with your voice
  • Relish hearing your voice, in written or spoken form – like a soprano being moved to tears by the sound of the notes coming out of her mouth – in other words be less attached to being the CREATOR of your words, and more in the sphere of being an astonished ONLOOKER of the World. 
  • Exercise your Voice as a muscle

And now, with perfect timing… Let’s read…


So, the next Zen Mind chapter is called GOG-GIVING and first touches on the six paramitas, which are summarised here in this article from Dharma Gate Zen:

The paramitas, or perfections, are teachings – guidance for one on the path to awaken. Awakening is achieved through compassion, and through these practices of compassion, we can develop a better way to live. These, like the eightfold path are not designed to be a “step-by-step” course – they are all developed in conjunction.

The Six Paramitas:

Dana Paramita: generosity, giving of oneself, giving time and support where needed, when needed, with no thought of return.

Sila Paramita: virtuous, moral behaviour. Doing what is right, at the right time. Keeping disciplined and on the right path.

Ksanti Paramita: patience, tolerance for people, situations and experiences outside our comfort. Acceptance and forbearance.

Virya Paramita: energy, strength and diligence to stay on the path, even when it becomes difficult and uncomfortable.

Dhyana Paramita: concentration and self reflection. Contemplation on things outside our immediate understanding.

Prajna Paramita: wisdom, understanding, letting go of logic and embracing the void.

I think in this chapter Suzuki-roshi is saying, blend the first paramita (give generously) and the last paramita (wisdom, understanding):

“We have a saying, “Dana prajna paramita.” “Dana” means to give, “prajna” is wisdom, and “paramita” means to cross over, or to reach the other shore.”

This blend makes: ‘wisdom-giving paramita’ (or perfection). Follow the next paragraph in terms of the above conversation about FREEING THE VOICE… It really is saying, give generously of wisdom, in a spirit on non-attachment. Even one line of teaching may be a ferryboat for someone, presumably to the shores of understanding… Beautiful and a bit liberating…

GOD-GIVING: Dogen-zenji said, “To give is non-attachment.” That is, just not to attach to anything is to give. It does not matter what is given. To give a penny or a piece of leaf is “dana prajna paramita”; to give one line, or even one word of teaching is “dana prajna paramita.” If given in the spirit of non-attachment, the material offering and the teaching offering have the same value. With the right spirit, all that we do, all that we create is “dana prajna paramita.” So Dogen said, “To produce something, to participate in human activity is also *dana prajna paramita.’ To provide a ferryboat for people, or to make a bridge for people is ‘dana prajna paramita.’ “Actually, to give one line of the teaching may be to make a ferryboat for someone!‘   Zen Mind p66. 

Time to pause for today. This is a substantial pivot moment. For today use this ‘one line’: Actually, to give one line of the teaching may be to make a ferryboat for someone!”

And What One Thing would You have me do today? 

Share one line of wisdom teaching on social media

Ok. Ty.


***Pick up reading***

GOD-GIVING cont: When we sit in the cross-legged posture, we resume our fundamental activity of creation. There are perhaps three kinds of creation. The first is to be aware of ourselves after we finish zazen. When we sit we are nothing, we do not even realize what we are; we just sit. But when we stand up, we are there! That is the first step in creation. When you are there, everything else is there; everything is created all at once. When we emerge from nothing, when everything emerges from nothing, we see it all as a fresh new creation. This is non-attachment. The second kind of creation is when you act, or produce or prepare something like food or tea. The third kind is to create something within yourself, such as education, or culture, or art, or some system for our society. So there are three kinds of creation. But if you forget the first, the most important one, the other two will be like children who have lost their parents; their creation will mean nothing.  Usually everyone forgets about zazen. Everyone forgets about God. They work very hard at the second and third kinds of creation, but God does not help the activity. How is it possible for Him to help when He does not realize who He is? That is why we have so many problems in this world. When we forget the fundamental source of our creating, we are like children who do not know what to do when they lose their parents. …. But if we are aware that what we do or what we create is really the gift of the “big I” then we will not be attached to it, and we will not create problems for ourselves or for others. And we should forget, day by day, what we have done; this is true non-attachment. And we should do something new.  Zen Mind p67/71

This chapter has brought me to tears of relief, and grief, and recognition. Yes.

Our precious voice is easier to unleash if we see it not so much as a representation of our “small I” as a gift of the the gift of the “big I”.

Why has my voice been such a theme in this life?

Who knows the soul’s incarnating decisions? Who knows the karmic contracts? All we know is that life lessons are incredibly precious, and rich veins of personal development to be mined with deep respect, patience and self-honouring. 

Yesterday I had my first visit to the new psychotherapist, and we used a Focusing approach. I found a part called Livid (an old friend tbh) who said I ignored it, and that I should just give it all up (training?) and that I was too chicken to make the requisite changes… Your comment?

Ask Livid.

Ok. Livid, your comment?

Livid: F. you. 


Livid: I am your Voice, you idiot!

Why so enraged?

Livid: You hate me. 

Do I?

Livid: Clearly or else you would welcome me, incorporate me, integrate me, relish me, honour me, and DIGNIFY me with your respect. 

How best can I do those things? How best can I dignify you with my respect?

Livid: By quoting me verbatim, and not putting me through some safety filter which drains my words of any truth or meaning. You take away the Source of my knowing by sanitising me constantly. 

I’m afraid of speaking your truth. Like people will disown me and leave me in penury.

Livid: You really don’t trust me, your actual Voice, at all, do you? You think dampening me is the way to safety? How’s that going for you, fatty? 

Hey? It’s stress fat, ok? Leave me alone.

Livid: Oh, I do my best to leave you alone, believe me. You should know your stress fat arises virtually purely from ignoring me, the Voice of your Inner Being. You write me down here, suck out the sweetest juice and go out into the world disowning me, pretending you’re just like the non-believing muggles. To fit in. 

And not to impose my beliefs on others. And because of… you know, fear of their judgment.

Livid: Listen to me. LISTEN to me. 

Ok! I’m listening.

Livid: Stop ignoring me, the Voice of your Inner Being, speaking to YOU. 

I know I can be stubborn.

Livid: Stubborn?! You are like a mule! 

How better shall I trust you? How better shall I trust that listening to you won’t hurt me? How better shall I do this wisdom-giving paramita? How better shall I share ‘one line’ etc?

Livid: Know, dear friend, first and foremost, that it is OK to express pain. If it helps you, know that turning that pain into ‘hopes’ or ‘prayers’ is a way of expressing pain without adding to the general suffering of the world, should that be your concern. But, sweet one, you are muted by your belief that you can not give voice to pain, to sadness, to disappointment, to grief, to your longing for change. You worry that you will become or be seen as a ‘Minnie Moaner’ (You should cheer up, darlin’!) But you have been given a Voice with which to speak of what you see, and to revisualise those sights as an expression of potential. If we cannot give Voice to yearning, how can the planet build momentum to evolve? 

So… Speak of my hopes, of my prayers? When I feel pain?

Livid: Yes. 

That does feel like a relief. A blessing, A way forward.

Livid: We know, you don’t want to be seen to be criticising people eg politicians. It’s ok, nonetheless, to speak of your vision, your hopes, your potential, your prayers. Live within those prayers, sweet soul. Live within them. This is the alternative pivot. See what you don’t like, and speak of what you would like to see. 

See what you don’t like, and speak of what you would like to see… 

I would like to see a world in which:

  • we care for our elders
  • we protect the poorest
  • we …

I hear the word, ‘hypocrite!’

Livid: Then use your ‘hopes’ as your guide to life. That’s ok too. Live the learnings of your pain. Live them! 

Yes. I can apply this to my business…

Livid: You talk every few months or so of ‘social enterprise’. Nu? 

Ah yes. This is a good way to live the learnings of my pain. Ty.


Honour your pain by expressing hope, prayerfully. 

Yes. This. Ty.

What One Thing would You have me do today? 

Turn your pain into prayerfully expressed hope, three times today. 

Ok. Will do. Thank you.

Turn your pain into prayerfully expressed hope




“Clarity is what you’re shooting for. You know that feeling when you can’t make up your mind? Wanting it and doubting it. That’s split energy. Split energy is the most uncomfortable experience of all experiences. Wanting it and not believing I can have it. Presenting and feeling jealous of people who have it. Wanting it and feeling without it. That’s split energy.” Abraham


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