No Small Matter to Be Born Human
NO SMALL MATTER TO BE BORN HUMAN
By Jody Hojin Kimmel,
Program Director of the Zen Mountain Monastery, New York
"I am grateful to Samuel for his mind to mind teachings and dedication to humanity. Ultimately a teacher can give one tools for self-direction, but it is up to each one of us to apply the true nature of self. It is our birthright and it is 'no small matter to be born human."
'Miss Kimmel, you begin!' So into the center reminding myself to breathe, 'Hello my name is Jody and I am glad to be here.' Returning to my spot with a wishy-washy posture, it suddenly came to me. Whack! Resounding words from Samuel, 'Own it... Don't brush it away.' With my whole mind and body I knew exactly what he meant.
For me that was it. Wake up! Own your existence, don't hide it away. Take responsibility. It was the point of the falling off of a ripe fruit, so quick that it can be realized and experienced. I took my turn in the circle again, but as a new organism this time. The rest of the session proved to be a delicious unfolding of my being.
It was the first day of the workspace in July of 1987. I had no idea who Avital was, who would be there, where would we be, what would we be doing, I just knew that I had to do it.
Samuel's English vocabulary, at that time, was difficult to understand for our limited thinking. This was a tremendous challenge for him to explain to us about communication without words what a paradox!
It was clearly left to the individual how much one chose to empty, to follow the breath, moment by moment and to go beneath all the conditioning to awaken and perhaps realize the true nature of self. After all we are not just a bag of skin we call self, everything inside of it is self and the outside is something separate. It is one thing to understand intellectually that we are not separate from anything. It is another to experience this union of our true nature. It's paradoxical and yet, in reality, there is no such thing as paradox. It seems to become identifiable when we begin to discuss true self. The more one tries to clarify the situation the sharper the paradox becomes. What remains?
Samuel would not answer our questions; he would urge and persuade us to get involved in the process of ourselves. To become intimate, in this he was a mirror reflecting back to ourselves.
Recently what I have learned with Samuel has triggered a new desire to motivate myself. I am finally taking charge of my life and am in the process doing so with joie de vivre.
I am grateful to Samuel for his mind to mind teachings and dedication to humanity. Ultimately a teacher can give one tools for self-direction, but it is up to each one of us to apply the true nature of self. It is our birthright and it is 'no small matter to be born human.'
Jody Hojin Kimmel is an artist of subtle talents, writer and actor. She is now the Program Director and Head monk at the Zen Mountain Monastery in Mt-Tremper, New York