I am writing to you from Salt Lake City, where I'm attending the Kanzeon Western Zen Center's Fall Retreat with Genpo Roshi.
As someone who has never wanted to be a Buddhist, but who is powerfully drawn to to the Big Mind process, I'm having a few interesting and fun culture shocks.
Like Monday, 6:45 AM, when I entered the Zendo for morning meditation in time for a Hogwarts-ian vision of black robed monks floating down the dark staircase in dawn's half-light. I must admit, I was slightly creeped out until I reminded myself that I'd already met all those people at dinner the night before, in their jeans and sweatshirts. They were perfectly lovely.
Nobody had said anything about robes, though! ;-)
I'm here for Big Mind, but meditation and enlightenment are two deep interests of mine, as they are just about a must be for a good coach. We need to always be opening that space for our clients and we can't just manufacture it.
Roshi talks a lot about the teacher/student relationship and how masters never lose the need for teachers. Otherwise, we get stuck or arrogant (or both). Same goes for coaches.
I've been looking for my next teacher for some time and here he is. Roshi doesn't call Big Mind, coaching, although he recognizes the correlation. He's helping people experience enlightenment in a quintessentially American way, but with 40 years of experience and 2,500 years of teachings.
Speaking of which, the Dharma, or Way, was predicted to end at about this time. Roshi believes that 21st Century monasteries will go away and that enlightenment will converge with the market, to integrate life and business with awareness.
One element of this will be the elimination of a huge shadow that has forced monks to 'beg, borrow or steal', instead of earn, to survive.
So many coaches are plagued by the same shadow. They feel uncomfortable with asking for money, afraid of the 'sleeze factor'. Unless you are independently wealthy, the money shadow will prevent you from succeeding as a professional coach.
Not sure if you have a money shadow? Just look at your coaching career and ask yourself how you have begged, borrowed or stolen in order to coach. If you're not earning your way back to integrity, yet, you probably have a financial shadow.
What to do? Big Mind, of course. They are broadcasting live everyday this week. You may even see me on screen. No robes, though. http://www.BigMind.org/zen-eye
[UPDATE: On February 3rd, 2011, Genpo Merzel announced that he would disrobe as a Buddhist monk, after admitting to improper relationships with some students. He plans to continue teaching Big Mind on a secular basis and will no longer teach at Kanzeon Zen Center.]