HOW SHALL WE PROCEED?
LET'S INVESTIGATE TOGETHER.
In these three lines, Genjo Marinello sums up his approach to spiritual companionship and life. A Zen Master and Quaker, a spiritual companion/director and psychotherapist, Genjo is above all, a wisdom teacher. He has lived the arc of suffering, awakening and maturity that he writes about in this book.
Spiritual companions, spiritual directors, and all interested in a life of spirit, will benefit from reading Genjo’s chronicle of breaking apart and growing, healing and becoming whole.
Genjo Marinello Roshi began his Zen training in 1975. He moved to Seattle in 1976 to serve as a VISTA community organizer in the central district of the city. In 1980 Genjo was ordained as a Zen monk, and in 1981-82 trained in Japan at the Zen temple Ryutaku-Ji. In 1999 Genjo succeeded Genki Takabayashi Roshi as the second abbot of the Seattle Zen temple, Chobo-Ji, and became a Dharma Heir in his lineage of Rinzai Zen in 2008. Genjo has been a member of the University Friends Meeting (Quakers) since 1983. In 1989, Genjo completed a certificate program in Spiritual Direction (The Pacific Jubilee Program). For several years Genjo was the volunteer Buddhist pastor of the Twin Rivers Correction Center in Monroe Washington and has served as adjunct faculty at the Seattle campus of Antioch University.
“Awakening alone is only a foothold on the endless path of maturation. If we aren’t always beginning just where we are, we have been sidetracked into arrogance, ignorance or spiritual bypassing.”
“Spiritual practices nurture our roots and help us have access to the sun. Psychological practices work best with everything between our roots and the sun. Of course, a healthy tree needs nurturing on all levels. A healthy tree serves the forest and the world. Every healthy tree is an actualized bodhisattva naturally caring for all beings great and small, animate and inanimate. A tree naturally does its part for the forest, not more than its part and not less than its part. Staying healthy and balanced is the best way to serve the forest of humans and this troubled world. A tree that is sickly or broken, and yet has achieved psychological maturity with deep roots may still serve by being served, or if dead, serve as a nurse log for the next generation of trees.”
“Spiritual companions are the best resource possible when it comes to dealing with the fear and the dark nights that we all face from time to time. Spiritual companions provide a bridge from our fear to beyond fear. They offer a mirror to our deep-rooted nature.
“No one can grow and learn for us; however, our teachers may suggest what to explore, and may point to what we can’t know but can learn to feel. What they mustn’t do is give us the answers we are looking for. On the other hand, there is no harm done when our teachers leave cairns along the paths they have explored so that we may explore them for ourselves.”
“The path towards individuation, awakening and maturity is impossible without companions. For better and worse our maturation depends on our relationship to significant family members, teachers, and mentors. If we are lucky, we will find spiritual guides that mirror our shortcomings, are honest about their own, and point the way towards tapping wisdom and expressing compassion. A big part of any spiritual companion relationship is assessing where we are in our own unfolding spiritual journey, where we have been and where we may need to deepen or explore.”
A compelling account of spiritual and psychological liberation paid for in sweat and tears over a lifetime of exertion. Measuring wealth as experience, this book is a gift of gold. With openhearted generosity, Marinello shares the harvest of a lifetime of searching, anchored in rigorous Zen training, refined through unflinching psychological self-examination, and enriched by Christian mysticism. He then presents, by example, the way that all true wisdom must show itself: through compassionate action. This is an account aglow with the uncompromising honesty demanded for awakening and with the spirit of generous service by which all true wisdom must reveal itself.
One of the most profound invitations of the book is to recognize that our stories are never finished, we can always re-enter them, find new perspectives and uncover new layers of meaning. This simple yet profoundly helpful step can take our stories of shame and embarrassment and turn them into our most redemptive stories.