“Retreat Radio”


by Stephanie Nash



(Steph’s take on a Shinzen Young retreat, Jan 2004)




Well, it’s 2004 now, and I’ve been writing these things

Since the last Millennium – quite a while it seems.


When I first tired to stop, Shinzen said, “on, Please, No!

Write them as a favor to me.”  And then so,

I continued till I was sure they were getting old,

Then Nicola (Shinzen’s example of a Bodhisattva) told

Me that I MUST write my poems – and thus today’s is for her

And Shinzen and us ALL on this NOBLE QUEST to be sure.


(And then, to my surprise and delight, I must say

Roy of Hollywood started playing these on KPFK!)


And thus inspired by the theme of radio play

Let us enter a non-rhyming world  -- on the air.  Come this way….

Good afternoon and welcome to this week’s segment of
“Retreat Radio”  -- brought to you by the Better Buddhist Bureau of Southern California.


Today we seem to be having a little interference from some VIBRATOR phenomena, so if you do get static – do not adjust your dial.   Just have EQUANAMINITY and enjoy the programming.



         (quiet voice)


Ok, here we are in Radio City Meditation Hall – ready to get the INSIDE SCOOP on what people REALLY do with their eyes closed.




We’re now inside the Zendo…..Not a lot happening here.

Luckily, we have a special patented device – our SUPER SONIC SUB-SHOUND SIMULATOR – which allows us to hear INSIDE the minds of whomever we aim at.


Let’s take it for a spin, shall we?

Ok, this guy looks pretty focused.  Let’s listen in:


Oh, no, I’m going to cough!  Damn it – swallow!  Swallow again.  Clear your throat.  God me knee hurts.  I wonder if I’m doing structural damage to it.  I can’t believe that God intended it to bend this way……ah DAMN IT!  -- If that guy moves ONE MORE TIME!!!!!  CAN’T HE SIT STILL???!!!  That jacket is so noisy – and then the blanket – give me a break!  He’s drinking water again!  And unwrapping something….IS THAT A SANDWICH???!!!


Alright, let’s move on now….Oh, now this woman seems to be having a pleasant meditation:


         (sings to “We’re in the Money”)


I’m in the Zendo.

It’s kinda fun though…

I can’t keep this song from playing over in my head.


Ok, here’s someone practicing one of Shinzen’s famous labeling techniques:


Knee….stomach…..fingernail….left eye ball……….bad idea


Ah, now here’s someone in deep Samadhi:


Breathe in – Oxygen Pleasure

Breathe out – Relax

Breathe in – (yawn)

Breathe out …..(snore)


Ok, moving right along….Hey, how about that guy up in the front?

Wow.  No Sound.  That’s amazing.  He has a totally clear mind.

Wait a minute….very faint….there’s a blip there…..turn it up….oh yeah, now we can hear something:


X+y over 3 times 2710  ….what’s the logarithm……the proto-Indo-European cognate differs from the Pali or Sanskrit….but then in Japanese – you can’t take the Lord’s name in vain….what a stupid Commandment!


I think now would be a perfect opportunity to break away for a word from our Sponsor:







(to “Pale Moon”)


It’s not the BLISS STATES

That excite me

That thrill and delight me….oh no

It’s just the memory of MU.




(to “Diamonds”  a la Marilyn)


When your thoughts and your feelings become

Quite overwhelming

Mindfulness is your best friend


And, of course:


(to “Joy to the World”)


Shinzen says telling you to label

Is like a dentist tell you to floss.

So when your mind is wandering all over the place

Speak out loud or baby it’s your loss.


Label with a word

Your subjective world.

Label by location or intensity

To keep your mind where it’s supposed to be.





“Subtle is Significant”

“Yadada Yadada Bang Bang Bang”

“I Break for Prajna”


“More Core”



Ok, Welcome back to Retreat Radio where we are still dealing with some strange wave-like/undulatory/vibratory phenomena….so in the meantime let us playback some interviews we did earlier of some of the retreatants here at Radio City Meditation Hall:




Oh, that Eating meditation was so interesting.  Usually we just sit in front of the TV.  I have my People Magazine and Ulis reads the cereal box.  But there’s no TV here and you have to eat REEEAAAL SLOOOOOWWW so that you actually TASTE and SMELL the food!  And you know what?  I found out I didn’t like my favorite food!  (Thank god I only brought one bag of Wonder Bread with us!)




Now imagine a big luscious piece of rich chocolate cake – with creamy frosting.  Now imagine taking a big bite and sinking your teeth into the soft moist goodness – and taste the sweet rich chocolate ______ explode in your mouth.


Got any pleasant body sensations?

I know I do.



Well, guess what?  You can get enough SATISFACTION from those sensations, that you don’t need the chocolate cake! 

Is that a neat trick or what?


         (2 giggles)





See, uh, there’s like these 3 kinds of study – SHILA, SAMADHI & PRAJNA?

And Prajna is like….having all the answers.

And Samadhi is like really being able to chill out.

And Shila is like character or something, but there are like 250 Shila rules for the monks and the most important is don’t make spit balls and shoot them across the room.  I like that one.


(Queens/chewing gum)


Oh my God, that Shinzen is such a Mensch!  And that Noting Feeling States – God, it made me cry!   (It was better than a movie!!)


But it’s all IMPERMANENCE, you know.  (That means everything changes.)

And there’s GOOD impermanence & BAD impermanence.

The BAD is that – Everything you Love with go away.  (IT’s TRUE!_

And the GOOD – So will everything you hate!  (I am so there!)




I was particularly fascinated when Shinzen said that Vipassana = Internally Generated Functional MRI of the Thinking Process




My name is Nicola and I have known Shinzen for 32 years – and now look at him!  What a teacher! 
Life is good.  And to be Enjoyed! 
I am grateful to be alive – and HERE I AM!   INDEED!

Let’s do a laughing Meditation….




(sound of STATIC)


We have apparently lost the playback signal….something about that woman’s energy – just blew the fuses….

Well, we’re out of time anyway.  Tune in again next week to our Special Segment of RETREAT RADIO where we will visit the MT. BALDY ZEN CENTER and the ACTIVITY known as SUSAKI ROSHI for their ANNUAL BELLY BUTTON PULL.


The Roshi will also be signing his latest CD – which has sailed to the top of the charts, with singles like:


                  “Merge with me, Baby”

                  “Flower?  What flower?”


And that #1 Best selling hit:


         (to “Old Time Rock n Roll”)


Yes, EVERY DAY, oh yeah – You know what else

You and the flower really go the same soul!

I am the REAL THING – that’s a big ZERO!



Now turn of the radio & return to the Present.

Feel your Body Sensations – both Pleasant and Unpleasant.


We now end this retreat which was just too darn short!

But we got a lot done, I am glad to report.

We chanted & sat & did yoga upside-down in a chair.
We meditated to music, talked of Borgs & Star Trek fare.


We had Nano-Nirvanas & learned that Expansion & Contraction

Are fermenting Time/Space/Self into Existence – a Foamy action.


We bid a touching FAREWELL to our much belov’d friend, PAUL.

Who’s gracious LOVE & HUMOR was a blessing to us all.


Shinzen says the only way to truly pay a debt

Of gratitude to your teacher is to help others get

This practice by teaching them – or emanating Pure Land.

The Teaching part I’ve taken on, m debt to him is grand.


And to this growing sangha – of whom I’m proud to be a part

Your BEAUTY oft Astounds me –as does your DEDICATION & HEART.


Just remember the 3 oks when labeling at any sense gate:

It’s ok to GUESS, to MISS or to be LATE.

And when your thoughts feel like PING PONG and you are the ball

Know that this path may be hard, but it’s easier than no path at all.


We’ve got our Basic Bit Routine for Feelings and for Thoughts.

We’re “CULTIVATING THE ROOT” (like Confucius said lots.0

Do you want Simple Soothing & just to Relax?

Or to SCOUR down to the SOURCE of your suffering with the ax

Of MINDFULNESS & EQUANIMITY.  It may not always be fun.





2011 Stephanie Nash – All Rights Reserved