Listening Generously – Lloyd Fickett Roshi
Lloyd Fickett Roshi brings a profound teaching to Hollow Bones Zen sangha. His work – The Collaborative Way offers an intentional and designed way of working together. While his professional career has been dedicated to enlightening corporate America, he is increasingly bringing more of his energy and wisdom to Hollow Bones. Lloyd Roshi received Inka from Jun Po in 2018. He recently joined the board of directors at Hollow Bones Zen.
What drew you to Zen in the first place?
Around the time I turned sixty, my wife Lynne said to me, “I am afraid you are going to end up being a grumpy old man like your father was.” Now anyone who knew my father and me knew this would never happen. Fortunately, given my practice of Listening Generously, I listened for the value in what Lynne was saying and was able to see that she had a point. I was getting grumpier as I was growing older. I fell into the pattern and began to realize that it likely had genetic, cultural and familial roots that were deeper than many other patterns I had already come to embrace. It looked to me that it would be wise to deepen my enlightenment or relationship to the source if I wanted to have freedom in the face of this growing pattern.
I began chewing on the question of how I might go about doing this. As I was sitting on my back porch one morning pondering this question, it suddenly hit me. “You have always had an interest in and had an affinity for Zen. Why don’t you go check it out and see if there is anything to it? After all, there are American Zen Masters around.”
So I set out on a journey of exploring current day American Zen Masters.
What drew you to Mondo Zen?
As I was checking out a number of Zen Masters, I came across an dialogue between Ken Wilbur and Jun Po. I felt deep resonance with Jun Po and felt a deep alignment between his work and my work. I was engaged, bringing the practice of The Collaborative Way into companies as a way to forward my mission of contributing to the growing enlightenment of the world that would show itself in the “We Space” in how we relate to one another. I had been in the business of enlightenment since 1974.
In The Collaborative Way, our first practice is Listening Generously, and in Mondo the first koan is “Listen.” Also the emotional koans were similar to The Collaborative Way in that they direct us towards practicing enlightenment in how we relate to one another.
Given this level of alignment, I felt Mondo was likely what I was looking for, and as it turned out, it was.
What are your greatest learnings since becoming a Roshi?
My greatest learning is a deeper appreciation for the truth and practice that suffering is not necessary.
I received Inka from Jun Po in September of 2018. At the time my wife Lynne was dealing with ovarian cancer. She died one year later in September of 2019. At the end of February in 2019, she stopped treatment, realizing that further treatments would be a desperate clinging to life as they would almost certainly damage her health further and had almost no chance of helping her.
Early on in this journey, we realized we didn’t know how much longer we had together, and we committed to spend our time together loving each other and enjoying life. We were not going to spend our time suffering. This did not mean we never suffered; however, it did mean that we would quickly wake up to our suffering and let it go. We kept this commitment, this practice to her last breath.
Lynne inspired everyone around her. She was a glowing light of love and compassion.
You can be sure that as we met her coming death and declining health, that many of our deepest patterns or shadows came forward. Yes, there was and is deep sadness as well as other emotions. I practiced feeling into these emotions. Emotions are beautiful and do have information in them. The reactivity that can so easily arise in so many ways can truly be my call to Clear Deep Heart/Mind. My angst is my liberation. This period of my life, including the period of mourning that I am currently in, has been and is the opportunity to practice and live the truth that suffering is not necessary.
How do you see Mondo Zen finding its way in the coming years?
This is a great mystery. I do stand for Mondo Zen. I would like to see it spread widely in the world. Jun Po and I have talked about the possibility of a secular version of Mondo. We shall see.
Currently my energy is directed toward spreading The Collaborative Way wide and deeply. This is what Jun Po sees as my primary work. I have recently joined the Board of Hollow Bones Zen as one expression of my support.
It will be interesting to see how Mondo Zen does find its way in the coming years. There are and will be big opportunities for many of us to provide the leadership necessary for it to thrive.