The Experience of Zazen

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michaeljc
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The Experience of Zazen

Post by michaeljc » Fri Jun 08, 2018 7:28 am

This a very difficult topic to cover IMO

More and more I realise that Zazen affects different students in vastly different ways

Along with the hundreds of thousands of words I have read on zen forums there is one very important factor that has never been covered in any depth: What is the impact of Zazen on each of us?

I am not talking about in general life. I am talking about like in the midst of a sit and directly afterwards - and - during intensive retreats

What are the actual feelings? Again, I am not talking about those memorable realisations. I am talking about the routine everyday changes that occur during Zazen. How do we deal with pain during sesshin?

We are all rather coy about discussing this, myself included. But maybe an opening up would do no harm and maybe some good

I have a feeling that we may be surprised at the variations. I fully expect that there will be a number who detected a real benefit from the very beginning of learning the practice - and - at every sit since. I am one of those

Another question is: Have we developed little methods on our own? I have :113:

This exercise would be a real sharing. Can we pull it off?

If it does I ask that no one comes in with condescending advice. Anything goes just like at a brainstorming session in management practice

:namaste:

m

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Re: The Experience of Zazen

Post by fuki » Fri Jun 08, 2018 8:59 am

michaeljc wrote:
Fri Jun 08, 2018 7:28 am

I am not talking about in general life. I am talking about like in the midst of a sit and directly afterwards - and - during intensive retreats

What are the actual feelings? Again, I am not talking about those memorable realisations. I am talking about the routine everyday changes that occur during Zazen. How do we deal with pain during sesshin?
Not willing to share that much but regarding afterwards;
When sitting "alone" afterwards the body feels as light as a feather, unless I'd touch my face I wouldnt know there's a head on these shoulders, with senses fully functioning there is no notion that one sees with one's skull if that makes sense. This "feather" effect usually lasts between 30 minutes up to 3-4 hours estimated.

When sitting with a group there's a dynamic awareness/energy in Action, not sure how to come close to describing that boundless (Love), perhaps it is what I've heared others call "sharing the mind" That energy "lasts" somewhere between 2-5 days.

During there is not much to say other then there's only perception, no perceiver or perceived.

Regarding developing little methods of our own;
plenty of them, but these days they hardly arise anymore, nor have I noticed new "tricks" lately, it's a spontaneous happening. I just put any "practise/method/non-method"" under non-dwelling, I don't call it zazen, I also don't call it non-dwelling besides for communication purposes. I have no mind for practise anyway so I wouldn't know about benefits, I feel our practise is the result not the means, so there is an ancient connection there which I don't understand yet "am", those moments there is a sense that nothing (ever) happens, in fact "we are the happening itself" Which is like the question of pain during zazen, I don't get hurt by pain, rather I am the pain.

As you can see language obscures, but this Practise is beautiful and powerful in its transformation, there is grace and deep gratitude for this. hmmm I shared more then I thought I would :)
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Re: The Experience of Zazen

Post by KeithA » Fri Jun 08, 2018 10:25 am

For me, the impact is simply patient acceptance of the situation. I find practice to be pretty mundane, not really special in any way.The most important thing for me is to not label or judge the experience. It just is. Sometimes it is wonderful, sometimes it's crap. And that's okay.

One particularly pernicious thought that comes up for me often is planning what I am going to when I get done sitting! :114:

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Re: The Experience of Zazen

Post by Dan74 » Fri Jun 08, 2018 1:29 pm

el gatito wrote:
Fri Jun 08, 2018 1:14 pm
michaeljc wrote:
Fri Jun 08, 2018 7:28 am

This exercise would be a real sharing. Can we pull it off?
M., "the qualified folks" will be coming here soon, and locking this topic, methinks, according to this quote:
Dan74 wrote:
Fri Jun 08, 2018 8:02 am
I am not at all sure that this is a fit subject for conversation outside of the interview with one's teacher and quite possibly it will get shut down.. I will let the qualified folks make that call.
So, looks as a real sharing of such sort would be less than welcome.
Not quite. I said I will let qualified folks decide. I don't believe it's going to get shut down unless people claim high attainments and powers and even worse start dispensing potentially harmful advice.

The point is that this can be a very sensitive area and I don't want to cause harm to people.

To use a pretty banal example, early on into my meditation, I must've had a shallow samadhi which I got very excited about and started blabbing to all and sundry. My teacher at the time, quietly admonished me, saying that if I do so, I waste the momentum, instead of staying with it. There are of course far worse things that can happen.

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Re: The Experience of Zazen

Post by jundocohen » Fri Jun 08, 2018 1:33 pm

In the corner of Zazen where I sit, this is fine to discuss. So, I hope it can be open.

I might say that, in the dropping of all judgments, resistance and pondering "this and that" of Zazen, one comes to feel embodied as what seems to be a blank sheet of multidimensional paper fertile and awaiting every story of life to be written upon it, or a wide open boundless canvas which is the home to all that can be painted by this life. Rather than static objects, this is a flowing river of possibility, fecund, the source of all that is was and ever could be and "I" am completely this. One does not experience this as something outside (in is out and out thoroughly in), nor am "I" this, yet this is who me and you and all are, the wholeness that interflows in and out of every drop as oneself and all things. Something timeless, not really coming "from" or going "to" yet coming from and going to everywhere in all moments of time.

But then, every thought, every mood, every judgment, every war and disease, every star and grain of sand, Donald Trump, my cancer last year, my beautiful kids, sunny days and rainy, life and death are just this, all the same as before but not the same at all.

For this reason, Zazen is a constantly changing, alive thing like a kaleidoscope, constantly changing and not bound to be one experience. For example, sad or disturbed Zazen is just the story on the paper; peaceful and "in the Zone" Zazen is just today's painting on the canvas. Nothing to be rejected. Some days, the canvas is very clearly known and the "things" soften or fully fade away, yet on other days the "painting" of suffering, confusion, ugliness seems to hide the canvas. Nonetheless, even on those latter days, one still has faith and first hand knowing that the "canvas" is still present seen or unseen.

Thus, in Shikantaza, one does not seek only to know the paper/canvas, nor celebrates only the peaceful or "oneness" moments. The constant change of Zazen ... in fact, all the constant vibrant change and chaos of life ... is okay. One does not need to take some "energy" or "peace" or "oneness" off the cushion. One takes this beautiful ugly life as just the painting, and rejects none of it. One does not need "samadhi" states, just one more "story" on the paper. Wondrous when they happen, yet every event of life is wondrous as they happen ... even stubbing one's toe or eating peas or going to the office or bowing in the Zendo or crying for one's dead cat. Aching knees Zazen is the whole universe, no aching knees Zazen is the entire world. One does not need to meet "Buddha," just one more fictional character on the mind's canvas.

With time, one learns to access this Wisdom at will, like hitting a switch (wait ... doing so right now). For example, when I was in my hospital bed last year before my cancer surgery, part of me was scared, filled with "what if" thoughts, worried about the hungry tiger of death, very unhappy to be in that bed. At the same time, I was thoroughly in the canvas beyond fear, beyond death, no other possible "what if" but this, a-ok. Such is like seeing life one way out of one eye, another way out of the other eye, both eyes open together in focus and clarity.

Something like that.

Gassho, J
Last edited by jundocohen on Fri Jun 08, 2018 2:09 pm, edited 7 times in total.
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Re: The Experience of Zazen

Post by Meido » Fri Jun 08, 2018 1:46 pm

Dan74 wrote:
Fri Jun 08, 2018 1:29 pm
Not quite. I said I will let qualified folks decide. I don't believe it's going to get shut down unless people claim high attainments and powers and even worse start dispensing potentially harmful advice.

The point is that this can be a very sensitive area and I don't want to cause harm to people.
Just to add to this, as long as TOS are respected I see no reason for anyone's negative expectation that this topic will be reflexively shut down, as if there is a sinister censorship board at work here.

I would think especially relevant TOS points to be:

12. Zen practice is traditionally conducted with guidance from an authorized teacher. Requests for Zen practice advice should therefore be directed to one’s own teacher who can reply in a manner matching one's conditions, rather than to strangers on this discussion board. Please be aware that even Zen Space members who are authorized Zen teachers, if they lack personal knowledge of the questioner, may be able to give practice advice of only the most general kind. Finally, members who are not Zen teachers should hesitate to dispense Zen practice advice to novices, as it is unethical (and possibly harmful) to do so. Note that this is not meant to prevent members from sharing their practice experiences with one another.

13. Discussion of personal experiences in Zen practice that are traditionally considered private, for example so-called "answers" given in koan practice or teachings received in a teacher's interview room intended solely for the recipient, are not permitted.

~ Meido
The Rinzai Zen Way: A Guide to Practice
Korinji Rinzai Zen Monastery [臨済宗 • 祖的山光林禅寺] - http://www.korinji.org
Madison, WI Rinzai Zen Community [機山龍源寺] - http://www.madisonrinzaizen.org
The Rinzai Zen Community - http://www.rinzaizen.org

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Re: The Experience of Zazen

Post by desert_woodworker » Fri Jun 08, 2018 2:33 pm

Hi, Michael,

As my sitting practice is shikantaza, sitting-practice for me when in the midst of it is a bit like my work was at the Observatory. It is to an extent "observing", observing the mind's experience, if not observing the mind itself.

But this active observation, I'll note, causes diminution and quietening of the observable activity of the mind, until it simmers down to "nothing", except for occasional small stochastic bursts of awareness of "this or that": a fly lands on my nose; a cat comes to sit on the towel stretched across my legs in lotus; a thought about a conversation arises and subsides; a reflex to stretch the spine arises, as there's a vertebra that aches a bit because I slept "wrong" the other night and woke up with a bit of pain (I'll "cure" it with exercise, later in the day). The "sit" is really not as "busy" as it sounds, though!

Key in sits for me is simply not "feeding" thoughts or streams of awareness as they might arise, and definitely not following them. I remain neutral about them. A bit like looking through the telescope: I don't influence what I see, across millions of miles, I just receive the light, and what I see is very lightly and undisturbingly noted, and then let go of, almost "all in one breath", or "in the same breath", so to speak.

Result of a sit afterwards, following a 45-minute or 1 hour sit is readiness to exercise, and perform self-massage as my Ch'an teacher Sheng Yen's lineage teaches. This follows the gentle swaying of the body in ever-widening circles after first "moving the mind" to come out of meditation. I find that sitting releases an energy in the body and an awareness in the body which exercise makes very good use of, and one can safely stretch ligaments and other connective tissue which makes sitting remain comfortable in traditional meditation postures, for lengthy sits, and for repeated sits (such as on retreat or sesshin).

Results of sits which are immediate, and which also have a long life, include a kind of (optical... ) vision, which I've written about before (perhaps here, I forget; but definitely at ZFI in the past), where vision is as if objects are emitting their own light, and as if all surfaces are wetted, and cleaned, so that the depth and saturation of color is remarkably deep. Blacks are remarkably black, and seem to have a 3-D depth which continues beneath or below their surface. Whites are somewhat cream-colored, and hence cooled-down on the palette a tad, not as blue as when one does not sit as much. And the interplay of light and shadow is such that every scene, every place, every appearance is a stage on which chiaroscuro is on display, and rather haunting in its beauty. At other times, I'd also say that, in daily-life, everything is as if bathed in moonlight, making objects appear as if made of translucent polyethylene, or white wax, and very pure. But objects do not appear to be themselves alone, but show a history, a relationship with all that helped them come to be, and makes them come to be as they appear to be. I'll say that the face of the world is very "educational", and informative about its deep self. It makes one joyful to be on-board, and open to sharing, as a part of it all.

Michael, I'll go back and read your OP again, maybe there's more to respond to.

Thanks for opening this topic. I would not say we have not touched on it before! But it's good to re-do or revisit from time to time, certainly. Thanks again.

--Joe
Last edited by desert_woodworker on Fri Jun 08, 2018 4:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: The Experience of Zazen

Post by Meido » Fri Jun 08, 2018 3:04 pm

desert_woodworker wrote:
Fri Jun 08, 2018 2:33 pm
Results of sits which are immediate, and which also have a long life, include a kind of (optical... ) vision, which I've written about before (perhaps here, I forget; but definitely at ZFI in the past), where vision is as if objects are emitting their own light, and as if all surfaces are wetted, and cleaned, so that the depth and saturation of color is remarkably deep. Blacks are remarkably black, and seem to have a 3-D depth which continues beneath or below their surface. Whites are somewhat cream-colored, and hence cooled-down on the palette a tad, not as blue as when one does not sit as much. And the interplay of light and shadow is such that every scene, every place, every appearance is a stage on which chiaroscuro is on display, and rather haunting in its beauty. At other times, I'd also say that, in daily-life, everything is as if bathed in moonlight, making objects appear as if made of translucent polyethylene, or white wax, and very pure.
This kind of thing is recognized as something that happens with a kind of samadhi, e.g. the red color of a flower appears to be the original or archetypal red, very pure and vivid.

~ Meido
The Rinzai Zen Way: A Guide to Practice
Korinji Rinzai Zen Monastery [臨済宗 • 祖的山光林禅寺] - http://www.korinji.org
Madison, WI Rinzai Zen Community [機山龍源寺] - http://www.madisonrinzaizen.org
The Rinzai Zen Community - http://www.rinzaizen.org

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Re: The Experience of Zazen

Post by michaeljc » Fri Jun 08, 2018 8:11 pm

Thanks for sharing.

What are my common feelings during and after Zazen? I have never been given a koan by a teacher in a training environment or in sesshin. When asked by a teacher what is my practice I just say shikantaza. That appears to satisfy them

So, I could be described as a rather lazy free-lance sitter. I tinker with some of the basic koans but have never adopted them to the point they are a hot ball in my belly

I continue to sit because of the immense benefit I have gained by doing so. My sitting consists of putting my bum on a cushion for 40 m. That’s my method (mostly). There is almost always the same pattern: tension with associated everyday issues that are bugging me, followed by a deep calm kicking in at about 30 m. Thinking stops for considerable lengths of time, and yet I am aware that thinking has stopped. I will commonly be just following breath or sounds. This is not forced. It comes naturally. I have noticed that the mind simply does not want to think and that it would be an effort to do so. This state is the basis to the great benefit I gain from sitting. It lasts for several hours after I rise. It’s a re-set button

Note that I don’t rank this as necessarily a zennie thing. It would occur regardless of what discipline I follow. I have tried to nut this out further and come to the conclusion that it is the Zazen posture that distinguishes Zen from other disciplines

As for personal method. On first sitting I often go looking for the mental tension and are often quite shocked at how much there is and the fact that I had been trying to operate (work/live) in this state. I then look deep into the FEELING associated with this stress and dive right in and keep returning there. For me this method is magical – until I strike a real gut wrenching issue. These take longer to dissolve, sometimes weeks

I have learnt that if any tension remains during a sit I can feel it in the face muscles. I often go there to check late in a sit and consciously relax these muscles. I also place the tip of my tongue between my teeth during a sit as I feel it requires a degree of tension to close the teeth completely

For some hours after a sit my feelings are quite different to those without a sit. I am just following movements sounds sight and actions. I am in a new world as though having woken from sleep. I still recall the feeling I had after having a long bawl (cry) as a child. It feels just like that. All those tensions and problems I had before I sit no longer exist. They do of course return

Is it Zen? Most of the time I don’t care, But, I know that Meido is right. There are more very important places to go and this takes an extreme effort to accomplish. When I was single and alone this may have been achievable. Now with wife and child I think no. I am now struggling to sit even once/day

There are 2 other zazen phenomena worth mentioning. One is a deep body shudder that occurs when I get close to the fundamental question of existence (or the like). The second is the hearing of original music complete with instruments and/or vocals. The score changes completely from time to time. It needs a backgound sound like rain or traffic. This only occurs when I have been sitting intensively several times/day

Pain has always been a major factor in my practice. I will discuss this later

Thanks for sharing

:namaste:

m

PS:
Commonly on sitting I realise (again) that I have been away. Away from what?: the oneness of things. Regularly I get the feeling that I am about to come back home and feel a kind of shame at being away

I am immersed in a very rural environment and come back to belonging with the many billions of organisms around me, along with all else
When in this state I know that this now is the only truth and that I am part of it without any contemplation

Zen sent me a wonderful gift

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Re: The Experience of Zazen

Post by Caodemarte » Fri Jun 08, 2018 9:21 pm

I learned zazen from people who really stressed not moving unless absolutely necessary. I am grateful for that instruction. During my first sesshin I experienced a great deal of pain. I quickly learned to distinguish this overwhelming pain from the pain of damage. Following advice I focused just on the pain so thoroughly that it became transparent to me. The brain then dialed back the pain so that it was distracting again! This is apparently a common experience. I am grateful that I learned to sit through. Now I feel that I can have the mature judgment as to when to adjust posture and move and when I should sit through.

There are clearly long lasting effects. In daily life after zazen I find myself a little kinder, a little calmer and patient, a little more able to listen. This is more noticeable to others than to me.

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Re: The Experience of Zazen

Post by michaeljc » Sat Jun 09, 2018 4:21 am

e g -

The timing of the shudder is interesting. For me it is like an obstacle that prohibits actually breaking through to the 'other side'. In one posting offshore I got into intensive daily sitting. Commonly I would shudder 4 -6 times each sit. If I sit 'light' these don't occur. The shudder occurs throughout the entire body and would be clearly visible to an observer

As for a constant background noise I often experience a very deep 'growl/rumble' as though it is coming from the bowls of the earth. This continues for some time after sitting

Cheers

m

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Re: The Experience of Zazen

Post by Great Sage EofH » Sat Jun 09, 2018 1:20 pm

I’ve practiced TM, intercessory prayer, speaking in tongues, Boy Scout prayers, Pledge of Allegiance , Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction, yoga nidra, body scan, TM, samatha, and vipasana, and Zazen. Obviously Zazen is my thing, but if you read the literature, e.g. scriptures carefully, it replaces both samatha and vipasana with a “single” practice, although there’s no particular reason samatha and vipasana could not be practiced concurrently. My gut level feeling is that unlike the full-blown jhana or samadhi effect if samatha, Zazen incorporates itself into daily experience, kind of like kinhin does.

My personal experience with Zazen, unlike doing MBSR in a Lazy Boy Recliner, is that it does take training and it can be painful, it requires a sensitivity to the body, and a willingness to cop out if the altitude gets to severe. If you feel a knee blowing out, take a break at the next available kinhin and tend to your knee. This happened to me but I sat through the pain instead. Now my knee is chronic.

Blissed out? Not really, the main “effect” is suffering and pain seem farther away, mentally and physically, unless of course the knee got blown out. One of the things you stand to lose by doing Zazen is your suffering. But it’s incalculable, because you really never know what might have happened if you hadn’t zazenned

I came to this by attempting to find a way to get out of the mentality, panic, and anguish, of life being unmanageable. And that’s the primary thing I get, the unmanagability if life becomes less of a problem. It’s like riding on a cloud and solving the problems of the world in the midst of chaos. Unlike samatha alone, which feels more like climbing Mt. Everest without a support crew.

I’m aware that this narrative is only “provisional” but I felt that was the question
--- Eric H., also know as Sun Wu Kong, "an authentic genuine human being"
Birth is thus
Death is thus
Verse or no verse
What’s the fuss?

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Re: The Experience of Zazen

Post by Great Sage EofH » Sat Jun 09, 2018 1:31 pm

Additionally I’ll have to report, that I get to a “zone” where sitting is comfortable, and another zone where posture requires no effort. Read into this what you want
--- Eric H., also know as Sun Wu Kong, "an authentic genuine human being"
Birth is thus
Death is thus
Verse or no verse
What’s the fuss?

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Re: The Experience of Zazen

Post by desert_woodworker » Sat Jun 09, 2018 6:15 pm

el g.,
el gatito wrote:
Sat Jun 09, 2018 2:17 pm
Yes, the shudder occurs throughout the entire body, and yes, would be clearly visible to an observer, hence, I would certainly hesitate to sit with a group in such an intense way that unavoidably causes this kind of thing. Especially as some of the breath patterns are also clearly audible.
This is very common, and nothing to worry about, in sitting with a group. It's just part of the variegated landscape of Human responses when working at the "edge" in Yogic practices of almost any kind (including intensive practice of zazen, especially on sesshin or retreat). Teachers and sanghas have "seen it all", by now, trust me, if they've been with it a while. It's "no great shakes". ;)

I'd encourage you to sit with a group anyway. And the Teacher there may have some advice about the physical shuddering and whip-like movements of the spine. I've experienced this myself very strongly, and can report, too, that I have gotten over it. Like so many things, it seems to have been "a phase".

best,

--Joe

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Re: The Experience of Zazen

Post by ol' spikey » Sat Jun 09, 2018 7:02 pm

After bingeing this thread, it could be helpful to have a comment from Meido on how to differentiate/handle makyo.

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Re: The Experience of Zazen

Post by desert_woodworker » Sat Jun 09, 2018 7:22 pm

el g.,
el gatito wrote:
Sat Jun 09, 2018 6:44 pm
desert_woodworker wrote:
Sat Jun 09, 2018 6:15 pm
and whip-like movements of the spine.
Periodic and soft (like once every several seconds, forming almost continuous movement) -- or infrequent, strong and one-time (like once in 10 - 30 minutes)?
Well, dare I say it may be irrelevant, since "everyone's practice is different", and so is the condition and history (and future) of the body.

Now, the quick movements, which can be so strong and sudden that you may actually come close to being knocked out of your seated position (I really do mean "whip-like", above; the rapid movement seems to be at the rate of 5 to 10 Hz, and to last about 1 second), are said by some to relate to some sort of "kundalini" development, where energy or signals shoot up the spine to the head. I have no theory of this, and no theory to offer. It seems to have run its course and served its function, whatever that was.

For me, no: no soft, almost continuous movements, that I'm aware of (they were quick, very hot, bursts, rapid and almost strong enough to dislocate vertebrae ...if that's possible).

best,

--Joe

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Re: The Experience of Zazen

Post by michaeljc » Sat Jun 09, 2018 7:28 pm

Given that I am an instigator of this topic, I guess I have some rights

I feel that I made it very clear from the beginning that condescending advice is best kept for other topics

Here is a space where personal experiences are expressed without any fear of correction, judgement, or categorisation

This is not so difficult, right?

cheers

m

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Re: The Experience of Zazen

Post by fuki » Sat Jun 09, 2018 7:53 pm

michaeljc wrote:
Sat Jun 09, 2018 7:28 pm
Given that I am an instigator of this topic, I guess I have some rights

I feel that I made it very clear from the beginning that condescending advice is best kept for other topics

Here is a space where personal experiences are expressed without any fear of correction, judgement, or categorisation

This is not so difficult, right?

cheers

m
Wholeheartedly agree.
I'm enjoying what everyone is willing to share regarding their observations/experiences.
:bow2:
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https://meldpuntbg.nl/

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Re: The Experience of Zazen

Post by desert_woodworker » Sat Jun 09, 2018 11:41 pm

el g.,
el gatito wrote:
Sat Jun 09, 2018 10:26 pm
desert_woodworker wrote:
Sat Jun 09, 2018 6:15 pm
I'd encourage you to sit with a group anyway.
Do not insist, for I am too old for this. Old people tend to fart, episodically, old yogis including, as you probably know.
Insist?, no. I only encourage you to believe and trust that seasoned Teachers and sanghas will not be at all ruffled by oscillations of the spine, nor rough breathing, in intensive gatherings for intensive practice. It happens, I'd say, commonly. I think these are potentially good signs, and can be worked-with, by student and Teacher. This is my experience, in diverse sanghas. So, I mean, rest assured.

"Too old" is relative, Old Relative. Again, just meaning to encourage, and also to say that you have company, plenty of it. Our practice(s) require a certain "maturity", anyway, it's said.

Also, BTW, in America at least, there has been a phenomenon noted, one referred to as "the Greying of the Sangha": It's more a matter of not so many younger people coming in, than of not enough older people going out.

I myself started with fading hair-color early, though, so don't let the grey-hair fool you: it's not my natural hair-color. :lol:

Thanks very much for the words about the physical phenomena, always very interesting to me, and glad I could match some of those words (I hope).

:namaste:

--Joe

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Re: The Experience of Zazen

Post by desert_woodworker » Sun Jun 10, 2018 12:04 am

In zazen, and in some forms of Hindu Yogic sitting I practiced in the early 1970s, there's a point at the turn-around of the breath that I have always felt to be important.

Sometimes it feels as if, at the turn-around of the in-breath to out-breath, one "loses consciousness", experiences a break in the smooth continuity of awareness, that is (where, sometimes the open eyes even blink, or feel a subtle disturbance).

I have found it an interesting facet of practice sometimes to make that transition of in- to out-breath not only very smooth physically, but otherwise, too, meaning that there is an easy maintenance and continuity in the quality and sensation of consciousness or awareness, without disturbance. In this way, the awareness is not punctuated or cut by an influence of the breath, but the awareness flows, and continues to flow, silently, like a deep river, without the awareness "sloshing". Long, long, long, silent "sentences" of awareness can be experienced without intermission or division.

I feel confident that this is a condition that helps to lead one to drop into samadhi states in sitting. As relaxation is important in most forms of zazen and other forms of sitting, some writers on the subject of samadhi write that one can continue to drop disturbances or "distress", as you come to notice them, one after the other. I suppose that's right, though I have thought of this as simply "relaxing", and relaxing perhaps more deeply with each breath. And sinking down.

I suppose too that these are just little exercises, not too important positively (nor negatively) in the scheme of things. But, some say that "To study the Way is to study the self" (and so on). So, each of us may go ahead and be the judge about studies that suggest themselves.

Glad to share some more glosses that come to mind. And thanks Michael and all writers/readers for an interesting thread,

--Joe

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