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  1. #1

    Open Heart

    Hi all

    I have noticed that when I sit, one of the things that happens when self seems to drop away is that my heart opens (or maybe my heart opening causes the self to drop away, it is hard to tell which). This is hard to describe but it feels like an opening or even flowering in the chest/heart area followed often by one of two things - a large smile or quite deep sadness. Sometimes one follows the other - this happened when sitting the Zazenkai yesterday.

    Anyway, I was just wondering if anyone else had felt this. It seems to be a very receptive state and quite raw. Maybe it is just one of those makyo things?

    Gassho
    Kokuu

  2. #2
    Treeleaf Unsui/Engineer Kyonin's Avatar
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    Hi Kokuu,

    I have been having these kind of experiences quite often, but no sadness for me.

    For a few seconds, almost at the end of my session, my mind gets so quiet and empty that I get to this place where I exist no more and I am united with everything. Pretty hard to describe.

    It's a place where the dharma makes sense without words. A place of infinite emptiness but where I don't feel alone. Where outside noises and light are part of me and I'm them.

    Then a tiny smile comes to me, although I'm not sure if anyone could tell by looking at me. I feel a smile, but not sure if my face reflects it.

    But like the old man here said once to me, forget about it and go about your day.

    Gassho,

    Kyonin
    Shuso and Ango leader for September 2014.

    Please remember I am only a priest in training. I could be wrong in everything I say. Slap me if needed.

    The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one. Mr. Spock

  3. #3
    But like the old man here said once to me, forget about it and go about your day.
    Good advice. Thank you, Kyonin!

    Gassho
    Kokuu

  4. #4
    Hello Kokuu,

    That is strange because I was thinking about this today. I don't think it is makyo (I had to look up the meaning of that )

    The past few weeks zazen has been really noisy/messy and I've found it hard to sit at all. I understand the teaching is not to judge our sitting - but I've been feeling quite upset and pessimistic that I'd lost the discipline of sitting each day. This has really impacted on my mental state and ability to cope with worry and stress.

    Today I set my new sand timer and tried to settle my mind. The sand ran out and I was still mentally all over the place. I decided to sit some more and focus on this 'heart space'. Almost instantaneously all of the mental chaos evaporated = and exactly as you describe it a flowering of deep compassion that seemed to wrap around everything - somehow uniting all the chaos with gentleness - seemed to fill this space.

    I do not see this as anything 'special' because I've had this sense of melting into openess before and I'm not looking for esoteric experiences. I understand this isn't what you were saying either. I do feel it's a receptive state and I can't see the harm in cultivating it. I hope that I'm not speaking contrary to zen teaching in saying that. Thich Nhat Hahn often writes about the inner smile and to focus on this in meditation. I think it's bound to open the heart - to happiness and sadness - not two but one ?

    Gassho

    Willow
    Last edited by willow; 01-22-2014 at 10:00 PM.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Kokuu View Post
    Hi all

    I have noticed that when I sit, one of the things that happens when self seems to drop away is that my heart opens (or maybe my heart opening causes the self to drop away, it is hard to tell which). This is hard to describe but it feels like an opening or even flowering in the chest/heart area followed often by one of two things - a large smile or quite deep sadness. Sometimes one follows the other - this happened when sitting the Zazenkai yesterday.

    Anyway, I was just wondering if anyone else had felt this. It seems to be a very receptive state and quite raw. Maybe it is just one of those makyo things?

    Gassho
    Kokuu
    Yes, this happens (some feelings much like these swelled through my heart at the small funeral I performed for our family's little cat friend yesterday) and this is Compassion, Wisdom. So Beautiful ... sometimes Joyous yet Painful with all the Cries of the World, at once.

    I would not call every unusual experience, sensation or insight "Makyo", which tends to refer to those things (such as sensations of levitating or strange optical effects) which are more distracting and misleading than insightful, or which are falsely negative (such as rushes of feelings of sudden paranoia or anger) which can wrap us up.

    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...l=1#post119263

    Not every unusual experience is to be rejected simply because it is not our usual way of experiencing.

    On the other "one hand" hand, yes, in this Shikantaza way we do not cling to or chase after any one experience, thinking "This Is It"!". All is passing scenes on today's ride on the Buddha-Bus for us, time to enjoy and be the scenery .. while moving on. Embody and experience what manifests when passing through that part of the country. Why?

    We come to realize that the whole Trip, the road and bus ... the passing scenes of majestic mountains, old garbage dumps, big cities and wide open spaces ... you and me and all the other passengers ... are all the Buddha Buddha-Driving down Buddha Highway all along. And, perhaps, that road of love and pain at the Cries of the World is what is sweeping through our hearts at such moments as you describe.

    Gassho, J
    Last edited by Jundo; 01-23-2014 at 12:32 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  6. #6
    Senior Member Myosha's Avatar
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    Thank you.


    Gassho,
    Myosha
    Practice with humility, respect all beings, avoid attachments, give rise to prajña from your own awareness, put an end to delusions - Hui-neng

  7. #7
    Senior Member Nameless's Avatar
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    Kokuu,

    I've experienced that a few times as well, though usually I feel as if some strange borders around my mind fade away. Tension in my head that I didn't realize was there departs, and it feels as if thoughts actually have form and they begin to rise up and away from my body rather than floating around in the head. Usually then I feel kind of a molding between "inner" and "outer," thoughts fade to an unintelligible murmur and then fade away almost completely. Then the body dissolves leaving just awareness.

    A close friend actually solely focuses on the heart when he meditates. He attempts to maneuver his consciousness into what he calls, "the sacred space." I tend to just let it go. Makyo can be alluring, but they're just conditioned things. They were very distracting when I first started sitting.

    Gassho, John

  8. #8
    Senior Member Genshin's Avatar
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    Hi Kokuu,

    Yes, similar experience here too, although I haven't experienced the deep sadness you describe. I tend not to focus on it, and just return to sitting.

    Kyonin's post is beautiful, thank you.

    Gassho
    Genshin

  9. #9
    Treeleaf Unsui Shokai's Avatar
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    _/\_ thank you all for sharing these experiences

    AND, on the other hand there are four fingers and a thumb

    gassho, Shokai
    gassho, Shokai, still learning the way and knowing nothing
    仁道 生開 - Jindo Shokai "Open to life in a benevolent way"
    Just another itinerant monk; go somewhere else to listen to someone who really knows.

  10. #10
    Kokuu,
    I too, at times feel a deep sadness. Most often nothing like this happens, but seldom I feel a tremendous love or a deep sadness. I guess the sadness is somehow related to the experience of all the suffering going on in this world. I dont know.
    _()_
    Myoku

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