I was thinking of asking this in private, but I think it's important to publicize this question as I feel that it deserves to be discussed upon.
In shikantaza, we're not really supposed to buy into all that goes on, right? "Oh, it's that thought again. I'll just wait for it to go away."If there is no self to experience all these emotions, no 'me', why should I bother even caring about them? They're just clouds, right? Coming and going, coming and going... again and again and again. And aren't we also supposed to feel that this is complete, holy, whole, as it is? So nothing to do, nowhere to go, just let thoughts come in and go and all that, right? Complete. All done. Nothing else to do. Immediately when a thought comes, we return without analysis or reflection (accurate?) to "everything and nothing" and sit there and be content with whatever state we find ourselves in.
I find that this sort of practice, as so far described, is theoretically good when you're just sitting down and live a simple life. But what if you have an abusive relationship, or a job you hate, or in a state of poverty? What if you're plagued by emotions and thoughts that should be analysed, should be looked at into deeply, and so on? Couldn't "Complete and Holy" easily become "complete and holy"? Isn't it extremely easy for shikantaza to fall into some kind of suppression? Isn't there a very real danger that this sort of treatment of emotions and thoughts as clouds passing by be seen as shrugging emotions aside and downplaying them as 'just clouds' that will come and go away? Can't acceptance easily devolve into placidity and learned helplessness?
In my reflection, I feel that this practice needs a great deal of self-honesty. One must never take the completeness of shikantaza literally. One must let oneself, at some level, feel the, and I hesitate to use this word, inherent shittiness of this practice and how it will bore you and how numerous thoughts and emotions will try to poke at your little idealized bubble of "wholeness and holiness" (not capitalized). Most times, practice will not seem praise worthy at all. Most of the time it is very boring, or at times very painful. But this honesty and willingness to be exposed to emotions and (using the Shambhala tradition's word) tenderness inside is precisely what letting the practice sink into your bones means - to take it life raw (as Taigu always says).
Only by being willing to expose ourselves in this way, to be naked and unconditionally loving and forgiving, to drop the fear to be broken (or discover our brokenness), do we really let this practice sink deep deep into our bones and really feel it down there, and not just in our heads. Through this honesty, we learn what needs to be done and what needs to be felt, all the while enjoying each step of the way as infinitely gentle, loving, and tender. This is true Wholeness.
At least that is how I see it for now. Any thoughts or opinions?