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Thread: ONE wall spot

  1. #1
    Senior Member AlanLa's Avatar
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    ONE wall spot

    About ten days ago while staring at the wall during my morning ritual zazen, I found myself able to keep my focus on one point on the wall and just that one small point. Slowly everything else collapsed, monkey mind went completely silent, and there was ONLY that one small spot on the wall. But within that one small spot everything else was contained. I felt aware of everything inside and outside of me, yet there was just that one spot on the wall. It was a pure moment that contained everything at the same time there was nothing there at all except me and that spot, each of us not one yet also not two. But I canít really describe my experience, as it was beyond words. I think the reason it is beyond words is that words require static thoughts, and this was fluid experience beyond thought. Anyway, after a brief time in that experience it occurred to me that the 12-fold chain of origination had stopped, that there was no chain anymore tying me to the rest of my life/world. I was in some completely new space/time beyond anything resembling my normal daily existence. But this was a thought, and with that thought the whole experience suddenly unraveled and I was back to normal (delusional?) reality. I was just staring at a blank white wall again, but suddenly I felt like I was actually SEEING that wall as a blank screen where all my thoughts are projected. I could suddenly see how I add on so much to life that just isnít there. All of which leads me to thisÖ

    OK, so hereís the good thing: My regular daytime life process has changed. Ever since this experience when I look at people I am SO much more aware of all the thoughts and judgments I add on to them. I realize now that mostly when I ďsawĒ people it was really all my judgments and thoughts about them. Before, this happened mostly beneath awareness, but now when I see people I see that process of adding on those thoughts and judgments. Before, my awareness of this add-on process was hints and whispers, but now itís Out Loud and Clear. Not that all that add-on stuff has stopped, because it hasnít, but now I see the add-on process at the same time I see people more clearly than ever before, just like that spot on the wall. Not that I make any more sense of people than before, because I donít. But thereís a depth to them (and me) that is new and that I am still exploring. Some one will walk by in the morning on my way into the office and all this process instantaneously happens, and I just shake my head and smile.

    OK, so hereís the not-so-good thing: The zazen process has snagged because I am a bit stuck in this one-time outcome experience. I know I need to move on from this, but the associational memory of it is so strong that it is difficult to do so. I found myself the next day trying to do it again, but all I succeeded in doing was hurting my eyes, lol. So for a few days I tried not to try and do it again, but I discovered that any form of trying just gets in the way. In other words, during the experience I was beyond thoughts, and now it is thoughts/memories of the experience that are keeping me away from the experience. Ironic, huh.

    Anyway, during my usual old-fashioned monkey mind this morning I decided that I needed to write all this down and submit it as a means of letting it go so that I can get back to that natural zazen. Sorry for the length. I keep trying to make it more sensible to a reader, but I realize I probably canít, so Iíll stop now. Thanks for listeningÖ.

  2. #2

    Re: ONE wall spot

    Quote Originally Posted by AlanLa

    OK, so hereís the not-so-good thing: The zazen process has snagged because I am a bit stuck in this one-time outcome experience. I know I need to move on from this, but the associational memory of it is so strong that it is difficult to do so. I found myself the next day trying to do it again, but all I succeeded in doing was hurting my eyes, lol. So for a few days I tried not to try and do it again, but I discovered that any form of trying just gets in the way. In other words, during the experience I was beyond thoughts, and now it is thoughts/memories of the experience that are keeping me away from the experience. Ironic, huh.
    Thank you, Alan. You words are crystal clear.

    As the cop says at the scene of the crime, "nothing to see here, folks, move along".

    Sounds like a crystal clear vantage point on a mountain hike, suddenly the trees and obstructions fall away ... and you see very clearly the valley. Now, move along, don't try to remain there forever or go back there. There are countless other vantage points along the way, just as lovely.

    We might say that our way is the whole hike, each step precious, not any single scenic point. All of it together is the mountain-hike (mountain's hiking).

    I hope my words are clear enough? If you would like to talk about it more, we can meet in Sanzen.

    Gassho, Jundo

  3. #3
    Senior Member AlanLa's Avatar
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    Re: ONE wall spot

    In the interest of full disclosure, my exact thought that broke the "spell" was this: Jundo is right, there is no 12-fold chain of origination. So it's all your fault! and I thank you for that.

    And yeah, it might be time to talk with you.

  4. #4
    Treeleaf Unsui Dosho's Avatar
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    Re: ONE wall spot

    Thanks for sharing this Alan.

  5. #5
    Senior Member AlanLa's Avatar
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    Re: ONE wall spot

    Thanks for your thanks, Scott. I expected nothing from this post, so your comment is a plus. This event took on a life of its own, so the post was meant as a means of casting it out so that I can move on from it. It wasn't bad or good, and I don't know if people will get anything from reading it, nor if I will get anything from others reading it. The whole thing is/was what it is/was, no more and no less. At least that's how I am trying to treat it.

    As Jundo said: move along, folks, nothing to see here....

  6. #6

    Re: ONE wall spot

    Alan,

    I found it very helpful. Sometimes I don't reply only because I have nothing to add! But like Scott said: thank you for posting it.

    --Charles

  7. #7

    Re: ONE wall spot

    Alan-

    I too found this helpful and I think it might help me get out of a funk I've been recently experiencing. A few weeks ago while sitting I had the overwhelming sensation that I was just another piece of furniture in my living room. I didn't actually think I was a sofa, but I felt that I was just something else being something in the living room. Since then though it hasn't happened. And although I know intellectually that after experiencing those types of moments during zazen that shouldn't strive after them again I feel that somehow subconsciously I'm trying to come back to it. Since that day my daily routine of 15 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes at night has slipped dangerously to 15 minutes in the morning, if I'm lucky.

    Knowing that someone else is going through this too makes it seem, I don't know, it just makes it seem better.

    So thank you Alan-

    Chris

  8. #8

    Re: ONE wall spot

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris H.
    Alan-

    I too found this helpful and I think it might help me get out of a funk I've been recently experiencing. A few weeks ago while sitting I had the overwhelming sensation that I was just another piece of furniture in my living room. I didn't actually think I was a sofa, but I felt that I was just something else being something in the living room.
    What makes you think your sofa is not something sacred, as precious as the moon and stars, something unique in all time and space!!??

    (Besides being something to sit on, of course).

    Poor, misunderstood sofa! :cry:

    Where is that funk located? What separates the funk and the funky?

    Gassho, J

    PS- Buddha was something of a couch potato ...


  9. #9

    Re: ONE wall spot

    Alan,

    Just a thought. The monkey mind is very quick to get hold of its own death and try to fake it over and over again. This is a common problem in practice, the will to repeat the experience. Where does that will arise from? What is the nature-relevance of this experience now? Allowing the experience to vanish, relinquishing any form of attachment to small or big openings is the core of our practice. How do we do that? As Jundo says, we enjoy the ride, walk along. In fact, you are already free from that experience. Let zazen take over. Just sit, let Buddha do the job. We are not suposed to be aware of Buddha doing the job. When this Buddha is really doing Its thing, then nor me neither Buddha.
    But I am sure you undertand that already.

    Take care


    Taigu

  10. #10
    Treeleaf Unsui Yugen's Avatar
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    Re: ONE wall spot

    Alan,
    Thank you for initiating this post. I have had a similar experience, and realize how much I work to return to that place - an attachment to my practice which I must relinquish. Jundo and Taigu, your words are very helpful here. We really can't "attach" ourselves to any reference point in our meditative landscape... I guess I have gotten hung up on the view along the way!

    Gassho,
    Alex

  11. #11

    Re: ONE wall spot

    Yes, our particular flavor of Zen does not put any more or less emphasis on Kensho, big or small, or like mind blowing experiences than sitting on the sofa on an autumn day.

    Now, if you think we are lowering the "value" of Kensho, then you miss the point.

    And if you think we are raising up the "value" of sofa sitting, then maybe you are closer to the mark, but still miss the point.

    If you think that both are sacred and to be honored, you are very very close, but still miss the point.

    If you think that Kensho is precisely sofa sitting, sofa just Kensho ... so close now you can taste it and it tastes you ... keep going ...

    This different "valuation" (for want of a better term) of Kensho and the like is perhaps the chief difference (same, but different) between the "Just Sitting' Shikantaza perspective of the Soto of Master Dogen, and the Kensho seeking flavors of the some of the Rinzai and Sanbokyodan schools of Zen I discussed on the other thread ... It is important for folks to know that "Zen" comes in various flavors ...

    viewtopic.php?p=16041#p16041

    Gassho, Jundo

  12. #12
    Treeleaf Unsui Yugen's Avatar
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    Re: ONE wall spot

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    If you think that both are sacred and to be honored, you are very very close, but still miss the point.

    If you think that Kensho is precisely sofa sitting, sofa just Kensho ... so close now you can taste it and it tastes you ... keep going ...
    I can't help but think of this as a form of convergence! Just as practice is enlightenment, and enlightenment is practice... it is available to us here and now - kensho/couch sitting. and couch sitting / kensho. It is nothing much!

    Gassho,
    Alex

  13. #13
    Senior Member AlanLa's Avatar
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    Re: ONE wall spot

    Gassho to you all.

  14. #14

    Re: ONE wall spot

    slipped dangerously to 15 minutes
    LOL. Don't stress it.

    I think it's good to know that no matter what you experience in Zazen or Zen practice, you still do what usually do, but how you do it, and how you view it begin to change.

    A good way of looking at it is: You may experience something unexplainable, but you still have to make breakfast.

    There's all kinds of Zazen: typing Zazen, watching a movie Zazen, chatting Zazen, laundry Zazen, going to work Zazen. Zazen doesn't stop and begin. Really the only thing that changes is what you do, what you choose, and how you do it each moment of the day.

    Will

  15. #15

    Re: ONE wall spot

    Quote Originally Posted by will
    A good way of looking at it is: You may experience something unexplainable, but you still have to make breakfast.

    There's all kinds of Zazen: typing Zazen, watching a movie Zazen, chatting Zazen, laundry Zazen, going to work Zazen. Zazen doesn't stop and begin. Really the only thing that changes is what you do, what you choose, and how you do it each moment of the day.

    Will
    Thank you, Will, for the good reminder.

  16. #16

    Re: ONE wall spot

    Also thought I'd add a note:

    Mostly this "I had this experience" business is just mind trying figure stuff out: trying to "GET IT". How can mind get something that is bigger than it is?

    It's like one theory of simulated reality and computers. A computer could be running a program of a simulated reality, but no computer within that simulation could find out. The physics used in the simulation would have to be the same as those used by the computer running the program. It could be said that the virtual computers are limited according to what information the main computer gives them.

    Wiki
    If we are being simulated, we might be misled about the nature of computers.
    Basically It's a dead end for those computers. Just as it's a dead end to think about Zen.

    Bendowa Modern Interpretations

    Although we eachhave the natural state, if we do not return to it in this practice, it does
    not show itself, and if we do not experience it, we do not realise what
    it is. It comes to us and fills us as soon as we give up our intentions,and is not a
    discriminative state. When we speak, this state expresses
    itself through our mouth in complete freedom.
    Buddhas live in and
    maintain themselves in this natural state in which they do not separate
    reality into two parts: mental and physical. People who do not separate
    reality into two parts are buddhas.
    Will

  17. #17

    Re: ONE wall spot

    Hi,

    PS- Buddha was something of a couch potato ...
    For those who may not be aware of it, that image is a depiction of Buddha's Parinirvana.

    Gassho
    Ken

  18. #18

    Re: ONE wall spot

    Quote Originally Posted by Kenneth
    Hi,

    PS- Buddha was something of a couch potato ...
    For those who may not be aware of it, that image is a depiction of Buddha's Parinirvana.

    Gassho
    Ken
    Really? I thought he was just watching TV.

  19. #19

    Re: ONE wall spot

    My arm always falls asleep when I lay like that.

    W

  20. #20

    Re: ONE wall spot

    Thank you to everyone for your remarks. I realize I have to not be so down on myself that my practice has slipped a bit. There is no good practice and no bad practice, right? Just practice. And since sitting time has been waning, I've been increasing Jundo's patented "InstaZazen" moments. Although, as a professional editor/writer I can do with less Typing Zazen!

    And I wasn't distressed at all about seeing myself on the same level as a piece of furniture in the living room. In fact, it showed me a fleeting bit of the independent/interdependent nature of all material and non-material stuff.

    Gassho-

    Chris

  21. #21

    Re: ONE wall spot

    Thanks for sharing your experience with the rest of us, Al. I, too, have had similar experiences during meditation practice. As for your mind trying to figure things out after the fact and wanting to re-live it, well, that's natural. I did the same. Guess that comes with having a brain and being human :wink:

    Metta and gassho,

    Marina

  22. #22

    Re: ONE wall spot

    Alan,
    Glad to hear you are well after the hurricane.

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