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Thread: zazen

  1. #51

    Re: zazen

    So my practice is, well, not so good. I don't know if it's common to post such dribble
    about personal practice, but I don't have the confidence to go it alone and lately I
    feel like I've been led to the edge of a cliff and left there. Do I go back? Do I jump?
    No. Just sit. Well just sitting is driving me crazy. Where's the harmony I keep
    hearing about? Where's the balance? It seems like meditation, even zazen, if done
    correctly, should bring more peace into one's life. I seem to be losing more and
    more peace the longer I practice. I do keep sitting. And that surprises me. I've
    never really stayed with anything that didn't give me immediate results. For some
    reason I keep coming back to that dreadful cushion. But really, maybe zazen is not
    for me. Or maybe I am doing it wrong. While sitting should I ask myself such
    questions as, "Who is sitting?" "Who is hearing traffic?" "Who is itching?" Or
    just sit there like a rock? Gee, I've never had trouble sitting until I started
    trying to do it intentionally. Is this just me talking because I like to hear myself,
    see my avatar on the computer, feel important? Is this what my sitting is showing
    me? That I can't be still? Can't accept the moment? Want zazen to get me high?
    That I crave attention? Do I analyze too much? My lord, am I really gonna post this
    sh#%!!?? Am I going crazy? Maybe I should shut up. But I just keep feeling like I'm
    doing something wrong or I would have more of the positive qualities I hear others
    talk about. I've had "experiences." Felt like the sound of traffic was somehow
    "inside my body" rather than "out there." But less peace, less balance, less harmony.
    Shoot me. Holler at me. Run me off the message board. But before you do...
    HELP!!!

    Deep Bow, Sweaty Brow,
    Greg

  2. #52

    Re: zazen

    Quote Originally Posted by ghop
    Just sit. Well just sitting is driving me crazy. Where's the harmony I keep
    hearing about? Where's the balance? It seems like meditation, even zazen, if done
    correctly, should bring more peace into one's life. I seem to be losing more and
    more peace the longer I practice.
    I don't want to make any assumptions but I would like to ask a question: are you looking for a kind of static stability? Each point in space and time is inherently unstable, and the whole thing flows, like an all-encompassing river, all the time. Let your zazen flow. Does that help?

    While sitting should I ask myself such
    questions as, "Who is sitting?" "Who is hearing traffic?" "Who is itching?" Or
    just sit there like a rock? Gee, I've never had trouble sitting until I started
    trying to do it intentionally.
    Let go of the "do". Everything you are looking for is here already.

    The rest I can't help with, it's beyond me.

    Gassho ... Scott

  3. #53

    Re: zazen

    Hi Greg,

    I share your frustration, as I am taking some courses now in traditional Japanese/Chinese character calligraphy. I think I am getting worse at it as the weeks go by, and even the characters that look good to me ... well, the teacher always finds something off balance. Arggghhh! But, I know, things like this take time ... do not happen overnight ... and need to become a natural part of the body-mind.

    Zazen is not that different from many skills in that way ... such as learning to play the piano, speak a new language. So, some frustration is to be expected, and is even part of the process.

    I would say that, in my guess from some of your writings, you perhaps expressed the issue best in your own words. Does this sound right to you?

    Quote Originally Posted by ghop
    I've never really stayed with anything that didn't give me immediate results. ... ... Is this what my sitting is showing me? That I can't be still? Can't accept the moment? Want zazen to get me high? ... Do I analyze too much? ...
    That would be my guess.

    The "harmony and balance" of Zazen you mention greatly derives from accepting the moment, being 'at one' with the moment as we drop demands and resistance to changing circumstances, going with the flow (as Scott put it), finding stillness even as and through the motion of life, dropping desires and demands for how the frustrated 'me/myself/I' self wants things to "should be" vs. "life just as we find life".

    Yes, if you are having difficulty to sit still, and to drop demands and judgments of 'how things should be' ... the 'self' will be frustrated.

    You know, when I drop resistance to how I think my Chinese characters "should be" ... and just relax into the situation and the writing ... they do get better. Same feeling when I relax into my sitting. Suddenly, it just feels right.

    Quote Originally Posted by ghop
    While sitting should I ask myself such
    questions as, "Who is sitting?" "Who is hearing traffic?" "Who is itching?"
    Not in our way of "Just Sitting" Shikantaza. With time, those questions will take care of them-selfs.

    Or
    just sit there like a rock?
    No. A rock, I presume, has no thoughts and emotions at all. We are vibrant, alive. However, in Zazen we do not cling to or stir up our thoughts and emotions, do not become attached to "should be's" and judgments, just let them go.

    So, we are like "living rocks" perhaps.

    I've had "experiences." Felt like the sound of traffic was somehow "inside my body" rather than "out there."
    Yes, those are important and natural experiences to have in Zazen. However, in our style, we take them just as an interesting view, a reference, a gift of seeing something ... and move on. We do not run after that, do not run away.

    You know, last year I taught our 6 year old to ride his bike, also a simple skill that seems impossible ... looks impossible ... before you do it. He fell off dozens of times, lots of skinned knees and such. He was ready to give up but kept going back.

    Now ... he just rides rides rides.

    Gassho, Jundo

  4. #54

    Re: zazen

    Quote Originally Posted by scott
    I don't want to make any assumptions but I would like to ask a question: are you looking for a kind of static stability?
    Well...yes and no. Gotta remember I'm an Alabama boy, raised a Baptist, and by God
    I want some ground under my feet :!: On the other hand, I've seen how much suffering
    can come from trying to justify oneself with unrealities. Just afraid I might be doing
    it again with Zen. I read where Thich Nhat Hanh said, "A minute of meditation is a
    minute of peace and happiness. If meditation is not pleasant for you, you are not
    practicing correctly." I read things like that and then look at my pratice and think,
    "What the hell am I doing wrong?" But I agree that I should just let it flow. I think
    I have more "knots" than I suspected. It's kind of unsettling, meeting myself for the
    first time in my life and thinking, what a turd. But that's what my thoughts point to.
    Just a selfish, self-protecting turd. Had a dream the other night that a tornado hit
    the shopping mall here in town. You know who was first to run to the storm shelter?
    Me. You know who was the only person in the shelter? Me. Just a dream but it tells
    me alot about myself. Thank you though. You've been a great help.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    Yes, if you are having difficulty to sit still, and to drop demands and judgments of 'how things should be' ... the 'self' will be frustrated.

    Thanks Jundo. And good luck with the class. I will keep sitting. But oh boy have I stirred up
    a hornets nest. :|

    Gassho,
    Greg

  5. #55

    Re: zazen

    This is such a great thread! I admire your honesty and openness Greg. I go through phases with zazen and the times I've stopped was because I was feeling the same things that you mentioned. I noticed that I was becoming irritable and frustrated very easily. I also thought that it should'nt be happening because I was doing zazen. As of lately, I haven't been sitting much. It seemed like when I stopped doing zazen, the irritability went away. As much as I read about just sitting and not expecting anything, in the back of my mind I still thought that doing zazen would automatically make me a more peaceful person. I am glad to see that I wasn't alone in those feelings. This thread has answered a lot of questions and concerns for me. Greg and all the great advice on this thread has inspired me to sit zazen on a consistent basis again

  6. #56
    disastermouse
    Guest

    Re: zazen

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    Quote Originally Posted by ghop
    (I know, I know, live in the present moment, even at work!!!)
    Folks sometimes misunderstand "being in the moment" as only the first kind. And, truly, that is a useful skill (there are certainly appropriate times to have all our attention focused on the action right in front of us ... at work, only doing work ... watching a sunset, just the sunset ...)

    But there are times for the second type, and that is "being in the present moment too" and very appropriate and a fine part of life at many times of the day (we do not live by work alone, thinking of "right now" alone).
    I think the point of a lot of Zen teachings isn't to deny the importance of that second type of being in the moment - but let's face it - we spend a LOT more time there than is really warranted. We can live our whole lives there and 'miss' our actual lives. I think of Zen as a bit of a corrective on this natural tendency we have as humans to reflect on the past and project into the future.

    Chet

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