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Thread: Sleeping in Zazen

  1. #1

    Sleeping in Zazen

    I shall talk about it on Monday. But anyway, unless you are constantly sleepy, you should allow it. As Jundo says, we don't reject any experience. The idea of keeping the spine erect or give an upward stretch is frequently used, as well as Keizan's advice in his Zazen Yojinki when he instructs :

    "When the mind sinks into dullness, raise attention above your hairline or before your eyes. When the mind scatters into distraction, place attention at the tip of the nose or at the tanden. After this rest attention in the left palm. Sit for a long time and do not struggle to calm the mind and it will naturally be free of distraction."

    The way I see it, is not to do those things. To accept what is. If it is too bad, just do kinhin. Walk. And come back to just sitting. The right sitting is doing itself. fixing this, adjusting that are very artificial, somehow too contrived. The basic principle is that the right thing does itself when we drop our wrong doing, our bad habits. As long as we interfere with our sitting, we do it from a deluded space. Sit. Give a direction, upward. Don't do it, allow it. Trust the practice and surrender to your true form. Let it sit you.

    easy to say...



  2. #2

    Re: Sleeping in Zazen

    I have also practiced sleeping-in zazen -- mornings when I've pushed the snooze button
    I surrendered to my true form alright: the horizontal
    it didn't sit me
    but suited me to a T !

  3. #3

    Re: Sleeping in Zazen

    neither horizzzzzzzontal nor verttttttttical,

    true form truly beyond

    sweetheart; gassho...


  4. #4

    Re: Sleeping in Zazen

    Glad this was brought up! Ive been fighting off sleepy zazen and its been a bit of a struggle. Surprisingly its been the Evening sit (i sit a tad late usually 10 or 11 pm) thats been a wide open gate to zzz land/
    A couple of weeks ago i decided to sit in the morning and realized I needed to moved my sitting out of the bedroom and into the addition where the there is a bit more space and It allows me to sit in the morning with out disturbing my wife.

    There is a wood stove beside me though so evenings sit there is a rolling fire going and though i am nodding and bobbing about a bit, it is really is just a matter of time before the cracking fire and the whispering fan oh and our snoring dog sleeping beside me - get to me! Im going to have to move the evening sit to a much earlier time If i can or try getting up now and again. Personally I like the idea of sleeping-in zazen- but the kids are tough masters -they just will not allow it


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  5. #5

    Re: Sleeping in Zazen

    Dear Taigu,

    maybe you will say something more about this on Monday, but if not could you try and explain this section a bit further (in very simple language for the hard-of-thinking such as myself):
    The basic principle is that the right thing does itself when we drop our wrong doing, our bad habits. As long as we interfere with our sitting, we do it from a deluded space.
    Why isn't dropping a bad habit (what would some examples of those be?) the same as interfering with our sitting? Where is the difference between consciously stopping something and interfering with what is?


  6. #6

    Re: Sleeping in Zazen

    Hi Michael,

    You are raising a very good point. What I am suggesting is to give the body-mind a direction but not to do it. If you instruct yourself to sit straight, with a straight spine, all you are going to do is to use a lot of tension and will end up taking a very rigid, military-like position. Once you instruct but drop the doing, the undoing takes place and get the body-mind free. You cannot do and undoing. All you can do is to inhibit the habit of sitting straight, what you think is sitting straight,therefore let the tensions go and allow the spine to naturally grow and expand. Something like that. This is part and parcel of the teachings of Alexander Technique which I don't want to talk about for two reasons: this is not the place, I am not qualified to do so. But what I basically want to share with you all is that a certain practice of sitting will make you lock the body-mind, it can be very stiff, very rigid and tense. There is a very natural and flowing way to sit. Young children and animals can also teach you. In my limited experience, in the last thirty years or so, I met so many people sitting sitting, acting, speaking in a very rigid way. I have been in temples, and zen centers and monasteries where everything was like a boot camp and Zen looked like a military training. Now, I am deeply conviced that it is just not a Japanese cultural aspect, it is to do with the way people sit. It will take you a lifetime to explore that path, but if you decide to lock you body, it is a quick and easy fix: but it comes to a cost, both physical and psychological.



  7. #7

    Re: Sleeping in Zazen

    Dear Taigu,

    as always, thank you for taking the time to explain; the 'direction' and 'allow' bits were what I needed for it all to come clear.

    Even though I have arthritis in my spine and hips which means my back is just about locked in one position, I can still feel the difference in my body (and in my mind) between holding it in a rigid way and allowing it to grow, even though there appears to be no difference to an observer. In fact, it's something that my physio has said to me in the past, "If you can't physically make the movement that I'm asking for, think it and feel it from the inside".



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