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Thread: Itchy nose, achy leg, earthquake ... when to move, when not?

  1. #1

    Itchy nose, achy leg, earthquake ... when to move, when not?

    Hi Guys,

    Here is my perspective on sitting with itchy noses, aching legs and backs, crawly spiders and such ...

    Let me mention first that one day I was sitting at Sojiji (head temple of Soto Zen in Japan) in a 150 year old wooden building, with rafters nibbled by termites and with an overly heavy roof, when a big earthquake hit ... the roof is swaying. Everyone but me was Japanese. I looked around to see if folks would run for the door ... nobody moved from Zazen or even looked around but me! There is a great cultural tendency in Japanese culture to just "bear up" with pain and disturbances, and I have rarely if ever seen an experienced Japanese sitter move, shift legs or scratch during Zazen. In fact, my Japanese dentist tells me that there are two main difference between his Western patients and Japanese patients: (1) Westerners ask a lot more questions about the dental procedure and everything else; (2) Westerners moan and scream much more easily. :shock:

    So, I have to balance my recommendations by taking into consideration what is just "Japanese culture", what is "Zen teachings", and what may be "BOTH"!

    Generally, our Way of Shikantaza Zazen is about "just sitting" with whatever is, just how it is. As in life-in-general, not every moment is peaches and cream, fun and games. So, it is wonderful Practice for us to sit with discomforts, pain, annoyances. We drop all thought of the words "discomfort", "pain", "annoyance", "like" "dislike" "good" "bad" ... and just sit with what is.

    On the other hand, the Buddha's way was never one of masochism or asceticism, complete denial of the body. In fact, ours is the Middle Way, the path of moderation in all things. Furthermore, we do not harm the body.

    Thus, my advice is to just "sit with" the itches, discomforts and spiders (unless a highly poisonous spider!) . Note it, then move back to open, spacious sitting. In fact, you will find that the more your mind fixates on it, and thinks about it, the more of a problem it becomes. By not thinking about it, the so-called "problem" may even fade away on its own, or not be experienced as a problem.

    But if you reach the point that there is truly the risk of harm to the body, then please give a small "Gassho" and discreetly and quietly change position (even do your Zazen standing or do Kinhin walking), or move the giant killer spider away.

    Furthermore, our Way is not about ALWAYS having discomfort, so if your legs or back hurt all the time, you may have to change your sitting position or wait for your legs and back to adjust. We do not sit with leg pain every day or most days.

    But, on the other-other hand, if you have a physical condition that means you ALWAYS have pain and there is absolutely no way to avoid that (for example, if you have arthritis that is always there), you just sit with that. You allow it, not thinking "good" or "bad".

    You have to decide for yourself when is the time to sit with the ache or spider, when is the time not to.

    Oh, and in case of earthquake ... I recommend "duck and cover" Zazen under a table, with one's Zafu placed over one's head! Notice the small prayer of "holding gratitude" at the end too.



    Gassho, Jundo

    PS- Wonderful true story about the Dali Lama and a mosquito, ...

    Last edited by Jundo; 04-13-2013 at 03:17 AM.

  2. #2

    Re: Itchy nose, achy leg, earthquake ... when to move, when not?

    I once heard a monk give a talk about this topic. she said that the reason Zen practice places such a strong emphasis on not moving is because, body and mind are one. If the body isn't still, the mind can't be still. if the mind isn't still the body can't be still. So by stilling the body we can help still the mind.

    But of course all in moderation. If I was doing zazen in the middle of an earthquake, I would very mindfully; just run. no thinking needed there; just fast running and hiding.

    Gassho

    Rafael

    P.S
    here is the video about the Dalai Lama and the Mosquito. =)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W083nSzx1Rc[/video]]

  3. #3

    Re: Itchy nose, achy leg, earthquake ... when to move, when not?

    Thanks for this post, Jundo. I am a chronic itcher (probably from allowing my beard to grow in recently ). I do tend to readjust my posture over a long sit; but i wonder if that's a byproduct of my preferred sitting style (seiza on a buckwheat zafu turned on its end).

    In my mind, part of me being a student is working with the itches and the adjustments the same way I work with thoughts coming into my head and allowing them to move out effortlessly. At least that's why I hope I am to do.

  4. #4

    Re: Itchy nose, achy leg, earthquake ... when to move, when not?

    Hi!
    Quote Originally Posted by unofficialsamurai
    So by stilling the body we can help still the mind.
    Quote Originally Posted by mcurtiss
    working with the itches and the adjustments the same way I work with thoughts coming into my head and allowing them to move out effortlessly
    You lovely said it all! ;o)
    Stillness can be important, sometimes being aware of our stillness, silence and open-awareness is a great help during zazen. But it can also be a trick, something we use or play with instead of "doing (or non doing) the real thing".
    Remaining in open-awareness is, as we all know, fascinating and boring at the same time (what a blend!) but this effortless practice is our practice. And to say the truth, I'm a kind of master for "playing during zazen". I can do this with everything my breath, body sensations, thoughts, .... and than suddenly I realize what I'm doing... And in these cases returning gently to this open-awareness is not so easy...
    When it is not possible I just practice anapanasati (breath following meditation). Bu it isn't a panacea!
    We can see toys everywhere, it is not about the practice, it is about what we do with it!

    Sorry, I'm way out of the subject again...
    humble gassho,
    Jinyu

  5. #5

    Re: Itchy nose, achy leg, earthquake ... when to move, when not?

    Sometimes my legs fall asleep, but I usually don't notice it before I end Zazen.
    If I itch somewhere, it's always in the beginning, when I haven't calmed my mind yet after taking the position. If I have a lot of distracting sensations, I sometimes start by focusing on my breath and after a short while these sensations disappear.
    I get some discomfort in my legs and hips from the lotus position. At first it's from the stretched muscles. This discomfort usually goes away when I get that feeling of wearing a heavy armor and the body relaxes. After that I can sit for a while before I get a new feeling of discomfort, this time from the knees (no zabuton) or from the pressure from one shin against the other or from the ankle of my bottom leg. If the sky is clear of clouds and no thought arise, I sometimes sit a little too long and the pain can get a little too intense when I get up from sitting. If the sky is full of clouds, I notice this pain earlier and end Zazen.
    I don't think voluntarily toughing it out is very constructive. It might give you some discipline, and maybe a few injuries, but it's hardly Shikantaza. Personally I don't like moving during Zazen. After moving it feels like I have to start all over again, so I usually just end Zazen instead and get up. If I feel like sitting more I instead try to find another time during the day. Sometimes I sit 20 minutes, sometimes 40 minutes.

  6. #6

    Re: Itchy nose, achy leg, earthquake ... when to move, when not?

    Quote Originally Posted by Omoi Otoshi
    After moving it feels like I have to start all over again, so I usually just end Zazen instead and get up.
    Shikantaza is always beginning anew, always starting over. So, where do you get up to go?

    Gassho, J

  7. #7

    Re: Itchy nose, achy leg, earthquake ... when to move, when not?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    Shikantaza is always beginning anew, always starting over. So, where do you get up to go?
    Yes, very true! Thank you for your answer.
    The last sentences were written in a hurry, because my wife wanted the computer!

    What I meant to say is that I prefer not to move during Zazen, since most discomforts and sensations go away by themselves when you let them go, just like thoughts. So I don't see the point of moving if you have no reason to. I try to notice the sensation and then return my focus to nothing and everything again, beginning anew, always starting over as you say.

    Lets say it's warm where we sit. If I move when I notice a discomfort in my legs, then might I not keep a glass of water beside me and take a sip when I feel too thirsty?

    What I mean is that we may need to decide whether the discomfort we're feeling is just a cloud of the mind, or an important signal from the body that we need to address. The reason why I get up is that by the time I get what I call the real warning signals, I have already sat for at least 20 minutes, usually 30 minutes, and I don't find it important to switch my legs to sit 5 minutes longer. I see for myself a small risk that moving during Zazen could develop into a bad habit if I'm not careful. When the mind gets restless, the body gets restless and I feel discomfort. I move and when I do, my mind loses its focus and gets restless. And I may get into a bad circle of moving and causing more distraction.

    If I get intensive pain early, I must have screwed up my Zazen position badly and then I need to make major adjustments and not just switch legs. Others may have arthritis, back pains, knee injuries or whatever and in that case, moving could be crucial to avoid injury. But so far I'm in one piece and the discomfort I experience is mostly my mind looking for something more interesting to do than staring into a wall...

    Oh, and I get up to go continue the dance show, surround myself with illusions once again and try to let life manifest life in my ordinary life!

  8. #8
    Thanks for this Jundo ... the funny thing that happens to me is I can sit without any problems, but after 30 mins my right leg always goes to sleep. Then I practice the one foot kinhin.
    RINDO SHINGEN
    倫道 真現

  9. #9
    I have been extremely fidgety in my zazen recently. I know if I try to stop it, or ignore it,I will give up. So I have been indulging in scratching most of my itches and letting myself fidget and resettle so I at least don't have to abandon the sitting altogether. It wasn't always this bad, just a few itches here and there. I'm a bit of a mess lately...

    Gassho
    Julia
    "The Girl Dragon Demon", the random Buddhist name generator calls me....you have been warned.

    Feed your good wolf.

  10. #10
    Thank you, for this, Jundo. Exactly what I needed to hear, and what I need to practice today.

    Gassho,
    Joyo

  11. #11
    Say three years into this I’m finding I can discreetly fold my legs under my chair while remaining upright, sometimes changing position in a small way, and still sit Zazen. As Jundo has said there is no bad sitting, but there is non-sitting. A priest-in-training taught me to breath like a cow chewing its cud, another to sit for 10 minute segments, still another not to focus always on my self. So I would say let it happen. There is no bad sitting so ZAZEN is just sitting, so I just sit.

    Tai Shi
    sat today
    Gassho


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    "We cannot enjoy life if we spend a lot of time worrying about what happened yesterday and what will happen tomorrow." Thich Nhat Hanh

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Tai Shi View Post
    Say three years into this I’m finding I can discreetly fold my legs under my chair while remaining upright, sometimes changing position in a small way, and still sit Zazen. As Jundo has said there is no bad sitting, but there is non-sitting. A priest-in-training taught me to breath like a cow chewing its cud, another to sit for 10 minute segments, still another not to focus always on my self. So I would say let it happen. There is no bad sitting so ZAZEN is just sitting, so I just sit.

    Tai Shi
    sat today
    Gassho


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  13. #13
    This thread has been helpful to me-thanks.

    As I am only barely underway with sitting, I have been sitting very modest amounts of time...and in the ‘Burmese’ position. In the first weeks I had noticed one upper-leg was very tight and uncomfortable, but no horrible pain. I am no ascetic and not even a stoic, and it still seemed reasonable to ‘just sit’ with the moderate discomfort as, over a few days, I worked up to fifteen minutes of sitting. Very gentle with myself....

    Then I woke up one morning with so much pain in those exact same tight muscles, I could barely walk. Still recovering, I have now switched to a version of using the zafu as a seiza bench pretty much as demonstrated by Jundo in one of the lessons for beginners, though angling my foot in peculiar ways. (Also contemplating whether I don’t need a return to gym ‘practice’ to supplement the sitting one I am trying to develop.)

    I know one does not sit to obtain anything, but I have at least gotten a big belly laugh from a colleague telling him that I injured myself meditating.

    Gassho—
    Deborah

    SatToday

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Beldame View Post
    This thread has been helpful to me-thanks.

    As I am only barely underway with sitting, I have been sitting very modest amounts of time...and in the ‘Burmese’ position. In the first weeks I had noticed one upper-leg was very tight and uncomfortable, but no horrible pain. I am no ascetic and not even a stoic, and it still seemed reasonable to ‘just sit’ with the moderate discomfort as, over a few days, I worked up to fifteen minutes of sitting. Very gentle with myself....

    Then I woke up one morning with so much pain in those exact same tight muscles, I could barely walk. Still recovering, I have now switched to a version of using the zafu as a seiza bench pretty much as demonstrated by Jundo in one of the lessons for beginners, though angling my foot in peculiar ways. (Also contemplating whether I don’t need a return to gym ‘practice’ to supplement the sitting one I am trying to develop.)

    I know one does not sit to obtain anything, but I have at least gotten a big belly laugh from a colleague telling him that I injured myself meditating.

    Gassho—
    Deborah

    SatToday
    Yes, Deborah, learn from your own body. Sometimes it is just a matter of time and stretching, and sometimes best to change postures. In any case, a trip to the gym and some stretching sounds like a good suggestion. The posture, in our way of sitting, is not meant to be torture, but simply a balanced, stable, comfortable way to sit.

    I will sit today for the healing of your upper-leg.

    Gassho, Jundo

    SatTodayLAH
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  15. #15
    Re the Dalai Lama and the mosquito: Funny, something similar happened to me a while back. I usually let mosquitos get a fill of my blood and then bless them as they fly away... I believe they use the blood to feed their children or something like that, so I don't mind giving up some. But one day I was walking through the woods and this huge horsefly landed on my arm and sunk it's huge mouthparts into my flesh. It hurt a lot, but I decided to let the horsefly be, hoping it would leave soon. It didn't. Two minutes there it was still there. Three minutes after that... still there. I was starting to get impatient. I started to blow on it, but it just clung on. Around 7 minutes it finally withdrew it's mouth and I thought "Yes it's finally going away." Instead it walked a few inches up my arm and sunk it's mouthparts into my flesh again.

    By this time I had had it with the horsefly, so I nudged it, as gently as I could, off my arm. It withdrew it's mouthparts and flew away.

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Matthew View Post
    Re the Dalai Lama and the mosquito: Funny, something similar happened to me a while back. I usually let mosquitos get a fill of my blood and then bless them as they fly away... I believe they use the blood to feed their children or something like that, so I don't mind giving up some. But one day I was walking through the woods and this huge horsefly landed on my arm and sunk it's huge mouthparts into my flesh. It hurt a lot, but I decided to let the horsefly be, hoping it would leave soon. It didn't. Two minutes there it was still there. Three minutes after that... still there. I was starting to get impatient. I started to blow on it, but it just clung on. Around 7 minutes it finally withdrew it's mouth and I thought "Yes it's finally going away." Instead it walked a few inches up my arm and sunk it's mouthparts into my flesh again.

    By this time I had had it with the horsefly, so I nudged it, as gently as I could, off my arm. It withdrew it's mouthparts and flew away.
    I’m going to have “Fly” nightmares all night tonight I saw those mouthparts up close in Parasitology, horseflies basically have a little hatchet on their face that they use to tear out a chunk of skin, then they lap up the blood.

    Seriously though, what an extraordinarily kind and tolerant person you must be. ❤️ I may even have a pang of regret when I spray and chase the flies off the horses this summer, now. Thank you for your practice.
    Gassho
    Jakuden
    SatToday/LAH


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    清 道 寂田
    SEIDO JAKUDEN
    I am a novice priest. Any resemblance my posts may have to actual teachings about the Dharma, living or dead, is purely coincidental (and just my attempt to be helpful).

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Matthew View Post
    Re the Dalai Lama and the mosquito: Funny, something similar happened to me a while back. I usually let mosquitos get a fill of my blood and then bless them as they fly away... I believe they use the blood to feed their children or something like that, so I don't mind giving up some. But one day I was walking through the woods and this huge horsefly landed on my arm and sunk it's huge mouthparts into my flesh. It hurt a lot, but I decided to let the horsefly be, hoping it would leave soon. It didn't. Two minutes there it was still there. Three minutes after that... still there. I was starting to get impatient. I started to blow on it, but it just clung on. Around 7 minutes it finally withdrew it's mouth and I thought "Yes it's finally going away." Instead it walked a few inches up my arm and sunk it's mouthparts into my flesh again.

    By this time I had had it with the horsefly, so I nudged it, as gently as I could, off my arm. It withdrew it's mouthparts and flew away.
    Even the Dalai Lama (video posted above) has his limit. And Zen Masters even today carry the "Fly Whisk," which is an ancient Indian devise to chase the visitors. Now it is a symbol of the master's authority, but still ... very practical!



    When I visited the Arizona desert last year, ticks and rattle snakes were a concern. The buddha once famously fed a hungry tiger with his own body ...

    https://tatsushinarita.wordpress.com...-nurture-them/



    ... but, on most days, he and the old Zen masters advised wandering monks to take safe paths, and avoid the areas where dangerous tigers lurk.

    So, most days ... flick that fellow away with one's fly whisk! One must take the middle way, a time to be generous, a time to be very practical and safe.

    Gassho, J

    SatTodayLAH
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by Jakuden View Post
    I’m going to have “Fly” nightmares all night tonight I saw those mouthparts up close in Parasitology, horseflies basically have a little hatchet on their face that they use to tear out a chunk of skin, then they lap up the blood.
    I apologize for any nightmares. I looked them up on Wikipedia and saw a picture, no wonder it hurts so bad!

    Quote Originally Posted by Jakuden View Post
    I may even have a pang of regret when I spray and chase the flies off the horses this summer, now. Thank you for your practice.
    Gassho
    Jakuden
    SatToday/LAH
    Yes, there is the horse's comfort to consider too. I am afraid I value my dog's comfort over the preference of the flea's to continue living when he gets infested and starts to itch himself raw. I give him a flea bath, and maybe send metta to all the fleas I just condemned to death. It is unfortunate that we have to make such decisions, and that our lives rely on the taking of other lives, whether plants or animals, but it is life and our zazen practice teaches us that we must accept it as it is, and find the best way to live with doing the least amount of harm.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jakuden View Post
    Seriously though, what an extraordinarily kind and tolerant person you must be. ❤️
    Thank you for your kind words Jakuden.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    When I visited the Arizona desert last year, ticks and rattle snakes were a concern. The buddha once famously fed a hungry tiger with his own body ...

    https://tatsushinarita.wordpress.com...-nurture-them/

    ... but, on most days, he and the old Zen masters advised wandering monks to take safe paths, and avoid the areas where dangerous tigers lurk.

    So, most days ... flick that fellow away with one's fly whisk! One must take the middle way, a time to be generous, a time to be very practical and safe.

    Gassho, J

    SatTodayLAH
    Yes, personal safety is a concern. I remove ticks from me and my dog because I don't either one of us to contract Lyme Disease, even though I understand the ticks die after you remove them. Some masters may have been able to offer themselves to other sentient beings for nourishment (I understand there is a meditation that simulates this in Tibetan Buddhism), and I will do what I can to emulate them, such as giving a mosquito a belly-full of blood, but I'm not ready to give myself up to the local coyotes yet. Maybe something to consider when I am old and dying, if I can escape the nursing home.

    Gassho,

    Matthew
    SAT
    Last edited by Mitka; 05-22-2018 at 02:58 PM.

  19. #19
    When I originally learned to sit zazen it was from a book, it was many years ago but I didn't have someone to tell me if what I was doing was actually right or not. It was very adamant about not moving at all, so the whole question about what to do about an itch or a mosquito or whatever was kind of distressing because I inevitably felt itches and my legs fell asleep and so on. Of course you deal with it if it's the only thing you can think about... but where do you draw that line?

    In college I sat with a professor who is a Tibetan Buddhist and said that if you have an itch, just scratch it and get on with meditating. Same goes with posture; if a limb is falling asleep, just correct it and get on with it. This was a pretty big breakthrough in my practice: beforehand if an itch or an ache came up, suddenly I'd think I'm doing something wrong and spend the next minute or so trying to decide what to do about it, rather than spending a few seconds just doing something about it. Leaving an itch alone tends to just make it worse and more distracting rather than the other way around. Even then, I can manage to sit for 15 minutes with no limbs moving (maybe just a little shifting around) pretty consistently.

    Maybe it's just something that works particularly well for me, but trying to sit with the distraction just creates a new challenge in a practice where there's not supposed to be any good or bad; your ability to deal with the distraction is now a metric of how good your zazen is.

    Gassho,
    Kenny
    Sat Today

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Kenny View Post
    When I originally learned to sit zazen it was from a book, it was many years ago but I didn't have someone to tell me if what I was doing was actually right or not. It was very adamant about not moving at all, so the whole question about what to do about an itch or a mosquito or whatever was kind of distressing because I inevitably felt itches and my legs fell asleep and so on. Of course you deal with it if it's the only thing you can think about... but where do you draw that line?

    In college I sat with a professor who is a Tibetan Buddhist and said that if you have an itch, just scratch it and get on with meditating. Same goes with posture; if a limb is falling asleep, just correct it and get on with it. This was a pretty big breakthrough in my practice: beforehand if an itch or an ache came up, suddenly I'd think I'm doing something wrong and spend the next minute or so trying to decide what to do about it, rather than spending a few seconds just doing something about it. Leaving an itch alone tends to just make it worse and more distracting rather than the other way around. Even then, I can manage to sit for 15 minutes with no limbs moving (maybe just a little shifting around) pretty consistently.

    Maybe it's just something that works particularly well for me, but trying to sit with the distraction just creates a new challenge in a practice where there's not supposed to be any good or bad; your ability to deal with the distraction is now a metric of how good your zazen is.

    Gassho,
    Kenny
    Sat Today
    Yes, sometimes one scratches the itch or moves the sleepy leg, sometimes no. No hard rule. If sitting with a group of people in which my movement might bother others, often I try to ignore it and not move. If sitting alone, sometimes I scratch. Sometimes, when sitting alone, I do not scratch just to test the mind and not let it be bothered.

    A mosquito is not a distraction unless the mind is distracted. It is a physical pain or uncomfortable feeling. If that feeling is too much, sometimes we do something ... but hard to say what is "too much."

    So, sometimes chase the mosquito and sometimes move the leg ... sometimes do not chase the mosquito or move the leg ... there is no rule for when to do which. However, in either case, don't be bothered by your doing or not doing, don't even be bothered when feeling bother, and best not to spend endless minutes debating the issue.

    Gassho, J

    SatTodayLAH
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  21. #21
    When I itch, I watch to see what happens, sometimes it fades, sometimes my body scratches it without conscious permission. That is what is.

    Sat/lah

    Kyousui - strong waters 強 水

  22. #22
    I'm learning that I am a fidgeter. When I sit, especially for long periods, I am constantly shifting, relaxing my back, placing my hands on my ankles, sometimes even shifting off the zafu a bit and stretch my legs out in front of me and look out the window. I suppose many people go through this stage, and I have tried to just "sit" with it, but the temptation to fidget is powerful and my back aches so much... that I inevitably give in. Any tips on how to overcome this?

    Gassho,
    Matthew
    Sat
    Former Matthew. Really appreciate it if you would call me Mitka.

    Peace starts with you.

  23. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by Matthew View Post
    I'm learning that I am a fidgeter. When I sit, especially for long periods, I am constantly shifting, relaxing my back, placing my hands on my ankles, sometimes even shifting off the zafu a bit and stretch my legs out in front of me and look out the window. I suppose many people go through this stage, and I have tried to just "sit" with it, but the temptation to fidget is powerful and my back aches so much... that I inevitably give in. Any tips on how to overcome this?

    Gassho,
    Matthew
    Sat
    Yes. Unless there is a real medical reason to move, such as unbearable leg pain, or the house in on fire ... DON'T MOVE!

    Pretend that you are not sitting alone, but with 20 other people a meter away at a temple in Kyoto and it would bother everyone.

    Above, I posted that there is a reason to move sometimes due to pain or insect, but unless there is real need, sit still! JUST DON'T MOVE and sit like a mountain.

    Gassho, J

    SatTodayLAH
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  24. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    DON'T MOVE!
    This is exactly what I find particularly hard to do. Is it just a matter of developing the will not to move?

    I suppose it might be useful to find a group of people to sit with physically.

    Gassho,
    Matthew
    Sat
    Former Matthew. Really appreciate it if you would call me Mitka.

    Peace starts with you.

  25. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Yes. Unless there is a real medical reason to move, such as unbearable leg pain, or the house in on fire ... DON'T MOVE!

    Pretend that you are not sitting alone, but with 20 other people a meter away at a temple in Kyoto and it would bother everyone.

    Above, I posted that there is a reason to move sometimes due to pain or insect, but unless there is real need, sit still! JUST DON'T MOVE and sit like a mountain.

    Gassho, J

    SatTodayLAH

    I was taught not to move in Zazen. I have had a stick placed along my spine (forgot what that is called) to make sure I am sitting right. I was told when you have an itch, breath through it. When you have a hurt, breath through it. I always do my best, but if a fly starts crawiling around my nose, sometimes, just sometimes that does not do the job! BTW, I don;t swat the fly I just move him along his way.

    PS..one other exception is when the candle is melting and a fire is possible. Jundo, never got it all off the Rakusu, but as you suggested it a rememberence of our sit!

    Gassho
    Doshin
    st

  26. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by Doshin View Post
    I was taught not to move in Zazen. I have had a stick placed along my spine (forgot what that is called) to make sure I am sitting right. I was told when you have an itch, breath through it. When you have a hurt, breath through it. I always do my best, but if a fly starts crawiling around my nose, sometimes, just sometimes that does not do the job! BTW, I don;t swat the fly I just move him along his way.

    PS..one other exception is when the candle is melting and a fire is possible. Jundo, never got it all off the Rakusu, but as you suggested it a rememberence of our sit!

    Gassho
    Doshin
    st
    I am not saying to become a statue, but don't move unless one really has to move.

    In the top post, I recall sitting Zazen with about 30 Japanese people in a 150 year old wooden building at Sojiji with a heavy roof and maybe termites, when an earthquake started. I looked around ... and was the only person even doing that.

    No, one does not have to be frozen, and okay to adjust a bit, scratch an itch now and then, get a fly out of one's nose. But, all in moderation.

    Matthew just needs to visualize (like those Olympic athletes) the other people, and me standing over him with my heavy Kyosaku stick (which, by the way, I never use is our Lineage and Nishijima Roshi did not believe in them, but maybe the site of a "big stick" is enough)



    Gassho, J

    SatTodayLAH
    Last edited by Jundo; 05-22-2018 at 06:52 PM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  27. #27
    Zazen is teaching me about lupus -- this is unexpected, but welcome. After the wonderful suggestions I received from many of you, I started attempting some scheduled zazens from the link that Shugen(?) provided me with. So far, I've completed a few, even the 04:30 after sleeping thru it a few times.

    What zazen is teaching me is:
    When I sit, let go and breathe slowly, it calms my CNS and body. When my CNS and body slow down, I itch less and fidget a bit less. It doesn't stop my symptoms or pain completely, but it is more tolerable, and 5-10 minutes can go to 15-20 minutes with mild fidgeting. It doesn't fix everything, but I don't focus on fixing things. I just breathe and sit.

    The scheduled sits are easier for me at this time because I am planning my schedule around them (sort of). Also, I am now telling people, "I have zazen at that time, so I am not available until ___" when they ask me about plans. I imported the zazen schedule into my calendar so I can remember the ones I am available for.

    I don't know if my fidgets will stop, but I did learn why I have them. I do believe that zazen is helping to calm my CNS, and I will see what effects it has on my autoimmune system (the heart of lupus). My experimental practice is helping, though. I think my rheumatologist may be interested in this as well. She takes a holistic approach to medicine. But I know that I would never last in a Japanese monastery.

    Gassho
    Kim
    St

    Sent from my SM-G930U using Tapatalk
    Each day is another chance to try again.
    "Not all those who wander are lost." (J.R.R. Tolkien)

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