Friday, July 1, 2011

Just Sitting And Not Just Sitting

In my second practice period at Tassajara, I had dokusan with Linda Ruth, and said to her something like, "I love being here, I love living in the mountains, I love the silence, I enjoy oryoki, service, work, the baths, all that stuff. But I am struggling with how much zazen we sit". Her reply, which may have just been her being skillfully kind, was along the lines of, "It's fine to say you struggle with the amount of sitting. It's the people who say, 'I love zazen, I wish I could sit more' who worry me'.
This past week or so I have been loving zazen. I'm not going to go so far as to say I wish I could sit more. And it's not like it has felt effortless; my body has been more wonky than usual since the bike crash a few weeks ago, and my hips and shoulders don't feel properly lined up, but sitting in full lotus feels good for that. I have had several experiences of jolts of energy releasing around various parts of the body, as I have described before; one yesterday was strong enough to jerk my hands out of my mudra. And it's not like I haven't felt tired, but I have been enjoying breathing into my abdomen, and up into the solar plexus which feels like it needs refreshing. And it's not like I haven't been getting caught up in thoughts, but they haven't been as corrosive on the whole.
It has felt good to settle in the zendo as off the cushion I feel like I have been pulled in different directions this week, and today's activity gives a little flavour of that: I took photographs of the lamps in the Buddha Hall which we are replacing, and are going to try and sell on eBay; I printed out the oryoki crew list for the month to post around the building so that no-one expects there to be breakfast in the zendo tomorrow; I worked with Renee on sending some of our chip incense to a well-known actor who has been connected with Zen Center for many years; I put some talks online, including Michael's from Wednesday which got off to a strange start as the clip for the microphone had fallen off - I dashed upstairs thinking that there was a spare one in a box, but then had no idea where the box was and decided the most expedient thing would actually be to bring down the old mic and receiver and plug that in to the new system, though when I took the mute button off, there was a ghastly noise for a moment, which is why the recording starts with a loud laugh - and I fixed a new clip onto the mic and tidied up a lot of cables; I continued with the tenken report for the month, though I am still less than half done; I sent a few emails out thinking about logistics for getting the Young Urban Zen group to be able to meet every week, especially with the Intensive coming up; I sent out pictures from Pride to those who were in them; after lunch I walked up to Japantown since my bike is at the menders, to pick up some oryoki supplies as someone is coming tomorrow to buy a set, and stopped at the pop-up ice cream store in Hayes Valley on the way back for some refreshment, and found Tanya and Jay had had the same idea; had a bath, shaved my head, sat some more zazen and was kokyo for the memorial service for Vicki's mother who died last weekend. I have been loving chanting this week as well; there is nothing like being full-throated to see if there is any tension lingering as you push the last of the air out of your lungs.
And with that, I should be on my way to Anna's house-warming up the street, which should be a very relaxing way to spend the evening.

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