Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Doshi Walk

I have been thinking that I need to re-learn how to walk. And to stand for that matter. I was just reading an article from the New York Times about 'barefoot running', already convinced as I am that, should I return to Tassajara, where I would take up running again for want of anywhere to play on a road bike, I would go with some kind of 'barefoot' shoes, and effectively learn how to run again from scratch. My guess is that this would not be so hard at Tassajara where the gradients are such that I often ran on the balls of my feet anyway.
I was about to say that I did manage to run in the 'conventional style' for the best part of thirty years without injury, but in my final practice period at Tassajara I did hurt myself - a twisted pelvis that locked my left leg up during my final sesshin, the effects of which still come and go in differently manifesting aches and pains.
At the newcomers' table last Saturday, I was trying to convince people at the table that zazen was in fact a body practice, and I was glad to hear Paul affirm this in his talk last night. Most of my zazen time at the moment is spent paying attention to different muscles in my back and shoulders as I try to stay aligned. Some days there is releasing, other days there is tension - Monday was bad for this, though whether this was caused by the stressful day or vice versa I could not say.
When I am doshi, I have noticed that I have a particular way of walking. This is partly dictated by the robes; I have renounced climbing stairs two at a time as a matter of course mainly because if I do so I am likely to trip over my kimono or my sleeves. When I do go upstairs in my robes, I am generally more upright, whereas I would usually lean forward. When I leave the zendo as doshi, my carriage is perhaps more grounded than it might me at other times; I am aware that I am playing a role, or rather, embodying a role. So I try to bring this to bear walking down the hallways at other times of day, or walking down the street. I hope I can extend the practice of balance and uprightness to standing and walking as well as sitting - I think I have mastered the lying down part well enough.

It's supposed to rain today, but it doesn't seem so feasible right now...


Kelly said...

Thank you as always for sharing these thoughts and moments.

I'm often amazed that I was over 30 before I really learned to sit, or to breathe (feel like I'm still learning those). Walking and running sound quite advanced to me.

Saw the rain start around one, soft and light gray, and pitied the bike on the sidewalk.

Shundo said...

Kelly, It's never too late to start, and the great thing about this practice is that you can always keep learning. I hope you are re-adjusting okay this week.
Score one to the weather forecasters - though the wind was blowing from the south, which is a tell-tale sign round these parts.