Some thought from our weekend online mini-retreat which started this morning:
Someone asked a question this morning after class. I want to say a bit more about the topic of keeping it going throughout the day.
A couple of thoughts:
First, at first we think that being present is exhausting. We have this limited amount of focus. We can do it for a while, and then we have to take a break. Take some breaths, or return to our stream of thoughts. Or, we have to have quiet or a controlled environment to connect with and feel this full and tautness we get from class and our practice.
I would like to challenge the idea that being present is exhausting. A big shift for many of us comes when we discover that being present fills us up with energy. As if the present moment blows us up like a balloon. We find that focusing on it fills us up. We find this present moment fills up our bodies, creates this internal momentum we have discovered in the standing/sitting.
So, instead of the present moment being something we go to at times and then go back to normal, instead of ki being something we get sometimes, it is the base of our experience. It is where we return to. This momentum is not something we cultivate but something always there, always our basic experience.
This is a big shift. So, throughout the day, we work on this creatively. Cooking, walking, sweeping, etc. Even sitting on the couch, even watching a movie, can be a way to have this present energetic moment fill us up.
Also, as we become more and more familiar with this present moment ki filling internal momentum, focusing on that becomes the job of zazen. Allowing it to do the work. Allowing it to open us up. Slowly, that energetic momentum becomes the main conversation of our experience rather than our thoughts. The thoughts don’t just stop, but they become less interesting as this process becomes what we are and what we are doing. We can use our thoughts then, but are not ruled by them.
And then as we follow this process further and further, sharper and sharper, deeper states of mind naturally occur. These can be samadhi, etc…
Just some thoughts about keeping it going throughout the day…
Photo of Min Tanaka