Often when I hear someone give a talk or see a video of them speaking, what they say has little interest or hook for me. Usually I will get something out of the talk which is different than what they were saying. Like, I’ll see a video of someone and even if I don’t completely resonate with their words, I may learn something with how relaxed they are in space, or how they carry themselves in some interesting or beautiful way. Or that their presence seems to be shining in some inconceivable way. Something in the essence of their being. It’s as if their words are beside the point. Maybe they don’t even know that they are transmitting something, the main conversation, which is most interesting. Maybe they even think they doing one thing, but something more interesting is coming through. This is actually pretty common, especially among advanced spiritual people who become a channel for deeper aspects through their bodies. It can even be something like, “I like the person, but not for the reason they think I should like them!”
For instance, at Sogenji, I had some books about Cheng Man Ching, the great Tai Chi master. Well, I would sometimes just look at the photos in the middle of the book, or get a taste of what the words were saying, and then that sense is what I felt in the words, beyond the literal meaning. I would often taste something in them, get a flavor, and that feeling is what I took and learned from and which I felt was transformative. So it was kind of beside the rational mind. Kind of in the peripheral vision. Much like the deeper aspects of Zen training, one could not look hard at it and pin it down, but it rather had to be kind of gently held and allowed to transform us. This is actually much of how koan training was. Having no idea what is going on, learning to trust it, and being transformed by something beyond the rational mind. This is much of what I am trying to share in my work. This under the table aspect.
Agree that presence is more interesting than words. Beautiful picture too, sure transmits a lot. Thanks
Thanks so much, Felipe!
….and that presence that you sense and feel has absolutely nothing to do with how you move😀some one may have Parkinson’s disease, shuffling along, and still have that presence. Ramana Maharshi was a cripple, that presence still illuminates the ashram . Which is the true Senjo? The one sick in bed or the one moving and functioning well?
Sure thing. Someone can be disabled or have Parkinson’s and still be connected and coming from that source. My posts are never about cartwheels but have somehow mistakenly been conflated in that way.
I think you are right 🙂 It’s a conflation that would be easy to make . That might make an interesting post, clarifying that. It feels like that is the direction you were attempting to point at in this post. When you talk about how Roshi Sama moves etc. etc. and equating that with zen embodiment ,it gives that impression. I am all for movement practice and what you are teaching in the NDBM and Tai Chi, Qi Qong etc. etc. I am not criticizing that. But it gets confusing when you equate that with zen embodiment. It is what it is, but it is no more zen embodiment than the person sick in bed. As you say, a cripple that can’t move can also embody the spirit of zen. That needs some clarification.
Yes, this is something I’ve noticed too. One person in particular I’m thinking of, they’re honestly quite old and have encroaching arthritis. But when they’re in the room, they’re really in the room. Like, when they’re doing one thing their hands aren’t skittering off to do the next thing or bracing against physical pains. No rush, no hurry, just the right amount of hands, feet and torso to do any task. Natural grace coming from gleaming eyes of wonder.