zen e-course // day 4 – sitting and shifting

Written by arnokroner on . Posted in studies, zen

Lesson: When you sit on your cushion, chair, or bench and methodically settle yourself in zazen posture, a shift occurs. You are aligning yourself with the wholeness of life; the wholeness of life is mutually responding and shifting you. We may not see this reciprocity for a time. Nevertheless, in taking the zazen posture and settling yourself, you are committing to a larger reality than can be known from the conditioned, ego-centered point of view. A shift is happening. By settling and raising awareness, can you shift from moment to moment?

Practice for today: Reflect on the nature of shifting. What is it that you are shifting from? What are you shifting towards? Are you reluctant to shift to the present moment; do you find yourself carried away by ego-centered thoughts? Practice returning to your body-breath throughout the day.

Thank you Roshi. Recently I met Johanna Demetrakas who directed “Crazy Wisdom” and she was saying the same about Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche. How fortunate to have had the experience and connection to such big mind phenomena. Here is the link to the site for her movie: http://crazywisdomthemovie.com
This raises the question of depth of practice when teachers aren’t very close physically. The same goes with sacred space.

For me zazen is sacred space (anywhere but always sacred). That’s the shift. A bow to the cushion and sitting and bow again. This creates a space where I shift around or where purity and unity of mind have a chance to occur on their own center stage. It’s dedicated space. Small shifts when it’s a small mind sitting, big shifts when it’s a bigger mind sitting. In a way it’s a mini portable temple, not separate but sacred.

The other day I had placed my cushion in the living room and was about to sit when Astro (my younger boy, he’s 5), came out of nowhere (he was supposed to still be in bed) and placed very carefully an inflatable bat in front of the cushion! Talk about a shift! I don’t know why but it lifted me quite a bit! I didn’t look into him for explanations, it was perfection as it was!



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