Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Lacking the Vigorous Road of Getting the Body Out

In his instructions for sitting-meditation Master Dogen describes a situation that, despite all this wonderful mental understanding that I have got about the Buddha's teaching, my physical body fails to open up. I "lack the vigorous road of getting the body out."

My body seems to have its own inherent tendency to hold onto itself, as if it is afraid of losing itself. It is not only you, Michael, who is suffering in this way. You are aware of it and are honest about it. Most people are not.

So, in the limited time available to us, how are we going at least to begin to reverse this tendency? The holding on tendency seems to do itself without any problem at all. Establishing the opposite tendency seems to me to be like a trickle of water trying to drill through a rock, or one small man endeavoring to cut a path through a very dense and enormous forest. It is not going to happen in a flash, however brilliant the flash may be. It is going to take constant application.

If I were more clear in regard to this, probably I would guard time more sparingly. I might watch less TV. I might spend less time at this computer. Instead, I waste my time, like the bloody fool I am.

But there is one vital thing I have understood about the body-opening-up-like-a-lotus-flower response. Unless I establish a clear intention to allow it happen, it is never going to begin to happen. Unless I establish a clear intention for the opposite to happen, the only thing that will happen is my body's familiar habit of holding onto itself for dear life.

Idealistic thoughts do not establish this opposite tendency. Materliastic thoughts do not establish this opposite tendency. Nor do existentialist, humanist, pragmatic or even realist thoughts establish this opposite tendency.

But one moment of intention to allow might be like one drop in the trickle of water that is going to drill through rock. Or one step through the forest. And then another step. And then another step.

Am I preaching to the converted?


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