Monday, April 19, 2010

40 minutes. one pose. go!

I read Zen teacher Brad Warner's blog, because he's reasonably funny, and while in writing he often comes off as being insecure about his writing, and trying to sound like an edgy jerk to make up for it, I think he knows his stuff (and he's more confident and relaxed in the videos I've seen of him talking). And every now and again we get a gem like this:

"Lately when I give instructions in zazen I've taken to describing what I do as being like a yoga class in which there is only one asana and you hold it for-fucking-ever."

I love this, because it's true. The zazen posture is a yoga posture, even in its variations for those of us who don't like a full lotus. (I can do it, but then nerves get pressed and my leg goes, not asleep, but actually numb and I can't move it.) I noticed last year that as much as I rely on zazen to stretch out my mind somehow, I also rely on it to stretch out my body. If I get to do my usual morning sitting, my mind has already run through most of the nonsense I would have brought into that day, and my muscles have stretched and relaxed into their natural states. (Well. So has my mind.) It's a physical practice, which it has to be, because your body isn't something separate from you; you're not some independent thing inhabiting a container made of meat. You are the container of meat. (Along with a lot of other things. The important part is to note that you are not one thing in particular; there's not a single essential thing that you could point to and say "That's what I am." Go ahead and look for it. I can wait.)

You! Meat container! You should go sit zazen!

Yeah. I dunno either.

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