Yesterday morning: The new zafu and zabuton (Japanese words for stacked sitting cushions) certainly make sitting upright, spine aligned with gravity, more comfortable and easeful. Anyone who's ever practiced mindfulness on the breath, with the instruction just to watch or attend to the breath, will have noticed at some time that that's not so easy at first. It's an attitude and practice of just allowing and attending, not of affecting, forcing, causing. It's a fascinating fact that breathing is both voluntary and involuntary. One needn't choose to breath for breath to happen, yet it can be difficult to attend carefully to the breath without influencing it. (Try, find out for yourself.)
So I chose to play -- as often I do when sitting. To mix things up a little. To find my own way. And so I attended in a non-interfering sort of way for a while. And then I started choosing deeper, carefully attended to breaths. Fuller, deeper. Where does it go, what muscles are involved? How does that feel? How is gravity involved here? What emotions, however subtle, arise? And so on. Already I had come to a sort of calm, an ease, a quietness. Why not explore it? Gently.
I could feel the front of my body behaving as armor, as a shield. It was saying a kind of silent "no". It's "no" was felt as a dullness, a moving away from vitality, vulnerability, feeling, tenderness..., all those things I want. Or so I tell myself. So I decided to play like this: Can I say "yes"? "Yes" with my body where it said "no"? Can I breathe to say "yes"? Breathe directly into those places in my body which are saying "no"? I could! I did.
I felt the whole front of my body, the face of my facing of life, saying "yes!" I felt the knot behind my heart, in my back, also loosten its grip. I felt a calm joy, physical pleasure. And I knew I need not ever be bored with sitting still like this. This may be medicine, but it needn't be imagined as bitter, a chore in need of doing. It needn't be a strain, an effort against the river or the wind.
Last edited by River; 02-08-2011 at 07:18 PM.