Taking stock after 64 days

I sat zazen this morning groggily. Awareness moving from the soft, slow waking mind into the flesh-and-blood body.

My body scan was disjointed. I started at my crown … and then realized my attention was caught up in something not present. 

What happens in the … ? I am so curious about this, and I have not yet been able to “catch” that moment!

Every day it’s different. I’m not sure there is such a thing as progress, really. Today zazen didn’t seem much different than the first week of this year.

There are skills to be learned, certainly. Like coordinating the body scan with the breath. I inhale and exhale while paying attention to my head, scanning its parts. Repeat until my head feels well-scanned (whatever “well” means that day). Then breathe with attention on my neck. Move on to chest, abdomen, back, upper arms, seat, legs, feet. Change this order up but generally move down the body one area at a time, breathing and attending.

That’s a skill for body scanning when my attention is wandering. When my attention isn’t wandering, I can scan my whole body almost uninterrupted. I feel pleased with my focus then.

And then it’s on to the next moment of awareness, and the next, and the next.

It also takes skill to sit for 30 minutes without moving, and you gain that skill by doing just that. You experiment and find the posture that works best for you. Right now I’m liking half lotus a lot.

It comforts me to believe that the more I sit, the better I get at it, although more experienced meditators say that pain is part of the experience. It’s definitely not a linear progression, though.

I’ve had what I consider to be one insight about the nature of reality. And it occurred like this: in my ponderings about “whole body awareness,” I had a new thought: what if everything is awareness?

That seemed radical and revolutionary. I wanted to suppress it because if it was true, it meant change. (Okay, I’m lazy.) It kept resurfacing into consciousness, though, so I almost casually examined it, tried it on, tried to find if there was any way it could be not true. I couldn’t, so I accepted it as truth.

And then change began rippling through my life, although I’m not really more skilled at sitting. The variety of sitting experiences just expanded, that’s all. Some days, breakthroughs. Some days, groggy monkey mind.


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