SPECIAL CLASS – JOIN US FOR INNER QIGONG AND A CHANCE TO GO DEEPER (INSIDE). This class will help you to establish a daily qigong ‘iner life’ practice and a review of how to release all stagnant qi in the body.
CLASS ALSO INCLUDES A CHANCE TO SIT LONGER AFTER STILL QIGONG.
Investment: $15.00 (NC Zendo/Benefactor/Extra Class)
Please note that this is a time to deepen the roots of your practice, to connect with quiet and cultivate inner peace (and all the benefits that come with meditation).
YOU WILL ALSO HAVE A CHANCE TO REVIEW THE CORE OF ZAZEN AND ITS APPLICATION IN DAILY LIFE.
Zazen Meditation focuses on the art of creating a deeper foundation of awareness in daily life. No matter how busy we get, it’s so important to take the time to harness the power of P.K. and meditation and connect with a deeper place of peace and oneness (undivided mind). To not lose our (S)elf in the world. Join this Zazen Meditation practice class. You will be made to feel completely at home… We send you peace, joy and love.
If you are not familiar with Zazen Meditation please read the article below before arriving.
***Please Read: ‘How To Do Zazen’***
How To Do Zazen (Starting a Zazen Meditation Practice)
– By Hae Kwang Sunim
The Body and Sitting Posture
At our centre we have backjack chairs, meditation benches, regular chairs and cushions. A raised cushion or the bench helps tilt the pelvis forward slightly and assists in putting a natural curve in the spine. This helps one maintain good posture during meditation. The upper body is upright out of the hip joints and over time this opens the hips. The spine is extended and the chin is tucked slightly in. The shoulders are relaxed, the tongue is pressed lightly against the upper palate of the mouth (the L spot) and the nose should be directly over the navel.
During Zazen, eyes can be closed or slightly open and downcast on the ground about two or three feet in front of you. When eyes are slightly open one is less likely to get carried away with thoughts and images. If choosing to have eyes open, let the eyes be slightly covered with the eyelids and avoid focussing on anything directly in front of you. While in Zazen, the muscles should be soft and the spine straight so you can sit balanced, grounded and stable without using body strength to hold the posture.
The hands form a Mudra:
Concerning hand position, let the dominant hand hold the other hand, both palms facing upwards, and let the knuckles of both hands overlap (eg. if right-handed, the right hand is holding the left hand). Let both thumbs lightly touch and rest on the upturned soles of your feet or on your thighs. Note: this cosmic mudra tends to direct attention inward.
OPTION 1: There are a number of very acceptable posture in Zazen. The first is the FULL LOTUS (shown above).
For full lotus, each foot is positioned up on top of the opposite thigh. The full lotus is difficult and for most people the half lotus is much more practical. Please note that there are no special benefits in doing the full lotus over the other positions below. Choose what is best suited for your body.
Other easier sitting postures are as follows:
OPTION 2: The HALF LOTUS (shown above) (only one foot is placed on the thigh of the other leg.) When doing the half lotus it’s possible that one will have to slightly compensate in the upper body to be aligned straight. To start to open the hips its a good idea to alternate the leg you bring up in your Zazen meditations.
OPTION 3: The Burmese Position (shown above)
The Burmese position is the easiest position. Simply cross both legs and let both feet rest on the floor. If using a Zafu cushion the knees should be resting on the floor. Be sure to sit a bit forward on the cushion and keep the spine straight with a slight curve in the lower spine. With spine straight and body soft, one can sit with very little physical effort.
OPTION 4: The Seiza Position (shown above)
To sit seiza simply take the kneeling position and use a pillow to keep the weight off your ankles.
Or you can sit seiza by sitting on the small meditation bench we have in the meditation hall. The bench helps to keeps the weight off the calves and feet and it supports a straight spine when meditating.
OPTION 5: Finally one can use a Chair.
The key points if using a chair is to be sure the feet are flat on the floor. If the chair is too high, use a pillow under your feet to stay grounded, with feet flat and connected to the earth. Be sure to sit on the forward half of the chair. You can put a cushion between your back and the back part of the chair, to help ensure the spine stays straight. Some people like to have a small mouldable cushion under the back part of their rear to help maintain a solid base when using a chair. In all Zazen meditation positions we hold the posture with dignity and avoid slouching. This will support alertness.
State of the mind: Alert: A stable sitting position supports the practice. The intention is to be alert, aware, present, without judgment, to be just present to what is arising in the present moment. To fully allow it to be there without resistance. Feel the breath at the nostrils and let your thoughts come and go. Do not identify yourself with your thoughts – they are just thoughts moving. Know this moment by moment…
Note: Stay alert, watchful and aware and just allow / accept all thoughts and feelings in the moment. Be the open space for whatever thoughts or feeling that move through. Don’t entangle, don’t engage, don’t move into a conversation with what arrises. With alert awareness, just let what comes come and mindfully know it, free of added commentary.
When taking your Zazen posture, commit to being fully present with energy and alertness. If habit energy pushes to entangle into stories of the day, day dreams into future, lulls into a sense it has seen this all before, or goes dull, take a few deep breaths and recommit to each second. Commit to seeing what is really going on in the the body and mind. This takes us back to the Now, to reality.
This moment by moment practice of staying present grows the strength of awareness. With strong awareness we can start to settle the turbidity within and perceive what is really happening.
Coming to Stillness: With regular practice, change starts to occur within. One starts to see that they are not the seemingly endless stream of thoughts and the emotion that thoughts spawn. The phantom “little me” that spins out stories through the day (and is not against making night visits) assessing everything as it relates to benefit, threat, past and future, judges, and endlessly comments. This is the small self and it thinks it is running he entire show called “my life”. The truth is it is just a tool and it has a usefulness to it but it is but a small part of a much bigger picture.
Unfortunately, once it gets dialled up, it stages a coup and takes over the host (moves our precious life) and in unawareness, we follow what it dictates about us, others and the world around us. There is no lasting peace when we live life in its domain. With Zazen and sincere Zen Life Practice, this small me starts to loose its hold. Its loudness starts to soften. Its pull weakens and it gets relegated back to its original tool in the tool box. Back to something we use and not a something that uses us (not a dictator).
How many times do you have thoughts in an hour? How many times does a thought have you in an hour?
How many times are we in the box (in its domain)? How often are we out of the box (how often do we see the thought)?
Zen and Zen Life Practice frees us from the conditioned stories. It opens the door to stillness, to clarity, to being awake with a body that can better experience ease… The key at first however is to be patient and yet, persistent. Let go of goals and ideas of how this is going to “fix” me and make me better (future). Just give yourself over to the practice and let it unfold on its time frame. Be careful of over striving, efforting and inner dialogues of how it is supposed to be. See those aspects when they arise and make even that a part of your Zen practice (witnessing it / feeling it / allowing it to be there). See it and don’t push it away or entangle with it. Let the waters settle, uncover your true face. When done regularly, Zazen starts to free us from our addiction to thinking. If we don’t take the practice into our hearts and get in touch with it, we may never get the opportunity to go beyond the little me. To open to stillness, to unhook the little me and know your True Self.
A Note for beginners: It is recommended that one start slowly in their meditation practice e.g. five or ten minutes only per day in the first week. This can be increased to15 minutes daily during the second and third week and 20 or so minutes daily from the third week on. It is valuable to practice regularly (especially with community). What is also important is taking the practice into our daily life. The true practice is the integration of Zen Life Practice in all areas of our life. For more information on how to apply this in daily life join our weekly Zen tea circles.
“Zen, in its essence is the art of seeing into the nature of one’s own being, and it points the way from bondage to freedom. By making us drink right from the fountain of life it liberates us from all the yokes under which we finite beings are usually suffering in this world.”
– D.T. Suzuki
Zen Biology UTube:
Click Here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E9BBy3aidRE
Why attend with regularity?
Zazen relies on regularity, habit and at the beginning – feedback and support. It certainly is no performance contest, or forced activity. To sit Zazen is really as simple as choosing to do so. If you choose to do so, there is no question that you will be capable of it. So the real issue is not whether or not you will ‘succeed’, but whether or not you may be willing to start.
Sitting Zazen is to be one with your present experience. Being one with your present experience is to become one with yourself – to re-harmonize and unentangle as we walk the path. And truly being one with yourself is actually to start the unbinding process. Whatever benefits that may come from Zen practice, they will come not from trying to control or force change, but from being wholeheartedly present and letting go.
As we practice, layers of contraction, unsupportive thoughts and anxiety will start to fall away. An inner strength steadily grows and one starts to operate from a place that runs deeper than the exclusively conditioned mind.
Zen & Conditioning by Dr. James H. Austin, M.D. P.h.D.
The Psychology of Zen: Possibilities for Western Psychotherapy by Reginald H. Pawle, P.h.D.
Meditation is a little like a light switch, permitting access to electricity that’s already in the walls. Perseverance is the key, not how you feel.