Posted by: Bruce Proctor | May 14, 2008

The fundamental sanity of sitting meditation

Today, zazen at day’s end was most potent, reacquainting me with the simple, profound practice of just being here, upright, dignified, whole; and how it fundamentally evaporates jitters and anxiety.

The power of zazen, Zen sitting meditation, is fundamentally different from almost anything else we’ve done before. Mostly if we’re uncomfortable, we just keep trying to find something else that will make it better. But at a certain point nothing works. We’ve tried everything, and everything only makes us more manic. We just get so sick of ourselves that out of desperation, even, we think, “There’s got to be a better way!” The desire for comfort and happiness has become a claustrophobic insanity. We seek something outside ourselves, and nothing helps. Then we may finally recognize that what we really know so well is how to make ourselves miserable, though we may be clueless how to stop it.

So zazen is just about stopping. Just stop, physically stop, sit upright, and breathe out, allow space. Take ten slow breaths. Allow the craziness of your mind to just be, just be with that. Let it be crazy. Zazen, as uncomfortable– against our grain– as it usually is when we start, allows all that extra shit of our “busy mind” to begin to settle away, and soon will reveal the fundamental peace and fulfillment and power we’ve lost touch with maybe for a long, long time. Frightening for a moment in its uncompromising alone-ness, our natural mind space has a chance to be recognized, and what we were instinctively terrified of, we actually discover is the door to our fundamental peace and freedom.

Losing our way is not a problem. It’s part of our innate navigational system which, by letting us know we’re off course, points us toward meaningful, accurate self-correction. But through that self-correction, we find our true way again that is so wonderfully deep and empowering.

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