Monday, April 18, 2005


Originally uploaded by jacquichris.

From my journal:

In the last class with Rodney Yee, he read a passage from Suzuki Roshi about practicing zazen (Zen meditation).

To whit:
'You do not practice zazen. This is wrong idea. The foot practices zazen, the breath practices zazen, the heart practices zazen, the mountain practices zazen. The water practices zazen by flowing, the bridge practices zazen by staying still. Each of these practices zazen in its own way. To say you practice zazen is arrogant. Each part practices zazen in its own way. So that all things (and parts) are practicing zazen independently.'

This attention to the parts and their independence, to parts and their interdependence, to other parts of the world and their interrelation, was a needed reminder for me...

... [and so sometimes] perhaps it is not a matter of doing something different but doing the same thing differently. Such an important truth for all aspects of life but so often I find external pacing affecting me, codifying a fluid experience. Which returns me back to, 'The legs do zazen, the arms do zazen, the mind does zazen.' Remembering how prideful it is to think I do zazen. Such a simple lesson but one I must relearn with each breath for to accept it and live life this way is to live in accord with uncertainty. To discard the illusion of control and accept that I, as part of my parts, am only one molecule of water in the river. If I flow not with the river, I become separate from it, from the experience, from the world, and thus I deny myself the completeness and wisdom of the world.

You do not look forward to or seek out pain when going on a long hike, holding a yoga pose or participating in a relationship. But pain is sometimes an inevitable part of the journey as your legs are pushed, your shoulders remain engaged down the back, or the relationship changes. It does not mean you do these things for pain or enjoy pain but the pain is sometimes a necessary part of taking the trip or participating fully in the experience.

The following are parts of the talk Suzuki Roshi gave:

'Each part of your body should practice zazen independently or separately; your toe should practice zazen independently, your mudra should practice zazen independently; your spine and your mouth should practice zazen independently. You should feel each part of your body doing zazen separately. Each part of your body should participate completely in zazen...

Don't move your legs for your own convenience. Your legs are practicing their own zazen independently and are completely involved in their own pain. They are doing zazen through pain. You should allow them to practice their own zazen. If you think you are practicing zazen, you are involved in some selfish, egotistical idea...

Water is practicing zazen with movement, yet the water is still while flowing because flowing is its stillness, or its nature. The bridge is doing zazen without moving...

Let the water flow, as that is the water's' practice. Let the bridge stay and sit there, because that is the actual practice of the bridge. The bridge is practicing zazen; painful legs are practicing zazen; imperturbable zazen is practicing zazen. This is our practice.'


Blogger Sarah-Elizabeth said...

Glad you had fun with your relaxation this weekend. And honestly I think you are right about Glen, poor little bunny. Glad to see the new hair doo, it looks great. Keep up the good work.

3:12 AM  
Blogger Nicole said...

Hello! Jacqui, it sounds like you had a profound weekend; I hope it lingers with you once you are back into the daily grind. As you know, I often think that we pride ourselves too much on what we can control- especially in the world of medicine, where 90% of what ensues will do so with or without us. It is not very often that we truly have a direct impact- one which we can definitively look back and say- that happened because of me....Most of what we see happens in spite of us and rather then be threatened by that, it is hard to remember to simply be in awe. The strength of heart, soul and the body is an amazing thing- one that we tend to simply screw up or complicate with overanalysis, ego and pride. But, I suppose that is all part of life as well. It seems so simple a thing that is so easily forgotten. Thank you for the reminder. -Nicole

8:22 PM  

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