Shunryu Suzuki and the Zen of Ordinary Activity
Have you ever tried to draw a picture when you could only see your hand in a mirror? If you have ever tried this, you will know that the tendency to habitual activity is very strong, and yet if we feel and relax from one moment to the next we can overcome the tendency to habitual activity.
Although we may think that some activity to stretch is necessary to find ease in the lotus, only activity initiated involuntarily by a stretch already in existence is appropriate, if feeling and relaxation are to continue.
As we relax into the involuntary activity of the stretch already in existence, we wake or sleep to the place of occurrence of consciousness; as we wake or sleep, we effect the translation of motion from one stretch to another, until feeling is present with consciousness throughout the body.
As we wake or sleep, a witness of how feeling can condition the place of occurrence of consciousness transpires, and an equanimity toward feeling is realized that allows us to feel at the place of occurrence of consciousness and relax.
Equanimity toward feeling at the place of occurrence of consciousness frees the occurrence of consciousness, and through the clear sense of location in the free occurrence of consciousness the stretch necessary to ease at the moment is effected.
The involuntary activity of the stretch necessary to ease at the moment can be the activity of the lotus posture, the activity of a slumber party, or just the ordinary activity of everyday life. Shunryu Suzuki said:
"If you are not disturbed by the sound of the bluejay when you are reading something, the blue jay will come right into your heart, and you will be a bluejay, and the bluejay will be reading something."
To paraphrase his words: if you have equanimity when you hear the sound of the bluejay as you read, feeling is freed, consciousness is freed, and the sense of location in consciousness at the sound effects the stretch necessary to ease that reads.
My thanks to Shunryu Suzuki, whom I never met, and to all those who have made his teaching available.
©2008 Mark A. Foote