How do we cultivate a present, an awake, and flexible mind? Because that’s the response. It’s not to come with some other persona to the world that is different, or opposite then the one we had before. But to drop the one we had before, and allow for nothing to be there. Allow for there just to be a body hearing. Not a body that is speaking who it is, but a body that is listening.
Zen’s focus on posture is very helpful and very wise. Because it is getting to something we don’t know how to get to on our own. Until we sit down and take a shape we are not accustomed to, we will always take the shapes we are accustomed to. And as long as we take the shapes we are accustomed to, we will never see them. And so we have to take a different shape. Our ancestors and teachers are asking us to take a different shape. And in taking a different shape we see personas, we see mental postures.
Attuning to the body – more and more I feel for myself and I see it in my own experience and I hear it reflected from so many different places – when we attune to our body is an amazingly transgressive thing. Particularly in this country, I would say. Particularly if we have been really saturated with white supremacy culture.
The universe isn’t simply happening, the dharma wheel isn’t simply turning. The Buddha’s words turned the dharma wheel. The dharma wheel turns because it is both an eternal truth and turns, but also turns because human activity, acting out the dharma, is turning it. And both those things are happening simultaneously.
Often we feel the need to create our own shell, with our muscles, with our bodies, with our actions. But when awe are offered a container safe enough – a protective container – we can begin to release and let go of the shell, let go of the hardening of our muscles, of our ideas or our thoughts.
We are sitting at the center of the ten directions of this Earth, we are sitting at the center of the dharma wheel, we are sitting at the center of the spinning cycle of samsara. We are sitting at the center of them all and allowing the dharma to arise, allowing the dharma to be present with the dukkha that is this wheel out of balance.