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Mark Foote

Post title:  What I'm Saying

(Jul 23 2013 at 11:58 AM)



'Ungan asked Dogo, "What use does the great Bodhisattva of Compassion make of all those hands and eyes?" Dogo said, "It is like a person straightening the pillow with outstretched hands in the middle of the night." Ungan said, "I have understood." Dogo said, "How do you understand?" Ungan said, "All over the whole body is hands and eyes." Dogo said, "You have had your say, but you have only given eight-tenths of the truth." Ungan said, "How would you put it?" Dogo said, "Throughout the whole body is hands and eyes."' ("Book of Equanimity", case 54)

Question to me is, what am I saying with regard to proprioception and equalibrioception, and where am I going with it?

I am saying that it's possible to exercise the components of the sense of location, by experiencing the sense of motion forward and back, side-to-side, and around to the left and right at the current location of consciousness. If my awareness feels like it's located in my head, then I look to experience all three motions clearly at the location of my awareness in my head. If it's in the lower abdomen, ditto. Right away I discover that separating out these motions however briefly can cause my sense of the location of awareness to move, and yet I can experience all three motions at the location of my awareness at once sometimes.

Proprioception for me involves that shift in the sense of the location of awareness, and the ability to feel throughout my body. That is why there are hands and eyes all over the body; proprioception moves the location of awareness, so that equalibrioception continues to occur with the experience of the feeling of the part in the whole. A continuity with a sensation like the cessation of activity in falling asleep can ensue through relaxation in the activity of breath.

There is a freedom of movement in the sense of location when a cessation of activity like that of falling asleep occurs. The experience of such a freedom of movement in the sense of location is the difference between "hands and eyes all over the body" and "hands and eyes throughout the body".

Zazen involves stretch in the experience of the body, and stretch in the experience of the senses including equalibrioception and proprioception. Look Ma, no hands; it doesn't matter so much where I'm going, so long as I can let go and experience the peculiar happiness of the stretch.

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