I’m not well-educated in Taoist lore and practice. .
I have taught myself to sit in the lotus. I sit 40 minutes in the morning, and maybe 20 at night. My understanding would be that the two autonomic respirations, pulmonary and cranial-sacral, use the sense of place in the occurrence of consciousness to effect reciprocal innervation in the fascia and muscles of posture. This just means that the stretch in the fascia on one side of the body generates nerve-impulses to contract muscles to relieve the stretch, which causes stretch in the fascia on the opposite side; so there’s a back and forth of muscle activity that’s not generated from the cerebral cortex, it’s coming out of the reciprocal stretch of fascia and ligaments. The two respirations can place the occurrence of consciousness to effect activity out of balance, and that activity creates an alignment of the spine that opens feeling in real time.
That’s my practice when I think of it. Lately I’m focused on the hypnogogic state in sitting, the place where feeling becomes continuous even in the face of involuntary muscular activity and stretch that always borders on painful in three directions. I had to learn to feel three pivots at the sacrum, I have to learn to feel the reciprocity between the extensors on two sides behind and the psoas on two sides in front around the tan-t’ien. Here’s a great thing from Shunryu Suzuki someone posted on Warner’s Hardcore Zen blog, about “have to learn”‘s:
“That is the most important thing for me: to stand on my feet and to sit on my black cushion. I don’t trust anything but [laughs] my feet or my black cushion. This is my friend, always. My feet is always my friend. When I am in bed, my bed is my friend. There is no Buddha, or no Buddhism, or no zazen. If, you know, you ask me, “What is zazen?” you know, my answer will be, “To sit on black cushion is zazen,” or “To walk with my feet is my zazen.” To stay at this moment on this place is my zazen. There is no other zazen.”
That’s from Chadwick’s shunryusuzuki.com site, the lecture of July 6th 1970.
Here’s the way I feel it, on a good day- ha ha!-
“Simply by being where we are, we can come to forget the self. The sense of place engenders an ability to feel, and each thing we feel enters into the sense of place- even before we know it. This being where we are with each thing, even before we know it, is shikantaza.”
Can’t sit two hours in the lotus, and mostly I don’t know that I ever will, but this transmission is consciousness from sense organ and sense object, impact, and feeling as it really is, and it’s right where my mind as in heart-mind is now.