My left knee was talking to me this spring and summer. I went down to Jikoji for Kobun’s memorial, and brought home the book of Kobun anecdotes and stories that Vanja Palmers put together for the sangha (what a guy!). In the book, there’s a story of how someone heard Kobun could get into the lotus without using his hands. When he was asked about it, he demonstrated that he could. Although I can’t do what he did, if I aim to do that I find I can get in the posture without my knees talking to me.
There is a stretch at the hips in the lotus no doubt, but there is also stretch at the ilio-sacral “joints”. Observing the stretch at the sacrum was my entry to sitting the lotus in zazen.
Nevertheless, the practice of zazen is to allow the present sense of location to open the feeling necessary to the movement of breath. I am writing now concerning the role of the senses of equilibrium, gravity and proprioception in the location of awareness, and I discover that for me equilibrium brings forward the hammocking of the hips through activity of the obturator muscles, the turning of the wings of the pelvis by the sartorious muscles, and the rocking of the pelvis on the sit bones by the extensor and psoas muscles. When the activity of the piriformis muscles and gluteous muscles in a counter-rotation to sartorius of the sacrum comes forward, the necessity of breath in the placement of awareness and the ability to feel can include “the infinity of ether” in the ten directions, so to speak.
For me, it’s very important to my knees to realize that the activity from the soles of my feet to the crown of my head and from the crown of my head to the soles of my feet can turn the sacrum one way and the pelvis the other, and that this activity is engendered through the location of awareness and the ability to feel that arises in the necessity of the movement of breath at the moment.