Sometimes that activity of support for the fluid ball feels like this:
The empty hand grasps the hoe-handle
Walking along, I ride the ox
The ox crosses the wooden bridge
The bridge is flowing, the water is still
A friend of mine asked me, “How so?”; I wrote the following in a late-night response:
Bartilink says there’s pressure in what he termed the “fluid ball” of the abdomen, even in just standing around. More so if you are lifting weight (he put something in the abdomen, surgically, to measure it).
I’m contending that normal resting activity supports pressure in the fluid ball, and the fluid ball supports the spine and the posture in general. So the activity when nothing seems to be doing anything, but I’m upright, supports the fluid ball; something must be doing something. How to get a feeling for the fluid ball of the abdomen, in relation to the activity of posture; maybe start with the arms and the hands, imagine someone sitting down to balance a house of cards warming up by shaking it out. Down to the sacrum and an empty hand grasps the hoe handle, roughly.
If you sit cross-legged, then about 25 minutes in, maybe, look for support for the fluid ball from the left and right calves in alternation, it’s mostly a placement and weight thing that affects the stretch in the ilio-tibial bands but there’s a fascial connector from the quads to stretch the bands above the knees so the hams and the quads are involved and it feels like breathing through the legs; walking along, riding the ox.
At about 30 minutes in or 35, the stretch across behind the sacrum with the legs and the gluts and the tensor fascias involved allows the left and right of the PC to support the fluid ball, everything is wound up in the balance, the ox crosses the wooden bridge.
The cessation of habitual activity in the movement of breath, the freedom of the location of awareness to shift around, like the rest really can’t be done, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen. The bridge is flowing, the water is still, the fluid ball has support from all over. If the freedom of the location of awareness to shift around responds to the comprehension of the long or short of inhalation or exhalation in support of the fluid ball, everything but the comprehension of breath is background; one aspect of the sixteen in Gautama’s way of life.
I got to hear a recording of one of Kobun Chino Otogawa’s lectures over the weekend. He said:
… mind sits, as body sits, as breathing sits. We don’t know which comes first. Any of those can come first. Usually mind sits first…
To me, the mind that sits is the heart-mind, and my heart-mind feels at home when my vestibular sense comes into play right where I am; that to me is the mind sitting. The body sits as proprioception comes into play, and the placement and weight of the body “with no part left out” supports pressure in the fluid ball of the abdomen. The breath sits as the natural comprehension of the long or short of inhalation or exhalation comes into play, rendering the distinction of sense and the relaxation of activity autonomic.
True enough, that any of these can come first, or second.
In the same lecture, Kobun gave an explanation of enlightenment unlike any I’ve heard:
One might talk about, discuss about, what does it mean to be ‘enlightened’. It is something to do with going back to, going back to what you actually are. It’s not like what you become. That’s an idea. It’s not some day, or somewhere from this place, from what you are. And sitting in meditation, being who you are, is something to do with this facing to your own true figure. Not made up or taught or wished to be.