Zen (and Mindfulness), Part One–from “Dao Bums”

Ducks(On November 12, 2016, Adia said)

I am sitting, experiencing stress and pain, is that normal?

(On 11 7 2017, Mark said:)

There’s a trick to being really good at sitting zazen, especially in the lotus: be born to a father who is the abbot of a Zen monastery in Japan, learn oriyoki at age three, and wrestle with your brothers in the lotus at age 7. I’m reading “Embracing Mind”, sesshin lectures of Kobun Otogawa, and he said he didn’t have pain in the lotus. I heard him at the close of sesshin in the Santa Cruz mountains in the early 2000’s say that he was finishing the third seven-day sesshin in a row, and that he didn’t have pain in the lotus.

Knowing the kinesthesiology, and being willing to let it all go just to breathe, I can sit a 40 in the lotus in the morning without pain. It is a big stretch, and toward the end especially, a stretch in the ligaments that attach the sacrum to the pelvis (which is physically tiny).

And yes, there’s more to it than stretch. There’s experience in the senses other than the six that Gautama named (the usual five plus the mind), not that he didn’t know the other three (because he described them explicitly in his descriptions of the meditative states), but that he didn’t have language for them. Gravity is one of them, as in “sink”.

(On 11 7 2017 at 9:40 AM, Stosh said:)

I think one will be still using mental constructs all day long, gravity is a mental construct, as is the persistence of objects, as is family relationships, and color and a million other things…

(On 11 8 2017, Mark said:)

There is the setting up of mindfulness, with mental constructs like “gravity”, and then there is the experience of the otoliths.

Similarly, the mental construct “equalibrioception” and the experience of the vestibular organs, the mental construct “eyes” and the experience of the resetting of the location of awareness in the interaction between the ocular organs and the vestibulars, the mental construct “proprioception” and the experience of consciousness that originates in the ligaments, muscles, and joints throughout the body.

There’s the construct of reciprocal innervation in the paired ligaments and muscles on opposite sides/ends of the body, and then there’s the experience.

I would summarize Gautama’s setting up of mindfulness:

calm down

Gautama returned to self-surrender and a consequent one-pointedness in the experience of the location of awareness after he spoke. You’re right, it’s self-surrender and not the constructs that makes the way of living come to pass.

Where’s the necessity for one-pointedness in the experience of the location of awareness, for self-surrender, if not in the inhalation of the moment, if not in the exhalation of the moment? There’s the construct inhalation and exhalation, and then there’s the experience of the whole body of the inhalation, of the whole body of the exhalation–here is where I think Gautama’s way of living begins.

(On 11 7 2017, Stosh said:)

I don’t think I experience my otoliths, nor do I experience photons, etc, …instead, (I) do create experiences in the form of a mental model, regarding the “proprioception” going on. …so I figure I agree with you up to that point. We perhaps diverge after that. ?

I think it was suggested that one can walk around all day long, not making sophisticated mental constructs, I disagreed, and here I think you are describing a mode of approaching what you consider mindfulness. If that’s correct, then my question extends to you, whether you are mindful of breathing, or if you are mindful of (even the inobtrusive) grasshopper. I don’t think you can be fully mindful of either, if your answer is ‘both’. When one multitasks , they are dividing the allocation of time spent on more than one task, and so they are not mindful 24-7, if they are going to the store to get groceries.

(On 11 8 2017, Mark said:)

I think you do experience the otoliths, when you drop a ball and go to catch it, anything like that.

I actually am not focused on mindfulness, as much as on the necessity I experience at times for a one-pointedness of mind. By that I mean a feeling for the location of my awareness, involving equilibrioception, proprioception, and graviception.

Happens that when I experience that necessity, I can usually experience a one-pointedness of mind now, yet the ability hinges on the inclusion of the senses I describe above and it took me a long time to find and recognize them. I’m as mindful as I’m going to be, when I have a recurring/seemingly continuous experience of the location of my awareness (in three-dimensional space), as a necessity of breath.

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