Each of us has our own personal unique way of practicing and engaging in our internal process. We all have our own style of discovering our entryway into truly experiencing reality. In this blog post I am attempting to shed light and give permission to anyone feeling a bit lost in his/her internal world. It is for the overly busy mom who can’t seem to slow down. Or the young person full of energy in the middle of a volatile energetic transformation. Or the dad trying to figure out how to begin a much needed meditation practice. To empower all of us to keep deeply investigating. And to find a true joy in oneness.
As I said, each person is unique. If there are a hundred people sitting zazen in a room, let’s say that they are all doing the practice of following their breath. Even though all of the people sitting are all doing the same practice, there are a hundred different styles going on. Each person is sitting still, but each person has their own way of interacting with their bodies, the room, the present moment. Everyone has their own history, different karma. And everyone has a unique brilliant way of discovering. I am referring to process, but even if we would all be doing the same normal physical activity, we would all find our own way. If we were just shoveling, we would all shovel a bit differently. It is very similar to how we all discover our own internal process. This is not a bad thing that we do it differently. It can give us great freedom. It is our chance to find it for ourselves.
What I am saying is that deeply investigating our own process of how we interact with our lives can show us how to unify body, mind, and spirit.
The great love affair of zazen, meditation, or internal process work, is to discover our own way of accessing and engaging with this unfolding. It is as if we all have unconscious gates we have constructed within ourselves. These might be old trauma. They might have a physical location in the body. In Zen we would always call them our stuck places. We probably don’t know that we have these stuck places within us. If we did, then we could more easily release them. So, because they are unconscious, we are not living with our whole being. We then feel incomplete, but don’t really know why. But these stuck places, these gates, can be dissolved. We’ve forgotten how to feel these barriers. And if we can feel them, we have forgotten how to interact with them. But we can reveal and release them. It just takes us being willing to discover a new way of sensing. This new way of sensing is what I am pointing to in this post.
Usually there is some kind of momentum going on in our bodies that we are not aware of. It is as if we live at 30 miles an hour, and the body is wanting to sort itself out at 1 mile an hour. Because we are not sensitive enough, because we don’t pay attention to it, this momentum is not able to fully process our everyday life, let alone traumatic experiences. Something is trying to emerge. Everyone experiences this differently. But the best way to tune into it is to be still. Sit still. Stand still. Whatever works for you. Being still we can begin to pick up how the body is subtly trying to heal itself and open up. Please do it with a very honest, curious intention. And keep going, as it will not always be easy or pleasant.
The more we tune into this, we see that each time, all the time, it has to be new. Our awareness has to be new, or we cannot connect with our present experience. If we have an idea of how it should go, then we are not open to it being revealed. So, our awareness can never be fixed. This is not an idea. Looking into our process over and over teaches us that. It really molds us as human beings. This translates to everything in life.
In a way, in this process, we are all on our own. We have to find it ourselves. But we can be inspired by others. And others can help us to discover our own process. This is really how I feel about my body work with clients these days. By me being there, and having a good sense of how to engage with reality in a deeper way, the energetic cup overflows, and the client is able to engage more profoundly within themselves. Some hidden part of themselves is somehow lifted up from the depths of their being. They can discover it again and begin to re-engage with it. And like a tuning fork, I can hand them the energy, but they have to begin to get a sense of how to feel it themselves. Then it will be theirs.
It is as if we all want to get into our house. In the house is a great treasure, a great process we’ve tasted but have no idea how to get to again. We ask someone and they tell us to just go through the front door. But we’ve tried to do that, and we find that it does not work for us. Part of the problem we sometimes encounter is when we see someone who seems to have something we don’t, or is more spiritual or adorable, we think we need our process to be the same as theirs. Or we hear them say something and we try to do it their way, but realize that we really don’t work that way. For instance, someone might say, “Just think about it differently! Just be positive!” This is a source of so much frustration and confusion.
What I am proposing is that we have to creatively use our problem solving to discover how to get into our internal house, our individual process. And it may feel very strange at first. Like we are breaking the rules. And in fact we are. We have to be willing to allow our felt sense to open in ways we do not anticipate. We may have to dive through the window. We may have to climb onto the roof and go through our bedroom window or down the chimney covered in soot. We might have to go around back and see that the back door is unlocked. And this might be different each time we try. Internal work is a laboratory. The ability to use our internal creativity is what I am trying to spur on.
Let me be clear. I am not talking about mentally understanding how to let go of issues. I am talking about being creative with how we experience sensation. It is about what is happening in our awareness as we pay attention.
The point is, unless we find our own way of engaging with reality, engaging with our own process, finding our own home, we’ll feel off in our lives. We’ll feel disengaged in a fundamental way. We won’t feel good in our bodies. We’ll feel scattered, unhappy. Unconnected. I am talking about getting ourselves harmonized. Steadying the course. Becoming more alive. I am talking about unity of body, mind, and spirit.
Also, feeling our issues, emotionally, physically, is not always easy or fun. There is a lot of fear and emotion around this stuff, and most of our lives we are trying to avoid feeling those issues. But to engage, to experience them, we might find that they are waiting to transform if we give them a chance. And this transformation will open us up more and more to life.
When we get all of ourselves flowing, unified, get our chi flowing, life begins to flow. Our mental fog clears. We don’t have to rush to get everything done. Time seems to slow down as we are present in it. We are in the zone. In the flow of life. We become more intuitive. We catch stuff in midair that we have dropped. I am proposing that this is possible for all of us. We have just lost track of how to keep in the flow. We are living just on the surface of things, but need to creatively perceive our internal depth.
At first, we might get a sense of it, and then somehow lose it. We felt really good yesterday, but then it disappeared today… Then we have to find a way to re-engage with reality. With our bodies. With the flow of our process. And it won’t be the same next time. It is not something we can hold onto and carry around. It is rather a constant new discovery of reality.
Say, for instance, I am feeling like my energy is a little stuck. For me, I have to constantly be tuning into my process, this is now just my way of being. If I don’t, I might feel stagnant, or I might sense that the energy in my system is clogged. But If I can honestly experience how I am feeling, sincerely, I will find that I am tight somewhere in my body, and it will be trying to open up in a way I never could have predicted. It might feel like I am being turned inside out as I engage in this inner golden thread. Then I find my whole being will begin to become alive and unified. Fascinated, the barrier between inside and outside will slowly disintegrate, and life will begin to flow.
We will know it when we feel ourselves connected with life. It will be a spark, a momentum. We will feel inspired and full. We’ll begin to know its subtle flavor, and we will find it easier and easier to find its stream. It is not just about happy positive thoughts. It is not about thinking at all! It is engaging our full selves. Sensing with our whole being. It will feel right in our cells. We are smack dab in the middle of reality. On the sweet spot.
Then our lives will become a constant play to discover the joy of connecting with reality all of the time. Sometimes our awareness will be huge. Other times it might be small. That does not actually matter. What matters is that we have a way to engage with and merge into reality, no matter what the circumstance. It is not about keeping anything going, or being pure, but sincerely encountering the present phenomena. Walking, each step is an investigation into the strata of reality. Our feet will touch the ground, our minds will reach the moon. The universe will be our whole body. We will eventually discover, it is not really about our internal process, but something so much bigger. This great life energy, neither inside nor outside, will be our constant companion, through this great samadhi of play.
Thank you so much for reading. I hope this has been helpful. Please share it with others if you have found it helpful. It is my sincere hope that this blog post will inspire some people to explore life more deeply. Lots of love to all of you.
Here are a few phrases that might be helpful:
How am I closing myself down in this moment?
Feel your fucking feelings.
When sweeping, just sweep! When washing dishes, just wash dishes!
What is trying to happen? Trying to emerge?
What is actually happening? Not the idea. What is real?
How can I fully become what is happening? 100%?
Where is my body?
Melt into oneness.
Which is up and which is down as my body moves through space? Or do I have no idea?
Does the energy have a direction? How can I allow it to fully go in that direction?
No inside, no outside.
Become the room. Become the environment.
Finding a joy not based on an idea. A joy not based on good and bad.
I have no idea! Fresh Mind!
What is it to move without tension?
What is actually holding my body up? What is is to be filled up by this moment?
Here is a quote from The Unfettered Mind:
The mind that becomes fixed and stops in one place does not function freely. Similarly, the wheels of a cart go around because they are not held rigidly in place. If they were to stick tight, they would not go around. The mind is also something that does not function if it becomes attached to a single situation. – Takuan Soho