Thursday, April 2, 2009

Ground your practice

"Ground your practice" number 12 of 200 from Robert Aitken's book Miniatures of a Zen Master.

I'm getting prepared to go on retreat (Branching Moon Sesshin) next week and I noticed this morning that my practice is a little too casual. By that I mean that my stories are leading me around. Planning, planning, planning. I really think there are three kinds of people in the world, those that tend to be forward lookers (planners, worriers) and those that tend to be backwards lookers (archivers, regretters).

The third kind are those that transcend and include both with a steady presence. An attention to the present moment that is so complete it literally hums. Practice with worry and regret, let them come and go with the breath. Watch them come and go. They have no permanence.

If I had my life to live over, I would perhaps have more actual troubles but I'd have fewer imaginary ones. ~Don Herold

For me planning is so seductive. Plenty of work to do here!


  1. Have you ever noticed a correlation in sitting to the direction of your spine and the direction of your thoughts?

    Often, when I find myself thinking forward, I find I am also leaning forward. When I find myself dwelling in the past I find I am leaning backwards.

    When I find that my sitting is just present moment awareness (sometimes with a touch of bliss) I am leaning neither forward or backwards.

  2. Thanks for your comment Jordan. Maybe I'm just a perpetual forward leaner. But then again maybe I've not paid close enough attention.

    I'm headed to sesshin at the end of next week. I'll have seven days with which to investigate my leanings.

    Stacking the vertebra up in a neat stack I do notice that notions of leaning forward or backward and planning or worry drop away. I then sometimes touch that bit of bliss you refer to.