Friday, June 1, 2012
Zazen means quite literally Sitting Meditation. The goal is not exactly to find a place to escape to. That, actually, would be somewhat counter-productive to the purpose, since the whole point is simply to clear your mind and -at once- escape the world as well as become one with it. At least, as I understand it.
Today, we did our sitting mediation in intervals of 20 minutes. Unfortunately, I personally can't achieve a full lotus with my right foot on my left thigh and left foot on my right calf, but I can the other way around. So, for the first 20 minute session we did I sat in half lotus. It was comfortable enough at first, until I began to realize that I could feel my foot under my hand, but I could not feel my hand on my foot. At first, I was looking beneath the rim of my glasses to achieve the half-closed eyes, but I quickly got very dizzy because of the contrast of blurry and clear just above my view, so I had to adjust to looking just above my rims. Once I finally settled on looking up more, an entirely different kind of dizzy came over me. My body was tempted to sway at all, I was actually quite planted in my position, but my eyes seemed to be doing somersaults. For a good few minutes I swear all I could see was a slab of wood rapidly changing colors. The room was dimly lit to begin with, but with every breath it seemed to get darker and darker.As expected, when we finally got up to do the walking zen, it was very difficult for me to stand. Not only had my leg fallen asleep, but my ankle was in pain from the way I had it propped up. It was then that I realized the purpose of the walking zen (or at least a use), because by the time we were finished, my ankle no longer hurt. The second session of sitting we did seemed to go so much shorter than the first. Before i knew it...it was over and we were walking home.
Unfortunately, you are not allowed to take anything into the hall besides the clothes on your back, so I was not able to take any pictures of the process (besides, that would have fubbed with my experience!), so all pictures I've posted are borrowed from Aichi Gakuin University's school website. They have a how-to on Zen here.