ONE wall spot

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  • AlanLa
    Member
    • Mar 2008
    • 1405

    ONE wall spot

    About ten days ago while staring at the wall during my morning ritual zazen, I found myself able to keep my focus on one point on the wall and just that one small point. Slowly everything else collapsed, monkey mind went completely silent, and there was ONLY that one small spot on the wall. But within that one small spot everything else was contained. I felt aware of everything inside and outside of me, yet there was just that one spot on the wall. It was a pure moment that contained everything at the same time there was nothing there at all except me and that spot, each of us not one yet also not two. But I can’t really describe my experience, as it was beyond words. I think the reason it is beyond words is that words require static thoughts, and this was fluid experience beyond thought. Anyway, after a brief time in that experience it occurred to me that the 12-fold chain of origination had stopped, that there was no chain anymore tying me to the rest of my life/world. I was in some completely new space/time beyond anything resembling my normal daily existence. But this was a thought, and with that thought the whole experience suddenly unraveled and I was back to normal (delusional?) reality. I was just staring at a blank white wall again, but suddenly I felt like I was actually SEEING that wall as a blank screen where all my thoughts are projected. I could suddenly see how I add on so much to life that just isn’t there. All of which leads me to this…

    OK, so here’s the good thing: My regular daytime life process has changed. Ever since this experience when I look at people I am SO much more aware of all the thoughts and judgments I add on to them. I realize now that mostly when I “saw” people it was really all my judgments and thoughts about them. Before, this happened mostly beneath awareness, but now when I see people I see that process of adding on those thoughts and judgments. Before, my awareness of this add-on process was hints and whispers, but now it’s Out Loud and Clear. Not that all that add-on stuff has stopped, because it hasn’t, but now I see the add-on process at the same time I see people more clearly than ever before, just like that spot on the wall. Not that I make any more sense of people than before, because I don’t. But there’s a depth to them (and me) that is new and that I am still exploring. Some one will walk by in the morning on my way into the office and all this process instantaneously happens, and I just shake my head and smile.

    OK, so here’s the not-so-good thing: The zazen process has snagged because I am a bit stuck in this one-time outcome experience. I know I need to move on from this, but the associational memory of it is so strong that it is difficult to do so. I found myself the next day trying to do it again, but all I succeeded in doing was hurting my eyes, lol. So for a few days I tried not to try and do it again, but I discovered that any form of trying just gets in the way. In other words, during the experience I was beyond thoughts, and now it is thoughts/memories of the experience that are keeping me away from the experience. Ironic, huh.

    Anyway, during my usual old-fashioned monkey mind this morning I decided that I needed to write all this down and submit it as a means of letting it go so that I can get back to that natural zazen. Sorry for the length. I keep trying to make it more sensible to a reader, but I realize I probably can’t, so I’ll stop now. Thanks for listening….
    AL (Jigen) in:
    Faith/Trust
    Courage/Love
    Awareness/Action!

    I sat today
  • Jundo
    Treeleaf Founder and Priest
    • Apr 2006
    • 39078

    #2
    Re: ONE wall spot

    Originally posted by AlanLa

    OK, so here’s the not-so-good thing: The zazen process has snagged because I am a bit stuck in this one-time outcome experience. I know I need to move on from this, but the associational memory of it is so strong that it is difficult to do so. I found myself the next day trying to do it again, but all I succeeded in doing was hurting my eyes, lol. So for a few days I tried not to try and do it again, but I discovered that any form of trying just gets in the way. In other words, during the experience I was beyond thoughts, and now it is thoughts/memories of the experience that are keeping me away from the experience. Ironic, huh.
    Thank you, Alan. You words are crystal clear.

    As the cop says at the scene of the crime, "nothing to see here, folks, move along".

    Sounds like a crystal clear vantage point on a mountain hike, suddenly the trees and obstructions fall away ... and you see very clearly the valley. Now, move along, don't try to remain there forever or go back there. There are countless other vantage points along the way, just as lovely.

    We might say that our way is the whole hike, each step precious, not any single scenic point. All of it together is the mountain-hike (mountain's hiking).

    I hope my words are clear enough? If you would like to talk about it more, we can meet in Sanzen.

    Gassho, Jundo
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

    Comment

    • AlanLa
      Member
      • Mar 2008
      • 1405

      #3
      Re: ONE wall spot

      In the interest of full disclosure, my exact thought that broke the "spell" was this: Jundo is right, there is no 12-fold chain of origination. So it's all your fault! and I thank you for that.

      And yeah, it might be time to talk with you.
      AL (Jigen) in:
      Faith/Trust
      Courage/Love
      Awareness/Action!

      I sat today

      Comment

      • Dosho
        Member
        • Jun 2008
        • 5784

        #4
        Re: ONE wall spot

        Thanks for sharing this Alan.

        Comment

        • AlanLa
          Member
          • Mar 2008
          • 1405

          #5
          Re: ONE wall spot

          Thanks for your thanks, Scott. I expected nothing from this post, so your comment is a plus. This event took on a life of its own, so the post was meant as a means of casting it out so that I can move on from it. It wasn't bad or good, and I don't know if people will get anything from reading it, nor if I will get anything from others reading it. The whole thing is/was what it is/was, no more and no less. At least that's how I am trying to treat it.

          As Jundo said: move along, folks, nothing to see here....
          AL (Jigen) in:
          Faith/Trust
          Courage/Love
          Awareness/Action!

          I sat today

          Comment

          • Charles
            Member
            • Feb 2008
            • 95

            #6
            Re: ONE wall spot

            Alan,

            I found it very helpful. Sometimes I don't reply only because I have nothing to add! But like Scott said: thank you for posting it.

            --Charles

            Comment

            • Chris H.
              Member
              • Jul 2008
              • 10

              #7
              Re: ONE wall spot

              Alan-

              I too found this helpful and I think it might help me get out of a funk I've been recently experiencing. A few weeks ago while sitting I had the overwhelming sensation that I was just another piece of furniture in my living room. I didn't actually think I was a sofa, but I felt that I was just something else being something in the living room. Since then though it hasn't happened. And although I know intellectually that after experiencing those types of moments during zazen that shouldn't strive after them again I feel that somehow subconsciously I'm trying to come back to it. Since that day my daily routine of 15 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes at night has slipped dangerously to 15 minutes in the morning, if I'm lucky.

              Knowing that someone else is going through this too makes it seem, I don't know, it just makes it seem better.

              So thank you Alan-

              Chris

              Comment

              • Jundo
                Treeleaf Founder and Priest
                • Apr 2006
                • 39078

                #8
                Re: ONE wall spot

                Originally posted by Chris H.
                Alan-

                I too found this helpful and I think it might help me get out of a funk I've been recently experiencing. A few weeks ago while sitting I had the overwhelming sensation that I was just another piece of furniture in my living room. I didn't actually think I was a sofa, but I felt that I was just something else being something in the living room.
                What makes you think your sofa is not something sacred, as precious as the moon and stars, something unique in all time and space!!??

                (Besides being something to sit on, of course).

                Poor, misunderstood sofa! :cry:

                Where is that funk located? What separates the funk and the funky?

                Gassho, J

                PS- Buddha was something of a couch potato ...

                ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

                Comment

                • Taigu
                  Blue Mountain White Clouds Hermitage Priest
                  • Aug 2008
                  • 2710

                  #9
                  Re: ONE wall spot

                  Alan,

                  Just a thought. The monkey mind is very quick to get hold of its own death and try to fake it over and over again. This is a common problem in practice, the will to repeat the experience. Where does that will arise from? What is the nature-relevance of this experience now? Allowing the experience to vanish, relinquishing any form of attachment to small or big openings is the core of our practice. How do we do that? As Jundo says, we enjoy the ride, walk along. In fact, you are already free from that experience. Let zazen take over. Just sit, let Buddha do the job. We are not suposed to be aware of Buddha doing the job. When this Buddha is really doing Its thing, then nor me neither Buddha.
                  But I am sure you undertand that already.

                  Take care


                  Taigu

                  Comment

                  • Yugen

                    #10
                    Re: ONE wall spot

                    Alan,
                    Thank you for initiating this post. I have had a similar experience, and realize how much I work to return to that place - an attachment to my practice which I must relinquish. Jundo and Taigu, your words are very helpful here. We really can't "attach" ourselves to any reference point in our meditative landscape... I guess I have gotten hung up on the view along the way!

                    Gassho,
                    Alex

                    Comment

                    • Jundo
                      Treeleaf Founder and Priest
                      • Apr 2006
                      • 39078

                      #11
                      Re: ONE wall spot

                      Yes, our particular flavor of Zen does not put any more or less emphasis on Kensho, big or small, or like mind blowing experiences than sitting on the sofa on an autumn day.

                      Now, if you think we are lowering the "value" of Kensho, then you miss the point.

                      And if you think we are raising up the "value" of sofa sitting, then maybe you are closer to the mark, but still miss the point.

                      If you think that both are sacred and to be honored, you are very very close, but still miss the point.

                      If you think that Kensho is precisely sofa sitting, sofa just Kensho ... so close now you can taste it and it tastes you ... keep going ...

                      This different "valuation" (for want of a better term) of Kensho and the like is perhaps the chief difference (same, but different) between the "Just Sitting' Shikantaza perspective of the Soto of Master Dogen, and the Kensho seeking flavors of the some of the Rinzai and Sanbokyodan schools of Zen I discussed on the other thread ... It is important for folks to know that "Zen" comes in various flavors ...

                      viewtopic.php?p=16041#p16041

                      Gassho, Jundo
                      ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

                      Comment

                      • Yugen

                        #12
                        Re: ONE wall spot

                        Originally posted by Jundo
                        If you think that both are sacred and to be honored, you are very very close, but still miss the point.

                        If you think that Kensho is precisely sofa sitting, sofa just Kensho ... so close now you can taste it and it tastes you ... keep going ...
                        I can't help but think of this as a form of convergence! Just as practice is enlightenment, and enlightenment is practice... it is available to us here and now - kensho/couch sitting. and couch sitting / kensho. It is nothing much!

                        Gassho,
                        Alex

                        Comment

                        • AlanLa
                          Member
                          • Mar 2008
                          • 1405

                          #13
                          Re: ONE wall spot

                          Gassho to you all.
                          AL (Jigen) in:
                          Faith/Trust
                          Courage/Love
                          Awareness/Action!

                          I sat today

                          Comment

                          • will
                            Member
                            • Jun 2007
                            • 2331

                            #14
                            Re: ONE wall spot

                            slipped dangerously to 15 minutes
                            LOL. Don't stress it.

                            I think it's good to know that no matter what you experience in Zazen or Zen practice, you still do what usually do, but how you do it, and how you view it begin to change.

                            A good way of looking at it is: You may experience something unexplainable, but you still have to make breakfast.

                            There's all kinds of Zazen: typing Zazen, watching a movie Zazen, chatting Zazen, laundry Zazen, going to work Zazen. Zazen doesn't stop and begin. Really the only thing that changes is what you do, what you choose, and how you do it each moment of the day.

                            Will
                            [size=85:z6oilzbt]
                            To save all sentient beings, though beings are numberless.
                            To penetrate reality, though reality is boundless.
                            To transform all delusion, though delusions are immeasurable.
                            To attain the enlightened way, a way non-attainable.
                            [/size:z6oilzbt]

                            Comment

                            • Jundo
                              Treeleaf Founder and Priest
                              • Apr 2006
                              • 39078

                              #15
                              Re: ONE wall spot

                              Originally posted by will
                              A good way of looking at it is: You may experience something unexplainable, but you still have to make breakfast.

                              There's all kinds of Zazen: typing Zazen, watching a movie Zazen, chatting Zazen, laundry Zazen, going to work Zazen. Zazen doesn't stop and begin. Really the only thing that changes is what you do, what you choose, and how you do it each moment of the day.

                              Will
                              Thank you, Will, for the good reminder.
                              ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

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