Open Heart

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  • Kokuu
    Treeleaf Priest
    • Nov 2012
    • 6737

    Open Heart

    Hi all

    I have noticed that when I sit, one of the things that happens when self seems to drop away is that my heart opens (or maybe my heart opening causes the self to drop away, it is hard to tell which). This is hard to describe but it feels like an opening or even flowering in the chest/heart area followed often by one of two things - a large smile or quite deep sadness. Sometimes one follows the other - this happened when sitting the Zazenkai yesterday.

    Anyway, I was just wondering if anyone else had felt this. It seems to be a very receptive state and quite raw. Maybe it is just one of those makyo things?

    Gassho
    Kokuu
  • Kyonin
    Treeleaf Priest / Engineer
    • Oct 2010
    • 6739

    #2
    Hi Kokuu,

    I have been having these kind of experiences quite often, but no sadness for me.

    For a few seconds, almost at the end of my session, my mind gets so quiet and empty that I get to this place where I exist no more and I am united with everything. Pretty hard to describe.

    It's a place where the dharma makes sense without words. A place of infinite emptiness but where I don't feel alone. Where outside noises and light are part of me and I'm them.

    Then a tiny smile comes to me, although I'm not sure if anyone could tell by looking at me. I feel a smile, but not sure if my face reflects it.

    But like the old man here said once to me, forget about it and go about your day.

    Gassho,

    Kyonin
    Hondō Kyōnin
    奔道 協忍

    Comment

    • Kokuu
      Treeleaf Priest
      • Nov 2012
      • 6737

      #3
      But like the old man here said once to me, forget about it and go about your day.
      Good advice. Thank you, Kyonin!

      Gassho
      Kokuu

      Comment

      • Jinyo
        Member
        • Jan 2012
        • 1957

        #4
        Hello Kokuu,

        That is strange because I was thinking about this today. I don't think it is makyo (I had to look up the meaning of that )

        The past few weeks zazen has been really noisy/messy and I've found it hard to sit at all. I understand the teaching is not to judge our sitting - but I've been feeling quite upset and pessimistic that I'd lost the discipline of sitting each day. This has really impacted on my mental state and ability to cope with worry and stress.

        Today I set my new sand timer and tried to settle my mind. The sand ran out and I was still mentally all over the place. I decided to sit some more and focus on this 'heart space'. Almost instantaneously all of the mental chaos evaporated = and exactly as you describe it a flowering of deep compassion that seemed to wrap around everything - somehow uniting all the chaos with gentleness - seemed to fill this space.

        I do not see this as anything 'special' because I've had this sense of melting into openess before and I'm not looking for esoteric experiences. I understand this isn't what you were saying either. I do feel it's a receptive state and I can't see the harm in cultivating it. I hope that I'm not speaking contrary to zen teaching in saying that. Thich Nhat Hahn often writes about the inner smile and to focus on this in meditation. I think it's bound to open the heart - to happiness and sadness - not two but one ?

        Gassho

        Willow
        Last edited by Jinyo; 01-22-2014, 11:00 PM.

        Comment

        • Jundo
          Treeleaf Founder and Priest
          • Apr 2006
          • 39078

          #5
          Originally posted by Kokuu
          Hi all

          I have noticed that when I sit, one of the things that happens when self seems to drop away is that my heart opens (or maybe my heart opening causes the self to drop away, it is hard to tell which). This is hard to describe but it feels like an opening or even flowering in the chest/heart area followed often by one of two things - a large smile or quite deep sadness. Sometimes one follows the other - this happened when sitting the Zazenkai yesterday.

          Anyway, I was just wondering if anyone else had felt this. It seems to be a very receptive state and quite raw. Maybe it is just one of those makyo things?

          Gassho
          Kokuu
          Yes, this happens (some feelings much like these swelled through my heart at the small funeral I performed for our family's little cat friend yesterday) and this is Compassion, Wisdom. So Beautiful ... sometimes Joyous yet Painful with all the Cries of the World, at once.

          I would not call every unusual experience, sensation or insight "Makyo", which tends to refer to those things (such as sensations of levitating or strange optical effects) which are more distracting and misleading than insightful, or which are falsely negative (such as rushes of feelings of sudden paranoia or anger) which can wrap us up.

          When doing your Zazen, is it typical to feel "out of body?" When I do my meditation, over the last few times I find I feel like I'm above my head, tall and very light like paper. I know it is practice not to dwell on your meditation, I'm just curious as to why I may feel this way? I also find I get very warm. The


          Not every unusual experience is to be rejected simply because it is not our usual way of experiencing.

          On the other "one hand" hand, yes, in this Shikantaza way we do not cling to or chase after any one experience, thinking "This Is It"!". All is passing scenes on today's ride on the Buddha-Bus for us, time to enjoy and be the scenery .. while moving on. Embody and experience what manifests when passing through that part of the country. Why?

          We come to realize that the whole Trip, the road and bus ... the passing scenes of majestic mountains, old garbage dumps, big cities and wide open spaces ... you and me and all the other passengers ... are all the Buddha Buddha-Driving down Buddha Highway all along. And, perhaps, that road of love and pain at the Cries of the World is what is sweeping through our hearts at such moments as you describe.

          Gassho, J
          Last edited by Jundo; 01-23-2014, 01:32 AM.
          ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

          Comment

          • Myosha
            Member
            • Mar 2013
            • 2974

            #6
            Thank you.


            Gassho,
            Myosha
            "Recognize suffering, remove suffering." - Shakyamuni Buddha when asked, "Uhm . . .what?"

            Comment

            • Nameless
              Member
              • Apr 2013
              • 461

              #7
              Kokuu,

              I've experienced that a few times as well, though usually I feel as if some strange borders around my mind fade away. Tension in my head that I didn't realize was there departs, and it feels as if thoughts actually have form and they begin to rise up and away from my body rather than floating around in the head. Usually then I feel kind of a molding between "inner" and "outer," thoughts fade to an unintelligible murmur and then fade away almost completely. Then the body dissolves leaving just awareness.

              A close friend actually solely focuses on the heart when he meditates. He attempts to maneuver his consciousness into what he calls, "the sacred space." I tend to just let it go. Makyo can be alluring, but they're just conditioned things. They were very distracting when I first started sitting.

              Gassho, John

              Comment

              • Genshin
                Member
                • Jan 2013
                • 467

                #8
                Hi Kokuu,

                Yes, similar experience here too, although I haven't experienced the deep sadness you describe. I tend not to focus on it, and just return to sitting.

                Kyonin's post is beautiful, thank you.

                Gassho
                Genshin

                Comment

                • Shokai
                  Treeleaf Priest
                  • Mar 2009
                  • 6391

                  #9
                  _/\_ thank you all for sharing these experiences

                  AND, on the other hand there are four fingers and a thumb

                  gassho, Shokai
                  合掌,生開
                  gassho, Shokai

                  仁道 生開 / Jindo Shokai

                  "Open to life in a benevolent way"

                  https://sarushinzendo.wordpress.com/

                  Comment

                  • Myoku
                    Member
                    • Jul 2010
                    • 1487

                    #10
                    Kokuu,
                    I too, at times feel a deep sadness. Most often nothing like this happens, but seldom I feel a tremendous love or a deep sadness. I guess the sadness is somehow related to the experience of all the suffering going on in this world. I dont know.
                    _()_
                    Myoku

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