Heaven & Earth Meditation

Tuesday, November 1, 2016


Zazen is so difficult. It is so difficult because you’re out in deep water and there is really nothing you can hold on to… if you are doing it right. If you are doing it right there is really nothing else to do – Just sit with your whole heart, and let your body and mind drop away.

 Since this is so difficult, we like creating aids, supports that we can hold on to. We design techniques like counting the breath, cutting thoughts. These techniques separate your world into object and subject. There is you and there’s your breath that you need to count. There’s you and there are your thoughts separate from you and you need to cut them.  Anything that aids in dividing the world in two is contrary to Zazen.

 Zazen is truly opening – opening your body, your mind, to everything.  And that’s including your “monkey mind”. If you define yourself as separate from your “monkey mind”, then again there is you and there is your monkey mind that you need to work on eradicating. It makes your life and Zazen seem so much easier because it leads you to believe somehow the monkey is not you. But it is you. Everything is you. Everything. And to truly dig in to zazen is to include all of it.

 There is also another aspect of zazen I want to talk about. Zazen is including not only everything in you but truly including everything. There is a very short profound sermon by Takashina Rosen that talks about that aspect of Zazen. It is called “Stillness in Action”:

 “Stillness in the midst of action is the fundamental principle of Zazen. Some people think of Zazen as a monopoly of the Zen Sect, but the sect certainly has no monopoly on it. Zazen is the basis of the universe. Heaven and Earth sit in meditation. Every object sits in meditation. Knowing nothing of the Zen sect, all things are performing their meditation. What is called Zazen means to live at peace in the true basis of the universe, which is stillness.”

 I tend to slightly disagree with him, because it is stillness that is in movement, that’s in stillness, that’s in movement.  Because everything is alive, really, truly alive.  And that life is always in motion. Always. There is never ever really truly still water anywhere. There are always little bugs in it, if you look closer. All the universe is changing every moment. And that change is part of your life too. And you’re a part of that change also.

 But at the same time when you are sitting here facing the garden – you are watching the squirrels, you are watching everything and not moving.  That’s that stillness in the motion, in the stillness, in motion, in life. You are sitting here without moving but at the same time you are in the midst of life. And that’s the life you are part of, the motion inside the stillness. Because once you sit, and sit, and sit and let your mind and body drop away, the dichotomy is gone. There is no difference between stillness and life, and life and stillness. It’s all just one, wholeheartedly, including everything.

 “Heaven and Earth sit in meditation. Every object sits in meditation. Knowing nothing of the Zen sect, all things are performing their meditation.”