Some thoughts reading Herrigel, still mid Dr Austin. Nothing new, just recognisable significance. (Kingston on-line to the rescue.)
Basic stuff – Koans – learning documented Koans, learning documented answers to documented Koans, learning aproaches / concepts applicable to documented Koans, are all irrelevant; this is a meta-meta-meta-meta- … -meta-problem. (I did say this year’s word might be meta ?)
Why breathing ? Breathing is special – sub-conscious, natural min and max limits (physiological need reflex, physical lung capacity, generally subconscious (even deep sleeping) act, but normally conscious of actual (when “conscious”), and consciously do-able / controllable. More a matter of self-attention than consciousness per se. (What else is like breathing ? – thinking itself for sure, definitely not heartbeat, definitey not basic digestive tract / internal organ function reflexes, without specific training, walking ? falling off a log ? Not much really – pretty special case. What else in non-higher intelligent beings / life-forms.) But what about gut feel ?
Teacher / Pupil – not just (passively) enabling / permitting self-discovery, but leading (with implicit trust / respect) to way of discovery, and discovery iself. Leading a horse to water is not enough. Pupil must “submit” even if self-awareness is eventual goal. Explaining “concept”, or concept grasped in words is not even close. Contrary to “liberal” fashion. Preparation is major part of any task (see 90% below), see Pirsig’s ZMM.
Knowing the moment – chaos ? – predicting snow falling from laden leaf ? Letting go the drawn string is more a matter of understanding the balance of forces and controlling / permitting the equilibrium to occur. Like squeezing a trigger, ever more gently as the “tipping” point is reached.
Learning Paradox – “He who has to walk 100 miles should reckon 90 (miles) as half the journey”. 90% of efort is learning to “loose the arrow”, but still leaves 50% learning how to hit a target – with assurance (in your sleep). Learning (how to consciously execute) the knack / trick, is fraud, not the point ? (In a journey of 100 miles, the distance – 100 miles – is only half the journey – or, if you like, a journey is more than a distance.)
One thought on “Zen Lessons”