Coffee, football and somatics

Doing zazen is a bit like putting your whole life on the stove, turning up the fire and watching the dross you had unconsciously presumed to be yourself bubble away in the misery of self-confrontation. In the beginning years of zazen, you are many times brought face-to-face with dimensions of your personality that you did not know were there and did not want to know were there. Often you experience emotional and physical pain that represents in an unmistakably primal way your own resistance to transformation.

–Spacious Body: Explorations in Somatic Ontology

Familiar, huh? Easy to apply this to an Ashtanga practice.

An interesting thing about this book is that the author relates many of his zen experiences, which most people think of as “mind” experiences, and then applies them to the Rolfing process, which most people think of as a “body” experience.

Good passages in the book about the creative process, from which all transformations arise, and the necessary “allowing” that fosters the creative process. He speaks about passivity and about willfulness, and suggests that both come from a conflicted, defensive orientation to the world. And that that orientation, built and reinforced over a lifetime, hinders full awareness. If your being is a manifestation of defensive responses accreted into physical form, it’s going to take some adjusting and burning off to clear things up. I can’t help thinking of Ashtanga as a mode for attempting this. But perhaps any practice that forces you to confront yourself would work? And what practice, practiced mindfully, doesn’t force you to confront yourself?

Today is my day off from practice. So it’s all about coffee and football games and lounging around. Tomorrow is a Moon Day. Yay! Last night The Cop and I went out for dinner (standard Saturday night behavior) and then came home and tried to watch a movie. Miraculously, he fell asleep before I did (usually I am the party pooper), but I wasn’t far behind. Perhaps I will never view a movie in its entirety for the rest of my life. Are all Ashtangis exhausted in the evening?


One Response

  1. Evenings? What evenings? I go to bed at 8pm 🙂

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