Sitting Zazen for Extended Practice
It is really easy for me to be seduced by the couch and practice is one of the things that I can build up a lot of resistance to even though I have been doing it for a long time. I have so many examples of how much I benefit and it’s even better when I can have the company of other people sitting. So I was glad when I had the opportunity to sit a three day Sesshin lately with Oak Tree in the Garden. And yet even as I was preparing to head out I was thinking of excuses for cancelling at the last moment. (wtf?)
We are often encouraged to “indulge ourselves” by advertising: to eat what doesn’t satisfy any nutritional need, to buy what serves no purpose, to want what we can’t afford now and even when experience shows us these things lead to despair that *ping* in our brain that happens when we follow an urge feels satifying. I watched a show on the science of fast food; apparently the “stomach share” is how fast food companies look at us. It was frightening. The worst thing was I started craving junk food while watching the show! I know it is fun to commiserate with others about our favorite snack food and how we are “going without”. We know it is ridiculous in our part of the world to do something like that. The only real “problem” of food is the lack of it and it still is in many places in the world. I digress.
So why is it so hard to do what makes us really feel better?
When confronted with the onslaught of advertising that encourages instant gratification, heck it makes it seem like a virtue, well, it helps to practice. Just being aware is not as easy as saying it. It takes practice. Establishing good habits may not sound like fun but it really makes more fun possible.
The other problem is that we are convinced of a lack of time. Sometimes when I sit down on my zafu and it seems it will be an intermitable amount of time that I will have to sit there. But then, the three days go by, and I am happy to say, I really feel a difference! Where did the time go? (By the way, it’s still right here, right now.) 😛
“OVER 2500 YEARS OF SERVICE, RECEIVER OF THE GOLD BUDDHA AWARD! COUNTLESS BEINGS HAVE BEEN SERVED! GET YOUR SLICE OF CUSHION NOW! RIGHT NOW. REALLY NOW. THIS IS BIG, BIG REALLY REALLY F-ING BIG!!!!”
What do you think? Too MUCH?