“The Master gives himself up
to whatever the moment brings.
He knows he is going to die,
And he has nothing left to hold on to:
No illusions in his mind,
No resistances in his body.”
~ Stephen Mitchell (trans.), Tao Te Ching: A New English Version (New York: Harper Perennial), 2006.
When I was learning how to practice zazen, the style of seated meditation in Zen Buddhism, one of the best pieces of advice I got was to aim for a posture in which you can be physically relaxed, but mentally alert. It’s a hard posture to pull off.
When we are physically relaxed, our minds tend to drift, dull, and doze. Many a meditator nods off. When we are mentally alert—say, tearing through our inbox at work—we tend to tense up, clench our jaws, crane our necks, bunch up our shoulders and upper back. Put another way, when we are physically relaxed, our minds flood with illusions, and when we are mentally alter, our bodies tighten with resistance.
Relax the body. Focus the mind. See what the moment shows you.
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