In this excerpt from his blog Zen Embodiment, Corey discusses the process of developing a meditation practice that is intimate and personal.
There is a lot to be said for picking a single form of practice (Zen, Vipassana, Yoga, mindfulness etc) and then sticking with it. Flip-flopping back and forth between different practices or cherry-picking techniques from different traditions can be problematic.
If you want to boil a pot of water, moving it around from hot-plate, to microwave, to open fire may well eventually boil the water, but it is a slow and cumbersome affair.
Spillage is likely, and you might just get burned.
But once you have found a practice that works for you, and established consistency in its foundations, there is a process of finding YOUR practice within it.
As we start to get into our process, It can feel like all of our ideas about practice tell us to go left, and then some inner connection begins to pull us right. We go right a little and it feels real somehow. It feels organic, full of life. It Like a yes! And then we go back left. We toe the line. But it begins to eat at us. Some inner pull, some deeper gravity. Next time we practice, we allow ourselves to be filled up as we allow ourselves to be guided. It is as if a secret has come to us. We can’t talk about it. It’s too mysterious, too unknown, but it feels right. Like we are touching a vein. It can be like we can’t tell which way is up and down, or that we are learning to breath underwater… Or it may feel like our cells all get in a line and shine in a new way. Or it may feel like we have finally felt something which had long been buried.
We all must find our own way, even if we are in a specific structured practice, environment, etc. Everyone has a unique way of connecting, interacting, finding their opening. Even in Monastic or residential places. I encourage all of us to take some time and reinvent what the practice is. To be creative. To throw caution to the wind and take no one’s word for it. To find out for ourself what is happening right here and right now. It may take a desperate moment. It may take utter exhaustion. Or falling in love with a process no one understands. And then we will finally be in a living world, and we will begin to finally eat from the feast of this huge moment.
Corey Hess is a Zen and Qigong practitioner who lives on Whidbey Island, north of Seattle.
After spending time studying Zen in a monastery in Japan, he now has a particular interest in embodied practice and Non-Directed Body Movement (NDBM).
Featured image by Photo by Sage Friedman