Focused Mind (unscattered mind) – Do one thing at a time, without yearning to be doing or thinking about something else.
When you eat, eat… when you walk, walk…. when you are washing dishes, wash dishes…… this is the Way.
Attention attention attention….. keeping your mind focused in the present, here and now.
Stretching the Body
Doing the stretching your body needs each day keeps the body supple, which helps in both physical activity, as well as getting rid of built up stress which happens simply by living life. (We do 30 minutes of basic yoga exercises every day or every other day)
(Xin Xin Ming emphasizes “Just let go now of clinging mind, and all things are just as they are”)
The body clings to things, and the mind clings to things…… this is our tendency to get caught up in something or to get stuck…. fixated….. the less fixated we are, the more freely we can live and experience fullness.
Without stretching, the body begins to close up, so stretching each day keeps the body in a “neutral and open” state.
To let the body get tight, is to put it into slavery to the clinging mind.
Practicing zazen (or some centering practice) each day brings the mind back to balance, and keeps the mind in a “neutral and open state”. The mind gets pulled off balance by simply living life, and needs to be daily brought back to “center” with a practice of “un-scattering” or focusing. Zazen (or another practice which brings this “centering”) is essential for this. It helps us drop off the “things that we are sticking to”…..
Self-Inquiry (this begins as a very conscious practice at first, but becomes more automatic the more one practices it)
Self-Inquiry will show us that not experiencing Fullness in every moment, is due to our grabbing and hanging onto emotional reactions to people, things, and circumstances in our lives, and it can teach us how to truly let go of the blaming, bitterness, anger and sadness. Self-Inquiry shows us that we usually blame our emotional reactions on those things, building up a layer of resentment and bitterness. Through practice, we see that “it is “I” that is hanging on to these feelings, so the outside person/thing/circumstance is not our problem…… I am hanging onto it, not IT holding onto me!!!!
A simple method
– In the midst of the day, when the sense of Flowingness and Fullness gets pushed off to the side or is lost, one must stop what they are doing, focus on the thing that is causing the disconnection.
– Nicely, ask this emotional reaction (anger at someone, irritation with a circumstance) as if it is a part of you like a younger brother or sister, what the issue is that is causing this emotional reaction.
– Listen to its answer patiently, as listening to a friend pouring out their sorrows…
– After the story and the accompanying anger/disappointment/fear is out, Ask if the story that has been poured out is true, false, over-exaggerated……
– Take the story and answers totally seriously, and accept them.
– Ask if this emotional reaction can be dropped or let go.
– If the answer is yes, sense the reaction dropping from the place in your body it is impacting. If there is no “release”, go back through the process until it drops.
– If the answer is “No”, then ask why it can’t be dropped, or ask “Might you be able to drop this reaction some time in the future?”….. then work on it at a later date.
—– The more this practice is done, the sooner the causes of losing ones sense of fullness will be eliminated. —–
These practices can take away the heavy burden that weighs us down, and give us mental health, and freedom to Live in Fullness.