Aspects of Sitting Meditation

Pain

We complain about our sitting that sometimes we suffer with so much pain in our legs, necks, or backs. But pain is always there. You have just noticed it. When you walk on steep hills it shows up. It's not something you just produced. It is there. When you stop climbing the mountain, that pain goes away. But you know, it is still there.

We call it pain, but it is simply a force which came along with our existence. In that force there is always pain if there is any sense able to feel it. When I let this stick down, it touches the ground, and both feel pain. But they don't say so. When something grows up, when something is born, that intensity of force lets us feel that pain is there. Along with pain, there's very incredible joy, too, like a change of color.

So if you just see the good part or pleasant part of an activity and wish to avoid the pain of cutting cold or heat, then actually you are limiting yourself by not letting the force swing from one end to the other. So what happens is, your scale of sensation gets smaller and smaller; finally you feel that you come to a painless place, a very comfortable place, not hot, not cold, not high, not so deep. You stay about in the middlečand discover there is incredible pain in there. Not to be able to get out of it causes lots of pain again.

Often when pain begins to control your mind, your visions of a painful situation begin to occur because your whole body is reacting and your breathing starts fluttering without your noticing it. In an exciting situation deep breath will help when you have so much pain.

I call it the silver thread. It goes straight down from the tip of your head through your spine to the tail bone. This is very important. In breathing, the out-breath is like pouring water to wash your pain. As it goes slowly through your body, you let it slide out from your legs. You can see this when a woman is in labor, making a groaning sound. That is how you go with pain. Maybe you shouldn't groan in the zendo! But it's very natural. We all groan, as the breath goes. Without actually making that sound, you can breathe in the same way.


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