Aspects of Sitting Meditation

Posture

Year after year our physical posture becomes polished; by repeated sitting our muscles become very refined, not pulling one way. When your muscles become very balanced you are able to feel almost nothing is there. All your intestines, your bones, are in the same balance. When our body is able to take the right posture, when you sit as if no one is sitting there, you feel yourself. The way to find your best posture is to focus your attention on the feeling of your body. It's hard to say what it is, an inner eye, an inner sensation which is able to observe every part of your body.

When you are awake, you feel every part of your body: its surface, a little bit inside, deep inside, all parts. When you take the best posture you can possible reach, at that time you are weightless, and you are not aware of your effort to keep that posture. The point is to have a stretched spine, with your neck straight along the spine. When you slightly lean right or left or backward you can find which point is your straight posture. This is related to the incredible pull of gravity. A thousand million lines of gravity pull you down. You swing your body from left to right, and finally you come to one point.

It doesn't continue that way. We again crumble down, so we have to again build it up. Maybe every twenty minutes or so you have to re-do it. It is a very natural position, but we have incredible habits which are hard to correct. Every time we correct our sitting position, we always go back to a more comfortable position.

To have the foot soles facing upward is very important. To have the soles going upward, with your feet pressing down on your thighs, is not an accidental discovery, but a polished discovery. They should be like that, because then there is a very grounded sensation of being on the earth, not flowing or flying purposelessly in the air.

The eyes should be kept open, and hopefully see through everything, because your seeing is not "your" seeing. So you should see through. All our sense organs are finely constructed awakenings. You don't have to stare. As you notice, all information from the sense organs come together moment after moment and the "mind eye" is always functioning. Everyone actually has it, it is not newly opened. It's very easy to mess up your posture just by rolling your eyeballs around. If you come back to keeping your eyes still, then something opens up.

Your sitting still is like a person who just shot an arrow, and a moment later the result is there. What you know is the sense that the arrow is moving all right. It has left your realm, but you sense it's running well. Stillness is like that. In the stillness you see intuitions are going all right; you sense every kind of intuition.

The form of the human body is continuity of karmic force. Without parents, you wouldn't exist here; without you, your children, all next generations could not exist. So in this sense, to have a body on this earth has a very karmic reason and result. Without this karmic condition, you cannot exist as the expression of ultimate force.


Back to Talks on Aspects of Sitting Meditation, by Kobun Chino Otagawa Roshi.
Back to Jikoji's Homepage.