By Juemiao Miaoming (Mark Troxell)
Sit like a colossal bell, spine straight like the pine tree, relax body / relax mind….focus.
Focus where? Start with breath…
Subtle breath…feel slight, almost imperceptible, muscle tension as nostrils open to accept the new breath, feel the temperature, the fine nasal hairs acting as filter of contaminants, awareness of the volume.. The air light and sweet, or thick and heavy…
Feel the in-breath as energy, as life, entering the body..be mindful of the duration.
Feel this energy, this life, not only expanding the belly, the abdominal or diaphragm..but flowing throughout the body..
Feel life energy, oxygen, nutrients, enter the blood though the lungs.
Feel the life energy entering our nerve system, energizing, connecting mailuan.
Flowing to our finger tips, the tips of our toes, tip of tongue….each nerve ending, each cell touched.
That which a moment ago was the outside world, is now fully integrated with the self..
At the center point, just before the out-breath, muscle relaxes to no muscle, mind relaxes to the void..emotion dissolves..cessation…for a moment, a nano second, the infinite,the true self is right there …
Almost imperceptibly the flow changes, reverses upon itself, turns inside out ..like an ocean wave reaching the shore returning within itself back to the sea.
From the finger tips, the tips of toes and tongue…the mind , the emotions, the blood and the energy of the nerves, all begins the motion of the out-breath..the poisons, stale air, contamination …physical, mental, emotional …all flow outward..
The out-breath is cleansing, purifying, relaxing dissolving.. Cultivating
The same subtleties in reverse…belly deflating upon itself, the muscle relaxing upon itself to new depth..feeling the temperature of the breath now warmed from being in our body, the nose again expanding to allow the release.
Feel this out-breath as energy, as life, being shared with all things , be mindful of the duration.
That which a moment ago was the essence of the self, is now the outside world.
What the body considers waste ,the world outside the self considers life .. Carbon dioxide is life to the trees, their waste our oxygen.. This is true of all things…The circle complete..
The experience, the witness, of interconnected ness so beautifully demonstrated in each moment of life
The lesson repeated over and over and over…the application universal..
Find the center…..If we really know the breath, we know all things.
It really is that simple.. However the insight is not without dedicated effort….
Focus where? , start with the breath.. end with the breath.. There is no separation except that which we create.
The way of the breath is the way of chan.
You are here, for no other purpose than to realize your true nature.
Chan is the true, good, absolute manifestation of life force.
Chan exists for sincere and dedicated practitioners to achieve realization in this lifetime.
It is witness of the power of purification… Medicine for a sick world.
We practice sitting, but beyond this moment we must find the Chan in each moment in every activity of life.
The small fish asks to seek the ocean… His mother tells him the ocean has surrounded him his whole life… The ocean is the life in him, he is the life in the ocean.
Chan surrounds us our whole life, we are immersed within this light, Chan is the life within us, we are the life of Chan……
Your body is form, your mind is form, these words are form, they are your tools, the vehicle to formlessness.
This life is our precious gift, our opportunity to purify and evolve… It is our choice to use or lose this opportunity.
Life is a fight, a fight to the death, against the influence of the poisons… The only effort necessary to win is consistent effort… No matter how many times you get knocked down, no matter how many time you fail… The ultimate reward is within your capability… You just need to stay focused and keep trying.
The necessary true wisdom is within us, there is nothing outside of us that Is necessary. We are enlightened beings… We just need to cleanse the impurities to realize what is.
Your heart is like the seed… Chan is the way to nourish and allow this seed to grow roots, to sprout, to grow and flower and propagate.
The only real sin is to stop trying to seek the light.
This light is always within our ability… It is within each of us… We must very naturally make sincere dedicated effort to realize this wondrous true nature.
There is no other purpose… Any time not dedicated to this is wasted life, wasted opportunity.
Strive not to squander such a precious gift……
It took me 45 years to find Chan meditation center, my soul mates. Ayear ago I picked up a flyer walking across UC Berkeley campus during my visit to California, attended my first lecture of Donald Hwong and Berkeley Chan meditation classes. Since then my life has changed. I can’t imagine what it could be if I hadn’t pick that flyer up.
For the first time I had no idea about a condition of meditation. There are too many thoughts. Chan instruction was clear, but I simplycouldn’t reach the moment of stopping thinking, sitting on the sofa. How can I say to myself not to think, using thought? And what is condition when you are not thinking? I’ve been thinking from my birth! There are so many explanations of people who experienced the meditation, but I had never tasted such “a fruit ” by myself!
My visit ended and I had to go home to Russia. Having an idea of having a good health I started to work on my half-lotus posture. My legs were stiff, but I was stubborn. Every morning, after the usual exercises, I was struggling with my legs. Sometimes I asked to myself: “ What am I doing spending time for such a posture?” But something was pushing me ahead. And it did improve my English! Especially in understanding the difference between themeaning of the words “sore” and “pain”. My legs became more flexible and tolerable. But not only that. I noticed that I became calmer with ideas coming to order. Still sore, but I could sit much time. Something was leading me. After 5 month I sat in a full lotus for the first time. I was inspired.
A year has passed and I came to Berkeley Chen Meditation Center for a class and was invited to a retreat to Santa Cruz. I had no more doubts. It was obvious I was on the path I had never expected to hit on.
It was the first time of experience of meditation. I was sitting in a chair with a hundred practitioners in the morning meditation class. In approximately half an hour motionless with closed eyes I felt my body as rigid carcass with nothing inside. Concentrated on breathing, with a thoughts flouting by, I noticed aspiral with a dark (it seemed khaki) floating circles inside. And I felt sick as if I had eaten something bad. When I came to myself and realized I was sitting in a carcass, I felt no sickness any more. As having no such an experience before, I came to Juemiao Miaoming (Mark Troxell) to share it. He said that sickness might be the reason of dirt in chakras I need time to clear it up and asked me whetherthe spiral disappeared when I thought about it. I had no answer and I visited afternoon class. No result. No such an experience.
Next morning I came to a class for meditation again, had been sitting in full lotus for a while and then on a chair. I was just doing the same without any expectations. And it came. There were the same khaki circles, but flouting in a “flat sealing”. It appeared, I believe, for a couple of seconds before I paid my attention to it. It disappeared! I was sitting in a carcass. I do not remember I felt sick. This condition is very different from imagination.
I tried to repeat it while I was sitting alone, but unfortunately, Ihave not had such animpression or sensation since then.
It is impossible to describe all the atmosphere of the meditation retreat, but can saythe following. I felt free, welcomed and surrounded bybrothers and sisters, and it seemed I had no need in mediator to communicate with somebody or something, or openness, or…, I just don’t know his or her or its name.
I’m grateful to Chen teachers, brothers and sisters for welcoming and helping me,
I do not feel lonely on my path any more,
All the best to all of you,
Vladimir Lutoshkin (Stays in Russia, but lives in Berkeley, CA)
August, 12 – 2012