08 September 2011

Solo Soto - Practice without teacher?

Am I wasting time sitting without a teacher? Without a present teacher in my space to critique and dissect and smack me with a stick when I don't sit proper? I'm so confused. Lots of what I have read indicates that Zen is pretty solo in practice. Then to the contrary - students are warned to not do it without a teacher. Does a book constitute some level of educator? If not...am I wasting my time? Does it count if I listen to Thich Nhat Hanh while I write this blog post? Okay, I'm really actually doing that. It's a talk on anger and how we can embrace it much like a mother will embrace her crying baby. It's called, "Hello my Anger."

I really am curious for the answer to this question. Maybe I'll contemplate this during my Zazen practice tomorrow (well okay, this afternoon) when I get home.

I'm still sitting and I'll continue to and I hope I don't truly fuck myself up by not having a teacher present. I guess I just need to keep up studying while I'm sitting. I think this might assist in keeping myself on track and not turning into some cultish type believing too much that I am Jesus Christ. I figure we all are...I'm no more than you and you're no more than me...know what I mean? Not in like the crazy, crazy "I'm Jesus lookit me" kinda way. I'm realizing this is a hard thing to explain without sounding like a nutter, so I'm going to just leave it alone for the time being.

So - sitting experiences as of late...uhm...I think I'm quicker to note when I'm disengaging from the present moment - getting lost in thought to the point of not realizing where I am and what I'm doing. I notice I do that quite a few times throughout a short fifteen minute sitting. I guess it would be nice to talk directly to a teacher about what's going on with that...and maybe get some instruction/lessons.

I forgot my pencil case in an area I can't access until morning. I'm going to sit here at the computer and not do any of my homework...I'm not going to do any homework because I don't have my special pens and I'm not interested in using just a "regular" pen that any random person could use to write out my notes. I don't want to stray from the pattern I've established. I love making excuses. This is one of those "Yes, but" things I just read about this evening..."Yes, I was planning to do my homework, but I didn't have access to my pencil case so I'm not going to do it." "If I had my pencil case at hand, then I would do my homework." The "if/then" is another example he uses in the excuses section on safeguarding tendencies. I'm talking about Adler by the way.

Maybe I'll read the remainder of the chapter and take my notes tomorrow morning when I'm waiting for Canadian Tire and the post office to open. .
Found here...


Anonymous said...

yeah, i was sitting a couple of days ago and noticed i was a thousand other places instead of staring at the wall. breathe in, breathe out, maybe i should get the dog out soon...

so SIX MONTHS just to get the posture down and there's no teacher for a couple thousand km? bloody hell. i'm wondering if we can come up with a kludge - like say we go in on some private sessions with a yoga instructor (i know at least one yogini), saying we want to concentrate on full or half lotus for zazen. she'd at least be able to tell us if we're doing it right. and provide stretches to help us get that other foot on the opposite thigh.

(yes, it will hurt. but it's more constructive than bowling.)

Unknown said...

"Jack", I think you might be on to something. I know my schedule from now until eternity...we could figure out some evening time. If you could contact your contact and let me know the price - I'm sure I'll be in. I think that's a great starting point. I know of at least one other who may be interested in joining us. I believe we are on the right track. Maybe we should put something on Craig's List - 'wanted, Zen Master, Whitehorse, Yukon'...Soto please.'

Unknown said...

Right. So, I'm a little confused. What makes sitting a practice that would require a teacher? I'm just not sure I understand what's going on here. Maybe you could explain a little bit more to me?