2010.02.05 19:00 - Stillness and Movement

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    The Guardian for this meeting was Calvino Rabeni. The comments are by Calvino Rabeni. 

    This session is a monologue by Calvino - unless readers participate later by adding comments :)  

    I did the four 90-second pauses, and in between, reflected upon those experiences, and also pursued the ideas a little more in the comments.

    This became another take on the "integration of opposites in nonduality" theme.

    Calvino Rabeni: I'm thinking about how to articulate what happens during the open awareness state that is invited by the 9- or 90-second pause.
    Calvino Rabeni: Often it just feels like relaxing / stopping enables the mind to naturally open to a more effective and expansive relationship to reality
    Calvino Rabeni: I don't relate to the experience people report of meditation-as-a-struggle
    Calvino Rabeni: Maybe during non-meditation, to "make" oneself get started, but not during.
    Calvino Rabeni: But then I've "dropped" any "how it is supposed to be" expectations.
    Calvino Rabeni: Especially the subtle ones that are on a light feeling level
    Calvino Rabeni: Similar to being in school, or with parents as a child, and then they say - pay attention! or "look at this, and KEEP focused on it", etc.
    Calvino Rabeni: That is a subtle cognition of the bodymind, not of "ideas" or even "intentions" as I understand them.
    Calvino Rabeni: Relaxing completely is a deep thing
    Calvino Rabeni: Since the "holding" on a neuromuscular level is unconscious.
    Calvino Rabeni: In the second pause it seemed like, OK, having relaxed, then a certain kind of alive energy or alertness is needed to respond to or "follow" reality.
    Calvino Rabeni: An alert poised balance. Poised on the edge just between doing and not-doing.
    Calvino Rabeni: The place where subtle impulses arise, an infinitesimal organic vibration or tremor.

    I was searching for a better description of this qualitative sense - here are some attempts.  There doesn't appear to be a great word for it - "vibration" is too buzzy/mechanical, "tremor" seems too random - this has a relaxed tone, with qualities of both extending and converging.  It has a combination of both movement and sensation.  Something like, if you imagine a point in nearby space, infinitely small, and reach toward it with a finger slowly, precisely, and continuously, and feel into the exact point of contact with the finger, then the experience is something like that just before contact is made.

    How rapidly does a fly "take off", dodging the frog's tongue?  It's just sitting there, but suddenly, its acceleration must be immense.  Similarly, the "movement in stillness" is present as a live potential, not defined conceptually in terms of an object traversing a distance.  My calculus is rusty, but in terms of a mathematical analogy this could be one of those "as it approaches zero" situations with a second derivative.


    This math metaphor recalls the sense earlier of having smoothness and presence to the feeling, (rather than "buzziness") which would be the situation in which there are smooth rather than discontinuous higher derivatives, or frequency components (in a fourier transform). I think people who don't know math could relate to this in terms of the classic "music of the spheres" metaphor, or the New-Age "everything is vibration" intuition. Or is that saying on some level, everyone is a mathematician? 

    This also seems like the equivalent, within the sensation realm of physical presense and movement, of the "sound and silence" experience that comes up from time to time in PaB discussions, e.g. hereand here.  According to that, sound comes out of silence, and silence persists within sound.  

    Calvino Rabeni: That seems like following the exact feeling of the bell, as it diminishes into silence, but the subtle sense of it remains active.
    Calvino Rabeni: And seems to permeate ones body and space, etc.
    Calvino Rabeni: I remember the frequent occasions at the training school where we used the little brass bell for meditation, following the sound to infinity.
    Calvino Rabeni: And I enjoyed releasing all responsibility for "watching the time" to whoever rang the bell.
    Calvino Rabeni: I remember being surprised when the "session over" sound rang - a different bell pattern.
    Calvino Rabeni: But there was a sense of alert poise there - partly because what was coming up was some kind of very physical practices.
    Calvino Rabeni: The posture is important - being relaxed and centered.
    Calvino Rabeni: Occasionally the teacher's assistant would silently sneak up on me (or any meditator there) and suddenly strike or shove the body.
    Calvino Rabeni: Actually he would move by slowly, and you couldn't guess whether he would do anything when near, or not.
    Calvino Rabeni: And it was a temptation to focus on it - awareness of approach and proximity, and "prepare" for the possibility of being contacted
    Calvino Rabeni: But at first it was a matter of faith or trust to completely let that go.
    Calvino Rabeni: And the interesting thing was, if he pushed (or whatever) while the mind was in "no mind" state, the body actually handled the event in a very rock-steady fashion.
    Calvino Rabeni: The word they used for it was "fudoshin"
    Calvino Rabeni: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fud%C5%8Dshin
    Calvino Rabeni: Sometimes I had the job to ring the bell, which was also a meditation.  The idea in doing that was to intentionally have that same quality, and it would go "into" the bell. This would then affect the sound quality and be present for the meditators.  Or at least, that was the idea of the practice.
    And the Japanese deity representing it is known as "Fudo Myoo" - see the picture below.  This rather fierce-looking visage is regarded as a protective and benevolent spirit guardian.
    Calvino Rabeni: Ah, interesting, the wikipedia page links to the related concepts of "mushin" and "zanshin".
    Calvino Rabeni: and "shoshin" - beginners's mind
    Calvino Rabeni: Zanshin refers to the state of "relaxed alertness" I was referring to earlier.
    Calvino Rabeni: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zanshin
    Calvino Rabeni: These are referenced in wikipedia in the context of martial arts, but I'm curious to know their other backgrounds in zen, shinto, etc.
    Calvino Rabeni: Also one very interesting thing to me is that the very concepts are now referenceable in the public domain, whereas 30 years ago, they were only part of an oral tradition, and the internal or esoteric part of it, at that. 
    Although on the other hand, if you lived in Japan and had statues of that guy by the temple or wherever, it would be an anchor or a pointer at least for the concept.
    Calvino Rabeni: This seems to have profound implications for the nature of language itself,
    Calvino Rabeni: since you can now consider almost any URL - like http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zanshin - to be a "word" in a massive vocabulary of concepts much larger than any single language.
    Calvino Rabeni: So....
    Calvino Rabeni: Take this URL, brother - may it serve you well :)


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