Although I have not been as faithful to my journal entries over the past few weeks as I would like to be, I have been maintaining a good consistent Practice. I am in the process of re-reading Katsuki Sekida’s “Zen Training” for the second time. I have been refreshing myself on the techniques of meditation that I found there years ago. Now after years of meditation practice I have been able to go back to those pages and find a new level of depth which I am very much enjoying.
Sekida is a technician really- but, as in music, although many people resent empty technique, it is never the technique itself that is empty, it is the spirit behind it that carries the power.
The return to a no-nonsense pragmatic approach to Zen and meditation have taken my state of consciousness back to a place that I have not been for some time. Although I have engaged in infinite distraction and compulsive thought over the past few days, there have also been brief moments when I feel almost stuck in the now. Today for example, I realized when my wife asked me how my day was, that I had to think hard to look back over the course of my day to remember what had happened. I had to somehow remind myself of the continuity of events in order to recall the day. It felt as if I had been participating in single discrete moments and situations with so much of my full attention, that I had not bothered to connect them together with some sort of narrative of particular sequence. It was a strange, somewhat disconcerting feeling, and there was a part of me that questioned whether I had just been lazy and daydreaming all day. The deeply peaceful and positive feeling that has come along with the past few days however, immediately disqualifies my doubts about whether I am on the right path. I feel incredibly centered and clear. This Zen has a particular flavor to it… like walking into a room with a stream of earthy, austere Japanese sandalwood smoke rising from a stick of incense in the corner.