Thursday, 16 March 2017

Less of Your Fierce Ambition, Please

During a lesson on 25th October 1999,

MB: This work is happy work. It should make us happy to do it. 

MC:  Somebody [Malcolm Balk] told me that the best way to spread practice is to be open and joyous about it...

MB: Yes, there is an inherent growth process. One has to be patient. 

Allowing, Everything Being Connected

While standing at the beginning of a lesson on 18th June 2001,

MB:  People don't seem to realize that you can't possess a person. You have to allow..... 

It has to do with the connectedness of everything. 

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

More Wisdom than We Know

During a lesson on 1st October 2001,

 MC: This morning as I sat in Zazen I was thinking how to start working on the self as an indirect procedure. "Work on the self" already sounds too direct. It seems that it has to start with some understanding or realization...

MB: Yes, we cannot begin without some understanding. 

MC: Is that what the directions are -- to bring us back to realization of what's going on within our body?

MB: Yes, that's it. "All the laws and all the prophets." It's as the Bible says, "In that is all the laws and all the prophets." 

It is not that the directions "operate"; they are to remind us to realize what is going on in there. 

The power of the indirect!

MC: What do you mean by "the power of the indirect"?

MB: It has more wisdom than we know. 

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

In Praise of Keeping Still

During table work (in process of not moving a leg) in a lesson on 17th November 2001 asked about how one can work in this way in Zazen...

MB: When we're moving around we don't notice, but when we keep still after a while we begin to notice. 

Human beings are built to lengthen. 

MC: Are you interested in all the nuts and bolts of lengthening -- the anatomy of the spine, reflexes, et cetera?

MB: No, not a bit!

The problem is that we try to lengthen, to lengthen more than nature allows. 
That creates a strain, a pulling down. 

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Mindfulness of the Whole

While standing, at the beginning of a lesson on 17th November 2011,

MB: Let this (hands indicating the area between the costal arch) release in the back... That's it.

MC: I don't know what I'm doing.

MB: If you knew, you wouldn't do it. 

Shortly afterwards, during table work,

MB: Release right up there (into the armpit). 
I don't know why we all hold tension there. 

MC: It must be related with pushing the costal arch forward.

MB: Yes it must. That's where inhibition comes in. 

MC: You mean as a total activity? Inhibiting a total pattern of misuse? 

MB: Yes.

It's a Long Way to Tipperary...

During table work in a lesson on 17th November 2001, while MC was preparing to make the movemet of raising a leg,

MB: Release the wrists... we feel we have to hold it somewhere... we chase it around from place to place...

MC: ... which is something other than true inhibition.

MB: Yes, doing on some level.

MC: Sometimes I wonder whether I and my contemporaries are in the right ball park at all. If end-gaining vs means whereby is an either-or situation, and what we conceive of as inhibition is not true inhibition...

MB: As years go by one becomes able to inhibit at a subtler and subtler level. 
But you are going all right. I wouldn't argue with the way you are going. 

Not Needing to Get Involved

During table work in a lesson on 6th May 2002,

MC: How do you see this work fitting in with discoveries about the unconscious?

MB: It helps one not to get too involved.

MC: Could you explain?

MB: Delving into the unconscious, one could easily get sucked down into it... FM was aware of those things but didn't feel he had anything constructive to offer in that department.

MC: He was aware of the importance of reflexes. Isn't it broadly true that AT work is about integrating conscious and unconscious elements?

MB: Yes. 

MC: It is the unconscious mind that mainly makes our big decisions in life. The directions can't decide for us directly.

MB: No, only indirectly.