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A Kusen by Guy Mokuhô Mercier
In zazen as in kinhin, we practise relaxation of our entire body. But relaxation is sometimes difficult because we don’t know what to do with our legs, our knees, and also with our pain.
Relaxing in our verticality, is in a way opening up, and being able to see what prevents us from this opening up or what opposes to it in our body.
Opening up to “that which comes to us”, to what appears in us, in our own mind, in our own body. That which comes to us is life, and this can only be perceived in the present moment, in what we feel or see. Then we turn our gaze inwards, and that is in fact an act of consciousness. We can involve our conscious gaze on what is happening in ourselves, now.
Our gaze internalizes itself, consciousness returns to what is alive, and ceases to lose itself in thoughts.
Without the perception of sensations we could not have the consciousness of our body. So it is through sensations that we become aware of the space of the body.
It is not limited by the surface of the skin and when we study our sensations, for instance that of the hands during zazen, we realize it is difficult to feel an inside and an outside. Our hands are a space of consciousness, the sensation itself melts with the consciousness that looks at it. Non-duality.
Buddha would recommend to “perceive the sensation within the sensation”. That means to enter a sensation that we have chosen completely, to study it, to look at it, to get into it. The sensation within the sensation becomes pure sensation of being, sensation of one’s presence which is not really physical, sensation of a space which has no limits really.
And this sensation you have chosen you can widen to your entire body and realize that consciousness is everywhere at the same time. You cannot find a top or a bottom in it, nor a beginning and an end. When we are in this consciousness, we have the knowledge of silence, even if there is noise around.
This presence, this consciousness of the Presence is our intimacy really, it is the space in which our life, our body, our thoughts are perceived, where they appear, where they extend and where they disappear.
Consciousness has no form, but it watches forms.
It is not a sensation, but it is aware of sensations.
Consciousness is not a thought, but it watches thoughts and when it gets involved in them, in a way it becomes absent to itself.
That is why you must keep a distance from your thoughts and just watch them pass along.
Buddha would use the comparison with a mirror : consciousness, as pure perception, when there is no ego to take it over, can be compared to a clear mirror, where forms, sensations, thoughts and all the world of phenomena appear as reflections. Our meditation consists in being the mirror that remains empty, although reflecting all appearances, all forms. We come back to this mirror which does not seek appropriation, which does not try to seize or reject things, which is peaceful, luminous, which sees all without taking sides, which never interferes.
Buddha says : “when we realize that our own body, its possessions, its sensations, its perceptions and the space occupied by this body are nothing but the field of experiment of consciousness, when we realize this, we no longer need to take over for anything ; there is no more object for appropriation.”
The just vision consists in sticking constantly to this realization, without ever giving it up.
Kusen de Guy Mokuhô