NOTES FROM MY FACILITATION SESSION WITH PAM
1) Why are my emo centers lighting up just because I focus on them?
(Pam’s Answer): Shinzen’s system is about noting what is, not particularly in explaining things. The phenomenon I describe is interesting, though. It might be interesting to scan what other body areas feelings arise in, such as the arms, ankles, knees, etc. In fact, Shinzen has a technique for this very purpose.
2) Have you any thoughts about my emo centers mapping so handily onto my chakra system? And about the instances when they don’t map?
(Pam’s Answer): You might want to study the emotional flavor called “INTEREST” (or “DISINTEREST”, which seems much more apropos for me these days). Shinzen has a list of all the flavors of FEEL; the point isn’t to manipulate but to note them.
Also, your ANGER may manifest most of the time in a certain emotional center, but other times somewhere else; in other words, it can shift, move.
3) I’m considering participating in tonight’s Yaza (an all-night sit). My problem isn’t so much staying awake but tolerating the extreme bodily discomfort that arises in my buttocks, back and right knee when I sit for more than twenty minutes. What do I do?
(Pam’s Answer): It’s okay to do stretches every 20 minutes in the Yaza. Also, entering and leaving the Zendo is permitted during a Yaza. Stretches done in the Zendo should be slow, mindful and silent so as not to disturb the other sitters.
Last night, Ray broke the vow of silence to ask me if I intended to do the Yaza. I told him I feared sitting for so long because of the bodily pain. He recommended that I buy an “inversion table”. This would stretch out my spine, keeping it suppler than it would be otherwise. He’s been using one for about 10 years.
I asked if he intended to do the Yaza; he said he was too old for that shit.
I entered the Zendo during lunch break and did a sketch from my meditation station. I tried to do it as meditation, to be as silent as possible. I focused on the sound of the pen scratching across the page of my journal, and the popping sound of the ham of my hand or my forearm as I lifted it from the paper. Eventually, students began to return in preparation for the 2:30 sit; I continued sketching surreptitously as the sit leader thrice struck the bell gong, finishing just before 3:00 PM and the beginning of the daily First Timers Session. I debated whether or not to show the drawing to Shinzen after the session. As the meeting broke up, I asked him if drawing could be used as meditation. “Certainly”, he answered. “We’ve had sessions on Photography as meditation, and he listed several other media that have been used over the years. He said that someday he wants to do a retreat that uses nothing but art as meditation. I decided not to show and tell, and turned to leave. He spoke again, saying “however, some of the most fucked-up people I’ve ever met have been artists. At that point, I said to myself , “What the Hell” and pulled out my journal, showing him the Zendo sketch. He was very impressed, said that it showed “true artistry” and asked if I was a professional artist. The remaining stragglers in the Garden Room were also impressed.
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