In 1970, Suzuki Roshi introduced Zen meditation to America with his landmark book, “Zen Mind, Beginners Mind.” In the first section of his book, he puts aside the misconception that meditation is something that happens only up in the head. “To take this [meditation] posture itself is the purpose of our practice. When you have this posture, you have the right state of mind, so there’s no need to try to attain some special state.… The state of mind that exists when you sit in the right posture is, itself, enlightenment.”
When we discover our natural uprightness and groundedness, we tap into tremendous clarity. It’s as if when the body is confused, so is the mind. We are at home in this body, the one we are actually living in!
Easier said than done, right? What if our body is crying out in pain or discomfort? What if our posture seems hopeless or exhausting?
My approach to posture is that uprightness and vitality (the kind that any toddler has full command of) is inherently within us. It’s our birthright. So our work together in lessons is to uncover the aliveness and length in your spine, as well as the groundedness and stability of our skeletal structure. There is a way to ‘better posture’ but it’s through compassionately relating with our habits, not through some exhausting battle to sit up straight. By applying curiosity and warmth to our body, rather than inflexible ideals, we develop the taste for being present which brings tremendous power to our practice.
I use the ideas that I learned from Dan in my everyday life and I highly recommend people to work with Dan who want to improve their well-being.