i have been uptight on some level most of my life. since i smoked weed i considered myself relaxed, and being lazy helps support that identity.
but underneath my chill lazy stoned facade was a lot of fear, anger and insecurity. the lingering effects of being raised that way looks like walking on egg-shells and then picking them up and breaking them on purpose. so even though i got old enough to create coping mechanisms that covered those painful feelings up, they never really went anywhere.
through practice i learned how to accept them, and eventually to let them move and let them go.
15 years of intensive practice has helped me to relax, most of the time. and most of the time that’s as good as it gets.
so now this is the most highest meaning of the holy truths i got. relax.
so there are many ways this can be noticed and worked on. first of all look at all the places and ways we tense up.
-with our teachers
to tell the truth about ourselves means getting in touch with our hearts and sharing from the connection that creates. if we can’t access our hearts we share what we want them to see or what we think they want to hear. not whats true.
a lot of strict forms and structures do not help us to do this. a strict or uptight teacher does not help us to do this. if we are spending more time worrying about whether we are doing something right or we afraid to speak up to a scary teacher we cannot relax and tell the truth.
if we are blaming others for our problems we can’t relax. if we don’t realize we are walking on eggshells we can’t relax. if we are going to be pissed off if we don’t pass a koan we can’t relax. if we think the teacher is an authority figure we can’t relax. if we are too angry or scared we can’t relax.
to unravel these knots start to notice when you feel tight. remind yourself to take a breath and relax when you are getting worked up. connect with your heart and see that all the form and structure and hierarchy and problems we see are total bullshit that has nothing to do with the way.
traditional form and structure is a preference. your teacher’s preference, or a japanese preference perhaps. a preference that tends to undermine our ability to relax. what would happen if all the zen students felt comfortable and relaxed enough to speak from their hearts during service or dokusan?
even sitting with a straight back and thumbs lightly touching is tense. it is very hard to get the qi flowing in this posture. sitting straight is not relaxing.
the way has no particular form. but the form of relaxation helps the energy flow and the heart connect, in my experience.
so chill the fuck out.