using the arrow buttons.
by clicking on the page.
the page around when zoomed in by dragging it.
the zoom using the slider when zoomed-in.
by clicking on the zoomed-in page.
by entering text in the search field, and select "This Issue" or "All Issues"
by clicking on thumbnails to select pages, and then press the print button.
displays sections with thumbnails and descriptions.
displays a slider of thumbnails. Click on a page to jump.
allows you to browse the full archive.
about your subscription?
Buddhadharma : Fall 2010
47 fall 2 01 0 buddhadharma: the practitioner’s quarterly and soften the sense of the body. This is not so much a matter of physical move- ment or stretching, but of adjusting the nervous energy. Then energy can move around and find a new balance. This itself can be unsettling, because when stuck stuff starts to shift it can feel like glaciers calving, or an airplane hitting turbulence—with emotional stuff thrown in. Therefore it’s important to keep in touch with the whole body and to go slowly and breathe through whatever arises. My checklist of points to stay in touch with to maintain that grounded sense would be: the palms of the hands, the under-arches of the feet, the temples, and the eye sockets. If you get used to referring to these soft “open” places from time to time throughout the day, you’ll establish them as a natural frame of reference, and also get a periodic check-in with your embodied sense. Still, it must be emphasized that this practice isn’t about throwing a bucket of loving-kindness, or metta, down your nerve-endings, or pushing for catharsis. It’s about maintaining a holistic awareness and letting that have its effects. Awareness is normally something that is directed by volition (cetana), the conscious or semi- conscious will to do, to be, or to have. We don’t necessarily recognize that it has an innate vitality and energy that can be brought to bear with a more empathic kind of intention. To put it more simply, we don’t have to do a whole lot—doing is already happening in a subtler way. When we attend to something and listen to it, awareness naturally brings the intention or dominant tone of that energy, or sankhara, to the object. In this stuck state, the sankhara that we encourage are those of trust and empa- thy, applied persistently and patiently. We locate the stuck energy in the body and listen to it empathically while bearing the overall bodily state in mind. Relating the localized stuckness to the wholeness is what generates the healing pattern. We’re not trying to change the stuckness, or even understand it, but rather to attend to it, feel it out, and listen to it. We’re no longer absorbed in the hostil- ity or hopelessness or frustration of trying to do something to make it change. There at the edge of our ability to make and do, a purer intention—to listen and resonate fully—has to take the lead. Emotional and cognitive states will follow: a new balance or some understanding arises after, not before, we unlock. As we attend to our experience in a holistic way, we see features that our narrow “this thing is a pain” focus misses. When we feel it holistically, for example, we can sense that the state of uncertainty is being held with agitation or fear, or that it has all kinds of stories associated with it. If we widen our awareness we notice the emotional charge (distaste, guilt, rage, or grief) or the somatic symptoms (tightening in the face, throat, or chest, flurrying in the guts), as well as the thought processes (the rights and wrongs and shoulds) that occur at and around stuck places. If we can see them for what they are, keeping the whole picture in mind, these energies won’t stick. We realize that the stuck state is just a pattern of sankhara energies that we weren’t fully aware of; and when that fullness of awareness is brought to bear, the self is taken out of it and it becomes unstuck. This is quite a learning. And it takes us to a purer awareness, a quiet knowing that has no opin- ion, and doesn’t involve any activity. It is a place of opening that is dispassionate and spacious, and more intimate and comfortable than our personalities.