Tuesday, June 14, 2011
Copyright Lance Kinseth, A Prayer of Flowers And Trees And Birds, 2011
SURPRISINGLY, RATS LAUGH when tickled, emitting “gleeful ‘chirps” in tones that are five times higher than human hearing. Dogs and chimps have been found to “pant-laugh” for what we might call their “Ha-ha-ha’s.”
And we are coming to understand that humans also have powerful emotional states other than the typical emotional responses such as happy laughter, sadness, fear, grief and anger.
“Seeking” is one such emotional state. And it is not simply present in the background of more obvious emotional responses. Seeking provides deep satisfaction that can drive behavior. Joy and happiness and even elation are the end-product-emotion of seeking.
Seeking may be the drive inherent in high-end spiritual quests and scientific research, in invention and design, in travel, in exploration in general, in entrepreneurial spirit, and even in everyday life in activities such as shopping and eating and gardening. Just seeking alone can “feel” rewarding.
In body-mind practices, the desire to keep returning to the practice is often difficult to articulate. In one’s introduction to a body-mind practice such as yoga. something may take place that feels different but good. It is not simply quietness or exercise. There ismay be a desire to return, to “seek” this effusive quality. And with practice, that which one experiences as feeling good may deepen. Still, no matter the effort, that which is good often remains subtle and implicit, and often more “meaningful” than explicit and possessing clear meaning and, thus, remains “seeking.”
Body-mind practices are practices of “seeking.” It is as if a gate is opened, and movement outside expectation begins. Everyday routine is left behind.
Across time, satisfaction may be expressed in terms of transformation in lifestyle, health, calmness, and so forth that may become quite eloquent and sophisticated. But even then, if authentic, if there is a softening of ego, a “beginner’s gate” still remains. And simply opening this “gate” can be experienced to be reward enough in its own right.
FRESH, Fresh, fresh! Something new, just around the turn, awaits us.
Each practice session is a prayer of sorts, a calling out, a quest that, should we really grasp it, runs deep into the heart of life, into the Earth and stars and universe(s).
Each body-mind practice session offers its own sesshin [Jap., “touching the heart-mind”]—a zazen moment for awakening to the way in which the the present moment expresses the universal.