When I meditate, I drift between two places. One is being somewhere else, like engaged in a fantasy of some sort, developing a project to do, or worrying that someone just stole a wallet from the zendo's shoe rack. Or I watch my breathing. But I sense my Zen practice could be something else. I separate my mind from my body from my breathing and become a trinity of three desperate elements. I'm exhausted just at the thought of it. I'm discombobulated. Totally discombobulated.
Sunday, in preparation for my Tao study class, I mistakenly read the wrong passage. It was about how a tiger, viewing his prey, has a choice of two actions. One is to leap to devour the prey, and the second is to do nothing. I loved that in the Tao world (actually our world) not acting is an action.
Then I was searching on the Web for the Heart Sutra today to send a prisoner. Lo and behold, the version I came across used the word void for emptiness. How nice I thought! My walking partner reminds me that before things there really was nothing. Space was not a container without contents. It wasn't. No outside. No inside. Nada.
So I've been trying to not busy myself with watching myself breathe—separating the breather, the breath, and the watcher—but rather I'm trying to do none of that. And not to pursue the alternative—drifting off into lala land. Hovering between being present and being vigilance is hard work—work that qualifies under the auspices of the protestation work ethic. No, I want to do something else. A while back we called it “be here now,” though at that moment when we observe ourselves being here now, we aren't here, but rather observing ourselves being there.