Lone Wolf put a comment linking to a video interview with David Chadwick, author of Crooked Cucumber, the biography of Shunryu Suzuki Roshi. Click here to go to it or click on the title of this article. You have to scroll way down the page, but it’s there. I haven’t watched the whole thing. But it contains the only film I’ve ever seen of a talk by Suzuki Roshi. That’s pretty cool.
And in the interview Chadwick answers a question I always hear, which is how do you get motivated to do Zazen practice. The answer, which Chadwick poses a bit more politely than I’m about to, is fuck motivation, just practice. He compares it to writing, which I can relate to. Any writer knows that if you only write when you’re specifically motivated to do so you won’t produce anything worthwhile. You just gotta sit down and do it. Same with Zazen. You set a time each day for Zazen and you do it then, whether you want to do it or not, whether it feels like you think it should or not. You just get down and do it.
Another question I’m getting a lot lately, sometimes phrased with a sense of urgency that’s a bit scary, is what kind of Yoga practices can you do to limber up enough to do full or half-lotus. In my case, I could always do full lotus even from an early age. I just couldn’t hold it very long. It’s kinda weird cuz I wasn’t very flexible otherwise. Anyhow, I limbered up enough to do a full sitting period in full lotus by just doing it as long as I could stand, then adding a couple minutes more, then changing positions to Burmese style. After a few months I could do 40 min. with no real problem.
For Yoga exercises, I don’t know all that well & besides it’s a bitch to try to describe Yoga exercises in words. But all Yoga practice is said by some to be preparation to sit in full lotus. So just go to your local McYoga and spend $15 on the intro class, then corner the teacher afterwards and ask for advise. That’s a lot better than asking me anyway, cuz you’ll be talking to someone face to face who can see what your real physical state is like. Yoga teachers are generally really sweet people who want to help everyone they meet, so take advantage of the suckers! (But not too much, OK)
Now I gotta go do some more work…
(Don’t forget, come see my dang movie if you’re in the LA area July 25th)