developing body-mind consciousness
“To discover the BodyMind continuum and develop Embodiment, we must DISEMBODY our conceptual physical form and conceptual material existence. Only then can we realize that this very body is the Dharma Body, Buddha Nature, all creation, our very intimate consciousness.”~ Roshi Paul Genki Kahn
“Through our own body we learn to understand the universe. We do this by slowing everything down, as if saying, ‘Wait a minute, we are going to look with fresh eyes and listen with opened ears and a renewed awareness in all of our senses at this mystery of life that is presenting itself through, within, and as the body.’ In this way we can temporarily suspend all judgements and conclusions about the body. Again and again, with fresh eyes, we closely examine all of our theories and patterns of experiencing what we know as the body. In this suspension we are supported by the mystery of the underlying and ultimately unknowable matrix of open intelligence. Our feelings, thoughts, sensations, and emotions reveal the interconnectedness of immediate experience with the whole world of underlying patterns. This process of realization happens spontaneously when we allow ourselves to fully perceive whatever we are experiencing in the moment, without becoming attached to the perception, and at the same time, without rejecting it…We learn to become aware of our deep perceptions as both vital and real, but more important, we recognize that our own forms of perceptions are the gateway into the matrix that intimately connects us to everything else.”~ Richard Freeman
THE MIRROR OF YOGA: Awakening the Intelligence of Body and Mind
While meditation is a physical as well as a mental discipline, we emphasize the need for specific Embodiment Practices as a developmental “physical” approach to awakening or enlightenment, part of our holistic approach to spiritual practice. Embodiment Practices include such disciplines as yoga, Taiji, Qi Gong, Aikido, Gung-fu, Alexander Technique, and other specialized forms of movement and dance.
Characteristic aspects of Embodiment Practices:
- they offer physical training in progressive levels of intensity and complexity, developing strength, flexibility, coordination, balance and breath control;
- they cultivate physical health and core energy (prana, chi, ki);
- they awaken BodyMind Consciousness and a connection to nature and all creation;
- they sharpen concentration, awareness, sensitivity;
- they facilitate the ability to merge in absorption, and they can lead to profound awakening experiences.
At our various communities we offer a variety of Embodiment Practice in classes, workshops and as a part of our Zen Retreats (sesshin).
Other Useful Information
Locations and contact information
Useful information on getting started with a Zen practice
Coursework designed to support and grow your practice
Information on Zen Garland's seven Core Practices
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