Sunday, January 4, 2015

The Meditation and Clear Mind of Jung-Joong-Dong

Seiza, in Japanese, literally means "proper sitting".

To sit seiza-style, one must first be kneeling on the floor, folding their legs underneath their thighs, while resting the buttocks on the heels. The ankles are turned outwards as the tops of the feet are lowered so that, in a slight "V" shape, the tops of the feet are flat on the floor and big toes sometimes are overlapped, and the buttocks are finally lowered all the way down.

Stepping into and out of seiza is mindfully performed.

A seiza-bench allows one to sit in the seiza position but slightly elevated so as not to have your weight rest upon your lower legs or calfs.

Many seiza benches will be on a slight incline. This allows your hips to rotate forward allowing abdomen to be more "open" to allow for better and fuller breathing.

Often a pillow can be used beneath your knees.

Sit with your back straight, preferably with no back support to lean against. Your spine is straight like a young bamboo shoot reaching towards the blue sky, and your arms fall from the shoulders like leaves heavy with rain.

You can imagine a string or chain connected to the crown of your head and your spine hanging straight down from you head as well.

Do not slouch for it affects and inhibits your breathing.

If comfortable, cup one hand and lay it in the palm of your other hand so that the ends of your thumbs meet. In Japanese this is called mokuto, or reflection; looking inwards.

In the mokuto position the hands embrace the unseen vase. This vase represents your body; the vase's emptiness represents the emptiness of mushin.

If your hands cannot sit in this position comfortably, open palms, face-up on the knees is preferable. 

~ ~ ~

Mushin in Japanese means "no mind". In Chinese it is We Xin.

When you do something, you have to concentrate to do it the first time, and maybe even the fourth or tenth time, but eventually you can perform the activity without thought; the same way you would dial a telephone number you've used hundreds of times. The ultimate goal is not to have to concentrate to be able to perform the task with "no mind". This is how the mind is cleared and readied for Clear Mind. This is mushin.
The difference between mushin and mindlessness is that in mindlessness the mind is active and wandering - it is not clear, quiet, and still.

The unseen vase (and thus your body and mind) is empty but full of potential, like the central hub of a wheel and emptiness of a vase, as Lao Tzu speaks of in the Tao Teh Ching, verse 11.

~ ~ ~

The tip of your tongue is lightly pressed against the front roof of your mouth This will avoid drooling.

Once sitting you should stay still. Do not indulge small irritants or itches. you can use small itches to practice and remind yourself of impermanence. All things pass. All states change.

You will remember that you have forgotten the last itch. You only remember it now because of the itch you currently suffer. Do not itch it. Do not move. Remain sitting and calm, knowing it not only will pass, but it is no inconsequential that it will pass from you memory.

~ ~ ~

Breath through you nose and exhale through you nose. Remember to inhale and breath with your belly, like a baby, not through your chest.

Focus on your breath. This will be your anchor. There are numerous ways to do this. You will have to find what's easiest and most comfortable for yourself.

When I inhale (remember, breath like a baby) I pay attention to the dry air passing through my nostrils. you can say it to yourself: "Dry".

When I exhale, I pay attention to the warm moist air sensation in my nostrils and say "moist".

Your breathing becomes a pattern. Dry - moist - dry - moist.

If your mind begins to wander you can return to your breath; dry - moist - dry - moist.

When, over time, you become comfortable with this anchor, you may use it to become increasingly more aware of the instantaneous and perpetual nature of the Now. The Now is eternal yet fleeting.

When breathing there are not only two steps - dry (inhale) and moist (exhale). There is an instantaneous moment when you've stopped inhaling yet haven't begun to exhale yet. This is the Peak.

There is also an instant when you've emptied your lungs but haven't began to inhale yet. (Don't confuse this with holding your breath). This is the Valley.

As much as I'd like to tell you to say in you mind,
Dry Peak, Moist Valley, you really shouldn't.

Although it is true that the Peak falls between the Dry and the Moist, and that the Valley separates the Moist from the Dry, if you say them, their instant moment has already pasted. At best saying "peak" and "valley" are only an echo of the memory.
So too is the nature of the Perpetual Now.

Dry - (peak) - Moist - (valley)
This becomes your wandering mind's anchor.

~ ~ ~

The eventual 'goal' is to 'achieve' Clear Mind (the first fruits).
It should not be strived for. This should not be the mental focus of your practice. Discipline is needed but it is simply the discipline of your practice.
There will be no teacher to remind you. There will be no disciplinarian or authority figure to punish or reward you. There should be no punishment or reward, just as there shouldn't be a goal strived for. Just the discipline of your continued practice.

Slowly, in time, Clear Mind will manifest. Although there is no formula and each individual experience will be different, it could be expected to begin in short lucid moments. Often not while meditating.

In time, these occurrences may become more frequent or may be longer lived; stretching into hours or possibly days.

(Although I do believe we all have the potential to 'achieve' a state of being perpetually lucid - always in Clear Mind - I'm not sure how easily this is achieved).

Once this state becomes more and more within our grasps, we reap their benefits.

~ ~ ~

Most believe that in order to make a decision we need to pass through three steps. We need to contemplate (think about or process) the issue or problem at hand. Then we make a decision one way or the other. And finally we put that decision into action.

This is incorrect. This is inherently flawed right from the start. To contemplate successfully requires Clear Mind. Without Clear Mind we cannot truly contemplate.

The first step in this procedure is meditation. We do not meditate on the issue or problem at hand. We simply already have the practice of meditation in place; hopefully having lucid moment of Clear Mind and during these isolated moments, only then do we begin practicing contemplate.

At this point it should become clear what course of action (or inaction) we need. The final step becomes appropriate resolution.

Now, it's fine to say these things and hope to achieve them, but in practical day-to-day life we must make numerous decisions all the time. We will often not have the luxury to wait for Clear Mind.
I am not advocating indecision or procrastination. But we must be aware that our decision-making ability is compromised and inherently flawed without Clear Mind.
We must still make decisions - big or small - but with intent and hope.

This is why I meditate. This is what I believe Jung-Joong-Dong of Jungshin Sooyang is and this is why I practice it.

~ ~ ~

What I find more interesting and encouraging is that Jung-Joong-Dong of Jungshin Sooyang finds its origins in the Martial Arts of Traditional Taekwon-do, as taught by General Choi.

However, to 'practice' Jung-Joong-Dong of Jungshin Sooyang one does not need to practice the Martial Art itself. It is simply a way of life; a way of viewing the world. It is the lens in which we choose to see through.
With this in mind, the symbolism of the colours of the Taekwon-do belts still maintain their values and symbolism.

The mokuto position of the hands and significance of the unseen vase is an emptying and readiness to move forward; a willingness to learn and grow; and abandonment of the ego. (White)

Sitting on the ground, we rest our knees and feet upon the fertile earth (Yellow), with your back straight - yet flexible like a young bamboo shoot (Green) we reach up for the blue sky (Blue).

The eventual and lucid moments of Clear Mind are the first fruits (Red), and eventually and finally, a fullness, a fearlessness (Solace) and immunity to darkness (Black).

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