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Pause, Place, Space, and Awe

In movement there is pause but it is not called pause.

Imagine we moved at half-speed, with more awareness that in turn, sees start-up as slowly unfolding. Yet, we would have a set or “normal” reaction time that would not seem out-of-the-ordinary.

In this universe speeding would be cause for alarm as more bumping into things would take place. In kinhin for example, one is taught to take shorter steps if they are getting too close to the person to their front. This causes an accordian response throughout the line of walkers but affords spacing throughout. The opposite effect happens when a long train starts, the line of cars are stretched one catching-hold after the other.

In our practice we are not rushed. Watching paint dry, grass grow, and water boil is worth it. Not for the end product but for the process. We have a sense of place, space and pause. In his autobiography Above the Rim, pro basketball great Bill Russell wrote about time slowing, space opening, and his soaring above the rim. He was operating within his perspective- as we all do. But, his practice and his being within his doing allowed synchronicity. In Zen we suggest this is dropping away from earlier perspectives. Here the time awareness also shifts

As we sit in shikantaza there is a reconfiguration not unlike my wifi trying to shift from one signal to another. Settling-in one signal dimension supersedes other possibilities homing-in on a stronger perspective. Here we enter sacred-space, an experience I had three years ago on a trip to the location of our old family farm in upstate Maine. I had not been there in over thirty years. My two daughters and I went on a road trip for my seventy-fifth birthday. My younger daughter had never been there and my older daughter, like me, had not been there in thirty years.

The farm, long gone, was now a new wood of all types of trees, bushes, flowers, and weeds. At the time, I wrote that my feeling in standing on this land was as if I had brought my daughters back for the land to witness this generation. It was a bittersweet experience as this was also the last time I saw my two older aunts before they died,

In our perspective there is an incompleteness and re-configuration. A kind of touching but not attaching. Awe seems to wonder in. A kind of fit and timing rolled into one offering calm. I’ve come to believe that we infuse time and space with this from the inside out. The experience is one of beyond or awe.

108 Bows


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Zoom: Password FSZS Dokusan with Sangaku-sensei by appointment •Remember Each Morning Zazen (30 min. then talk) on


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