Intimacy and Samdhi
“Whatever it is, you don’t analyze it; you don’t judge it; you don’t try to understand it; you don’t categorize it. You just watch it. And somehow, by that attentiveness, the thoughts begin to diminish. They lose their strength and then gradually stop arising, until they finally disappear. Body and mind fall away. The same is true of a koan. All of your attention goes into the one question until you become that question. You don’t think about it. You just be it. Again, that’s samadhi. Gradually, absolute samadhi becomes working samadhi and it begins to function in everyday activities. There’s a bit of that samadhi in the life of all of us.” The Direct Experience of Reality, Posted on April 6, 2013, Dharma Discourse by John Daido Loori, Roshi
This is what is called “identity activity,” where one is identified with the task, where there is no gap between oneself and what one is doing. I, for one, am particularly bad at it.
Observing everything? I am fabulous at that. Abandoning unskillful thoughts? Check. Being one with the activity I am doing? Horrible.
Zen seems to demand two contradictory skills/ways of being: acute observation of every perception and getting into the “flow” so that I am one with the activity. I am excellent at the first and lousy at the second. When I really get into an activity, I notice little else and am easily startled. Is this supposed to be a paradox? Is there a balance to be achieved?
I want to find that bit of Samadhi in my life. But if I become the looking, then I have already found it and if I don’t become the looking, I will never find it.