Practice notes, these days • 29 April 2009

Relaxing the jaw and tongue

Anna Wise found that even zen masters couldn’t take their beta waves down from active chit-chat mode until they relaxed their tongues. It seems that when the tongue is unrelaxed, the part of the brain that does discursive thought (i.e. spoken or unspoken speech) goes pretty nuts. However, zen master who relaxes tongue quiets mind.

The implication of this for rooms in which there is much verbal instruction (or in which students actually talk–I hear that happens sometims… odd…) are noted.

Relaxing the head

There are three different stretches that I can give to the muscles inside the head (or is it the optic nerve?) when I’m looking to the third eye. It just depends on how far out I gaze (even if the eyes are closed). There is one area within this range that, when I rest in in for a few seconds, causes the hip flexors to tingle and let go. Further supports this idea that there may be a jaw-hip connection.


In the past I’ve thought that the kosha model of body “layers’ was tedious. Eastern philosophy is full of lists—at its worst it feels like arbitrary nominalism rather than illumination. But lately the gross-subtle-causal model of body layers seems too coarse. The kosha model divides subtle and causal into two sub-levels, in an interesting way. Recently Susan also reminded me that gross-subtle-causal is often seen as being crowned by turiya. And somewhere Ken Wilber reminded me that in the Tibetan imagination turiya is followed by a trans-personal “body” called turiyatita. Whatever Anyway, both five-layer models—the Indian and the Tibetan—now seems to be kind of useful for interpreting experience. Or locating it.


People keep asking me about what I want to manifest. You mean like The Secret? I could manifest a Ferrari? Awesome!

Riiight. Boring. Listening to Shinzen a while back, I loved his chuckled aside when he was discussing the clairvoyance and petty mind-control stuff that happens to people who meditate a lot in a certain way. There’s the spirituality of powers, he said, and the spirituality of liberation. Powers are fine. “But those are the—heh heh heh—lesser gods, shall we say.” 

My favorite metaphysically unstable feline puts it best: there is the spirituality of getting what you want. And the spirituality of wanting what you get. I guess I’m more interested in playing with the internal situation—what is wanted—than with the Ferrari situation—what is gotten. Maybe if The Secret worked for Lexus coupes rather than Ferraris…?

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