Dropping off body and mind

Zen Master Dogen described zazen as ‘dropping off body and mind’. The plain implication is that both are dropped off at the same time. John explains how we can also see this in a sequential way.

First, by dropping the mind into the body, which we can only do to the extent that the body is already dynamic, alive and joyful. This is why we place such an emphasis on the posture: if our posture is right, the body is naturally expressing itself, it isn’t just “my body”. It’s no longer the subordinate, owned part of the mind/body split.

And once we’ve done that, we can drop off the body. That is, we let go of a sharp distinction between this body and the greater body of all being. And that’s easier to do if mind has already been “dropped off”, because the person/world split depends on the primary mind/body split. If that primary split drops off, it’s obvious within our actual experience: there isn’t a clear boundary between person and world. We no longer wither behind the wall of the self.

Adapted from Kusen given on 19th September 2020