Monday, February 27, 2006

More on absorption

Today's Daily Dharma has another extract that's related to flow and absorption. (See The crisp simplicity of the moment.)
In the case of archery, the hitter and the hit are no longer two opposing objects, but are one reality.... Zen is the "everyday mind," as was proclaimed by Baso (Ma-tsu, died 788); this "everyday mind" is no more than "sleeping when tired, eating when hungry." As soon as we reflect, deliberate, and conceptualize, the original unconsciousness is lost and a thought interferes. We no longer eat while eating, we no longer sleep while sleeping. The arrow is off the string but does not fly straight to the target, nor does the target stand where it is. Calculation which is miscalculation sets in.

—D.T. Suzuki, in Eugen Herrigel's Zen and the Art of Archery
Absorption in the act of shooting involves becomine one with the act, not being aware of the individual elements that one does to accomplish it. One is not focussed on one's breathing, one's fingers, the pulling in one's arm, etc. One is focussed on the shooting, along with the arrow and the target, as a complete activity. (At least I imagine that's the way it is. I'm not an archer, zen or otherwise.)

No comments: