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Zen discipline is not a staircase or a means of getting somewhere; it is rather about the successive moments of life—of existence itself. It means being fully aware in body and spirit of the fact of your life, and continuing to cultivate and practice the best way to live as a human being. This is the meaning of Dogen’s words, “Dignity is itself the Dharma. Propriety is itself the essence of the house.”
it means to find what is the source of your own life, and what is the relationship of your body, your physical form, to this energy that animates it. The body without the energy isn’t alive, is it? So you distinguish in your own life that which is of the body and that which is of energy and consciousness.
Something that’s characteristic of our sedentary lives is that there is or may be intellectual excitement, but the body is not in it very much. So you have to engage intentionally in mechanical exercises, the daily dozen and so forth. I find it very difficult to enjoy such things, but there it is. Otherwise, your whole body says to you, “Look, you’ve forgotten me entirely. I’m becoming just a clogged stream.”