To sit or not to sit?

//To sit or not to sit?

To sit or not to sit?

Someone told me the other day that she/he had not been sitting lately because he/she was not doing well, because he/she was stressed and had many complications with relationships, work, everyday life.
I suppose we can all recognize ourselves in that. And yet the truth is that we have the whole thing backwards.
I thought about what Shunryu Suzuki, one of the Japanese masters who brought Zen to the United States in the early 1960s, said: « Life without zazen (sitting meditation) is like winding your clock without setting it. It runs perfectly well, but it doesn’t tell time. »

By | 2015-10-02T15:36:58+01:00 juillet 8th, 2012|Textes|6 Comments

About the Author:

Enseignante Zen et poète, Sensei Amy “Tu es cela” Hollowell est née et a grandi à Minneapolis, aux Etats-Unis. Arrivée en France en 1981 pour étudier la littérature et l’histoire, elle y est restée, s’installant à Paris, où elle élève ses deux enfants et gagne sa vie en tant que journaliste. The Zen teacher and poet Amy “Tu es cela” Hollowell Sensei was born and raised in Minneapolis, but came to France in 1981 to study literature and history and has lived in Paris ever since, raising her two children and making a living as a journalist.


  1. ceu 5 novembre 2012 at 9 h 21 min - Reply

    like 🙂

  2. Nube 18 juillet 2012 at 11 h 02 min - Reply

    Thank you

  3. tu es cela 16 juillet 2012 at 18 h 34 min - Reply

    i would not say that, no.
    just sitting, or what is sometimes exotically referred to as zazen, is not a performance.
    while there is a "formal" interpretation of what it is to "just sit" — that is, the actual physical act of sitting — it is also possible to "just sit" at any moment, in the midst of any and every thing.

  4. Nube 13 juillet 2012 at 19 h 20 min - Reply

    So if I understand you right zazen is sitting meditation and not sitting is not performing zazen?

  5. tu es cela 12 juillet 2012 at 9 h 41 min - Reply

    yes, it does seem to be hard to look at what happens to be happening right now.
    if we give it a try, however, as we do with sitting, we discover (little by little, perhaps) that there is actually less anxiety and suffering and fear and difficulty arising than if we try to divert our attention in one way or another.
    also, by looking away (or not looking or staying with whatever it is), we miss so much of the rest of life, too!

  6. Wisdom Beyond Wisdom 11 juillet 2012 at 0 h 52 min - Reply

    I totally identify with this, I tell myself I can’t sit lately because of the same reasons, stress at work, dificulties with relationships, tiredness, etc. And then it makes me feel even worst, because I think I’m failing on this too…
    I think Shunryu Suzuki was right. I’d like to be able to sit (stay with it) when things are difficult like this, and when things are easier… It all seems to be part of the same life.
    But it’s hard to stay with "here and now" at this moment. It’s hard to look at it.

Leave A Comment