Hello, i have a problem with my hands. They dont stay still, and fingers and thumbs move, plus i feel kind of pain (like when you hold your arm up in the air for some time), in both my hands and arms. these are my problems, they dont happen all at once but they happen in general, so all in all i cant remain still. It is not fidgeting, they move on their own.

Also tell me please, should one feel the body while meditting, or is the point to not feel the body at all ? Or should the body (some aspect of it) always be felt, is thhat ok ?

and one more thing, is zafu necessary or can we fold a blanket instead, and basically make our own zafu ?

thank you

Answer from Master Keisen

On your first question, I would suspect that it might be related to the height where you put your hands. With the full lotus posture, this position is easy as the hands are lying on the soles of your feet. With any other posture it is more difficult to feel where they should be, not too high towards the plexus, not too low towards the ground. The criteria would be that you should put them at such a height that you do not feel any tension in your arms. If you have to maintain via your muscles the position in height of your hands, that will generate pain and fidgeting. It is then up to you to find this correct height. On the other hand you can also put a little cushion or rolled scarp underneath them, so they will rest on it, and you would have no effort to make. That will help you at the beginning.

In my perception you feel your body naturally. The way to keep a close contact with your entire body is to observe your breathing. When you breathe in, just observe the air entering your lungs, and your thorax moves. When you breath out, observe the movement of the breathing out which goes deeply in the lower part of your body. There are two things at the same time: try to calm your breathing by gentle concentration, and at the same time observe all related movements in your body. This way you will naturally explore your body in an integrated way. Practice of zazen is the practice of the body-mind. Of course the body should not be put aside. Concentration and observation will occupy you so your brain will not think about all these things. Everything will then go in a natural way.

A zafu is great. It has the correct form, is soft and hard enough at the same time. A blanket may be too soft. At the beginning do not use a too flat zafu - which a blanket could be - otherwise you risk to hold your spine with your muscles and not with a natural balance of the body. But if you want to use a blanket, you can wrap it around a brick, so it is not too soft.

Hope that helps.

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