Paying Attention

by Onryu Patrick Teverbaugh

Paying attention, mindfulness, what are my hands doing? What are my shoulders doing? At a Jikoji sesshin, early in my practice, Katherine taught me to coordinate my body movements to better reflect the inward focus of meditation. I was the doan ending a period of outdoor kinhin running up the steps, swinging the bell and striker about to get the attention of the meditators up the hill. Katherine motioned me aside and demonstrated how to carry the bell close to my body, “not as aggressive.” She encouraged me to adjust the speed of my movement to the others around me so as not to distract. Initially I felt that she was cramping my style. but then I began to experience the feeling of being in accord with the

environment, feeling my part in the whole thing. That feeling has become a touchstone for me, the center that I can revolve around or settle into at any moment. It brings me back into my body, back into the moment. At the same time it feels connected and spacious. My heart gets in gear I think I’m saving myself! I think of that short lesson from Katherine often how just a small adjustment in my body, in my attitude seems to effect the whole universe.

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