Sitting with the itch
Good #zazen today. An easy claim, as all zazen is pretty much inherently perfect.
As is everything else. But we tend to talk about much other stuff in contexts where it's (perhaps?) useful to speak as though it weren't.
About five minutes in (I have bells set every five minutes for thirty minutes in the little Zen timer app that I use on my oblong), I got a very strong itch near the small of my back.
My body was yelling, “Itch! Itch! Possible burrowing parasitic insect or infected thorn or something! Skin alert! Scrape skin with fingernails at once!”, as bodies do.
It was interesting to sit there with the itch and the yelling from my body, as one sits there with the sleepiness and the arising and dissipating of thoughts and the taking in and letting out of breath.
We scratch itches just like we wash our bowls (or put them in the dishwasher) after eating; there's nothing at all wrong with scratching an itch. We also follow trains of thought, pursue ideas, walk around, and even fall asleep.
But it's good, it's also good, to sometimes sit there with the itch, not scratching it but just acknowledging it, accepting it, noticing that the body is yelling. Noticing that we are sleepy, that trains of thought are arising, that the legs are aching a bit. And not doing anything about it.