The Art of Breathing Into Expression
with Jody Hojin Kimmel, Sensei
July 21 - 23, 2023
If each stroke is our entire breath, how dare we correct it?
Breath is a vital life force and is intimately related to our awareness. To breathe is to be alive! Zazen, a form of seated meditation, is at the very heart of Zen practice. We tend to see body, breath, and mind as separate, but in zazen we begin to see how they are one inseparable reality. First giving attention to the position of our body in zazen, we begin establishing an awake and relaxed posture. Then we locate the breathe, breathing in a relaxed manner, not controlling or manipulating, a way that feels most effortless. Placing our attention to completely experiencing the breath, we discover the simple sensations of breathing.
Scattered mental activity and energy keeps us separated from each other, from environment, from ourselves. In the process of sitting, the surface activity of our minds begins to slow down. The mind, like a pond surface—when wind is blowing, is disturbed; ripples and sediment from the bottom are stirred. It’s difficult to see beneath the surface though the water is clear and pure by nature. Contacting that stillness, the unbounded vitality of our life arises. If we don’t see it clearly, we may never get the opportunity to come to a point of rest. The more completely our mind can rest, the more deeply your body is at rest. The whole body comes to a point of stillness. This is not something particularly unusual, rather an essential aspect of being alive: the ability to be awake!
We’ll be working with practices from the Ānāpānasati Sutta, a discourse by the Buddha that examines the awareness of breath (ānāpāna) as a focus for meditation. We’ll then move into direct expression onto paper with mark making tools, and further still into other mediums creating “shapes of awake” to be explored by each participant.
All practitioners are welcome! Materials will be provided.
As with all in-person retreats at the Monastery, participants are required to follow the current protocol for keeping everyone safe. Please review the current protocol requirements before registering, and if you have further questions, please contact the registrar.
Financial concerns should not prevent you from attending a program at the Monastery. If you can’t afford the program fee, you can see these options.
Jody Hojin Kimmel, Sensei received the priestly transmission (the transmission of the Precepts) from Daido Roshi, who began the process in 2009, and from Shugen Roshi, who completed the transmission in 2012. In 2017, she received full dharma transmission from Shugen Roshi. She serves as the Training Director for the Mountains and Rivers Order and Abbot of the Zen Center of NYC-Fire Lotus Temple . Hojin Sensei began her artistic career early and has taught drawing, ceramics, and painting, opening people up to the wonders and mysteries of the creative process and continues to offer Art Practices as part of her teaching. She has been in full-time residential training at the Monastery since 1990 and now shares her time at the Brooklyn temple.
Learn more about Jody Hojin Kimmel, Sensei