Lengthen your spine, says the man facing about 100 of us in the lecture hall. Now open the front of your body around the sternum. Don’t strain, feel relaxed. This is the same instruction I give to tango dancers preparing to embrace, connect, and move to the music together. The man giving these instructions is Paul Haller, SF Zen Center priest and he is describing the posture for meditation or zazen. It is exactly the same from the waist up for tango posture. Both tango & zazen are in the body. Both are experiential, meaning you find yourself in each. Imagine tha.
There is something else in Paul’s lecture that overlaps tightly with tango, that both in a laissez-faire way diminish our sense of separateness from the rest of the world. I wonder—just as many first-timers never return to the crucible of tango or of zazen. I submit that is the fear of losing the familiar. Fear of losing the sense that you are separate and apart from others. In other words, too, fear of intimacy with yourself. Both tango & zazen are similar crucibles, in that they forge a new perspective, that we are already home, already connected, already perfect, loved, great in who we are this very moment. Imagine that.
Paul’s lecture – in case you’re interested in more on Zen and zazen – note that the lecture starts about 5 minutes into the video.