” To rub the ink ”
For private lessons, I normally prepare the ink maybe 60% dark black.
And I let students rub the ink and darken the rest 40% by themselves.
Because I found it is essential minutes for them to ” arrive ” to the lesson and
” leave ” their daily life and thoughts behind.
Firstly you find yourself sitting in a comfortable position on the floor or chair.
As long as your shoulders to arms and neck area are totally relaxed —( no tense unnatural pressure found please) and belly button area is free and open-you can sit however you like.
I normally sit on SEIZA ( to sit with feet folding), my students sit in various ways like on Seizas,
on the meditation bench, on the meditation cushion or in lotus sitting.
Please make sure that the table height is right for your back, shoulders and belly button area.
You pour some water into the BOKUCHI ( Ink stone’s well)
And start to rub the ink stick onto the surface called BOKUDOU ( ink stone’s temple or hill).
Ink stick should ideally be ground in circular movements.
And keep moving the Ink at an angle of 45°
You are not putting any pressure anywhere.
As you keep lightly rubbing the Ink, always make sure your shoulder is low and relaxed.
And try to slow your breathing down and deeper.
I often recommend students to “breathe in” as the ink goes down to Ink stone’s well
and “breathe out” as it comes up to the ink stone’s temple.
Like this it is easier for beginners to find a breathing rhythm and come to the non-thought-mind.
As you continue this process slowly and lightly- your thoughts are getting far away and your sense of concentration are being sharpened.
I know it is not easy to be in non-thought mind
but as you practise more you notice your mindfulness is more present.
Slowly but surely….