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Primal Zen

by Sam Turton


1) Introduction
2) Words
3) Silence, Feeling, and Attention
4) Thought
5) Forms of Attention
6) Essential Practices of Silence - Still Attention
7) Essential Practices of Silence - Active Attention
8) Zen & Primal

Chapter Eight: Zen & Primal

The essential element in primal life is feeling. The primal adventure seems to begin by feeling and expressing tremendous volumes of stored pain. As the bulk of pain is released and integrated, the body, no longer having to protect itself in numbness and distraction, can feel and experience the sensations of present-day life.

To drop into the full force of a primal requires unwavering attention to the feeling. The more the primaler is able to stay with the feeling and not distract, the deeper and more direct the experience will be.

In addition to primalling, newly feeling individuals need to be grounded in reality again and again - in order to reacquaint ourselves with the life we have been absent from. We need to learn, like children, what life actually is and how to grow and find a strong, grounded place in it. We need to feed on present sensation as much as we needed, in infancy, to feed from our mother's breast.

In all these cases, the Zen practice of attention is of immeasurable value in the development and blossoming of feeling. A Zen life is a Primal life.

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January 2000 by Sam Turton

This article first appeared on Sam Turton's website -

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