These questions relate to Martine Batchelor's Week 4 video, "The Feeling Tone," from her Tricycle Retreat, Break Your Addictive Patterns.
1. Dear Martine, What other forms of questioning meditation are there than "What is This?" and the koans? It seems to me very useful, but is sitting with a question, "Why do I do such-and-such?" likely to bring an answer, or an examination of the process? I'm not sure. Thank you for the retreat!
"What is this?" is a specific type of question asked in a specific Zen context. There are different ways of meditating with koans. I practice the question in the Korean Way. This practice is not about answering but about questioning. It is not a psychological or an intellectual question about any given thing. It is a practice which combines concentration and enquiry to helps us develop quietness and clarity, stability and openness. The main aim is to develop a sensation of questioning. It is like if you were asking the question about the whole moment and this would help you to be aware of the whole moment in a different way.
What do we do with our neutral feelings? Are these the ones that should be harnessed for creative power, or does creativity happen despite or outside of the neutral feelings?
Generally I would recommend to be aware of neutral feelings and to just rest in them. Creative power is harnessed through developing stability and openness, through cultivating concentration and inquiry together in meditation. Feelings arise generally because of contact with something, a sound, a sensation, etc... They can be pleasant, unpleasant or neutral. We are not trying to develop only certain feelings. We are trying to be aware of them at a basic level and try not to grasp at them but to know them.