Thursday, September 16, 2010

Ten Days of Zazen

A zafu, the traditional seat cushion used in z...Image via WikipediaWhen life gets busy, things like taking ten minutes for meditation tend to get skipped. Of course, it's when life is at its craziest that meditation helps the most. Sometimes you need to quote Nike and just do it.

Since I was feeling unsettled and, admittedly, had been neglecting my own yoga practice, I thought perhaps I should take the baby step of cultivating a regular meditation practice. The day I decided to give it a try I never got around to it. So the next day I did what any anal, schedule-driven Virgo would do - I put it on my to-do list.

(Remember the Milk is a really good online to-do list if you're like me and appreciate those kinds of things.)

The idea of Zazen, the Buddhist practice of just sitting, appealed to me. I'd been researching Buddhism online, on the off chance that there was a closeted group of Buddhists in the North Country I could hang out with and learn from (if they're here, they're well hidden), when I came across Treeleaf Zendo, an online Zen Buddhist Sangha (community). It's a great website. They have a nice meditation timer, a very welcoming forum where I can ask questions and a great video blog published on Shambhala SunSpace, part of the online home of Shambhala Sun magazine. Among the blog entries are 23 entries on "Zazen for Beginners." These ten minute talks cover the basics of sitting, from how to actually physically sit to what's going on in your mind during all this sitting.

For the past ten days I've been watching one of the videos, then just sitting for 10 minutes. It's on my to-do list, so I've made time. After 5 days, I started doing my morning chores faster so I would be able to sit before I left to teach my first yoga class of the day. (Today I wasn't quite finished so I folded some laundry during the video so I'd have enough time to sit.) You know what? I like it. Lots.

Of course, it's just ten days, not long enough to say it's a habit. I'm still learning, and will probably be learning for a long time, if not forever. But I'm excited because it feels right and makes sense.

In the chaos I call my life, that's saying something.
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