Finding Time for Zazen

As most of you know, zazen or seated meditation (“sitting”) is the core of our practice.  Zazen helps us quiet the mind, temporarily reducing and sometimes eliminating the chatter of our various internal voices.  When they quiet down, we can objectively reflect on that which is actually present.  In that space, we have an opportunity to discover who, or what, we really are—as opposed to what all of that monkey-mind chatter tells us we are.

As wonderful as that opportunity is, however, we often struggle to find time for zazen.  We are not monks living in temples, supported by our local communities, with only our spiritual practice to attend to.  No, we have to work jobs, take care of families, homes, cars, pets, neighbors, and so on.  Most of the time, we think we are busier than we want to be.  Often, our internal voices tell us with convincing, work-a-day authority that we don’t have time for zazen.  Zazen, these voices seem to say, is yet another thing we have to add on top of a stack of many other things that is already too much to manage.  Sometimes it seems like we need a bigger warehouse so that we can forklift in thirty minutes of zazen.

We do have another voice, however, that speaks to us with a different message.  It says that zazen is not a thing added to all of the other things in our lives.  In fact, this other voice continues, life is not at all like a stack or a pile or a boxful of things that we have to somehow force into what is already a bulging life-space.  This other voice says that life is just living, moment by moment.  Each moment contains the same amount of living space and living time.  You cannot put more into it or take anything out of it.  It is what it is, so why not relax?

Of course, it’s very hard to believe that this voice is telling us the truth when the baby’s diaper needs changing at the same time that that pot of bean soup on the stove is boiling over and a long-awaited phone call has now to be answered.  But the difference between someone who sits and someone who doesn’t is that the one who sits isn’t anxious and hysterical about those dirty-diaper-soup-pot-and-phone-call-all-at-once moments of life.  That person instantly sees which thing—the diaper, the soup, or the phone—will be attended to first.  Which one do you suppose it is?  There is a right answer here.  But if you think of life as an ever-accumulating tsunami of things and tasks, you’ll just be guessing, trying to triage your way out of the impossible.  You also can’t just evade the question by saying it doesn’t matter.  So what are you going to do?

And to return to the central question, how will you find time for zazen while doing everything else you have to do?  Those who sit can see in an instant when they will do it.   How have they managed to figure this out?  How will you?


Gendo Roshi is Spiritual Director of Great Wave Zen Sangha.

 

 

 

Great Wave to Allow In-Person Participation in Weekly Zazen Meetings

Image by Adam S. (CC2 license.)

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Great Wave Zen Sangha has been hosting meetings for zazen via the Zoom video conferencing platform.  We plan to continue doing so until all concern for transmission of the virus is behind us.  However, as of this month, we are now also allowing in-person participation in our weekly meetings for those who are fully vaccinated and immunized against the COVID-19 virus and have received an orientation to Zen practice.

Our weekly meetings take place on Thursday evenings from 7:15 PM to 8:15 PM and include two periods of zazen and one of kinhin.

To participate either virtually or in person, please log in and complete our Event Registration Form. After registering, you will receive an email with instructions for participating in your chosen mode of participation. If you choose to participate virtually, you will need to install the free Zoom client on your computer. (You can also download and install the free Zoom mobile app on your smartphone.)  If you choose to participate in person (and are fully immunized), wearing a mask is optional.

To ensure that we can start and end on time, please plan to join the Zoom meeting no later than 7:10 PM. In-person participants should arrive at Myogenji no later than 7:10 PM as well.

Reminder of New Great Wave Meeting Time

This is simply a reminder regarding a recent post on the Great Wave website that the sangha will resume a schedule weekly zazen starting this evening at 7:00 PM.  Below is a copy of the post.

Thanks.


 

As many of you know, Great Wave has been on hiatus for quite some time. Over the past two years, a search for a new location has been made and many ideas discussed and considered. And the search continues. (If you would like to help with this process, please contact Gendo Sensei.)

Zafu-soto-zen1024In the meantime, Sensei has made arrangements with West Shore Community College to hold weekly meetings on campus. Starting this week, Wednesday, October 7, 7:00 – 8:15 PM, Great Wave will be back in action. If you had been sitting with Great Wave Zen Sangha prior to our “homeless” state, we hope you will join us this Wednesday in Room 305 of West Shore’s Arts and Sciences Center. If you are new to Zen or to Great Wave Zen Sangha, we ask that you contact us to arrange a brief orientation. Orientations will take place on Wednesdays at 6:00 PM.

Please remember to wear dark (preferably black), loose-fitting clothing. (No shorts or sleeveless shirts, please.)

If you have any questions, please let us know via our contact form.

We very much look forward to practicing with you once again!

Let’s Sit!

As many of you know, Great Wave has been on hiatus for quite some time.  Over the past two years, a search for a new location has been made and many ideas discussed and considered.  And the search continues.  (If you would like to help with this process, please contact Gendo Sensei.)

Zafu-soto-zen1024In the meantime, Sensei has made arrangements with West Shore Community College to hold weekly meetings on campus.  Starting this week, Wednesday, October 7, 7:00 – 8:15 PM, Great Wave will be back in action.  If you had been sitting with Great Wave Zen Sangha prior to our “homeless” state, we hope you will join us this Wednesday in Room 305 of West Shore’s Arts and Sciences Center.  If you are new to Zen or to Great Wave Zen Sangha, we ask that you contact us to arrange a brief orientation.  Orientations will take place on Wednesdays at 6:00 PM.

Please remember to wear dark (preferably black), loose-fitting clothing.  (No shorts or sleeveless shirts, please.)

If you have any questions, please let us know via our contact form.

We very much look forward to practicing with you once again!

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