Sunday, February 01, 2009

Building A New Zen Room, Day One

Five months ago, I put a note in the window of the neighborhood used book store inviting people to come sit Zen with me, and leaving my phone number. Last week, someone called, and suddenly there are anywhere from 3 to 6 people interested in trying out a regular sitting group.

Suddenly, I needed a space. There was no way we were going to fit on the front porch -- and my cushions were getting saturated with dust sitting out there anyway. Sarah and I both spoke to our landlord about the garage in our backyard, a structure used for storing lawn equipment and other things, and was not part of our lease. They thought about it and agreed to rent it, and within a day they had cleared it out and swept.



The first day's work was primarily about dust abatement and cobwebs. The place does not smell of gasoline, and does not even have a driveway. It is set well back from the street in a backyard conducive to walking meditation. I attacked layers of dust with brooms, cleaning agents, and electric vacuum. It was a good first scrub, leaving the air breathable although a couple more assaults will be necessary.

The floor is cold concrete, cracked and uneven in places. The whole floor will eventually be covered with a layer of foam and area rugs on top. Today, we laid the first rug down just to get some cushions in and see where we were. Even on the one rug, we can seat five.



Rustic, but it's a start. There are no windows, of course, but during the day with the door open, sunshine comes in and the view opens to the yard. Besides softening and warming the floor, some other aesthetic touches are indicated: dress those studs with some plain fabric, get some decor up, and maybe spruce up the altar accoutrements. What I had on hand is more or less a travel kit:



Ordered a cheap singing bowl from HimalayanBowls.com and scoped out bargain supplies on the internet.

Even if no one ever comes, and that is always a possibility, it feels good to have a place where I can do the chanting service again. Chanting is certainly not indispensable, but it is a useful meditation practice, sets a tone for sitting, and is rather pleasant. Heck, it's just nice to hang my robes on a hook again...


5 comments:

Kelly said...

Looks like you found an ideal spot in answer to your problem.

Ji Hyang said...

Good job!
i have a water offering bowl and maybe other altar things around here not in use. Shall we send these...

Jane R said...

Lovely!

Debby said...

Wish I lived closer. I'm looking for a little more of a zen-existance. I guess that I will have to be my own teacher.

Tibetan Singing Bowls said...

Great article. I would love to build a room like this. Good work.