Friday, October 16, 2009

Sitting Zen: Another Kind of Social Action

...and then there is the original social action, the practice of shamatha or stopping, returning to "no point of view," resting the intellectual activity that is concerned with history and policy and resuming the basic awareness practice of zen.

Tomorrow, at a ranch a few miles outside of town near the mountains, the Deming Zen Group holds its second meditation retreat. At the chapel pictured above, five of us will sit and walk and eat together in silence, letting go of the precious accumulations of our thinking and arriving at our only true home.

The preceding posts on public affairs are not exactly a separate activity from Zen. Dishes need to be done, children need to be taught how to behave, weeds need to be dealt with. Bills must be paid and votes must be cast. Our world is one that requires choices. Making good choices, in turn, requires clarity, intimacy, and a deep understanding of our responsibility for the wholeness of life.

In that sense, retreats are another kind of social action.

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