Monday, September 20, 2010

Zen Porn


More than anything else, running a Zen group is about practicing publicly. That's what being a dharma teacher is about, too, for that matter.

Not knowing all the answers.

Not having beautiful and fancy supplies and equipment.

It's about showing up, welcoming whoever comes, and practicing even when no one comes. Doing it and, in certain situations, bearing witness to your practice.

There are folks who check the practice out and don't come back. There are folks are come for a little while and wander off, finding something else to do. And a few folks who have stuck around and keep showing up, even when it rains.

Somewhere, I can't remember, maybe on someone's Facebook page, someone was asking a question about daily meditation practice and whether there was a danger of it becoming rote, like brushing one's teeth. The questioner wanted to know how to keep the meditation vital and "dangerous" or something.

Wanting meditation to be vital, exciting, special, "dangerous," whatever -- that's a dream. It's Zen porn. It's like saying that if your Zen room doesn't look beautiful you can't practice. When you pay attention, you see vitality everywhere, you are breathing it in and out. You can smell the cedar the trees have contributed to the yard, feel your child alive in your arms, taste the tea. Rise from the cushion feeling rested, centered, awake, ready to walk on like a lion. Simply being yourself fully without any extra pressure -- that's not "exciting" but it's pretty wonderful.

And by the way, you've got to pay attention when you brush your teeth, too.

Below is a picture of the provisional altar in our Zen room, located in the attic above the garage. It is still pretty dusty and there is much work to do, but while it is "under construction" practice goes on. We advertise two practice sessions publicly, but when I practice up there at other times people can join me, too.


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