Zazenkai

I mentioned that I would blog about my first zazenkai experience.

Since most of us in our little group are new to the practice of meditation it was decided that we would do a shorter version. So we planned for 6 hours. There was a very organized schedule. We, essentially, did zazen for 30 minutes followed by walking meditation for 30 minutes. We also had a lunch break scheduled as well. the idea is to spend the day without speaking or engaging anyone in any conversation. The point is to just be very mindful in everything that is done, from sitting and breathing, to walking around, even down to eating the meal. During the zazen we each took turns reading something out loud. I read that poem “The Guest House” that I shared earlier this month.

I was really nervous about going. I have never done anything like this. I was really leery about not being able to talk to anyone all day. I spend all day every day talking. I like talking and being sociable. So I wasn’t sure about how I would like being around my friends all day and not being sociable with them. But, I was willing to try it out. It kind of felt like the right thing to do.

It turned out to be an incredible experience.

The readings that were chosen by everyone were amazing. One of our group plays the native american flute and instead of reading something she thought she would play for us instead. I can’t even begin to tell you how awesome it was. Seriously. There are no words to describe it. One of the guys pretty much nailed it when he said, “That was a Dharma teaching.” And he is so right. I love how music can just transcend our intellect and speak directly to our soul. that’s exactly what happened.

Since I sat there all day and had nothing else to do, my mind wandered a lot.  I sort of went through all kinds of emotions.  Everything that has been bothering me I had to deal with because there it was, bubbling up to the surface of my mind.  At one point I remember thinking, “wow. is this that still point everyone is talking about?” But no. I was just starting to doze off.  It was actually a very peaceful, lovely feeling. Do you ever notice how it feels when you drift off to sleep? That feeling right before you are asleep? I had never noticed it before. It’s a really lovely feeling.

My profound realization at the end of the day? this is it:

It was just me sitting on a cushion.

There was nothing weird or overly spiritual about at all.  It was a day spent looking outside at the water droplets on the leaves. Or tasting my chicken stew and picking out the flavors of the vegetables. Or feeling the way my foot moves across the carpet when I walk. It was just me sitting on a cushion. Breathing.

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