Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Zen and the Still, Sparkling Pool

Last night Bev and I got to go to the Zen class, finally. I must say, I really felt good when I left.

We began by taking our shoes off and acknowledging Buddha with a small bow. Then we sat in two lines, facing each other (9 of us) and chanted. There's a rhythm that you chant to; our leader had a CD because he has no one trained yet to use the instrument that beats out the rhythm. The chanting was in English and we had a paper to follow. There are particular ways to hold your hands; it was actually pretty comfortable. Those that can sit on the floor, do. Those that can't use a folding chair.

After the chanting, we meditated for 20 minutes. We turned to face the opposite way, and our session started and ended with a clap. I did not think I'd be able to meditate for 20 minutes. We were to meditate on "What are you?", "What is your purpose?" or "What was your face before you were born? What will your face be after you die?". In other words, we were to meditate on our inner essence, unimpeded by our physical envelopes.

Throughout the medication, my mind surprisingly didn't wander. I cleared my mind (amazing how becoming a hypnotherapist has helped me to do that; then an imagine came to me of myself as a pool of clear, still, shallow water in a forest clearing, fed by a tiny rivulet. A few amusing little crawdads lurked under the smooth pebbles at the bottom; a surrounding of green grass and dappled sunshine and shadow. Sometimes the water sparkled.

During the meditation I came to the realization that no matter what else I do, the thing I am best at is spreading cheer.

Funny, at the end of the meditation, when the leader clapped, I jumped about a foot. I was miles away from the room.

Afterwards, he gave us a koan -- that is the question which sometimes may not appear to have an answer; but requires deep thinking. Ours was "Jesus said, I am the truth and the way." But what is the truth and the way? Are they the same? Are they the same for everyone?" So that is my question to ponder until next week.

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