"Things change" was a constant theme of Suzuki Roshi, and impermanence is a fundamental understanding in Buddhism. Phenomena (everything we think of as real) are constantly arising and decaying, so pay attention. Along that line, isn't it curious how some people stick like velcro to themselves and their beliefs? Mostly people who are good at distracting themselves from their suffering, I think. Often people don't adopt meditation seriously until overwhelmed by suffering. It seems much the same to me as "hitting bottom" in an addiction.
Among the principles of Assertiveness Training I once taught in the heyday of feminism, was the right to change your mind. Not that we should enshrine our tendency to ADD and flutterby everything, but we should pay attention to new information, like, the love of your life has been having sex with the babysitter. Things change, new information, you change. Old age is a stream of things like this. You start having stress fractures in your feet; throw away high heels, move into well-fitting athletic shoes. Surprising how difficult it can be when you are attached to some dumb red shoes or husband or other delusion.
Since I put out word that I was offering a course in Zen (see previous post), I've talked to a number of people and decided to offer instead a sitting group for women only. Someday I might write about what happens in mixed-gender peer groups or discussions, and how radically women's lives differ from men's, but you could google it yourself.
The description of the sitting group follows this pleasing short video in which Sylvia Boorstein introduces lovingkindness meditation, which I plan to introduce in the group.
~ Women’s Meditation Group ~
Contemporary Zen strays by struggling to get away from the heart's innermost request - to realize the same heart as Buddha. Our problem is not that we aspire too much, but that we aspire too little, and aim for selfcentered wisdom and compassion rather than the full-blown real deal. ~ Dosho PortSince I announced a course called The Zen Way to a Balanced Life, I’ve learned that only women were interested (which is interesting), and that almost everyone has schedule conflicts this time of year.
Bowing to reality - which is basic to Zen, when you think about it - I’ve decided to change my offering to an open sitting group for women only. It will meet every Saturday from 11:00 a.m. to 12:30. Come if you can. No registration is required, and there will be no charge.
Each meeting will include
~ seated meditation in the Zen style (zazen) - in chairs ~ tea and a check-in
~ a talk on the whole-hearted way of Zen
~ time to creatively explore how we can live our own lives more deeply.
If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to write or call. Otherwise, just show up. If you’d like a personal orientation to zazen before you come, call me to set up a time. We will start promptly, so plan to arrive ten minutes early. The door will be unlocked; if you are late, enter quietly and find a seat. You may leave your shoes in the front hall.
We will begin with a focus on setting up a daily sitting practice, and on kindness, the first of The Four Boundless Qualities of the Mind. There is a good introduction to these qualities at this link: http://www.gratefulness.org/readings/jh_boundless.htm
Jeanne Desy began practicing meditation when she had breast cancer in 1997, and has led meditation groups and workshops since. She has studied with Ama Samy and Daniel Terragno, and is a student of Dosho Port.