Eastwood Community League is offering a weekly seated meditation session for any league member who’d like to drop in.
Whether it’s to bring some peace to a hectic lifestyle or to deepen an already established sitting practice, participants are welcome from any experience or background.
My approach will be from the Japanese Zen tradition, having been a resident on and off for the past seven years at a Zen centre in the western United States. Before that, I was sitting Friday evenings at Truc Lam Monastery on 97 Street. At some point, I realized I wanted to immerse myself fully into a Zen-based practice.
The heart of Zen is seated meditation, or zazen. One popular image for zazen is that of muddy water in a glass. Allow the glass to stand still, and the mud settles of its own accord. So as we focus on our breath, for instance, the mind begins to return to its natural resting state. That in turn offers an opportunity to look with more clarity on how our mind operates.
Seated meditation may help us learn how we add a personal narrative to situations or how we combine our emotions with daily interactions. Whatever the internal “weather”, we discover how our response can muddy what is actually a very still centre in our moment-to-moment lives.
This practice can also help us cope with more difficult internal stresses, such as depression or anxiety. With practice, we can come to see that any life experience, whether joyful or difficult, is an opportunity to know what we are and what our life is.
So the Zen approach is an unscripted invitation to sit in the midst of whatever is showing up. Whether it’s the sound of the traffic outside or some inner source of anxiety, all are available as the ground from which to see clearly our authentic nature. There are hundreds of books on meditation, but doing the actual practice is what brings about transformative change.
This is why Eastwood Community Hall will open for sitting once a week: to provide the space and some guidance for those who want to make real the value of a sitting practice.
Sessions are a half hour of seated meditation, and possibly walking meditation. If people want to stay longer, the sitting may be followed by a sharing period to discuss any issues arising from sitting practice or just to ask a question.
Cushions are provided, but we have a limited supply so participants are encouraged to bring their own cushion and mat.
Weekly seated meditation is upstairs in Eastwood Community Hall on Mondays starting at 6:30 pm. Please arrive at least five minutes early to settle in.
Eastwood Community Hall (11803 86 St)
Mondays, 6:30 pm
Featured Image: Seated meditation can help us to understand more about ourselves. | Pixabay