Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Zen: Don't Suffer Alone

We all live charmed lives, right up until we don't. Eventually, we all face personal trials – that is the nature of life itself. Different people deal with them in different ways. It's really quite natural to feel alone, overwhelmed, even helpless sometimes. It's natural to believe that no one can understand your grief.

The feelings are real – there is no denying that you feel them – but what is the source of those feelings, and what is the effect of rehashing this internal grief-filled dialog with yourself? What are you not accomplishing while you are dwelling in this dark place?

What is the path out of this suffering?

Zen practice cuts directly to the heart of suffering. It's a practice that can have some immediate results, sometimes just from having a trusted, uninvolved third-party opening your eyes to a different point of view. More importantly, though, longer-termed, consistent practice deepens your understanding and mental balance. As you come to understand the nature of suffering and come to understand yourself, you come to experience greater freedom in your life, whatever your circumstances.

We offer non-religious, non-denominational Zen practice tailored to our fellow American laity. What does that mean? We're ordinary folks, just like you: We live in the world with our hopes, dreams, families, jobs, bills, and all of the other problems, just like you. If we haven't lived it ourselves, we probably know someone who has. We don't present dogma or doctrine, nor do we relish in ceremony. We are not offering you a religion to join, nor are we asking you to turn from your current faith if you have one; if anything, Zen practice helps many to appreciate their current faith more deeply and with new understanding. Our primary teaching is through meditation and simple conversation over a pot of tea (or, a cup of coffee, or even a beer) and koan (kong-an) practice rather than “just sitting,” study of sutras, chanting, or other practices.  The bit of quiet to settle the mind plus the koan meditations are a wonderful way to ground yourself and face the day.

So, don't suffer alone.  Contact us.

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