As a lay practitioner with family and work lives, the desire to study this path meant sacrifice and discipline. I was fortunate to be able to drive the 20 minutes and join the monk at 4 a.m., meditating with him through 8 a.m. or longer, depending on when I had to arrive at the office later that day.
To say that this was daunting is an understatement. It is also an understatement to say that my life was transformed as I cultivated the capability to be internally and externally still while facing my own mind for hours on end. Now after the sun rises, it is from this state that I enter the day on my own terms... and still, long-term Zen practitioners know that this is only the beginning, the simplest and maybe shallowest demonstration of what is possible. The insight to be gained from your effort is unfathomable.
I am resuming this practice for myself, and as it was made available to me I offer the opportunity to you as well. My intention is to practice seated meditation weekdays from 4 a.m. to 7 a.m. Sitting periods will have varying duration to accommodate skill levels and are interleaved with walking meditation. Opportunities to join or depart practice already in progress occur on the hour. There may be tea or coffee, the occasional opportunity for discussion, and perhaps walking meditation outdoors, but the primary focus for these sessions is the mediation itself.
As part of your effort, I am requesting a base $250 monthly donation--around $10 per practice day--to support the Sword Mountain mission and to expand the associated activities.
For reference, I invite you to consider the following Sword Mountain posts:
- The Technique of Meditation
- In the Wake
- Pulling the Chosen Thread
- 2012: Keep One Point
- "I Reach Out from the Inside"
- Get Out of Bed!
- Zen: Don't Suffer Alone
Don't stop there, though! Please, feel free to explore the site.
Then, for additional information, please email mornings@SwordMountain.org with your interest and questions.
* Depending on interest, we may break off 6 a.m. to 7 a.m. two or three times per week for morning Aikido practice as a scheduled physical practice. Please state if that is appealing to you in your email.