Thursday, May 19, 2011

Start again

The irony or perhaps the hypocrisy is that I haven't meditated in a long time. When I lived in Iowa City, I meditated every Thursday night at the Iowa City Zen Center from 6:30-8:00 pm and every Sunday at the Cedar Rapids Zen Center from 8:00-10:00 am. I led the meditation at both Zen Centers. Iowa City usually only had three other people. I walked there from my house. It was a nice respite in the middle of the week.  I remember that in the summer, I opened the windows because there was no air conditioning and the traffic from Burlington Street was loud. I either was annoyed by the noise or just accepted it and let it become a part of the moment.  Sundays I drove about twenty minutes to Cedar Rapids because Cedar Rapids Zen Center had a resident priest, Zuiko Redding, who gave a dharma talk after zazen, kinhin, and zazen. The drive in the morning was always pleasant, and one of the few reasons I left Iowa City during the week.

Now I live in Eagan, a suburb of the Twin Cities.  I've attended three different Zen Centers and for various lenghts--Minnesota Zen Center, right off Lake Calhoun in Uptown Minneapolis (three years on Saturday mornings); Dharma Fields Meditation Center in southwestern Minneapolis (three months on Sunday mornings); and Clouds in Water Zen Center in downtown St. Paul (three times).  I stopped attending because one of the most difficult things for me living in the metropolitan Twin Cities is all the driving I do in fast, three or four lane traffic.  Unlike the leisurely walk to the Iowa City Zen Center or the easy drive to Cedar Rapids Zen center, I have to drive through what I feel is concrete and congestion and confusion.  I tell myself I live here and if zazen and zen is important to me than I should just accept my reality, a reality which includes driving everywhere and driving in metropolitan traffic, but about four years ago I decided I no longer wanted to drive on a weekly basis to a meditation center, so I stopped attending a Zen Center.  I tried meditating at home, but this practice fell to the wayside. It is always easier to meditate with a group of people.

So I'm now thinking of attending Minnesota Zen Center on Saturday mornings again.  I miss zazen.  I miss going to a coffee shop after zazen and drinking green tea and reading about zen.  I hope to start this Saturday.

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