Tuesday, May 12, 2009

My first Zen meditation

I went to Tuesday Morning Zen Meditation. I'm glad I did - it put me in a relaxed mood, full of inner peace, that's defined my whole day so far. I still feel it. Of course, it also helps that nothing particularly stressful has happened since then. I finished the database for my boss, I ran errands, and then I did some physically strenuous but mentally lightweight landscaping. I got to ponder Zen some more while I laid bricks.

The meditation itself was pleasant and low-key. Five other people participated, all of them white and over 60. Yun Gui is going to wonder whether the practice is even Asian at all! We chanted, then did silent meditation, then walked a labyrinth in single file. There was another silent meditation, plus social hour, but I had to get home early because I knew my boss would call me. I wish Zen meditation were on Mondays or Wednesdays. Tuesday is the day my boss is most likely to call me with surprise tasks to do.

So, even though I missed the ending, Zen meditation achieved what I was aiming for. It relaxed me and put me in a good mood, and it made me feel closer to my son's culture. The latter goal is crucially important. In this period of waiting, I feel so remote from him, so distant from anything he's learned in life so far. I've never been to his city, country, or continent. I think very differently from how his caregivers think. The art, the scenery, the attitudes here are different. My language is very different. There's a huge cultural gap, and I want with all my heart to bridge it.

It's sad to think his religion, the religion of his ancestors, is now illegal in China. It's perfectly legal here, to whatever degree we Westerners bother to salvage and understand the bits and pieces that interest us. I know a bunch of old, affluent, white folk sitting around a circle thinking about how their day will go isn't really the genuine Asian tradition he would have grown up with, if only he'd been allowed to. Also, like I said before, he's probably from a Confucian tradition and not a Chen one. But, hey, I'm doing the best I can. And it's mostly for me, anyhow. I can't go to China right now, but I can't sit idle either.

Okay, okay, meditation is the very definition of sitting idle. Whatever! It's working, and that's what matters.

"Hurry up and wait," they say. So I will. But I'll do it in style.


  1. I had a big Buddhist day too. Have you got acceptance down yet? That one seems to be a bit hard...

  2. I think I have an advantage regarding acceptance... I just don't have the energy to spazz out over small things, so I'm used to taking things step by step in everyday life. If I allowed myself to be consumed by worry, I'd burn out every day before noon, and then I'd really have something to worry about.

    I love that two people have friended me since i started discussing meditation. I was worried it would scare people away! Eastern practices, sadly, have an awful stigma here in the US. I wish I could protect my son from that stigma. Maybe people will be less likely to say negative things about Asian practices to an Asian.