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Sitting Zen

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rown wood floor, brown porch, porch railing, gray ice on pond, yellow building, grey sky.

That is winter kyol che at Kwan Um School of Zen Monastery. It would seem like anything else going on is, as Zen Master Bon Haeng once said, entertainment. I entered Saturday at 8:00am January 12th. The week preceding I dreaded even thinking about sitting Zen for 7 full days and yet I also felt it would be a most beneficial experience. The most I had sat was 4 days a couple years ago. I remember it was hellish for the first two to two and half days. My body ached in places I didn’t know could feel pain. My knees were numb and my back felt like someone was gouging me with a screwdriver and we won’t even go into what my mind was running after. After the first two days, however, things settled down. I became comfortable in my body and my mind finally accepted the stillness. It was a summer Kyol Che and my daily job was to sweep and wash the porch, which wraps around the monastery. If I had time I would also weed the rock garden just in front to the side of the building. I remembered looking forward to the work period because it wasn’t sitting. Sitting = pain and working meant I got to use, stretch my body and focus my mind on a task. That was a couple years ago and I’m older now and the body is stiffer, less pliant and that goes for my mind as well. It’s said that it’s best to begin this practice when you’re young because everything is loose and can more easily handle change and the rigors of sitting Zen. When you’re older everything is stiff and stuck both physically and mentally. I think this is true, but I wouldn’t know about practicing while young because I began practicing when I was 54, already on the downward side of the slippery slope. Yes, I know, change my thinking! So, I signed up for a week of Kyol Che and had mixed emotions. I counted down the days. I fretted over the intense sitting I was going to be doing. Could my body handle it? I wondered what my job would be. I worried about formal eating the way it feels like there’s a race to finish. It seems like everyone is gulping almost without chewing. Would I take too much food or not enough food? Five days until I begin. Then it was 3 days, I better do some intense yoga to loosen things up.

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South Shore and Cape Cod Metaphysics  

To Enlighten your Journey, South Shore and Cape Cod Metaphysics offers you a green avenue of connecting with new experiences.

South Shore and Cape Cod Metaphysics  

To Enlighten your Journey, South Shore and Cape Cod Metaphysics offers you a green avenue of connecting with new experiences.