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Meditations on Meditation

Once a week, I meditate at a Zen Buddhist Monastery in Brooklyn, NY. It usually goes something like this:

I pull open the right side of the ornate,wooden,double door and walk into the incensed-tingled statued foyer;

I cross in front of a cross-legged, sky-blue-robed gentleman monk (with hair) and up the stairs;

I walk a dark hallway into a lit room and undress all unnecessaries into an adult-sized cubby;

I return to the foyer and then bow into a cavernous, pillared, incensed-sponged shrine--the bowing I learned around my third visit;

I pass large instruments on my left and quietly find a floor pad, usually also on the left;

I bow before my pad, which took me many months to catch on to, and to the front where sits a black-robed woman (no hair) at the foot of the stairs that lead to the green-jade statue of the buddha;

I do some stretches;

I then, other than about 10 minutes of walking in the middle, count my outward breaths from one to ten and sit as still and quietly as possible for an hour and a half.

Other than saliva leaking from my mouth, sometimes all over my clothing, the hour and a half of sitting does not have a "usual" that I can generalize about. I have delighted in the vast openness of my body. I have endured second by second excruciating lower back pain, I have embodied density paralleled by stone statues. I have lived and relived fantasies involving taking a sledgehammer to the mouth of some random guy next to me due to his incessant slug-like swallowing. I often discover deep truths and walk away so light these truths just dissipate. And I think this is OK. I don't know how to talk about some of these things and how important they seem to me. I looked at my spine from a different viewpoint today and it was so valuable and I don't know if I can quantify why. As Brian Friel says in Dancing at Lughnasa,memories offer themselves to me... which really they do to all of us. Once I discovered the secret of acting in the sensation of a leaf and it made so much sense to me and looking back I just think "Nope I definitely did not I should keep these things to myself." And now I'm writing it in a blog for literally anybody with internet to see and connect a face to. Oh well. Here's to all the wierdness of the world one insists upon oneself when they do the insane: sit still and breathe.

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