I really like sitting in silence for long periods of time. In day-to-day life it’s typically hard to find a “good” reason to do this, so attending events where many people sit in silence at one time together gives me an excellent opportunity to get in my silent time.
Last weekend I checked out the San Antonio Zen Buddhist Center’s Intro to Zen Meditation class, and it was lovely!
They have a peaceful little room where at least 10 of us learned the basics of Zen then sat and also walked in silence for a little over 30 minutes.
I’m not sure if there are different techniques used at different levels, but what we covered in the intro was sitting still for the allotted time and observing our breath. Stilling the mind through focus on the breath is a lot harder than you may imagine. I just love it when I’m able to calm my thoughts though!
The teacher read a cool quote from a book by a famous Zen monk about only being concerned with the exhale. Feeling like with each exhale, it could be the last breath you take in this life. Then, as the inhale happens automatically, being amazed and delighted that you are still alive.
Slightly morbid I suppose, but very interesting nonetheless.
Now that I’ve completed the intro class, I can go to the once a month 4 hour Sunday morning meditations! Very excited about that.
If you’d like to learn more about the San Antonio Zen Buddhist Center, check out their website at: http://www.sanantoniozen.org/
To bring a little Zen into your life right this moment, simply focus on your breath and keep bringing your mind back when it wanders, without judgment. Ahhhh inner peace…..