Yesterday I went to a healing sound meditation event at a local park. The day was cool but sunshine beautifully filtered through the trees and only a light breeze swept over the small fishing pond. Just enough movement to keep the sage smoke traveling over the group.
It was not a Buddhist event, yet I found it a lovely opportunity to meditate to the sounds of singing bowls and other soft instruments. The beautiful thing about meditation is that it goes with pretty much any spirituality, and this event was eclectic with an emphasis on New Age vibes. A lot of people I see at drum circles also attended this.
At one point, I decided to lay on the blanket in the middle of the circle, amethyst crystals at each corner, and take whatever blessing the group wanted to send my way. The moment I ended up there, lying on my back and looking up to the sky was perfect. The sun was exactly aligned with a large branch of the tree overhead, so I could look right at the sky and appreciate the corona of sunshine and the way light played over the still bare branches. It was so brilliantly sparkling that the twigs almost appeared as they would after an ice storm when the sun finally comes out.
I think Zen would say every moment is perfect.
I do not specifically follow any sect of Buddhism. I lack the knowledge to even claim a good understanding of the nuances between, say, Zen and Tibetan Buddhism, much less all the variations within those two categories and all the other forms of Mahayana Buddhism. And I know next to nothing about Theravada. Yet I find that, at this time in my life, Buddhism is speaking to me more than at any time previously. Or perhaps I should say, certain teachers are.
I first stumbled upon the writings of Soto Zen monk Brad Warner while perusing the sex section at the library. Since I penned my first romance novel (under a pen name) five odd years ago, I have periodically made a hobby of reading about human sexuality. In January, while browsing the sex stacks, the title Sex, Sin and Zen jumped out at me. Two birds with one stone, I thought, since I’d recently circled back around to a passing interest in Buddhism.
Turned out the book was not only insightful, but also quite funny in the snarky, yet loving way I so enjoy. I took more from the book about Zen than I did sex. Like this quote, which is maybe about both Zen and sex, “It may be that we are on this Earth to experience the awe and beauty of feeling forever incomplete. If we can accept this lack of fulfillment as our natural condition, we can be totally free.”
It took me some false starts to study Zen more, but now, I’m almost done with Warner’s first book Hardcore Zen and looking forward to starting There is no God and He is Always with You. Here’s a quote from Hardcore Zen: “Don’t accept anything because other people believe it, or because it’s expressed prettily or because it’s been around for twenty or two hundred or two thousand years. And by all means, question this, too. But go all the way with your questioning: Question your own conclusions, your own judgments, and your own answer. Look at your own beliefs, your own prejudices, your own opinions—and see them for what they are.”
Apologies to Mr. Warner for getting his books from the library and not purchasing them myself.
You can find other A to Z Challenge blogs here.