Sunday, October 16, 2011

Discouragement & Solitude

So my chronic illness relapsed about three weeks ago (right after that post about how great I was feeling, naturally!), and I’m trying to dig my way out again. I can manage about two hours out and about in the world each day, as long as there is comfortable enough seating.

Which is a problem at the Zen Center. I’m discouraged that even a group founded on the basis of SITTING still involves too much athleticism for me. I need to sit on something that has back support, and here’s the kicker: head support as well. And, understandably I suppose, there are no lounge chairs at the Zen Center. I tired more quickly than normal during the hour-long class this morning, which itself is in a room up three flights of stairs.

Still, I thought, perhaps there is a way for me to be involved at the center and to meditate during the week with others. I can manage 30 minutes of sitting on the floor if I can rest my back against something at least. I asked if it was all right if I sat leaning against the wall, and was very kindly informed that no, meditation during the week at this center is done facing the wall, not leaning against it. It’s okay, I understand—there is order and ritual involved here, and I’m not going to try to tromp in like a bull in a china shop demanding accommodations.

But I am discouraged. It all circles round to what I’d rather it not: that if I’m going to do this and really develop a meditation practice, I have to do it alone. More solitude, in all it's many textures.


  1. Sorry to hear that the relapse is affecting your Zen practice... not sure which center you've been going to (I'm a new reader), but there are actually two in Mpls proper, the MN Zen Center and Dharma Field. I haven't been to either but have heard both mentioned by friends. I think Dharma is wheelchair accessible, so they may be more accommodating with seating arrangements in their meditation room.

    Hope you're able to stick with it!

  2. Thanks Mary, I'll definitely look into the other center. I've been meditating on and off on my own still, but like any Difficult Practice, it's always easier when there's a community behind you.