Zen in its most general sense simply refers to meditative absorption. It is the Japanese version of the Chinese word, ch’an, which in turn is derived from the Sanskrit word, dhyana – jhana in Pali. It is one individual turning his or her attention to the coming and going of breath, the coming and going of thoughts, the coming and going of bodily sensations, and in doing so experiencing stillness and silence in the midst of all phenomena. The cultural milieu within which it is practiced might change; the metaphysical meaning with which it is invested might vary; the ritual context within which it is immersed might differ, and yet the experience itself is timeless and universal. It is this timelessness and universality that prompted me to write a blog post entitled Stillness, Silence, Truth and the multi-post series related to Universality and Ritual (Parts 1, 2, & 3). It is this timelessness and universality that also prompts me to want to welcome people into an environment that is as free as possible of that which separates us – whether that be faith, creed, ritual, metaphysical belief, or theoretical framework.
So, if you're in St. Louis and would like to experience stillness and silence in the company of other individuals who value an environment that is as free of that which divides us as possible, then please check out the newly forming interfaith ZEN group. Whether you call your practice Zen, Insight Meditation, mindfulness practice, sharing silence, contemplative prayer, or simply being with that which is, please come and do it in the company of others – supported by and, in turn, supporting others. In addition to a very welcoming environment in which to cultivate stillness and silence, we will also have the opportunity to share our experiences of stillness and silence and to discuss what some of the great spiritual writers have said about it.
The easiest way to find out more information is to go to the Meetup website and find interfaith ZEN. By signing in to the group you’ll be kept updated on meeting times and places. Thank you!
Copyright 2014 by Mark Frank