Posted inHenry's Messages

Message from Henry: TLC

March 29, 2016

When we sit, whether we know it or not, we are recognizing and acknowledging the many, many things that create our existence.


Some people come to practice to get enlightened. Some come because they want to be less troubled and distressed, less subject to anxiety, depression, stress. Some want to be more at ease in the face of death. Some want to have better sleep or digestion, or to relate with people better, or be able to concentrate better, or become better communicators, to be more patient, or come just in order to do something that acknowledges the mystery of being alive at all. Some come to make new friendships, some for the sense of community based not so much on social intercourse, but on being together in silence and stillness. Some practice for several or many or none of the above reasons, or for other reasons, or for no reason at all.

And all are welcome.

There’s a growing movement among mental health professionals to explore modalities beyond talk therapy and medical intervention. Mostly, they are looking into the healing potential of community and relationships.

Whatever our motivation for coming to the zendo to practice may be, while our personal focus will rightly be our own practice, maybe we can at the same time open a window on our context: like it or not, we are part of a community. We always have been and always will be. We exist in mutliple relationships, not just with people but with things too, of many kinds: water, air, plants, animals, microbes, buildings, cars, and so on.

When we sit, whether we know it or not, we are recognizing and acknowledging the many, many things that create our existence.

We are paying our respects to them and thanking them. Our very posture is an offering of thanks.

Perhaps the much-extolled benefits of meditation, the things we may seek from practice, are a kind of decoy – like lures set up in order to get us into this situation, where the real conditions of our existence, our intrinsic dependence on all else, can gently infiltrate awareness, and heal us of our solitary ills.

With that in mind, let’s not forget that part of Zen practice has always been to take care of things — including the place where we practice together. Some people in the sangha have really been pioneers in this area, taking on a lot of responsibility for looking after our buildings and grounds. I hope we can all follow their example to some extent, and donate a little time now and then to giving Mountain Cloud some TLC. It’s not only good for the soul, it’s a great way of offering thanks too.

Message from Henry is from our March 28, 2016 Newsletter.

Image from Mountain Cloud Zen Center, by Cherie Manifest, used with her permission.

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