Gettin’ My Zen OnJuly 13, 2015
By Alex Stahlmann,
Earlier this year I started getting into podcasts – a little late to the game, I know. But before long I had a handful of shows I was listening to on the regular. Three of my favorites were those hosted by Duncan Trussell, Joe Rogan, and Tim Ferriss. Each I liked for a different reason, and I enjoyed the intricacies each host brought to the table. Interestingly, I found a common theme. All three hosts, as well as many of their guests, had a similar interest – meditation. They wouldn’t stop raving about it.
Being genuinely curious, and a tad impressionable, I started doing some research. With the assistance of a couple of guided practice podcasts, I began working meditation into my morning routine. For roughly 20 minutes each day, I would sit on the floor in my living room at my coffee table – which I would modify with a heady tapestry, candle and incense – and go on a little journey. To my delight, not only did I enjoy my morning session, but I also found them having an impact on the rest of my day. I experienced an increased mood, had a heightened focus and became more productive.
I’d like to say that I have continued with my morning meditation routine, but I haven’t. Why? I’ll be honest: I like sleeping, and my bed is comfortable.
Although not in the mornings, I’m happy to say that I’ve once again been getting my feet wet. About a month ago my girlfriend invited me to join her at the Minnesota Zen Meditation Center per a recommendation she had received. I immediately jumped on the opportunity. Since then, we’ve been attending classes on Mindfulness – a fundamental component of Zen practice that is also widely recognized in the psychological community as an excellent tool for alleviating stress and the problem that follow behind it.
It’s not easy sitting in the moment, focusing on nothing, pushing away all thought, but there’s just something about it – something extremely comforting. In this crazy connected world we don’t take enough time to disconnect. My time spent at the Minnesota Zen Center has helped me to focus on my thoughts and feelings, and realize them for what they are. I’ve been able to strengthen positive perspectives on not only my life, but also the lives of others. I’ve been able to do this while surrounded by people looking to do the exact same thing.
I look forward to continued sessions at the Minnesota Zen Center, and I look forward to reintroducing meditation practice back into my daily routine. When the benefits are peace of mind, heightened perspective and increased focus and productivity, what’s not to be excited about?
If you’re interested in diving into the world of meditation but don’t know where to start, consider making your way out to Uptown. The Minnesota Zen Center is located just next to Lake Calhoun. They offer a daily practice schedule and are open to the public by donation. If new to Zen Buddhism or the Center, they suggest you attend the one-time Introduction to Zen Meditation class before coming to regularly scheduled meditation sessions. The Center also offers various classes, practice periods and ongoing study groups for a nominal fee.
Regardless of experience, all are welcome at the Minnesota Zen Meditation Center. Not all about the group thing? That’s fine. No matter your background or beliefs, everyone can develop a meditation practice – I recommend it.