Return to the Zen Center

After almost 30 years, it was time to go back.

I’d visited the Cambridge Zen Center once in the 1980s, back when meditation was considered an odd, esoteric thing to do. Back before Oprah and Kobe Bryant and corporate CEOs were doing it. I‘d read the few Zen books that were available in bookstores—The Three Pillars of Zen, Zen Flesh, Zen Bones, and Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind.

I had just moved to Cambridge and was ready to meet a real live Buddhist who would teach me how to meditate. When I heard there was a Zen center nearby, I had to visit. My teacher, I imagined, would be an elderly Japanese monk with a shaved head. He would exude both wisdom and humor. Continue reading Return to the Zen Center

13 Ways of Meditating with a Blue Jay

I notice a nest on the beam that separates the porch I share with my neighbor. A nest of loosely woven twigs.

Spring was cold and the maple branches that brush the second-story porch have just leafed out. My neighbor is away for the summer. Inside, I watch the robins bobbing for worms in the yard below. Screeching jays bully the smaller birds off the feeder.

The sight of the nest makes me happy, then concerned my presence may scare away the mother. How long does it take eggs to hatch? Chicks to learn to fly? Weeks? Months? I don’t want to relinquish the porch, but if eggs are laid, I hope they hatch. Continue reading 13 Ways of Meditating with a Blue Jay