20-some years ago, I started sitting regularly, I did it because someone I knew and trusted said it had helped her grandson, who had been in trouble with the law and couldn’t seem to get his act together. She had him stay with her, one summer, and each morning at 6 a.m., no matter what the weather, they went outside and sat. And he stopped getting in trouble.
I’ve been in and out of trouble, myself, over the years, and this sounded like the kind of bad-ass practice that would appeal to me.
With some potential.
So, I started sitting regularly. And after a few years of intermittent intentional sitting, I had some pretty incredible experiences.
The kind of moments where everything folded into itself, ceased to be separate, and became one continuous Creation that had both no reality and every reality.
Which was phenomenal. It changed me forever, no doubt.
Then I changed jobs, I started an official career doing professional work, and things changed in my practiced. I continued to sit semi-regularly, and things were still good. But I was getting busy. And the professional world was really starting to intrude on my practice.
So, I changed how I sat. I started sitting at work — not taking time away from my work for a few zazen moments in a quiet room, but sitting in the midst of work. In meetings, especially, when tensions were starting to flare, and I was really losing my cool, I would sit.
Adjust my posture.
Breathe slowly and steadily.
Focus on what was happening, then and there, keeping any distractions away from my attention.
And I can tell you, those sitting times were some of the most productive ones I’d had in a long time. It became regular practice for me, to attend meetings with a zazen frame of mind — centered, focused, just sitting and being fully present for that 50 minutes or so, not allowing any aggravations to get hold of me, not allowing any fleeting anger or tension or discord to turn into anything more than a passing sensation.
It made me better at meetings. It made me a better team player. It made me a better individual contributor. It made me better at life.
Sitting anywhere, anytime, whenever I needed to… it just made me better.