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Lions Roar : January 2018
jazz. We wondered what it would be like to listen to John Coltrane or Sonny Roll- ins with the same close attention we were applying to our breathing. At one point, someone said, “Why don’t we get together and meditate, then listen to jazz?” This sparked our first “Music Night.” Here is the format, which you can follow in your own group if you want to try meditating on music. Meeting We meet in a small-group setting (6–12 people) equipped with a stereo system. Each participant brings two pieces of music they feel a connection with. Start with refreshments and conversation for half an hour. Opening To ground ourselves and come fully into the present moment, we gather in a circle and meditate in silence for 10–15 minutes. Offering One by one, we offer a piece of music to the group. Sometimes the person offer- ing the music says a few words about their inspiration for selecting it. Sharing something that is meaningful to us, we become naked and vulnerable. The more meaningful the music, the more naked we may feel. Listening As each person offers their selection, the others practice receiving the music with their full attention. With no need for analysis or commentary, we mostly practice in silence. We go around the entire group at least twice, and some- times continue listening late into the night. When we listen openly, we take in much more of the energy and sub- stance of the music—both plea- surable and sometimes not so pleasurable—than we ordinarily do. Paying close attention, we hear things we have never noticed before. We see in vivid detail how we sometimes relate to our experiences through the lenses of passion, aggression, and ignorance. Although this practice sounds simple and straightforward, from my perspec- tive it can be meaningful, challenging, and profound. Music represents feelings, emotions, colors, and statements that can’t be expressed through words or images. Sensing our shared connection to the music and being fully present with each other, we feel incredibly intimate and warm. Music is an important part of my life. On Music Night I felt fully seen, with warmth and love and no judgment. It played a significant role in helping me to connect with my own basic goodness and the basic goodness of others, and it can for you too. ♦ the village zendo year-end retreat with Roshi Enkyo O’Hara Garrison Institute, New York half retreat: December 26th – 29th, 2017 full retreat: December 26th, 2017– January 1st, 2018 A spacious and quiet Zen retreat with meditation, daily dharma talks, interview with Village Zendo teachers, and time to rest and walk along the Hudson River. For more information, please visit www.villagezendo.org LION’S ROAR | JANUARY 2018 24 CULTURE • LIFE • PRACTICE