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Lions Roar : July 2019
Swimming Upstream BELOW THE NEW YORK ZEN CENTER for Con- templative Care there is a very enthusiastic personal trainer named Sammy, who leads a loud exercise class at the exact same time that we have our silent meditation group on Monday and Wednesday evenings and Saturday and Sunday mornings. For the last year, I’ve had an ongoing relationship with Sammy that consists of my constantly going down- stairs and saying, “Hi, Sammy. I know you’re really excited about your class, but the floor is vibrating upstairs. Can you turn the music down?” “Of course,” he says. “I am so sorry.” And then the next time our group meets, it happens again. Over and over again. Recently, though, there was a night that I decided not to go downstairs. It was partly because I was aware of my feeling of righteousness—you know, “I’ve gone downstairs five hundred times. I’m not going downstairs again. How many times do I have to go downstairs before he stops playing his music so loudly?” I looked like I was meditating, but actu- ally I was sitting there stewing, getting caught up in and seduced by the righteousness of it, elevating myself above this inconsiderate person Sammy, and just generally being a jerk about it. But then I started thinking about the times in my own apartment when I’ve put on music that I thought was great and cranked it up, totally unaware of the people in the apartments next to mine. Because our Zen Center is in the middle of Man- hattan, we often hear ambulances, fire trucks, and other street noises, and hearing those during my meditation has always been an inspiring experience for me. Each time I hear the ambulance or fire truck, it moves me to know that people are responding to someone who is in trouble. And yet for some reason I had never approached Sammy’s music in the same way; it had always felt like an intrusion. I realized that I had never actually tried sitting there and just feeling the beat of it. HOT OFF THE PRESS LEAPINGCARPBYOHARAKOSON KOSHIN PALEY ELLISON cofounded the New York Zen Center for Contemplative Care, the first Zen- based organization to offer fully accredited ACPE clinical chaplaincy training in America. learning.tergar.org/bardos Drawing upon Rinpoche’s new book In Love WIth the WorLd: A Monk’s Journey through the Bardos of Living and dying. Beginning September 2019, as part of your Vajrayana Online subscription. An Exploration of the Transitions of Life and Death EssEncE of thE Bardos Online course with Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche LION’S ROAR | JULY 2019 76