Since mid October, I’ve been participating in and helping to organize a weekly Meditation-Occupation on the Greenfield Common.
The idea was planted at an October day-long meditation retreat organized by my sangha, Green River Zen Center. We held the afternoon portion of our retreat on the Common in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street, still in it early swirling days. Several of us expressed a commitment to continue this public sitting practice. I recall feeling surprised by how much I liked meditating publicly -feeling the exposure to the elements and and to passers-by, my body on the line and in line with others, Occupying.
And there is something about Occupying in silence. (Sometimes the mind is noisy, but the practice is to return to focus and presence in the body.) We sit for 30 minutes, following the Greenfield Savings Clock as our timer. If someone is cold, they are welcome to do walking meditation.
After sitting, we do council practice, speaking and listening from the heart. People usually reflect on some aspect of meditation, occupation, and the growing sense of community among participants in this circle.
It’s been a treat, a deep treat, to sit again and again with people at the Meditation-Occupation. There are regulars (Lance, Peale, Alice, myself, Jeanie, Deb, Robin, Jeff, Jaye) and those that come when they can (Emilie, Peter, Brenda, Anne, Eve, Ari, Kanji, Genyo, Sarah, two Elliotts, Josh, Ike, Jiko, Marina and Jack, Karen B., Ashley, people walking by.) Sometimes people stop in just for the council, bring a sibling who is visiting from out of town, or email to say how much they appreciate knowing this is happening. They are all part of the circle of energy.
I am going tomorrow, still nursing a cough. It will be 45 degrees, cold ground, a January day. Lance and Jeanie are away. Maybe I’ll be alone. I want to go. Meditation-Occupation keeps me emotionally connected to Occupy. It feeds me to do this practice, because I join Occupy, I embody Occupy when I do this. I am Occupy. I am keeping the flame alive in this practice. And the flame feeds me. It will feel colder if I am alone; it will feel warmer if others are near me, just psychologically. And maybe we are wind barriers for each other.
Occupy is a loud NO to a system that is WHACKED and deemed loudly to be unacceptable. It is a courageous NO! It is a NO that comes from no other choices. It is a multi-textured NO. I will say NO, grounded in meditation, a space of presence, a space in which I try to embody oneness, no separation, no blame. NO! A NO of Love, not tight. A cupped hand. A strong one.